Recent Blog Articles
HIV rates rising: Could new forms of PrEP help?
Careful! Scary health news can be harmful to your health
Post-pandemic weight loss: There’s an app for that
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia by telemedicine: Is it as good as in-person treatment?
Prediabetes diagnosis as an older adult: What does it really mean?
Is blood sugar monitoring without diabetes worthwhile?
Large review study finds low risk of erectile dysfunction after prostate biopsy
Does exercise help protect against severe COVID-19?
A new Alzheimer’s drug has been approved. But should you take it?
Need physical therapy? 3 key questions your PT will ask
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.
Glaucoma: What’s new and what do I need to know?
Published March 11, 2021
Glaucoma, the second leading cause of permanent blindness in the US, is a group of disorders that damage the optic nerve. It is a complex disease, and while there is currently no cure, diagnosis and prompt treatment can slow or stop progression of vision loss. All adults should have regular eye exams starting at age 40, whether vision is normal or not.
A look at the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Published March 10, 2021
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are published by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture and are updated every five years, have been updated for the 2020–2025 period. While each iteration builds on the previous set of guidelines, there are some changes this time around, and some items that could have been changed but were not.
Could what we eat improve our sleep?
Published March 09, 2021
Diet, exercise, and sleep work together, and all three can have an effect on our daily well-being and longevity. Sleep impacts our eating patterns, and our eating patterns affect our sleep: lack of quality sleep may make people eat more, and make less healthy food choices, but certain foods contain substances that may enhance sleep.
What is COVID-19 brain fog — and how can you clear it?
Published March 08, 2021
We’ve all experienced the feeling of sluggish, fuzzy thinking and a lack of sharpness, possibly caused by an illness or a medication. But what if that feeling didn’t go away and your thinking didn’t return to normal? That’s the situation for some people who have recovered from COVID-19, and there can be long-term effects on other organs as well.
Heavy metals in baby food? What parents should know and do
Published March 05, 2021
Worrisome levels of arsenic, lead, and other elements called heavy metals that can harm the developing brain are found in some commercial baby foods, according to a recent report. Here’s what parents should know and can do to protect young children.
My COVID-19 vaccine story –– and what happened next
Published March 04, 2021
Now that COVID-19 vaccines are starting to become more widely available, some people wonder what it’s like to receive one. One doctor shares her story –– including what happened when close family members became sick with COVID.
The hidden long-term cognitive effects of COVID-19
Published March 04, 2021
it is becoming increasingly clear that COVID-19 affects the nervous system along with the respiratory system. Research is suggesting that this may result in long-term neurologic damage in those who survive a COVID infection, including evidence of effects on cognitive function.
Acne: Considerations for darker skin
Published March 03, 2021
People with darker skin face particular challenges from acne. The release of melanin from skin inflammation can cause scarring or dark spots that can last for months or longer, and this is more likely to occur in people with darker skin. Treatment can help improve or prevent these conditions.
5 unusual headaches: Signs to watch for and what to do
Published March 02, 2021
Some types of headaches are easily recognizable, while others are less common, and if one occurs the symptoms can be puzzling or even frightening. When unusual or frequent headache occurs, take note of the symptoms so that you can describe them accurately to your doctor.
Is crying good for you?
Published March 01, 2021
Crying is a natural response to a range of emotions, but is it good for your health? Crying is an important safety valve: it acts as a safety valve for our emotions, and emotional tears flush stress hormones and other toxins out of our systems.
The tragedy of long COVID
Published March 01, 2021
Many thousands of people in the US have recovered from COVID-19 but continue to experience feelings of exhaustion, little energy, and mental fogginess that linger for months –– possible signs of long COVID, or PASC. These “long haulers” grapple with uncertainty around when –– and whether –– their health problems will resolve.
New school guidelines around COVID-19: What parents need to know
Updated March 25, 2021
Seeking solace, finding resilience in a pandemic
Published February 25, 2021
Over the past year, so many of us have experienced various forms of trauma, and reported mental health symptoms have increased dramatically. But at the same time, people have shown resilience and found small moments of solace, relief, and even joy in life’s simple pleasures — and these moments help.
Grandparents and vaccines: Now what?
Updated April 05, 2021
Lowering cholesterol protects your heart and brain, regardless of your age
Published February 24, 2021
Studies have consistently shown that lowering LDL cholesterol reduces the risk of cardiovascular events and death. But do older adults — even those with existing cardiovascular disease — get the same benefits from lowering cholesterol, and do they face any additional risks from taking cholesterol-lowering medication? An analysis of data from previous studies reached some favorable conclusions.
Want to feel more connected? Practice empathy
Published February 22, 2021
Empathy helps people get along with others, but the ability to understand another person’s experience comes more easily to some people than to others. However, the capacity for empathy can be honed and improved like any other skill.
Does your health monitor have device bias?
Published February 19, 2021
The accuracy of health monitoring devices available to consumers varies, and in some instances skin tone may make a difference –– a problem called device bias. Yet proper function of such devices can have significant implications for the health of those using them.
The link between abdominal fat and death: What is the shape of health?
Published February 18, 2021
Body mass index is commonly used to assess a person’s weight status and health risk, but it does not indicate how much fat a person has or how it is distributed throughout the body — indicators of metabolic health. A recent study analyzed different measures of body shape to determine which are most predictive of premature death.
Why won’t some health care workers get vaccinated?
Published February 17, 2021
COVID-19 vaccination rates among health care workers in nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been lower than expected. Is this an information problem or does it stem from other issues –– and what can be done?
What’s your approach to health? Check your medicine cabinet
Published February 16, 2021
Attitudes toward health –– broadly, maximalist or minimalist –– tend to form early in life and are embedded in our family’s approach to health and well-being. The contents of your medicine cabinet reflect which approach you prefer.
Grandparenting: Anticipating March 11
Updated February 16, 2021
5 myths about endometriosis
Published February 12, 2021
While as many as one in 10 American women is affected by endometriosis, it can take years to get a correct diagnosis because the symptoms may mimic other common conditions. And myths about this condition may keep some women from seeking help.
Flowers, chocolates, organ donation — are you in?
Published February 11, 2021
February 14th is more than Valentine’s Day –– it’s also National Donor Day, when health organizations sponsor sign-ups for organ and tissue donation. For those in need, such a donation can be life-changing — or lifesaving. If you wonder what can be donated or how, read on.