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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.


Some healthcare can safely wait (and some can’t)

Published May 20, 2020

Some routine or elective healthcare can safely wait a while, but putting off medical care for certain health conditions or potentially serious problems is risky.

How to respond to tantrums

Published May 19, 2020

Children’s tantrums always seem to happen at the worst possible times. Take a breath and try this 3-point strategy for calming everyone down.

I have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). What should I eat?

Published May 18, 2020

For people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), knowing which foods to eat and which to avoid is important information. An international organization has developed guidelines for some kinds of food, with the aim of helping people with this condition reduce symptoms and inflammation.

And now for some good news on health

Published May 15, 2020

Good news on health –– which seems hard to come by right now –– includes declines in the rates of six out of 10 major causes of death in the United States.

SMall Incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE): It’s what’s new in laser vision correction

Published May 14, 2020

Different types of laser vision correction procedures have been available since the mid-1990s, but the newest development, small incision lenticule extraction, combines the advantages of the other variations while offering a comfortable procedure with a quick recovery.

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children — what parents need to know

Updated May 27, 2021

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C, is a rare syndrome in some children that affects the heart and other organs. It may be a reaction to a current or past COVID-19 infection, but test results for the coronavirus are sometimes negative.

Why your sleep and wake cycles affect your mood

Published May 13, 2020

The body’s circadian rhythm controls our sleep-wake cycle, so an irregular rhythm can negatively affect sleep and proper functioning, which can lead to health problems including mood disorders. The tendency to rise early or stay up late is genetically determined, but you may be able to adjust your life to better match your circadian rhythm.

Do adults really need tetanus booster shots?

Published May 12, 2020

Can childhood tetanus vaccinations offer sufficient protection during adulthood without regular booster shots? Although a new study posits this, the CDC continues to recommend booster shots every 10 years.

Platelet-rich plasma: Does the cure for hair loss lie within our blood?

Published May 11, 2020

Platelet-rich plasma, derived from a person’s own blood and then injected back into their scalp, has shown some promise as a treatment for certain types of hair loss. However, the treatments are expensive, and there is no guarantee that they will work.

What to eat to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Published May 08, 2020

A Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to benefit cognitive performance, and one food — fish — stands out as helping lower risk of both cognitive impairment and cognitive decline.

Your headaches are getting worse. Do you need an imaging test?

Published May 07, 2020

Headaches have many possible causes, and proper management requires accurate diagnosis. Someone with increasingly severe headaches would want to have a brain imaging test to determine the underlying causes, but such tests are more effective in certain situations than others.

All rise now — just how fit are you?

Published May 06, 2020

Attempting to stand up from a seated position on the floor is a good way to assess your overall fitness. No problem? Do it regularly to track your physical health. Having difficulty? Try these exercises to help you improve your fitness.

Go to the hospital if you need emergency care, even in the era of COVID-19

Published May 05, 2020

Emergency departments have seen a decline in people seeking care, even for serious conditions such as strokes and heart attacks, out of fear of contracting COVID-19. But delaying treatment in such situations could worsen the outcome, and precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of all patients.

Think your baby is allergic to cow’s milk?

Published May 05, 2020

Babies who show certain digestive symptoms may be incorrectly diagnosed with cow’s milk allergy and put on special diets, although this allergy is uncommon.

Are sugar substitutes too sweet to be true?

Published May 04, 2020

Many people wonder if sugar substitutes are worth choosing, or are even safe. There may have a slight benefit for some, but there is also the potential for increased risk of diabetes.

Is it time to give up your annual mammogram?

Published May 01, 2020

The question of what age a woman can stop having mammograms does not have a definite answer, but is one each woman must answer based on her circumstances and her feelings about the risks of the procedure versus its benefits.

COVID-19 and the LGBTQ+ community: Rising to unique challenges

Published April 30, 2020

While the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone, the LGBTQ+ community faces specific difficulties that add stress to the situation. The resources gathered here can help.

Weight loss can help head off lasting damage caused by fatty liver

Published April 30, 2020

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common cause of liver disease in the United States, caused by the accumulation of fat in the liver. The key to preventing complications is to detect and treat it early, but getting a diagnosis can be tricky.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: An arthritis ad in 4 parts

Published April 29, 2020

An ad for the rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira is accurate about how the medication can help some people be more active, but as with most drug ads, there are also things left unsaid or expressed in ways worth questioning.

Looking past the pandemic: Could building on our willingness to change translate to healthier lives?

Published April 28, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that people are capable of changing their behavior— surprisingly fast—when the stakes are high. Can we apply that resolve to other persistent issues that affect our health and quality of life?

More sexual partners, more cancer?

Published April 28, 2020

A study of older adults found that those who had had more sexual partners were more likely to have developed cancer, but that does not mean there is a causal connection, and there are many ways that sexual behavior can affect cancer risk.

New radiation therapies keep advanced prostate cancer in check

Published April 28, 2020

Treatments for prostate cancer are always evolving, and now research is pointing to new ways of treating a cancer that has just begun to spread, or metastasize, after initial surgery or radiation. Doctors usually give hormonal therapies in these cases to block testosterone, which is a hormone that makes the cancer grow faster. But newer […]

7 tips for going outside safely with your children during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published April 27, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, getting yourself and your children outside helps with both physical and mental health. Be smart and do it safely by following these tips.

Is angioplasty plus stenting or coronary artery bypass surgery better for treating left main coronary artery disease?

Published April 27, 2020

People with disease of the left main coronary artery usually have the option of bypass surgery or angioplasty and placement of a stent. Two recent studies comparing these choices came to different conclusions about which is more effective.