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Health Blog

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

You 'could' get second COVID booster, but should you?

The CDC said that you “could” receive a second booster shot but stopped short of saying that one “should.” They previously recommended that everyone 12 and older should receive the first booster for optimal protection. The benefit of a second booster isn’t as extreme, but it’s still there. Drs. Meagan Berman and Richard Rupp explore the issue in their Vaccine Smarts column.

Consider an integrative approach for your aching back

“My Tuesday morning acupuncture clinic is busier than ever,” writes Dr. Victor S. Sierpina in his column. “Medicare started paying for this effective, safe therapy for the specific diagnosis codes of chronic low back pain a couple of years ago. This was done after a review of evidence-based sources that showed positive, non-placebo effect of acupuncture on low back pain.”

Addressing climate change now will help our children

According to American Academy of Pediatrics, “climate change poses threat to human health, safety and security. Children are uniquely vulnerable to these threats. Given this knowledge failure to take prompt, substantive action would be an act of injustice to all children.” Dr. Sally Robinson discusses the health risk to children in her column.

Clean air is important for healthy children

Children who grew up in more polluted areas had an increased risk of having reduced lung growth which may never be recovered, writes Dr. Sally Robinson in her column. The average drop in lung function is similar to the impact of growing up in a home with parents who smoke.

Take the scenic route and enjoy what nature has to offer

A growing body of evidence shows that spending time outdoors can improve overall health and even prolong your life, Dr. Samuel Mathis writes in his column. One study found that spending 20 minutes outside can lower the stress hormone cortisol by 20 percent from baseline. The activity didn’t matter; rather, just the act of being outside improved people’s stress levels.

Knowledge is power as it relates to plastics

It has been reported that a single infant’s intake of microplastics from feeding bottles ranged from 14,600 to 4,500,000 particles. This enormous range of the number of particles shows the difficulty of measuring during early life and the difficulty of measuring such small particles, writes Dr. Sally Robinson in her regular column.

Exotic travel might require yellow fever vaccine

For those planning to safari in Sub-Saharan Africa or cruise the Amazon River, the yellow fever vaccine is a must. Drs. Megan Berman and Richard Rupp explain why in the latest Vaccine Smarts column.

Poor sleep is a risk factor for many medical problems

Chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndromes, sleep disorders like sleep apnea and restless legs, anxiety, medications, organ problems like a bladder issue — all these and more must be considered as part of assessing the cause of sleep problems and treating them. Dr. Victor S. Sierpina offers tips to help you get the sleep you need. One is to reduce screen time before bedtime, so go ahead and put your cell phone down now.

Galveston's St. Vincent's House opens faith-based medical clinic

Galveston’s St. Vincent’s House, working with the University of Texas Medical Branch, has opened this clinic for the most underserved on the island at Central Methodist Church, 3308 Ave. O 1/2. “Here, they are in a safe, trusted environment,” said Dr. Miles Farr. “Working alongside the church leadership is a key element to the success of this collaboration.”

What to eat before a workout

The U.K. news outlet talked to nutritionists and referenced a UTMB study in this feature. “Powders have a high concentration of protein and research conducted by the University of Texas Medical Branch found that a person can consume around 25g to 30g of protein per meal.”

Healing grief is a shared journey

“Confronting grief is a daily event in medical practice,” writes Dr. Victor S. Sierpina in his column. “Be there for those who grieve. You might not know what to say. That’s not important. Don’t run away because of your awkwardness or fear of saying something wrong or of your own pain. Be there for them. Healing grief is a group process and joined journey.”

Taste, food preferences might be shaped by genetics

Since the 1990s, scientists have known that some people are “supertasters” who experience many tastes with more intensity — sugar is sweeter and broccoli more bitter. As we begin to understand human genetics, scientists are finding biological foundations of different food likes and dislikes, Dr. Sally Robinson explains in her column.

This is what you should be eating and drinking after 60

Fancy a tipple? Research from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston suggests that light alcohol consumption during later life helped improve people’s episodic memory if they did not have dementia. Needless to say, it’s important to drink only in moderation as you age. If you are concerned about this issue, speak to a doctor first.

Children are like a different species

“We tend to think children are like small adults in many ways, but in terms of energy utilization, they’re definitely not the equivalent of small adults,” write Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel in their Medical Discovery News column. “They consume more energy than a pregnant person and even more than growing teenage boys. Unbelievable! Scientists have stated that in terms of burning energy, young children are like a different species.”

You might not have heard of vitamin K — but it's important

Vitamin K doesn’t cross the placenta, so babies are born with very little vitamin K in their bodies. To complicate their low levels, breast milk is low in vitamin K, Dr. Sally Robinson writes in her regular column. Since 1961, the standard of care is for newborns to receive one shot of vitamin K to prevent those complications. However, in recent years there has been an increase in the number of parents who refuse the intramuscular shot.

Keep yourself healthy with the sunshine vitamin

“Now that spring has sprung, get your dose of sunshine daily and keep yourself healthier,” Dr. Victor S. Sierpina writes in his regular column. “Nudist camps often claim to be health-promoting — and we may have something to look at there.”

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