Health Blog

Welcome to the ongoing series of blog posts from UTMB Health focusing on key aspects of maintaining your health

A sincere apology can give you a health bump

“Studies have shown that both giving and receiving forgiveness can improve blood pressure, decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, improved mental resilience and even improve our immune system and how we respond to illness,” writes Dr. Samuel Mathis

Eggs got a bum rap and other medical news you can use

“Of the thousands of medical articles published annually, of most interest to those of us in primary care are the ones that have an impact on how we practice,” wrote Dr. Victor S. Sierpina in his column. “These are the studies that show how to improve patient outcomes in morbidity and mortality, reduce risk, improve safety and lower costs.” And he lists some top studies.

Betrayed by your skin

Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel discussed a condition where even a short walk causes pain and skin blisters. A woman named Grace in New Zealand has a condition called epidermolytic hyperkeratosis, which can make a walk to the mailbox excruciating.

No time for public health

James Bond lives with no health consequences, and some scientists have listed all the times Bond took no precautions at all. Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel analyze the data in Medical Discovery News.

Remember the number 988

Dr. Sally Robinson writes about a new number to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7. It is 988. This will help anyone experiencing a mental health crisis to connect with trained staff. It is free and confidential. If needed, connection to local support will be given.

I tested positive for COVID. What should I do now?

Dr. Victor S. Sierpina lists things to consider if this is you, including checking with your doctor. “COVID cases are still occurring regularly locally and nationally though at a much lower rate than at the beginning of the year when Omicron variants emerged,” he writes. “It is still highly contagious but with high vaccination rates and natural immunity from exposures, hospitalizations and deaths are way down. Still, it pays to be cautious.”

Hygiene theory may explain allergies in children

Dr. Sally Robinson explains that hygiene theory suggests that children who have more exposure to germs and certain infections at a very early age develop immune systems that are better suited to differentiating harmless substances from harmful substances. Always talk to your physician, she advises.

Integrative therapies can help improve hospice care

One of the most common complaints at the end of life is pain, writes Dr. Samuel Mathis. While medication can help, acupuncture or acupressure can be very helpful without affecting an individual’s mentation. It can be difficult to find traveling acupuncturists, but acupressure is something that families can learn and perform themselves.

Olive oil: Tasty for cooking but also good for your health

A new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology confirms something we all suspected: Olive oil is good for your health. Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel discuss why. It is a mainstay of the Mediterranean diet, which has been touted for years for its health benefits. Other studies have demonstrated that this diet may be important in reducing the incidence of stroke and the onset of dementia.

What to know about young children and COVID vaccines

After a long wait, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months to 5 years old. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended them for this age group regardless of whether they have had COVID-19. Drs. Megan Berman and Richard Rupp answer some common questions about the vaccines for young children in the Vaccine Smarts column.

Palliative and hospice care often are misunderstood

Hospice is comfort care without curative intent. The patient no longer has curative options or has chosen not to pursue treatment because the side effects outweigh the benefits. Palliative care is comfort care with or without curative intent. Drs. Victor S. Sierpina and Rebecca Burke explain the differences.

Don’t lose sleep over monkeypox

Human cases regularly occur in Africa but what has caught the media’s attention is that cases are spreading worldwide. Considering COVID-19, this may seem worrisome but monkeypox is not worth losing sleep over. Drs. Megan Berman and Richard Rupp explain why.

Be careful around lawn mowers

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports approximately 9,000 children a year are treated for lawn mower-related injuries. Many of these injuries occur in older children and teens. However, small children are at risk of injury also. Dr. Sally Robinson advises safety.

Vaccines still powerful tools despite challenges

ew vaccines are being developed all the time, as witnessed by the COVID vaccines and the just released Prevnar 20 for prevention of pneumococcal pneumonia and a PCV 15 for kids. While it is a “one-and-done” vaccines, boosters are needed for other vaccines such as COVID. Dr. Victor S. Sierpina writes about it in his column.

Take it easy on the energy drinks

At morning lectures, many students in the lecture hall have an energy drink in front of them. But a report that one young man may have developed heart failure from his habit of consuming an average of four energy drinks per day may cause concern. Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel discuss this case. Fill those water bottles.

Playing outside still needs supervision

“The first rule is making sure the boundaries are secure and hopefully fenced,” wrote Dr. Sally Robinson. “Children should be taught to stay within the boundaries and not to wander off, but children also need a responsible person to supervise outdoor play so they don’t get hurt. Always supervise children on trampolines and provide constant touch supervision around pools and other bodies of water.”

New research suggests ways to prevent cancer metastasis

“Our concept of metastasis has changed over the years,” wrote Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel in their Medical Discovery News column. “Not long ago, doctors and scientists thought metastasis was a natural stage of the cancer that happened as tumors grew. Treatment relied on removing the primary tumor by surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.”

The world can be seen in a bubble

“As adults, if we allow ourselves, we might also wish to recapture such light joy to balance the heaviness of our daily stress and gloomy news reports,” wrote Dr. Victor S. Sierpina. Meditate this weekend by blowing bubbles.

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