Health

Researchers may have discovered a cause of multiple sclerosis

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

Looking for possible causes of multiple sclerosis, researchers found that people who had a concussion prior to age 20 had a greater risk of developing MS, suggesting head injuries are a risk factor.

Addiction, the opioid crisis, and family pain

Laura Kiesel
Laura Kiesel, Contributor

The changes in understanding around substance use disorders are making treatment more readily available to those who need it and reducing the stigma attached to addiction, but may make those with addiction in their family history feel that the change has come too late for them.

Taking an anticlotting drug? If you need a procedure, be prepared

Julie Corliss
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

People who take an anticlotting medication are at higher risk of bleeding if they need an invasive procedure, but stopping the drug ahead of a procedure carries its own risks.

Why parents should save their baby’s cord blood — and give it away

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

Because blood cells from a newborn baby’s umbilical cord can be used to treat or cure a variety of diseases, the American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging expectant parents to consider donating this blood to a public bank.

Fitting in fitness for busy people

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

Thinking about exercise differently, realizing that you don’t have to dedicate large blocks of time to workouts and classes, and that any activity is beneficial, makes it easier to find ways to incorporate physical activity into your day.

5 things parents and teachers need to know about ADHD

Ellen Braaten, PhD
Ellen Braaten, PhD, Contributor

As many as 10% of children in the US have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, creating challenges for them as well as teachers, classmates, and family members. Understanding the condition is crucial to treating it successfully.

4 tips for teaching your child how to ride a bike “on the road”

Steve Calechman
Steve Calechman, Contributor

Once you have taught a child the mechanics of riding a bicycle, the real challenge is teaching them how to ride safely on the streets. Our tips will help instill important safety and awareness practices in your young rider.

Contrary to popular belief, epidurals don’t prolong labor. Phew.

Hope Ricciotti, MD
Hope Ricciotti, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Challenging a long-held belief, a new study found that women who received epidural anesthesia during labor did not have prolonged labor or higher rates of cesarean births.

What parents should know — and do — about young children and mobile devices

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

Use of mobile devices by children up to age 8 has exploded in recent years. This isn’t necessarily bad, but parents should be aware of how much time their children are spending on devices daily, and make the effort to ensure they are being used responsibly and appropriately.

Activity trackers: Can they really help you get fit?

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

Using an activity tracker to monitor the amount and intensity of a person’s daily movements may provide motivation for some people to make greater effort to improve their health. Further research may find that using these devices in innovative ways and with creative incentives could make them even more helpful.