Harvard Health Blog

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

Articles

What are the chances that prostate cancer will return after surgery?

In some men who have prostate cancer surgery the cancer never returns, while in others it does. A new type of imaging technology indicates the presence of prostate tumors, and researchers wanted to know if this could be used to predict cancer recurrence after treatment.

Winter hiking: Magical or miserable?

The instinct to stay indoors during winter can start to feel confining after a while. Going for a winter hike is a great way to get out in nature and get exercise, but it's quite different from warm-weather hiking, and requires preparation and precautions.

When therapeutic touch isn't healing

Physical touch has long been linked to the healing process of medicine, but a person's comfort level with this may depend on their feelings and life experiences. Here's why touch matters during medical visits, and how to get the care you need while having your wishes respected.

Ready to learn CPR?

When a person's heart stops beating and they go into cardiac arrest, receiving CPR can double their odds of surviving. And since the majority of cardiac arrests happen at home, knowing the basics of CPR may save the life of a loved one.

Motorcycle rallies and organ donation: A curious connection

Even though motorcycles are riskier than other modes of transportation, the number of motorcycles registered in the US has doubled in the past 20 years. A study examined whether large gatherings of bikers would lead to more fatal accidents and an increase in rates of organ donation.

 

Low-carb diet helps cut blood sugar levels in people with prediabetes

A recent study suggests that following a low-carb diet may quickly reduce A1C levels in people with prediabetes. Such a rigorous approach to eating may not be realistic, but cutting even some carbs may lead to weight loss and lower blood sugar.

Can plant-based diets lower your risk of prostate cancer?

This year, results from a review of literature on plant-based diets and prostate cancer risk concluded that apart from having advantages for cardiovascular health, quality of life, and environmental benefits, plant-based diets have the potential to improve prostate cancer outcomes.

Curbing nearsightedness in children: Can outdoor time help?

Nearsightedness is a growing problem worldwide. While genes and developmental factors play a role in whether a child becomes nearsighted, research suggests that spending time outdoors can lower a child's risk of developing this condition.

Holiday arguments brewing? Here's how to defuse them

The holidays are supposed to be filled with love, laughter, and good cheer. Unfortunately, joyous celebration often deteriorates into discord when family and friends gather during the season. But you don't have to get drawn into arguments if you plan ahead and stay alert for potential triggers.

Aspirin and bone health: Is there a connection?

Aspirin has many proven benefits and some research has linked its use to a lower risk for fractures after falls. Now, a more rigorous study finds a daily dose offers no added protection from serious falls and fractures compared with placebo.

Don't want to go to bed? Dealing with bedtime procrastination

Bedtime procrastination often interferes with getting sufficient quality sleep, which is a pillar of good health. If you are guilty of staying up too late, there are things you can do to try to change your behavior.

Does cannabis actually relieve pain — or is something else going on?

Treating pain is the most common reason offered by the millions of Americans who use products that contain cannabinoids. However, there's good evidence that a placebo provides very similar pain relief. But why?

Jump-start a healthier New Year with four holiday eating tips

The holiday season is full of parties, gatherings, food, and drink — making it an ideal time to adopt healthier eating habits. Doing so can help you manage stress and avoid overeating, and will set you up for success in the new year.

Sibling rivalry is normal — but is it helpful or harmful?

Sibling rivalry is a remarkably normal feature of family life, but too much squabbling and competition can be hurtful, and can have lasting effects on children. What can parents do to manage this when it happens in their family?

Prostate cancer: How long should hormonal therapy last?

Hormonal therapy is a cornerstone of prostate cancer treatment, but it has burdensome side effects. Doctors and patients alike are highly motivated to use this therapy only for as long as necessary. But how long is long enough? A recent study provides needed clarity.

Genes protective during the Black Death may now be increasing autoimmune disorders

Genes that helped people survive during the time of the Black Death are more likely to be found in people with autoimmune diseases alive today. Does this tell scientists anything about what surviving the COVID-19 pandemic might mean for the world's population?

Does weight loss surgery relieve pain?

Weight-loss surgery has many proven benefits. Now, data from a study of people who had bariatric surgery and were followed for several years suggests that it also improves pain and physical function.

Have you done your crossword puzzle today?

A study found that people with mild cognitive impairment who did crossword puzzles regularly showed modest improvement in cognition and less brain shrinkage. Will doing crossword puzzles be helpful to people whose thinking and memory are normal?

Concerned about your child's development?

Social media and apps about babies and children can fuel worries about a child's development. It's important to remember that every child is different and may move through stages of development at varying paces.

What's the right way to brush your teeth?

When you brush your teeth, how much thought do you give to what you're doing? Regular brushing keeps plaque from forming on your teeth and gums healthy, but you do need a good toothbrush and proper brushing technique.

Want to stay healthy over the holidays?

Another holiday season is here, and this year we need to contend with other viruses besides COVID-19. Three Harvard experts share their thoughts on the best ways to keep ourselves and our family members healthy as we celebrate holidays together.

How to help your preschooler sleep alone

Many parents face the challenge of getting their child to move from sleeping in bed with them to sleeping in their own bed. Changing this habit takes time; being practical and consistent about it helps.

New guidelines on opioids for pain relief: What you need to know

The CDC's 2016 guidelines for prescribing opioid medications aimed to reduce deaths from overdose. Recent revisions to these guidelines aim for refinement while emphasizing safety and the importance of finding the best treatment solution for each person.

Should you get an over-the-counter hearing aid?

New regulations allow Americans to buy hearing aids over the counter, without requiring a hearing test. These devices will cost less and can only treat mild to moderate hearing loss––will they be right for you?

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