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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.

Brain Differences Found in Chronic Fatigue

A small new study suggests there are clear differences between the brains of people with and without chronic fatigue syndrome. Chronic fatigue syndrome consists of several symptoms that last for 6 months or longer. The most important symptom is severe and long-lasting fatigue. There are many other possible symptoms. They include severe headaches, swollen lymph nodes and an extreme reaction to exertion. The new study included 15 people with chronic fatigue and 14 others. They received brain scans using a sophisticated type of MRI. People with chronic fatigue syndrome had less white matter than people without the condition. Nerve fibers in white matter carry messages in the brain. People with chronic fatigue also had abnormalities in an area called the right arcuate fasciculus. This area connects the brain's frontal and temporal lobes.

High-Fat Diets May Help Adults with Epilepsy

A high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet may help adults as well as children to control epileptic seizures, a study finds. Many children with hard-to-control epilepsy use a ketogenic diet. This diet is 3 or 4 parts fat to 1 part carbohydrates and protein, as measured by weight. Some people also have used a modified Atkins diet, which has 1 part fat to 1 part carbohydrates and protein. Little research has been done in adults. A new evidence review looked at 10 studies of people whose seizures were not controlled by medicine. In all, 47 people were assigned to follow a ketogenic diet. Another 85 followed a modifed Atkins diet. For nearly one-third of those on each diet, the number of seizures dropped by at least half. Smaller numbers (5% to 9%) were able to reduce seizures by 90%. These effects were seen within days or weeks after people started the diets.

Substance in Cocoa May Aid Aging Memories

A substance found in cocoa may help to improve normal age-related memory loss, a very small study suggests. People in the study consumed a large amount of chemicals called flavanols. They are found in cacao beans, but mostly removed in the processing that creates cocoa and chocolate. The Mars candy company, which partly funded this study, found a way to turn the flavanols into a powder. The study included 37 healthy adults, ages 50 through 69. They were randomly divided into 2 groups. One group consumed 900 milligrams of flavanols daily, mixed with water or milk. That's equal to about 7 dark chocolate bars. The other group received 10 milligrams a day. This diet lasted for 3 months. Before and after the study, people received brain scans. They also took tests of their pattern-recognition skills.

Harvard Reviews of Health News

A small new study suggests there are clear differences between the brains of people with and without chronic fatigue syndrome. Chronic fatigue syndrome consists of several symptoms that last for 6 months or longer. The most important symptom is severe and lon...

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