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.

Does air pollution cause Alzheimer’s disease?

It has been known for some time that air pollution causes heart and lung diseases. Now, results from three different studies on populations in different parts of the world show an association between higher levels of air pollution and greater risk of cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Healthy headphone use: How loud and how long?

Headphones and earbuds are nearly ubiquitous, but how often do people think about whether or not they are using them safely? Knowing about safe listening levels and safe length of listening time will help people protect themselves while using their listening devices.

Vaccines for COVID-19 moving closer

Scientists around the world are trying to engineer safe, effective, long-lasting vaccines to help the body block the virus that causes COVID-19. Three vaccine approaches out of more than 100 are among the first to be tested clinically in the United States.

How can I know if my penicillin allergy is real?

People who are allergic to penicillin are often given less effective medications that can make them more susceptible to infections, but many people who believe they are allergic to penicillin are not. New techniques are allowing medical providers to assess whether or not a person has a true penicillin allergy.

Metabolic syndrome is on the rise: What it is and why it matters

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Because metabolic syndrome boosts the risk of developing several serious health problems, a troubling rise in rates of occurrence of metabolic syndrome among certain segments of the US population is of great concern.

Gender differences in cardiovascular disease: Women are less likely to be prescribed certain heart medications

Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of both women and men in the US, but despite the significant impact it has on women, awareness and education for women’s heart disease has historically been low. A recent meta-analysis found that women were significantly less likely to be prescribed common medications for CVD.

Envisioning food security: Steps we take now can help

Along with historically high unemployment rates, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant increase in food insecurity for millions of Americans, and this problem disproportionately affects lower-income people and racial and ethnic minorities. Temporary measures have helped a bit to ease the situation, and new proposals could do more.

How risky is using a public bathroom during the pandemic?

Steve Calechman

Contributor

If you are wondering whether it’s safe to use a public restroom with the specter of COVID-19 hanging over us, your skepticism is justified. But maybe a restroom is just as safe (or unsafe) as any other indoor space at the moment. And there are things you can do to make your restroom visit less risky.

A new hormonal therapy for prostate cancer is under expedited FDA review

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

In June, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched an accelerated review of a promising new drug for advanced prostate cancer. Called relugolix, it suppresses testosterone and other hormones that speed the cancer’s growth. If approved, this new type of hormonal therapy is expected to set a new standard of care for the disease. […]

Tinted sunscreens: Benefits beyond an attractive glow

Tinted sunscreens offer all the benefits of traditional sun protection products, plus they have added pigments that give them the ability to block visible light, which can also be harmful to the skin.