health

Health
1:05 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Poll: Kentucky Sees Second Biggest Drop in Number of Those Without Health Insurance

A new poll shows the number of uninsured Kentuckians dropped to 12 percent in July.

The percentage of people without health insurance in Kentucky has dropped at the second biggest rate in the nation.

According to a Gallup poll released this week, the  number of uninsured dropped from over 20 percent in 2013 to about 12 percent as of July 2014, reflecting an eight-and-a-half percent decline since the federal Affordable Care Act took effect. The only other state to experience a sharper decline was Arkansas, whose uninsured rate dropped about 10 percent.

The states rounding out the top five after Kentucky are Delaware, Washington and Colorado.

Gov. Steve Beshear touted the news in a press release, attributing the new data to the state’s implementation of the ACA via kynect, the state’s health insurance exchange.

The poll also reported that the rate of uninsured in 21 states like Kentucky that expanded Medicaid coverage under the ACA and set up their own  exchanges declined “more significantly” than those states that did not.

As of July, over 520,000 Kentuckians have enrolled in health care through the state exchange, with three-quarters of the newly insured enrolled in Medicaid.

Health
8:44 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Fort Campbell Hospital Makes Room to Treat Retirees

U.S. Army Captain Sharika Labrie from Blanchfield Army Community Hospital administers a flu vaccine to retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Troy Johnson during Retiree Appreciation Day in 2010. In 2004, BACH had to quit seeing retirees on a regular basis because so many doctors and nurses were deployed.

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 2:42 pm

While VA hospitals are dealing with long wait times, Fort Campbell’s health system has excess capacity. Blanchfield Army Community Hospital has reopened its facilities to a limited number of retirees for the first time in a decade. Enrollment was cut off to veterans in 2004 because so many doctors and nurses were deployed to the Middle East.

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Health
2:43 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Scientists Say Child's Play Helps Build A Better Brain

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 5:40 pm

This week, NPR Ed is focusing on questions about why people play and how play relates to learning.

When it comes to brain development, time in the classroom may be less important than time on the playground.

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Health
9:33 am
Tue August 5, 2014

American Ebola Victims Being Treated with Drugs Created in Owensboro

Kentucky BioProcessing, in Owensboro, developed a drug used to help Ebola victims.
Credit Kentucky BioProcessing

An experimental drug used to treat two Americans infected with the Ebola virus was created in Owensboro.

Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol are reportedly showing significant improvement after being treated at an Atlanta hospital with a drug called ZMapp.

Compounds used in the drug are grown in genetically modified tobacco plants in an effort overseen by the Owensboro-based Kentucky BioProcessing. The Herald-Leader reports that KBP received a federal contract in 2007 to work on a drug that could treat those exposed to the Ebola virus.

An Ebola outbreak in west Africa has claimed nearly 900 lives, with many more victims infected. Brantly and Writebol, who were giving medical treatment to Ebola victims when they fell ill, are the first known humans to receive Z-Mapp.

A spokesman for the company that runs the Owensboro operation says production of the drug was already being ramped up for approval testing later this year, and that schedule may accelerate given the magnitude of the current Ebola outbreak.

KBP is also involved with the Owensboro Cancer Research program, which this week was given a federal grant to further its research into a possible HIV vaccine using tobacco plants.

Health
2:41 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Oxytocin Isn't Lacking In Children With Autism, Researchers Say

The hormone oxytocin affects social functioning, but researchers say it isn't commonly lacking in children with autism.
danchooalex/iStockphoto

Scratch one more simple explanation for autism off the list. This time it's the idea that children with autism have low levels of oxytocin, often called the "love hormone" because it can make people more trusting and social.

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Health
2:02 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

New Federal Grant to Help HIV Vaccine Research Effort Underway in Owensboro

Dr. Kenneth Palmer, professor of pharmacology and toxicology and director of the Owensboro Cancer Research Program of UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center,
Credit The University of Louisville

HIV vaccine research being conducted in Owensboro is getting a boost from a federal grant. The National Institutes of Health Monday announced a five-year, $14.7 million dollar grant for a project being led by the Owensboro Cancer Research program.

The goal is to create a gel-based vaccine that involves tobacco plants.

Researchers in Daviess County have been extracting a protein found in red algae, injecting it into tobacco plants, growing the tobacco on a massive scale, and then extracting the protein for use in a gel. Lab tests show the protein blocks HIV cells from entering uninfected cells.

Researchers have developed a gel using the protein that they hope can be used to stop the spread of HIV during sexual intercourse.

Owensboro Cancer Research program director Kenneth Palmer says the irony of using tobacco plants to possibly create a medical breakthrough isn’t lost on him.

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Health
5:39 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Skin Cancer Rates Rising, But Best Way to Reduce Risk is Still Avoiding Too Much Sun

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 10:37 am

A western Kentucky dermatologist says he sees multiple cases of skin cancer a day as the U.S. Surgeon General is warning of a steady increase of people with the disease.

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Health
11:01 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Hemp Oil Not a Source of CBD Which Could Be Used in Epilepsy Treatments

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 4:21 pm

An industrial hemp official is working to clear up some confusion about the plant’s oils and extracts and their uses as Kentucky researchers work toward finding uses for potential treatments with cannabidiol, or CBD.

Hemp Industries Association Executive Director Eric Steenstra says the non-profit trade group has received several calls from customers who have bought hemp oil at health stores and want to know if their purchase has CBD in them.

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Health
6:46 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Lawmakers Announce $17 Billion Deal Intended To Fix VA System

House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, a Florida Republican.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 2:36 pm

This post was updated at 3 p.m. ET:

House and Senate negotiators unveiled a $17 billion plan Monday to address the crisis in care for veterans.

The agreement would provide $10 billion to allow veterans to be treated outside the Veterans Affairs system, if they've had trouble getting appointments within it. More than two dozen clinics would be leased around the country, with $5 billion spent to hire additional doctors, nurses and other medical personnel at the VA.

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Health
3:05 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Stitched Together: Volunteers at Grayson County Hospital Create Sock Monkeys to Help Young Patients

In the surgery wing of Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center named after her late husband, Nedra Thomas has been putting smiles on children's faces for over two decades.

Thomas began making sock monkeys to give to young patients heading into surgery at the Leithfield hospital. The project grew over the years and she now has a small team of volunteers who help in the effort. The group has become like a second family to the members, who look out for one another during sickness and loss.

WKU Public Radio photojournalist Abbey Oldham paid a visit to Leitchfield to meet with Thomas and learn about how the sock monkey program impacts both patients and volunteers.

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