Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly
Keeping Kids Healthy
The latest song is blasting through the earphones of a teen’s iPod. It’s so loud the other kids can hear it, even though they’re a good 10 feet away.
We’ve all heard the noise: Whether it’s coming from a car radio, a concert, or yes, even those personal music players that are so popular now-a-days, it seems the volume on life is cranked up and the knob ripped off.
Can you hear your mother’s words ring in the back of your mind? “Turn that down, you’re going to go deaf.”
Nearly 27 million Americans age 3 and older suffer from some sort of hearing loss. That’s double the number 30 years ago.
In children, three main culprits make up the majority of causes of hearing loss. They are otitis media, hearing loss at birth and other acquired causes such as complications from the measles, mumps or a head injury. Continue reading
Dr. Victor Sierpina
Driving a car actually takes a lot of skills. It is a daily example of complex multi-tasking.
Since most of us have been doing it so long, it can seem automatic. Yet just think of how many tasks — or switches between what we are paying attention to — happen as we drive.
We glance at the dash, the mirrors, gauge the speed and location of our vehicle and those around us, accelerate, brake, read road signs and so forth.
Now that is just the driving part. It doesn’t include drinking a beverage, adjusting the sound system or answering a phone call.
Having worked in emergency rooms for many years, I have seen some horrific outcomes of poor driving, intoxication, distraction, poor road conditions, equipment malfunctions and bad judgment. Continue reading
Dr. Lauren Raimer-Goodman
Recently, my colleagues and I have been hearing reports about measles outbreaks around the country. New York, California, Dallas and even Hawaii have seen cases this year.
Many epidemiologists feel it’s only a matter of time before most major metropolitan areas in the U.S. are affected. Unless we see an improvement in vaccination rates, the Houston area is at risk of having its own outbreak.
So what is measles and why are doctors across the country up in arms about some people coming down with a little virus?
In short, because it’s highly contagious, can be deadly and is completely preventable with vaccination. Measles causes fever, cough, runny nose and pink eye in the early stages. People then usually develop a rash that starts at the top of the head and spreads down the body. Measles can cause encephalitis or inflammation of the brain. This can happen during the initial infection or any time after you have been infected with the virus, even years later. Some people who get measles will die from it. According to the World Health Organization, 122,000 people died of measles in 2012 globally. That’s 14 people an hour.
Why are we even in this situation? It started in 1998 when Andrew Wakefield, a former surgeon and researcher in the UK, published a paper suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Guess what? Continue reading
Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly
Keeping Kids Healthy
It’s important for parents to remember that not all poisons are in the garage or basement.
A number of poisons can be found throughout the house. Small children are both curious and fast, so parents have to exercise special care not to leave dangerous products open or within their reach.
Take a tour of your house or apartment to see if some of these dangerous conditions exist.
- In the kitchen, check that all detergents, bleaches, cleaners and especially drain cleaners, as well as soaps and bug killers are not under the sink in an unlocked cupboard, but up high in a cupboard with a childproof lock.
- Products containing lye are extremely dangerous. Don’t keep these in your home. Keep alcoholic drinks up out of the reach of children.
- Buy products with childproof or child-resistant caps. Opening them should require thumb pressure beyond the ability of small children.
- In the bathroom, besides checking that soaps are out of reach, keep medicines, cosmetics, colognes, toothpaste and mouthwashes out of reach — and preferably locked up.
- Don’t leave pills in open bottles or in a dish of “the day’s dose of medicine.” Make sure all product labels are clear — both on medicine and on products that might be found anywhere in the house. In an emergency, you will need to know what product was involved. Continue reading
Drs. Norbert Herzog & David Niesel
Medical Discovery News
Even a child can explain why cheating is wrong. Students are well-warned about the consequences that ensue, and adults know the legal implications. Yet cases of cheating continue to emerge in classrooms, boardrooms and newsrooms. People cheat on tests, for sports and in elections. Why? Microbiologists Ferric C. Fang and Arturo Casadevall attempted to answer this question by exploring the causes of cheating and why people deceive to get ahead.
Cheating is not unique to any area of society. Seventy-five percent of university students surveyed had cheated, one-third of scientists surveyed admitted to irregularities in their research practices, and an estimated 1.6 million Americans cheat on their taxes. Cheating isn’t even exclusive to humans — even single-celled organisms can “steal” products made by others.
The size of a particular part of the brain called the neocortex is directly related to an animal’s intelligence. It is also responsible for conscious thought and language. Additionally, the size of the neocortex is predictive of the degree that animals engage in deception. The more intelligent the animal, the more it exhibits deceptive behavior. Continue reading
Drs. Victor & Michelle Sierpina
Walking by a beautiful garden, you admire how lovely it looks. How did it get that way?
Of course, the neighbors tended it carefully over the seasons — pruning, weeding, planting, fertilizing and watering.
As a result, they created a wonderful space for themselves and all who pass by to appreciate.
Much the same can be said about a successful marriage. Good relationships, friendships, partnerships and especially marriages require that we — like that dedicated gardener — give the time, mindful effort and hard work to make the magic happen.
Since we married decades ago, Michelle and I have made it a practice to invest time daily in growing our little corner of the marriage world.
Our marriage commitment has involved a number of shared activities that, like that gardener, add to the value of our lives together.
These have included time each morning reading devotional and inspirational literature, journaling and meditating together. At the end of the day, we take time to debrief, listening mindfully to each others’ experiences — the joys, sorrows, challenges and blessings, along with the hopes and dreams. Continue reading
Dr. Victor Sierpina
The warm, sunny, orange hue of turmeric is a common feature of Indian food, though it is underused as a culinary spice in the U.S.
According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal titled “Snow Day Superfood,” more chefs are discovering that the tangy “sour-bittery-lemony” flavor, fabulous color and health benefits makes it a rich addition to a large variety of foods.
It can add surprising notes to Italian food, beets, quinoa, veal, cauliflower, halibut and of, course rice, lentils, noodles, soups, stews and many more.
It may take a little experimentation to add it to your repertoire of herbs.
My usual favorite herbs include oregano, dill, rosemary, garlic, basil, thyme, red pepper and, of course, garlic, but not usually turmeric, except when an occasional recipe calls for it.
In my current annual quest to expand my cooking skills with new recipes every two weeks or so, I am looking to create more dishes with turmeric. Why? Continue reading
Dr. Victor Sierpina
I suspect there is a scientific institute somewhere called “The Institute for Everything that Was Supposed to be Good for You but is Now Bad for You.”
The flux and change in science as well as uncertainty in such fields as nutritional research makes it maddeningly difficult to know what are the best choices for a good and healthy life.
In a recent New York Times opinion piece, “Why Nutrition is So Confusing,” health and science journalist Gary Taubes describes the enormous costs and challenges to creating credible long-term studies on various approaches to nutrition.
There are so many confounding variables, and the long-term effects so hard to track and measure, that we often get conflicting advice. Witness recent confusion on vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.
Pharmacological and medical research is likewise strewed with the carcasses of old theories and practices.
The very day a couple weeks ago that I wrote about testosterone and obesity in men, a report came out documenting a significant increase in heart attack rate in men on replacement testosterone above a certain age.
Coronary bypass surgery and tube feeding, long thought to be lifesavers, have been found not to prolong life in controlled studies. Continue reading