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Harvard Health Blog: You’ll find posts from Harvard Medical School physicians and our editors on a variety of health news and issues.

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5 inflammation-fighting food swaps

Inflammation: if you follow health news, you probably hear about it often. When is inflammation helpful? How can it be harmful? What steps can you take to tone it down? What is inflammation and how does it affect your body? If you’re not familiar with the term, inflammation refers to an immune system reaction to an infection or injury. In those instances,...

Is IBD an underrecognized health problem in minority groups?

As many people know, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a complex condition affecting the intestine, which is the part of the digestive tract that helps digest food and remove water, salt, and waste. But you might not know this: in recent years in the US, IBD is being diagnosed more often among people who are Black, Hispanic/Latinx, East and Southeast...

Sickle cell disease in newborns and children: What families should know and do

If you’ve learned that your newborn or young child has sickle cell disease, you — and other family members and friends — may have many questions. These days, most cases of sickle cell disease in the US are diagnosed through newborn screening. It’s important to make the diagnosis early, so that babies can be started on penicillin (or another antibiotic)...

COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens: What we do — and don’t — know

Vaccines have been heralded as a key measure to slow the COVID-19 pandemic and one day bring it to an end. Every day, millions of American adults are receiving one of the authorized vaccines proven highly effective at preventing severe illness that might otherwise lead to hospitalizations and deaths. In the US, most people over 65 have now been fully...

Happy trails: Take a hike, now

While the COVID-19 pandemic is not over by any means, more people are getting vaccinated, and restrictions are gradually lifting. After too much time spent inactive and indoors, what better way to move your body and enjoy nature than by taking a hike? In many ways, hiking is the ideal antidote to a global pandemic, as it can heal both body and soul....

Sleep well — and reduce your risk of dementia and death

In a recent blog post I discussed how beneficial sleep is for memory function. But sleep isn’t just good for your memory; it can actually reduce your risk of dementia — and death. Although it has been known for some time that individuals with dementia frequently have poor, fragmented sleep, two new studies suggest that if you don’t get enough sleep,...

COVID-19 vaccines and the LGBTQ+ community

I have a confession: in late 2020, when the first COVID-19 vaccines were approved by the FDA, I was hesitant to get one myself. Despite working in public health and believing strongly in vaccines to keep our community healthy, I was anxious about putting something in my body that seemed so new. I thought: “What if the vaccine is dangerous?” “What about...

Polycystic ovary syndrome and the skin

Often, the skin can be a window to what is occurring inside your body. For women with polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, this this may mean acne, hair loss, excessive facial or body hair growth, dark patches on the skin, or any combination of these issues. What is PCOS? Skin and hair issues can be the most readily perceptible features of PCOS, and...

Dental appliances for sleep apnea: Do they work?

Keeping your partner — or yourself — up at night with loud snoring? This might be more than a nuisance. About 25% of men and nearly 10% of women have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a serious sleep disorder characterized by explosive snores, grunts, and gasps. Tissue at the back of the throat temporarily obstructs the airway, leading to breathing pauses...

Terrified of needles? That can affect your health

No one likes getting stuck by a needle. Whether for a blood test, vaccination, or blood donation, needle sticks are something most people would prefer to avoid. Yet, judging only by schedules for routine vaccinations and tests, the average healthy person can expect at least 165 needle sticks over a lifetime. Get hospitalized? That might add dozens...

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