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

A refresher on childhood asthma: What families should know and do

Asthma is the most common chronic lung disease in children, and it can make life more difficult and less enjoyable for both children and their parents. The good news is that asthma is very treatable; here's what families need to know.

Melasma: What are the best treatments?

Melasma is a skin condition affecting mostly women with darker skin. It cannot be fully prevented in those most likely to develop it, and there is no cure, but consistent sunscreen use is critical, and numerous treatment options are available.

Can an implanted tongue-stimulating device curb your sleep apnea?

A mask-free, implanted device for sleep apnea that works by stimulating the tongue was approved by the FDA in 2014 as a second-choice treatment for people who are unable to tolerate a positive airway pressure machine.

Poliovirus in wastewater: Should we be concerned?

Thanks to vaccination, the US has been polio-free since 1979, and the spread of this disease has been interrupted in most countries. But worldwide eradication of polio has been elusive, and traces of the virus were recently found in wastewater in London.

Recognizing and preventing sun allergies

There are several types of "sun allergies," including polymorphous light eruption (PMLE), hives, and photoallergic reactions. Learn about these different reactions to sun exposure, as well as prevention and treatment.

Corneal transplants becoming more common

While not as routine as cataract surgery, corneal transplants are becoming more common. A number of things can go wrong with the cornea, especially as people get older, and a partial-thickness or full-thickness transplant can restore vision.

An emerging treatment option for men on active surveillance

Active surveillance allows men with low- or intermediate-risk prostate cancer to avoid temporarily the side effects of invasive therapies, but men often feel anxious about their cancer. Emerging evidence suggests there may be a middle path between no treatment and aggressive therapies.

Gun violence: A long-lasting toll on children and teens

As discussion and debate continues on mass shootings there is increasing evidence that growing up amidst this violence and other extreme stressors affect developing brains and bodies in ways that can be permanent.

Adult female acne: Why it happens and the emotional toll

Women are more likely to get acne after age 20 than men. Unfortunately, treatment options that worked in the teenage years may not work as well in adult females. The emotional toll of acne may include a higher risk of developing depression, and having severe acne can negatively affect quality of life.

Untangling grief: Living beyond a great loss

There is no way to prepare for the many shades of grief, which can lead to illness as well as distress. While each person navigates grief differently, the experience of others and broad advice on how to cope may offer comfort.

Thunderstorm asthma: Bad weather, allergies, and asthma attacks

Thunderstorm asthma is an attack that starts or worsens after a thunderstorm. It can occur in anyone with asthma, but it most often affects people with seasonal allergies. There are several risk factors that make experiencing this phenomenon more likely, so it's important to know what these are.

Heart problems and the heat: What to know and do

High temperatures raise risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and also stress the cardiovascular system, making the heart work harder. If you have a heart condition, here's how to keep cool and protect yourself when temperatures rise.

I'm too young to have Alzheimer's disease or dementia, right?

Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are something we think of as diseases of old age. Memory loss is a common symptom, and something that people in midlife also experience — but young onset dementia is very uncommon.

Back pain: Will treatment for the mind, body—or both—help?

Low back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide. A recent review of dozens of studies suggests that combining physical therapy with psychological approaches to treating pain led to better overall results in improvement of pain.

Colon cancer screening decisions: What's the best option and when?

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, and rates are rising, particularly in younger people. It can be prevented with screening tests; there are several different types of tests that are performed in different ways, and guidelines for when testing should begin and how often people should be tested.

Cognitive effects in midlife of long-term cannabis use

As more US states have legalized recreational cannabis or passed medical cannabis laws, public perception that cannabis is a harmless substance is growing. But its long-term benefits and risks remain unclear, and research has revealed consistently that heavy long-term cannabis use can affect cognition in midlife.

If climate change keeps you up at night, here's how to cope

Climate anxiety is distress related to worries about how the effects of climate change. It's more likely to affect adolescents and young adults, leading to chronic stress, depression, anxiety, behavioral problems, and more. What can you do to manage climate anxiety in yourself or a young person in your life?

Year three of the pandemic is underway: Now what?

Despite how it may sometimes seem, the COVID-19 pandemic is very much still with us. This is a good time to pause and assess where we are now and what you need to know about vaccines, boosters, and other measures to help you stay well.

Struggling with migraine hangovers? Read this

Migraines can last hours or days and span several distinct phases. A post-headache phase leaves as many as four out of five migraine sufferers feeling like they have a hangover. Experts recommend different approaches to help ward off lingering symptoms depending on their intensity.

Younger adults with kidney disease struggle with health disparities

Chronic kidney disease affects an estimated 37 million people in the US. If caught and treated early, serious problems can be avoided. But research suggests barriers to care are highest for Black and Hispanic people with advanced kidney disease, and also for younger adults.

Ring vaccination might help curtail monkeypox outbreaks

The monkeypox outbreak currently traveling around the globe is the largest ever recorded outside of western and central Africa. Controlling this virus demands preventive measures, and one method that has worked to contain previous disease outbreaks may be effective for monkeypox as well.

Weight stigma: As harmful as obesity itself?

Weight stigma is discrimination based on a person's weight, and it can lead to poor health and increased weight gain. One way to combat weight stigma is to use person-first language, and it's also important for health care providers to make sure they are not perpetuating this stigma when dealing with patients.

Considering pregnancy and have lupus? Plan ahead

In the past, people with lupus were advised to avoid pregnancy because doctors believed it was too risky. That's no longer true: in most cases, following expert guidelines can make a successful pregnancy possible. It's wise to think ahead, and to be aware of some important issues.

Some men whose prostate cancer progresses can safely delay treatment

Prostate cancer can progress over long durations, and if a man's tumor has features that predict slow growth, he can opt for active surveillance instead of immediate treatment. But when the time for treatment comes, up to a third of men still decide against it. Now, a new study finds that for some of these men, treatment can be safely delayed.

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