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Harvard Reviews of Health News


Harvard News ReviewsA team of Harvard physicians reviews health news headlines 24/7/365, and creates commentary and provides advice on how a consumer should react to the news. For urgent breaking health news, articles are written within 6-18 hours of the news story’s first appearance. If desired, they can be delivered immediately upon completion. Over 200 new articles are written annually.

Exercise May Deter Heart Rhythm Problem

Exercise may help older women to avoid an abnormal heart rhythm, a new study suggests. The study focused on atrial fibrillation. In people with this irregular rhythm, the upper chambers of the heart quiver instead of contracting in a regular pattern. This can increase the risk of blood clots and stroke. The new study included more than 80,000 women. When the study began, the women were 50 to 79 years old. Researchers asked them how often they walked outside or exercised enough to sweat. Eleven years later, the most active women had a 10% lower rate of atrial fibrillation than those who walked less than 10 minutes a week. The most active women did exercise equal to 3 hours of brisk walking or 2 hours of slow cycling each week. The reduction in risk was similar for women who got more strenuous exercise -- about 2 hours of running a week.

Non-Car Commuters Thinner, Study Finds

Walking, biking or even riding public transit to work can help with weight control, a new study suggests. The study was based on a survey of about 7,500 people in the United Kingdom. Nearly 74% commuted by car. About 10% of men and 11% of women used public transit. About 14% of men and 17% of women walked or biked to work. A nurse visited people and measured their height, weight and percentage of body fat. Researchers adjusted the numbers to account for factors that may affect weight. These included age, medical conditions, income, social class and other exercise. They found that BMI was lower for those who did not drive to work. Effects were similar whether people commuted by foot, bicycle or public transit. For example, men in these groups had BMI scores between 0.9 and 1.1 points lower than the men who drove themselves.

Many Get Cancer Screening at Advanced Ages

Many older adults who are unlikely to live more than 10 years still are given routine screening tests for cancer, new studies show. But those tests are unlikely to help them and may have risks, the authors say. One study used 10 years of data from a U.S. government health survey. It included 27,000 men and women ages 65 and older. Based on their health history, the authors estimated their risk of dying in less than 10 years. Among men at the highest risk of near-term death, 31% to 55% received screening tests for various types of cancer. A second story focused on screening for colon cancer in adults 65 or older. It was based on Medicare records. About 1 in 5 of those who had a colonoscopy that found no problems ended up having another colonoscopy 5 years later. This test is recommended every 10 years.

Harvard Reviews of Health News

Exercise may help older women to avoid an abnormal heart rhythm, a new study suggests. The study focused on atrial fibrillation. In people with this irregular rhythm, the upper chambers of the heart quiver instead of contracting in a regular pattern. This can...

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