Let’s talk turkey: The truth about tryptophan

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on November 26, 2015.

This Thursday after digging into your delicious Thanksgiving meal, you might find yourself slouching on your sofa, pants feeling a little snug, and you might find yourself feeling a dozy. Your first inclination will likely be to blame that delectable turkey and all of that tryptophan. Because turkey has tryptophan, and tryptophan makes us sleepy, right?

Well… This may likely be a myth that we have all been telling ourselves. The science behind tryptophan is pretty clear: tryptophan is an essential amino acid that our bodies need to help make niacin and serotonin. Our bodies do not produce tryptophan, so we must get it from our diet. Serotonin is believed to help us sleep better and stabilize our moods. It would appear, then, if tryptophan helps us make serotonin, and serotonin helps us sleep, that consuming tryptophan would make us sleepy, right?

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Bookmark these Resources for National Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month, created to raise awareness of this disease that impacts over 30 million people in the U.S. That’s almost 10% of the population. Even more astonishing is that, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, around 1 in 4 people with diabetes don’t even know they have it, and about 84% of Americans over the age of 18 have prediabetes. The good news is that diabetes can either be prevented or managed. This week we’re bringing you some valuable resources you can use to do both.

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The Librarians’ Book Recommendations – With a Medical Twist!

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on January 14, 2016.

Do you have a goal to read more books? If you don’t, maybe you should! Besides being downright fun, science shows that reading for pleasure can actually be good for your mental and physical health.

According to a study by Dr. Josie Billington at the University of Liverpool, people who read regularly for pleasure report lower levels of stress and depression than non-readers. Pleasure readers also report higher levels of self-esteem and greater ability to cope with difficult situations. Researchers believe this may result from readers gaining expanded models and repertoires of experience when they read that allow them to look with new perspective and understanding on their own lives. According to an expansive study carried out by the UK’s National Literary Trust, reading for pleasure has also been shown to reduce feelings of loneliness in adults and increase ability to prioritize and make decisions.

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Spotlight on Resources for Veterans

Did you know that November is National Veterans and Families Month? Veterans Day is still observed November 11th, but this year the Department of Veterans Affairs decided to have the 98-year tradition of observance and appreciation for veterans last throughout the whole month of November!  There are a number of events planned all around the country, so check the official calendar to  see if something is happening near you if you’re interested in participating in some way.

This is also a good time to talk about some of the important health-related issues our veterans might face. If you or anyone in your family has ever served in the military, you may be familiar with some of the health risks that are associated with a career serving our country. Some are more obvious, like injuries resulting in disability or chronic pain. Others might be harder to pin down, like post-traumatic stress disorder or substance abuse. It’s important to remember that each service member will return home with their own range of experiences. Knowing how and where to go to address any issues that may present themselves is key! There are lots of helpful resources out there for veterans and their families should they need access to them.

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Monday Morning Round-Up #18

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Welcome to Monday Morning Round-Up, featuring what’s new in health and medicine from around the web!

Preterm births in the U.S. rise again, signaling worrisome trend via Stat News

The preterm birth rate in the U.S. has increased for the second consecutive year, according to a new report, and minorities are suffering a disproportionate share of those births. The increases, which follow nearly a decade of declines, raise concerns that gains made in women’s health care are now slipping, experts say.

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Tech Talk Thursday: The Best Apps for Better Sleep

The end of Daylight Savings time, another tell-tale sign that we are swinging into the autumn and winter months, is this Sunday – don’t forget to reset your clocks! My favorite part about the end of Daylight Savings (besides the fact that it means the holidays are coming), is that we get an extra hour of sleep as the clocks fall back an hour on Sunday morning. I personally always can use an extra hour of sleep, and chances are, you can too – according to the CDC, more than a third of American adults are not getting at least 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis, causing chronic sleep deprivation. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress. To encourage you to focus on getting better sleep, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite sleep apps to help you track your sleeping habits, fall asleep faster, and sleep more soundly.

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The Health Benefits of Owning Pets

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 3/23/17

Do you love spending time with your furry friends? The Health Sciences Library is full of animal lovers – collectively the library staff owns more than 20 animals! If you are obsessed with love animals like I do, you already know that spending time with them can improve your mood and make you feel cozy inside. However, did you know that there are actually a myriad of health benefits to owning a pet? And for those of you who aren’t pet owners – many of these benefits also take effect if you just spend quality time with an animal, so you can still reap the benefits through playing with another person’s animal for a bit!

Increased physical activity

It’s no secret that owning a pet increases your likelihood to engage in physical activity – after all, most animals need to be walked and/or played with multiple times a day. This increase in physical activity is very healthy, and can even help you lose excess weight.  A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health of more than 2,000 adults found that dog owners responsible for walking their pups are less likely to be obese than dog owners who pass the duty off to someone else or those who don’t own dogs at all.

 

Spending time with animals can help you get moving more often.

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Open Access Week 2017: What You Need to Know About OA

October 23 – 27 is Open Access Week 2017! Open Access Week is a global event promoting (1) the open access to information, (2)  immediate and free online access to the results of scholarly research, and (3) the right to use and re-use those results  as needed. This Open Access Week we’re reposting an introduction to open access, originally posted on our blog in October 2015.

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Monday Morning Round-Up #17

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Welcome to Monday Morning Round-Up, featuring what’s new in health and medicine from around the web!

Pollution to blame for 1 in 6 deaths worldwide, study finds via Stat News

Pollution is taking a massive toll on global health, with poor and marginalized populations being hit particularly hard by dangerous contamination. A new report published in the Lancet finds that diseases driven by pollution — which can range from asthma to cardiovascular disease — were responsible for more than 9 million premature deaths in 2015.

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Ted Talk Round-Up: Diversity Topics

It’s Diversity Week here at the UCF College of Medicine, and we’re spending all week celebrating the vast diversity of our faculty, staff, and students! We believe that the diversity of our community makes us stronger, more inclusive, and more interesting! To help you celebrate the diversity in your community, we’re rounded up a selection of thought-provoking Ted Talks on various diversity topics. Enjoy!

Immigrant Voices Make Democracy Stronger, Sayu Bhojwani

In politics, representation matters — and that’s why we should elect leaders who reflect their country’s diversity and embrace its multicultural tapestry, says Sayu Bhojwani. Through her own story of becoming an American citizen, the immigration scholar reveals how her love and dedication to her country turned into a driving force for political change. “We have fought to be here,” she says, calling immigrant voices to action. “It’s our country, too.”

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