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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!”

Experimental COVID-19 vaccine could outsmart future coronavirus variants

An experimental vaccine aims to solve that problem by priming the immune system to recognize both the spike protein and a second — and far more stable — viral protein. “We think of it as a one-time solution for all the COVID variants,” said Haitao Hu, an immunologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch and senior author of a study describing the vaccine in Wednesday’s edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine. The Seattle Times published this article, also. The Galveston County Daily News reported this news as well.

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.

Is chronotherapy right for you and your heart?

Dr. Victor Sierpina wrote about a study about taking heart and blood pressure medications at night. This may not be the best choice for everyone, and Sierpina explained why.

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.

Young guards dove right into leadership training

For about three years, the Galveston Island Beach Patrol has been working toward a leadership program. Partnering with the Occupational Therapy team from the University of Texas Medical Branch, its leadership committee modified an existing program that was based on a program generated from a Navy SEAL team.

A sincere apology can give you a health bump

“Studies have shown that both giving and receiving forgiveness can improve blood pressure, decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, improved mental resilience and even improve our immune system and how we respond to illness,” writes Dr. Samuel Mathis

Eggs got a bum rap and other medical news you can use

“Of the thousands of medical articles published annually, of most interest to those of us in primary care are the ones that have an impact on how we practice,” wrote Dr. Victor S. Sierpina in his column. “These are the studies that show how to improve patient outcomes in morbidity and mortality, reduce risk, improve safety and lower costs.” And he lists some top studies.

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