Medical Research

As the pandemic drags on, when can we get back to work?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, many people wonder when they can go back to their workplaces. The answers may depend on where a person lives and works, findings from antibody tests, and other factors.

Why medical research keeps changing its mind

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

When a medical study announces findings that seem to say the opposite of what’s been understood and accepted about a particular condition or treatment, it can make you question all medical news. A study aimed to determine just how frequently this happens, and with which conditions.

Getting sleep in the hospital

There are many things about hospital routines that make it difficult for patients to sleep well. If you find yourself hospitalized, there are things you can do to improve the chances that you will get a better night’s sleep.

Your risk of dementia: Do lifestyle and genetics matter?

Clinical trials for drugs to stop or slow the progression of dementia have not been successful. A recent study attempted to determine how much influence, if any, genetic and lifestyle factors may have on the development of dementia.

Brain-based devices: How well do they work?

Srini Pillay, MD

Contributor

Brain-based devices claim to offer all kinds of enhancements and improvements, but how can consumers interested in such a device separate legitimate science from mere hype?

Does addiction last a lifetime?

In the study of addiction and recovery, the question of whether a person who has an addiction to any substance must avoid all other potentially addictive substances has yet to be definitively answered. Alongside it, some argue that those in recovery may simply substitute one addiction for another.

Can DNA markers predict aging?

A newly available test offers to provide information about your telomeres, parts of your DNA that are considered markers of aging, but on its own this information is of little value, and you can make beneficial lifestyle changes without paying for a test.

A more precise approach to fighting cancer

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Precision medicine is an approach to fighting certain types of cancer that considers a person’s family history, environment, and health habits, along with genetic testing, to predict which medication will provide the most effective treatment.

Thinking about joining a clinical trial? Here’s what you need to know

People enroll in clinical trials for a variety of reasons. Some hope to try a new or innovative treatment. Others hope to advance knowledge about a disease. If you’re interested in volunteering for a clinical trial, you should understand the type of study you’d be participating in and know the potential risks.

Medical news: A case for skepticism

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Stories about medical research are often presented in a manner that makes the findings seem more significant than they really are. It is important to approach such stories with a degree of skepticism, and appropriately tempered expectations.