June 2008 News Tips

Note to media: To reach the media contacts for any of these health news tips, call the Office of News and Publications at 214-648-3404.

Eggs: A good choice for new and expectant moms

Many expectant and new moms feel they’ve earned a free pass to consume everything their heart desires. Unfortunately, the quality of calories consumed is crucial to both the mother’s health and the baby’s development.

That’s where the simple, yet oft-beleaguered, egg comes in.

Besides providing folate, iron and high-quality protein, eggs are an excellent source of choline.

Recent research suggests that choline plays an important role in breaking down homocysteine, an amino acid that may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease. It also aids infant brain development and helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida, says Cindy Cunningham, a clinical nutritionist at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Pregnant women should consume 450 milligrams of choline a day, while those breastfeeding should aim for 550 milligrams, according to guidelines issued by the National Academy of Sciences. Two eggs provide about 250 milligrams, second only to beef liver for choline content.

Ms. Cunningham says all eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees to avoid the risk of salmonella.

And keep in mind that you won’t reap the benefits by opting for egg whites — choline is in the yolk.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/nutrition to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in nutrition.

Media Contact: Kristen Holland Shear

Mitigating migraine misery with Botox

Medical studies have suggested that people trying to find relief from migraines often make numerous attempts using various techniques. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that about 15 percent of the U.S. population suffers from migraines or severe headaches, including nearly 20 percent of all women.

A UT Southwestern Medical Center plastic surgeon is helping to pioneer the use of wrinkle-fighting Botox, which temporarily weakens muscles, to identify which nerves or trigger points are causing pain. He then performs surgery to decompress the involved nerves, which in turn lead to migraine headache relief in more than 90 percent of patients.

“If patients get a benefit from the Botox, they likely will get a benefit from the surgery,” says Dr. Jeffrey Janis, one of only about a dozen surgeons in the world who perform the technique. “This novel treatment is still in its infancy, but it can be effective and more lasting for some people who have not found traditional treatments that work.”

Dr. Janis performs the technique only on patients who have been diagnosed with migraines by a neurologist.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/plasticsurgery  to learn more about
UT Southwestern’s clinical services in plastic surgery.

Media Contact: Russell Rian

Follow instructions carefully for over-the-counter pain and inflammation relief

Be careful when taking common over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen.

These non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can cause ulcers in patients who take more than the recommended dosage for longer than the recommended time.

“Often the first sign of a dangerous NSAID problem is a trip to the emergency room,” says Dr. Byron Cryer, a gastroenterologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

NSAIDS are one of the most common medicines used worldwide and can also be found in dietary supplements. Some people take low doses daily to protect against heart attack. Patients who are older than 60, have had previous gastrointestinal ulcers or bleeding, and who also take blood thinners or steroids should be extra vigilant to follow labels.

“NSAIDS are generally safe and beneficial,” Dr. Cryer says. “But patients should tell doctors of all nontraditional supplements they take and follow exact dosage instructions.”

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/digestive to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in digestive disorders.

Media Contact: LaKisha Ladson

Please, don’t eat the azaleas

Few things are as aesthetically pleasing as a beautiful garden. But many flowers commonly used for their beauty are toxic if eaten and could pose a threat to young children.

“Choose those beautiful yard plants carefully because some of them can be toxic if ingested. The joy of watching junior beginning to walk could be offset by a medical crisis if he eats those previously unreachable flowers,” says Dr. Kurt Kleinschmidt, a medical toxicologist and emergency medicine physician at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Azaleas, caladiums, chrysanthemums, daffodils, hyacinth, hydrangea, iris, jonquils, morning glories, mums and periwinkles are all potentially harmful flowers. So stick with begonias, crape myrtles, gardenias, geraniums, honeysuckle, impatiens, marigolds, petunias, roses and zinnia, all of which are considered safe.

Call the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-POISON-1 (1-800-764-7661) for more information.

Media Contact: Connie Piloto


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