Health Talks

Q&A with Barry Schwarz, M.D. - Birth Control and Stroke Risk

Health Talks

While stroke is the third leading cause of death for women in the U.S., few people know the risk of stroke associated with the use of birth control. The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association recently published guidelines warning against the increased risk of stroke birth control may have on some women.

“The risk for heart attack and stroke is greatly increased if a woman takes birth control pills and smokes cigarettes, or takes birth control pills and has high blood pressure,” said Barry Schwarz, M.D., Professor and Vice Chair of [...]

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Q&A with Mark Alberts, M.D. - What you should know about stroke

Health Talks

Stroke is a common and serious disease. Each year in the United States, almost 800,000 people suffer from a new or recurrent stroke, and about 130,000 die from its effects. In conjunction with National Stroke Awareness Month, this month a UT Southwestern Medical Center stroke expert answers some commonly asked questions about this devastating disease.

Mark Alberts, M.D., is the Vice-Chair for Clinical Affairs in the Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern. He was one of the authors that set national stroke certification guidelines for stroke centers, and also a member [...]

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Eye infection may be highly contagious, UT Southwestern doctor warns

Health Talks

The good news about getting a nasty case of pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is that the infection usually runs its course without permanent damage.

The bad news: the viral form of conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can stay on surfaces for several days, potentially unleashing a widespread outbreak.

“This is a very hardy, robust virus that lives very well outside of the body. Tears are the principal vector for transmission. Anyone who touches a surface with the virus inoculated on it from an infected person and then touches their face can get infected,” said

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Aneurysm Q&A

Health Talks

Q&A with Babu Welch, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Radiology, Director of the UT Southwestern Microvascular Laboratory, and Director of the Cerebrovascular Fellowship.

What is a brain aneurysm? This is a weakness of a blood vessel in the brain. The main concern with this weakness is that it may tear or rupture and cause blood to cover the brain. This is frequently life-threatening.

What symptoms should someone look out for? Many brain aneurysms are found without symptoms while another complaint is being investigated. A sudden and new headache is a common presenting complaint in a [...]

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Empowering patients with genetic testing

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More and more women like actress Angelina Jolie are stepping forward to undergo genetic testing for breast cancer – and for good reason.

As many as 5 percent to 10 percent of all cancers may be linked to an inherited risk, and approximately 30 percent of cancer cases occur in families with close relatives who have experienced similar cancers. Women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations may have up to an 80 percent risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetimes. Many other gene mutations have also been linked to hereditary cancer. 

Hereditary cancer is [...]

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Mental illness and your child's health

Health Talks

Did you know that more than 20 percent of children experience a mental disorder? With recent tragedies haunting America’s communities, mental illness has come to the forefront of public awareness. It is time to address the mental health of America’s children and how we can help.

According to research by the National Institute of Mental Health, one in every four to five U.S. youth is affected by some type of mental disorder to the extent that  the child has difficulty functioning.

Adam Brenner, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center, answers [...]

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Restoring stem cells with antioxidants

Health Talks

Heshem Sadek, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, and Chengcheng “Alec” Zhang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Physiology and Developmental Biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, share their latest research based on a new study about the critical role of the Meis1 gene in hematopoietic stem cells.

(L-R) Chengcheng “Alec” Zhang, Ph.D., and Heshem Sadek, M.D., Ph.D.

The study, published in the journal Blood, highlights the importance of oxygen metabolism in normal stem cell function and disease. In the future, these findings may have important implications for treating bone marrow failure and leukemia. 

Read the [...]

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Influenza Q&A

Health Talks

Editor's Note: This entry was updated December 19, 2013.

When is flu season? Flu season varies from year to year – it can start as early as August and last into late spring.

What is the best way to prevent contracting the flu? For those who are eligible to receive it, vaccination is the number one prevention method. For those are not eligible to receive the vaccine – infants under 6 months old or those with certain allergies and medical conditions – it’s important for the other people in their household to get vaccinated.

What are the most [...]

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10 Top Sports Nutrition Tips

Health Talks

1. Hydrate for performance. When you are well-hydrated you perform better. Drink 2-3 cups of fluid two hours before you plan to workout and 1-2 cups about 30 minutes before. Being well-hydrated will help you feel more energized and alert.

Lona Sandon, MEd, RD, LD

2. Hydrate to prevent injury. Lack of fluid can leave you feeling tired, dizzy and clumsy, making you more likely to stumble and hurt yourself. Plan to drink eight gulps of fluid about every 15 minutes during a hard workout, especially if you are outdoors.

3. Choose the right drink at the right [...]

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Don’t let athletes do end run around concussions standards

Health Talks

Ten years ago as part of standard preseason cognitive testing, a famous pro athlete tried to recite from memory the dozen words I had just read aloud.

At first, he gave me only four of the words. After two more repetitions, he got up to five.

Munro Cullum, PhD

I did not feel that he was giving me his best effort, so I told him he was performing like a patient who had either a severe head injury or was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. “Sorry, doc,” he said. “That’s all I’ve got.”

He was [...]

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10 Top Sports Fitness Tips

Health Talks

1.  Get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days. 

Lona Sandon, RD, LD

2. Mix up your workouts to include both cardiovascular and muscle training exercises for a whole body fitness improvement plan. Cardiovascular exercise helps keep your heart healthy while muscle training exercise can improve posture and strength. 

3. Try interval training to improve cardiovascular fitness and burn up calories. Interval training requires you to alternate bouts of high intensity with lower intensity during your workout.

4. Lift heavy enough to make a difference to build muscle. When strength training, the weight should be heavy enough to [...]

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West Nile Virus: What is it and how can it affect me?

Health Talks

The West Nile Virus is a seasonal illness transmitted to humans through infected mosquitoes that flares up between May and October. UT Southwestern infectious disease experts Jeffrey Kahn, MD, PhD, and James Luby, MD, discuss the disease that affects as many as 1,000 people across the country each year.

1. Who is most at risk to contract and become ill from West Nile Virus?Dr. Luby: Everyone can become infected, but elderly persons and those with a compromised immune system have an extra risk of becoming ill after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

2. Is [...]

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Serious Screen Play

Health Talks

Newest labeling could help stem sun’s skin damage

Buying a sunscreen that really offers protection against skin cancer was supposed to get easier this summer. Instead, it could get even more confusing for consumers looking to protect their skin from the sun’s damaging rays.

Gabriela M. Blanco, MD

New guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration to simplify over-the-counter sunscreen labeling were expected to go into effect in June. A six-month delay, however, means that not all product lines will be following the adjusted rules. Still, informed consumers should keep an eye out for sunscreens that [...]

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The Impact of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Health Talks

By Tasneem Ahmed, DO 

During the first month of my intern year in residency, I met a young female college student who had to leave school due to her ongoing battle with ulcerative colitis. She was hospitalized for two weeks to control her symptoms and required aggressive immunosuppressive therapy. I witnessed, firsthand, how diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s can affect someone’s physical wellbeing but can also change people’s lives—especially the lives of young women! I became interested in these diseases as a result.   Over the years, thankfully, there has been increasing [...]

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Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

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My medical education has supplied more than its share of medical terminology mouthfuls, but I had to tackle this troublesome tongue-twister during an altogether different occasion. I am a singer and have been privileged to record for Walt Disney Records over the years. As that famous song from Mary Poppins proves, the lyrics are sometimes as difficult to master as the tune.

As a recently appointed Assistant Professor of Laryngology in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, it is thrilling for me to combine my musical interests with my passion for medicine [...]

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Hepatitis: A Brief History

Health Talks

By William Lee, MD

I grew up and completed my training in the Northeast, but I came to Texas in 1990—the dawn of the hepatitis C era. In 1989, the hepatitis C virus was first identified, allowing testing for the first time to identify what had formerly been called the non-A, non-B virus. Over the past two decades at UT Southwestern, I have  been privileged to watch our Center go from the initial naïve efforts in the early 1990s with a 5 percent cure rate, to the current effective treatments that deliver a [...]

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