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

Weighing the new approaches to treating Crohn's and ulcerative colitis

In recent years, treatment options for inflammatory bowel disease have expanded rapidly, with new types of drugs, new medications within existing classes, and new combinations of treatments for some patients.

Light therapy: Not just for seasonal depression?

Light therapy can help improve seasonal affective disorder (SAD). But many people don't realize that it can also be effective for major depression, and depression that occurs during or after pregnancy (known as perinatal depression).

 

Are women turning to cannabis for menopause symptom relief?

A recent Harvard-led survey found that nearly 80% of midlife women use cannabis to ease certain symptoms, such as mood issues and trouble sleeping. But does cannabis help menopause symptoms and what are the long-term effects? Here's what you should know.

Is the COVID-19 pandemic over, or not?

Infections and deaths from COVID-19 are still occurring every day in the US, although many people are acting like the pandemic is over. So is it over, or not?

Psychosis: Will catching early warning signs help?

Could identifying early warning signs of psychosis and providing appropriate support change the course of the illness? Early-intervention programs aim to do this with at-risk teens and young adults, and those experiencing a first episode of psychosis.

Why life expectancy in the US is falling

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

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

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?

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

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?

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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?

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?

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

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

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

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?

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?

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.

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