On May 14, 2013, UTMB’s “Lunch Bunch” health information series presented Drs. Catherine Hansen and Pamela Havlen with “An Ounce of Prevention: Check-Ups and Health Screening.” A video of the talk is online.
The Lunch Bunch series offers great speakers, new insights and a free light lunch. For additional details, links to other videos and upcoming sessions, visit utmbhealth.com/LunchBunch, call 832.505.1600 or email VictoryLakes@utmb.edu
Maybe the reason chocolate is associated with Valentine’s Day is that it is associated with the release of phenylethylamine (PEA), a chemical released when we are falling in love. Chocolate also is known to affect pleasure receptors in our brain by stimulating endorphins. The theobromines in chocolate act like a mild dose of caffeine and are a brain stimulant. Of course, the carbs, sugar, and fat content of the typical chocolate bar all give us a burst of pleasure as well.
What you might not know is that dark chocolate, defined as chocolate with at least a 70% cacao (pronounced Ka-Kow) content, is a true health food. It is rich in anti-oxidants and packs three or more times the antioxidant strength of such antioxidant powerhouses as blueberries, green tea, and red wine. Though chocolate has a lot of saturated fats, they do not raise cholesterol since they are primarily oleic acid, which is like olive oil, and stearic acid, which is converted by the body to healthy mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Chocolate contains abundant minerals and vitamins and perhaps its long considered benefits in alleviating premenstrual symptoms have more to do with the amount of magnesium and iron in chocolate than its effects on the brain. Polyphenols and other flavonoids in chocolate protect blood vessels against cholesterol, are low glycemic, and help control insulin secretion. Emerging science shows compounds in chocolate can help reduce cancer risk, improve immunity, and increase memory. (more…)
Is it too late to get the flu vaccine?
No, it’s not too late and can be obtained from your health care provider, hospital or local pharmacy, in most cases.
How long does it take before the influenza shots are effective?
Influenza vaccine is effective 7 to 14 days after the administration. Those who regularly take the vaccine may react more quickly than individuals who are taking the vaccine for the first time.
Is there anything else I can do to avoid catching the flu during an outbreak?
Be meticulous about your personal hygiene and wash your hands. Set an example and cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough. During an outbreak, avoid large gatherings of people, if possible.
Will the flu shot really fight this year’s strain of the flu? Doesn’t it change every year?
The flu vaccine is formulated each year to cover the most likely strains of the virus that will occur in the United States. One can presume the vaccine administered is this year’s vaccine. The year and viral strains should be clearly visible on the vaccine label. We know that the flu strains in Texas are covered by the 2012-2013 vaccine. (more…)
So you have a cold or flu and feel miserable. It is that time of year. Your nose is runny, your throat is sore, you are coughing, sneezing, and are achy all over. Your appetite is poor and you are tired and irritable. What to do?
First off, don’t pick up the phone or go into your doctor to ask for an antibiotic. Not only do antibiotics not work for colds and flu, they have side effects and may increase the presence of drug resistant bacteria. Antiviral therapy for influenza (not the stomach “flu”) can shorten the course of the illness by a day or two if started in the first 48 hours of the illness. Get a flu shot to prevent getting it in the first place.
There is a surprising lack of evidence on over-the-counter cold remedies containing decongestants and antihistamines. These may provide some relief in older children and adults but side effects can limit their usefulness. Avoid if pregnant or in children under 5 as they are one of the 10 leading causes of death in this age group. (more…)
by Dr. Victor S. Sierpina,the W.D. and Laura Nell Nicholson Family Professor of Integrative Medicine at UTMB.
Though most of my readers assure me they are people of moderation when it comes to drinking, the holidays can sometimes be challenging.
Many of my patients report that they drink alcohol only over the holidays. Whether you are a regular drinker or an occasional one, the holidays are rife with risks for immoderation and along with this the suffering of hangovers.
A hangover is like a stern parent, chastising us for our mistakes the night before.
If there is any benefit to a hangover, it is to remind us to be more careful with our alcohol intake. There is nothing like a bad headache, stomach pain, muscle aches and a really bad attitude to remind us that no matter how much fun we had last night, we and those around us are paying a price today. (more…)