Med Talks

Student Organization Fair 2012

Med Talks

By Johnny Ahn, MS2 (Class of 2015)

While manning the table for MedTalks, I felt the mixture of excitement and anxiety from the incoming class – exactly how I felt during the fair last summer.

I could see how the class above felt when we walked into orientation last year. In comparing the disparity between how I had wished my first year had gone and how it actually went, I thought about what it actually took for me to keep myself in good working condition throughout the year. If I had to choose one thing I did [...]

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From Sweeney, with Love

Med Talks

By David Tassin, MS2 (Class of 2015)

It was 4 a.m., and this snoring seven-year-old in a top bunk needed an insulin shot. I had already spent hours testing campers, doling out juice and milk to droopy-eyed boys who fell asleep even as I held their shoulders to sit them up in bed.

And still I had dozens of campers left to check. Giving a shot so early on the 4 a.m. rounds did not bode well for the rest of the night.

After preparing his shot, I retrieved his sweaty arm from under his body, [...]

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ACLS: A Medical Harmony

Med Talks

My team in the simulation room.

by Meghana Kashyap, MS2 (Class of 2015)

When my Colleges mentor offered his tickets to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO), I could not pass up the chance to listen to live classical music for the first time since I started medical school. I was so excited to lock my left-brain in a dark corner of my apartment, and take my right brain out for a fun night in Dallas. Unfortunately, or fortunately, little Lefty broke loose and found me.

You see, the week before the concert MS2s had a recorded [...]

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To France and Back - A Certain Je ne Sais Quoi

Med Talks

By Hannah Lust, MS2 (Class of 2015)

I did a lot of research the summer after finishing my first year of med school.

It wasn’t in a lab, though. I didn’t see any patients, or do any chart reviews. This was a different kind of research—it involved pastries and maps of Paris. Yes, in France.

This seems out of place, and it may take some explaining. As I peered out from the midst of a whirlwind second semester of medical school, the summer that stretched between first and second year seemed like a blank canvas. It [...]

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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 October 2014.

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 common [...]

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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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When the Doctor Becomes the Patient: One M.D.’s Personal Tale of Survivorship, in his Own Words

Cancer Q&A

Sixteen years ago, Phil Evans, MD, found himself in the unexpected role of patient. He was driving down the road when his cell phone rang. By the end of the conversation, he knew he would lose a kidney to cancer. What he didn’t know then was how his life would be forever changed.

W. Phil Evans, MD<

Dr. Evans, Director of the Center for Breast Care and Professor of Radiology, doesn’t talk much about his diagnosis. It’s not a secret, it’s just that Dr. Evans, who is also the president of the

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History in Medicine: Hard to Stomach - The History of Gastrointestinal Physiology

Med Talks

An engraving from Beaumont’s 1833 book “Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice and the Physiology of Digestion,” depicting St. Martin’s wound in his left upper abdomen.

Recently in Medical Physiology we learned about the gastrointestinal (GI) system, a seemingly simple yet complex organ system.

The GI system is essentially a continuous tube, with food entering in and eventually exiting out after traveling along a continuous tract. But it is what occurs along that tract—the interplay of chemicals, hormones, churning, grinding, and pumping—that makes the GI system a powerful digester and absorber of nutrients. Even [...]

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Why are Colonoscopies so Important?

Cancer Q&A

By James K.V. Willson, M.D.

Colon cancer is highly curable if caught early, and the best way to detect colon cancer is through a colonoscopy.

There are two main reasons why proper screening for colon cancer is so critical. First, if cancer is found, surgical intervention is most effective when it’s caught early. But even more important is that precancerous polyps—called adenomas­—can be identified by colonoscopies and then removed, which prevents their progression to cancer.

A recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine, appearing just in time for Colon Cancer Awareness Month (March), [...]

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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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Lessons from Shadowing at UT Southwestern - You'll Always Remember Your First

Med Talks

by Sunny Varshney, MS2

I’ve had the opportunity to shadow a wide variety of specialists during my time at UTSW. In this series I’ll highlight some experiences that stand out and lessons I learned from them.

#1 You’ll Always Remember Your First…

Time: 6:30 a.m., June 2007

Place: Operating Room, Parkland Simmons Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC)

I remember this day vividly—the first time I ever…scrubbed in.

I was a research fellow in the world-renowned UTSW Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. My mentor’s assistant had emailed me his schedule and told me to be where he was whenever I [...]

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History in Medicine: (In)famous Clara Cells

Med Talks

by Amanda Strickland, MS1

Cell Biology class is like an extension of Anatomy because of all those names we must learn – except most of these structures are only visible through a microscope. In the Respiratory System lab, we recently learned about a set of cells in the respiratory bronchioles that make an oily fluid called surfactant. Thanks to surfactant, Clara cells help ease respiration by making lung structures more slippery and less sticky, preventing the small air-filled sacs called alveoli from collapsing.

I smiled when I first heard of these cells, thinking about the [...]

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Angle of Louis - More Than Meets the Eye

Med Talks

by Nicole and Amanda Strickland, MS1

The Angle of Louis (Sternal Angle)

As we first-year medical students first learned in anatomy lab and then experienced in our Colleges sessions, clinicians use many anatomical landmarks to guide their physical exam of a patient. One such landmark is the sternal angle, a junction between the manubrium and body of the sternum (or “breastbone”).

The sternal angle is easily felt as a small protuberance on the upper part of the chest, and it marks the location of the second rib. From this location, a doctor can count ribs, know [...]

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Gestational Diabetes – Not Just a Test Question

Med Talks

by Meghana Kashyap, MS1

As first year medical students, we learn the biochemistry of diabetes. For our exam, we learned that the pancreas secretes the hormone insulin in response to elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Responding to the insulin, cells uptake the glucose and begin anabolic processes—such as building fat stores—in order to better utilize the glucose under conditions of starvation or depleted energy.

There are two classifications of diabetes—Type I is an autoimmune disorder that causes defective pancreas insulin production. Type II is a deficient response to insulin signaling due to many [...]

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Viva Tel Aviv!

Med Talks

By Micah Eades, MS2

The Sackler Health Sciences Center, Tel Aviv, Israel.

When I started considering how I was going to spend the summer after first year, the “last summer of my life”, my college mentor told me, “go to the place where you would most like to go, and have a blast.”

Well, that narrowed it down quite a bit because there has been one place that I’ve really wanted to visit – Israel! I quickly got to work finding cheap airfares on the internet and contacting my friend at Sackler Faculty of Medicine in [...]

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Why is Good Nutrition Important for a Patient with Cancer and What Types of Food Should Be Consumed During Treatment?

Cancer Q&A

By Jennifer Wolfshohl, RD, CSO, LD

Good nutrition is important for everyone, but especially for those undergoing cancer treatments. Cancer itself, as well as its treatments, may affect a patient’s appetite. Treatments also may change your body’s ability to tolerate certain foods and use certain nutrients. Eating well while undergoing treatment can help you:

Tolerate side effects Heal and recover more quickly Keep up your strength and energy Maintain weight Keep your immune system strong Feel better

Eating well means choosing a variety of foods that provide the nutrients you need to maintain your health while fighting cancer. These nutrients include [...]

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Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Health Talks

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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