Does addiction last a lifetime?

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

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.

Healthy, wholesome easy lunches

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

It can be hard to get motivated to pack your own lunch (or one for your children), but knowing that a meal brought from home is more likely to contain healthier choices is enough of a push for some people, and knowing it doesn’t have to involve a lot of effort helps too.

Brain science to improve your relationships

Srini Pillay, MD


Being aware of the brain’s reactions to other people can help improve all our relationships.

Could household disinfectants be making our children fat?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Not all bacteria are harmful; our digestive tracts contain bacteria that help keep us healthy. Researchers from Canada found that in homes where disinfectant household products were used, children were more likely to be overweight or obese at age 3.

Conflict of interest in medicine

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Disclosing potential concerns regrading conflict of interest is considered essential for the integrity of medical research, but practicing physicians also face ethical issues. Some people think these concerns are not noteworthy or significant, while others expect maximum transparency from those who treat them.

Drip bar: Should you get an IV on demand?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Receiving IV fluids without a specific medical need or reason is a new trend, and while it’s possible that such a treatment might help you get some relief from jet lag or a hangover, it’s easier and much cheaper to simply drink whatever fluids you need.

Parents: Don’t use a baby walker

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

While it may be tempting to put a baby in a moving walker, the devices have led to thousands of injuries over the past three decades, plus they do not help babies learn to walk but in fact hinder that process.

What is a plant-based diet and why should you try it?

For those looking to adopt a healthier eating pattern, plant-based diets have been shown to promote health and reduce the risk of many diseases and conditions. Plant-based eating can mean avoiding animal products entirely, or incorporating them in varying degrees.

Aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, part 2

The results of another clinical trial add to the evidence that healthy people without a history of cardiovascular disease should not take a daily aspirin for the prevention of a heart attack or stroke.

Leaving time for last words

When a person needs to be intubated to help them breathe, they are unable to speak, and if something happens it’s possible for someone to die without a chance to have a final conversation with their loved ones. But it’s possible for doctors to adjust intubation protocol to allow for such a conversation.