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

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

Can controlling blood pressure later in life reduce risk of dementia?

Everyone talks about the importance of treating high blood pressure, the “silent killer.” And everybody knows that untreated high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks and strokes. But can treating high blood pressure reduce your risk of cognitive impairment and dementia? High blood pressure is a risk factor for cognitive impairment and dementia...

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,...

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