Brain and cognitive health

Super-agers: This special group of older adults suggests you can keep your brain young and spry

Matthew Solan
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

While some people seem genetically predisposed to retain mental sharpness in old age, there are things anyone can do that can help maintain cognitive ability, or perhaps improve it.

What is addiction?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Howard J. Shaffer, PhD, Contributor

As understanding of addiction evolves, experts now believe that the roots of addiction can be found in a person’s efforts to escape discomfort and that this drive that can take a number of possible expressions, whether through a substance or an activity. The road to recovery can be long and include setbacks, but with time life can become much better.

Resilience: A skill your child really needs to learn (and what you can do to help)

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

It’s crucial for children to learn resilience in order to navigate the world and deal with setbacks. Parents can help their children learn resilience by spending time with them regularly, encouraging their independence, and allowing them to take risks.

Racket sports serve up health benefits

Matthew Solan
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Racket sports like tennis are beneficial to health, in part because of the types of movement required, and also because of the social component of playing with others. One of the fastest-growing racket sports particularly among older adults is “pickleball,” which blends tennis, table tennis, and the backyard childhood game of Wiffle ball.

Could artificial sweeteners be bad for your brain?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

While diet soda and other types of artificially sweetened drinks may not have calories, research is suggesting that those who drink them regularly may be at higher risk for stroke or dementia.

Safe injection sites and reducing the stigma of addiction

Scott Weiner, MD
Scott Weiner, MD, Contributor

The scope of the opioid crisis in the US has led some individuals and communities to revise their view of addiction and substance use disorders. One idea being considered is creating supervised injection facilities that would provide a safe environment and make treatment resources available to those who want them.

4 science-backed ways toward better learning (Hint: drop the highlighter)

David R. Topor, PhD, MS-HPEd

It’s challenging to remember information when reading or studying, but there are techniques that can be applied to help you retain what you read more effectively. Research shows that common practices, like studying the same topic for a long time and the use of highlighters can get in the way of retaining information.

5 research-backed lessons on what makes a happy life

Robert John Waldinger, MD

A lifelong study of several hundred men is providing valuable information about how childhood circumstances and life choices influence happiness throughout a person’s life. For example, the sting of a difficult childhood need not derail a rewarding adult life.

Opioid addiction: Long-term treatment for a chronic condition

Glen Buchberger, MD
Glen Buchberger, MD, Contributor

Studies suggest that extended medication-assisted treatment is more effective in treating opioid addiction than short term use. This strategy may prove an important part of addressing the opioid crisis.

Secret to brain success: Intelligent cognitive rest

Srini Pillay, MD
Srini Pillay, MD, Contributor

The ability to train one’s mind to activate the “unfocus” part of the brain, also called the default mode network, can help improve creativity and unlock access to the unconscious mind.