Recent Blog Articles
Sugar: How sweet it is... or is it?
Cardiovascular safety from prostate cancer drugs remains uncertain
Rising alcohol use among older adults
Easily distracted? Try meditation
Harvard Health Ad Watch: Can a wearable device reduce stress?
Listening to your hunger cues
Does your child need to bathe every day?
Can flavonoids help fend off forgetfulness?
Can physical or cognitive activity prevent dementia?
Wondering how much your medical care will cost? New rules could help
Harvard Health Blog
Read the latest posts from experts at Harvard Health Publishing covering a variety of health topics and perspectives on medical news.
Newborn jaundice: What parents need to know
Published February 4, 2021
Most newborn babies turn a little yellow. This is known as jaundice, and it’s very common in the newborn period. But in some very rare cases it can be a sign of a more serious problem. Here’s what parents need to know about it.
What’s behind racial disparities in kidney disease?
Published February 3, 2021
Kidney disease requiring dialysis or transplant is far more common among African Americans than among white Americans, but genetics and biology play only a small role in this excess risk; the difference is linked to social and economic injustice rooted in systemic racism, and all the added burdens associated with it.
Improving PET scans are good news for doctors and patients alike
Published February 3, 2021
A recent blog post discussed a newly approved imaging agent with an unwieldy name: gallium-68 PMA-11. Delivered in small amounts by injection, this minimally radioactive tracer sticks to prostate cancer cells, which subsequently glow and reveal themselves on a positron emission tomography (PET) scan. Offered to men with rising PSA levels after initial prostate cancer […]
Harvard Health Ad Watch: Can an arthritis drug help you become a morning person?
Published February 2, 2021
An ad for an arthritis medication seems to suggest that taking it will alleviate or even eliminate morning stiffness, allowing you to hop out of bed. Like most drug ads, this one has unspoken messages and glosses over questions about side effects and cost.
3 easy ways to get active — right now
Published February 1, 2021
Thinking about exercising is great, but just jumping in is often the best way to blast past mental or emotional barriers. You don’t need a complex workout program; start small and focus on making activity a daily habit. Here are easy ways to add activity to your day.
How does sleep affect your heart rate?
Published January 29, 2021
During waking hours you may feel your heart rate fluctuating, and activity or intense emotions can cause it to spike. But what happens to your heart rate when you sleep? It varies then too, depending on the phase of sleep you are in.
Are early detection and treatment always best?
Published January 28, 2021
The culture of American medicine has long believed and supported the idea that more early detection and treatment is best. But some testing is costly, invasive and carries needless risks, and some conditions go away on their own. Early detection and treatment can be lifesaving — just not for every health issue.
Shingles of the eye can cause lasting vision impairment
Published January 27, 2021
There are about one million cases of shingles in the US each year, and up to 20% of those involve nerves in the head, where the infection can affect various parts of the eye. If a case of shingles involves the upper face, forehead, or scalp, it is important to see an ophthalmologist promptly, because complications can lead to eye damage and possible vision impairment.
New dietary guidelines: Any changes for infants, children, and teens?
Published January 26, 2021
The US Department of Agriculture has published its periodically updated dietary guidelines, and for the first time advice for babies and toddlers is included. It’s never too early to start instilling good eating habits in kids, and awareness of what children should and shouldn’t eat is one way parents can get their kids on the right track.
Need surgery? Should you avoid your surgeon’s birthday?
Published January 22, 2021
Researchers have examined many factors that can influence the outcome of surgery — both obvious and not-so-obvious ones. A recent study asked whether having surgery on the surgeon’s birthday had any effect on how patients fared.
How not to lose money because of Alzheimer’s disease
Published January 21, 2021
Researchers found that people who go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder are more likely to miss paying a bill prior to being diagnosed, but such people face more significant related issues: poor financial decision-making and falling victim to financial scams.
Do hair dyes increase cancer risk?
Published January 20, 2021
Many studies have explored the relationship between hair dye use and risk of cancer or cancer-related death, with conflicting findings. In a recent study, researchers analyzed survey data from over 117,000 women collected over several decades regarding hair dye use and overall cancer risk.
More intensive treatment of DCIS reduces the risk of invasive breast cancer
Updated January 21, 2021
Alcohol harms the brain in teen years –– before and after that, too
Published January 15, 2021
During adolescence, the brain grows and changes in crucial ways and is particularly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. When teens and young adults drink alcohol, it can interfere with brain development processes and cause long-lasting effects.
Exercise matters to health and well-being, regardless of your size
Published January 14, 2021
Regardless of your size or fitness level, exercise has multiple benefits. Almost anything that gets you moving counts, and some activity is always better than none. These suggestions can help you make exercise work for you.
Can I take something to prevent colorectal cancer?
Published January 13, 2021
Screening for colorectal cancer can lower mortality, but it varies in effectiveness and is not always possible to perform, so alternatives are needed. Researchers analyzing studies found evidence for regular use of low-dose aspirin, leading the US Preventive Services Task Force to recommend it for some people.
3 simple steps to jump-start your heart health this year
Published January 12, 2021
Several habits can improve your heart health (and, as a side effect, may make you less vulnerable to infections like the flu or COVID-19). Focusing on a few of these is an excellent way to take care of your heart — and boost your overall health in the process.
CBD and other medications: Proceed with caution
Updated January 11, 2021
Can gout be prevented?
Published January 8, 2021
Gout, a debilitating form of arthritis, is on the rise compared with rates in prior decades. Obesity is probably a significant factor in this increase. Now, a new study suggests that three-quarters of gout cases in men might be completely avoidable by following certain protective health habits.
COVID-19 and the heart: What have we learned?
Updated January 8, 2021
Hormonal therapies for advanced prostate cancer linked to a higher risk of falls and fractures
Published January 7, 2021
Falls rank among the top causes of death and injuries among the elderly, and the risk increases significantly in older people being treated for cancer. Now, investigators are reporting that a newer class of drugs for advanced prostate cancer is associated with a significant increase in fall risk. Called androgen receptor inhibitors, or ARIs, these […]
Sexual health and gender-affirming care
Published January 7, 2021
The lived experience of every transgender and gender diverse person (TDG) is unique, as are their approaches to gender affirmation. Some may choose to affirm their gender only socially, or not at all, while others use a variety of medical and surgical procedures to do so. How do certain choices affect sexual health?
Wondering about COVID-19 vaccines if you’re pregnant or considering pregnancy?
Updated August 25, 2021