Recent Blog Articles

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

Shorter dream-stage sleep may be related to earlier death

Published September 18, 2020

It’s well known that getting enough sleep is critical to daily functioning and long-term health. Now, new research suggests that a lack of enough REM sleep may be related to earlier death in people at middle age or older.

Time for flu shots — getting one is more important than ever!

Published September 17, 2020

Getting a flu shot is important every year, but this winter there is added urgency due to the COVID-19 pandemic: with both diseases circulating, hospitals may face shortages of beds and equipment –– and it’s possible to have both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: A feel-good message about a diabetes drug

Updated September 18, 2020

An advertisement for a medication for type 2 diabetes presents a positive message about how it can help people with the condition control their blood sugar, but as with most drug ads, that’s not the whole story.

6 all-natural sex tips for men

Published September 15, 2020

Erectile dysfunction (ED) medications are relatively safe and work for most men, but they aren’t right for every man. Here are six proven strategies that can help –– and offer added benefits on overall health and quality of life.

Learning to live well with a persistent illness

Published September 14, 2020

Having a persistent illness is challenging. It means having to make changes and adjustments to accommodate your needs, but it does not have to mean giving up on everything you enjoy.

5 takeaways for returning to school

Published September 11, 2020

As school districts across the country struggle with uncertainty about reopening, teachers, staff, and parents share deep concerns. Is a safe return to in-person learning even possible? How do parents cope with the challenges and pressures they are facing? How can we best support our children and their teachers?

Getting the best treatment for your fibromyalgia

Published September 10, 2020

Living with the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia is a challenge faced by millions of people. Finding a doctor who understands the condition and how to treat it can be hard, but knowing the facts about your condition and what questions to ask can help you find the right doctor.

Hormonal treatments for prostate cancer may prevent or limit COVID-19 symptoms

Published September 10, 2020

Men have roughly twice the risk of developing severe disease and dying from COVID-19 than women. Scientists say this is in part because women mount stronger immune reactions to the disease’s microbial cause: the infamous coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Now research with prostate cancer patients points to another possible explanation, which is that the male sex […]

New screening guidelines likely to identify more early lung cancers

Published September 9, 2020

The US Preventive Services Task Force has updated its lung cancer screening guidelines, to open up the screening to a wider range of people based on their age and smoking history, with the goal of detecting more cancers and reducing deaths.

Proposed guidelines likely to identify more early lung cancers

Updated March 12, 2021

The US Preventive Services Task Force is recommending a change to its existing lung cancer screening guidelines, to open up the screening to a wider range of people based on their age and smoking history, with the goal of detecting more cancers and reducing deaths.

Limiting COVID chaos during the school year

Published September 8, 2020

As the school year begins, plans for how learning will happen are in flux, and may change rapidly. With so much uncertainty, parents will want to limit confusion and create as much structure as they can for their children in this difficult situation.

How can you help a loved one suffering from loneliness?

Published September 4, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, more people are dealing with extended periods of isolation from family and friends. Increasing feelings of loneliness are a serious health issue that can increase the risk of death. If you or someone you know is in this situation, there are things you can do to mitigate the circumstances.

Triple therapy helps control severe asthma

Published September 2, 2020

Between 5% and 10% of asthmatics have frequent, persistent symptoms despite treatment with multiple medications. Two clinical trials tested treatments containing multiple medications in people with asthma that had been difficult to treat, with encouraging results.

How to help your child get the sleep they need

Updated August 19, 2021

This year, back-to-school plans encourage a return to full-time, in-person learning to support children's psychological and academic well-being. Sleep is crucial for all of us, particularly children and teens. Here's how to help ensure that they get the high-quality sleep they need.

Blown up in smoke: Young adults who vape at greater risk of COVID symptoms

Published August 28, 2020

While the majority of deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in people 65 or older, younger people who smoke or vape are at much higher risk of becoming infected — twice as likely as those in the same age group who do not use any nicotine-containing substance.

Is it safe to reduce blood pressure medications for older adults?

Updated October 16, 2020

Many older people take multiple medications, and managing them can be a burden. It’s common for people with high blood pressure to be prescribed several medications, so a recent study examined the effects of reducing the number of blood pressure medications in a small group of test subjects.

5 ways to ease pain using the mind-body connection

Published August 24, 2020

Mind-body therapies can help you reframe awareness of pain, whether recent or chronic, and rethink your response to it. There are several different techniques, some of which involve guidance or working with a therapist; others require nothing but focus and a small amount of time.

Worried about sleep apnea? Home-based testing is now the norm

Published August 21, 2020

Sleep apnea robs people of high-quality sleep, increases the risk of heart problems, and puts people at higher risk of accidents. While an overnight stay in a sleep lab used to be required to diagnose sleep apnea, now this testing often can be done at home.

Hormonal treatments for prostate cancer are often given late

Published August 20, 2020

Men with advanced prostate cancer are typically treated with drugs that cause testosterone levels to plummet. Testosterone is a hormone that fuels growing prostate tumors, so ideally this type of treatment, which is called androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), or hormonal therapy, will stall the disease in its tracks. For that to happen, ADT has to […]

Does diet really matter when it comes to adult acne?

Published August 19, 2020

Does what you eat affect whether or not you get acne? This has been debated for a long time. A survey of the dietary habits of more than 24,000 older adults suggests that people who eat a diet high in fat and sugar are more likely to develop adult acne.

Food insecurity, COVID-19, and eating disorders

Published August 17, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on disparities in health care and socioeconomic status, and drove food insecurity to an all-time high, particularly in communities most affected by the virus. Research shows links between food insecurity and eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia.

Should we screen all adolescent girls and women for anxiety?

Updated August 17, 2020

A national organization that evaluates research and makes recommendations for women’s preventive health care is supporting screening all adolescent girls and women for anxiety disorders. While this idea has merit, there are also risks involved in screening that should be considered, and the benefits should be weighed against potential harms.

An emerging link between the urinary microbiome and urinary incontinence

Published August 12, 2020

The discovery that the urinary tract has a microbiome analogous to the one in the digestive tract has led to research showing that in women with urinary incontinence, their urinary microbiome differs from those in women who do not have urinary incontinence.

Which test is best for COVID-19?

Updated January 5, 2021

So much about testing for COVID-19 is confusing—from the types and number of tests available to woefully incomplete information about testing and the changing options. Understanding the current choices can help you make an informed decision about how to proceed if you want to be tested.
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