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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.

Rare Headaches May Be More Common after Weight-Loss Surgery

Some people may develop headaches after weight-loss surgery, a small study suggests. The study included 338 people with a rare condition known as spontaneous intracranial hypotension. They had low blood pressure in the brain. This caused headaches. Eleven people in this group (3.3%) had prior weight-loss (bariatric) surgery. Researchers compared this group with 245 people who had headaches from another cause. People in this group had a weak spot in a blood vessel in the brain. This is called intracranial aneurysm. A large aneurysm in the brain can cause headaches. Only 2 of those in the aneurysm group (0.8%) had prior weight-loss surgery. On average, headaches caused by intracranial hypotension began more than 4½ years after weight-loss surgery. Before headaches began, people had lost an average of 116 pounds each. Treatment relieved headaches for 9 of the 11 people.

Quarantine Ends for Ebola Patient's Family

Though they shared an apartment with the first Ebola patient who got sick in the United States, relatives of Thomas Eric Duncan remained well. Health officials say they are now out of danger. Two of his nurses at a Dallas hospital did get sick. But they are improving with treatment. The end of quarantine for Duncan's family shows that it's not easy to become infected with Ebola, an expert told the Associated Press (AP) October 21. The virus is spread only through contact with body fluids of someone with Ebola symptoms. Early symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache and sore throat. How rapidly symptoms appear depends partly on how much virus entered the body, an expert told AP. Joseph McCormick, M.D., worked on several outbreaks of Ebola in Africa. He is now at the University of Texas School of Public Health.

Study: Common Symptoms Often Not Explained

At least one-third of patients who visit a doctor with common symptoms don't get a clear, disease-related cause, an evidence review finds. Symptoms lead to about half of all doctor visits in the United States. But doctors get less training in managing symptoms than in treating disease, the author says. The new review looked at nine prior studies. They focused on results of doctor visits for pain, fatigue, intestinal complaints and other common symptoms. The author did not include results related to colds and other upper respiratory illnesses. When doctors find a cause for symptoms, they usually don't need to do any tests. A patient's history and a physical exam are enough. Most people have multiple symptoms. Psychological and physical symptoms often occur together. For three out of four patients, symptoms go away within weeks to months. Other symptoms may last a long time.

Harvard Reviews of Health News

Some people may develop headaches after weight-loss surgery, a small study suggests. The study included 338 people with a rare condition known as spontaneous intracranial hypotension. They had low blood pressure in the brain. This caused headaches. Eleven peo...

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