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Harvard Health Blog

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


Screening at home for memory loss: Should you try it?

Published March 30, 2022

The time pressures of primary care doctors make it unlikely that they will be able to give their patients tests of cognitive function. So how will the growing numbers of people at risk for Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia be identified? A self-administered test is now available.

Travel tummy troubles: Here’s how to prevent or soothe them

Published August 4, 2022

Digestive troubles are no one’s idea of fun, but having them occur while traveling or vacationing is even worse. Here’s a closer look at three common digestive upsets, how to prevent them, and what to do if you have one.

Easy, delicious summer veggie meals will help stretch your food budget

Published August 3, 2022

Summertime offers a great variety of fresh vegetables. Making vegetables the focus of a meal has many health benefits, and anyone can take advantage of this by preparing them in simple yet delicious ways.

Tracking viruses: The best clues may be in the sewer

Published August 2, 2022

It's hard to accurately predict when new viral outbreaks will appear or old viruses will reappear and how to figure this out quickly enough to respond quickly. Wastewater testing, a tool that can help predict upticks in COVID cases, has also captured evidence of infectious diseases like polio, allowing preventive measures to be taken.

Promising therapy if PSA rises after prostate cancer surgery

Published August 1, 2022

After a man has had a radical prostatectomy, sometimes the level of the antigen PSA rises again later, meaning cancer may have returned. A study found that the normal therapy given when this happens is more effective when combined with other forms of treatment.

Strong legs help power summer activities: Hiking, biking, swimming, and more

Published May 12, 2022

Legs are the foundation for many enjoyable activities—running, bicycling, swimming, and more. Building strong leg muscles can improve your performance, build endurance, and reduce your risk of injury. These exercises will work all of the major muscle groups in your legs.

Should you try intermittent fasting for weight loss?

Published July 28, 2022

Intermittent fasting is limiting the window of time each day when a person eats. It has become popular as a weight loss tool, so people want to know if it’s effective and whether it can work for them, and a recent study attempted to provide some answers.

Why are you taking a multivitamin?

Published July 27, 2022

One in three Americans takes a daily multivitamin even though research shows this doesn't provide any meaningful health benefits for most people. And because of the way supplements are regulated, some supplements make claims that have no evidence behind them.

Could eating fish increase your risk of cancer?

Published July 26, 2022

A new study found a higher risk of melanoma among people who ate the most fish, but limitations of this research mean it’s premature to draw any conclusions about a relationship between eating fish and melanoma risk.

Can music improve our health and quality of life?

Published July 25, 2022

Humans’ relationship with music is complex and individual, and there are times when music can have a clear and immediate impact on our well-being. Music therapy uses music as a therapeutic tool to address certain health care goals.

The plant milk shake-up: Pea and pistachio join oat and almond

Published March 23, 2022

Pea, potato, and pistachio milk? Supermarkets now sell multiple kinds of plant-based milks made from nuts, beans, grains, vegetables, or fruit. Before trying these, some people might like to know more about nutritional benefits and any other reasons to choose or avoid them.

Millions rely on wheelchairs for mobility, but repair delays are hurting users

Published July 21, 2022

Wheelchairs allow millions of Americans with mobility disability to participate in daily activities and engage in community life. But when a wheelchair needs to be repaired, delays can mean a person is unable to leave their home or manage daily tasks for days.

Waist trainers: What happens when you uncinch?

Published July 20, 2022

Splashy advertisements suggest that compression devices called waist trainers can help you sculpt inches off your waistline. The claims far outweigh the evidence, but exercises that strengthen core muscles can also help shape your waist.

Preventing C. diff in and out of the hospital

Published July 19, 2022

The bacteria C. diff is responsible for half a million infections each year in the US. Many infections happen when people are hospitalized, but a recent report indicated that people can be infected without ever being hospitalized.

Managing weight gain from psychiatric medications

Published July 18, 2022

A side effect of many psychiatric medications is weight gain. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety and sleep medications, and mood stabilizers can all affect metabolism in ways that lead to increased weight, so it’s important to know what you can do to lessen this unwanted effect.

Struggling to sleep? Your heart may pay the price

Published March 9, 2022

Growing evidence suggests that poor sleep is linked to a host of health problems, including a higher risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Now, a recent study on people in midlife finds that having a combination of sleep problems may nearly triple a person’s risk of heart disease.

Inflammatory bowel disease and family planning: What you need to know

Published July 14, 2022

Inflammatory bowel disease is commonly diagnosed at a point in life when many people are planning families. People who have been diagnosed with IBD are likely to have questions and concerns regarding fertility, conception, pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding.

Can a vegan diet treat rheumatoid arthritis?

Published July 13, 2022

A recent study suggested a vegan diet is an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, and its lead author also said that people should try changing their eating patterns before turning to medication. But there is no evidence that changes in diet can prevent joint damage that occurs in rheumatoid arthritis.

A refresher on childhood asthma: What families should know and do

Published July 12, 2022

Asthma is the most common chronic lung disease in children, and it can make life more difficult and less enjoyable for both children and their parents. The good news is that asthma is very treatable; here’s what families need to know.

Melasma: What are the best treatments?

Published July 11, 2022

Melasma is a skin condition affecting mostly women with darker skin. It cannot be fully prevented in those most likely to develop it, and there is no cure, but consistent sunscreen use is critical, and numerous treatment options are available.

Should you be tested for inflammation?

Published March 29, 2022

Our understanding of how chronic inflammation can impair health has expanded dramatically in recent years, causing some people to wonder if there is a test to identify it, and if they should have it. There are several tests that can detect inflammation, and they are useful in certain situations, but not universally.

Can an implanted tongue-stimulating device curb your sleep apnea?

Published July 7, 2022

A mask-free, implanted device for sleep apnea that works by stimulating the tongue was approved by the FDA in 2014 as a second-choice treatment for people who are unable to tolerate a positive airway pressure machine.

Poliovirus in wastewater: Should we be concerned?

Published July 6, 2022

Thanks to vaccination, the US has been polio-free since 1979, and the spread of this disease has been interrupted in most countries. But worldwide eradication of polio has been elusive, and traces of the virus were recently found in wastewater in London.

Recognizing and preventing sun allergies

Published July 5, 2022

No one is truly allergic to the sun, but some people may develop mild to serious reactions after spending time in the sun, especially if they have not been exposed to sunlight during winter. The most common "sun allergy" is polymorphous light eruption, an autoimmune condition of the skin.

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