Author of opioid epidemic book Dreamland says it began with easy answers to tough questions

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News The opioid epidemic began with a desire for “easy answers to complicated problems,” and the solution to it needs to avoid similar mistakes, the author of the seminal book on the topic said recently on KET’s “Connections with Renee Shaw.” “As a culture we need to learn patience. It took us a long time to get into this and it will take...

New UK Clinical Trial exploring treatments to slow bone loss in patients on dialysis

By Hartmut H. Malluche, MD Special to KyForward Many people with chronic kidney disease rely on dialysis to perform some of the functions of a healthy kidney, like removing waste, maintaining safe levels of chemicals in the body and helping to control blood pressure. However, individuals who use dialysis experience very high death rates — the mortality rate is approximately 25 percent each year,...

Double lung transplant procedure breathes new life into Winchester resident Glenda Brown

By Allison Perry Special to KyForward Glenda Brown used to wake up suddenly in the middle of the night, starved for breath. Seeking relief, she’d race to throw open her bedroom window just to inhale a rush of cold air to soothe her cramping chest. Diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in 2001, the 62-year-old Winchester resident spent nearly two decades fighting for each...

Study finds painkiller prescriptions for injured workers fell after passage of tracking database law

After Kentucky fully implemented its prescription-monitoring database in 2012, fewer workers injured on the job received prescription painkillers, and when they did they got fewer of them, according to a new study. The study, conducted by the Workers Compensation Research Institute, examined workers’ compensation claims for more than 21,000 Kentucky workers with new injuries in 2011-13, and nearly...

Bevin, Aetna announce partnership to provide first responders in Eastern Kentucky with Narcan

First responders in eastern Kentucky will receive a fresh supply of Narcan to help prevent deaths from drug overdoses. Gov. Matt Bevin joined with executives from Aetna and local officials in Hazard to announce a partnership that will provide 360 doses of the medication, a crucial drug for saving lives. Drug overdose deaths in Kentucky have skyrocketed in recent years, and sometimes simply by coming...

KIP survey indicate alarming number of Kentucky teenagers have contemplated suicide

The first few weeks of a new school year can be overwhelming and sometimes very difficult for many students. With classes now back in session across the Commonwealth, officials want school staff and parents to know about that a recent report that indicated an alarming number of Kentucky teenagers have considered or attempted suicide. The report, from Kentucky Incentives for Prevention (KIP), shows...

Kentucky doctors, lawmakers, insurance companies battle opioid epidemic by limiting prescriptons

To fight the opioid epidemic, Kentucky doctors, legislators and health-insurance companies are working to limit the prescription of painkillers. At the annual convention of the Kentucky Medical Association, a University of Kentucky trauma surgeon told other physicians how he and his colleagues got a wake-up call about the problem and “how they were able to halve the amount of opiates given to...

Rural Blog: All counties in the U.S. now have at least one option for private health insurance for 2018

Dozens of counties, mostly in rural areas, were at risk of having no individual private insurance options in 2018 after companies like Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield pulled out of the markets. But a few insurance companies have filled gaps in coverage, and now there are no areas in the U.S. without coverage. Paulding County, Ohio, was the last “bare” county until CareSource committed...

Duvall Q&A highlights Diabetes Day at GABP; Reds outfielder diagnosed as Type 1 in 2012

During the 2016 baseball season, Reds left fielder Adam Duvall was on deck at Busch Stadium in St. Louis when a fan from the stands started yelling at him. “Why do you have your cell phone in your back pocket?” the man shouted. Duvall calmly turned around and responded: “It’s an insulin pump. I’m diabetic.” Adam Duvall The following day, before Cincinnati’s next game against the Cardinals,...

Despite decline in number of cases of toxic shock syndrome, it remains a life-threatening illness

By Joanne Brown Special to KyForward Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a life-threatening illness mediated by toxins secreted in the blood by either Staphylococcus aureus or group A Streptococcus (GAS) bacteria. When poisonous toxins are released into the bloodstream, they can damage tissue skin and harm vital organ functions, such as lung, liver and renal. Toxic shock syndrome can affect anyone. It was...

Coach Colene: ‘Pulling a Linda’ — What employers (and employees) can learn from a resignation

By Colene Elridge Special to KyForward My friend Linda is smart, thoughtful and dedicated to anything she sets out to do. She resolves other people’s conflicts… literally. For nearly 15 years, she worked to create a nationally recognized workplace-conflict-resolution program. She saved her organization hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars by solving workplace issues before they reached...

Simple medication errors contribute to Kentucky’s high rate of death due to drug overdoses

By Clark Kebodeaux Special to KyForward According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky ranks third in highest rates of death due to drug overdose at 29.9 per 100,000 people. While this is primarily driven by opioid overdose via prescription or illicit drugs, this statistic represents all examples of drug overdose, including those from common medications you probably have stocked...

Appalachian region endures dramatic health challenges compared with nation, research shows

Health Disparities in Appalachia, a new report issued Thursday by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, documents dramatic disparities in health outcomes and other health-related factors in the Appalachian Region when compared with the nation as a whole, as well as substantial variations in health throughout...

Staying Fit: Getting back in your exercise routine is easier with these five keys to workout success

By Heather Thomas Special to KyForward It’s that time of year: Summer vacation is behind us, kids are back to school and the daily routine is back in full swing. Whether you have been out of your regular routine the past few weeks, entire summer or even a few years, here are five things to keep in mind to set yourself up for success. Avoid Overtraining Don’t overdo it the first week. You might...

Clark Regional Medical Center becomes latest to join UK Markey Cancer Center affiliate network

Clark Regional Medical Center in Winchester, Ky. has announced a new affiliation with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, the state’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. By becoming a UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network member, Clark Regional Medical Center will now be able to offer more patients in Central and Eastern Kentucky access to additional specialty...

Former Wildcat football standout Talbott Todd faces new opponent in battle against ALS

By Laura Dawahare Special to KyForward Everyday, approximately 15 people learn they have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS. ALS is a progressive neurological disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, eventually stealing from its victims the ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow and breathe. Most ALS patients die within five years of diagnosis, and currently,...

Number of painkiller prescriptions decline statewide, but remain high in many individual counties

Kentucky Health News reported in July about a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report showing ranges of painkillers sold per person in each county in 2015 and whether there had been an increase or decrease since 2010. Individual county data was unavailable at the time of the July report, but has since been made available. The CDC report calculated the rate of “morphine equivalent doses”...

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky offers workshop to help businesses implement smoke-free policies

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is offering a workshop to help businesses learn how to implement smoke-free policies in their workplaces Aug. 31 in Louisville. “More than 70 percent of Kentucky adults and 90 percent of Kentucky businesses support smoke-free, so it’s never been easier for Kentucky businesses to adopt workplace policies to protect their employees from the dangers of...

Patient overcomes fear of the dentist, finds healthy new smile leads to newfound confidence

By Olivia Ramirez Special to KyForward For Andrea Crookston, taking photos used to mean hiding her smile. Fear and anxiety kept Crookston from going to the dentist every six months as recommended. Instead, she’d only go when the pain was too much for her to bear. “I’d been in pain for a long time, but I was afraid of the dentist,” she said. “The sound of the drill gives...

State public health officials issue advice for safe viewing of upcoming solar eclipse

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is warning the public not to directly look at the upcoming solar eclipse on Aug. 21 without the proper equipment and techniques. People from all over the world will converge on the U.S. to witness the eclipse. While the solar eclipse will occur across the continental U.S., those within an estimated...