Epinephrine is the only effective treatment for anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can potentially lead to death if not promptly treated. Allergic reactions typically begin suddenly after exposure to an allergen, which may be a food, medication, insect sting, or another trigger. Anaphylaxis can occur in anyone at any time; it can sometimes be triggered by allergens that a person has only had mild reactions to in the past — or to which they have never reacted to before. Recognizing anaphylaxis A mild allergic reaction may consist of hives, itching, flushing, swelling of the lips or tongue, or some combination of these. However, throat swelling or tighte...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - July 9, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Parul Kothari, MD Tags: Allergies Emergency Planning Source Type: blogs

How to make the most of your child ’s telehealth visit
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, telehealth visits with doctors have been on the rise — and for many reasons, they are likely to be part of medical care for the foreseeable future. While they aren’t the same as an in-person visit, I’ve found as a pediatrician that telehealth visits can be very useful. I can accomplish more than I would have expected while my patients can stay in the safety and convenience of their own homes (or wherever they are — I have done some where the patient was in a car or playing outside). As I’ve done more and more of these visits, I’ve found that there are...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - July 8, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Claire McCarthy, MD Tags: Adolescent health Children's Health Parenting Source Type: blogs

When lockdown is not actually safer: Intimate partner violence during COVID-19
The first thing that came to mind when I heard about COVID restrictions and mitigation strategies was how exceptionally dangerous this time could be for women living with abusive partners. “Self-isolate,” “stay at home,” “practice social distancing,” and “recession” are all words likely to be terrifying to many women who are living with intimate partner violence (IPV). The lives of these women are often filled with fear and danger under normal circumstances, but during this new normal of the global pandemic, the lives of these very often “invisible victims” are at...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - July 7, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Eve Valera, PhD Tags: Behavioral Health Brain and cognitive health Concussions Emergency Planning Injuries Safety Women's Health Source Type: blogs

Functional dyspepsia: Causes, treatments, and new directions
Functional dyspepsia (FD) is a common condition, loosely defined by some physicians as a stomach ache without a clear cause. More specifically, it is characterized by the feeling of fullness during or after a meal, or a burning sensation in the mid-upper abdomen, just below the rib cage (not necessarily associated with meals). The symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with finishing meals or participating in regular daily activities. Those with FD often go through multiple tests like upper endoscopy, CT scan, and gastric emptying study. But despite often-severe symptoms, no clear cause (such as cancer, ulcer disease, ...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - July 6, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Vikram Rangan, MD Tags: Digestive Disorders Mind body medicine Pain Management Source Type: blogs

Making telemedicine more inclusive
As a primary care physician at an academic community health care system in Massachusetts, I received a rapid introduction to telehealth this year. Within days after Massachusetts declared a state of emergency in response to the spread of COVID-19, almost all of our patient visits became telemedicine visits. Our staff reached out to patients to inform them of different ways they could get in touch with their doctor. Many would be able to gain access to health care through a health app connected to their healthcare web portal, or through a phone call or video call. The enormous potential of telehealth was apparent to me with...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - July 3, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Meera Sunder, MBBS, MRCOG Tags: Coronavirus and COVID-19 Health Health care disparities Health trends Source Type: blogs

What should you do during a psychiatric medication shortage?
You have finally found a medication to treat your depression that your body tolerates well. It has taken your psychiatrist months to find the optimal dose (after two failed medication trials). The COVID-19 pandemic hit, but in spite of your new daily stressors, you seem to be doing relatively well. That is, until you hear that your antidepressant medication is now in short supply. What can you do? Mental health treatment during COVID-19 With the increased stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, prescriptions for medications to treat mental illnesses have increased more than 20% between February and March 2020. Sertraline, or Zolo...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - July 2, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Stephanie Collier, MD, MPH Tags: Behavioral Health Mental Health Source Type: blogs

Protesting in the time of COVID-19
We’ve known for a long time that racism is a deeply ingrained public health issue resulting in real, tangible health disparities. For people of color, racism results in unequal access to quality education, healthy food, livable wages, affordable housing, and medical care. We also know very well that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting our communities of color. Studies show that Black, Latinx, and Native American patients are much more likely to get infected and die from COVID-19 than whites. Research also shows that Black, Native American, and Latino men are far more likely than whites to be killed by police, th...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - July 1, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Monique Tello, MD, MPH Tags: Coronavirus and COVID-19 Health Source Type: blogs

Marijuana may be risky for your heart
Now that marijuana is legal for medical or recreational use in many states, growing numbers of Americans — including older people — are imbibing this popular drug. In fact, the percentage of people ages 65 and older who said they used some form of marijuana almost doubled between 2015 and 2018, a recent study reports. Compared with prescription drugs, the health consequences of using marijuana are not nearly as well studied. But converging evidence suggests that the drug may be harmful for the heart, according to a review article in JACC: Journal of the American College of Cardiology. More than two million Amer...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - July 1, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Julie Corliss Tags: Heart Health Marijuana Source Type: blogs

How to help your young child cope with the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for all of us, and this includes our youngest children. It’s easy, and tempting, to think that infants, toddlers, and preschoolers aren’t affected by the pandemic. The truth is, though, that that life has changed for them, too — and for some of them it has changed dramatically. Even if the change is mostly positive for them — such as having their parents home all the time — it’s still a change that can be confusing and unsettling. Young children are less able to understand the nuances of all of this; for them, the world truly is all about them. An...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 30, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Claire McCarthy, MD Tags: Anxiety and Depression Behavioral Health Children's Health Parenting Source Type: blogs

Can controlling blood pressure later in life reduce risk of dementia?
This study was so successful at reducing the risk of mild cognitive impairment by lowering high blood pressure that it ended early, because the data and safety monitoring board felt that it was unethical to continue the control group. However, the dementia endpoint had not yet reached statistical significance — likely because of this early termination. Thus, while the study succeeded in one sense, it ultimately concluded that treating systolic blood pressure to below 120 mmHg (versus lower than 140 mmHg) did not reduce risk of dementia. A new analysis of many studies Because SPRINT-MIND and many other prior studies h...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 29, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Andrew E. Budson, MD Tags: Brain and cognitive health Healthy Aging Heart Health Hypertension and Stroke Source Type: blogs

Brain plasticity in drug addiction: Burden and benefit
The human brain is the most complex organ in our body, and is characterized by a unique ability called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to our brain’s ability to change and adapt in its structural and functional levels in response to experience. Neuroplasticity makes it possible for us to learn new languages, solve complex mathematical problems, acquire technical skills, and perform challenging athletic skills, which are all positive and advantageous for us. However, neuroplasticity is not beneficial if we develop non-advantageous learned behaviors. One example of non-advantageous learning is habitual drug mis...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 26, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Maria Mavrikaki, PhD Tags: Addiction Mental Health Source Type: blogs

How risky is a hug right now?
“Can I get a hug?” It’s a simple question for a simple act that’s been especially missed because of COVID-19 distancing. “Human beings need social contact,” says Dr. Eugene Beresin, executive director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital, and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “We are not hermits. We are not solo pilots. We are pack animals.” Not that it needs more promotion, but along with feeling connected, a hug has been shown to help fight off a cold and help your mood when dealing with conflict. But even as restrict...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 25, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Steve Calechman Tags: Cold and Flu Coronavirus and COVID-19 Health Risks and Prevention Safety Source Type: blogs

Autoimmune lung disease: Early recognition and treatment helps
A man who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) five years ago sees his rheumatologist for a follow-up visit. Fortunately, his arthritis is well controlled through medication. He can walk and do all his daily activities without pain. But over the past six months, he’s been feeling short of breath when climbing stairs. He has an annoying dry cough, too. COVID-19? That’s ruled out quickly. But a CT scan of his chest reveals early fibrosis (scarring) of the lungs, most likely related to rheumatoid arthritis. “I can finally walk normally, and now I can’t breathe when I walk!” says the frust...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 24, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Paul F. Dellaripa, MD Tags: Arthritis Autoimmune diseases Health Inflammation Lung disease Source Type: blogs

Daily decisions about risk: What to do when there ’s no right answer
Let’s face it: there’s still a deadly virus out there and it’s not going away anytime soon. And that means we all must make a lot of decisions that involve personal risk. And for many of these daily decisions, there’s no single right answer: no Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, World Health Organization recommendations, or expert advice exist. And as more places lift restrictions keeping people at home, more questions arise: Is it safe to go to the grocery store? And, how often is okay? How safe is it to fly on a commercial airline? Get a haircut? Go out to dinner? Should I avoid a frie...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 23, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Robert H. Shmerling, MD Tags: Coronavirus and COVID-19 Infectious diseases Prevention Source Type: blogs

4 parenting tips to break the negativity loop
“It’s a beautiful day outside,” you say, smiling. Your son replies, “It’s supposed to rain later.” You share, “That game was fun!” Your daughter adds, “I messed up one of my turns.” If you find that your child tends to channel Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh and has difficulty seeing some of the bright moments in a day, below are some ways to help them interrupt a negativity loop. The first tip works well for all ages. Choose the other tools depending on whether your children are younger or older. Start by validating emotions Parents have a lot of wisdom to share with...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 23, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Jacqueline Sperling, PhD Tags: Adolescent health Behavioral Health Children's Health Parenting Source Type: blogs

Probiotics — even inactive ones — may relieve IBS symptoms
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gut-brain disorder that can cause a variety of uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms including abdominal pain and diarrhea, constipation, or a mix of the two. IBS can reduce quality of life, often results in missed school or work, and can have a substantial economic impact. Physicians diagnose IBS by identifying symptoms laid out in the Rome Criteria, a set of diagnostic measures developed by a group of more than 100 international experts. Limited diagnostic testing is also done, to help exclude other conditions that could present with similar symptoms. Although the precise cau...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 22, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Anthony Lembo, MD Tags: Digestive Disorders Health Probiotics Source Type: blogs

The plight of nursing home residents in a pandemic
For anyone living in a nursing home or other long-term or assisted-living facility, these are particularly difficult times. I’ve heard more than one resident complain bitterly about feeling trapped in their rooms, having meals left outside their door (rather than gathering in the dining room with friends), and not being allowed to participate in their routine activities or have visitors. “They’re treating me like a prisoner,” said one resident I know. Yes, for many, it’s feeling more like a prison than the place they knew as home before the pandemic. And yet there are good reasons for all the ...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 19, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Robert H. Shmerling, MD Tags: Caregiving Healthy Aging Source Type: blogs

Olive oil or coconut oil: Which is worthy of kitchen-staple status?
Coconut oil has developed a cultlike following in recent years, with proponents touting benefits ranging from body fat reduction to heart disease prevention. Sadly for devotees, the evidence to support these assertions remains rather sparse. But there is plenty of research to suggest that other plant-based oils have advantages over their animal-derived counterparts, particularly when it comes to heart health. So which is best? While no specific type should be hyped as a panacea, one variety isn’t getting the press it deserves: olive oil. The case for olive oil continues to grow Olive oil is a staple fat in the Medite...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 18, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Emily Gelsomin, MLA, RD, LDN Tags: Healthy Eating Source Type: blogs

Summer ’s here, teens and parents — now what?
Summer is upon us, and for many teens in this country, school’s already out. Now what? Typical and cherished summer activities like jobs, internships, and camps may be on hold. There is a general sense of uncertainty about what the coming months will bring, and higher levels of worry in cities and states that struggled with many cases of COVID-19. This is going to be a very different summer than usual for many teenagers and their families. As the weather heats up, here are four tips to guide parents in helping their teens plan for the months ahead. Validate your teen’s reaction to current circumstances Teens ma...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 17, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Kathryn D. Boger, PhD, ABPP Tags: Adolescent health Behavioral Health Infectious diseases Parenting Source Type: blogs

4 parenting tips to break the negativity loop
“It’s a beautiful day outside,” you say, smiling. Your son replies, “It’s supposed to rain later.” You share, “That game was fun!” Your daughter adds, “I messed up one of my turns.” If you find that your child tends to channel Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh and has difficulty seeing some of the bright moments in a day, below are some ways to help them interrupt a negativity loop. The first tip works well for all ages. Choose the other tools depending on whether your children are younger or older. Start by validating emotions Parents have a lot of wisdom to share with...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 17, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Jacqueline Sperling, PhD Tags: Adolescent health Behavioral Health Children's Health Parenting Source Type: blogs

Global mental health in the time of COVID-19
Just months ago, who could have imagined that the world would be looking down the barrel of a spiraling health crisis and economic recession unlike any witnessed in our lifetime? Now, in a world gripped by the fear of a marauding virus, mental health is emerging as a key concern. Diverse pathways to poorer mental health The reaction of the media and governments to the epidemic served to fuel anxiety. The dramatic way the term “pandemic” was announced by the WHO after weeks of watching the epidemic unfolding around the world was a hair-raising moment. Apocalyptic messaging about millions of dead bodies littering...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 16, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Vikram Patel, MBBS, PhD Tags: Health Health care disparities Health trends Mental Health Source Type: blogs

New drugs approved for advanced BRCA-positive prostate cancer
Defective BRCA genes are well known for their ability to cause breast and ovarian cancers in women. But these same gene defects are also strong risk factors for aggressive prostate cancer in men. About 10% of men with metastatic prostate cancer — meaning cancer that is spreading away from the prostate — test positive for genetic mutations in BRCA genes. Fortunately, these cancers can be treated with new types of personalized therapies. In May, the FDA approved two new drugs specifically for men with BRCA-positive metastatic prostate cancer that has stopped responding to other treatments. One of the drugs, calle...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 15, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Charlie Schmidt Tags: Health Prostate Knowledge Treatments HPK Source Type: blogs

Treating mild sleep apnea: Should you consider a CPAP device?
This study supports a comprehensive approach to evaluation and treatment of mild OSA. While all people with mild OSA may not need to be treated with CPAP, there are patients who can greatly benefit from it. Treatments may be trial and error until you and your doctor get it right When sleep apnea is mild, treatment recommendations are less clear-cut, and should be determined based on the severity of your symptoms, your preferences, and other co-occurring health problems. Working in conjunction with your doctor, you can try a stepwise approach — if one treatment doesn’t work, you can stop that and try an alternat...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 15, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Melanie Pogach, MD Tags: Ear, nose, and throat Sleep Tests and procedures Source Type: blogs

How to stock a plant-based pantry (and fridge) on a budget
Given the current pandemic and related economic stressors, many of us are trying to maintain healthy habits while watching our expenses. One of the areas where we can support our immune system is through our food choices. We all have to eat, and eat several times a day, and selecting foods that support our health and our planet — while also saving money — is now a priority for many. People are going meatless for many reasons About a quarter of the US is now vegetarian, especially people ages 25 to 34. A survey from 2017 studied US attitudes toward animal farming, and found that 54% of Americans were trying to p...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 12, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Uma Naidoo, MD Tags: Cooking and recipes Food as medicine Healthy Eating Heart Health Nutrition Source Type: blogs

Driving across the country in a pandemic
Thinking about traveling during the pandemic? Before heading out, there’s a lot to think about, including: Do you have risk factors for severe COVID-19, such as advanced age or chronic medical conditions? What about your co-travelers’ health and risk factors? Are your co-travelers part of your household or tight social circle? Is the virus spreading in the places you’re going? Who are you going to see along the way, and what’s their health risk profile? If you get sick while traveling, will healthcare be available? And do you have the supports you need in case you have to quarantine for two weeks w...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 11, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Robert H. Shmerling, MD Tags: Coronavirus and COVID-19 Health Infectious diseases Source Type: blogs

Better heart health in eight weeks? Double down on fruits and veggies
Two decades ago, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) study tested the effects of three different diets on almost 500 participants over eight weeks. The first diet was a typical American diet, relatively low in fruits and vegetables (3.5 servings daily) and high in junk foods and sweets. The second offered more fruits and vegetables (8.5 servings daily) as well as seeds, nuts, and beans, and not many sweets. The third was the very healthy DASH diet, rich in fruits and vegetables (9.5 servings daily), beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, and barely any sweets. Participants truly stuck to each diet plan: All m...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 11, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Monique Tello, MD, MPH Tags: Diet and Weight Loss Food as medicine Health Heart Health Nutrition Source Type: blogs

Helping people with autism spectrum disorder manage masks and COVID-19 tests
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many new challenges for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Features of ASD, including impaired social and communication skills, repetitive behaviors, insistence on sameness, and especially sensory intolerances, make adapting to wearing face masks and the experience of a COVID-19 test particularly challenging. Challenges of wearing face masks with ASD Many people with ASD are highly sensitive to touch, and the face can be especially so. Wearing a face mask involves many unpleasant sensations. On the surface, there’s the scratchy texture of fabric, tight contact where the to...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 10, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Robyn Thom, MD Tags: Adolescent health Anxiety and Depression Behavioral Health Caregiving Children's Health Health care Tests and procedures Source Type: blogs

Study gives insight — and advice — on picky eating in children
As a pediatrician, I hear it again and again from parents: “My child is a picky eater.” All children are picky eaters at some point or in some way during childhood; it’s part of how they assert their independence. But some children are pickier than others, stubbornly refusing to eat everything except a few chosen foods. So what is a parent to do? A new article published in the journal Pediatrics gives some insight into picky eating — and into how we can prevent it and help. What does this study on picky eaters tell us? Picky eating starts early — and stays. Researchers looked at the habits of ...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 9, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Claire McCarthy, MD Tags: Behavioral Health Children's Health Healthy Eating Nutrition Parenting Source Type: blogs

Are statins enough? When to consider PCSK9 inhibitors
For well over 30 years, physicians have understood the role of LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or “bad”) cholesterol in the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD). LDL cholesterol levels are directly correlated with increasing CVD risk and, as summarized in a recent blog post, lowering LDL cholesterol levels, through both lifestyle changes and medications, has been shown to reduce this risk. Statins are the first-line choice of medications for lowering LDL cholesterol. They are widely prescribed for both primary prevention (reducing CVD risk in patients without known CVD) and secondary prevention (preventing...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 8, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Alyson Kelley-Hedgepeth, MD Tags: Drugs and Supplements Heart Health Source Type: blogs

How to socialize in a pandemic
In early March, when most Americans began social distancing, the hope was that life would get back to normal after just a few weeks. It’s become clear now that some distancing will be needed for many more months, or even years, to keep the coronavirus at bay. But quarantine fatigue is real. Abstaining from all social contact for the long haul won’t be a sustainable option for most people. So, how can we make decisions about socializing during the coronavirus pandemic? Risk isn’t binary Public health messaging over the past several months has focused on staying home as much as possible. Staying home alone ...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 5, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Julia Marcus, PhD, MPH Tags: Coronavirus and COVID-19 Health Infectious diseases Relationships Source Type: blogs

The doctor will “see” you now: Teledermatology in the era of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed healthcare delivery across the world. Headlines about shortages of lifesaving resources and personal protective equipment have dominated our attention. But patients and doctors are also facing quieter challenges. Social distancing measures and concerns about transmission of the virus have significantly reduced the number of patients coming into hospitals and doctors’ offices for non-COVID-related health concerns — sometimes at a significant detriment to their health — due to delays in diagnosis or treatment. In response, hospitals and clinics are increasingly turning ...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 4, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Kristina Liu, MD, MHS Tags: Coronavirus and COVID-19 Health trends Skin and Hair Care Source Type: blogs

Easing stress and seeking normalcy in traumatic times
For most Americans, 2020 has already been a rough year — and it’s not even half over. A pandemic, natural disasters, economic decline, and, for many, the loss of a job have taken a toll on their mental health. “Stress is particularly acute when you’re experiencing a situation that is outside of your control,” says Dr. Kerry Ressler, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “You may feel stuck, frozen, or helpless.” After a traumatic period, even when things settle down, it can be difficult to move on and regain a sense of normalcy. Reducing stress and regaining your footi...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 3, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Kelly Bilodeau Tags: Anxiety and Depression Coronavirus and COVID-19 Mental Health Stress Source Type: blogs

5 winning ways for kids to burn energy
Could your kids power the electrical grid, if you could only figure out how to tap that energy? Someday, all the hours spent cooped up at home will be a memory, not a daily reality. But if your children are bouncing off the walls with schools and day care still closed and summer coming, here are five active ideas to safely channel their energy. Pandemic or not, preschoolers benefit from active play throughout the day, and children ages 6 to 17 should rack up at least 60 minutes of activity daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And since regular activity boosts health and lifts mood, everyone s...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 2, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Lauren Elson, MD Tags: Adolescent health Children's Health Exercise and Fitness Parenting Source Type: blogs

Bracing for contact tracing
What should you do if you get a call from a contact tracer letting you know you’ve been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19? Even our best efforts to stay well — by maintaining distance, washing hands often, restricting the size of our social circles, and wearing masks — may not keep the virus at bay as cities and towns lift restrictions. That’s why many experts recommend three combined approaches to help prevent a dangerous resurgence of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19: continued mitigation efforts, which includes preventive strategies like those described abo...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - June 1, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Robert H. Shmerling, MD Tags: Coronavirus and COVID-19 Health Infectious diseases Source Type: blogs

5 winning ways for kids burn energy
Could your kids power the electrical grid, if you could only figure out how to tap that energy? Someday, all the hours spent cooped up at home will be a memory, not a daily reality. But if your children are bouncing off the walls with schools and day care still closed and summer coming, here are five active ideas to safely channel their energy. Pandemic or not, preschoolers benefit from active play throughout the day, and children ages 6 to 17 should rack up at least 60 minutes of activity daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And since regular activity boosts health and lifts mood, everyone s...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 31, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Lauren Elson, MD Tags: Adolescent health Children's Health Exercise and Fitness Parenting Source Type: blogs

Can forest therapy enhance health and well-being?
According to this study, green spaces are restorative and boost attention, while viewing concrete worsens attention during tasks. Finding a forest therapy guide The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy trains and certifies forest therapy guides across the world. Guides help people forge a partnership with nature through a series of invitations that allow participants to become attentive to the forest, to deepen their relationship with nature, and allow the natural world to promote healing and well-being. Ultimately, guides support what the forests have to offer us, inviting participants into practices that deepen physi...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 29, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Susan Abookire, BSEE, MD, MPH, FACP Tags: Exercise and Fitness Health Mental Health Stress Source Type: blogs

Can celiac disease affect life expectancy?
Celiac disease (CD), triggered by the ingestion of gluten, occurs in people genetically predisposed to develop the chronic autoimmune condition. During the past few decades, doctors have learned much about how the disease develops, including genetic and other risk factors. However, results from studies on whether people with CD have an increased risk of premature death linked to the condition have been mixed. A recent study shows a small but statistically significant increased mortality rate. Celiac disease can affect the entire body Until recently, CD was considered a mainly pediatric gastrointestinal disorder, associated...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 28, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Maureen Leonard, MD, MMSc Tags: Allergies Autoimmune diseases Source Type: blogs

Collaborative care: Treating mental illnesses in primary care
Like most people, you probably do not enjoy going to the doctor only to be referred to a specialist in a different practice. Unfortunately, fragmented care is often the reality among people suffering from common mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. Wouldn’t it be nice to have both your behavioral and physical health needs addressed at the same time and in the same place? Comprehensive physical and behavioral health care In medicine, illnesses of the brain are often treated in specialized settings, separate from the rest of medical care. However, we know that there is a strong link between mental illnesses ...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 27, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Stephanie Collier, MD, MPH Tags: Behavioral Health Health care Mental Health Prevention Stress Source Type: blogs

If cannabis becomes a problem: How to manage withdrawal
This study is a meta-analysis — a study which includes many studies that are deemed similar enough to lump together, in order to increase the numerical power of the study and, ideally, the strength of the conclusions. The authors included studies that go all the way back to the mid-1990s — a time when cannabis was illegal in the US, different in potency, and when there was no choice or control over strains or cannabinoid compositions, as there is now. One of the studies in the meta-analysis included “cannabis dependent inpatients” in a German psychiatric hospital in which 118 patients were being det...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 26, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Peter Grinspoon, MD Tags: Addiction Marijuana Mental Health Source Type: blogs

Combining different biopsies limits uncertainty in prostate cancer diagnosis
Are prostate cancer biopsies reliably accurate? Not always. The most common method, called a systematic biopsy, sometimes misses tumors, and it can also misclassify cancer as being either more or less aggressive than it really is. During systematic biopsy, a doctor takes 12 evenly-spaced samples of the prostate, called cores, while looking at the gland with an ultrasound machine. A new method, called MRI-targeted biopsy, guides doctors to suspicious abnormalities in the prostate, and emerging evidence suggests that it’s better at detecting high-grade, aggressive tumors that need immediate treatment. These biopsies re...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 26, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Charlie Schmidt Tags: Diagnosis Health Prostate Knowledge HPK Source Type: blogs

When dieting doesn ’t work
At any given time, more than a third of Americans are on a specific diet, with weight loss as a leading reason. Most are going to be disappointed, because even when successful, lost weight is frequently regained within a few months. While most weight-loss diets can help you lose weight, they may be unsuccessful over the long run for a number of reasons. Some people don’t follow their diets carefully and don’t lose much weight even from the start. Others may go off the diet entirely after a while, because it’s too restrictive or the foods aren’t appealing. Some may engage in less physical activity as...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 25, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Robert H. Shmerling, MD Tags: Diet and Weight Loss Source Type: blogs

Reducing your risk of changes in thinking following surgery
Cognition is an important function of the brain that enables us to acquire and process information, to enhance our understanding of thoughts, experiences, and our senses. Any condition that affects our ability to think, reason, memorize, or be attentive affects our cognitive ability. Some cognitive decline is a normal part of aging, but there are many things you can do to prevent or forestall cognitive changes as you age, including when planning for surgery. Older adults are having more surgical procedures As our population ages and medicine and healthcare advances, more older adults are likely to develop serious condition...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 22, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Subramaniam Balachundhar, MD, MPH, FASA Tags: Healthy Aging Managing your health care Memory Neurological conditions Prevention Surgery Source Type: blogs

Are there benefits of cardiac catheterization for stable coronary artery disease?
One of the main causes of chest pain is a blockage of blood flow down the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that deliver oxygenated blood to our heart muscle to allow it to beat. Depending on how fast the blockage forms, it is labeled as either a stable or unstable blockage. Unstable blockages occur quickly when an atherosclerotic plaque ruptures within the coronary artery and a clot forms on top of it. The clot, along with the plaque, can obstruct blood flow, deprive heart muscle of oxygen, and lead to a heart attack. This is called an acute coronary syndrome, and it frequently requires a minimally invasive procedure c...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 21, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Darshan Doshi, MD, MS Tags: Health Heart Health Tests and procedures Source Type: blogs

Some healthcare can safely wait (and some can ’t)
Among the many remarkable things that have happened since the COVID-19 pandemic began is that a lot of our usual medical care has simply stopped. According to a recent study, routine testing for cervical cancer, cholesterol, and blood sugar is down nearly 70% across the country. Elective surgeries, routine physical examinations, and other screening tests have been canceled or rescheduled so that people can stay at home, avoid being around others who might be sick, and avoid unknowingly spreading the virus. Many clinics, hospitals, and doctors’ offices have been closed for weeks except for emergencies. Even if these f...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 20, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Robert H. Shmerling, MD Tags: Health Health care Healthy Aging Men's Health Women's Health Source Type: blogs

How to respond to tantrums
As Murphy’s Law would have it, children’s tantrums seem to happen at the most inconvenient times. Your toddler or independent-minded 3-year-old turns red, screams, stomps, and appears possessed when you’ve finally gotten everyone geared up for a family walk, or wrangled that video call you spent days coordinating with relatives to get everyone live at once — or even worse, when you need silence for your weekly video conference call at work. “What’s gotten into you? We don’t have time for this!” you might think. Everything you say and do seems to make the tantrum worse, and it...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 19, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Jacqueline Sperling, PhD Tags: Behavioral Health Children's Health Parenting Source Type: blogs

I have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). What should I eat?
One of the most frequent questions that patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) ask is: what should I eat? It is clear that in addition to genetic factors, certain environmental factors, including diet, may trigger the excessive immune activity that leads to intestinal inflammation in IBD, which includes both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). However, the limited number and high variability of studies have made it difficult to confidently advise patients regarding which specific foods might be harmful and which are safe or may actually provide a protective benefit. New IBD dietary guidelines To help...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 18, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: John Garber, MD Tags: Digestive Disorders Health Healthy Eating Nutrition Source Type: blogs

And now for some good news on health
When it comes to health concerns, the COVID-19 pandemic is top of mind for most people right now. And that’s for good reason. But there is some very good non-COVID health news that may not be getting the attention it deserves. According to the CDC, the rates of six of the top 10 causes of death in this country, which account for about three-quarters of all deaths, have been declining. That’s remarkable. And these improvements are occurring despite an aging population and an obesity epidemic that affects several health conditions. Six positive health trends Let’s look at the trends in these conditions...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 15, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Robert H. Shmerling, MD Tags: Cancer Health Health trends Heart Health Source Type: blogs

New warning on coronavirus symptoms in children — what parents need to know
While most children who get COVID-19 have a mild or even asymptomatic illness, there are new reports that some children may have a complication that can be severe and dangerous. Called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it can lead to life-threatening problems with the heart and other organs in the body. Early reports compared it to Kawasaki disease, an inflammatory illness that can lead to heart problems. But while some cases look very much like Kawasaki’s, others have been different. Experts think that MIS-C is likely a reaction of the body ...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 14, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Claire McCarthy, MD Tags: Adolescent health Children's Health Infectious diseases Parenting Source Type: blogs

SMall Incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE): It ’s what’s new in laser vision correction
The goal of laser vision correction (LVC) is to eliminate or reduce the need for glasses and contact lenses. LVC treats three basic refractive errors: myopia (nearsightedness), astigmatism (blurring of vision due to non-spherical shape of the eye), and hyperopia (farsightedness). During an LVC procedure, the cornea — the clear dome on the surface of the eye — is reshaped in order to correct the refractive error. The different techniques to perform LVC are laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK), phototherapeutic refractive keratectomy (PRK), and small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE). LASIK and PRK LASIK, the...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 14, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Kathryn Hatch, MD Tags: Eye Health Source Type: blogs

Why your sleep and wake cycles affect your mood
It’s no accident that most people tend to sleep at night and are awake during the day. Our sleep-wake cycle is determined by our circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock. Like old-time clocks, this internal clock needs to be reset every day, and is adjusted by first exposure to light in the morning. How does circadian rhythm work? Our circadian rhythms are controlled by multiple genes and are responsible for a variety of important functions, including daily fluctuations in wakefulness, body temperature, metabolism, digestion, and hunger. Circadian rhythm also controls memory consolidation (the formation of l...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - May 13, 2020 Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Lawrence Epstein, MD Tags: Behavioral Health Mental Health Sleep Source Type: blogs