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Do you need to worry about shingles if you had chickenpox vaccine?

In the latest Vaccine Smarts column, Drs. Megan Berman and Richard Rupp discussed the odds of getting shingles after having a chickenpox vaccination. “You cannot catch shingles from people with shingles,” they wrote. “Rather, unvaccinated people who have never had chickenpox can develop chickenpox when they come in contact with a shingles rash. Your vaccination should keep you from catching chickenpox.”

Butterflies benefit our habitat, our souls

“If you have some time this week, find some butterflies, or better yet, let them find you,” wrote Dr. Victor S. Sierpina in his column. “Enjoy watching them do their cosmic dance. You will feel lighter yet more centered, knowing that small things can make big differences.”

6 quick home improvements when someone suddenly needs extra care

​To make a main-floor bedroom as comfortable and safe as possible, Elena Volpi, M.D., director of the Sealy Center on Aging at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, suggests removing area rugs to prevent tripping and adding night-lights for middle-of-the-night bathroom trips. Make sure furniture including side tables, footstools, benches and storage items are removed from the path to the bathroom, for example.​

Willing your body to medical science

Drs. Victor Sierpina and Michelle Sierpina wrote about UTMB’s Willed Body program. “At UTMB, students and faculty begin each dissection session with a moment of silence to honor the donor. Students learn the sacred trust of donors and the beginnings of respect, ethics, and patient-centered care.”

An improvement in heart and stroke disease diagnosis

A new blood test developed by the biomedical technology company SomaLogic in Boulder, Colorado, focuses on proteins in the blood that could provide an early warning for heart disease and stroke patients. Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel discuss the research in Medical Discovery News.

Certain flu shots can better protect older adults

Adults 65 and older should receive either Fluzone HD or Fluad, explained Drs. Meagan Berman and Richard Rupp in Vaccine Smarts. If these options are not available, Flublok is the next best thing, and it is a good choice for adults 50 to 64 years of age. Still, if none of these three are available, a standard injected flu vaccine is much better than remaining unvaccinated.

Sleep can be divided into 16 distinct types

Recently, a large study in Great Britain has examined how humans sleep. The researchers classified sleep patterns into five different clusters and 16 different types of sleep. It is so much more complex than most of us ever imagined, wrote Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel in Medical Discovery News.

Is there a cancer-fighting diet?

“We know that vegetables, including beans, leafy greens, tomatoes, squashes, onions and fruits have many chemicals, such as flavonoids, carotenoids, fiber, vitamins, minerals and additional bioactive substances that can help in preventing cancer,” wrote Dr. Victor S. Sierpina in his column.

Can I get COVID and flu shots at the same time?

In the latest Vaccine Smarts column, Drs. Megan Berman and Richard Rupp offered a Q&A on the new COVID-19 bivalent boosters. And the answer is yes, you can get your COVID and flu shots at the same time.

Eye contact is crucial in child development

“An extremely important aspect in human development is the moment that a baby looks at its parent,” wrote Dr. Sally Robinson. “Eye contact is associated with strong communication, memory for faces and social connection.”

To have a friend, be one

“Research has shown that having at least three close friends, especially for men, improves longevity,” wrote Dr. Victor S. Sierpina. “It makes sense that with someone else around to help share the joys and burdens of life, we become more resilient.”

Gut microbiomes could be a treatment for bipolar

Researchers are trying to determine if changing the gut microbiome is a viable treatment option for those with bipolar disorder. In Medical Discovery News, Dr. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel discuss fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) as a treatment. “Yes, that means transplanting poop!”

Scientists are studying a new cancer cure approach

Scientists have an exciting new treatment approach to cure advanced-stage ovarian and colorectal cancer. The bad news is that it has only been tested in mice. The good news is that testing it in humans is the next step and clinical trials could begin soon. Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel wrote all about in the latest Medical Discovery News column.

Buckle up: Flu season fast approaching

In the recent Vaccine Smarts column, Drs. Megan Berman and Richard Rupp advise everyone to prepare for a potentially rough flu season. One way to forecast the season is to observe what happens to people in the Southern hemisphere as their winter occurs during our summer, and some of their influenza strains make their way to us. We may be in for a bad one as Australia had a rough flu season. This winter we may have a “twin-demic” of both COVID and flu filling hospital beds and clinics. It is important that people receive their influenza vaccination to keep this from happening.

Biological age may be a better gauge of lifespan

Your biological age, also called your functional or physiological age, gauges how old you appear, Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel wrote in Medical Discovery News. Biological age uses many variables including your genes, lifestyle, diet, activity level and even how well you sleep. Your mental condition is also a factor. As with any tool like this, take the results with a grain of salt.

National Immunization Awareness Month reminds us vaccines protect

“We celebrate National Immunization Awareness Month every August,” Drs. Megan Berman and Richard Rupp wrote in the latest Vaccine Smarts column. “One of the few benefits of the pandemic is that we are more knowledgeable about vaccines development, licensure and how they work. Unfortunately, we are also learning about the danger of vaccine hesitancy and refusal.”

Tai Chi has benefits in Parkinson’s disease

Dr. Victor S. Sierpina explained that Tai Chi involves the slow repetitive shifting of weight from one leg to another and challenges balance control to maintain a center of mass within a changing base of support. “This is likely the same reason that Tai Chi has long been shown to reduce fear of falling in other studies of older adults,” he wrote.

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