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The new coronavirus: What we do — and don’t — know - harvard

The new coronavirus: What we do — and don’t — know

A novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, has grown quickly since late December. This primer on what we do –– and don't –– know can help if you're concerned about this rapidly evolving public health issue. The post The new coronavirus: What we do — and don’t — know appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 7 hours ago
Even Female Bosses Face Sexual Harrassment: Study  - web md

Even Female Bosses Face Sexual Harrassment: Study

Researchers examined workplace sexual harassment in the United States, Japan and Sweden. They found that female supervisors experienced between 30% and 100% more sexual harassment than other women employees.
web md - 1 day ago
Think hard before shaming children - harvard

Think hard before shaming children

Parents may offer what they think is constructive criticism to a child, but there is a fine line between criticism and shaming, and shaming can have lasting effects on a child’s self-esteem. The post Think hard before shaming children appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 day ago
The hype on hyaluronic acid - harvard

The hype on hyaluronic acid

A variety of beauty and skincare products now contain hyaluronic acid, a substance naturally found in the body that retains moisture. But what benefits do these products offer, and are they worth using? The post The hype on hyaluronic acid appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 days ago
What can you do to reduce the risk of birth defects? - harvard

What can you do to reduce the risk of birth defects?

Women who are hoping to become pregnant want to do everything they can to ensure that their babies to be as healthy as possible, which means following recommendations to minimize the possibility of birth defects. The post What can you do to reduce the risk of birth defects? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 days ago
Is your cell phone dangerous to your health? - harvard

Is your cell phone dangerous to your health?

Plenty of us use our phones in situations when we probably should be paying more attention. But how often does this behavior lead to actual injury? A data analysis offers some answers. The post Is your cell phone dangerous to your health? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 4 days ago
Saying Goodbye to One-Sided Relationships - positively positive

Saying Goodbye to One-Sided Relationships

The problem is, it’s not that easy to call someone out or tell them you’re no longer going to stick around while they continue their selfish ways. We like to tell ourselves we’re strong enough to walk away, but it takes time, courage, and a lot of confidence to accept you’re not loving yourself by keeping this person in your life. It takes lots of self-love to walk away from a friend you’ve known all your life or a partner who you love because you know you’re hurting yourself by keeping them around. The post Saying Goodbye to One-Sided Relationships appeared first on Positively Positive.
positively positive - 4 days ago
LDL cholesterol: How low can you (safely) go? - harvard

LDL cholesterol: How low can you (safely) go?

Lowering LDL cholesterol has been shown to lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Recent studies have suggested that more aggressive goals for LDL levels in people who already have CVD can decrease risk even further. The post LDL cholesterol: How low can you (safely) go? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 5 days ago
Menopause and insomnia: Could a low-GI diet help? - harvard

Menopause and insomnia: Could a low-GI diet help?

Researchers examining dietary data from over 50,000 postmenopausal women found that women who ate foods with a higher glycemic index, and foods with more added sugars, were more likely to have insomnia. The post Menopause and insomnia: Could a low-GI diet help? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Diabetic retinopathy: Understanding diabetes-related eye disease and vision loss - harvard

Diabetic retinopathy: Understanding diabetes-related eye disease and vision loss

Over 7 million people have diabetic retinopathy, the most common form of vision loss in working-age adults with diabetes. It’s recommended that people with diabetes should work to keep blood pressure in the normal range and their A1c level below 7% to avoid complications such as diabetic retinopathy. The post Diabetic retinopathy: Understanding diabetes-related eye disease and vision loss appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Coming clean: Your anesthesiologist needs to know about marijuana use before surgery - harvard

Coming clean: Your anesthesiologist needs to know about marijuana use before surgery

Regular marijuana users who need surgery should disclose their use ahead of the procedure, because of its effects on the body and on the anesthesia medications required for sedation. The post Coming clean: Your anesthesiologist needs to know about marijuana use before surgery appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
What to do when your child swears - harvard

What to do when your child swears

Even young children can surprise a parent with salty language. Regardless of where they first heard it, use the occasion to help your child learn appropriate behavior in and outside the home. The post What to do when your child swears appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Are polypills and population-based treatment the next big things? - harvard

Are polypills and population-based treatment the next big things?

Combining multiple medications into a single pill, or polypill, is one approach to improving adherence (taking medication as prescribed). Depending on the conditions being treated, it may be easier for people to take a single pill, but there are also downsides to this approach. The post Are polypills and population-based treatment the next big things? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Targeted Ultrasound Destroys Cancer Cells: Study  - web md

Targeted Ultrasound Destroys Cancer Cells: Study

Focused ultrasound is already used to destroy tumors, with most approaches using either high-intensity beams to heat and destroy cells or injected contrast dyes. But both approaches can harm healthy cells and contrast dyes work only for a minority of tumors.
web md - 1 week ago
What are ultra-processed foods and are they bad for our health? - harvard

What are ultra-processed foods and are they bad for our health?

Health advice tells us to eat less processed food, but what does that mean? Researchers compared diets with most of the calories from unprocessed foods and from ultra-processed foods, to see how the subjects were affected. The post What are ultra-processed foods and are they bad for our health? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Harvard Health Ad Watch: When marketing puts your health at risk - harvard

Harvard Health Ad Watch: When marketing puts your health at risk

Can health marketing be harmful? Watch out for health ads that make misleading or even dangerous claims that an unproven product or treatment is better than a proven one. The post Harvard Health Ad Watch: When marketing puts your health at risk appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Study: Young Women Getting Pelvic Exams They Don’t Need  - web md

Study: Young Women Getting Pelvic Exams They Don’t Need

The authors estimate that nearly one-quarter of young women aged 15-20 have received a pelvic exam in the last year. That’s 2.6 million girls. More than half of the exams -- 1.4 million -- may not have been needed.
web md - 2 weeks ago
What parents need to know about a vegan diet - harvard

What parents need to know about a vegan diet

If your family follows a vegan diet––or your child expresses the desire to do so on their own––it's important for parents to be aware of the nutritional challenges of vegan eating, and how to meet them. The post What parents need to know about a vegan diet appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Vestibular migraine: Progress in the search for treatments - harvard

Vestibular migraine: Progress in the search for treatments

A sense of dizziness or spinning associated with migraine headache is called vestibular migraine. A small study found that a type of nerve stimulation treatment improved symptoms of vestibular migraine in study participants. The post Vestibular migraine: Progress in the search for treatments appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Hiatus - positively psychological

Hiatus

Hello Everybody! It is good to take a minute to write again. It has been too long since I have posted on this blog. When I started the blog over the summer, I was feeling very inspired to read as much psychological research as possible in an effort to share it with you guys. This … Continue reading Hiatus →
positively psychological - 3 weeks ago
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harvard
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I'm confused... What am I doing here?

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harvard
Congenital heart disease and autism: A possible link?

Congenital heart disease and autism: A possible link?

harvard - 3 weeks ago

Children born with congenital heart disease (CHD) are now surviving at extraordinarily high rates; for most, their life expectancy may be comparable to that of the general population. However, despite the great advances in medical and surgical care, many people with CHD experience long-lasting neurodevelopmental difficulties. These include problems with attention and executive function skills, learning challenges, and in some cases, lower-than-normal IQs.

Study links congenital heart disease and autism

A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics provides compelling evidence that there may also be an association between CHD and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This large, case-control study is one of the first to confirm that people born with CHD have approximately a 33% increased likelihood of receiving a diagnosis of ASD. This holds true even after considering other factors known to elevate the risk of autism, including genetic syndromes, prematurity, and neonatal complications such as epilepsy or insufficient oxygen at birth.

One of the most interesting findings from this study was that the risks of ASD were highest among children with less critical forms of CHD, such as atrial septal defects and ventricular septal defects, although children with more complex types of CHD also had elevated risks. As we noted in an editorial that accompanied the Pediatrics article, this and other similar studies (such as this one, this one, and this one) raise more questions than answers. For example: How can we explain this association? Why do some subgroups of people with CHD seem to be at greater risk than others? What can health providers do about it?

Whats the connection between CHD and autism?

For decades, research has highlighted the connection between CHD and neurodevelopmental impairments in children. Most studies have suggested that outcomes are generally worse for those with more severe forms of CHD who require cardiac surgery in the first year of life, and for those with co-existing genetic syndromes. These findings suggest that there may be shared genetic pathways that impact heart and brain development but are expressed in different ways (for example, as ASD and/or CHD). Further research investigating the connection between genes and their behavioral expression in CHD and autism will help us understand this link.

In addition, children with CHD especially those with more severe types of heart disease who undergo cardiac surgery in infancy are also exposed to changes in brain maturation, and are vulnerable to early brain injuries as a result of altered blood flow in the brain that occurs in utero, as well as before and after surgery. Evidence suggests these brain injuries may include damage to the white matter fibers that are the subway of the brain, connecting areas of the brain and transmitting information between them. These early neurological injuries can impact brain systems that are essential for development and learning, and may also place children with CHD at increased risk of developing the atypical behaviors observed in autism disorders.

In fact, even when the criteria for a formal diagnosis of ASD is not met, many individuals with CHD display some degree of social impairment, including difficulties understanding facial expressions, or with being able to put themselves in somebody elses shoes (referred to as theory of mind skills). Research has shown that in many cases, these social challenges are part of a broader profile of underlying impairments in executive function, including inflexible ways of thinking, rigid adherence to routines, and difficulties managing transitions.

Guidelines recommend early evaluation and treatment

This and other research is raising awareness about the critical need to screen for ASD features in children with CHD, as early as possible. The American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have provided guidelines for routine neurodevelopmental evaluation and treatment of children, adolescents, and adults with CHD. Identification of early symptoms related to autism should be done as early as 18 months or whenever there is a concern, with periodic checkups at critical junctures, including school entry and preadolescence. This may be done at a multidisciplinary clinic that provides developmental care for young children with CHD and their families (the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program at Boston Childrens Hospital was one of the first programs of this kind), or by a child psychologist, pediatric neurologist, or neuropsychologist in the community setting.

Once atypical behaviors are identified, prompt interventions to foster social communication, positive parent-child interaction, and social behaviors can be initiated through Early Intervention or other in-home or community-based agencies. Given the amount of variability in the behavioral profiles of children with ASD, these programs must be tailored to each individuals needs, and may include interventions such as applied behavior analysis (ABA), occupational therapy, or speech and language therapy. We believe that a proactive approach will lead to improved developmental trajectories and better quality of life for those with CHD and their families.

The post Congenital heart disease and autism: A possible link? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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