Healthy Aging

Why is music good for the brain?

A study conducted by AARP found correlation between a person’s engagement with music and their opinion of their brain health and cognitive ability. While the study did not involve any objective measure of brain health, music has been shown to activate multiple areas of the brain, and keeping brain pathways active helps keep the brain strong in older age.

How can you help a loved one suffering from loneliness?

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, more people are dealing with extended periods of isolation from family and friends. Increasing feelings of loneliness are a serious health issue that can increase the risk of death. If you or someone you know is in this situation, there are things you can do to mitigate the circumstances.

Does air pollution cause Alzheimer’s disease?

It has been known for some time that air pollution causes heart and lung diseases. Now, results from three different studies on populations in different parts of the world show an association between higher levels of air pollution and greater risk of cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Can controlling blood pressure later in life reduce risk of dementia?

An analysis of multiple studies looking at the relationship between high blood pressure and cognitive health –– abilities like thinking, memory, and attention –– found that older people who lower high blood pressure are slightly less likely to develop cognitive impairment or dementia.

The plight of nursing home residents in a pandemic

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Many nursing homes have had high rates of illness and deaths from COVID-19 and efforts to keep residents safer have caused widespread isolation. As states loosen restrictions, what does the path forward look like?

Reducing your risk of changes in thinking following surgery

As more older people undergo surgeries, the risk of complications increases, including for cognitive decline following their procedures, particularly after cardiac surgery. But awareness and pre-planning with your care team can help you avoid such complications.

Some healthcare can safely wait (and some can’t)

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Some routine or elective healthcare can safely wait a while, but putting off medical care for certain health conditions or potentially serious problems is risky.

All rise now — just how fit are you?

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Attempting to stand up from a seated position on the floor is a good way to assess your overall fitness. No problem? Do it regularly to track your physical health. Having difficulty? Try these exercises to help you improve your fitness.

Is it time to give up your annual mammogram?

The question of what age a woman can stop having mammograms does not have a definite answer, but is one each woman must answer based on her circumstances and her feelings about the risks of the procedure versus its benefits.

Looking past the pandemic: Could building on our willingness to change translate to healthier lives?

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that people are capable of changing their behavior— surprisingly fast—when the stakes are high. Can we apply that resolve to other persistent issues that affect our health and quality of life?