Harvard Health Blog

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

Latest articles

Shorter dream-stage sleep may be related to earlier death

Time and time again, adequate sleep has been shown to be critical to daily functioning and long-term health. Sleep serves numerous roles: recovering energy for the brain, clearing waste products, and forming memories. Prior studies have clearly linked shortened sleep times to heart disease, obesity, reduced cognitive performance, worsened mood, and...

Time for flu shots — getting one is more important than ever!

Wondering when to get your flu shot? The best time is before influenza (flu) starts circulating widely. For most people, September or October is ideal for protection through the whole flu season, as the immune response from the vaccine wanes over time. And while changes and restrictions due to COVID-19 may make getting a flu vaccine less convenient...

Harvard Health Ad Watch: A feel-good message about a diabetes drug

This 60-second advertisement for Trulicity, a medication for diabetes, is one of the most feel-good medication commercials I’ve ever seen. The narrator never uses the scare tactic of so many other ads, listing the terrible things that could happen if you don’t take the treatment. Instead, from start to finish, music, images, and spoken words deliver...

6 all-natural sex tips for men

If you believe those upbeat, seductive advertisements, men only need to pop a pill to awaken their dormant sex life. Whether the problem is erectile dysfunction (ED) — the inability to maintain an erection for sex — or low libido, ED medications appear to be the quickest and easiest solution. While these drugs work for most men, they are not right...

Learning to live well with a persistent illness

When we get an acute illness like the flu or a cold, we feel sick for a week or two and then get back to our usual lives. This is how illness is “supposed” to go. But what happens when illness doesn’t fit this bill? What do patients with chronic conditions like diabetes or multiple sclerosis, or with persistent symptoms of Lyme disease or long-haul...

5 takeaways for returning to school

School districts in the United States are in a period of profound uncertainty, which will likely persist throughout the 2020–2021 school year. Many agree that remote teaching in spring 2020 was piecemeal and sub-optimal. Now, despite a stated universal commitment to full-time, in-person, high-caliber education, many states have rising rates of COVID-19,...

Getting the best treatment for your fibromyalgia

Imagine being in pain and none of your doctors can find a clear reason for it. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon experience for many of the four million Americans living with fibromyalgia, a chronic, painful condition. People with fibromyalgia experience widespread pain, aches, and stiffness in muscles and joints throughout the body, as well as...

Hormonal treatments for prostate cancer may prevent or limit COVID-19 symptoms

Men have roughly twice the risk of developing severe disease and dying from COVID-19 than women. Scientists say this is in part because women mount stronger immune reactions to the disease’s microbial cause: the infamous coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Now research with prostate cancer patients points to another possible explanation, which is that the...

Proposed guidelines likely to identify more early lung cancers

Lung cancer is the second most prevalent cancer in the US, and the deadliest cancer killer. In 2020, an estimated 135,720 people will die from the disease — more than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined. I’ll never forget meeting new, advanced-stage lung cancer patients who ask if their diagnosis could have somehow been made earlier, when...

Limiting COVID chaos during the school year

Child: “Will I go back to school this fall? Parent: “I’m not sure yet.” Child: “Do you know when we’ll find out?” Parent: “I also don’t know that yet.” Child: “Will school be the same for the whole year?” Parent: “I don’t know that either.” Sound familiar? If the only thing you do know is that plans are in flux, you’re not alone. School plans...

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