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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.

More Pregnant Women Prescribed Opioid Pain Pills

The number of pregnant women in the United States being prescribed narcotic pain medicines has grown, says a new study. This is happening even though the risks to a developing fetus are unknown. Researchers looked at the pharmacy records of 1.1 million pregnant women receiving Medicaid. Between 2000 and 2007, the number of women filling a prescription for these drugs rose from 18.5% to almost 23%. Codeine and hydrocodone were most often prescribed. The prescription rates varied from 9.5% to 41.6% depending on the state. Another study published online in the journal Anesthesiology in February found similar results. The pregnant women in that study had private health insurance. The journal Obstetrics & Gynecology published the new study. HealthDay News and the New York Times wrote about it.

Study: Fussy Kids May Watch More TV

Kids who are "fussy" as babies may end up watching more TV as parents try to soothe them, a new study suggests. The new research looked at data on nearly 7,500 children from a larger study of child development. When the children were 9 months and 2 years old, parents filled out questionnaires. The asked whether children had problems with sleeping, eating, paying attention or controlling mood and behavior. Experts call this "self-regulation." If these skills are poor, parents may say the baby is fussy. When their children were 2, parents also were asked about TV habits. On average, kids watched 2.3 hours of TV or videos each day. Babies who had problems with self-regulation watched more TV than kids who didn't have such problems. This was true even after researchers adjusted their numbers to account for factors known to affect children's TV watching habits.

Report Questions Need for Flu-Fighting Drugs

A new report questions the practice of governments stockpiling drugs to prepare for wide-scale flu outbreaks. The nonprofit Cochrane Collaboration released the report. Cochrane assembled a group of flu experts. They reviewed nearly 50 studies of the antiviral drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza). These included internal reports from drug companies and the European Medicines Agency. The review concluded that these drugs can shorten flu symptoms in adults by about half a day. But the evidence does not show that they can help stop flu from spreading, Cochrane said. And they also didn't keep people from developing pneumonia or other serious illness from flu. Since the H1N1 "swine flu" pandemic of 2009, the United States has spent $1.3 billion on these medicines. Several other governments also have bought large supplies. An official of the U.S.

Harvard Reviews of Health News

The number of pregnant women in the United States being prescribed narcotic pain medicines has grown, says a new study. This is happening even though the risks to a developing fetus are unknown. Researchers looked at the pharmacy records of 1.1 million pregna...

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