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Harvard Health Blog

Read the latest posts from experts at Harvard Health Publishing covering a variety of health topics and perspectives on medical news.

Articles

Rethinking when to biopsy

Published September 4, 2010

A prostate cancer diagnosis may send a man to the operating room or drive him to get radiation therapy—even when the cancer is unlikely to spread or cause harm. That’s causing some to wonder when a biopsy should really be done.

Statins, aspirin may hide prostate cancer

Published September 1, 2010

Research suggests that these drugs could potentially mask changes in a man’s PSA and interfere with the detection of prostate cancer.

Degarelix approved for advanced prostate cancer

Published September 1, 2010

This injectable form of hormone therapy received FDA approval in December 2008.

HIFU controls recurrent cancer in short run

Published September 1, 2010

Researchers find that high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) may be effective in treating localized recurrent prostate cancer while also minimizing the chances of side effects.

Hormone therapy doesn’t seem to raise risk of cardiac death

Published September 1, 2010

Prostate cancer drug treatments that block the activity of hormones have been associated with a higher risk of heart attack and heart disease. But a 2009 study suggests that these drugs may not cause cardiovascular problems after all.

Statins show no effect on PSA levels

Published September 1, 2010

Ever since the FDA approved the first cholesterol-lowering statin in 1987, use of the drugs has steadily increased, with an estimated 13 million Americans taking them to ward off heart and vascular disease. Recently, statins have gained additional attention, thanks to studies showing the drugs might have anticancer properties. But researchers have inconsistent answers to […]

Stress and prostatitis

Published August 31, 2010

High levels of stress, poor emotional health, and a lack of social support seem to be linked to a history of prostatitis. Stress also seems to heighten pain associated with the condition.

Dental fear? Our readers suggest coping techniques.

Published August 25, 2010

ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified […]

Hitch on Cancer

Published August 20, 2010

Thanks to my friend and colleague, Christopher Lovett, PhD, for alerting me to the vivid piece that Christopher Hitchens wrote about his cancer diagnosis. It appears in the September 2010 issue of Vanity Fair. Hitchens is a banality-basher. The value of his piece is in his detailed account — the particularity of his experience comes […]

Did Lou Gehrig have Lou Gehrig’s Disease?

Published August 18, 2010

Many brain disorders are syndromes where root causes and the neurobiology are poorly understood. Two people can have similar illnesses, but have very different underlying causes.

Alzheimer’s study on biomarkers generates debate

Published August 17, 2010

A study about a three-protein signature that might help identify people with Alzheimer’s,  published in the August issue of the Archives of Neurology, has generated quite a bit of discussion in the blogosphere.  I thought readers might want to follow the discussion, so I’ve shared some links to representative posts. (We will be covering the […]

Torn your ACL? Send us your story.

Published August 16, 2010

You may have heard or read about the Swedish study published in The New England Journal of Medicine that found no difference between surgical repair of a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and taking a rehab-only approach. Some of our favorite sports stars here in New England have torn their ACLs recently, including Wes Welker, a receiver for the Patriots, and […]

Concussions in Football

Published August 15, 2010

I have to applaud today’s editorial in the New York Times that anticipates a new football season. Here is the first paragraph — The millionaire players of professional football are suiting up for the new season with a startling caution on their locker room walls. A poster headlined “CONCUSSION” warns players that lifelong brain damage […]

Mental illness affects the wallet as well as the brain

Published August 11, 2010

We often report about the psychological toll of mental illness, but while researching a story today I came across a study that documents the economic toll of psychiatric disorders–especially when they are not adequately treated. Researchers at Harvard collaborated with colleagues at the World Health Organization to survey individuals in 19 countries. They found that […]

Atul Gawande’s latest gem: Hospice care and our end-of-life wishes

Published August 11, 2010

Atul Gawande’s piece about end-of-life care in the Aug. 2 issue of The New Yorker is another gem by the surgeon-writer-health policy wonk and staff member at Harvard-affialiated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. In an online chat after the article was published, Gawande said he had the usual preconceived notions about hospice before he started researching the article: Telling a patient […]

Are crabs and oysters good for your eyes?

Published August 8, 2010

Johns Hopkins researchers have a report in the the journal Opthalmology that sends a mixed  message about whether omega-3 fats protect the eyes. And if you like to eat crab and oysters, enjoy—and we’re with you. But don’t expect any special ophthmalic benefits. Fish and shellfish are natural sources of the omega-3 fats that are believed to pay all kinds […]

Prostate cancer diagnosis may up suicide risk

Published August 7, 2010

Being diagnosed with prostate cancer may increase a man’s risk of suicide, but more research is needed to fully evaluate the impact of such a diagnosis on mental health.

Infertility may raise risk of aggressive prostate cancer

Published August 6, 2010

A 2010 study of more than 22,500 California men found that being infertile significantly raised the risk of developing aggressive disease.

Afraid of the dentist? How do you deal with it?

Published August 2, 2010

In our October issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, we offer advice about how to manage dental phobia. I’d love to hear from readers of this blog about what techniques they use to cope with their own dental fear. I’ll compile representative replies in a later post. (This issue is one I grapple with […]

Unconscious or Subconscious?

Published August 2, 2010

ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.  […]

Radiation therapy in the spotlight (Part 1 of 2)

Published December 10, 2009

Three experts from Harvard Medical School discuss radiation therapy, its delivery methods, and treatment modalities. Recent advances in radiation therapy and possible side effects are also explored.

Radiation therapy in the spotlight (Part 2 of 2)

Published December 10, 2009

Three experts from Harvard Medical School continue their discussion about radiation therapy, touching on whether economics and potential profits drive treatment recommendations.

PSA screening for prostate cancer

Published November 29, 2009

Two studies come to different conclusions about the benefits, leaving patients and their doctors to decide what makes sense.

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