Harvard Health Blog

Read posts from experts at Harvard Health Publishing covering a variety of health topics and perspectives on medical news.


Young men with prostate cancer: Socioeconomic factors affect lifespan

Prostate cancer is generally viewed as a disease of older men, yet about 10% of new diagnoses occur in men age 55 or younger. Biological differences partially explain the discrepancy, but socioeconomic factors also play an important role.

Play helps children practice key skills and build their strengths

As devices become more pervasive, and as many children become more scheduled with lessons and organized activities, making time for device-free play can be a challenge. Here's why it's important prioritize free play in a child's life.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: An IV treatment for thyroid eye disease

An ad for a medication to treat thyroid eye disease accurately describes the symptoms of the condition, but as is common with such ads it does not discuss other possible treatment options, or other information that people should be aware of.

Cutting and self-harm: Why it happens and what to do

What drives forms of self-harm like cutting that some teens engage in? Gaining an understanding of why some children harm themselves by cutting their skin, what signs to be aware of, and how to approach the subject can help parents respond if this occurs.

Discrimination at work is linked to high blood pressure

A new study finds that experiencing discrimination in the workplace—where many adults spend one-third of their time, on average—may be harmful to heart health.

Give praise to the elbow: A bending, twisting marvel

Life would be extremely difficult for humans if we didn't have elbows, yet when it comes to joints we hear very little about them. So let's consider what the elbows do for us and why we should do all we can to protect them.

Sneezy and dopey? Seasonal allergies and your brain

Allergy season is longer and more intense this year—causing sneezing, and itchy eyes in millions of people. But allergies also affect the brain, causing symptoms like brain fog. Here are some ways to prevent or ease brain fog from allergies.

The FDA relaxes restrictions on blood donation

While the FDA rules for blood donation were revised twice in the last decade, one group — men who have sex with men — continued to be turned away from donating. Now new, evidence-based FDA rules will focus on individual risk rather than groupwide restrictions.

Swimming and skin: What to know if a child has eczema

Swimming is a great activity for children, but for children with the allergic skin condition known as eczema, swimming can be complicated. Taking steps to protect skin before and after a swim can help.

A muscle-building obsession in boys: What to know and do

Muscle dysmorphia is a preoccupation with a muscular and lean physique that is more pervasive in boys. Learn the signs of body dysmorphia as well as ways to encourage positive body image.

Dementia: Coping with common, sometimes distressing behaviors

Dementia poses many challenges, both for people struggling with it and for those close to them. Understanding common behaviors and learning to handle situations that arise can help families and caregivers.

Babesiosis: A tick-borne illness on the rise

While Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the United States, a report from the CDC shows that ticks that cause babesiosis are appearing in more parts of the Northeast and Midwest.

Lead poisoning: What parents should know and do

Lead poisoning is a serious health risk for children. And yet, they may be exposed to lead in their daily lives. Learn the dangers of lead exposure and what you can do to keep your child safe.

How does waiting on prostate cancer treatment affect survival?

Men who are diagnosed with certain types of prostate cancer often choose active surveillance, which allows them to delay the need for aggressive treatment. The results of a long-term study affirm that this approach is a valid option for managing the disease.




Does running cause arthritis?

It's easy to blame running when a person who runs regularly develops arthritis. But that blame may be misguided. Here's a look at the latest research on the topic.

Is alcohol and weight loss surgery a risky combination?

For people with obesity, weight-loss surgery can reverse or greatly improve many serious health issues, but also leaves people more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder. A new study finds that one type of surgery may increase the dangers of drinking much more than other weight-loss strategies.

Preventing ovarian cancer: Should women consider removing fallopian tubes?

Ovarian cancer, which claims about 13,000 lives each year, is hard to detect in early stages. Recent guidance from professional groups recommends removing fallopian tubes to help prevent ovarian cancer if women are undergoing gynecologic surgery and are finished with childbearing.

Healthier planet, healthier people

As the impacts of climate change on Earth threaten our well-being, the concept of planetary health acknowledges that the ecosystem and our health are inextricably intertwined. While individual efforts may seem small, here are five small steps that help make a difference when taken collectively.

Is snuff really safer than smoking?

The FDA authorized a brand of smokeless tobacco to use language in its advertising claiming that using snuff reduces risk of lung cancer compared to smoking cigarettes. Technically this is true, but it's not the health advantage the product's maker would like consumers to think it is.

Will miscarriage care remain available?

Miscarriage describes a pregnancy loss before 20 weeks. It happens in as many as one in three pregnancies, although the risk gradually decreases as pregnancy progresses. What causes miscarriage? How is it treated? And why is appropriate health care for miscarriage under scrutiny?

Considering collagen drinks and supplements?

Celebrities and influencers claim that consuming collagen could have miraculous benefits for skin, hair, and nails. But what does the science say?

Does less TV time lower your risk for dementia?

More physical activity and less time watching TV is best for the body. But how does television time affect risk for declines in memory and problem-solving ability or risk for developing dementia? Researchers have been digging into these questions.

Helping children who are neurodiverse build friendships

Children with neurodevelopmental conditions like autism spectrum, ADHD, and intellectual disabilities may need extra support in building friendships and participating in social activities. Parents and other adults can help children develop their social and emotional skills.

Preventable liver disease is rising: What you eat — and avoid — counts

Fatty liver disease is a condition caused by irritation to the liver, and one specific type is triggered by metabolic risk factors. Following a healthy diet can prevent or possibly even reverse it.

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