Harvard Health Blog

Join the discussion with experts from Harvard Health Publishing and others like you on a variety of health topics, medical news and views.

Managing pain after surgery

Even with all the attention given to the opioid epidemic, it may still be a surprise to some people that prescription pain medication is not always necessary after a surgical procedure. Talking with your doctor about post-surgical pain management will help you understand what to expect.

In defense of French fries

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Researchers found that frequent consumers of French fries don’t live as long as those who eat them less often, but as is often the case, the conclusion only tells part of the story. Are French fries really a “death food”? Not necessarily, and probably not.

4 things everyone needs to know about measles

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The number of measles cases in the US in 2018 more than tripled over those in 2017, and early numbers for this year suggest a continued surge. It’s important for everyone, but especially parents, to know about the virus, its potential complications, and the facts about the vaccine.

Preserving fertility during cancer treatments

Cancer treatments –– and some cancers –– can affect fertility in both women and men. Variables include age at diagnosis, type of cancer, and type of treatment. If you’re wondering about options for preserving fertility, discuss this with your treatment team.

Alternative therapies for cancer

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A study of two million people receiving cancer treatment found that those who chose a complementary treatment along with conventional treatment had less successful outcomes (did not live as long).

Why keep a food diary?

For those looking to improve their diet or lose weight, keeping a food diary is a useful tool. Recording information for at least a week will help people identify habits and patterns that will help them set realistic goals.

What to do if you think your child has the flu

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

We are in the midst of an active flu season, so if you think your child may have the flu, following this advice will help you and your family get through it a little more easily.

When a pelvic exam is traumatic

Huma Farid, MD


Women who have experienced sexual violence or trauma are more likely to have anxiety about medical visits, particularly seeing a gynecologist and receiving a pelvic exam. Open communication in both directions is crucial for women to feel safe during these visits.

Hormonal therapy for aggressive prostate cancer: How long is enough?

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Men weighing treatment options for intermediate- or high-risk cancer that is still localized to the prostate can face a tricky question. A standard approach in these cases is to give radiation to the prostate along with drugs that block testosterone, a hormone that makes the cancer cells grow faster. For how long should this hormone […]

Your genes and addiction

As researchers seek new ways to treat addiction as well as ways to prevent it, they are also trying to determine why some people are more susceptible to addiction than others. One such avenue of research involves the interactions of genetic and environmental factors in the brain’s reward system.