Digital health tracking: Preventive care or privacy invasion?

Increasing numbers of wireless digital sensors—some implanted in or on the body and some worn like clothing­—are being used to monitor people’s health. There are even digital medications embedded with sensors that can record when pills are ingested. The advances in technology may help diagnose health conditions and prevent emergencies. But there are many concerns about digital monitors and pills, such as privacy, communications failures, and data interpretation. (Locked) More »

Is your pillow hurting your health?

 Image: © vitranc/Getty Images You probably know someone who won't leave home without a special pillow, claiming that a particular bag of fluff or feathers is the key to a good night's sleep. And that person may be on to something. "Anything that will make you more comfortable will improve the likelihood of getting a good night's sleep," says Dr. Lawrence Epstein, a sleep expert at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. But the benefits of pillows don't go much further than comfort and positioning. Sometimes pillows even hurt your health. More »

Tips to help you embrace abdominal workouts

Some people don’t enjoy doing abdominal exercises and may find it more palatable to sprinkle abdominal exercises throughout the day. Ideas include taking a quick break to march in place, do a modified push-up, or stand on one leg. The key is to make each ab exercise count by “activating” the muscles. That means drawing in the belly button toward the spine, holding the position for 10 seconds, then relaxing and repeating. More »

Gut reaction: A limited role for digestive enzyme supplements

Prescription enzyme products can help when natural production is low because of a health condition such as chronic pancreatitis or cystic fibrosis. Likewise, taking an over-the-counter lactase supplement (such as Lactaid or Lactrase) can help manage lactose intolerance, and taking an alpha-galactosidase supplement (such as Beano or Bean Relief) may reduce gas and bloating for people who have a hard time digesting the sugars in beans. But for other common gut problems, like heartburn or irritable bowel syndrome, there is little evidence that nonprescription digestive enzymes are helpful. (Locked) More »

Is stress making your allergy symptoms worse?

Feeling stressed can affect allergies. One effect is psychological. Since stress amplifies the emotional reaction to any symptoms, it can also affect how bothered one feels about allergy symptoms. The other effect of stress on allergies is physical. Stress can make the allergic response worse. It’s unclear exactly why, but it may be because stress hormones can ramp up the already exaggerated immune system response to allergies. Therefore, stress reduction techniques, such as meditation, may help relieve allergy symptoms. More »

Confused about eating soy?

Eating soy may not help your heart, but it won’t hurt your heart. It’s high in polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and it’s low in saturated fat. More »