Austin Medical Times

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Volume 6 | Issue 12

Inside This Issue

Not Just Your Regular Holiday Blues Diabetes and Depression Often Seen Together See pg. 10

INDEX Oncology Research......... pg.3 Mental Health...................... pg.5 Healthy Heart....................... pg.6 Hospital News ..................... pg.8

December Edition 2023

New Texas Law and Its Connection to Dr. Death

Sherri T. Alexander, J.D. Shelby D. Zumwalt, J.D. Polsinelli, PC


n June 2023, Texas Governor Abbott signed House Bill 1998 (“HB 1998”) into law, which became effective September 1, 2023. HB 1998 equips the Texas Medical Board (“TMB”) with additional tools to protect patients from potentially dangerous physicians while maintaining transparency about physician disciplinary records. HB 1998 clarifies statutory language and closes loopholes in current statutes that govern the TMB and its disciplinary authority, license and renewal requirements, and the complaint investigation/ resolution process. Although the TMB has more tools in its toolbox, the success of HB 1998 appears to depend on the TMB’s ability to implement these new requirements. HB 1998’s Direct Lineage to Dr. Christopher Duntsch Dr. Christopher Duntsch — nicknamed “Dr. Death” — killed or injured more than 30 patients in botched spinal surgeries in Dallas, Texas before finally losing his Texas medical license in 2013. He was sentenced to life in prison 6 years ago in a case that made national headlines and spawned a hugely successful podcast. In response to Dr. Death, an Austin, Texas new station, KXAN, spent 3 months retrieving thousands of physician disciplinary records from

medical boards across the country and then cross-referenced those records with the TMB’s pubic physician profiles one name at a time. At least 49 doctors who had disciplinary actions in other states — including having their medical licenses suspended, revoked, or surrendered — were still able to

with KXAN, Johnson stated “[m]y immediate reaction was, well, if the Texas Medical Board isn’t going to do it on its own, as a member of the legislature, I’m going to file a bill. I’m going to do something about it.” And she did. In February 2023, Johnson introduced HB 1998 and, on May 29, 2023, HB 1998 was signed by the Texas House and Senate. On June 13, 2023, Governor Abbott signed HB 1998 into law. HB 1998’s Changes to Texas Law A summary of the law includes: 1. The TMB must continuously query the National Practitioner Data Bank, and within 10 working days updating physicians’ public profiles to include new information regarding disciplinary action against the physician. 2. The TMB must submit a complete set of fingerprints to the Department of Public Safety (“Department”) for each license

49 doctors who had ... their medical licenses suspended, revoked, or surrendered — were still able to practice in Texas.

Carrum Health and Texas Oncology Collaborate on New Breast Cancer Treatment Model See pg. 11

practice in Texas. KXAN found some physicians were disciplined following criminal charges including domestic violence, possession of a controlled substance, and operating a firearm while intoxicated. In total, KXAN discovered disciplinary actions taken against physicians licensed in over 30 different states with no record on the TMB website even though the physicians were licensed in Texas. State Rep. Julie Johnson reacted to KXAN’s findings with plans to change Texas law. In an interview

see Texas Law 14


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December 2023

Austin Medical Times

Austin Medical Times

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Oncology Research When You Are the Cancer Caregiver By Eric Meyers, M.D., Texas Oncology– Kyle and San Marcos


etting diagnosed with cancer is only the beginning of an emotionally challenging, complex, and sometimes bewildering journey – for both patients and their caregivers. A caregiver is often someone who has a strong, trusted relationship with the patient such as a spouse, child, other family member, or close friend. From emotionally and physically caring for the patient while they go through treatment to advocating for the patient during appointments, a caregiver provides invaluable support. It is no small thing to take on this responsibility, and the pressure can at times be overwhelming. Advocating For a Loved One with

Cancer A key job for a caregiver is to advocate for the patient when meeting with their care team. Cancer can be both emotionally overwhelming and physically demanding for a patient, so it’s understandable that a patient may not remember to ask certain questions about their treatment or discuss side effects of medication with their care team. As an advocate for the patient, their caregiver can ensure the patient’s questions and concerns are addressed. Another task that may fall on a caregiver is to be part of advance care planning discussions. These conversations can encompass decisions about treatment options, end-of-life care, and ways to improve the quality of life of the patient. While having these discussions may be emotionally difficult, they are essential. It ensures the patient’s voice is heard and respected throughout their cancer journey. Dealing With the Emotional Impact of Cancer

Cancer is not just a physical battle; it is an emotional one as well - for both the caregiver and the patient. Caregivers carry a heavy emotional burden when a loved one has cancer. Not only are caregivers worried about the life, health, and emotions of their loved one with cancer, but the caregiver is also helping the patient manage physical and emotional symptoms, ensuring the patient follows guidance from their care team, and making sure that day-to-day needs are met. It is normal to feel overwhelmed, scared, or angry. Reach out to family and friends for support, join caregiver support groups, and find time to take care of yourself. When someone asks how they can help, give them a task

like making dinner once a week, driving the kids to/from activities, or ask them to stay with the patient so that you can rest and recharge. For both the patient and caregiver, emotional well-being is an integral part of their overall health. Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself The duty of caring for someone with cancer can take a toll, and self-care should be a priority. A caregiver cannot effectively support the patient if their own physical and mental well-being are neglected. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, get adequate rest, and seek help if it is becoming too hard see Oncology 14

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Traditional Chinese Medicine Reduces Risk After Heart Attack Treatment Combining Herbs and Insects Decreased Cardiac Deaths, Repeat Heart Attacks, And Other Complications, Study Led by UTSW Researchers Finds


traditional Chinese medicine whose name means “to open the network of the heart” reduced the risk of heart attacks, deaths, and other major cardiovascular complications for at least a year after a first heart attack, a study led by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers shows. The findings, published in JAMA, reveal the promise of this compound, one of the first traditional Chinese medicines tested in a large-scale, Western-style clinical trial. “Many currently used drugs were first recognized by the study of natural or home remedies. While we do not know the exact active ingredient and mechanism of action in this traditional Chinese medicine that caused these benefits, it does

point us toward exploring and refining this therapy,” said senior author Eric Peterson, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Internal Medicine, Vice Provost, and Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Research at UT Southwestern. Dr. Peterson collaborated with Ying Xian, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neurology and in the Peter O’Donnell Jr. School of Public Health at UTSW, and colleagues at several Chinese universities and hospitals to perform the study. Tongxinluo – made of extracts derived from seven herbs and animals including cockroach, scorpion, cicada, centipede, and leech – has long been used as a traditional Chinese therapy to treat patients who have experienced heart attacks and/or strokes. Based

Senior author Eric Peterson, M.D., M.P.H., (left) Professor of Internal Medicine, Vice Provost, and Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Research at UT Southwestern, holds the Adelyn and Edmund M. Hoffman Distinguished Chair in Medical Science. Ying Xian, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neurology and in the Peter O’Donnell Jr. School of Public Health at UTSW, collaborated on the study, along with colleagues at several Chinese universities and hospitals.

on promising results in cellular and animal models, the State Food and Drug Administration of China in 1996 approved its use for angina pectoris and stroke. However, this medicine had never been evaluated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, a rigorous test required to approve most drug therapies in the U.S. and Europe.

For the study, the researchers worked with 3,777 patients at 124 clinical centers in China who had suffered the most severe form of heart attack – ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, in which a blood clot completely blocks a major blood vessel supplying the heart – between see Chinese Medicine 14

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Mental Health Understanding the Illusion of the Road not Traveled

By Michael Jones

another road. We often imagine that Ph.D road unfolding in a much better way Clinical Psychologist than the road we chose. This vision


e all go through life making a series of choices. We face a fork in the road and must choose to go in this direction or that direction. We continue our journey, choosing one way or another over and over again. Some of these forks in the road are trivial, and some are major crossroads. We decide to go after this career instead of the other one. We choose to marry this person rather than another, or not to marry at all. We have children, or we don’t. Our capacity for vivid imagination can help us to imagine solutions to problems or to plan for things. Sometimes we use our imagination to consider how life might have been had we chosen

of the road not traveled can be very detailed and often meets all our essential needs. The more we focus on this road, the more we grieve that rejected choice where everything worked out great. The problem is that road only exists in our imagination. We are grieving the loss of something that never existed. We have only one path. It unfolds as a cumulative result of all the choices we have made along the way. We don’t know the consequences of other choices, because those paths do not exist. We imagine everything would have turned out great, but we can never know in truth. The illusion of the road not traveled often leads to grief related to losing that imagined path. It can also fuel a sense of regret. I regret my choice, because I now experience the outcome of that choice. We often use regret as a

stick to beat ourselves with whenever we revisit the choice. Regrets are a heavy load that weighs us down as we move along the path we have chosen. But regrets can be helpful if we transform them into an intention to realize or learn something from the regret, and to use that understanding to move forward and avoid making the same mistake again. I don’t think that people intentionally make bad choices. “Hmm . . . Door #3 is full of suffering and will turn out badly . . . yeah, I think I’ll pick that one. “ Nobody does that. In the light of all our competing needs and considerations, Door #3 seemed like

the best choice. Maybe we could not perceive at the time that Door #4 might have been a better choice, or maybe we couldn’t perceive Door #4 at all. When evaluating our prior selves, we often beat them up with some form of What were you thinking?! Door #3! Really! What an idiot. It may seem well-deserved, but it conveys a profound unfairness toward your prior self, who did not have the knowledge that your current self possesses. Your current self knows how the road unfolded. Your current self asks your prior self: “Couldn’t you see that coming?” Prior self could respond, “Well, no actually. I couldn’t.”

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December 2023

Austin Medical Times

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Healthy Heart


Why Sugar Matters – And How to Cut Back If You’re Eating Too Much of It By The American Heart Association


eing aware of how sugar works and where added sugar lurks can help you manage it. Natural sugars come in several varieties. Some, such as glucose and fructose, are just a single molecule. Others consist of linked molecules. Sucrose (table sugar, usually derived from sugar cane or sugar beets) is made up of one glucose and one fructose molecule. Lactose, which can be found in milk, consists of one glucose and one galactose molecule. None is inherently bad. Our bodies turn sugars and other carbohydrates into glucose that fuels red blood cells, the central nervous system and the brain. Because sugars provide a quick way to get this vital energy, humans evolved to seek it out, and our brains feel rewarded when we find it.

regulate it, the pancreas pumps out insulin, which lowers glucose in the blood. If you constantly eat sugar, the pancreas has to “keep pumping and pumping and pumping.” Over time, that puts a strain on the pancreas. When the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to manage blood sugar, or the body becomes resistant to insulin, the result is Type 2 diabetes. Plus, excess calories get stored as fat, which can lead to obesity, a condition linked to both diabetes and heart disease. The AHA recommends limiting added sugar to no more than 6% of calories each day. For most women, that’s no more than 100 calories a day, or about 6 teaspoons. For men, it’s 150 calories a day, or about 9 teaspoons. People who are worried about sugar in their diet should be aware of the difference between added sugars and naturally occurring sugars that

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Here is where the trouble begins. Our ancestors had limited access to sugar, and that would have been natural sugar, such as the fructose found in fruits. Today, sugar is as abundant as suspects in a game of Clue. High-fructose corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar and honey all are types of added sugar. The average adult in the U.S. eats about 60 pounds of added sugar a year, according to the American Heart Association. When you eat sugar, it sets off a chain reaction in the body, Kris-Etherton said. As sugar is digested, your blood glucose level increases. To

you’d get in a fruit or vegetable. Her advice for people who want to cut back on added sugar is to start by keeping an eye out for it. Nutrition labels list added sugars alongside total sugars. You can also scan ingredient lists for items such as syrup, cane juice, corn sweetener or any of those “-ose” molecules. Once you learn to spot added sugar, look for alternatives Small steps can add up. Cutting back doesn’t mean that you can never have any sugar whatsoever. So, keep that in mind. And then choose wisely.

Austin Medical Times

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December 2023

Austin Medical Times

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Hospital News Solis Mammography and St. David’s Healthcare Announce Partnership for Women’s Breast Health


olis Mammography, the nation’s largest independent provider of specialized breast health services, and St. David’s HealthCare, one of the largest healthcare systems in Texas, have partnered to expand access to quality breast health services for Central Texans. Beginning November 13, 2023, the breast imaging services at St. David’s Medical Center will operate as Solis Mammography, a department of St. David’s Medical Center. The collaboration includes plans to expand across the region with multiple breast imaging center locations, including St. David’s North Austin Medical Center, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center and St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center. This partnership will combine the best of St. David’s HealthCare’s

distinguished clinical reputation with Solis Mammography’s signature patient-centric services. Enhancements include convenient 24/7 real-time online scheduling; Solis Mammography’s innovation-driven screening platform, which includes 3D mammography with ground-breaking AI integration for greater accuracy; and a revolutionary curved technology for a more comfortable mammogram. Research has shown that 93% of women who previously experienced pain during mammograms found this technology to be more comfortable. “St. David’s HealthCare is proud to partner with Solis Mammography, an organization that shares our commitment to providing excellent care to each patient,” David Huffstutler, president and chief executive officer of St. David’s HealthCare, said. “Together we will

partner to provide Central Texans the highest level of care in the prevention and detection of breast cancer.” According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and despite advances in care, breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in women. “We know that providing convenient access to specialized breast wellness services and an emphasis on annual screening improves patient outcomes through early-stage breast cancer detection,” Grant Davies, president and chief executive officer of Solis Mammography, said. “For almost 40 years, our mission has remained the same. We’re focused on changing lives through both a premier patient experience and our innovation-driven cancer detection platform that uses the most recent advancements in the

field of mammography. Through our partnership with St. David’s HealthCare, we can now reach more women with our lifesaving message of early detection.” The Breast Center at St. David’s Medical Center will remain in its current location (900 E. 30th St., Suite 111) until early next year, when the center will move to St. David’s Plaza across campus. For more information, visit the the St. David’s HealthCare website or the Solis Mammography website.

St. David’s Healthcare Hospitals Recognized Nationally For Earning “A” Ratings In Fall 2023 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades St. David’s Medical Center Is the Only Hospital in The State To Receive Straight “A” Ratings Since the Initiative Was Launched In 2012


ll eligible St. David’s HealthCare facilities recently earned “A” grades from The Leapfrog Group’s Fall 2023 Hospital Safety Grades. This national distinction recognizes hospitals’ achievements in providing safer healthcare and protecting patients from harm. St. David’s HealthCare is the only hospital system in the Austin area to receive an “A” for all eligible facilities. The Leapfrog Group is an independent, national nonprofit organization committed to upholding the standard of patient safety in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. The Hospital Safety Grade assigns a letter grade to hospitals across

December 2023

the country based on more than 30 national performance measures in preventing medical errors, injuries, accidents and infections among patients in their care. St. David’s Medical Center, St. David’s North Austin Medical Center, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center and St. David’s Georgetown Hospital all received an “A” rating. St. David’s Medical Center is the only hospital in the state to receive straight “A” ratings since The Leapfrog Group launched the Hospital Safety ScoreSM initiative (now known as Hospital Safety Grades) in 2012, and it is one

of only 18 facilities in the U.S. to achieve 24 consecutive “A” ratings. Heart Hospital of Austin and St. David’s Surgical Hospital were not included in the study completed by The Leapfrog Group because the facilities are considered specialty hospitals. “St. David’s HealthCare is committed to providing safe, high-quality care to every patient every day,” Ken Mitchell, M.D., chief medical officer of St. David’s HealthCare, said. “We applaud the extraordinary efforts of our doctors, nurses and staff who help us achieve these exceptional ratings year after year.”

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only hospital ratings program exclusively based on hospital prevention of medical errors and harms to patients. The grading system is peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. Grades are updated twice annually in the fall and spring. For more information about the Hospital Safety Grades, visit

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JOMO: The Joy of Missing Out FOMO (fear of missing out) is very real in today’s always-on world. We constantly check for the next email, to-do or news headline. But this can leave us more stressed than ever.

Disconnecting is a fantastic way to recharge.

Replace FOMO with JOMO Use the “do not disturb” setting to focus

Wait to check after-hours emails

Only check the news headlines once a day

Enjoy a disconnected weekend

Just a few benefits of JOMO Deeper connections Better sleep

Less anxiety More creativity

© Copyright 2021 American Heart Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited. DS17941 10/21

December 2023

Austin Medical Times

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Not Just Your Regular Holiday Blues Diabetes and Depression Often Seen Together By Vinita Bhagia, M.D., Endocrinology


s the holidays approach, and the season’s expectations and demands draw near, it is not uncommon for some, especially older adults, to catch a case of the “holiday blues.” But it’s important to know when it’s more than just the “blues” and how other conditions, like diabetes, may be linked with depression Diabetes remains prevalent among older adults, and the American Diabetes Association reports that people with diabetes have a higher rate of depression than the general population. At the same time, older adults may also be more susceptible to depression because of increased loneliness associated with social isolation. Unfortunately, when depression co-occurs with other

December 2023

illnesses, such as diabetes, it may go unnoticed. While depression affects everyone differently, recognizing the signs is a positive step toward managing your mental health while also managing your physical health. The National Institute of Mental Health notes that some of the common symptoms of depression to look out for include: • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism • Feelings of irritability, frustration, or restlessness • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities • Decreased energy, fatigue, or feeling slowed down • Difficulty concentrating,

remembering, or making decisions • Difficulty sleeping, waking early in the morning, or oversleeping • Changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes • Thoughts of death or suicide Disclaimer: If you or someone you know has thoughts about suicide, seek help right away. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911, or go to the closest emergency room. To reach a trained crisis counselor, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or

1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273- 8255). You may also chat at If you experience any of these symptoms for two or more weeks, or if your symptoms are severe, seek medical attention. There are multiple options for the treatment of depression, but for all of them, the sooner help is sought from the appropriate medical provider, such as your primary care provider, the more effective the treatment.

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Carrum Health And Texas Oncology Collaborate on New Breast Cancer Treatment Model Value-Based Care Program Provides Texas Patients Streamlined Access to High-Quality Care and Reduces Costs for Patients and Employers


arrum Health, a value-based Centers of Excellence healthcare solution changing how we pay for and deliver cancer and surgical care, and Texas Oncology, one of the largest community-based oncology practices in the U.S., today announced a new collaboration to provide high-quality, cost-effective breast cancer care to patients. Through employers, Carrum Health will offer patients a bundled package for breast cancer care that includes two years of coverage for chemotherapy, radiation, and symptom management from Texas Oncology. Texas Oncology joins Carrum’s rigorously vetted Centers of Excellence network, comprising high-value providers who have invested in

patient-centric, evidence-based care nationwide. Carrum offers its employer clients access to this network at pre-negotiated bundled prices, so members can benefit from high-quality care with the help of dedicated care navigators, without having to worry about cost and administrative burdens. “About half of cancer care is delivered in community oncology settings, which makes these providers a critical component in expanding access to high-value cancer care to our members,” said Sach Jain, Carrum Health founder and CEO. “As pioneers in value-based payment models and experts in cancer care, Texas Oncology is an ideal collaborator. We look forward to working with them to provide top-notch outcomes and

remove financial toxicity for breast cancer patients.” With the market’s only all-inclusive cancer care bundles, Carrum Health offers access to comprehensive breast cancer treatment and follow-up care including all cancer-related costs, such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy, which are high-cost drivers. This approach enables employers to realize significant and predictable savings with upfront, transparent pricing. Employees seeking treatment for breast cancer can receive comprehensive,

evidence-based care with little to no out-of-pocket payments, so they can focus on recovery rather than medical bills. “We are committed to developing innovative ways to ensure patients have easier access to high-quality local cancer care – so that all stakeholders benefit from the comprehensive value we provide, including reduced costs and less overall disruption to patients’

see New 12

Age Well, Live Well The Gift of Volunteer Service During the Holiday Season


rom October to December, people throughout the U.S. participate in what is commonly called the Season of Giving. According to the NIH National Library of Medicine, over one third (34%) of annual donations occur during the “giving season,” between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. While donations are often in-kind items or monetary, there is perhaps nothing as meaningful as the

gift of volunteer service. Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving each year, is one of the biggest days of the year for making donations and volunteering, giving people a chance to help transform communities with their heartfelt generosity. Volunteers are goodwill in action, providing much needed support in strengthening communities and promoting social connection.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Age Well Live Well campaign promotes social connection as one of many ways to stay healthy as you age. The campaign has three focus areas: Be Healthy, Be Connected and Be Informed. Some Be Connected efforts incorporate connection and volunteerism: • Texas Talks connects people

through conversations on aging topics during the holiday season. • Know Your Neighbor connects local neighborhood communities. • Texas Talks connects people through conversations on aging topics during the holiday season. • Know Your Neighbor connects local neighborhood communities. • and Ages United creates intergenerational connections with resources for schools, long-term care facilities and other volunteer groups. Consider what opportunities are available to share your passion and talents during this year’s Season of Giving. Visit the Be Connected web page to learn more about social connection resources, and search for volunteer opportunities near you by visiting Volunteer Match, Create the Good or AmeriCorps Seniors.

December 2023

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“Dieting” for the Holidays


he holiday season sometimes gives people a reason to end the year with decadence. However, some may be looking for advice when it comes to healthy food choices during celebrations or adjusting their eating habits for the new year. An expert with Baylor College of Medicine offers helpful information about how to be mindful of your eating habits. “The word diet has been misused as something that refers to caloric deprivation,” said Dr. Luis Rustveld, assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor. “When people think about ‘going on a diet,’ they really should be thinking about what they want to accomplish with their eating habits, like losing weight, reducing cholesterol levels or adjusting what they eat for chronic conditions, then changing your current eating habits to meet those

goals.” Any time of year can be a good time to adjust your diet, Rustveld says, but the holidays may encourage more mindful eating. It can be a great time to practice strategies like portion control, moderation and appreciating textures, flavors and smells of food. Taking your time while eating to focus on these details is one way to enjoy your meal and prevent overeating. People looking to be mindful of their caloric intake should not deprive or limit the amount of food they eat during the days leading up to celebrations as this may lead to overindulgence. And don’t forget about the alcohol and seasonal drinks. Alcohol is commonly served along holiday meals and should be consumed in moderation for health and safety

reasons. These beverages are high in sugar, which in combination with desserts can have negative impacts on health. Sugar-free or sugarless substitutions for mixed drinks can mitigate this issue. Additionally, Rustveld says one should never drink on an empty stomach. If you or a loved one has a modified diet due to health concerns, Rustveld says a couple of simple strategies will ensure holiday meals can still be enjoyable. First, plan ahead by making holiday hosts aware of meals or ingredients you or your loved one should stay away from. They can let you know which dishes are appropriate for you to eat. Additionally, you can make and bring your own version of items to enjoy and share with others. Exercise should also be incorporated into daily routines

during the holidays; however, Rustveld says to not overdo any physical activity to overcompensate for the food eaten. This could lead to injury and most likely does not lead to the intended results. “The holidays are a time for celebration and social gatherings, delicious meals and an abundance of sweet treats. Restricting your food choices can make these events less enjoyable and potentially lead to deprivation. It’s a time when people look forward to indulging in their favorite dishes, but also take the time to enjoy the company of treasured friends and family,” Rustveld says. “Spending quality time with family and friends are integral to overall well-being and mental health. Starting these habits during the holiday can lay the foundation for a healthier new year.” 

New Model

Continued from page 11 lives,” said Steven Paulson, M.D., president and CEO, Texas Oncology. “The breast cancer care bundle with Carrum Health is the beginning of a growing relationship that will enable us to improve outcomes with superior patient experience.” The breast cancer bundle is currently available for patients in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, with plans to expand access for

December 2023

patients in other parts of Texas in the future. In addition, Carrum Health and Texas Oncology plan to expand this collaboration to include other cancers, ensuring more Texans are able to benefit from high-value cancer care.

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Austin Medical Times

Texas Law

Continued from page 1 applicant and the Department must classify and check the fingerprints against those in the Department’s fingerprint records. 3. A medical peer review committee or health care entity shall report, in writing, to the TMB the results and circumstances of a medical peer review that adversely affects the clinical privileges of a physician for a period of more than 14 days, as opposed to previously required more than 30 days. 4. The TMB must (a) refuse to issue a license to an applicant who held a license in another state that has been revoked for a reason that would be grounds for the TMB to revoke a license in Texas and (b) revoke a license if the license holder, while holding their license

in Texas, held a license in another state that has been revoked for a reason that would be grounds for the TMB to revoke a license. 5. The TMB may suspend or restrict the license of a person arrested for an offence related to (a) criminal homicide; (b) trafficking of persons; or (c) sexual or assaultive offences, when the offence meets certain criteria. 6. It is now a Class A Misdemeanor for a person to knowingly make a false statement on their application. It is a State Jail Felony for a person to knowingly make a false statement on their application with the intent to defraud or harm another. Conclusion Texas and the medical community continue to navigate

options designed to prevent a patient from encountering another Dr. Death. HB 1998 places an incredible amount of pressure on the TMB to protect the public from dangerous physicians. The TMB has already stated it would be “staff and time intensive” to post all out-of-state disciplinary records online. The success of HB 1998 appears to lie with the TMB’s ability to comply with the new more onerous requirements of the law. 

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caregiver to someone with cancer is a significant responsibility. Effective collaboration, addressing the emotional impact, advance care planning, and self-care are all integral aspects of this obligation. By

proactively addressing these areas, one can provide the best support and care for a loved one, navigating the complex and emotional terrain of cancer together.

about 30% lower in the group that took tongxinluo compared with those taking the placebo at 30 days. These benefits persisted for one year after discharge. Patients receiving tongxinluo also had a lower risk of individual components of the MACCEs, including a 25% decreased risk of cardiac death. There were no major side effects from tongxinluo, suggesting its use was safe. Dr. Xian noted that because tongxinluo is made of multiple components, further research should focus on determining which are responsible for these effects and how they reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications in the body. In addition, the benefits from this study will need to be duplicated in other populations in order for the treatment to gain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug

Administration. A similar Chinese clinical trial is in the works to test tongxinluo’s safety and efficacy in patients with minor ischemic strokes. “Many drugs have failed to achieve effects as impressive as this traditional Chinese medicine,” said Dr. Xian, who is an Investigator in the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute. “Tongxinluo deserves further study.” Dr. Peterson holds the Adelyn and Edmund M. Hoffman Distinguished Chair in Medical Science. The study was funded by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFC1700503) and a research grant from Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmacological Co. Ltd.

Chinese Medicine Continued from page 4

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Continued from page 3

May 23, 2019, and Dec. 8, 2020. These patients were treated within hours of onset by surgical or chemical removal of the clot. While they received standard treatments over the next year, such as taking a daily aspirin or medications including beta blockers, half of the patients were randomized to receive tongxinluo as well. The other half took a placebo designed to match the look, smell, and taste of the traditional Chinese medicine. During the next year, medical providers followed these patients regularly to track the incidence of major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events (MACCEs), an umbrella term combining cardiac death, repeat heart attacks, stroke, and emergency procedures to restore blood flow to the heart. Results showed MACCEs were

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Oncology to cope with the stress. Ask for assistance or delegate responsibilities to others. Getting help is not a sign of weakness but a recognition of the demanding nature as a caregiver. Assuming the role of a

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