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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 - 22 hours 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 - 1 day 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 - 1 day 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 - 5 days 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 - 5 days 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 - 6 days 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 - 1 week 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 - 1 week 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 - 2 weeks ago
Why medical research keeps changing its mind - harvard

Why medical research keeps changing its mind

When a medical study announces findings that seem to say the opposite of what’s been understood and accepted about a particular condition or treatment, it can make you question all medical news. A study aimed to determine just how frequently this happens, and with which conditions. The post Why medical research keeps changing its mind appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
New Food Labels Help for Counting Calories, Sugar  - web md

New Food Labels Help for Counting Calories, Sugar

Foods with multiple servings in a single package -- like a big bag of potato chips -- will now have a two-column label that will list the nutrition information in a single serving alongside the calories, fat, cholesterol, protein, sugar, and sodium in the entire package.
web md - 2 weeks ago
Congenital heart disease and autism: A possible link? - harvard

Congenital heart disease and autism: A possible link?

A recent study confirms that people born with congenital heart disease have a significantly greater risk of being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The research highlights the need for autism screening in children with CHD as early as possible. The post Congenital heart disease and autism: A possible link? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Breast Density Alerts Might Not Be Helping Women  - web md

Breast Density Alerts Might Not Be Helping Women

The goal of dense breast notifications is to spur a conversation between a woman and her health care provider. The provider can let a woman know how having dense breast tissue affects her personal risk of breast cancer or detecting it.
web md - 3 weeks ago
Getting sleep in the hospital - harvard

Getting sleep in the hospital

There are many things about hospital routines that make it difficult for patients to sleep well. If you find yourself hospitalized, there are things you can do to improve the chances that you will get a better nights sleep. The post Getting sleep in the hospital appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
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harvard
Harvard Health Ad Watch: When marketing puts your health at risk

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

harvard - 1 week ago

The goal of advertising is, of course, to catch your attention and sell you a product. But when it comes to health-related products, inaccuracies in advertising can be detrimental to your health.

Perhaps youve seen a Vitamin Water ad recently that touts the health benefits of Vitamin Water while seeming to discourage getting a flu shot as out of fashion. It originally appeared in 2011 but has mysteriously resurfaced online. The text of the ad states, Flu shots are so last year, and subheadings add more vitamin C, more immunity, less snotty tissues. The average customer seeing this ad could conclude that flu shots arent so great in fact, that Vitamin Water is better for you than flu shots (and also better than getting the flu).

Vitamin Water wont help against flu

I have to admit, the ad does catch your attention. Buts its an unfortunate and potentially dangerous approach for a number of reasons:

  • The flu killed an estimated 61,000 people in the US during the 201718 flu season (a record, according to the CDC) and up to 646,000 people worldwide; the flu shot could prevent many of these deaths.
  • The flu shot is recommended every year thats because the strains of the influenza virus change each year and the vaccination is modified accordingly.
  • There is a large and growing anti-vax campaign that falsely argues that the risks of vaccinations far outweigh their benefits; this not only poses a threat to those who forego vaccination and become sick with the flu, but also to those with whom infected persons come into contact.

Im not the only one who took issue with this Vitamin Water campaign. The National Consumers League asked the Federal Trade Commission to ban the original ads, calling them dangerously misleading.

And then theres the added sugar

Vitamin Water is one of many products whose name suggests health benefits or health advantages compared with its competitors, yet their nutritional content may be less healthy than youd expect.

Read the label for Vitamin Water closely and youll see that it contains

  • 26 grams of sugar; thats equivalent to more than six teaspoons of sugar, and more than half of the recommended allowance of carbs in a day
  • no protein or fiber
  • ingredients sourced from genetically engineered crops (commonly known as GMOs).

True, Vitamin Water has 25% of the daily recommendation for Vitamin A and 100% of Vitamins C, B6, and B12 but the vast majority of people have no trouble getting plenty of these nutrients in the foods they eat.

Despite its name, theres no obvious health advantage to getting vitamins along with the empty calories in Vitamin Water. Eat an orange instead if youre seeking vitamin C at least it has some fiber. And if youre really worried you are not getting what you need from your diet, take a standard multivitamin and see your doctor.

Of course, you could choose the zero-calorie version of Vitamin Water (and I do enjoy Vitamin Water Zero on occasion). But then youre consuming the non-nutrient sweeteners, stevia and erythritol, the pros and cons of which we can debate another day.

Highly marketed supplements and diets versus proven treatments

For years, Ive seen ads in my Sunday newspapers and elsewhere recommending all sorts of unproven treatments in lieu of well-studied, well-established, FDA-approved medications that have been proven to save lives. Examples include supplements and diets that claim to lower blood pressure or cure arthritis without medications. While diet is an important part of hypertension treatment, medications are typically prescribed for people who have already tried unsuccessfully to lower their blood pressure with nonmedication approaches. Its potentially dangerous to suggest that you can stop blood pressure medications, as some glowing testimonials suggest especially if you do so with no monitoring.

And Ive seen many ads that proclaim, Heres a safe and all-natural cure for your condition that your doctor doesnt want you to know about. I dont know any doctors who are keeping effective treatments secret. Its an unfounded and cynical claim to suggest your doctor doesnt have your best interests at heart. Meanwhile, the people using these sales tactics drive a wedge between doctors and patients in an effort to promote unproven health products.

The bottom line

You could argue that a reasonable person should know that the Vitamin Water ad is not advocating for anyone to skip their flu shot and that its just a way to promote their product. I disagree. Reasonable people are constantly bombarded with a torrent of misinformation. It can be hard to know which sources to believe. Downplaying the risk of skipping flu shots can have devastating consequences across a population.

Marketing works. But I think health-related marketing should be held to higher standards than ads for clothes, cars, or furniture. Advertisers should tread carefully when it comes to well-studied treatments proven to save lives. And until influenza is eliminated as a yearly health risk, its irresponsible and, yes, dangerous to liken flu shots to an out-of-fashion trend just to sell a sugary drink.

Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling

The post Harvard Health Ad Watch: When marketing puts your health at risk appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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