3 New Year ’s resolutions all families can (and should) make
Follow me on Twitter @drClaire It’s the beginning of a new calendar year, that time when we resolve to do new and better things. This is such a wonderful idea, because doing new and better things can make us healthier and happier. Resolutions can be particularly good for families to make. Not only is it good to work together on something, it’s a good way to keep everyone accountable. The best resolutions are the ones that are simple. By simple, I don’t necessarily mean easy (if they were easy, we wouldn’t have to resolve to do them). I mean that they are resolutions that you can lean into and work t...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - January 2, 2018 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Claire McCarthy, MD Tags: Children's Health Exercise and Fitness Healthy Eating Parenting Source Type: blogs

Returning to an old exercise routine? Here ’ s what you need to know
My ancient workout clothes are folded neatly (and squished) beneath a pile of sweaters on a shelf in my closet. They were cute — from the ‘90s — when I cared very much about how I looked at the gym. Decades later, I skip the gym and instead walk most days and do body weight exercises, all while clad in a sweatshirt and yoga pants. But whenever I see my old gym outfit (blue leotard “overalls” with a cropped tee shirt built in), I wonder if maybe I’d get more from a gym workout. It wouldn’t be hard to jump back in, would it? Just a second It turns out, it’s smarter to ease back...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 28, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Heidi Godman Tags: Exercise and Fitness Health Healthy Aging Source Type: blogs

Should you ever not listen to your doctor?
Since I got married seven years ago and had two kids, I’ve had to shed parts of my life, like the hockey package, going to the movies, and slow-pitch softball. None were hard sacrifices, but the casualty that hurt the most was giving up my doctor of over 20 years. I met him soon after I got out of college and he was early in his career, and while I never needed him for much, I knew he was on top of everything. Even after my wife and I moved north of Boston, I wanted to believe that I could keep him, that an hour-long drive into town without traffic was possible, because how often did I ever have an emergency? Well, i...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 26, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Steve Calechman Tags: Health Health care Managing your health care Source Type: blogs

Preventing overdose deaths is not one-size-fits-all
By now, we all know that the number of opioid-related deaths in the United States has reached epidemic proportions. Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declaring an epidemic in 2011, the death rate has continued to increase every year, with more than 30,000 deaths per year now attributed to opioids. Graphs from the CDC show the geographic distribution of the epidemic and demonstrate that nearly the entire United States is involved. This tragic death toll has culminated in many local, state, and federal government initiatives to fix the problem, including President Trump’s recent declaration that th...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 22, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Scott Weiner, MD Tags: Addiction Behavioral Health Source Type: blogs

To exercise more, get your game on
In this study, participants earned points by meeting daily physical activity goals, progressing through higher levels by keeping up that behavior, and ultimately winning prizes. But games are not just for single players. “Being on a team encourages cooperation, and people egg each other on. And when different teams compete against one another, that adds another layer of incentive. It’s like the difference between playing solitaire versus bridge,” Dr. Kawachi explains. The study, published online Oct. 2, 2017, by JAMA Internal Medicine, relied on practices inspired by behavioral economics. People dislike l...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 21, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Julie Corliss Tags: Health Source Type: blogs

Answer these 5 questions to help make your New Year ’s resolutions stick
It’s that time of the year again when we start thinking about the (in)famous New Year’s resolutions. Change can be a frustrating experience for many. So, I decided to investigate what may increase your chances of success. I would like to propose a framework that combines the science of behavior change with the idea that we are able to rewire our brains to improve our health, well-being, and overall quality of life, called neuroplasticity. So, grab a piece of paper to write down the answers to the questions below. 1.  Why do you want to make the change? Make sure you find your true motivation. Try to look b...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 20, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Marcelo Campos, MD Tags: Behavioral Health Diet and Weight Loss Exercise and Fitness Healthy Eating Prevention Source Type: blogs

Racial and ethnic minority communities hit hard by type 2 diabetes: Here ’s what we can do
To read in Spanish As you probably know, type 2 diabetes has become a major health problem in the US and around the world. People with type 2 diabetes cannot effectively use glucose (sugar) from the food they eat to fuel the body. As a result, blood sugar levels are consistently higher than normal. Over time this can lead to serious, even deadly, complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. The slow and insidious nature of persistently high blood sugar can also cause problems that interfere with quality of life, including vision changes, nerve pain and infections that are slow to heal. It is estimated t...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 19, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: A. Enrique Caballero, MD Tags: Diabetes Health Health care disparities Source Type: blogs

Minor ías raciales/étnicas seriamente afectadas por diabetes tipo 2: Esto es lo que podemos hacer
Para leer en inglés Probablemente usted sabe que la diabetes tipo 2 se ha convertido en un problema enorme en el área de salud en los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica (EUA) y en el resto del mundo. Las personas con diabetes tipo 2 no pueden utilizar la glucosa (azúcar) que se obtiene de los alimentos como fuente de energía de forma eficiente. En consecuencia, los niveles de azúcar en la sangre están por encima de lo normal. Con el tiempo, esto puede causar complicaciones serias e incluso fatales como enfermedad cardiovascular, enfermedad de los riñones y enfermedad vasc...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 19, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: A. Enrique Caballero, MD Tags: Diabetes Health Source Type: blogs

Remembering the “me” in merry: Self-care strategies for this holiday season
The holiday season is filled with hustle and bustle. There’s plenty of excitement from seeing family and friends, but also stress, travel, long lines, planning, preparation — and a range of emotions from positive to negative. For many, the holiday season means planning and taking care of others. However, this leaves little time for taking care of oneself. Below are a few ideas on how to practice self-care during this holiday season. Regularly schedule time to engage in self-care activities. Schedule self-care activities (exercise, meditation, a hobby you enjoy) at the same time each day so they become routine,...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 18, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: David R. Topor, PhD, MS-HPEd Tags: Behavioral Health Mental Health Mind body medicine Stress Source Type: blogs

A more precise approach to fighting cancer
If you are like me, when you get the flu you head straight to the pharmacy and grab the most powerful over-the-counter medicine you can find. But is that really the best approach? After all, your condition, symptoms, and reaction to the virus may be quite different from someone else’s, so why use the same medicine? Instead, you may benefit more from a treatment specifically designed just for you and your ailment. That’s the philosophy behind precision medicine (sometimes referred to as personalized medicine), an approach to cancer prevention and treatment that takes into account a person’s genes, environm...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 15, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Matthew Solan Tags: Cancer Medical Research Source Type: blogs

Navigating the holidays in recovery
The winter holidays are almost universally experienced as a time of joy, and of familial togetherness. For many they are the highlight of the year, a time of relaxation, gift-giving, spiritual renewal, and reflection on a year of skirmishes fought on behalf of one’s family. But for people in recovery from substance use disorders, such as from opiates or alcohol, the holidays can be a time of unique and profound stress. Part of this stress is related to the freely flowing alcohol that can be found at many holiday events, and another aspect is often related to complex interactions with family members who can be “...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 14, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Peter Grinspoon, MD Tags: Addiction Behavioral Health Mental Health Source Type: blogs

Are you getting the most out of your high-deductible health plan?
Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling Picking a health insurance plan can be maddeningly complicated. It may seem that no matter what you do, you’re picking the wrong plan. Should you go with the one with high monthly premiums that covers just about everything and even pays for medications? Or maybe it’d be best to go with one with lower premiums but that covers fewer expenses. Picking the one that’s best depends on your medical conditions, the medications you take, and, to some degree, your ability to predict future medical expenses. And it only gets more difficult as costs rise and medical care gets more c...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 13, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Robert H. Shmerling, MD Tags: Health Managing your health care Source Type: blogs

Keeping children safe this holiday season
Follow me on Twitter @drClaire Holidays are best when they are spent having fun with friends and family — not spent in an emergency room. Yet every year that’s where thousands of people end up, due to holiday-related injuries and illnesses. Here are some tips to help keep your children safe and well this holiday season, from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Holiday decorations They make everything more festive, that’s true, but they can be dangerous. If you buy a live tree, make sure it’s not dried out. Cut a few inches off the bottom, and keep the stand filled with water. If you use an artifici...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 12, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Claire McCarthy, MD Tags: Children's Health Parenting Safety Source Type: blogs

Avoiding holiday excess (and what to do if you overdo it)
The holidays are famously a time of celebration, and where there is celebrating, there is usually too much alcohol, too many rich foods, and not enough sleep. Here are some basic tips on not overdoing it — and how to manage when you have. Common sense rules You know the saying “Don’t go to the grocery store hungry”? The reason is pretty obvious. If you’re famished, you may not make the best food choices. Well, the same applies to holiday parties. If you are truly hungry, have something healthy and filling beforehand, like a beautiful salad. Pressed for time? Eat an apple. Already there? Look a...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 11, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Monique Tello, MD, MPH Tags: Behavioral Health Healthy Eating Prevention Source Type: blogs

Is there a link between alcohol and skin cancer?
Patients are always elated when you can recommend an enjoyable, health-improving, recreational activity. As a runner, my favorite “prescription” while pregnant was exercise! However, more often than not, pleasurable activities are not what’s best for one’s health. But as a dermatologist who specializes in skin cancer, I am generally the bearer of bad news when I tell patients to never get another tan. This November, alcohol came into the spotlight. The Cancer Prevention Committee of the American Society of Clinical Oncology recommended minimizing drinking alcohol, as it is thought to be a “mod...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 8, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Emily S. Ruiz, MD, MPH Tags: Cancer Health Healthy Eating Prevention Source Type: blogs

What to do for stubborn low back pain
A while back, I covered the updated evidence-based treatment guidelines for acute (less than four weeks) and subacute (less than twelve weeks) low back pain. I promised a post on chronic (more than twelve weeks) back pain. Well, as I write this, I am suffering from a recurrence of my own low back pain, which radiates down my right leg at times. This has been literally and figuratively a pain in my rear end, for years. Being a doctor who practices what I preach, I am putting all the advice I dispense to good use. First, look for possible triggers This fall, I had gotten away from my regular core-strengthening routine (night...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 7, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Monique Tello, MD, MPH Tags: Back Pain Health Pain Management Source Type: blogs

Can shoveling snow put your heart at risk?
Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling When it comes to heart disease, there’s lots of advice. There are heart-healthy diets and exercise programs to follow. Of course, if you smoke, you’re urged to stop. For those at highest risk or who already have heart disease, there are medications to take and monitoring of your condition to keep track of. A recent study suggests that for people who are at high risk for heart disease or who already have it, there’s a bit of new advice: don’t shovel snow. Shoveling snow and heart attack According to past estimates, about 100 people — mostly men — die dur...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 6, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Robert H. Shmerling, MD Tags: Health Heart Health Source Type: blogs

More than half of today ’s children will be obese adults
This study really shows that early obesity is a problem we can’t ignore. An obese 2-year-old is more likely to be obese at 35 than a 19-year-old who is overweight but not obese. I think most people would not have guessed that. What parents can do There are definitely economic factors, and it’s crucial that we as a society make healthy foods and opportunities for exercise affordable and accessible to everyone. But there are things that each and every parent and caregiver can do to help children get to and stay at a healthy weight, such as: Practice “responsive feeding” with infants and children. Lea...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 5, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Claire McCarthy, MD Tags: Children's Health Parenting Source Type: blogs

Can an online game really improve blood sugar control for people with diabetes?
Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling When it comes to serious health problems, you might think a game would be unlikely to help. But a recent study of people with diabetes could change your mind. Researchers publishing in the September 2017 issue of Diabetes Care describe a study in which people with diabetes joined a competitive online game aimed at educating participants about ways to improve blood sugar control. The results were encouraging. How a game led to improved blood sugars In this new research, 456 patients with poorly controlled diabetes were randomly assigned to one of two groups: Group 1 participated in an onl...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 4, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Robert H. Shmerling, MD Tags: Diabetes Health Source Type: blogs

The Couric-Jolie effect: When celebrities share their medical experiences
Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling Some called it the Katie Couric effect. Soon after her husband died of colon cancer in 1998, the journalist and television personality had a televised colonoscopy to promote the test. Rates of screening colonoscopies soared for at least a year. Or, call it the Angelina Jolie effect. In 2013, the actress wrote an editorial in the New York Times about the tests she had for genes (called BRCA) linked with breast and ovarian cancer, and how the positive result led her to have a double mastectomy. Soon after, rates of BRCA testing jumped. Whatever you call it, the effect is real. When it comes...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 1, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Robert H. Shmerling, MD Tags: Health Health care Managing your health care Source Type: blogs

The Couric-Jolie effect: The impact of celebrities ’ medical advice
Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling Some called it the Katie Couric effect. Soon after her husband died of colon cancer in 1998, the journalist and television personality had a televised colonoscopy to promote the test. Rates of screening colonoscopies soared for at least a year. Or, call it the Angelina Jolie effect. In 2013, the actress wrote an editorial in the New York Times about the tests she had for genes (called BRCA) linked with breast and ovarian cancer, and how the positive result led her to have a double mastectomy. Soon after, rates of BRCA testing jumped. Whatever you call it, the effect is real. When it comes...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - December 1, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Robert H. Shmerling, MD Tags: Health Health care Managing your health care Source Type: blogs

Naloxone: An important tool, but not the solution to the opioid crisis
In this study, we aimed to define how many patients who were treated with naloxone by an ambulance crew and initially survived were still alive after one year. Even though these patients are typically just observed in the ED hallway, allowed to sober while the ED staff is busy taking care of other patients with life-threatening emergencies like heart attacks, trauma, and strokes, our team hypothesized that the individual sobering in the hallway bed has perhaps one of the highest one-year mortality rates of anyone seen in the department. Here’s how the study worked — and what we found To perform the study, we to...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 30, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Scott Weiner, MD Tags: Addiction Health naloxone Source Type: blogs

Real-life healthy dinners (for real people with real busy lives)
At the end of a long workday, my husband and I will often trade texts figuring out who will pick up the kids at my mother’s, and who will deal with dinner. Thankfully, we’re equal partners in all responsibilities (except spider-killing, which is strictly Hubby’s job) and dietary preferences. We’re both health-conscious foodie types. We want good food that’s good for us. An unvarnished look at family dinner The kids, on the other hand… I’m not sure how this happened, but we somehow raised creatures with tastes vastly different from ours, and each other. We’ve never tried to c...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 29, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Monique Tello, MD, MPH Tags: Health Healthy Eating Source Type: blogs

7 ways to prevent holiday stress — for your children
Follow me on Twitter @drClaire The holidays can be hectic — and tense. Between buying presents (expensive and nerve-racking), holiday events (how many holiday concerts can there be?), entertaining (so much cooking), traveling, and family gatherings (which are not always as pleasant as we might like), what should theoretically be fun has a way of becoming stressful. It can be stressful for kids, too. Okay, they aren’t driving long distances, dealing with office parties, or managing a credit card bill. But it is stressful nonetheless. Routines are off, there are so many expectations, and the ambient stress h...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 28, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Claire McCarthy, MD Tags: Behavioral Health Children's Health Parenting Stress Source Type: blogs

Healthcare freebies that can make you, and your wallet, feel a little better
“Take the cookies, bring them home to the kids!” Craig always insists, as he pops a few into my lunch bag. It’s a heartwarming gesture that I love about his Sarasota deli — in addition to the killer turkey on whole wheat. You may not be surprised when local businesses throw in a freebie; they often go the extra mile to thank customers. But you may be surprised to know that there are lots of free things out there that can help your health. Okay, not cookies, but things with real value when it comes to improving everything from chronic disease to diet and fitness. Free prescription drugs Some stores (...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 27, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Heidi Godman Tags: Health Health care Managing your health care Source Type: blogs

Fish oil capsules: Net benefits for the heart are limited
Every day, millions of people swallow fish oil capsules, many of them lured by the promise that the pills will help them cast off heart disease. In fact, the label of one popular brand includes the line, “May reduce coronary heart disease risk.” Don’t take the bait: these bold marketing claims haven’t caught up with the latest science. Earlier this year, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued an updated advisory about fish oil supplements and their cardiovascular benefits. Their verdict: fish oil supplements may slightly lower the risk of dying of heart failure or after a recent heart attack. B...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 24, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Julie Corliss Tags: Complementary and alternative medicine Drugs and Supplements Health Heart Health Prevention Source Type: blogs

Heart rate variability: A new way to track well-being
Information is knowledge, and big tech companies know how important it is to collect and track data. When it comes to your health, it is now easy to measure and track all kinds of information. In the comfort of our homes we can check our weight, blood pressure, number of steps, calories, heart rate, and blood sugar. Recently some researchers have started to use an interesting marker for resilience and behavioral flexibility. It is called heart rate variability (HRV). Have you ever wondered what the health impact of a stressful day was? Will you perform well during your long run tomorrow morning? Is there anything you can d...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 22, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Marcelo Campos, MD Tags: Behavioral Health Exercise and Fitness Prevention Source Type: blogs

10 signs that a child ’s stomachache could be something serious
Follow me on Twitter @drClaire Stomachaches are incredibly common in children. Most of the time they are nothing serious at all. Most are just from a mild stomach bug, or some constipation, or hunger — or are a child’s way of getting out of something they don’t want to do. But a stomachache can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem. A stomachache worries doctors when… 1.  The pain is severe. By severe, I mean that the child cannot be distracted from it, and is crying or otherwise showing that they are extremely uncomfortable. Any severe pain warrants a trip to the doctor, whether it&rs...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 21, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Claire McCarthy, MD Tags: Children's Health Digestive Disorders Parenting Source Type: blogs

Insurance plan networks: 5 things you need to know
Follow me on Twitter @dianewshannon My 18-year-old daughter recently moved to a university about 1,500 miles away to study theater. Tears, texts, and several care packages later, she settled in, only to develop a hamstring injury that prevented her from participating in required dance classes. In short, she needed several months of physical therapy. After searching for options near the university, she told me that visits would cost as much as $200 each. Our health insurance plan only covers urgent or emergency care outside of our local area, and physical therapy was not considered urgent. When she enrolled, we had assumed ...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 20, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Diane W. Shannon, MD, MPH Tags: Health Health care Source Type: blogs

New high blood pressure guidelines: Think your blood pressure is fine? Think again …
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association certainly grabbed the attention of us busy primary care physicians with the recent release of their updated blood pressure guidelines. These organizations had piqued interest by declaring the release date and labeling it as “highly anticipated.” I pooh-poohed all that drama, but upon reading through the 114-page executive summary PDF with 21 authors and almost a thousand references, I have to say, I am duly impressed. The definition of the diagnosis of high blood pressure and the decision-making process surrounding treatment have traditionall...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 17, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Monique Tello, MD, MPH Tags: Health Heart Health Hypertension and Stroke Prevention Source Type: blogs

Self-care: 4 ways to nourish body and soul
There’s a lot of talk about self-care these days, but what is it really? Self-care means paying attention to and supporting one’s own physical and mental health. It is also a big part of treatment for many physical and mental health disorders. It’s so, so important. But, it’s also one of the first things to fall by the wayside in times of stress, especially for those who are primary caregivers. This includes parents, people caring for elderly relatives, healthcare providers, and first responders. These are the people who often put the well-being of others above themselves. This is a big problem. Why...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 16, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Monique Tello, MD, MPH Tags: Behavioral Health Mental Health Mind body medicine Prevention Stress Source Type: blogs

Looking under the hood: How brain science informs addiction treatment
As a neuroscientist I have been trained to think in a certain way, almost like a car mechanic, who “looks under the hood” at the brains of laboratory rats exposed to drugs. If we can figure out exactly which genes, proteins, brain regions, and neural connections go awry in substance use disorders (SUDs), we can fix those “broken” parts in the brain and design better long-term approaches to addiction treatment. While there is great promise in this approach, it’s not so easy to get under the hood of people who desperately need help with a SUD. It’s very different from working with lab rats...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 15, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Elena H. Chartoff, PhD Tags: Addiction Behavioral Health Brain and cognitive health substance use disorders (SUDs) Source Type: blogs

New app helps parents track and encourage their child ’s development
Follow me on Twitter @drClaire Most parents, at some time or another, wonder whether their child is doing everything they are supposed to do. Are they ahead of other children? Are they behind? Is their development normal? Now there is a really good app for that. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new free app called the Milestone Tracker. It has five components: A detailed “Milestone Checklist.” For children ages 2 months through 5 years, it goes through all the different milestones for that age (when I tried it out for a 12-month-old, there were 27 milestones) so parents can see if ...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 14, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Claire McCarthy, MD Tags: Children's Health Parenting Source Type: blogs

What ’s new with the flu shot?
Should you get the influenza (flu) vaccine this year? The short, quick answer (barring any medical reasons you shouldn’t, such as severe allergies), is yes! But recent research raises another important question: When should you get the shot? Why a flu shot every year in the first place? Getting infected with the flu can be dangerous — we’ve seen patients in the ICU who were previously healthy but had a horrible response to a strain of the virus and became very sick. Every year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other agencies release flu vaccination guidelines in late summer to early...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 13, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Dominic Wu, MD Tags: Cold and Flu Health Infectious diseases Prevention Vaccines Source Type: blogs

The cost of chronic pain
There is a saying that being poor is expensive. From personal experience, I know this to be true. But I think it also needs to be said that, especially in the United States, chronic illness can be quite expensive as well. In fact, there is a huge intersection between poverty and disability/illness. As with many intersections, it is a chicken-or-egg scenario, difficult to determine which is begetting which. But one thing is clear: there are often blind spots about these expenses in the medical community and how they can impact chronically ill people already struggling with finances. Recently I attended a seminar on the topi...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 10, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Laura Kiesel Tags: Health Health care Health policy Pain Management Source Type: blogs

I love my kids but they ’ve ruined my neck
I recently wrote about how my oldest son learned how to ride a bike. His excitement got me to buy a used one, mostly because running after him down the street wasn’t going to be a solid long-range plan. Now, Milo and I get to explore on two wheels. We discovered a pond with ducks not far from the house and we’ve met a lot more people in the neighborhood, mostly ones who own dogs. It’s also been a great way to show him what I want him to do on the bike — stay to the side of the road, wait until cars stop before you cross, and look behind you to see … Maybe not that one. I once had that easy ra...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 9, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Steve Calechman Tags: Health Pain Management Parenting neck pain Source Type: blogs

We heard you — incontinence affects men too. Here’s what you need to know
As men age, the simple act of urinating can get complicated. Prostate surgery often leaves men vulnerable to leakage when they cough, sneeze, or just rise from a chair. Or the bladder may become impatient, suddenly demanding that you find a bathroom right now. “Thousands of years ago, it was not as much of an issue,” observes Dr. Anurag Das, a urologist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “There were lots of trees, and you could just find one and go.” But tricky bladders can be whipped into shape. The first step is a careful assessment of what triggers those difficult moments...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 8, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Matthew Solan Tags: Health Healthy Aging Incontinence Men's Health Prostate Health Source Type: blogs

Using social media to help parents get vaccine questions answered
Follow me on Twitter @drClaire As a pediatrician, I know that many times when parents are hesitant about vaccines, it’s because of something they read on the Internet. Sadly, much of the anti-vaccine information that is out there is either misinformation or misconstrued information — but once parents have read it, it’s not always easy to convince them that it’s misinformation or misconstrued. I’ve often wished that we could find more ways to get good vaccine information on the Internet, and give parents a way to get their questions answered and concerns allayed there, rather than getting worri...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 7, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Claire McCarthy, MD Tags: Children's Health Family Planning and Pregnancy Parenting Vaccines Source Type: blogs

Are sprouted grains more nutritious than regular whole grains?
My local farmers’ market was busy with the Saturday morning bustle of people buying homemade goods and locally grown fruits and vegetables. One of the vendors had a swarm of customers inspecting freshly baked breads. “They’re sprouted-grain breads,” the baker told me, and explained that they tasted better and were healthier than regular whole-grain breads. A sample was delicious — the recipe included sprouted Kamut and spelt, and the bread had a nutty flavor — but was it more nutritious than the regular whole-grain bread I’d just purchased from another vendor? About sprouted grains...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 6, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Heidi Godman Tags: Health Healthy Eating Source Type: blogs

Researchers may have discovered a cause of multiple sclerosis
Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition that causes damage to the substance that covers nerve cells. This interrupts normal communication between nerves, leading to problems with movement, speech, and other functions. We don’t know what causes MS but we think it is an autoimmune disease. What is an autoimmune disease? Autoimmune diseases develop when a person’s immune system goes after its own tissues and organs. Autoimmune disease can affect all parts of the body. For example: Type 1 diabetes. This is the type that usually affects kids and develops when abnormal antibodies at...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 3, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Robert H. Shmerling, MD Tags: Brain and cognitive health Injuries Neurological conditions Prevention Safety MS multiple sclerosis Source Type: blogs

Addiction, the opioid crisis, and family pain
In 2015, the opioid crisis was escalating to emergency-level proportions, claiming as many lives as car accidents. As the daughter of a longtime drug addict, the current burgeoning opioid epidemic managed to be both familiar and strange to me at the same time. My mother developed her addictions during the height of drug epidemics that occurred in New York City in the mid-1980s. The timeframe also marked the infancy of the AIDS crisis and the height of Reagan-era “Just Say No” programs. Back then, addiction was treated and viewed more as a crime than a disease, supposedly committed by scoundrels and misfits. The...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 2, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Laura Kiesel Tags: Addiction Behavioral Health Source Type: blogs

Taking an anticlotting drug? If you need a procedure, be prepared
Millions of people with cardiovascular disease take drugs that help prevent blood clots, which can lodge in a vessel and choke off the blood supply to part of a leg, lung, or the brain. These potentially lifesaving medications include warfarin (Coumadin) and a class of drugs called non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants or NOACs. Examples include dabigatran (Pradaxa) and rivaroxaban (Xarelto). However, if you’re taking one of these drugs and need an invasive procedure — anything from a tooth extraction to a hip replacement — managing the risks can be tricky, says cardiologist Dr. Gregory Piazza, ass...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - November 1, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Julie Corliss Tags: Drugs and Supplements Health Heart Health Surgery anticlotting drug anticlotting drugs Source Type: blogs

Why parents should save their baby ’s cord blood — and give it away
Follow me on Twitter @drClaire The blood left over in the umbilical cord and placenta after a baby is born has special cells in it that can treat and even cure some serious diseases. The blood can be collected and stored — and that’s what many private cord blood banking companies encourage parents to do, in case their child (or someone else in the family) develops one of those diseases in the future. The American Academy of Pediatrics wants parents to collect that cord blood. But instead of keeping it for themselves, they would like them to give it away to a public cord blood bank. Cord blood contains cells cal...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - October 31, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Claire McCarthy, MD Tags: Children's Health Family Planning and Pregnancy Parenting Source Type: blogs

Fitting in fitness for busy people
Today I led a small group of medical students on inpatient rounds. We had a patient on the seventh floor of the hospital. As I always do, I headed for the stairs, but told the students they could take the elevators if they wanted. (I promised them that they wouldn’t lose any points on their academic performance!) And as they usually do, they decided to join me in the stairwell. Yes, we huffed and puffed a bit, but we still chatted, discussing fitness the whole time. I take the stairs for many reasons, not the least of which is a frightening malfunctioning elevator experience from several years ago (a long story invol...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - October 30, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Monique Tello, MD, MPH Tags: Exercise and Fitness Health Source Type: blogs

5 things parents and teachers need to know about ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a childhood disorder that affects as many as one out of 10 children in the United States. Even though it’s fairly common, many misconceptions still persist. So here are five important things you should know if you are a parent or a teacher of a child with ADHD. 1. The hallmark symptoms of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Most kids are inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive at times. But for a diagnosis of ADHD, these symptoms must interfere significantly in multiple places, such as at school and at home. This is a childhood disorder, meaning the sympto...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - October 27, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Ellen Braaten, PhD Tags: Behavioral Health Brain and cognitive health Children's Health Mental Health Parenting Source Type: blogs

4 tips for teaching your child how to ride a bike “on the road”
I’ve been a parent for six years, and I still feel like I’ve always just missed some two-week window that would easily set up my oldest for the rest of his life. First it was swimming, then play dates, then soccer. The latest was riding a bike. In August, Milo was past 5 and a half years old and ripping his Big Wheel through the neighborhood. He loved it, but I feared that I had blown the chance to teach him to ride a two-wheeler before kindergarten started. So, me being me, I scrambled and tried to undo time. I bought him a used BMX bike and removed the pedals. He went up and down our sidewalk; the cracks and ...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - October 26, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Steve Calechman Tags: Children's Health Parenting Source Type: blogs

Contrary to popular belief, epidurals don ’ t prolong labor. Phew.
This study confirms what many of us suspected. Women don’t need the incentive or focus of pain to push a baby out. They need verbal support and guidance! There’s no other place in medicine where we would subject a woman to pain and not offer pain relief. And now we can do so without women feeling guilt or fault if they have a cesarean (not that they should ever feel that way — except they do). The post Contrary to popular belief, epidurals don’t prolong labor. Phew. appeared first on Harvard Health Blog. (Source: Harvard Health Blog)
Source: Harvard Health Blog - October 25, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Hope Ricciotti, MD Tags: Health Pain Management Pregnancy Women's Health Source Type: blogs

What parents should know — and do — about young children and mobile devices
Follow me on Twitter @drClaire Did you know that 42% of US children ages 0 to 8 have their own mobile device? That’s one of the many interesting findings of the Common Sense Media Census: Media Use by Kids Zero to Eight. Researchers interviewed 1,454 parents of children 0 to 8, whose ethnicity, education, and socioeconomic status were representative of the US as a whole. Essentially all homes had a mobile device, up from half in 2011. Ninety-five percent of homes had a smartphone, 78% had a tablet, and, as I said before, 42% of children had their own mobile device. What’s interesting is that the 42% number was ...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - October 24, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Claire McCarthy, MD Tags: Children's Health Parenting Source Type: blogs

Activity trackers: Can they really help you get fit?
This study follows another one from the University of Pittsburgh that found less weight loss among young adults who used fitness trackers compared to those who didn’t. What’s next? As technology evolves and research provides more information about what works (and what doesn’t), I think we’ll see a new generation of devices that are more customized to individual needs and medical conditions. For example, a person with diabetes might monitor physical activity to provide information about how to coordinate insulin injections and meals. In addition, activity trackers can do more than simply spit out inf...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - October 23, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Robert H. Shmerling, MD Tags: Exercise and Fitness Health activity tracker Source Type: blogs

Study investigates treatment regret among prostate cancer survivors
As they get older, do men with prostate cancer come to regret the treatment decisions they made? A new study of men diagnosed during the mid-1990s indicates that some of them will. Richard Hoffman, a professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, led a team that reviewed survey data that men filled out one, two, five, and 15 years after they were treated for prostate cancer. All 934 men included in the study were 75 or younger when diagnosed, each with localized tumors confined to the prostate gland. Approximately 60% of the men had low-risk prostate cance...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - October 20, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Charlie Schmidt Tags: Cancer Men's Health Prostate Health Source Type: blogs