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.

Do vitamin D, zinc, and other supplements help prevent COVID-19 or hasten healing?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Certain vitamins and supplements have long been promoted as having benefits for the immune system, which has led some to believe they may have similar effects on COVID-19 — and some doctors have been prescribing them. But so far, study results have not been encouraging.

An emerging treatment option for men with recurring prostate cancer after radiation therapy

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Prostate cancer is often a multifocal disease, meaning that several tumors can be present in different parts of gland at the same time. Not all of these tumors are equally problematic, however. And it’s increasingly thought that the tumor with the most aggressive features — called the index lesion — dictates how a man’s cancer […]

Want to improve your memory? Get a good night’s sleep!

Sleep is important for your memory, as the brain uses the time you are sleeping to process new information and consolidate it for later recall. If you are tired from a lack of sleep, it’s more difficult to pay attention, and attention is necessary to good memory function.

Can fitness counter fatness?

Some research has suggested that people who are overweight but also active can experience a reduction in cardiovascular disease risk. Researchers examining this “fit but fat” paradox found that being active is somewhat protective compared to being inactive, but ultimately does not offset the other negative effects of having overweight or obesity.

Summer camp: What parents need to know this year

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Many parents and children hope that this summer will allow a return to typical activities. For families who are considering summer camp for their children, adjustments and adaptations will need to be made because of COVID-19, and parents should be prepared to ask questions about planning and risk management.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: Mitochondria do a lot for you — what can you do for them?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Mitochondria are the power stations in our cells that convert nutrients into energy, and research suggests that they play a key role in aging and immune function. Ads for a line of supplements claim that the product renews or replenishes mitochondria –– but is there any scientific proof of this?

Simple, low-cost, low-tech brain training

Mentally stimulating activities help the brain create new connections that may prevent cognitive decline as people get older, and there are plenty of simple, low-tech ways to sharpen your thinking that are budget-friendly.

School reopening? What parents need to know and can do

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

While some children have been attending school in-person throughout the pandemic, most have been learning remotely, or in a hybrid model. As more schools reopen for in-person learning, parents can ask key questions about their school district’s plans and help their children prepare to go back.

Fully vaccinated against COVID-19? So, what can you safely do?

What can you safely do after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine? Many people are eager to resume normal activities and see their family and friends. Some situations are lower-risk than others, and whether or not the other people you will be interacting with have also been vaccinated matters, too.

Omega-3 fatty acids and the heart: New evidence, more questions

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish and fish oil have been recommended by the American Heart Association for the past 20 years to reduce cardiovascular events in people who already have cardiovascular disease. But the results of studies of omega-3 supplements have been mixed, leaving both doctors and patients still wondering what to do.