Game changer: Stents for stroke patients

By Marilynn Marchione
Posted on April 02, 2015

Stroke experts are reporting a major advance: Stents similar to the ones used to open clogged heart arteries can also be used to clear a blood clot in the brain, greatly lowering the risk a patient will end up disabled.Patients treated with these brain stents were far more likely to be alive and able to live independently three months after their stroke, doctors reported at a recent... READ MORE

Can you pare down your medications?

By Harvard Women's Health Watch
Posted on March 24, 2015

If you can’t remember the last time you did an inventory of your pill bottles, you may want to add that to your to-do list.Like some items in your wardrobe, the drugs that suited you at one point may not work as well as you go through life.Your kidneys and liver are responsible for clearing drugs from the body. As you age, these two organs clear drugs more slowly. As a result, drugs... READ MORE

Some cold remedies can make you sicker

By Harvard Health Letter
Posted on March 19, 2015

It’s handy to walk into a drugstore for an over-the-counter cold remedy, but some of the ingredients may cause adverse reactions.“I think people underestimate these medications because you can get them without a prescription. But they are still medications that can interact with other drugs and interfere with existing health problems,” said Laura Carr, a pharmacist at... READ MORE

Botox has many uses beyond cosmetic

By Harvard Women's Health Watch
Posted on March 13, 2015

“Botox is a first-line treatment only for dystonia, or uncontrolled muscle contractions. But for other conditions, it can be quite effective for patients who have exhausted other possibilities,” said Dr. Bonnie Hersh, clinical instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hersh uses Botox to treat patients with chronic migraine, upper limb spasticity, and excessive... READ MORE

FDA new drug approvals soared last year

By Matthew Perrone
Posted on March 05, 2015

The Food and Drug Administration approved 41 first-of-a-kind drugs in 2014, including a record number of medicines for rare diseases, pushing the agency’s annual tally of drug approvals to its highest level in 18 years.FDA drug approvals are considered a barometer of industry innovation and the federal government’s efficiency in reviewing new therapies. Last year’s total... READ MORE

Your bones need more than just calcium

By Kara Lydon, R.D
Posted on February 27, 2015

When you think about bone nutrition, you probably think of calcium first. And rightly so: A solid body of research suggests that you should meet your daily calcium needs (1,000 - 1,200 milligrams) for optimal bone health.With 54 million Americans suffering from osteoporosis, it’s important to do all you can to feed your bones to prevent this debilitating condition.Get these nutrients, ... READ MORE

Physical fitness essential for healthy back

By Harvard Men's Health Watch
Posted on February 20, 2015

With changes in the spine that come with aging, occasional backaches may grow more frequent and blossom into a chronic and disabling pain condition.But this doesn’t have to happen to you. To maintain the best back health possible, you have to address both the body and the mind, said Dr. Zacharia Isaac, a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and... READ MORE

Medicare pays to coordinate chronic care

By Lauran Neergaard
Posted on February 11, 2015

Adjusting medications before someone gets sick enough to visit the doctor. Updating outside specialists so one doctor’s prescription doesn’t interfere with another’s.Starting in January, Medicare pays primary care doctors a monthly fee to better coordinate care for the most vulnerable seniors  — those with multiple chronic illnesses  — even if they... READ MORE

Cancer patients try drugs out on mice first

By Marilynn Marchione
Posted on February 05, 2015

Scientists often test drugs in mice. Now some cancer patients are doing the same — with the hope of curing their own disease.They are paying a private lab to breed mice that carry bits of their own tumors so treatments can be tried first on the customized rodents. The idea is to see which drugs might work best on a particular person’s specific cancer.The mice may help patients... READ MORE

How to preserve the nutrients in produce

By Clare Tone, R.D.
Posted on February 01, 2015

Food preparation techniques such as peeling, chopping and cooking make an impact on the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables.Follow these tips to preserve more nutrients in your produce:1. Fresh is best, frozen is next.Fresh, ripe produce in-season — with virtually no cooking required — will usually be highest in nutrients. But what about produce in the middle of winter?... READ MORE