Why MDs Avoid Supplements

When your physician asks what medications you are taking, and then follows up with “anything else? Vitamins? Supplements?” PLEASE share everything that you are taking. We don’t ask this to judge your personal choices, nor because we know every ingredient- on the contrary. Natural ingredients like herbs can and often do interact with prescription medications. At a minimum, we should have a complete list and look for obvious potential negative interactions (such as taking St. Johns wort with certain cholesterol medications, antidepressants or hormones), and also to promote further discussion.  For example, not only do WE not know … Read more

Peppermint Oil for Irritable Bowel? Sweet!

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is beyond “irritating” to the 10-15% of the US population (mostly young people in their 20’s or 30’s) that deal with this frustrating medical problem. The typically cramping abdominal pain occurs on average at least one day per week, along with either a change in frequency or consistency of bowel movements along with painful pooping. (Bowels can either speed up or slow down in IBS, and sometimes they flip back and forth between diarrhea and constipation.) The IBS diagnosis is made when you’ve had these symptoms consistently for three continuous months, and your physician does not … Read more

Campus Flu Shot Clinics Starting NOW

Flu Shot Time!

Attention Longhorns, Aggies, and everyone else, flu season is upon us, so it’s time for your annual flu vaccine. Check with your campus health services to see if they are offering vaccine clinics.

At UT: UHS is providing flu shot clinics starting TOMORROW, Tuesday, 9/24/18.

For a complete schedule and information about the vaccine and the flu, go to www.healthyhorns.utexas.edu.

This week’s flu shot clinics include:
Tuesday, 9/25/18 – noon–4 p.m. – Student Services Building (SSB G1.310)
Wednesday, 9/26/18 – 1–4 p.m. – Facilities Complex Building 1 (FC1 1.118)
Thursday, 9/27/18 – noon–4 p.m. – … Read more

Freshman Insomnia: Seven Tips To Get More ZZZ

As September settles in, college freshman are anything but settled. Instead, these students are rollercoastering through major life adjustments, especially those living in dorms or other shared spaces. Extra noises, unsettled sleep patterns, academic adjustments, general anxiety and bedtime social media browsing that skyrockets FOMO*(Fear Of Missing Out) often blend together and create sleepless nights that can trigger a downward spiral of fatigue, trouble concentrating, and poor grades…which leads to anxiety and more difficulty sleeping. What can students do to try and stop this cycle? Start with these seven steps:

  1. CONSISTENT SLEEP (and AWAKE) TIMES- with MWF and T/Th schedules,
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JUUL? Not COOL

“JUUL” is a brand of electronic NICOTINE delivery system officially offered as an alternative to traditional cigarettes and other vaping systems. What does it look like? Pretty much identical to a flash drive. Let that sink in…would it catch your eye as a teacher or a parent if your student or son/daughter were holding one? Probably not. Are teens using this? YES. The AAFP notes that “nearly 1 in 5 students ages 12-17 have seen (JUUL) used in school”. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that 9.5% of 8th graders have used e-cigs in the last month, with this … Read more

Clash of the Titans: Tylenol* vs Advil*

In the epic battle of pain relievers, which should you take? Tylenol*( in this case meaning any brand of acetaminophen)? or Advil* (meaning any brand of Ibuprofen)?

The answer is BOTH, or at least, “it depends”.

Acetaminophen (common brand name Tylenol) and ibuprofen (common brands Advil or Motrin) are two very different products that work in different pathways within the body. Tylenol’s mechanism is still poorly understood, but one persisting theory is that it works by blocking the central nervous system’s production of prostaglandin, a substance that plays a key role in transmitting pain and causing fever. Ibuprofen or “advil”-type … Read more

Nope, Not A “Quack Shack”! University Health Services

My fellow Texas Aggies are no doubt familiar with the name “Quack Shack”, the less than complimentary old Army nick name for the campus health center at Texas A&M. Sadly, many college campus health centers suffer from similarly undeserved negative images, despite being staffed with excellent, well-trained, caring, compassionate physicians, nurses and other providers. Please look closely at your campus clinic’s website to fully explore what is available at your (or your college student’s) school. At the end of the day, I can only speak with authority about the University Health Services at the University of Texas in Austin, because … Read more

College Student Essential: the Medication Box

August has arrived, which means panic is setting in for many families as they pack up their high school graduate and send them off to college. Pinterest-driven dorm room goals shift much of the focus (at least for girls) to inspirational quotes, photo displays and twinkling lights.  Mothers alternate between doing everything for their “baby” one last time, to cramming in last minute instructions on washing clothes and paying attention to car maintenance. As a college physician, I’d like to add two important items to your shopping list (if your child takes any medications on a regular basis…prescription or not):… Read more

Nuts About Healthy Eating: Why I Learned to Love Nuts

I did not grow up eating nuts, and in fact, I didn’t even LIKE nuts. I picked them out of brownies or cookies and scraped them off sundaes. Today, however, I not only include nuts in my diet but I actually LOVE them! What made me change?

For twenty years, every day in my private practice, I asked patients to tell me what they had eaten the day before- officially called a 24 hour dietary recall. I learned you can be a vegetarian, but still have poor nutrition (think pop tarts, chips and sweets). I learned most people forget or … Read more

The Chocolate Milk Conspiracy

Does your kid love chocolate milk, but vow that “regular” milk makes her tummy hurt? When I told MY parents this, they laughed and assumed I was milking the system for more sweets. As I grew older, I realized that certain dairy products battled my GI tract, while others peacefully coexisted. Pizza was fine, but a milkshake? Not so much.

Well, guess what? That kid chugging chocolate milk and avoiding regular milk may simply be lactose intolerant. Hold on-doesn’t chocolate milk have the same amount of lactose as regular milk? Yes, but…

Lactose intolerance refers to the inability to … Read more