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The Doctor Is In: The power of exercise

SAN ANTONIO – Dr. Stacey Young-McCaughan learned about service at 11 years old, taking care of her mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“It was my first introduction to nursing and taking care of someone during a period of critical illness and stress,” Young-McCaughan said.

She said it was a natural choice going into nursing school and later, the Army Nurse Corps.

“Being in the Army, I had to exercise regularly and watch what I ate,” Young-McCaughan said. “I know that I felt better after I’ve exercised. I thought that might be true for patients with cancer.”

She went on to study the effects of exercise on women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“The women who were able to exercise did feel better and had a higher quality of life,” Young-McCaughan said. “So that hooked me on not only the scientific method but documenting the benefits of exercise in populations of people we hadn’t thought of exercising.”

Young-McCaughan was recruited to join the UT Health Science Center San Antonio team by Dr. Alan Peterson, who had just been funded to find treatments for soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Her study used exercise as a possible treatment for PTSD.

“When you look at the power of medicine and the likelihood that medicine will resolve an issue, exercise has a much bigger effect than most any medication (that) is out there,” she said. “It’s not as easy as taking a pill, but exercise is medicine too.”

SA Live is featuring some of the UTHSC medical professionals who are changing lives in their segment called “The Doctor Is In.”

You can find more information by calling 210-450-9000 or by visiting their website, www.UTMedicine.com.

This article written by Marielle Holdsworth