If you’re growing weary of hyped-up “health alerts” that are contradicted literally within months or weeks — you’re invited to read the straight answers each month in the Harvard Health Letter!

  • Does eating eggs really pose a threat to cardiovascular health?
  • Could you prevent the permanent disabilities of stroke just by knowing these 3 simple signs?
  • Which supermarket foods contain the very worst kind of fat you can eat?
  • What are the best ways to increase your HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels?
  • How long past the expiration date are your medications still good?
Dear Reader,

When the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the MY Plate icon to represent the latest version of Dietary Guidelines, the doctors at Harvard Medical School thought consumers needed more information. So the editors of HARVARD HEALTH LETTER collaborated with their colleagues and the Harvard School of Public Health to create a better, more informative version.

Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate points consumers to the healthiest choices in the major food groups, including the best sources for protein-rich foods, limiting your intake of dairy, and filling at least half your plate with a variety of vegetables — sorry, potatoes and French fries don’t count. This added intelligence gave readers of the HARVARD HEALTH LETTER the information they needed to make smart food choices — choices that will reduce their risk for heart disease and diabetes, and improve their overall health.

You see, it’s good to keep up with news that affects your health, but it’s even better when the facts come directly from the over 11,000 doctors and researchers at the premier teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School!

With this email, we invite you to start a risk-free subscription to the HARVARD HEALTH LETTER — brimming with news and facts to help you live longer, healthier, and better.

But why do we want you to sign up for the HARVARD HEALTH LETTER — and give you a 100% guarantee of satisfaction?

There is no more trustworthy source of health information and advice than the HARVARD HEALTH LETTER. And no better way to prove that than by putting an issue in your hands.

Harvard Health Publications

As you’ll see when you see your first issue, the HARVARD HEALTH LETTER connects you to everything that’s happening in the new age of medicine. And always — always — the focus is on how these developments can help you live longer and healthier. In it you’ll find…

Medical Breakthroughs You Can Use!

In the past year alone, the HARVARD HEALTH LETTER has reported several scientific breakthroughs (many of them made right here at Harvard Medical School) that could have a major impact on you or someone you love.

Did you know, for example, that Harvard researchers have discovered a hormone that could deliver a dramatically more effective treatment for type 2 diabetes? It could mean those with type 2 diabetes would only have to take an injection of this hormone just once a week or even once a month — instead of multiple injections of insulin each day!

Did you know there’s a new treatment for battling cancer that causes the immune system to attack cancer cells? It drove Hodgkin lymphoma into complete or partial remission in fully 87% of patients with resistant forms of the disease. Researchers were especially excited because it worked when other treatments failed. And Harvard scientists recently uncovered a way to “edit genes” that may give doctors new ways to lower cholesterol, fight disease, block HIV infection, and even make organ transplants safer and more effective.

New Advances in Diagnostic Technology Have Made it
Possible to Catch Disease While It’s Curable!

In a recent issue of the HARVARD HEALTH LETTER, for example, we revealed a new type of brain scan that tells doctors precisely when to begin drug therapy for Alzheimer’s disease to minimize memory loss.

We’ve told our readers about exciting new blood tests that help detect your risk of cancer, macular degeneration, stroke, and even depression. But we’ve also warned readers about diagnostic tests that cause more problems than they solve…

Harvard Health Publications

Do you really need a PSA test for prostate cancer? (It depends! We tell you what you need to ask your doctor before you agree to having this test.) Costly high-tech heart scans have not been shown to improve outcomes. And those smartphone “apps” that promise to diagnose deadly skin cancer? Don’t bet your life on them!

What You Don’t Know About Drugs Can Hurt You

You’ll get important advice on over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications you may be taking…and even brand new drugs you may want to discuss with your doctor. For example:

  • New blood thinners are rapidly replacing warfarin for heart problems…but there are downsides. Should you switch?
  • Why taking aspirin helps prevent deadly melanoma
  • What’s the best time of day to take your blood pressure medicine?
  • Is hormone replacement therapy once again considered safe for menopausal women? (YES! Under certain circumstances.)
  • What you need to know about taking aspirin during a heart attack (the type of aspirin you take and the way you take it are crucial)
  • Why the best time to take allergy medications is before allergy season begins!

SURGERY: When You Need It and When You Don’t

New techniques are making surgery safer and more effective than ever before. But there are still times when the best surgery is no surgery at all. The HARVARD HEALTH LETTERbrings you the information you need to make the best decision. Discover:

At what percentage of blockage you should consider carotid artery surgery to prevent stroke. Whether traditional or robotic surgery is better for prostate cancer. If you should opt for open or arthroscopic surgery to ease shoulder pain. Or if a bypass or stent is the best option for those with heart disease and diabetes.

Harvard Health Publications

Help for Diagnosing and Understanding Your Symptoms

The HARVARD HEALTH LETTER helps you decide what to do for a variety of symptoms. You’ll know when to call your doctor, when to dial 911, and when you can safely treat your symptoms at home. For example:

  • In addition to chest pain, one of the first signs of an impending heart attack is beads of sweat forming on the forehead
  • How to tell harmless “floaters” from the early signs of serious retinal disease
  • The strange link between psoriasis and diabetes
  • Why frequent naps during the day may signal an oncoming stroke
  • A sudden change in your sense of smell may spell Parkinson’s disease
  • The usual signs of urinary tract infections are often “silent” in senior citizens (Mental confusion may be the only symptom you notice.)

Protect Yourself from Hidden Hazards

At the HARVARD HEALTH LETTER, we don’t believe in using scare tactics. But we do believe in keeping you alert and fully informed about the hidden health risks and hazards you face — especially as you get older.

Did you know for example that many implantable defibrillators need to be “finetuned” to prevent unnecessary (and possibly fatal) shocks to your heart? Or that probiotics aren’t necessarily good for everyone?

Varicose veins are not just a cosmetic problem; they can lead to serious skin ulcers. (Fortunately there’s a new treatment that makes them go away for good!) The “Z-paks” your doctor often prescribes for respiratory infections have recently been linked to serious heart problems. And even “high normal” blood sugar is now considered a cause for concern — not just for diabetes, but for dementia, too.

Harvard Health Publications

Natural Cures that Really Work

You might expect a newsletter from one of the world’s leading medical schools to be skeptical about natural healing and alternative medicine. But, in fact, more and more clinical studies at Harvard have focused on these topics. Which is why we’re in a unique position to let you know what really works and what doesn’t:

  • Taking vitamin C doesn’t help reduce the number of colds you get, but taking it every day may help reduce the length of a cold
  • Roll back 10 years off your heart’s “odometer” simply by eating fewer calories
  • Lack of one key vitamin seems to play an important role in psoriasis
  • Simple home remedy for snoring: Change your sleep position! Sleeping on your back makes it worse; sleeping on your stomach makes it stop
  • Dry eyes? Drink a cup of coffee! New research shows that people who consume caffeine produce more tears than people who don’t

Harvard Health Publications

The HARVARD HEALTH LETTER puts your mind at ease, puts you in closer touch with your health, and can save you money and worries. You’ll know which symptoms merit a call to the doctor. How to tell a cold from the flu. Which herbal supplements are safe and which are not. Whether you should choose a large hospital over a smaller one.

You’ll see how to understand the results of your blood tests. How long most medicines can be safely kept and used. (Most drugs, if stored properly in a cool, dry place can last for weeks after the expiration date.) What you can do about “restless legs” syndrome. How exercise may be able to ward off Alzheimer’s disease. (And easy ways to add exercise to your day.) How red wine may help to prevent colds. Which foods can help lower your overall cancer risk.

Email motherhealth@gmail.com if you have answers to some health related questions posted here. Aside from medical and scientific findings, we also need to know your experience about health, drugs/meds, and other health issues.