A Guide to Holiday Wellness

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 12/10/15.

Although the holiday season absolutely warms our spirits, it can also take quite a toll on our health. Between all of the baking, office parties, holiday meals, time spent parked on the couch watching holiday movies, and stress that comes with holiday preparations and spending, it’s no wonder that the most popular New Year’s resolutions involve improving our health and wellness! Make use of these holiday wellness tips in order to keep yourself healthy and sane even before the New Year begins.

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The Most Common Holiday ER Visits – And How to Avoid Them

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 12/24/2015.

For many people, the holidays are a joyous and festive time to spend with family and loved ones. However, even with all of the warm holiday wishes and holiday cheer of the season, this time of year can also be an accident waiting to happen. During the holiday season, emergency rooms across the U.S. see an increase in visits due to holiday-related injuries and illnesses. Read on to learn about some of the most common holiday injuries and how you can avoid them.

What dangers are lurking in your holiday plans?

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Sunscreen, SPF, and Skin Cancer: November is Healthy Skin Month!

Although we’ve officially transitioned into autumn here in Florida, that doesn’t mean that sun safety isn’t as important as ever! We certainly earn our nickname of the Sunshine State: on average, we can expect to have more than 260 days of beautiful sunshine every year – including during the autumn and winter months! All of that sun is great for outdoor sports, strolls, and ensuring you reach your Vitamin D needs, but it can also wreak havoc on your skin’s health. So how do you protect yourself? In honor of Healthy Skin Month, in today’s blog post we’ll explore what the sun damage actually does to your skin, how sunscreen works, and various techniques to protect your skin from the harsh sun rays.

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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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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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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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Fun (and informative) things for COM Staff at the HSL!

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on October 13th, 2016.

No one could ever deny that we love what we do for our students each and every day – our fun posts across our various social media platforms make that pretty obvious. While most of our efforts are directed at preparing our students for life after medical school, we want our staff at the College of Medicine to know that we’re here for them as well! Here’s a short list of offerings from the Health Sciences Library that we hope our staff keep in mind and take advantage of.

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Decoding Caffeine, the Nectar of the Gods

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 9/29/16.

It’s no surprise that many of us love caffeinated beverages – many of us thrive (or survive, depending on the day) on the wakefulness and can-do attitude provided by our morning cup o’ joe. I’m personally obsessed with tea, and in the mornings, I’m a struggle to talk to until my cup has kicked in. My fingers are currently flying over the keyboard thanks to a handful of chocolate-covered espresso beans.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone: more than 90% of American adults use caffeine regularly. But how much do you actually know about this substance that you ply yourself with every morning (and afternoon… and some evenings…)? We’ve taken it upon ourselves to decode caffeine – what it actually is, its effects on the body and our health, and the many ways to consume it.

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Monday Morning Round-Up #16

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

Older adults report frequently mishearing clinicians via The JAMA Network

Another effect of age-related hearing loss: problems understanding what your clinician is telling you. In a new survey of 100 older adults, 43 of them said they had misheard a physician, nurse, or both during either a primary care visit or hospital stay, possibly contributing to the higher prevalence of medical errors among older patients.

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