health

Appalachian Health Falling Further Behind

Aug 24, 2017
Mountain Comprehensive Care

A new report shows just how far Appalachia has fallen behind the rest of the country on key health measures such as rates of cancer, heart disease and infant mortality. Researchers say the region’s health gap is growing and they hope the data they’ve compiled will spur new approaches to health care.  

The 400-page report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, and the Appalachian Regional Commission used all publicly available data to show where people are sick and just how sick they are throughout the 13-state Appalachian region.


Creative Commons

West Nile infected mosquitoes have been found in Louisville again. The Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness found the infected mosquitoes in surveillance traps mainly around downtown, in Portland, the Highlands and near Iroquois Park.

Last year, one person died in Louisville after contracting West Nile. Connie Mendel with the Public Health and Wellness Department said that person already had serious medical conditions.

In most cases, the body is able to fight off the virus. However, people over age 60 are at greater risk and people with medical conditions like cancer, hypertension or diabetes are, too.

A Bowling Green clinic that evaluates potential organ transplant patients will not be impacted by the decision to put Jewish Hospital in Louisville up for sale.

The Bowling Green Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center outreach clinic opened in June. Jewish Hospital is the second largest organ transplants locations in the state, and is being sold by its parent company--KentuckyOne Health. David Lewis is the director of transplant services at Jewish Hospital.

President Trump says he is ready to declare the nation's opioid crisis "a national emergency," saying it is a "serious problem the likes of which we have never had." Speaking to reporters at the entrance to his Bedminster, N.J., golf club, where he is on a working vacation, Trump promised "to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis."

Update 3:35 pm August 10: Two days after making a few general remarks about the opioid crisis, President Trump on Thursday called it "a national emergency" and said his administration would be drawing up papers to make it official.

"We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis," Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

Courtesy Mountain Comprehensive Care

Kentuckians who feel going to the doctor is too expensive — but don’t know how to shop for the lowest price — aren’t alone.

A new study published earlier this week in the peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs found very few respondents tried to find the lowest-cost doctor or surgery. And despite being price conscious when it comes to medical care, most don’t even know where to look for cost information or how to compare doctors.

“The difference between Americans’ willingness to price-shop for care and the rates at which they do so is striking,” the study authors from Harvard and the University of Southern California write.

Comfy Cow Recalls Ice Cream From Kentucky, Other States

Aug 9, 2017
Ashlie Stevens

Comfy Cow is voluntarily recalling products from Kentucky and three other states after finding high counts of coliform and E. coli in its ice cream.

In a news release, company spokesman Tim Koons-McGee said nine flavors sold primarily in retail stores in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Missouri would be recalled. The products were distributed between June 13 and July 21, per the release.

In Prince George's County, Md., every first responder carries naloxone, the drug that can reverse an opioid overdose.

"We carry it in our first-in bags," says Bryan Spies, the county's battalion chief in charge of emergency services. "So whenever we arrive at a patient's side, it's in the bag, along with things like glucose, aspirin and oxygen."

Gabe Bullard

There’s no dearth of research on health disparities in Appalachia. But a newly-formed group of researchers at Virginia Tech says there is a dearth of scientific research into why these disparities exist, and how environmental factors could be contributing.

In a literature review published online last month in the journal “Reviews on Environmental Health,” the Virginia Tech researchers call for more community dialogue on the issue, and more focused epidemiological research on environmental health effects in Appalachia.

Creative Commons

A Kentucky doctor wants to improve the overall health of the state by increasing the tobacco tax.

Dr. Patrick Withrow, a retired cardiologist and the Director of Outreach at Baptist Health Paducah, believes that raising the tax on a pack of cigarettes by one dollar could help reduce smoking in adolescents, pregnant women, and low-income populations.

“This is an opportunity to kill several birds with one stone,” Dr. Withrow told WKU Public Radio. “And baby steps are important. If we can’t get all we want, we at least need to start. The most important reason we do this for is the health of Kentuckians.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Paramedics and police are already in the hotel room when Kyle Simpson walks in.

“What happened?” he asks.

A 37-year-old man in the room is barely conscious--just revived by the overdose reversal medication NARCAN.

Law enforcement officers survey the scene. They’ve found more heroin “rocks” on a table. One officer interviews a crying woman who was with the man when he stopped breathing.


Mary Meehan

The church choir in bright blue robes swayed and testified on a hot summer Sunday.

Pastor Anthony Everett, in his own robe of orange and brown, preached to his “saints” of Wesley United Methodist Church and they called back their approval with a staggered chorus of “Amen!”

But this Sunday, Memory Sunday, was different. Half way through the high-energy service was a quiet call to remember families coping with Alzheimer’s disease. From the pulpit came a call for the names of the suffering and after a brief silence, the response rolled through the pews.


A White House commission released a report this week on America's opioid crisis with an urgent recommendation — that President Trump declare it a national emergency.

Updated 4:21 p.m. ET Aug. 1

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., announced today that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee will hold bipartisan hearings on ways to stabilize the Affordable Care Act marketplaces for 2018.

The hearings will start the week of Sept. 4. Their aim is to act by Sept. 27, when insurers must sign contracts to sell individual insurance plans on HealthCare.gov for 2018.

Lisa Gillespie

Kentucky has the nation’s highest rate of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. But managing the disease and interpreting symptoms is often a challenge for people who suffer from the lung disease.

Enter a new smartphone app that aims to use technology to help COPD sufferers to recognize emergencies, and avoid unnecessary doctors’ or ER visits. The app made its debut earlier today, screening people at the Family Community Clinic in Butchertown.

One of the first testers was Barry. When he walked through the door at the clinic, he had already been diagnosed with COPD. We’re only using his first name to protect his privacy.

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