Middle and high school racial composition linked to misuse of non-medical prescription painkillers later in life

A study by Harvard Pop Center director Lisa Berkman, faculty members Ichiro Kawachi and Mauricio Avendano, and colleagues has revealed that both white and black students who attended majority-white schools were at higher risk of lifetime, non-medical use of prescription painkillers. Blacks who attended predominantly white schools were twice as likely to report misuse compared … Continue reading “Middle and high school racial composition linked to misuse of non-medical prescription painkillers later in life”

Study points to unmet need for social support among older women in rural South Africa

Researchers affiliated with the HAALSI research project have published a new study that found that older women in South Africa have weaker social network connections and are more socially isolated than men and younger women. Higher levels of widowhood and fewer connections outside of the family network are thought to explain this age- and gender-based … Continue reading “Study points to unmet need for social support among older women in rural South Africa”

Use of randomized control trials (RCTs) in social interventions not without challenges, but still valuable

Harvard Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman has authored a study published in European Journal of Public Health that finds that while RCTs can pose challenges for both social and biomedical interventions alike, they still can serve as a helpful way to identify causal relationships.

Can a good marriage help fight the battle of the (midlife) bulge?

Researchers have found that those who feel supported in their marriages were more likely to be at a healthier weight in the midlife years. Harvard Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman, and faculty members Ichiro Kawachi and Laura Kubzansky are authors on the study published in Health Psychology.

In South Africa, when HIV testing is not always possible, is self-reported status a viable, reliable alternative?

A team of researchers affiliated with the Harvard Pop Center and the Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa (HAALSI) has found that the self-reported HIV status of older adults was accurate enough that it could be considered as a routine first step to establish HIV status when … Continue reading “In South Africa, when HIV testing is not always possible, is self-reported status a viable, reliable alternative?”

What explains difference in heart rate recovery among those of varying levels of socioeconomic status?

Harvard Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman and colleagues, including recent visiting scientist Cathal McCrory, are authors on a paper published in The Journals of Gerontology Series A that links higher levels of educational attainment with better heart rate recovery, which is an important biomarker of cardiovascular health and predictor of mortality. Lifetime smoking was found … Continue reading “What explains difference in heart rate recovery among those of varying levels of socioeconomic status?”

Companies with family-friendly policies may help retain & boost performance of professional women caregivers who have other caregiving duties

Professional women caregivers in long-term care facilities with double-duty (unpaid child care) and triple-duty (both unpaid child and elder care) responsibilities had better retention and engagement in their jobs when they felt more supported by their husbands. The WFHN researchers have published their findings in The Gerontologist.

Study reveals benefits, challenges of training health researchers in LMICs on how to better address health inequities

The INDEPTH Training & Research Centres of Excellence (INTREC) collaboration — an EU consortium led by Umeå Centre for Global Health Research in which Harvard participated — aimed at strengthening the capacities of health researchers in LMICs who assess social determinants of health is the subject of this study published in BMC Public Health.