• An expert's warning: ‘No street drug is safe right now'

    Dr. Kathryn A. Cunningham, a professor of Pharmacology, vice chairman in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and director of the Center for Addiction Research at the University of Texas Medical Branch, said she was worried more people were going to die during the hard partying on New Year’s Eve. Cunningham had this message: “No street drug is safe right now,” she said. “None.”

  • ‘Maintain equanimity under duress’

    Dr. Charles Mouton, interim president at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, discussed leadership, women’s health and health disparities on this podcast episode.

  • Medical love story: A Texas couple both had liver transplants. Now she is a transplant surgeon.

    Dr. Trine Engebretsen was born with a genetic condition that caused her to need a liver transplant when she was 2 years old. She later married Ryan Labbe, a fellow liver transplant recipient, and they are believed to be the first pair of liver transplant recipients to have children together. Today Engebretsen is an abdominal transplant surgeon at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

  • 8 tips to help you control your drinking (if you don’t want to quit), according to psychologists

    One tip is to make a plan. Your approach can also include doing your best to avoid any negative consequences of drinking, said Dr. Jeff Temple with UTMB. “Plan your drinking so it doesn't affect your work or relationships,” such as only drinking on weekends and limiting alcohol to only special occasions. “The first and necessary tip is harm reduction. If you tend to become aggressive when you drink, then don't drink in front of your partner or others.”

  • Our Microbiome: Whose side are they on?

    The microbiome has been shown to play a role in many diseases like depression, autism spectrum disorders, some cancers and in the process of human development. We are constantly uncovering new information about how the microbiome works. Recent research has shed some light on the effect of artificial sweeteners. Drs. Norbert Herzog and David Niesel discussed that research in their recent Medical Discovery News column.

  • Odds are your holiday meal was vaccinated

    “Unless you are vegan, odds are that your holiday meal was vaccinated,” wrote Drs. Megan Berman and Richard Rupp in their recent Vaccine Smarts column. “Whether you had prime rib, a Christmas ham or a turkey with all its fixings, vaccination was involved.”

  • Taking a break from (social) media

    “Every January, I do not engage in social media,” wrote Dr. Sam Mathis is his newspaper column. “I invite you to consider joining me.” You could read a book or go for a walk instead. Mathis also invited readers to walk with him. “I’d like to invite you to come take a walk with me and some UTMB students on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 10 a.m. across the street from the UTMB fieldhouse as part of our inaugural Walk with a Doc Program.”

  • New COVID subvariants are ‘the most immune evasive yet.’ Here’s what that means

    BQ and XBB present “serious threats to the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccines,” according to a Columbia study. A University of Texas Medical Branch study came to similar conclusions, finding “low” neutralization of BQ.1.1 and XBB from the updated booster. The new shot is an enhanced version of the COVID-19 vaccine that targets both the original virus and omicron. But compared to its protection against the omicron BA.5 subvariant, the bivalent booster is four times less effective against the BQ.1.1 subvariant and eight times less effective against the XBB subvariant, said Chaitanya Kurhade, an author of the study.

  • Help Wanted: Texas’ physician growth strong, but recruitment, diversity still needed

    One of the keys to increasing diversity is a strong pipeline for young students to reach medical school in Texas, says Charles Mouton, MD, executive vice president, provost, and dean of The University of Texas Medical Branch John Sealy School of Medicine at Galveston. For the school, that engagement starts as young as middle school and creates relationships that encourage qualified young people to pursue a career in medicine. Keeping students in the pipeline requires a variety of tactics like educating families about the requirements of medical school, helping students with standardized test preparation, and providing mentorship. The cost of medical school frequently discourages young people from pursuing a career as a physician, but Texas has an advantage in that area. “Texas compared to the rest of the nation has some of the best tuition rates of any state in the nation for health professionals’ education,” he said.