All posts by Prachi Shah

Are The White Flakes on Your Scalp Dandruff?

Dandruff vs. dry scalp: Differences and best treatments | FOX31 Denver

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Many of us, especially in cold and dry weather, may see white flakes falling from our hair and assume they are dandruff. Flakes from dry scalp are far more common than true dandruff.   


Dandruff is caused by overgrowth of a yeast (malassezia) present on most normal skin. Less washed hair can result in a more oily scalp. Malassezia grow by “feeding” on the oil produced by the sebaceous glands attached to hair follicles. Dandruff is treated with more frequent hair washing to reduce oil. In some cases, specific antifungal shampoos are recommended by a dermatologist.


It’s important to recognize the difference between dry scalp and dandruff, because treatments for dry scalp moisturize the skin, whereas treatments for dandruff try to reduce oiliness and moisture, so using the wrong method can further dry out a dry scalp or overly moisturize an oily one. If you can’t tell the difference, try applying a small amount of moisturizer to your head before sleeping; after rinsing it out in the morning, if the flakes still remain, you’re probably looking at dandruff.


This time of year is famous for dry scalp and flare-ups in dandruff, so make sure to take care of your body and prioritize a healthy scalp!


Are Sleeping Pills Good for You?

17 Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night

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Between a third to a half of Americans report sleep disturbance. Good sleep bolsters immune function and mental health, among other benefits. So, it is no wonder that people often reach for sleeping pills and other supplements. Before reaching for a pill, let’s think twice about the potential benefits and potential harms of sleep medication and what you can watch out for. Some people feel that medications could cause unwanted side effects, or believe that artificially inducing a natural body process could be detrimental. 


First, we can address prescription medications. Most prescription medications are sedative hypnotics, helping you go to sleep or stay asleep. These include a class of drugs called benzodiazepines which are anti-anxiety medications like Ativan and Xanax. Doses can range from 0.5 mg to 100 mg 3-4 times a day, depending on the individual and the specific medication that you’re taking. While they may be okay to use in the short term, they may be habit-forming and are associated with problems with memory and attention with prolonged use over time. 


Tolerance is a common problem with all prescription medications. After taking pills for a period of time, people need more than the usual dose to help them sleep (tolerance), which could lead to dependence (difficulty sleeping without the substance; symptoms of withdrawal without it). Some sleeping medications, benzodiazepines in particular, are also associated with misuse (non-therapeutic use) addiction (irrational and harmful behavior due to prioritizing the substance). 


Combining benzodiazepines and alcohol can cause a person to stop breathing and could result in death. Older people (>65 yrs) should steer clear from all sleep aids because sleep medication can stay longer in your system with age, and could  result in drowsiness and confusion which may contribute to falls and other injuries. Other general side effects include nausea, dizziness, and headaches.


Over-the-counter sleep aids are safe for occasional use.  If you find yourself considering them more than once in a while, It is best to consult a healthcare provider for specific advice. Sleep disturbance is associated with feelings of worry or despair.  Attention to your mental health may be in order.  


The best approach is to develop good sleep habits. Try sticking to a sleep schedule, limit caffeine intake close to bedtime, reduce stress by winding down the day with your favorite activity, and treating underlying physical or psychological conditions with your trusted provider.

Does sugar make kids hyperactive?

Bowl of American Candy

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Neha Prathivadi

The expression “sugar rush” is one that has been in our vocabularies since our early childhood days. Many parents are concerned about their children’s consumption of candy and other sugary foods, because they fear it will lead to overexcitement and hyperactivity. However, is there actually a link between sugar and hyperactivity in children? Researchers seem to disagree.

The concept of the “sugar rush” originated from the theory that since sugar is a source of energy for our bodies, consuming more sugar should lead to higher energy levels. In reality, our bodies don’t break down all the sugar immediately. Rather, we store it and use small amounts when needed, so we shouldn’t actually show signs of hyperactivity after eating large amounts of sugar. 

An analysis of multiple research studies found that sugar does not impact the behavior or mental performance of children. So, if there is no impact, how do we explain children appearing “hyper” after consuming sugar? The answer may be confirmation bias. Most kids tend to eat sugary foods in fun settings, like birthday parties or family holidays. Our minds may falsely link  the excitement surrounding the event to the sugar. 

Another interesting fact is that sugar blocks the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, which is a component of our brain that is associated with stress. Therefore, sugar might lessen stress levels and could actually calm us.

So far, there is no evidence to show a connection between sugar and hyperactivity in children. Nevertheless, it is still important to be aware of what you are consuming in order to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. So have fun and enjoy your occasional ice cream, cookie, or candy, but make sure to snack in moderation!