Tag: health

ASMR Phenomena for Improved Study and Sleep

As a full time student at Texas A&M International University, I always find myself awake studying late hours preparing myself for a test or writing a twelve page paper the night before it’s due. Evidently, my sleep schedule gets extremely unbalanced because of this. I have never been a huge fan of taking medicine to help me sleep and have struggled with sleep almost all my life. It seems that by mere accident I found a solution many years ago on a date I can’t even remember. Continue reading “ASMR Phenomena for Improved Study and Sleep”
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Lucky Thirteen: A Story of Surviving And Thriving

At twenty-one years old, Kenneth “Kenny” Duncan Jr. leads a rather ordinary life. A self-described cowboy, his wardrobe largely consists of boots and jeans. His playlist includes classics from George Strait and Kenny Chesney, which he blasts while driving on the streets of Laredo. When he’s not on campus working or studying, he can be found fishing at the lake or sharing poems at Gallery 201. This life, filled with simple pleasures and few worries, is something Duncan cherishes now more than ever.  Because just over a year ago, his life was forever changed by three words: “You have cancer.” Continue reading “Lucky Thirteen: A Story of Surviving And Thriving”
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Officials Speak on Zika Virus at TAMIU

Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) hosted a meeting at TAMIU to discuss the treat of the Zika virus in Texas, and how it affects Laredo as a border city. Officials of the meeting discussed the actions that were being taken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Aside from the efforts of the federal government, they discussed the efforts taken by state, local, and international agencies. Their discussions explored how all of these levels of governments could cooperate for the health of their citizens. Alongside the congressman were high-ranking officials from the CDC, as well as other government officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the State of Texas and the Texas Department of State Health Services, the City of Laredo Health Department, Webb County, and representatives from the Laredo hospitals and hospital from Nuevo Laredo. With those officials were also representatives from universities including TAMIU, universities from Mexico, and University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The Zika virus began its spread form infected mosquitos similar to the West Nile virus. Common symptoms from the virus include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. The virus is not extremely lethal, and those who catch symptoms do not feel sick enough to go to the hospital. However, the Zika virus is seen problematic for women infected during pregnancy. It has been causing birth defects for newborns that have been fatal. On the brighter side, once someone has been infected, they are likely to be protected from future infections The first confirmed infection originated in Brazil in May 2015. From there, it spread across Latin America and the Caribbean. Just recently, a Zika virus related death was confirmed in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and other American island territories. There have been 358 confirmed travel-associated cases of the Zika virus in 40 American states. 27 of those cases were in Texas. However, there have been no cases or reports of the Zika virus in Webb County or the border area. The discussions brought upon by the congressman and the other officials plays in part with Cuellar’s understandings of international affairs. Cuellar takes into much consideration for the need of inter-governmental and international cooperation. The Zika virus, alongside all of Mother Nature, pays no regard to national boundaries and governments. Doing so, nations and agencies need to come together in the common goal of human health. The amount of representation from both the United States and Mexico was remarkable, and it contradicts the rhetoric coming from presidential candidates that accuse and misjudge our Mexican neighbors and the border region. “The Zika virus disease is a reminder of how we must stay vigilant against biological and physical threats at our borders,” said Congressman Henry Cuellar. “While the news seems alarming, no cases have been reported in South Texas. However, it is concerning because of the rapid spread of the disease and the birth defects it causes in pregnant women” concluded Cuellar.
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Global Medical Brigades Serve in Nicaragua

This past Spring Break, most college students could be found on the beaches of South Padre Island or the streets of downtown Austin. Throughout the week, social media sites filled up with photos and videos of their escapades as they embraced their week free from responsibilities. However, one group of students made quite the exception. From March 4th to March 12th, nineteen TAMIU students dedicated their break to providing simple yet potentially life-saving healthcare and sanitation services to families in Nicaragua. These students are members of Global Medical Brigades, an international student organization whose vision is “to improve quality of life, by igniting the largest student-led social responsibility movement on the planet.” Global Medical Brigades allows students from all areas of study to volunteer alongside licensed medical professionals in underserved communities across the world. Some services provided include physicals, immunizations, and dental check-ups. Children served in these communities are also taught proper hygiene skills through interactive workshops, known as “charlas”. Various members of Global Medical Brigades at TAMIU shared their reasons for choosing to participate in this mission. “I decided to participate because I thought that it would open my eyes to a world outside of the United States, [and] to witness the daily struggles that people go through on a daily basis,” said Caroline Pagette, a junior majoring in communication. Another student, Ana Martinez, echoed Pagette’s statements. “I wanted to be part of of a great life changing experience. I have always been one to enjoy giving back to the community but this time I wanted to share my service with another country that is in need.” Vanessa Nuñez, a senior biology major, said she had been interested in community service for a long time, but struggled with finding an organization in which she felt comfortable. Upon hearing about GMB’s previous trip to Panama in 2015 from a friend, she decided to look into participating. “I got well informed and fell in love with the idea of being able to be a part of something big that helps not only our local community but extends itself to communities in Central America,” said Nuñez, who added, “I pushed myself to do everything I could to go to Nicaragua this year in order to be a more global citizen while representing my university.” Rebekah Kawas, president of the TAMIU chapter, further explained the combined efforts of the team. “Our brigade was split into three different ones: a medical brigade, a public health brigade, and a water brigade…Along with shadowing the doctors, our members were responsible for communicating with the patient, taking blood pressure, height, and weight of each patient, and transforming one room into the pharmacy in order to set up medications and divide them as needed per patient prescription,” said Kawas. According to Kawas, the team was eventually able to serve approximately 1,200 families over a three-day period. Those involved with the public health and water brigades were responsible for constructing sanitary facilities for families, and a trench that would provide clean water for area residents. Kawas described the conditions many local residents lived in. “Previously these families would ‘shower’ using dirty water in painter buckets and defecate out in the open,” she revealed. Volunteers then assisted in building two showers, two bathrooms, and two septic tanks for two families. Despite the grueling work involved, there was more than met the eye when it came to their tasks. “Every day was fun, interactive, and never once felt like ‘work.’ We were blessed to have a Global Brigades Staff in Nicaragua that was supportive and helped empower each of us to do a better job,” stated Kawas. Martinez reaffirmed Kawas’ statements. “From the moment we would wake up to the moment we went to bed, we were already dancing and singing and having such a positive attitude even if we were tired, sick, or sore,” said Martinez. Other members shared their own previous expectations before arriving in Nicaragua, and the subsequent lessons they learned while abroad. “I had an idea as to what we were going be exposed to, but once you’re there it’s a whole different story. You think you’re mentally prepared for it until you’re seeing it for yourself in person. It definitely gives you a new perspective on the world. I know it made me realize how good we have it here, and how we can make such an impact by choosing to do selfless acts,” said Leslie Romero, a sophomore Biology major. Irais Neira, a senior Biology major, shared her own eye-opening experience while working on the water trench. The daily journey to the digging site consisted of a two mile walk up a mountain. During one of these hikes, the group came across an elderly woman in need of medical attention. “On the way up, an elderly lady was walking down on a broken foot looking for help. The team and I stopped to help her, wrapping up her foot in gauze and antibacterial ointment. Our GMB truck drove up to take her back down to a clinic. Her foot had been broken for weeks and yet she was still walking on it to try and help herself,” said Neira, who continued, “But this woman had already walked past three other university groups and no one stopped to help her. She was calm but was very obviously in pain.” Similarly, smaller moments still had a profound impact. The welcoming nature of locals and their children left lasting impressions on the volunteers. “…These kids looked up to me like if I was some kind of superhero. I can still picture every single one of them smiling, and it makes me realize that I was born to share the talents I possess with others to better humankind,” said Martinez.
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