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COVID booster offers many benefits for children

In 5- to 11-year-olds, the booster more than doubles the antibody levels found after the second dose. Additionally, boosting has been shown in other age groups to further improve the antibodies so that they better bind the virus and provide more protection against variants. Drs. Megan Berman and Richard Rupp discuss this in the latest Vaccine Smarts column.

The war on cancer turns 50

“Now after 50 years and an estimated $100 billion in funding, we can assess where we are and our progress toward this landmark goal of defeating cancer,” write Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel in Medical Discovery News. “One reminder — cancer is not a single disease but a collection of hundreds of diseases.”

Cannabinoids, medical marijuana merit deeper study

Dr. Victor S. Sierpina sees patients who are using this centuries-old remedy for a broad variety of conditions, despite Texas’ prohibition against its use. “Like our endogenous endorphin system of opiate receptors, the endocannabinoid system is a network throughout our body in multiple organs and cells, which accounts for why cannabinoids impact so many conditions from pain, mood, insomnia, cancer, nausea, appetite and others.,” he writes. “Endocannabinoid deficiency is being considered as the cause for a range of poorly characterized and challenging diseases such depression, migraine, ADHD and irritable bowel syndrome.”

We need to remove stigma around mental disorders

“Mental health problems have nothing to do with being lazy or weak,” writes Dr. Sally Robinson in her column. “Many people need help to get better. Treatment varies depending on the individual and could include medication, therapy or both. Studies show that people do get better and many recover completely.”

Children in sports should be given opportunities to succeed

Unfortunately, sports are all too often seen as the prime demonstration of intense competition. Children can be involved in sports activities of all levels and have successful and gratifying experiences and not have the pressures of intense win-loss events, writes Dr. Sally Robinson.

Vaccine offers hope for multiple sclerosis treatment

In Medical Discovery News, Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel report on an mRNA vaccine that might open new avenues for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. “While this treatment is extremely promising, keep in mind there’s a long road and a lot of research that will be required before this becomes a treatment for humans,” they advise.

Preparation makes telemedicine more productive

“If your doctor offers telehealth visits for you, there are a few things you can do to better prepare for these visits to ensure you get the most of your virtual time together,” advises Drs. Victor Sierpina and Michelle Sierpina. “First, write it down. Write down whatever issues or concerns you want to speak about.” Sharpen your pencils.

Do pregnant moms need a COVID booster?

Women are at higher risk of serious complications from COVID when they’re pregnant. Should they get a COVID booster? Drs. Megan Berman and Richard Rupp examine the question in the recent Vaccine Smarts column.

Lupus, certain gene mutation lead to kidney damage

Lupus is a scary disease, and it can be common. Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, causing inflammation and damage to various organs. Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel discuss research about a connection to kidney damage.

Hobbies can improve our mental, physical health

“The primary reason hobbies are good is because they force you to take time for yourself,” writes Dr. Samuel Mathis. “Hobbies count as part of the 10 in the 0-5-10-20-30 of the formula for healthy living (0 cigarettes, 5 servings of veggies and fruits a day, 10 minutes of daily mindfulness, 20 minutes of exercise a day, and a body mass index less than 30).”

New COVID treatment available for immunocompromised

People with immunocompromising conditions might be unsure whether their COVID-19 vaccinations will protect them from severe disease. Many may also be unaware aware there’s now a treatment, Evusheld, that can protect and allow them to lead more normal lives. Drs. Meagan Berman and Richard Rupp explain in the latest Vaccine Smarts column.

AI makes colorectal cancer screening better

“Now for the first time, artificial intelligence was used in conjunction with the standard colonoscopy to reduce the rate at which polyps are missed by nearly a third,” write Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel in the latest Medical Discovery News column.

Sometimes, normal 'forgetting' can be beneficial

Among older adults, such memory concerns represent a daily complaint in the primary care setting. Most patients fear that the slightest forgetfulness predicts progressive senility, dementia or even Alzheimer’s Disease. Drs. Victor S. Sierpina and Michelle Sierpina write that forgetting things once in a while can be healthy.

Guns surpass motor vehicles as top cause of death for U.S. children: What parents should know

Guns are now the leading cause of death in children and teenagers in the United States. “In addition to common-sense gun control, such as safe storage and enforcement of red flag laws, we need universally administered community- and school-based programs that effectively prevent violence,” said Jeff Temple, PhD, a licensed psychologist, and director of the Center for Violence Prevention at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

10 ways to help a loved one living with mental illness

Once you've asked someone how they are, it is important to listen—without shame or stigma. “Be patient, non-judgmental, and open to conversation,” said Dr. Jeff Temple, a licensed psychologist and University of Texas Medical Branch professor. You should be responsive and make eye contact. Hear them out, no matter what. And offer empathy. “You don't have to be an expert to know someone is struggling,” Temple said. “You just must be a caring person who wants to help. This shows the person that they can lean on you for support and rely on you when they're struggling.”

Make new friends to improve your health

In an era with easier social connections through the internet, text messaging and email, establishing and building friendships is harder than ever. Dr. Samuel Mathis encourages us to make new friends. Want to have coffee soon?

A man cluctching his chest during a heart attack

Heart attack mortality rate higher in the US compared to other high-income countries

When it comes to treating heart attacks, U.S. hospitals may have the latest tech and low readmission rates, but the country’s mortality rate is one of the highest among the nations included in a new study. The study, published May 4 in The BMJ, found substantial differences in care for heart attack patients across six high income countries despite international agreement on how heart attacks should be treated.

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