Harvard Health Blog

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

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Shortage of ADHD medicines: Advice on coping if you are affected

The prescription drug Adderall has been in short supply for months. How widespread is this problem, and what are the consequences, and possible solutions, for adults who rely on this medication to manage ADHD?

When replenishing fluids, does milk beat water?

An ad campaign sponsored by the milk industry claims that milk is better than water for hydration. A few studies appear to support the claim, but they involved a small number of subjects and have important limitations.

Respiratory health harms often follow flooding: Taking these steps can help

Flooding due to major storms or heavy rains can harm lung health, both from toxic contaminants that end up in the air and from the growth of mold caused by dampness. Taking steps to prevent flooding when possible and moving quickly to reduce health risks if flooding occurs can help protect your family's health.

Break free from 3 self-sabotaging ANTs — automatic negative thoughts

Automatic negative thoughts are reactions that compel people to interpret many situations in unbalanced, upsetting ways. But with practice, people can learn to recognize and disarm distorted thinking.

Prostate cancer: Zapping metastatic tumors with radiation improves survival

When prostate cancer spreads beyond the gland, it has been treated with hormone therapy, but there are challenging side effects. A new study shows that a different treatment option involving radiation can allow some men to delay or avoid hormone therapy.

Can a multivitamin keep your brain healthy?

A recent study found that older adults who took a multivitamin daily for three years had improved scores on tests of executive function, memory, and overall brain function, but the study wasn't large enough, long enough, or diverse enough to rely on its conclusions alone.

Trying to lower stubbornly high LDL cholesterol?

Elevated LDL cholesterol contributes to cardiovascular disease. Taking statin drugs can substantially lower this risk. But what if a person's LDL level remains too high on their maximally tolerated dose? An expert consensus report lays out a clear path for next steps.

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.

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