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.

art-heart-caffeine-coffee

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September is Food Safety Education Month! Keep Yourself Safe With These Tips

Did you know that September is Food Safety Education Month? Food safety might not normally be on the forefront of our minds, but I know after losing power for several days after Hurricane Irma blew through Florida, figuring out what I could and couldn’t eat from my refrigerator was a real concern. Many of you might have found yourselves in similar situations. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 1 in 6 Americans get sick from eating contaminated food every year. Today we’re sharing some tips from the CDC on how to keep you and your family safe from foodborne diseases.

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Image from CDC.gov

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Confronting Violence Against Women: The Role of the Healthcare Professional

Before the 1970’s, violence against women was largely unrecognized as a public health issue by the healthcare industry. However, since the late 20th century, generations of reformers have passionately and persistently worked to raise awareness of this issue among medical professionals, as well as establish practices and protocols to identify, hep, and advocate for victims. The history of this reformation is the topic of our current traveling exhibit from the National Library of Medicine – “Confronting Violence: Improving Women’s Lives.” But how far have we gotten? According to the World Health Organization, the global lifetime prevalence of sexual and physical violence among women aged 15 years and older is 30.0%. With doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals often the first to see women after abusive and violent incidents, it is imperative that healthcare professionals be vigilant in identifying and treating women who are victims of violence.

A neighborhood health fair organized by nurses at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 1980. Image via the National Library of Medicine

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Become an Informed Patient with These Reliable Health Information Resources

We may not all be physicians here at the College of Medicine, but there is one thing that all of us can relate to: each and every one of us has been a patient at some point. As patients, it’s so important that we listen to the advice of our health care providers so that the we get the best outcomes for our own health. But it’s equally important for us to be informed patients. And that means knowing where to look to find reliable health information. These days, we all turn to the internet, and we all know that everything on the internet is true, right? Today we’re going to steer you in the right direction and show you some great health information sites you can actually trust.

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MedlinePlus: The Best Database You’re Probably Not Using

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on February 12, 2015.

Did you know you can access up to date, authoritative information on nearly 1,000 health topics in easy to read (i.e., non-medical jargon) language for FREE? The U.S. National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine have a terrific resource called MedlinePlus geared toward the general public, and not health professionals.

MedlinePlus: It's like you have a medical professional right in your computer

MedlinePlus: It’s like you have a medical professional right in your computer

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What’s New: Where to Find Health News Online

If you all have been following our blog, you’ve noticed that we have a reoccurring series called the Monday Morning Round-Up, in which we round up interesting news stories about health and medicine from around the web.  We like to keep up-to-date on what’s going on in the world of healthcare, whether that’s a new treatment that’s undergoing research and trials, news about global health threats, or updated health and wellness tips, and we bet our readers do too! We decided to round up a few of our favorite online health and medicine news sources for you so that you can keep yourself abreast of discoveries and events in healthcare!

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Stress-Busting Activities Under 5 Minutes

Stress can sometimes be a good thing – giving you that final push to make it through the end of your workout or finish a project before the deadline; however, intense or chronic stress can wreak havoc on your physical, emotional, and mental health. The best way to manage stress long-term is to make lifestyle changes like exercising regularly, sleeping enough, and regularly checking in on your physical, mental, and spiritual well being.

All of these are great practices, and can help bolster your resilience against stress; however, if you’re in the middle of a busy workday, halfway through an exam, or struggling to meet a project deadline, checking out to sleep 8 hours, eat a healthy meal, or fit in an hour long sweat sesh is usually anywhere from impractical to impossible. In this way, it’s good to master a couple of quick stress-busting exercises to employ when you need a fast fix for your stress levels. We’ve rounded up several practical stress relievers that take less than 5 minutes – try out several to find the ones that work for you!

Try these tips to manage your stress levels

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Monday Morning Round-Up #14

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

A stem cell transplant helped beat back a young doctor’s cancer. Now, it’s assaulting his body via Science

A few months before completing medical school in 2003, Lukas Wartman was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a blood cancer that’s particularly lethal when it strikes adults. So began a battle to stay alive that has involved more than 70 drugs, two rounds of cell transplants, and a staggering series of twists and turns.

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