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+ HEALTH 411


the official student newspaper of the university of houston since 1934


THE MOTIVATOR Sports performance coach Spriggs pushes her student-athletes to peak condition | pg. 6

FREE TUTORING All students are welcome! Room 109N Cougar Village 1



Credits for burning calories Rebecca Heliot HEALTH 411


eserving a time between classes to work out can be a challenge, but students now have the option of getting college credit for a one-hour fitness class. These classes are available every semester under the Physical Education Basic Instruction Program. “These classes can be a good thing for students who only have one or two elective credits left to graduate,” said Jack J. Valenti School of Communications academic advisor Orlando Zamora. “It’s better for students to choose these one-hour classes versus a three-hour credit class that costs more and takes up more time. (PEB) classes can be fun for them.” Students can choose from indoor cycling, Zumba, combative sports, pilates, golf, gymnastics, beginning karate, racquetball, beginning tennis,

soccer, weight training and rhythmic aerobics. There are also health, fitness and weight control hybrid classes to educate students about healthy lifestyles through class discussions and lab experiences. Course availability may vary by semester. “Probably the greatest benefit is the external motivation of a grade,” said Health and Human Performances Program Coordinator Jessica Wheeler. “While most of our students know the importance of regular exercise and enjoy exercising, they say the only way they can fit it in to their schedules is to sign up for a class, because then they feel that they ‘have to’ show up.” “Hopefully by the end of the semester they are able to see that they can fit regular exercise into their daily schedule and continue to live active lifestyles,” Wheeler said. Classes are usually twice a week, and assignments are a mix of in-class workouts and online assignments covering the

PEB PROGRAM COURSES ++ Health and Fitness–PEB 1101 ++ Indoor Cycling–PEB 1102

++ Racquetball–PEB 1136

++ Beginning Tai Chi–PEB 1103

++ Tennis–PEB 1138

++ Hatha Yoga–PEB 1107

++ Basketball–PEB 1144

++ Combative Sports–PEB 1102

++ Soccer–PEB 1146

++ Swimming–PEB 1110

++ Volleyball–PEB 1149

++ Golf–PEB 1130

++ Weight Training–PEB 1151

++ Gymnastics–PEB 1133

++ Online Conditioning–PEB 1153

++ Beginning Karate–PEB 1135

++ Rhythmic Aerobics–PEB 1154

exercises in the class. For many of these classes, attendance is 50 percent of the grade. “I signed up for my cycling class so I could have a scheduled time to really work out and not be able to just stop halfway, since it is for a grade,” nutrition sophomore Karina Araya said. Many of these classes require students to create their own workout plan using the education they are given over the course.

“The students benefit from creating their own routines in class because it teaches them to be in control of the workout,” said indoor cycling instructor Joanna Macsas. “A lot of people do not feel comfortable creating their own workout programs and working out on their own, so having the requirement for them to create their own, during class, could help them to feel better in coming up with their own program.”

HEALTH+411 Advertising supplement to The Daily Cougar SECTION EDITOR Ellen Goodacre COVER PHOTO Bethel Glumac COPY CHIEF David Bryant COPY EDITORS Joshua Cochran Rachel Sloan PRODUCTION Andres Garcia Farah Hasnie ADVERTISING Cindy Alvarado Gabby Padilla John Stotko

3 + OCTOBER 31, 2013, 2013


Tobacco-less trend


There’s more

THAN THE PILL When it comes to contraception and preventing unintended pregnancy, everyone has heard of birth control pills and condoms and many know about the contraceptive patch, ring and “shot.” Too few seem to know about the most effective reversible methods: the contraceptive implant and the two types of intrauterine contraceptive devices, also called the IUD. They are reversible because once removed, a woman will have a rapid return to her previous level of fertility.

These methods are known as LARC, for long-acting reversible contraception. They may cost considerably more up front than a pack of pills, but they are far more cost-effective than any other reversible method. This is because over time the cost of pills and rings adds up, so the cost of a LARC method, which depending on type can be left in for 3-12 years, is usually reached within 12-18 months of use. Cost-effectiveness also includes what a method costs if it fails to prevent pregnancy. Because LARC methods are 10 to 50 times more effective than even birth control pills, those costs are also much lower with LARC. The good news is that under the Affordable Care Act contraception medications and devices, including LARC, are covered by insurance companies, including the Student Health Insurance Plan, without a copay. So what are these marvelous methods? The contraceptive implant works by slowly releasing progestin hormones into the bloodstream and is now available as the brand Nexplanon. It is placed under the skin inside the arm and is a good choice for women who have never been pregnant and don’t mind some spotting during their cycle. It is 99.9% effective and may be left in place up to 3 years. There are two types of IUD: the copper IUD that does not contain hormones and two kinds that work by releasing a small amount of progestin into the uterus. The Mirena IUD is larger and can be left in place for 5 years and the newer, smaller Skyla, which works for 3 years. The copper device may

cause heavier periods, while the hormone-releasing ones tend to give a woman lighter or no menstrual periods. It’s important to know that IUDs are very safe and effective for women who have never been pregnant, who have a history of an STI, who are teens or who have more than one sexual partner. IUDs can be put in place any time during a woman’s cycle if she is not pregnant or immediately after delivery or an abortion. The copper IUD can be used as emergency contraception if

placed within 5 days of unprotected intercourse and can be left in place to provide highly effective contraception for up to 12 years. The UH Health Center now offers LARC to the UH student who wants a method that she doesn’t need to remember to use to have years of safe, effective contraception. Call the UH Health Center at 713-743-5156 to make an appointment to get your LARC method of choice. Scott J Spear, M.D.; Executive Director/ Chief Physician of the UH Health Center.

Amy Zuckero HEALTH 411



s UH transitions to a tobacco-free campus, many students may notice a new class of smokers emerging— e-smokers. Also known as vapers, these e-cigarette users are not only making a new name for themselves, but are also creating a bump in sales records for smoking’s newest technological

The e-cigarette market has grown from $300 million in retail sales in the U.S. last year to an estimated $1.8 billion in 2013, according to Time magazine. But with the Food and Drug Administration planning to step in sometime this month to regulate the new market, forcing some Internet-based businesses to shut down completely, some vapers who like E-CIGS continues on page 4



$2 5


General Medicine Clinic: Offers services at affordable costs to currently enrolled students, faculty and staff. At our clinic, you will be cared for by board certified physicians who are assisted by nurse practitioners, registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, and certified medical assistants. Services include treatment for both short-term and long-term medical problems and injuries.

Attendant Care Services: Care and lifestyle assistance program to meet the needs of physically challenged students. For more information, call 713-748-8603.

For most efficient use of your time, call 713-743-5156 to make an appointment at the General Medicine Clinic. Walk-in visits are available if you have an urgent concern.

Psychiatric Clinic: Board certified psychiatrists who provide evaluations, treatment plans, and ongoing medication management. For an appointment, call 713-743-5149.

Nursing Care: For immunizations and blood pressure monitoring, contact the Nurse’s Station at 713-743-5156.

Pharmacy: Provides prescription and over the counter items at very low costs. For more information contact 713-743-5125.

Women’s Clinic: Performs well woman exams and evaluations for gynecological complaints and provides contraception options as well as STD testing and treatment. For an appointment, call 713-743-5131.

UH Student Health Insurance: The deadline to add or drop insurance is the Official Reporting Day of each fall and spring semester. For more information, call 713-743-5151.

Men’s Clinic: Diagnoses, treats, and counsels on issues affecting men’s health. For an appointment, call 713-743-5156.

Dental Clinic Preventive dentistry, restorative, and limited major dental procedures. For an appointment, call 713-22-SMILE (713-227-6453).

Orthopedic Clinic: Diagnoses and treats musculoskeletal conditions including sports injuries and disease of the bone and muscle. For an appointment, call 713-743-5156.

FALL AND SPRING MT ThF 8am–5:30pm, W 8am–6:30pm, SUMMER MT ThF 8am–5pm, W 8am–6pm





A lack of sex education Channler K. Hill HEALTH 411


hile many used to whisper and giggle about sex as children, it is no longer a laughing matter when they get older. Students realize that having sex introduces the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. A study, recently conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, found that 42 percent of unmarried women between the ages of 18 and 29 years old said they knew little about birth control pills. “I’ve probably only had a handful of mostly female students … who’ve come in to ask about sexual health stuff, like contraceptives or pregnancy concerns, things of that nature,” said Women’s Resource Center Program Coordinator Malkia Hutchinson. Hutchinson said she’s had a student come in to speak with her who knew nothing about safe sex, contraceptives or condoms, let alone healthy sexuality, sexual tension and sexual pleasure. “We have a little handout that we give about different types of contraceptives, from the pill all the way down to an (intrauterine device) … so


continued from page 3 to e-shop as well as e-smoke may have to find another place to purchase their battery-powered nicotine products. Under pressure from at least 40 states, attorneys and federal health officials, the FDA considers regulatory measures ranging from how and where e-cigarettes are manufactured to which flavors they will allow, according to Bloomberg Businessweek and TIME.

Lack of data

A study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy showed women between the ages of 18 and 29 years old knew little about basic birth-control methods.

I gave her that and referred her over to the student health center, and we have a lot of condoms, dental dams (and) internal and external condoms, so I did a demonstration with her and showed her how to use those,” Hutchinson said. The intrauterine device is a long-acting, reversible method of contraception that is inserted by a doctor into the vagina. Common brands such as Mirena, a hormonal IUD, and Paragard, a copper IUD, can be effective for up to five and 10 years respectively. Health Center Executive Director and Chief Physician Dr. Scott Spear said it was once thought that a woman had to have previously been pregnant before she could get an IUD. “There hasn’t been a lot of

education about it. It’s not being advertised. Many years ago, there were many concerns about IUD safety; the IUD is much safer now,” Spear said. There’s also the option of using the implant Implanon, a tube placed under the skin of a woman’s upper arm that can be effective at preventing pregnancies for up to three years. The implant is 99.9 percent effective versus IUDs, which are 99 percent effective. Only 1 in 2,000 sexually active women who use the implant for one year may become pregnant, according to “People aren’t aware. We talk about men’s sexual health issues more than women’s sexual health and reproductive needs,” Spear said. “People in

the media need to tell women there’s some good news out there, (and) it’s available at the UH Health Center.” IUDs and implants don’t cause most women to be less fertile when they decide to remove the tube to become pregnant. According to mirena. com, eight out of 10 women who removed the product within a year were successful at becoming pregnant. Birth control is covered under the Affordable Care Act as preventive health care, which all health insurance companies are now required to provide. These needs can also be satisfied by purchasing health care through the University Health Center, which offers health care plans year-round.

Health officials are concerned about how safe vaping is to users and if the practice has any long-term effects. “I don’t think e-cigs have been around long enough to have good research evaluating long-term effects,” said Director of Social Psychology Clayton Neighbors. “My guess is that they are no more harmful than traditional cigarettes and are probably less harmful, because they don’t actually involve inhaling smoke from burned material.” “There are practical benefits of e-cigs. They can be used in places where regular cigarettes cannot,” Neighbors said. “They emit no smell while being used, and they leave no smell on the person using them.” He also added that e-cigarettes eliminate the need to take a smoke break because they do not emit actual smoke and thus increase employee productivity in the workplace.

No regulations yet As of now, the FDA has yet to release any official regulations regarding vaping, leaving e-smokers to continue smoking without stigmas associated with the traditional cigarette and giving UH students a new way to scratch their itch on their tobacco-free campus. Still, state and federal officials balk at Center for Disease Control findings that e-cigarette use among middle and high school students more than doubled to 10 percent in 2012 from 4.7 percent a year earlier, according to Businessweek — thus the concern over seemingly childish fruit and candy flavors. “I vape because it tastes great without all the carcinogens and also because it’s a great stress reliever without all the negative side effects,” said science senior Katie Bingaman. “And I can smoke it anywhere, like Target ... and Toys R Us. It’s just vape.”

5 + OCTOBER 31, 2013, 2013


The risk of over-exercising


UH Sugar Land offers new

SPORTS AND FITNESS ADMINISTRATION DEGREE Constellation Field, home to the record-breaking Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League, shines as one of the many attractions found in Sugar Land, a city with growth on its mind. And for Sugar Land’s 85,000 citizens, it is not just about entertainment.

Sugar Land is serious about sport and fitness. In addition to the Skeeters, Sugar Land is home to the Imperials, a minor league hockey team, and over 50,000 acres of parks, recreation facilities and trails. In response to this growth, the UH System is introducing the Sport and Fitness Administration degree to the UH-Sugar Land campus. Under the leadership of Michael Odio, the Master of Arts in Sport and Fitness Administration program will offer unique courses geared toward events, community development and recreation. Starting in the spring of 2014 with its first course, Sports Event Management, the degree will emphasize connecting with the community and experiential learning, or learning by doing, including internships. The degree is intended to develop students for careers within Sugar Land, but many will ultimately seek opportunities elsewhere in the sport and fitness industry. At the UH main campus, the SFA program offers graduate and undergraduate degree options that prepare students for a career in athletic administration, professional and intercollegiate sport, corporate wellness, fitness management and other sport, health and fitness-related careers. The versatility of the degree is evident from the coursework, which includes Sport Facility Administration, Urban Fitness Program Design, Media Relations and Promotional Strategies. At the graduate level, students with backgrounds in marketing, communications, exercise science, psychology and more learn to apply their skills in the diverse and

growing sport and fitness industry. The city of Sugar Land is a culturally rich and diverse city offering first-rate amenities and now offering a first-rate degree in Sport and Fitness Administration through UH-Sugar Land. For more information, visit or e-mail

Diana Nguyen HEALTH 411


ome students are serious about their physical fitness, even going so far as to dub themselves “gym rats,” considering the gym their second home. But some experts warn that over-exercising can become dangerous. “Over-exercising can become dangerous for a few reasons,” Josh Yellen, director of the Master of Athletic Training Program, said. “These reasons cover the physical or physiological, psychological and sociological boundaries.” “Engaging in any physical

Are you interested in a career in athletic administration, sport marketing, health and fitness administration, or recreation?

activity without being prepared can cause injury. For example, running on the treadmill and being ‘out of shape’ (is) dangerous because your cardiovascular system is not prepared for the demand that is going to be placed on it,” Yellen said. “Moving into some of the more recent trends in exercise — such as P90X, Insanity, CrossFit — although they can be very effective methods of staying in shape and burning fat, they can also be very dangerous because they have the potential to push the physiological limit of that person’s body.” Improper exercise can even cause a condition called rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle fibers that leads to the

release of muscle fiber contents called myoglobin into the blood stream, which can harm the kidneys and other physiological systems in the body, said Yellen. Engineering senior Alex Medina, who goes by the nickname “Swollex”, has been training since middle school and says his motivation to keep fit comes from his uncle, who is a personal trainer. “He was always working out, and football coaches (also) pushed me,” Medina said. “I wanted to improve my skills; after that it became a hobby. Like how the body needs food to function, I needed to work out.” Nutrition senior Christopher OVER continues on page 8

Do you have a background in marketing, communications, business, finance, or recreation and want to transfer your skills to the sport and fitness industry?



now expanding to the SUGAR LAND CAMPUS!



Media Relations and Sports Sport Facility Administration Urban Fitness Program Development Sports Event Management

Internship opportunities available Highly interactive courses Courses available online & face to face Advance your career Finish in two years or less

For application information: Visit:


Email Michael Odio at

• • • • •



Sports performance coach Kelly Spriggs works closely with UH’s volleyball and swimming teams. Photo by Bethel Glumac

A powerful presence Spriggs may not appear on the sidelines, but she has a strong impact on two UH teams. Her work occurs in the weight room, where there is no offseason Ellen Goodacre HEALTH 411


his weekend, UH Volleyball will face off against the University of Connecticut Huskies in their 10th conference game. How the Cougars do in these conference games will determine their post-season rankings as well as their performance aspirations leading up to next season. An as any athlete will tell you, behind every great team are invested, motivating and involved coaches. For the UH volleyball and women’s basketball teams — the latter of which is kicking off its season this Saturday at Hofheinz Pavilion — Sports Performance Coach Kelly Spriggs is one of these coaches. Having been a student athlete herself, she tries to reinforce the idea of incorporating athletics with all other components of students’ lives.

A rounded approach “We really try to get the message across to them that being a student athlete is a focus on a whole entire person; it’s not just one aspect,” Spriggs said in a video featured on the UH Athletics website. “It’s not just when you’re playing; it’s not just when you’re in the classroom. You’ve got to make sure every single aspect fits together, and a big part of that is taking care of

yourself.” At Baylor University, Spriggs played rightside hitter for four years before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 2006. She then went on to pursue her Master’s of Science in Education and left Baylor, traveling north to the University of Minnesota, where she would stay for almost three years, focusing on four different sports.

around, at every game and everything,” said senior basketball center Mae Woods. “She’s fun to be around, but she has a serious side. You have to get stuff done, and you have to make times. But her roles kind of switch, because in the offseason and the preseason, she’s really tough, and then during the season, she becomes more of a confidante or a friend.”

A Houston homecoming

Junior volleyball defensive specialist Natalie Keck said Spriggs is not just a confidante, but also a role model for players. “One thing she said once, when we were in the weight room maxing out and someone was struggling, so she yells ‘sink or swim.’ And now, anytime someone is having a hard time during workout, I’ll say that just to let them know they can do it,” Keck said. “Another thing she always says is she wants to have a positive chi, and she brings that to every workout. She just always says things like that, which pushes past those that we don’t think we can push past. She’s kind of a role model to me in that way — her body, her presence, her confidence — is who we want to be as athletes.”

In the summer of 2010, the native Houstonian found her way back home and joined the Cougar nation as the sports performance coach for swimming, volleyball and women’s basketball. “Over the last year, we’ve added positions, and we’re trying to get people down to three sports maximum, because the fewer sports you have, the more focused you’re able to be on those sports,” Spriggs said. Now focusing solely on volleyball and women’s basketball, she is able to travel with the team and spend more individual time with the athletes. “We work with her year round, too. Even during seasons, we’ll still lift and she’s still

A trainer and mentor

7 + OCTOBER 31, 2013, 2013


Sarah Says

THE 411 ON DIETING Photo by Fernando Castaldi

Sabrina Lloyd HEALTH 411


here is no onesize-fits-all diet or magical weight loss remedy. When considering a change in diet, students should consult their medical provider to discuss health and wellness as it relates to their weight management goals. Dining Services at the University provides students the opportunity to meet with a registered dietitian, Sarah Feye, to determine an individualized plan and ensure long-term success. Students, faculty and staff can meet with Feye, for free. To schedule an appointment, email her at feye-sarah@aramark. com.

Kombucha Tea Kombucha is a fermented drink that combines bacteria, tea, sugar and other ingredients and is a hot trend right now that’s become increasingly popular in the United States. Regular drinkers of this tonic claim

beneficial effects of improved immunity, weight loss, prevention of cancer and chronic disease and improvement of liver function, Feye said. “Kombucha can help grow good bacteria in your gut, aka your ‘second immune system.’ If you choose to drink kombucha, choose a pasteurized brand. Unpasteurized kombucha can increase the growth of unhealthy bacteria, which can lead to foodborne illness,” Feye said. “Despite the health claims by kombucha enthusiasts, be warned that there is limited evidence of the actual benefits of kombucha. In my opinion, eating yogurt may be a healthier choice. Yogurt still has beneficial bacteria plus other great nutrients such as protein, calcium, potassium and often vitamin D.”

“Research has shown that Mediterranean-inspired diets have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. The diet places emphasis on eating fish often, using healthy fats like olive oil, using herbs in place of salt, eating plenty of plant-based foods and reducing portions of red meat. This is a diet that many people strive to be on — and for good reason,” Feye said.

HCG Diet

Mediterranean Diet

The HCG diet is popular diet trend that involves injecting or digesting the human chorionic gonadotropin, usually produced by developing embryos, as well as extreme caloric restriction, according to an ABC News report. But U.S. dietitians, including Feye, question the effectiveness of the hormone in promoting weight loss as well as the safety of the diet.

The Mediterranean diet is one that promotes a primarily plant-based diet, limiting red meat consumption to a few times a month, replacing butter with healthy fats and using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods, according to the Mayo Clinic website.

“Sure, diets don’t necessarily need to be traditional to be effective,” Feye said. “But using hormones that are naturally found in pregnant women in an unnatural way is dangerous. And the fact that the FDA has stepped in should also be a major warning sign. Most HCG dieters

reduce their calorie intake to only 500 kcals per day, which is extremely low. These dieters claim a great weight loss and a magical metabolism fix. In reality, the weight loss people see should be credited to the starvation state your body is in, not to the actual hormone itself. The side effects alone from self-injections and nutritional deficiencies are enough reason to say no to this product.”

Wheat Belly Diet Another name for a glutenfree diet, the wheat belly diet focuses on eliminating wheatbased products. “Gluten has gotten a bad rap lately, and I’m not quite sure why,” Feye said. “I see many people warding off carbs as a way of losing weight. The issue is not the bread itself, but in the amount of bread eaten. A diet rich in whole grains can be beneficial, as those foods often have fiber, vitamins and minerals. In fact, many gluten-free diets are lower in fiber and higher in fat. Keep portions in mind and make half your grains whole to reap the benefits of wheat. Unless there is a medical implication for avoiding gluten, wheat-containing foods can definitely be incorporated into a healthy diet.”

High-Protein, Low-Carb Diets High-protein diets focus on the consumption of large amounts of protein, such as red meat, eggs or nuts, and foods low in carbs, like bananas, beans and avocados. “Diets like the Atkins diet are often love-at-first-sight for many individuals striving to lose weight. These

diets claim to improve heart health and memory function, while implying that overweight people eat too many carbs,” Feye said. “The issues I see from this diet include excessive consumption of fat and protein and too little carbs. While I do think many of us eat too many carbs, we need at least 150 grams of carbohydrates each day. Instead of this approach, I recommend balancing whole grains, lean meats, fruits, veggies and healthy fats.”

Raw Food Diet The raw food diet is not about eating raw meat. Rather, it involves about 75 to 80 percent of a person’s daily diet being made up of organic plant-based foods that are never heated above 115 degrees, according to the U.S. News and World Report, as well as eating raw animal products, like unpasteurized milk, sashimi, raw fish, and certain kinds of raw meat. “In my mind, the raw food diet movement is either a huge success for individuals, or it leads to malnourishment. People swear by this diet of undercooked, unprocessed plant foods. Some claim the diet leads to weight loss, disease reduction and high energy levels,” Feye said. “The research to support raw foods (rather than) cooked is pretty limited in the scheme of things. The research that does indicate the benefits of the raw foods diet really puts more emphasis on vegetarianism and the health benefits of a plant-based diet overall. It is true that some nutrients are lost in the cooking process. Then again, some nutrients are enhanced in the cooking process.”

Garden offers a green way to give back Julia Davila HEALTH 411


he benefits of community gardens are numerous when it comes the promotion of health and wellness, a place for leisure, creation of wildlife habitats and providing food for those in need. The Campus Community Garden at the University strives to engage students in supporting continuous growth for global development. The garden, located beside the Cougar Woods dining hall on the corner of Cullen and Wheeler, was started in 2010 and is planted and maintained by interested students, staff and faculty. Campus Community

Courtesy of Casey Hill

Coordinator and biology senior Casey Hall was originally thinking about going to medical school, but she began to enjoy the community and horticulture from the garden activities. “I essentially run the garden, with advice from Urban Harvest,” Hall said. Urban Harvest, a community-based organization that

helps local groups, designed the Campus Community Garden and helps schools develop community gardens for food production and habitats. A contract between UH and Urban Harvest offers guidance and materials to help the garden prosper. Hall decides what, when and where to plant. Some community garden

participants are experienced in working in gardens and others are new to it. English literature and economics freshman Emily Johnson volunteers her time for three hours every other week at the community garden, where she helps with weeding. “Right now, I am focusing on cleaning the garden up to make it more productive as far as produce amount,” she said. Biology sphomore Lowell Levo is a volunteer who is open to helping with whatever tasks are assigned to him. “I do not have a specific duty when I volunteer. That could mean that I could be weeding the beds, harvesting the crops and/ or filling the beds with fresh soil,” Levo said. Hall is working on adding two

grape trellises and a butterfly garden with some fruit trees and benches for students to sit outside and enjoy the garden. The garden already grows plants such as tomatoes, sugar cane, pomegranates, okra, sweet potatoes, sweet peas, mint and roses. There is a bed with strawberries, while others have kale, bok choy, cauliflower and broccoli. “It is a bit late in the season for growing okra, but it is beginning to produce,” said Hall. “Mostly vegetables are grown, but I intend to add a few fruiting bushes, fruiting trees and fruiting vines.” The food that is left over is donated to the Manna House on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.




Irritable Bowel Syndrome

COMMON Q&A IBS is a bowel disorder that affects anywhere from 10-20% of adults worldwide, with women more likely to be affected.

in stool frequency (e.g. having fewer or more stools than usual), and/or associated with a change in stool form (e.g. having looser or harder stools).

The symptoms often involve abdominal pain or discomfort at least 3 days per month over a period of several months. This discomfort may be associated with having an improvement in the discomfort with defecation, having abdominal pain onset associated with a change

How does my doctor diagnose IBS? IBS can usually be diagnosed during a visit with your physician. During that visit, your physician will inquire about your pain/discomfort and whether it is related to defecation. He/she will make

sure that you do not have any “red flags” or signs that point to problems other than IBS. These red flags include weight loss, persistent fever, significant diarrhea or vomiting, rashes, blood in the stool, or a family history of a serious gut problem. If a red flag is present, more testing may be needed in order make a diagnosis. If there are no red flags, the doctor’s examination is normal, and the history of the pain fits, a diagnosis of IBS can be made confidently, often with limited or no further testing. Why should I pay attention to IBS? As mentioned previously,

IBS is quite common. Adults with IBS generally have a poorer quality of life compared to their healthy peers. This can result in missing class, inability to participate in social activities, or missing days at work. Costs related to IBS in the United States approach $30 billion per year. What causes IBS? Our current understanding is that a number of things can contribute to having IBS; that is, the cause is multifactorial. One particular factor may play a greater role in one person versus another. These factors may include having a hyper-sensitive gut, stress,

sleep disturbance, poor coping, intolerance of certain foods, and even having an altered gut bacteria population. How is IBS treated? The type and severity of symptoms (e.g. constipation), and the nature of any stressors will determine treatment. For example, medications may be given to decrease diarrhea or help pass hard stools. De-stressing techniques may be taught. Foods which worsen symptoms may be identified and avoided. Recently, there has been growing interest in the use of probiotics (or good bacteria) to help with treatment. I think I might have IBS – what now? We encourage you to see your physician. If I have IBS, can I try another approach or help find a cure? Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine are interested in learning if taking a particular probiotic may help relieve IBS symptoms. To learn more, please contact the study coordinator at 713-7980521.


DO YOU HAVE IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME? Baylor College of Medicine is testing a treatment for adults 18-60 years of age.

You must have 24 hr telephone access. COMPENSATION IS PROVIDED

CALL 713-798-0381

Participants cannot be allergic to Penicillin, erythromycin, clindamycin, or any cousin of these antibiotics. Participants cannot have past abdominal surgeries.


continued from page 5 Nguyen says that overtraining is a fear of the weak. He works out five days a week, participates in CrossFit training and lifts weights. His workout ethic is simple. “I want to be the strongest version of myself,” Nguyen said. “Overtraining is usually a term used for lazy people. They’re just jealous of people that work harder than them. However, you should know and feel if you are truly going through some kind of metabolic stress.” Yellen echoed that sentiment. He said knowledge is the best solution when it comes to preventing injury. “The best way to prevent injuries is similar to the best way of preventing anything else,” Yellen said. “Be as knowledgeable about your body, your environment, your exercise routine, your food and nutrient intake as possible. Educate yourself on how your muscles and bones work together — what exercises are best for what you want to accomplish.

9 + OCTOBER 31, 2013, 2013



The Sex

CHECKLIST One part of being a healthy person is paying attention to sexual health, though this topic is not often talked about as an essential part of health. High school educators frequently avoid the topic as not to offend parents or create controversy. Parents may be uncomfortable discussing sexual matters with their teenagers or young adults. So students often arrive at UH having little formal education on the topic, with an informal sexual health education obtained through friends, the Internet, and pornography. But these sources of informal education may prove less than reliable.

While some students will remain sexually abstinent for a variety of reasons, many will either become sexually active during these years or continue their sexual activity. Students have the right to decide if, when, and how to be sexual and should be supported in whatever path they take, sexual abstinence or sexual activity. For those who chose to engage in sexual activity, three goals should be considered: making the sexual activity safer, consensual, and pleasurable. Most students know that they should use a barrier method to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Students usually rely on condoms as they are effective, inexpensive, and readily available. But obtaining a condom is only the first step; the second step, negotiating condom use, can sometimes be tricky. Sexually active young women are encouraged to carry condoms with them to be responsible in protecting their sexual health. Some women may be uncomfortable carrying condoms in her purse because, in this culture, she may run the risk of being labeled a “slut.” Condom negotiation can be difficult because talking about sex and protection seems more intimate than actually getting naked and putting body parts together. Some men complaining that condoms are too tight or that they are allergic to latex. Neither of these situations should lead to unprotected sex— there are

magnum-size condoms and the female condom is made of nitrile, not latex. But if you can’t talk about sexual health before engaging in sexual activity, maybe sex should be delayed until a point in time when you are more mature and comfortable talking about the issues. One slip-up in protection can result in contracting an STI. Some STIs can be treated and cured with antibiotics while others (herpes, HPV, and HIV) last a lifetime and have a

serious impact on one’s health. Drinking can impair one’s judgment and decision-making capacity, so watch your alcohol intake as not to cloud your judgment. Consensual sex is also part of sexual health. This means gaining sexual consent or permission for sex rests with the sexual initiator. That person should ask if the other person is willing and interested. Silence is not consent. If someone is drunk or incapacitated, they are no longer able to give consent. Women should step up and let their desires be known. Women can sometimes get quiet, freeze, or disassociate in sexual situations. Women need to be clear about their sexual “yeses” and “nos.” These situations can also

occur in same-sex sexual situations and the same rules apply. Consent must be freely given, preferably verbally expressed as nonverbal communication could be misunderstood. Everyone has the right to control what happens to their body sexually. It’s okay to change your mind or provide conditions for sex. Lastly, sex should be pleasurable for both parties. Often sexual health educators have to spend so much time talking about safer and consensual sex that we never get to the fun part —pleasure! When talking about sexual issues the penis and vagina are often center stage and the wonderful clitoris is left out. The clitoris is the sexual center for women

and stimulation here is most likely to produce an orgasm rather than vaginal stimulation alone. The clitoris has over 7,000 nerve endings and is the only organ in the human body whose sole purpose is sexual pleasure. Learning how to please your partner also involves talking. Taking the time to ask what they like and don’t life and what gives them pleasure. Talking and negotiating is the overriding theme for sexual health and sexual pleasure. Don’t make assumptions. Talking about sexual consent, protection and pleasure can be sexy and fun, so give it a try. Beverly McPhail, Ph.D., director of the UH Women’s Resource Center.

Lead The Future of


With your new bachelor’s degree from UH, you can earn a BSN in 12 months from UHV’s* Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Get a quality education in Sugar Land from excellent faculty at a great value. Application deadline is Oct.1, 2014, for January 2015 admission. Enrollment is competitive and limited! Call the School of Nursing advisor toll free at (877) 970-4848, ext. 4370 for more information. The UHV School of Nursing is a member institution of the Texas Medical Center. It has full approval from the Texas Board of Nursing and is accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education.

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Neighbors Emergency Center opened its first location in the Houston metropolitan area in 2008. Today, Neighbors Emergency Center has five thriving facilities, including one in Kingwood. Plans are in place to expand to Austin and Beaumont in 2014. NEC began when CEO Dr. Setul Patel and his partner envisioned a new kind of emergency medical care, one that provided personalized care in conveniently located, state-of-the-art facilities all over the Houston area.

“At Neighbors Emergency Center, patients with all types of emergencies receive high quality medical care from board-certified doctors who are highly experienced in emergency medicine,” comments Dr. Patel. “The people who walk through our doors deserve the best. Over the years, word has spread in the community that our centers provide superior patient care. We’ve built that trust and continue to grow.” The Neighbors Emergency Care philosophy is to provide excellent medical treatment and services while prioritizing a patient’s comfort and care. Unlike conventional emergency rooms, Neighbors Emergency Center has little or no wait time. Patients are expediently checked-in and treated by emergency medical professionals. The lobbies are warm and inviting, with a relaxing interior design, comfortable chairs, ample light for reading, and even HDTVs. All NEC locations have private treatment rooms that are equipped with HDTVs for the convenience of patients and their families. Pediatric treatment rooms are designed to be an especially calming, fun environment for children undergoing treatment. These CARE continues on page 10

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Managing the imperfections of perfectionism Described as “striving for flawlessness,” perfectionism can be maladaptive or helpful depending upon the magnitude. Common themes of perfectionist thinking include concern over making mistakes, doubts about one’s actions, high personal standards, and a need for organization. It is natural to want to do well and be successful, as these pursuits are both personally and socially rewarding. Research


continued from page 11 features, matched with NEC’s highly experienced emergency medical professionals and state-of-the-art equipment, make NEC the preferred choice for many Houston area patients. “It’s important that our patients have the same access to medical services as they would receive at any emergency

supports the benefits of setting personal standards and being organized to achieve; however, the problem with striving for perfection is that it is an unattainable goal. “When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target,” George Fisher once said. No matter the amount of effort put forth, everyone makes mistakes—imperfection is part of the shared human experience. Yet, from a perfectionistic viewpoint, anything less than perfection is equated with failure. This way of

viewing mistakes and imperfections often results in a spirit of judgment and self-criticism. This type of high perfectionist criticism is associated with several psychological issues including clinical levels of anxiety and depression, eating disorders, low self-esteem, and suicidal thinking. Among college students, perfectionism has also been correlated with loneliness, procrastination, and difficulty adjusting. One way to combat perfectionism is to develop a spirit

of self-compassion. Selfcompassion is a way of relating to one’s self in times of distress, including moments of perceived failure. Having compassion for self involves noticing the experience of one’s own suffering, realizing that imperfection are part of the human experience, and treating self with warmth, understanding, and kindness. At the University of Houston, there is help for you or someone you know who is struggling with perfectionism or other associated concerns including

anxiety, depression, and difficulty adjusting. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides consultation, assessment, and if appropriate, treatment to aide in recovery and healing. CAPS can be reached at 713.743.5454 and is located on the second floor of Student Services Center 1. For more information, please visit CAPS online at http://www.

room. That’s why all Neighbors Emergency Centers are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including all holidays. Additionally, every Neighbors location is fully-equipped with on-site laboratory testing as well as X-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, and other imaging services,” says Myra Graves, Director of Operations. All NEC locations are staffed with technicians, nurses, and doctors who have emergency

hospital training. For this reason, NEC is able to treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries. From coughs, fevers, and the flu to respiratory infections, chest pain, and abdominal pain, NEC can treat patients with sudden or ongoing health problems. For injuries like lacerations, broken bones, sprains, and strains, NEC has in-house radiology and imaging and can provide stitches, splints,

crutches, and more. Should a critical situation arise, NEC doctors are trained in pediatric and cardiac life support and protocols. NEC can also facilitate patients’ direct admittance to the hospital, bypassing the conventional hospital emergency room. NEC has locations throughout the Houston metro area, including its new facility and corporate offices in Pearland as well as locations in Kingwood,

Bellaire, Baytown, and Pasadena. Near the Kingwood location, the communities of Atascocita, Porter, New Caney, Humble, airport (IAH), Splendora, and Summerwood have a valuable resource— access to expert nurses and doctors with a high level of training and experience in emergency medicine.

Article by UH’s Counseling and Psychological Services.

Article by the Neighbors Emergency Center.

12 + THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31,2013


Health 411 — Fall 2013  

UH performance coach pushes Cougars to their peak, and dietician provides tips for college students to stay lean

Health 411 — Fall 2013  

UH performance coach pushes Cougars to their peak, and dietician provides tips for college students to stay lean