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.


Why life expectancy in the US is falling

Published October 20, 2022

Life expectancy is one measure of the general health of a population. In the US, life expectancy had been climbing for more than a century — until the pandemic. After dropping in 2020, it dropped again in 2021, and some population groups fared worse than others.

Breakthrough in brain stimulation offers cautious hope for depression

Published October 19, 2022

Transcranial magnetic stimulation helps some people with treatment-resistant depression, but the process takes multiple weeks and gets results in only about a third of those who try it. A new approach to delivering this therapy showed promise in a small study.

How well do colonoscopies prevent colorectal cancer? What you need to know

Published October 18, 2022

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death among Americans. A recent study raised questions about the value of screening colonoscopy, which can identify and remove precancerous growths, and our experts weigh in with answers.

How can you find joy (or at least peace) during difficult times?

Published October 17, 2022

When people are going through difficult times, it’s normal to feel a lack of joy. But even while struggling, the ability to find moments of joy can have profound and far-reaching effects on the mind and body.

The latest thinking on dry eye treatments

Published October 13, 2022

Dry eye disease can redden eyes and make them sting, burn, or hurt. Relief may require a combination of strategies.

What’s the relationship between memory loss and driving?

Published October 12, 2022

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect all the regions of the brain involved in driving, but whether or not a person should give up driving depends on the severity of the disease and the specific cognitive abilities that are impaired.

Inflammatory bowel disease: Issues outside the gut

Published October 11, 2022

Nearly half of all people with inflammatory bowel disease have symptoms that occur outside of the gastrointestinal tract. These conditions, known as extraintestinal manifestations (EIMs), can affect the musculoskeletal system, eyes, lungs, and other areas of the body.

Prostate cancer: Can imaging substitute for repeat biopsies during active surveillance?

Published October 7, 2022

Men with lower-risk prostate cancer often opt for active surveillance, which involves regular testing and biopsies to check for possible tumor growth. A newer type of imaging may reduce the frequency of repeat biopsies for some men, but there are concerns about its limitations.

New advice on melatonin use in children

Published October 6, 2022

Melatonin is a popular over-the-counter sleep aid. But because it is sold as a dietary supplement it is not regulated, and recent warnings include reports of melatonin overdoses in children. If parents need help getting their child to sleep, there are other things they can try first.

How to choose period products

Published October 5, 2022

While period products are often single-use items like tampons and pads, reusable products are gaining in popularity. Deciding which products to use depends on how a person feels about cost, comfort, safety, and environmental impact.

Vaccines against the flu and COVID-19: What you need to know

Published October 4, 2022

Autumn is when infectious respiratory diseases start to spread more readily. That’s why October is the ideal time to boost your immunity against the viruses that cause flu and COVID-19.

Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis may lower dementia risk

Published October 3, 2022

Inflammation is the hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis, and is also thought to play a role in the development of dementia. Could the inflammation-suppressing medicines for RA lower risk of dementia? Some research points in that direction, but more is needed.

Can self-employment promote better cardiovascular health for women?

Published September 29, 2022

Being self-employed can offer advantages like flexibility and autonomy in a person’s work life. Now, data from a long-term health study suggests that self-employment may provide another benefit for some women: improved health outcomes.

Why is it so challenging to find a primary care physician?

Published September 28, 2022

An adequate supply of primary care physicians is essential for our health care system to function properly, but it’s becoming more and more difficult to find one. Rates of burnout are high among PCPs, and many are considering cutting back their work hours or leaving altogether.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: A new injection treatment for eczema

Published September 27, 2022

Existing treatments for a type of eczema called atopic dermatitis include creams and ointments, some containing steroids. An ad for a new injected medication pitches its skin-clearing capability, but that isn’t the whole story.

3 simple swaps for better heart health

Published September 26, 2022

A busy schedule can make it challenging to adhere to heart-healthy habits, but there are steps you can take that don’t require much time and can fit easily into almost anyone’s life.

Asking about guns in houses where your child plays

Published September 22, 2022

Between 2015 and 2020, there were more than 2,000 unintentional shootings in the US by children under 18. Parents can help reduce the chance of an accidental shooting by asking about gun security at homes where their children play.

Behavioral weight loss interventions: Do they work in primary care?

Published September 21, 2022

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is a major health issue. An analysis of data from multiple studies found that when weight management interventions were delivered in primary care settings, participants lost more weight and kept it off longer.

Who needs treatment for ocular hypertension?

Updated September 22, 2022

High pressure in the eyes puts a person at greater risk of developing glaucoma, but does everyone with higher than normal eye pressure need to be treated? A major long-term study provides some clues.

The popularity of microdosing of psychedelics: What does the science say?

Published September 19, 2022

Renewed research into the potential benefits of psychedelic drugs has led to interest in microdosing — taking a fraction of a regular dose. Many people believe that microdosing can help them, but the evidence from some recent studies is mixed.

When can women with early-stage breast cancer skip radiation after lumpectomy?

Published September 15, 2022

Current guidelines for women under 65 with early-stage breast cancer recommend following lumpectomy with radiation therapy, but emerging research could expand the option of skipping radiation to some women as young as 55.

Palliative care frightens some people: Here’s how it helps

Published September 14, 2022

Palliative care is a medical specialty meant to help people during many different stages of health. Many people who might benefit from palliative care do not receive it; if more people understand it, more people can take advantage of it.

The case of the bad placebo

Published September 13, 2022

A trial from 2019 showed a medication dramatically reduced triglyceride levels in participants, but subsequent analysis found that the placebo used in the trial may have negatively affected those assigned to take it.

Taking up adaptive sports

Published September 12, 2022

Our abilities may change during the course of a lifetime. Adaptive sports are competitive or recreational activities that are modified to support people living with disabilities or limitations.

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