This week from HHP: Health apps, office noise, and hemorrhoid cream for the eyes?

Anthony Komaroff, MD

Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter

As usual, Harvard Health Publishing’ writers and editors have been busy covering a range of health topics. Here is a small sampling. To read more, visit us at

Health apps. Smart phones like the iPhone and Android aren’t just phones. They are also pocket-sized computers capable of running sophisticated applications, or apps. Hundreds of health apps have been developed to help people eat better, exercise more, monitor blood pressure, reduce stress, and even perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. In the November issue of the Harvard Health Letter, editor Peter Wehrwein takes a look at the rapidly evolving world of health apps, and points you to some top-rated ones.

We’ve got your back. Over the life span, most Americans must deal with back pain. Treating this common condition has substantially changed in the last decade or so. Exercise now plays a central role in treating—and preventing—back problems. Our newly updated Special Health Report, Low Back Pain: Healing your aching back, can help you understand your back and what can go wrong with it, learn self-care steps you can take to mend your back, know which conditions require surgery, and even choose the best mattress for your back.

Office noise. As engineers learn how to make buildings and office equipment quieter, the human voice is becoming one of the main sources of office noise, especially around cubicles. Office noise can disrupt concentration, decrease productivity, and increase stress. In the latest installment of Your Health at Work, a partnership between Harvard Health Publishing and the Harvard Business Review, editor Patrick J. Skerrett takes a look at office noise and how to cope with it.

Hemorrhoid cream for puffy eyes? This is news to me. Intrepid medical detective Dr. Robert Shmerling explores whether the use of hemorrhoid cream may help reduce puffiness or bags under the eyes. Although there isn’t convincing or high-quality medical research into this “alternative” approach, it might actually work: hemorrhoid creams and ointments shrink hemorrhoids with medications that constrict blood vessels; that same action could reduce the puffiness and darkness under the eyes. For better options, read Dr. Shmerling’s latest installment of the Quirky Body on the MSN Health and Fitness Web site.

From Harvard, I wish you good health.

Anthony L. Komaroff, M.D.
Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Publishing


  1. android

    Hey, I just ran into this site 5 minutes ago and wannted to know if this has been released? I am very interested in trying it out. Seems like it would be a fun game to play.

  2. Anonymous

    As the most important thing for an individual is the health. So this article is the most helpful from the articles ever i read. Please keep up the good work. Thanks

  3. Anonymous

    Hello, I posted earlier but with no success for some reason, so here I am again.

    I wanted to thank you for the post regarding the use of hemorrhoids cream under the eyes, to reduce swelling. What a great suggestion, my mother will be most pleased.

    This site is one of my favourites so, thanks once more.
    [URL removed by moderator]

  4. Anonymous

    Hello. It is my belief that creams only deal with the symptoms of hemorrhoids rather than the root cause. For this reason I would only use creams to ease pain and soreness. I adopt a holistic strategy which involves diet changes and herbal remedies. Thank you for your interesting site.
    [URL removed by moderator]

  5. Huntsville Chiropractor

    I found your book “Low Back Pain: Healing your Aching Back” by Jeffrey N. Katz, M.D., M.S.,very informative for the most part. Much of what he says is right on point. However, Dr. Katz does a great disservice in not greater exploring conservative and alternative treatments for low back pain such as chiropractic care and lifestyle changes. The vast majority of low back pain patients are NOT candidates for surgery. In fact without neurological deficiencies for the most part surgery is contraindicated. We all know from experience that pain does not seem to be a good indicator for surgery. As a Huntsville Chiropractor, I have treated thousands of patients with low back pain. I feel doctors have a responsibility to counsel with all patients about all available options, their risk and benefits and let the informed patient do what they do best, make an informed decision about their health.
    Dr Greg Millar DC CCEP

  6. Tommy

    Today, I wanted to alert you to something will afflict 40% of the adult population (or more) at some point of their lives. It’s called hemorrhoids or piles and it’s basically any form of vein inflammation around the lower rectal regions.

    Intake of processed medication and creams:

    This creates the same potential problem as processed foods. Even many of the fiber supplements contain processed and artificial elements that can create side-effects elsewhere… and lastly they are not even attacking the root of the problem here.
    [URL removed by moderator]

  7. Don J.

    This is news to me as well. Hemorrhoid creams serve to constrict the blood vessels giving the skin a tighter less saggy look. Why not apply this to the eyes? I would add though that creams are only for external hemorrhoids treatment.

  8. Hemorrhoids Home Treatments

    Since hemorrhoids cream work on blood vessels, they should work as well for the eyes!

  9. kettlebells

    This article has mind well impact and impressed me enhancing my knowledge on rapidly evolving world of health apps. Would like to share with my friends. Also there is good news for my Australian friends, who are interested in home gym equipments to get online from well known store in Australia providing fitness equipments like barbells, dumbbells, weight plates, kettlebells, medicine ball etc.

  10. katrina

    Yes, there is evidence that hemorrhoid cream could be a dangerous to the eyes. But don’t worry most US hemorrhoid cream manufacturers have recently eliminated the ingredients thought to reduce puffiness.
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