uc health

The Essays that got Me into Berkeley: Part 2


Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement? 

You can trace mental illness through my family tree like a streak of gold through a Rocky Mountain mine. We’ve got all the cliches: tortured writers, hermits, opiate addicts, and the ever-present obsessive compulsive who was invariably the butt of many a Monk jest. For many years, that’s all those things were to me. A distant problem that “other people” had. Something we collectively laughed at when examining family histories, like ha-ha, wasn’t great-great-grandma Mary so funny? She heard voices tell her that her broomsticks were possessed by the devil. Until, in the usual way of things, it wasn’t. Sophomore year, under a combination of stresses both real and invented, I stopped eating. That’s a simple way of putting a very complicated thing, but I found that school was so much easier when I was starving. For two years, the hunger sharpened my brain and ate away at my muscle, until my ravaged body wouldn’t even let me sleep for fear of my heartbeat slowing to a stop. All, the while I spend [yes, this is a typo. I didn’t proofread my essays before I submitted them.] my days taking tests and writing essays, maintaining my straight A’s like nothing ever could be wrong. When I transitioned into recovery at the start of my Senior year, my grades suffered. It was like a constant buzzing in my ears, every moment that my stomach was full. And that’s when school took the backseat. Maybe I’m not supposed to say that, in a college essay. I’m probably supposed to tell you that school comes before everything, always. But the truth is that it doesn’t; this year, I’ve dropped out of the vast majority of my extracurricular activities. I’ve chosen Honors Statistics over Honors Calculus, a study hall where I can eat my morning snack in peace over Physics. At the moment, every bite is excruciating, a reminder of the brokenness of my brain. But this is not forever, because I am taking those bites. With a mix of mood stabilizers and good ol’ fashioned cognitive-behavioral therapy, I am getting better.

Read My First Essay Here

Read My Second Essay Here

Hardly a day goes by that we don’t hear about the U.S.’s opioid addiction epidemic in the news. But chronic pain is an epidemic, too, and sometimes opioids are the best treatment. We talk to experts working on the front lines of both sides — palliative care pharmacist Rabia Atayee, PharmD, on the difficulties of managing chronic pain, and psychiatrist Carla Marienfeld, MD, on treating opioid addiction.

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“ Not only do employees with IBD have a strong work ethic, 52% of the survey respondents claimed that that they work harder to make up for any shortcomings as a result of their condition and 40% worry that their colleagues or managers think they are not “pulling their weight” at work on occasions. Of the young people questioned, 69% feel that their IBD has prevented them from reaching their full educational potential, and over half have already ruled out some career options. When thinking about future employment, most (82%) are worried about managing their symptoms; 66% are concerned about not being able to do their work adequately and 65% worry about employer flexibility. “

What it's like to have a colonoscopy

For many, the concept of a colonoscopy is hilariously degrading. My husband’s best friend had one once before we knew each other, and they loved to joke about the personally violating anal probe. I don’t even know where to start with them on that, but I’d bet you could ask Joe now about colonoscopies and his opinion would be a little bit less humorous. You know, I’m inclined to laugh about it, but not in a South Park-aliens-anal-probe kind of way. I’ll put the rest of this blog, including the results and “what this means” under the link below. 

My intention is to make others feel comfortable with the concept of a colonoscopy. I’ve had four to date, and they want people with my age and condition to have one every year. If anyone comes across this on Tumblr, feel free to send me a message with questions.

Keep reading

Should my son get the HPV vaccine?

Maya Kumar, MD, adolescent medicine specialist at UC San Diego Health answers:

“According to the Centers for Disease Control, 79 million Americans are infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), with 14 million new infections each year. Many people know about the association between HPV infection and cervical cancer in women. As a consequence, HPV has been dubbed a “woman’s infection.” However, approximately 40 percent of HPV-related cancers occur in men.

The most common HPV-related cancers in men are oropharyngeal cancers, such as mouth, tongue or laryngeal cancer. Women can get these too, but men are three times as likely as women to carry oral HPV. Rarer HPV-related cancers in men include penile cancer and anal cancer. HPV can also cause warts in the head and neck region (example: laryngeal warts affecting the voice box) and on the genitals. While these warts are not life-threatening, they significantly impact quality of life.

Parents have often heard that the virus is sexually transmitted and wonder why their child would need vaccination. Most STDs affect a small proportion of the population and can generally be avoided with safe sexual practices alone, making vaccination against these diseases on a large scale unnecessary. HPV is different. About 90 percent of all men and women will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives, even with safe sexual practices. Even if you only have one partner for your whole life, you can still get HPV and suffer its devastating consequences. HPV vaccination is the only dependable way to prevent it because it is almost impossible to avoid with lifestyle and behavioral decisions alone.

Parents may also wonder why it is necessary in childhood. Vaccines work best when they are given well before a person is exposed to a disease. The CDC recommends age 11-to-12 years old as the ideal time for vaccination. Recently, the CDC announced that if HPV vaccination is initiated before age 14, only two doses of the vaccine (at least six months apart) are required. If, however, vaccination begins at age 15 or older, three doses of the vaccine (at 0, 1-2 months and 6 months) are needed. This may be because the antibody response to the vaccine appears to be more robust in children 14 years and under, so fewer doses still provide sufficiently strong protection.

The HPV vaccine is an extremely safe vaccine. It contains no mercury, thimerosal or any other harmful preservatives. It also does not contain any live virus, or even any inactivated viral components that could cause infection. Because it is a completely synthetic vaccine, getting infected from it is impossible. As with any vaccine there are some risks. However, as of March 2016, almost 90 million doses of HPV vaccine had been distributed in the United States with no new long-term serious adverse effects identified.

On a personal note, I elected to be vaccinated against HPV when the vaccine became available years ago. I would have no hesitation vaccinating my own children or the children of my friends or relatives. So take it from someone who walks the walk: I strongly recommend the HPV vaccine for both your sons and your daughters.”

By having a chronic illness you join a community. A family of spoon theory fanatics who are all here to support, encourage and advise you.

We may be suffering but we got each other’s back. There’s strength in numbers, the more we help each other the better!

I wish I didn’t have a digestive system problem. Food is one of the most important things in anyone’s life and it’s the thing that causes all my problems.
If I don’t eat, my body doesn’t function and if I do eat, it puts my body through paralyzing pain.. I can never win with this disease.

175.8. This is my lowest HEALTHY weight ever. I’ve been as high as 225 and as low as 130, both due to health conditions, surgeries, and medications. I’m finally healthy. I can finally workout and nourish my body like it deserves. I’m proud of this, even if I still have a ways to go. I never thought I’d be here. If you feel that way, don’t give up!

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Can school lunches taste better — and be more nutritious?

It’s no secret that, although progress has been made, school lunches need help. This is a national project, and an important one.

One of the proving grounds is San Francisco, where the school district is joining with researchers from the Department of Agriculture and the University of California to evaluate a project designed to increase school lunch participation, improve nutrition, reduce waste and ultimately counter tendencies toward obesity.

The primary takeaway is that since school food is often healthier than what many kids get at home, participation isn’t just a matter of economics (the more kids served, the more efficient the program), but can have a real impact on kids’ health. We want kids to be eating school lunches, because those are the only meals most get that are prepared according to constantly evaluated and (we hope) ever-improving standards. So the goal is to encourage kids to eat it.

To that end, access to lunches has been improved; there was a time when a cash-paying kid got more choices than a free-lunch candidate, and now the system in San Francisco is blind to how the lunch is paid for. And the food is better; what was once frozen is now prepared fresh.

What do you think — how do they compare to your school lunches?

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What Does Sugar Actually Do To Your Body?

The effects of sugar can take your body down a vicious cycle known as metabolic syndrome.  At UC Davis, Kimber Stanhope altered the diets of a group of volunteers for her study. Instead of her subjects eating food like rice, pasta or bread, she had them consume a sugary beverage. The effects on the body started in the liver and from there, Stanhope explains how that set off a chain of responses in the body.

Just found out

My little cousin is reporting and presenting on Crohn’s in her health class to spread awareness. So proud. :’)

I also got my biopsy results back and have more good news. Things have still been busy this past week (was feeling a little under the weather and also trying to finish holiday preparation!), but I’ll have a full update tomorrow when I get home.

Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the holiday season!

anonymous asked:

how DARE fat people feel confident in themselves! shouldn't they know the risks it takes to be fat? like becoming diabetic? getting a heart disease? hey bud, did you know literally ANYONE can become diabetic and get a heart disease? it doesn't have to do with being fat. that sort of stuff has to do with genetics, sugars, things like that. do your research before you open your mouth

Warning- the following post contains science

I promise you, you will survive through to the other side if you take it slowly, get a glass of water, and put on some nice music for the next four minutes. I’ve tried to be as straightforward as possible, but maths tends to make some people run screaming. Google can help. 

THIS- this statement- is precisely why I refuse to give up on any of you. You are all woefully misinformed, and I refuse to let you wallow in scientific ignorance and labour under the false impression that obesity can be healthy or that such conditions are inevitable. I am here, and I continue to answer questions, because public science education is absolutely fundamental to a better society.

I have received questions asking me to give up on trying to change minds- but when I see questions like this, I cannot, I will not, give up on you. 

Source:  Prospective Studies Collaboration, . (2009). Body-mass index and cause-specific mortality in 900 000 adults: collaborative analyses of 57 prospective studies The Lancet, 373 (9669), 1083-1096 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60318-4

These graphs are why I refuse to not help you. Look at them closely- they show a clear relationship between the proportion of fat on ones’ body and their remaining lifespan. Literally. Look at the axis label on the left- you will notice that it says “Alive (%)”. My explanations? My comments, my questions, and my constant refusal to give up on you? I am trying to be the difference between you being on the blue line or the purple line. I am trying to drag you up across the line- and the sooner I can get through to you, the more years of life you recover

Source:  Prospective Studies Collaboration, . (2009). Body-mass index and cause-specific mortality in 900 000 adults: collaborative analyses of 57 prospective studies The Lancet, 373 (9669), 1083-1096 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60318-4 

This graph, from the same study, demonstrates an undeniable dose-dependent relationship between body mass in kilograms and Blood pressure in mm Hg (that’s milliliters of Mercury, since you have no experience in this field).

Your claim- that “it doesn’t have to do with being fat”- is here proved demonstrably incorrect. You are wrong, in the plainest of terms.

Source: Sepehri A, Palazón-Bru A, Gil-Guillén VF, Ramírez-Prado D, Navarro-Cremades F, Cortés E, Rizo-Baeza MM. (2015) Diabetes screening: a pending issue in hypertense/obese patients. PeerJ :e914 https://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.914 

This graph demonstrates that obesity has a definitive impact upon cardiovascular risk. If you haven’t read a scientific paper before, and you clearly have not, you might wonder what the little ‘p<0.001′ means on those graphs. P here stands for probability- where 1 is 100% and 0 is 0%. This probability demonstrates the mathematical certainty of the results of the study in question. You will notice here that their study has achieved less than a 0.1% chance of any of these claims being incorrect. That means that you, the person who has made the claim of obesity not being a factor in determining the prevalence of  cardiovascular disease, have less than a 0.1% chance of being correct.

The science, mathematics and research techniques being employed here are top notch. If you do not believe me, you are wrong. If you disagree, you are wrong. Well, at least I’m 99.9% sure- literally and mathematically- that you are wrong.

Now, onto your claim about diabetes and genes.

The following image is taken from the medical research blog of the UC San Diego Health System. It was made in response to research that deals specifically with your statement about it being ‘in your genes’. 

These scientists, with literally molecular precision, have definitively proven in a cause-and-effect scenario that you are wrong. They have clearly and positively identified proteins and cellular subsystems that always activate inflammation, and the resulting type II diabetes, because of the influence of fat cells.

Image source: Bushman, H, PhD. (2015). Molecular Link between Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Reveals Potential Therapy. UC San Diego Health System Blog. https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2015-02-23-type-2-diabetes-and-obesity-molecular-link.aspx
Research source: Li, P., Oh, D., Bandyopadhyay, G., Lagakos, W., Talukdar, S., Osborn, O., Johnson, A., Chung, H., Mayoral, R., Maris, M., Ofrecio, J., Taguchi, S., Lu, M. and Olefsky, J. (2015). LTB4 promotes insulin resistance in obese mice by acting on macrophages, hepatocytes and myocytes. Nat Med. https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm.3800 

Scientists smarter than you or I could ever hope to be spend their entire lives sitting in dark rooms looking under microscopes and firing lasers into magnetised protein crystals (yes, that’s a real thing) JUST TO SHUT PEOPLE LIKE YOU UP. This research was published in Nature- the single most famous scientific journal on the planet alongside Science.

When someone’s entire career is literally dedicated to doing stuff that sounds like something out of Star Wars just to prove you wrong, you don’t get to argue. You’re not on their level. You’re not even close. 


This long winded, graph and maths-heavy rambling is my desperate attempt to show you how misinformed you are. To beg with you to please, please God, reconsider your ideas. Reconsider the idea that being obese can be healthy- because it literally cannot be healthy. Reconsider the idea that being obese is not a choice- because it literally is. If you reconsider now and listen to me, you will gain back years of your life that you are otherwise cutting out of existence. 

I have done my research. Have you?