LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) -- Dr. John Fowlkes took the helm as new director of the University of Kentucky's Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center earlier this year with a vision to build upon the center's past work and develop a robust and comprehensive adult and pediatric center providing research, education and patient care for the thousands of Kentuckians diagnosed with diabetes. But the Texas native who has spent the last decade at the University of Arkansas Children's Hospital, has found himself in familiar territory.
Fowlkes, who succeeds Dr. Philip Kern who served as the Center's inaugural director and who had been performing a dual role as director of the UK's Center for Clinical and Translation Science, previously held the Barnstable Brown Gala Professorship in Diabetes Research at UK in 2000-2001 and was part of the UK Department of Pediatrics from 1996 until 2001.
"Having that prior life here and knowing the expertise that already exists at UK, provided the excitement and impetus for me to return to UK to develop a comprehensive diabetes center," said Fowlkes. "I think there is a potential to organize research, education and patient care in a way that we can see some real accomplishments and do some things that are very innovative."
However, Fowlkes, a nationally recognized clinician scientist funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who is intimately involved in patient care, realizes some challenges lie ahead.
Fowlkes' primary goal is to begin the work of "rethinking the clinical care model" and developing a new way of delivering state-of-the-art patient care.
"Right now we are looking at how to get the team in a collaborative environment and to develop operational clinic space that is much more than just seeing patients and prescribing drugs," he said. "We want to be able to see a patient, educate them and most importantly, serve as a medical home that addresses all of their needs in a one-stop shop."
The team he refers to includes Dr. Kathryn M. Thrailkill, professor of pediatrics and the newly named Barnstable Brown Chair in Pediatric Diabetes Research; Dr. Alba E. Morales Pozzo, an associate professor of pediatrics; and Clay Bunn, Ph.D., who will direct pediatric research laboratories. All three joined Fowlkes in coming to UK from the University of Arkansas.
In Kentucky and in the U.S., diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and disability. Besides leading to premature death, both types 1 and 2 Diabetes are associated with complications that threaten quality of life. It is also the leading cause of adult blindness, end-stage kidney disease and nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations.
Already UK has a sizable diabetes patient population in both pediatrics and adults, but Fowlkes wants to better coordinate care throughout the various ambulatory clinics where those patients are treated and wants to provide educational opportunities. Additionally, the clinical care will be complemented with intellectual questions looking at outcomes, quality and providing fertile material for research. Increasing the number of clinical trials available for both pediatric and adult patients is also a big focus for the future, he said.
"Diabetes is perhaps the greatest scourge assaulting Kentuckians. It kills indirectly through heart attack, strokes, kidney failure, nerve damage and blindness but there is an explosion of new therapeutic treatment modalities," said UK College of Medicine Dean Frederick de Beer "The Barnstable Brown Center under Dr. Fowlkes' leadership has the potential to be developed to lead and integrate our assault on diabetes."
Currently, the Center has approximately $24 million per year in research funding focusing on prevention and treatment of the disease and various complications of diabetes. Funding comes from the NIH, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and other funding agencies, as well as the Barnstable-Brown family.
Patricia "Tricia" Brown and Priscilla "Cyb" Barnstable, together with their mother Wilma Barnstable, have been hosting a Derby eve gala to raise money for diabetes research in Kentucky for nearly 25 years with celebrities coming from around the globe to attend the famous Barnstable Brown Gala in Louisville -- with the most recent event being held this past Derby weekend.
Tricia Brown's late husband, Dr. David Brown, was diagnosed and later died of diabetes was the inspiration for the establishment of the Barnstable Brown. Since 2008, all proceeds from the gala go to the center at UK.
"The Barnstable-Brown family made not only the essential initial investment but provides continuous support and a consistent presence that is an incredible and immeasurable asset to our center," said Fowlkes. "Their enduring commitment is something that makes a true impact and we are very appreciative."
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, 859-806-0445
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosted their fourth annual "Meet the Researchers Day" last Thursday. Meet the Researchers Day is a field trip given as a prize to two schools in the region who successfully raise more than $1,000 for the LLS's Pennies for Patients campaign.
This year, students from Bondurant Middle School (BMS) in Frankfort, Ky., and Shelby County West Middle School (SCWMS) in Shelbyville, Ky., won the opportunity to visit the Biomedical/Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB) on UK's campus and learned more about how the money they raised for Pennies for Patients will help further cancer research.
After a formal introduction by UK researchers Tianyan Gao and Craig Vander Kooi, the students received a a tour of cancer research lab space in the BBSRB and learned how to use some basic lab equipment. The event also featured presentations by BMS student and cancer survivor Tyler Calhoun, the LLS Honored Hero, and UK pediatric hematologist/oncologist Dr. John D'Orazio.
Pennies for Patients is the annual fundraiser for the School & Youth division of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It encourages students to collect spare change during a set three-week time frame early in the year. Funds raised support leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma research; patient and community service; public health education; and professional education.
For this year's campaign, more than 340 schools across the region participated. Kentucky schools participating in Pennies for Patients had to raise a minimum of $1,000 to win the chance to attend Meet the Researchers Day. BMS and SCWMS were chosen in a random drawing, raising a combined $5,027.12 for LLS.
To learn more about the Pennies for Patients program, visit www.schoolandyouth.org.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) -- The next time you add Splenda (sucralose), Sweet and Low (saccharin) or Equal (aspartame) to your tea or coffee, beware -- all three of these artificial sweeteners also contain dextrose, a simple sugar with about 3.6 calories per serving packet.
A violation of truth in advertising? Not necessarily. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows a product to be labeled "zero calories" if the food contains “less than 5 calories per reference amount customarily consumed per labeled serving." Although these artificial sweeteners do provide fewer calories, they are not calorie free, and people trying to watch their waistlines should keep this in mind.
Although artificial sweeteners are generally considered safe but there is still debate about whether they help with weight loss. There is conflicting research about the role diet sodas play in weight loss, with some research demonstrating that consuming diet sodas without decreasing overall calorie intake doesn’t appear to promote weight loss, while other studies show some weight reduction when switching from regular soda to diet.
The bacteria in your intestines, known as the gut microbiome, may hold the key to these controversies. A study last year showed that mice fed artificial sweeteners actually developed higher blood glucose levels than mice fed the simple sugar glucose. When the gut microbiome in these animals was eliminated by antibiotics, the mice fed artificial sweetener did not develop higher blood glucose levels, implying that gut microorganisms play some role in regulating blood glucose levels resulting from artificial sweetener use.
Furthermore, a small study in humans showed that four out of seven lean individuals developed higher blood glucose levels after consuming artificial sweeteners for a week. These data suggest that we are not identical in our gut microbiome and artificial sweeteners may affect us differently.
Until further study more clearly defines how artificial sweeteners alter the gut microbiome and ultimately affect blood glucose levels, it's entirely possible that smaller amounts of table sugar is better for you, since higher blood glucose is a risk factor for obesity and diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends less than 9 teaspoons a day for men and less than 6 teaspoons of table sugar per day for women.
Geza Bruckner is professor Clinical Nutrition in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the UK College of Health Sciences
This column appeared in the May 3, 2015 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) -- Put on your walking shoes and join the Gill Heart Institute cardiologist Dr. Alison Bailey for the 2015 Walk with a Doc season. From April through August, the program will meet twice a month on Thursdays for a 30 minute walk at the UK Arboretum. https://www.uky.edu/hr/wellness/community-opportunities/walk-with-doc#dates
No registration is required, but you can sign up to receive email reminders at: http://www.uky.edu/hr/wellness/community-opportunities/walk-with-doc
"There are countless physical activities to choose from, but walking is a simple and inexpensive change you can make to improve your health," Bailey said. "Since the thought of being alone can be enough to keep some people from walking, finding a group to walk with can be enough incentive to maintain an active walking schedule."
Bailey notes that walking for at least 30 minutes a day can help improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol, lower your risk for diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer, osteoporosis, and possibly depression.
"Walking is low impact and therefore easier on the joints than running. It is safe – with a doctor’s o.k. – for people with orthopedic ailments, heart conditions, and those who are more than 20 percent overweight," Bailey said.
In fact, says Bailey, recent research comparing runners and walkers demonstrated that moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes, all of which are significant risk factors for coronary artery disease and stroke.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) - University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) will be holding its seventh annual "Mind Matters" health fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 18 at the Fayette County Extension Office, 1140 Red Mile Place, Lexington.
The focus of this year's event is proper nutrition for a healthy brain, providing information on how diet can help promote healthy brain aging and prevent age-related brain disease. There will be free 'brain healthy' food provided by Chef Ouita Michel as well as live cooking demonstrations.
The event will also feature interactive exhibits, health and memory screenings, and presentations about healthy brain aging, Alzheimer's and music therapy.
The event is free of charge and open to the public. For more information contact Sarah Tarrant at (859) 323-1331.
The Sanders-Brown Center on Aging is one of the world's leading research centers on age-related diseases. SBCoA improves the health of the elderly through research, education and outreach programs related to understanding the brain's aging process and managing age-related cognitive impairment.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2015) -- Dr. Mark Evers, director of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Surgery, has been elected treasurer for the American Surgical Association. Evers will serve as treasurer through 2020.
The American Surgical Association is the nation's oldest and most prestigious surgical organization. They strive to benefit the patient and the profession of surgery by advocating and promoting excellence, innovation and integrity. Its members include the nation's most prominent surgeons from the country's leading academic medical institutions, many surgery department chairs, and leading surgeons from around the world.
Evers is an internationally recognized clinician-scientist, surgeon, educator and administrator. As a surgeon, his primary interests are in GI, endocrine and soft tissue/skin cancers, and he continues to maintain an active clinical practice.
His laboratory research, which has been continuously funded for more than 20 years from the National Institutes of Health, is predominantly focused on signaling mechanisms for proliferation of colorectal cancers and in hormonal control of cancer growth.
Under his leadership, the UK Markey Cancer Center became the only Kentucky medical center to receive National Cancer Institute designation and only the 68th NCI-designated cancer center in country.
Evers currently sits on the Council of the Southern Surgical Association, having also served as secretary and president of the organization. He has held leadership positions in various national societies including the Society for Surgical Oncology, American College of Surgeons, the American Gastroenterological Association and the Society of University Surgeons.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2015) - The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center's Jin Shin Jyutsu Integrative Medicine program recently received a grant of more than $10,500 from the Lexington affiliate of Susan G. Komen to produce 10 Jin Shin Jyutsu Self-Help videos for patients and families.
Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ) is an ancient form of touch therapy similar to acupuncture in philosophy. JSJ uses light touch on 52 points on the body in sequences known as “flows” with the purpose of promoting relaxation and healing of the body and mind. JSJ has been offered at the Markey Cancer Center since 2009. Jennifer Bradley, who heads the program, and her staff provide up to five free JSJ sessions for patients.
Jennifer also teaches patients, caregivers and staff how to utilize this light touch therapy on their own bodies for self-care in a form called Self-Help. Self-Help training is offered to all patients receiving sessions. Self-Help classes at Markey, the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge and the Lexington YMCA LiveStrong program are ongoing for patients, caregivers and staff.
The JSJ Self-Help videos will teach simplified versions of the techniques Bradley uses in her sessions for viewers to use at home.
“The majority of the videos will address specific needs of cancer patients, but many of the techniques shown will be useful to caregivers as well,” said Bradley.
The videos will be posted on the UK HealthCare YouTube channel along with videos Bradley has previously produced. As part of the grant, Bradley will also be subtitling new and existing videos in Spanish.
“As part of UK HeathCare and the University of Kentucky, Markey Cancer Center is a resource for all Kentuckians," said Bradley. "These self-help videos make Jin Shin Jyutsu available to all of the Commonwealth, whether one is a patient at Markey, one of our Affiliate hospitals or being served elsewhere."
At Markey, Bradley and her staff use JSJ to assist patients with the physical and emotional effects of cancer diagnosis and treatment. In 2012, Bradley presented a pilot study that showed that patients experienced significant improvement in the areas of pain, stress and nausea starting with their first session. To learn more about Jin Shin Jyutsu and the Markey program, view the informational video.
"These videos are a rich resource for patients, caregivers and all of us and can be accessed and shared from every corner of the state," said Bradley. "I’m grateful that Lexington’s Susan G Komen affiliate has made this possible."
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 27, 2015) — As a University of Kentucky Transplant Center patient navigator, Elaine Milem helps patients through the difficult process of preparing for and undergoing kidney transplants. The unique part? Milem, a two-time kidney recipient herself, understands exactly what her patients are going through.
"Everything that's happened to me so far has prepared me for this," Milem said. "I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be."
As a child, Milem suffered from regular kidney problems, including recurrent urinary tract infections. It seemed mostly an inconvenience until Milem became pregnant at age 25, when the stress of pregnancy caused her kidney function to decrease drastically.
Milem began preparing for dialysis in 2005 and also began discussing the possibility of a transplant with her physicians. Though she could have gone to several other nearby transplant centers in the region, the South Point, Ohio native decided to come to the University of Kentucky Transplant Center for her care, citing the relatively short drive and the family support she had in the area.
"The warmth and compassion I received from the nurses and staff at my first visit let me know immediately I was in the right place," Milem said. "They made me feel at home."
Milem received a donor kidney in 2007, but her good fortune was short-lived. She contracted a rare virus known as the BK virus, which caused her body to reject the kidney over the next two years. She was put back on dialysis in 2009 and re-listed for transplant in 2011, receiving her second kidney in February 2012.
In 2013, Milem was approached by UK Transplant Coordinator Angela Zimmerman with a unique offer — UK was participating in a study that looked at whether or not patient navigators help patients get further along in the transplant process. Patient navigators, as the name suggests, help "guide" new patients through the complexities of a severe illness. That may include helping patients address barriers to care (such as transportation to appointments, finding child care, figuring out insurance issues), understanding treatment and care options, helping patients research their disease, working with family members and caregivers, and much more.
One of the main requirements for UK's new patient navigator job through the study was that the navigators be transplant patients themselves. Milem, who already had a strong background in the medical field — she worked at Cabell Huntington Hospital in West Virginia for more than two decades — jumped at the chance to apply all her life experiences in a position that could help others. As a patient navigator for kidney transplant patients at UK, she counsels patients during their visits, offering everything from education on the transplant process to personal encouragement.
"Sometimes you're kind of a cheerleader," Milem said. "And sometimes you're just giving them information."
And so far, that dual role of cheerleader/educator is working. The results of the study were so successful that Milem plans to remain at UK and continue as a patient navigator outside of the research.
Additionally, she also seeks out other ways to educate others on kidney disease — Milem was recently selected by the American Kidney Fund to participate in the organization's sixth annual advocacy day on Capitol Hill. While there, she met with Congressional offices to discuss legislation that would improve care for individuals with chronic kidney disease.
Though she is currently dealing with another new kidney disease, Milem remains upbeat about her transplant experience. Most patients on dialysis have to receive the treatment three times a week, which makes traveling difficult if not impossible. Thanks to her transplant, Milem was able to visit Boston last year for a very important event: her daughter's graduation from Harvard University.
"Because of my transplant, I was able to see my daughter graduate in person," Milem said. "That means so much to me."
ABOUT ORGAN DONATION
Although hospitals are obligated by law to identify potential donors and allow the organ donor procurement program to inform families of their right to donate, anyone can sign up to become an organ donor by joining the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry. The registry is a safe and secure electronic database where a person’s wishes regarding donation will be carried out as requested.
To join the registry, visit www.donatelifeky.org or sign up when you renew your driver’s license. The donor registry enables family members to know that you chose to save and enhance lives through donation. Kentucky’s “First Person Consent” laws mean that the wishes of an individual on the registry will be carried out as requested.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 27, 2015) — With the spring sports season in full swing, parents of young athletes are busy coordinating carpool schedules to practice, purchasing proper sports equipment and soothing muscle soreness caused by competitive play. But often, parents overlook two important factors influencing sports performance — nutrition and hydration.
To perform at their best, children should be eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of fluids hours before practice or competition begins. Growing children and youth need an added boost of energy to stay alert throughout the day and play a sport after school. Also, many young athletes aren't getting enough fluids in their system throughout the day.
Here are a few tips for feeding and hydrating a young athlete:
Consider meal timing throughout the day. Don't let children walk out the door without eating a small breakfast, such as a fruit or bowl of cereal. Children should eat a nutritious lunch two to four hours before sports play. If a child eats an early lunch, then provide the child with a small snack, such as a vegetable or grain, to eat about 45 minutes before a sports activity.
Shop for balanced, nutritious food sources. A nutritious lunch should include a source of protein, which helps to build and repair muscles used during sports play. Protein-rich foods include lean meats, dairy, nuts and beans. Vitamins and minerals such as calcium and iron help fortify bones to protect against breaks and stress fractures. Dried fruit, eggs, fish and leafy greens are all great sources of iron. Finally, carbohydrates, when consumed in moderation, are great sources of fuel for athletes. Resist the urge to "carb-load" at the local restaurant before a major sports event, which can weigh down young athletes. Opt instead for whole grains and fruits and vegetables as sources of carbs.
Pack a water bottle. Hydration is an important predictor of sports performance. Children and youth need eight to 12 ounces of water five to seven times per day, or to drink half their body weight in ounces. So an 80-pound child should drink 40 ounces per day. Pack a water bottle with them and encourage them to take sips all day. If they are unable to carry a water bottle, make it a rule of thumb to always take a drink when passing a water fountain. A parent can determine whether their child is adequately hydrated through the shade of their urine, which should be clear. Children should take water breaks during sports practices, especially in hot and humid climates.
Jordan Light is a master's student in the University of Kentucky Athletic Training Program.
This column appeared in the April 26, 2015, edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 24, 2015) – The Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy’s (KCSP) has awarded the Lee T. Todd, Jr. Smoke-free Hero Award to Gov. Steve Beshear for his adoption of an executive order prohibiting tobacco use and e-cigarettes inside and outside state buildings, grounds and vehicles.
Beshear was recognized for his courage, perseverance and continuous commitment to creating tobacco-free environments in the face of adversity. He was presented with the award April 23 at the Doubletree Suites in Lexington during the UK College of Nursing’s KCSP annual spring conference.
"Gov. Beshear has transformed what it means to be a hero for tobacco which, for far too long, has been to safeguard the crop and promote its use no matter the consequences to public health. Through his leadership and courage, the governor has redefined the meaning of a tobacco hero by taking steps to reduce tobacco use and save lives,” said Ellen Hahn, professor in the College of Nursing and director of the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy.
The 2015 David B. Stevens, MD, Smoke-free Advocate of the Year Award was presented to Allison Adams, director of the Buffalo Trace District Health Department. Adams has been successful at recruiting and mobilizing citizens to advocate for a healthy community and works tirelessly at both the city and state levels. The advocate of the year is recognized for excellence in promoting secondhand smoke education and smoke-free policy. The 2015 Brian Early Mattone, Esq. Legal Counsel Smoke-free Support Award was presented to the Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP.
Elected officials and advocates from the City of Berea, the City of Midway, the City of Richmond, the City of Versailles and Woodford County Fiscal Court were awarded the KCSP's Smoke-free Indoor Air Excellence Award. Elected officials in these communities were recognized for their exceptional leadership and collaborative efforts in protecting the health of citizens in their communities by enacting a comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinance.
Elected officials and advocates from Owensboro City Commission were also awarded the Smoke-free Indoor Air Endeavor Award. Members were recognized for their leadership in promoting the health of the citizens in their communities by enacting a partial smoke-free ordinance.
The first annual Tobacco-free Campus Award was presented to Eastern Kentucky University for its exceptional leadership and collaborative efforts in promoting a healthy environment for the college campus by implementing a 100 percent tobacco-free campus policy.
As of April 1, 2015, there were 41 Kentucky communities had implemented smoke-free ordinances, with 24 of those being comprehensive policies, meaning that they cover all workplaces including restaurants and bars. This translates to 32.5 percent of Kentuckians protected by comprehensive smoke-free workplace laws. Ten of these comprehensive laws also cover e-cigarettes. For more information about smoke-free ordinances and regulations in Kentucky, visit the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy at www.kcsp.uky.edu.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 27, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center recently launched a new iPhone app featuring a searchable database of the open clinical trials at Markey. The app gives Markey patients and their treatment teams an easier way of identifying the clinical trials currently offered that might be beneficial for the patient’s treatment plans.
At any given time, Markey has more than 100 active cancer clinical trials open to accrual. Each trial represents an opportunity for cancer patients to participate in research designed to improve cancer care or measure the effectiveness of different types of treatments and drugs.
The app is also an effective way for referring physicians to quickly find out if there is an appropriate Markey trial for which their patients may qualify.
The new app allows users to search for clinical trials by the site of the disease, the drugs used in treatment, the trial’s identification number (protocol number), the phase of cancer being treated, or by the trial’s principal investigator – the researcher, often an oncologist, who is the leader on the research being performed.
The app works in conjunction with Markey's online clinical trials database, updating information in real time. Although some other cancer centers have used outside developers to put together similar apps, Markey's app was designed in-house by a team that includes lead software architect Isaac Hands and senior software developer Chaney Blu.
Eric Durbin, director of the Cancer Research Informatics Shared Resource Facility at Markey, says it was important for UK to develop this project in-house.
"It was essential for us to have complete control over the application ourselves," Durbin said. "That way, we can introduce new features for our users as we receive feedback on what can help them help these patients."
Markey Associate Director for Clinical Translation, Dr. Susanne Arnold was one of the first physician-researchers to offer feedback on the app.
"Simplifying the search for clinical trials for busy clinicians and patients will help more people participate in clinical research trials designed to help improve their outcomes," Arnold said. "Apps like this one are critical to move cancer treatment into the modern age, and I love the simplicity of this one – it’s very easy to use and very helpful."
The app is currently for iPhone users only, although Durbin says the next step will be gathering feedback to develop an Android version.
Researchers at the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging have been attempting to understand the cascade of events following mild head injury that may lead to an increased risk for developing a progressive degenerative brain disease, and their new study, which was published in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, shows initial promise for a treatment that might interrupt the process that links the two conditions.
“By defining the cascade of events that occurs after a mild brain injury, we ultimately hope to discover ways to disrupt that process,” said Adam Bachstetter, Ph.D., of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. “Our goal is to uncover the biology that underlies the link between head injury and dementia, and in our latest research, we think we have found evidence that an altered inflammatory response from cells in the brain called glia may be at least part of the link.”
To explore the chain of events that link traumatic brain injury to increased risk for dementia, Bachstetter and co-author Scott Webster, Ph.D., of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, used a mouse that has been genetically altered to make a human protein called amyloid beta, which is a key player in Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers also developed a surgical procedure to mimic the most common form of traumatic brain injury.
“We wanted to know if we could accelerate the onset of memory problems in these mice, similar to what is believed to occur in humans,” said Webster. “It gave us a way to ask the important mechanistic questions that might one day lead to a better treatment for head injury patients.”
Bachstetter and Webster used a small molecule drug known as MW151 which blocks overproduction of the molecules that cause inflammation in the brain following TBI. MW151 was developed by Linda Van Eldik, Ph.D,. director of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, and D. Martin Watterson, Ph.D., of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. The drug was given to the mice starting a week after a traumatic brain injury. After three weeks of treatment, mice that received MW151 no longer showed learning and memory problems, while the mice that didn’t receive the drug showed profound learning and memory problems.
“MW151 was able to rescue the memory impairments in mice even when treatment was started a week after the injury," said Webster. "The potential implications are compounded when you factor in that many people who suffer a mild brain injury don’t seek treatment right away.”
In addition to the human suffering caused by Alzheimer’s disease, there is an enormous strain on the health care system and families, consuming about $20 billion in direct costs alone. As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, that figure is expected to rise exponentially.
“As the signature injury of the Iraq and Afganistan wars, and with approximately 1.5 million people in the United States each year seeking medical treatment for a traumatic brain injury, the impact of earlier onset of dementia in such a large number of people is simply unthinkable, Van Eldik said. "Adam and Scott's work could have a large impact both socially and economically.”
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 22, 2015) -- To date, a cure for Parkinson's disease (PD) remains elusive for the more than 50,000 Americans diagnosed yearly, despite decades of intensive study. But a newly approved treatment that might help ease the symptoms of Parkinson's has shown remarkable promise.
Dr. John Slevin, professor of neurology at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and vice chair of research at the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, worked with a team of international investigators to explore the efficacy of continuous levodopa dosing using a specially developed gel called CLES (Duopa) that is delivered directly into the small intestine by a portable infusion pump.
"We were extremely pleased with the results," Slevin said. “Patients with advanced PD treated via this new method demonstrated marked improvement in symptom fluctuations with reduced dyskinesia.“
According to Slevin, CLES's effectiveness is due in part to the fact that it results in more stable plasma concentrations of levodopa by delivering it directly to the small intestine, which bypasses issues of erratic gastric emptying and absorption caused by reduced muscular function inherent to PD.
"CLES has the potential to address a significant unmet need in this patient population with limited therapeutic options," Slevin added.
Marion Cox knows this all too well. This 70-year old Georgetown farmer and former real estate developer has suffered from Parkinson's for 16 years.
"I could tell I was going the wrong way," Cox says as he described his decline in spite of frequent medication adjustments. Even with his medications, he began to "stagger around" and struggled to speak and swallow. He was frustrated that he couldn't spend more quality time with his two daughters and two granddaughters. So when Dr. Slevin mentioned the Duopa clinical trial, Marion leapt at the chance.
"I felt different right away," he says of his experience in the three-year clinical drug trial. Cox shares that he can get around better, get dressed more easily, be gone all day farming his 800 acres.
"I'm getting more done. I'm not as good as I once was (before I had Parkinson's) but I'm pretty darn well off," he adds.
Parkinson’s is a progressive disease caused by the death of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. While most people recognize a Parkinson's patient by their motor skill difficulties such as tremor, slowness and stiffness, the disease also gives rise to several non-motor types of symptoms such as sensory deficits, cognitive difficulties or sleep problems.
While doctors have a number of treatments available to help manage the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, the motor deficits that are the hallmarks of PD are also the nemesis of effective treatment, since the muscles that control digestion are also affected, making dosing -- both in terms of amount and timing -- challenging.
Compounding this challenge is the fact that medications lose effectiveness over time as cell death progresses. Although levodopa remains the “gold standard” to control motor deficits in the treatment of early stage PD, after four to six years of treatment with oral medications for Parkinson’s disease, about 40 percent of patients find those medications less effective overall, inconsistent in controlling muscle function, and accompanied by a bothersome side-effect called dyskinesia, or involuntary muscle movement. By nine years of treatment, about 90 percent will suffer these effects.
The FDA approved CLES in January 2015. Because the safety and efficacy of levodopa is already established, this treatment has the potential to be fast-tracked for widespread use within the next 4-6 months.
Results from the study were published in the current issue of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. The article is available at http://iospress.metapress.com/content/04427r3701341251/fulltext.pdf.
The archived press conference can be viewed at: Www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpPlrzcEyCo
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 23, 2015) - The University of Kentucky College of Dentistry is working to introduce tomorrow’s dentists to the profession now — offering students a glimpse into the world of a practicing dentist. Undergraduate students from Morehead State University, enrolled in a special online pre-dental lecture course, visited UK to take part in several hands-on dental exercises using the latest instruments in dental technology.
UKCD faculty members Dr. Rodrigo Fuentealba and Dr. Gitanjali Pinto-Sinai led the simulation lab, assisted by second-year UKCD student Mackenzie Bentley, a graduate of MSU. The simulation lab portion allows students the opportunity to work with actual dental instruments and realize how precise a dentist must be while working in the confines of a patient’s mouth.
“All the activities were taught at a basic level and demonstrated live in a step-by-step fashion. Being exposed at this early stage to experiences like this one can be eye opening for some of these students,” said Fuentealba.
Students learned how to communicate using proper dentistry terminology before picking up their dental hand pieces — not drills — and practicing how to address different types of caries, or cavities to the layperson.
“No amount of observation can replace the learning that comes from doing, which is facilitated by using state-of-the-art simulators at UKCD,” said Pinto-Sinai. “This hands-on experience is invaluable in helping potential future dentists make more informed career decisions."
The Appalachian Rural Dental Education Partnership (ARDEP) between UKCD and MSU, funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), offers such courses to increase opportunities for Kentuckians from Appalachian counties to pursue dental education and practice as a career choice, as well as improve the numbers and distribution of dentists practicing in Kentucky’s Appalachian counties.
This course, as well as other ARDEP offerings, provides an educational foundation for students interested in pursuing a career in dentistry, or for those who want to enhance their knowledge of oral health prior to entering another health field.
“When we started working with MSU three years ago, we really did not know exactly how the programming would look, but this project has been a wonderfully collaborative way to try new things to expand the pipeline into dental schools among those in the rural Appalachian areas of Kentucky,” said UKCD Dean Sharon Turner, who first conceived of the idea of such a collaboration and has been the principle investigator on the grant funded by the ARC.
“I had heard that UK had begun a relationship with Morehead, and I wanted to be involved. As alumni of Morehead, I feel it's important to support and encourage students who are now where I was two years ago and offer any help or knowledge I could pass along,” said Bentley.
MSU participants have positive things to say about the course as well.
"The opportunity to experiment in the dental simulation lab was nothing less than amazing. To be able to work on a typodont (a plastic model used to practice dental procedures) in undergraduate studies boosts students like myself to the next level, giving them an added experience in the field they want to pursue," said Ryan Steele.
“If anybody were on the fence about dentistry, or were just somewhat attracted to the idea, I would wholeheartedly suggest taking this course,” said Brad Cantrell.
Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 20, 2015) -- A ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday marked the official opening of UK HealthCare at Turfland, a new outpatient center on Harrodsburg Road in Lexington on the site of the former Turfland Mall.
UK HealthCare has leased and renovated the former Dillard's location for consolidation and relocation of some of its primary care and specialty outpatient clinics and will be the anchor tenant for the first floor of the building utilizing approximately 85,000 square feet.
"On behalf of our physicians, staff and health care providers, I welcome you to this remarkable facility that provides a convenient and very accessible location for several of our patient care services," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK vice president for health affairs. "The renovation and relocation to this site has been a unique opportunity for UK HealthCare and for the community and I believe it has been a win-win for both of us."
UK HealthCare at Turfland includes:
· UK Family & Community Medicine -- which has consolidated services previously located at the Kentucky Clinic on the UK campus and at Kentucky Clinic South, located on Harrodsburg Road.
· UK Sports Medicine and UK Sports Rehabilitation, both previously located at Perimeter Drive.
· UK Occupational Medicine & Environmental Health and UK Travel Medicine, both formerly at Kentucky Clinic South
· Radiology and Laboratory Services, a pharmacy, and an eye care clinic
Later this year, the UK College of Dentistry will relocate its General Dentistry Practice at Kentucky Clinic South, as well as Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Orthodontics - currently located on campus, to UK HealthCare at Turfland.
“Health care is one of the largest sectors of our local economy and one of the fastest growing, thanks in large part to UK’s leadership in the field at the local, state and national levels,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “In addition to good jobs, UK provides the highest quality patient care services for Kentuckians right here in Central Kentucky. Today's ribbon cutting and the opening of this beautiful facility brings convenient health care services for Lexington citizens, while bringing new life to this former site of Turfland Mall.”
As of Monday afternoon, all of the clinics except for Dentistry were seeing patients at the new location. Patients seeing physicians and health care professionals who have relocated have received information about the transition during the past few weeks regarding upcoming appointments.
"For the more than 150 UK HealthCare employees who will be serving more than 30,000 patients at UK HealthCare at Turfland, we are excited to continue to meet the needs of our patients in this spacious, functional and convenient location," said Dr. Marcus Randall, chief of Ambulatory Services at UK HealthCare and professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Medicine at UK.
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, 859-806-0445
Facts about the Ebola Virus: October 2, 2014. The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has involved the countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria. This has become the largest outbreak of Ebola to date. At the end of September, the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in the United States in a person who had traveled to Texas from West Africa. Although an outbreak in the United States is unlikely, it is important to know the facts.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 17, 2015) — Bullying, peer pressure, substance abuse and suicide — these are all serious issues voiced by teens in the opening segment of a Kentucky Educational Television (KET) special report on teen health. Dr. Hatim Omar, chief of the University of Kentucky Division of Adolescent Medicine, is one expert featured in the program who is committed to helping teens overcome these issues as they progress toward adulthood.
KET Health's "What Does Every Teen Need?" explores the unique generational challenges confronting Kentucky's youth and offers insight into how parents can support teen health. During the documentary, Omar describes his comprehensive approach to teen health, which emphasizes prevention and the principles of Positive Youth Development. Omar claims three essential components are necessary to foster positive youth development: a caring adult, a safe place to connect with others and a meaningful activity.
The documentary also highlights partnerships forged by Omar between the UK Division of Adolescent Medicine and two rural Kentucky school systems. Through these partnerships, the UK Adolescent Medicine conducts health screenings to identify at-risk teens and provides in-school clinical hours at middle and high schools. The programs have helped improve accessibility to treatment for many teens in Harrison and Lincoln Counties.
"What Does Every Teen Need" was produced by Laura Krueger and premieres on Monday, April 20, at 9 p.m. on KET. To view a preview of the program, click here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 15, 2015) — Kentucky Children's Hospital pediatrician and child safety researcher Dr. Susan Pollack was recently honored as one of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s 2015 Public Health Heroes. The award is given annually to individuals who have demonstrated their dedication to improving the health of Lexington residents.
Pollack has advocated for injury prevention and safety measures for children of all ages. Her areas of expertise include safe sleeping areas for infants, car seat safety, drowning and fire prevention, teen driving, and head protection for bicyclists, skateboarders and ATV riders.
She frequently assists with the Child Care Health Consultant Program, which promotes healthy child development in safe environments. Pollack is the coordinator of the Pediatric and Adolescent Injury Prevention Program at the Kentucky Injury and Prevention Research Center, and an assistant professor in the UK Department of Pediatrics and the UK Department of Preventive Medicine. She serves on the Child Fatality Review committee in Fayette County and on the state level through the Department for Public Health.
Pollack considers her advocacy of revisions to booster seat laws in Kentucky and work to improve child care programs among her most important contributions to child safety. She thanked the many collaborators in Fayette County and at the Kentucky Department for Public Health who joined her efforts to make environments safer for teens and children.
"It's an incredible honor," Pollack said of the award. "I'm really proud of how much working together has made things possible, even when resources were scarce. We couldn't have done it without each other."
Pollack was selected for the honor with Marian Guinn, the CEO of God's Pantry Food Bank. The two women were recognized during an April 13 meeting of the Lexington-Fayette County Board of Health.
Past winners of the award include the Rev. Willis Polk and baby Health Service (2014); Anita Courtney and Teens Against Tobacco Use (2013); Vickie Blevins and Jay McChord (2013); Jill Chenault-Wilson and Dr. Malkanthie McCormick (2011); Dr. Jay Perman (2010); the Lexington Lions Club (2009); Dr. David Stevens and the late Dr. Doane Fischer (2008); Dr. Ellen Hahn, Mary Alice Pratt and Therese Moseley (2007); Dr. Andrew Moore and Rosa Martin (2006); Jan Brucato and Dragana Zaimovic (2005); and Dr. John Michael Moore, Ellen Parks and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (2004).
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 9, 2015) — On a Sunday night in March, 16-year-old Jessie Sharp munched on an order of breadsticks delivered to his hospital room at the Kentucky Children's Hospital (KCH) pediatric intensive care unit. He asked to delay his bedtime to complete Spanish homework. At the same time, machines at the side of his bed facilitated the function of two vital organs.
Life in the PICU was a drastic change for the teen who was shoveling snow on his family's Cynthiana farm only days earlier. With a system of catheters running through his body, diverting the flow of blood to external machines doing the jobs of his lungs and kidneys, Jessie was at the very beginning of his road to recovery. But Jessie's capabilities through the course of critical care — working on homework, communicating with his family and even walking throughout the hospital — reflected some semblance of normal life.
"I’m thinking, this is unbelievable," Dr. Scottie Day, chief and medical director of the pediatric critical care unit at KCH, said. "We have a kid whose kidneys and lungs essentially don’t work, and he’s sitting here eating pizza and doing his Spanish homework."
To the KCH health care providers aware of Jessie's critical state, watching him stay active, alert and mobile, in spite of lung and kidney failure, was an incredible sight. His activity was only possible through an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, machine and a multidisciplinary health care team with the expertise to integrate the machine into pediatric care. Getting a patient to ambulate, or walk, while connected to ECMO is a milestone only a few pediatric hospitals around the nation have accomplished.
After showing ongoing symptoms of a common stomach virus in late February, Jessie visited a local hospital where he underwent precautionary tests. His mom, Dianna Sharp, was waiting in line at the local pharmacy when she received an urgent call from Jessie's pediatrician. By the time Jessie was transported to KCH, his kidney and lungs were declining from the effects of a rare and undiagnosed autoimmune inflammatory disease. A pediatric critical care team led by Day and Aftab Chishti, a pediatric nephrologist at KCH, intervened quickly to support Jessie's failing organs.
Ultimately, the pediatric team determined Jessie's damaged kidneys and lungs were too weak to continue working on their own. Jessie was started on supportive treatment through dialysis for kidney failure, but a more pressing concern for the critical care team was managing the condition of Jessie's lungs. The state of his lungs continued to progressively deteriorate, and on March 1 Jessie was placed on a mechanical ventilator, but this intervention was not a long-term solution.
In the early morning of March 2, pediatric surgeon Dr. Sean Skinner led a surgical team in placing a large catheter in a neck vein to connect the ECMO machine to Jessie's body. A tracheostomy enabling Jessie to breathe was also placed in Jessie's neck to allow for easier mobilization. ECMO technology reroutes the flow of blood to the lungs to an external perfusion machine, which replicates the job of the lungs by oxygenating blood, removing carbon dioxide gas and replenishing oxygen to healthy blood cells. This process gave Jessie's lungs a needed break, improving the likelihood that the organs would recover from the damage of the disease and eventually function normally again.
"The thought behind using this modality is it gives time for the lungs to rest," Day said. "It’s like a big scratch — if you keep beating it, it continues to get bruised. But if you give it rest, it will get better."
Before pediatric hospitals had access to revolutionary ECMO technology, children whose lungs were as damaged as Jessie's were often sedated and placed on ventilators, which forcibly oxygenated the lungs and could cause further injury. If these children required support through ECMO, they would remain sedated and paralyzed to prevent problems with the circuit. With ambulatory ECMO, Jessie avoided complete sedation, and was able to eat and drink on his own, start physical therapy right away and stay caught up with school work, all while his lungs were completely out of commission. During several weeks of recovery at KCH, Jessie managed to stand and walk as far as 350 steps to the hospital Welcome Center while on the ECMO machine.
"Before ambulatory ECMO, these kids would be fully sedated in a coma," Day said. "Today, that’s not the way of thinking."
Day believes ECMO was a life-saving intervention in Jessie's case. A team of health care professionals representing more than 14 divisions at Kentucky Children's Hospital, including pediatric critical care, surgery, nephrology, nursing, physical therapy, perfusion, respiratory therapy, physical therapy, pulmonology, rheumatology, psychiatry, occupational therapy, speech therapy and child life, represented a true team approach to Jessie's care. UK HealthCare's transplant division and cardiothoracic surgery program were early adopters of ambulatory ECMO technology, using the machines to support patients waiting for organ transplants. The majority of hospitals conduct ambulatory ECMO as a bridging measure to organ transplantation.
"As a children's hospital within a larger health care system, we are able to utilize some of the same approaches in a child-friendly manner," Day said. "We are one of the few children's hospitals in the nation doing ambulatory ECMO."
Because of the complexities of caring for children on ECMO and the multiple professions involved in Jessie's treatment, morning rounds in Jessie's room lasted as long as 45 minutes. Krysta Clark, one of Jessie's primary nurses, said morning rounds were essential for ensuring every health care professional was in agreement of Jessie's goals and therapies for the day. Jessie and his family were also participants in the discussions centered on his care.
"Everyone was so respectful and collaborative," Clark said. "And I think it's what's got him to progress so quickly."
Jessie was taken off the ECMO machine on March 27 and in early April returned to his beloved farm, his dog, 50 head of cattle and the tractor. Jessie will receive long-term treatment and regular dialysis at KCH, but starting physical therapy while an inpatient, with the help of ECMO, shortened Jessie's time in the PICU and sped up his overall recovery. Dianna Sharp was grateful the pediatric team utilized ECMO — seeing her son walk around the hospital was a welcome reassurance during a stressful and uncertain time.
"That was very hopeful, and it made me feel good that they were working with him," Dianna Sharp said of watching Jessie walk while on the ECMO machine. "I love the doctors and the nurses here — you couldn’t ask for better people."
Video courtesy of UK HealthCare Marketing.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 6, 2015) — Nearly a third of all children nationwide and in Kentucky aren't up-to-date with the vaccination schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), but not because their parents are refusing vaccines. Evidence suggests parents tend to forget appointments when children are scheduled to receive immunizations.
A group of pediatricians at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine are helping parents remember vaccination appointments through a new text message alert system. Parents of babies born at the Kentucky Children's Hospital (KCH) Birthing Center are presented with the option to receive a sequence of text message reminders the week before their child's vaccination appointments.
Dr. Akshay Sharma, Dr. Anil George and Dr. Kimberly Northrip are testing the impact of the text message alert system and its ability to prevent missed appointments for publicly and privately insured patients. The ongoing project, which was awarded a grant from the Community Access to Child Health fund of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2014, was launched last August.
"The most common reason (for missed appointments) is parents don't have information or forget when their children’s vaccinations are due," said Sharma, principle investigator of the research and a pediatric resident at KCH.
Sharma stressed that timing is crucial for the efficacy of childhood vaccinations. Children receive vaccinations and booster shots at their two-month, four-month, six-month, one-year, 15-month and 18-month appointments. These vaccinations protect against infectious diseases including polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, pneumonia, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, measles, mumps and rubella. The CDC-recommended vaccination schedule is designed to immunize the child at a point in their life when they are most vulnerable to contracting or spreading these diseases.
An outbreak of the measles linked to an amusement park in California that started in December 2014 has spread to about 150 children in seven states, calling attention to the public health consequences of children with incomplete vaccinations. In Kentucky, an estimated 70 percent of children complete the recommended vaccination schedule by 35 months of age, which should ideally be completed by 18 months of age. George said parents attempt to update their child's medical records in preparation for preschool or kindergarten, as late as 5 or 6 years of age, only to learn their child has aged-out of certain vaccines.
"Like we are seeing with the measles outbreak, it's not that all the children were unimmunized, it's that they were not completely immunized," George said. "Getting vaccines for school entry is okay, but it doesn't help the community at large because there are still vulnerable children in the community."
In the United States, 90 percent of people carry a cellphone, and text messages are typically accessed faster than voice messages. The text message alert system adopted at Kentucky Children's Hospital was designed by the same software developers that created a successful nationwide vaccination reminder system for the Indian Academy of Pediatrics a few years ago. The system reminders are individualized, providing an alert for each KCH child in the family.
Sharma said previous research suggests publicly insured patients are less likely to complete the recommended vaccination schedules. With the text alert system in place, preliminary results of the study show publicly insured patients are more likely to adhere to the immunization schedule when they opt to receive text message reminders.
"In this study, we found that while the immunization rates improved for all children when their parents received the reminders, the immunization rates for the publicly insured patients increased to the same levels as their privately insured counterparts," said Northrip, who is mentoring the residents.
The researchers are working to collect data from 1,000 patients, with 500 children already registered for the study. Half of the study's subjects will receive the alert system and half will not receive the alerts. The group recently presented some preliminary results at the Southern Regional Meetings in New Orleans and intend to publish their findings in a national medical journal on completion of the study. After the initial testing phase, the text message alerts will be available to any parent in Kentucky or the rest of the country.
To register for the text message alert system, visit www.vaccinereminder.org.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 25, 2015) — Neonatologists at Kentucky Children's Hospital (KCH) recently acquired an incubator compatible with magnetic resonance technology (MRI) to examine brain development and injuries in newborns.
The addition of the MR Diagnostics Incubator System nomag IC will allow KCH neonatologists to visualize the brain structures of high-risk infants born before 25 weeks of gestation, as well as infants who suffered from oxygen deprivation, also known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, before delivery.
The state-of-the-art incubator will prevent the need for sedation in newborns, who are already susceptible to hypothermia and other complications that could exacerbate their conditions. As a benefit for the neonatal intensive care unit staff, the incubator, which custom fits into the MRI machine, will simplify the process of transporting an infant.
The UK Division of Neonatology specializes in caring for the smallest and most fragile newborn babies, some of them weighing less than 700 grams. UK has the only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit - the highest level for the most complex care - in the region and last year had nearly 900 patient admissions. The division offers a well-developed and comprehensive clinical care service and a rapidly growing research program.
While most premature infants will not need an MRI right away, Dr. Peter Giannone, chief of the Division of Neonatology and vice chair of Pediatric Research, said conducting MRIs on extremely premature babies prior to discharge is becoming a standard of practice in major medical centers specializing in care for these patients.
The incubator will also serve an important function enabling the collection of data for an ongoing study within the UK Department of Pediatrics, which is investigating the developmental implications of brain bleeds commonly diagnosed in premature babies.
"We will be able to put the baby in the incubator, connect specially designed monitoring equipment, and take the baby down to the MRI, with the anticipation of doing the MRI without sedation," Giannone said. "This will be a much safer way to do MRIs on our babies."
Giannone and John Bauer, Ph.D, a researcher in the Department of Pediatrics, are leading a randomized placebo-controlled trial looking at whether the delayed clamping of the umbilical cord at birth can improve blood flow to the brain and reduce the risk of brain lesions in the earliest premature babies. The research trial is supported by a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 23, 2015) — Kohl’s Department Stores recently donated $89,833 to Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) to support the Kohl’s Read to Your Baby program, a hospital initiative encouraging parents read to their children during the earliest stages of life.
Dr. Donna Grigsby, chief of general pediatrics at KCH, has used these funds to raise public awareness by promoting the importance of reading to babies at events and making reading resources available to parents across the Commonwealth. The Kohl’s Read to Your Baby program offers free children's books during infant and toddler storytimes at dozens of libraries across Kentucky. In addition to preparing children for future success in school, reading to infants and toddlers on a daily basis helps calm them and foster healthy parent-child bonding.
"Studies have shown that reading aloud to your infant is the single most important factor in helping your child’s language development and love of reading," Grigsby said. "We are so grateful to Kohl’s for their support of our mission to encourage families and caregivers to read to their babies."
Kohl's commitment to KCH is made possible through the Kohl’s Cares cause merchandise program. Through this initiative, Kohl’s sells $5 books and plush toys, and 100 percent of net profits benefits children’s health and education programs nationwide, including hospital partnerships like this one. Kohl’s has raised more than $274 million through this merchandise program. Kohl’s has donated more than $1.2 million to KCH since 2000.
For more information about the benefits of reading to children and a list of baby-friendly books, visit readtoyourbabyky.com.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 16, 2015) -- The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees on Monday approved a plan for the next phase of the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital's Pavilion A that includes completion of another 64-bed patient floor and more operating rooms.
Upon completion of this phase, six of the eight clinical floors will be occupied and the tower will be 81 percent complete.
The plan for this phase calls for $75 million to be financed with agency funds to fit-out the 11th floor of the Pavilion A patient care facility. Additionally, radiology services will be relocated and expanded in Pavilion A, the hospital's blood bank will relocate, and six more operating rooms will be fit-out including an additional hybrid OR. In 2012, UK HealthCare opened one of the country's largest hybrid operating rooms and eight state-of-the-art operating rooms in Pavilion A.
Additionally, the Board approved for construction to begin as part of a plan to renovate and upgrade UK Good Samaritan's Emergency Department (ED). Approximately 12,090 square feet of the ED will be renovated in phases during the next two to three years. Improvements include space dedicated to patient care such as private patient rooms, expanded service capabilities and improved staff support space. The project also will expand the patient and family waiting area by approximately 1,250 square feet.
Since opening the first two patient care floors in Pavilion A in May 2011, UK HealthCare has experienced an increase in volume of patients that has placed substantial capacity constraints on hospital system operations, requiring the fit-out of Pavilion A to ensure availability of adequate facilities for patient care.
"Our rapid growth -- going from 25th to 75th percentile among academic medical centers -- has led to us playing 'catch up' for the past decade to meet current patient demands for our services that include care for the most critically ill patients who need complex and advanced subspecialty care," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "UK HealthCare is the only provider in the Commonwealth, and in this region, for some of these very high-level services and our ability to care for these patients is very important for the people we serve and their families."
The eighth floor of Pavilion A -- a state-of-the-art 64 bed cardiovascular patient unit -- opened in December 2014 and construction to fit-out the ninth and 10th floors of the patient care facility is underway. In addition to those two patient floors, the Board in June 2014 also approved replacement of the hospital kitchen and cafeteria, relocation of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Pavilion A and relocation of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 11, 2015) – Providing exceptional care to patients and families is one of the things the nurses at UK HealthCare do best. To ensure the tradition of excellence, UK HealthCare will hold a nurse recruitment open house for experienced nurses, advanced practice nurses, and recent and upcoming nursing graduates.
Respiratory Therapy and Rehab Services will also be on hand to recruit interested respiratory therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapist assistant and occupational therapist assistant candidates. The open house will take place from 5 - 9 p.m. March 12 at UK Chandler Hospital on the ground floor of Pavilion A.
Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with patient care managers and service directors, physicians and staff nurses at UK HealthCare, including UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children's Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital, Eastern State Hospital and UK affiliates from Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center. Nurse Recruiters will be available to answer questions about employment opportunities.
"UK HealthCare is excited to host this upcoming event as we showcase all the great opportunities that await the ideal candidate; along with displaying on-going excellence in evidence-based practice by nurses throughout the enterprise," said Shayne Stratton, UK HealthCare manager, nurse recruitment. "Nurses at UK HealthCare continue to provide excellence ‘to every patient, every time’."
Refreshments will be provided as well as tours of UK's patient care facility and a key opportunity to hear from UK HealthCare Chief Nurse Executive Colleen Swartz. Parking will be available in the hospital parking garage located at 110 Transcript Ave. Parking tickets will be validated at registration.
To RSVP for nursing, visit ukhealtlhcare.uky.edu/nursingjobs or for more information, go to ukhealthcare.uky.edu/nursing.
To RSVP for RT and Rehab, visit http://ukhealthcare-therapists.eventbrite.com/
Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 19, 2015) — UK HealthCare has received approval from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Division of Certificate of Need to add 120 patient beds. The application for the Certificate of Need to increase the number of licensed beds was filed in October 2014 and notice of approval has been received.
"This approval allows us to move forward in our strategic plan and further our mission to take care of patients throughout the Commonwealth who need our advanced subspecialty care and destination services," said Dr. Michael Karpf, University of Kentucky vice president for health affairs.
UK HealthCare’s previous licensing was for 825 beds but after experiencing consistently greater than 80 percent occupancy of its patient beds — the industry standard for efficiency — it was determined that a total bed capacity of approximately 945 beds will be required to meet future needs at UK Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children’s Hospital and UK Good Samaritan Hospital.
"About 10 years ago, we committed to develop UK HealthCare into a research intensive, referral academic medical center to ensure all Kentuckians — no matter how complex their medical problem — could be taken care of in Kentucky and not required to leave the state for advanced subspecialty medical care," said Karpf. "This strategy, while crucial to our goal of taking care of patients in the Commonwealth, has resulted in substantial growth beyond our initial aggressive projections."
This unanticipated growth in patient volume has led UK HealthCare to change plans throughout the past decade to meet increasing demand. Although the initial proposal in 2005 was for the Pavilion A patient care facility to be constructed as a replacement facility, continued and accelerated demand has led for the need to fit-out Pavilion A as well as keep patient care areas in the original UK Chandler Hospital (Pavilion H) open and operational for the foreseeable future.
In addition to adding 120 beds, also approved was a plan to convert four acute care beds to Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) beds. Overall, Kentucky Children’s Hospital’s NICU will increase from 66 to 70 beds with a breakdown of 20 Level IV beds (for the most advanced newborn care); 38 Level III beds (for severely ill newborn care); and 12 Level II beds (for intermediate newborn care).
Currently, Pavilion A is nearly two-thirds completed. It has opened in phases beginning in July 2010 with the Emergency Department that includes both a pediatric and adult Level-1 trauma center. In addition, 192 patient rooms are completed and open including a state-of-the-art 64 bed cardiovascular patient unit which opened in December 2014. Pavilion A also currently contains an observation unit, nine operating rooms including a state-of-the-art Hybrid Operating Room, 43 pre-op and post anesthesia care beds; surgery waiting area and a retail pharmacy, among other features and areas.
Construction has begun on the next two patient floors (ninth and 10th floors) with a total addition of 128 beds. Also currently under construction, or approved for construction, is replacement of the hospital kitchen and cafeteria, relocation of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Pavilion A, relocation of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and a new entryway and family support space for Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Since 2006, UK has invested more than $763 million in modern, state-of-the-art patient care facilities.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2015) — A mother's embrace couldn't settle a fidgety Snayder Menendez Quinones for more than a few seconds in the Pavilion A lobby of the UK Chandler Hospital. But Maria Quinones was relieved to see her 3-year-old son return to his playful self after recovering from surgery at Kentucky Children's Hospital.
The timid and afraid boy who arrived at UK HealthCare on Sept. 23, 2014, was now gleeful and talkative. The sausage-like lesion on his lip was gone, replaced by a scar in the corner of his mouth. His mother was no longer afraid of his toddler tumbles, which could have resulted in major bleeding before the tumor was removed.
"I worry less about him getting hurt playing with other kids," she said. "He is starting school, and I was afraid he would get bullied."
In a tribal village bordering the Amazon jungle, Snayder was born with a small vascular tumor inside his mouth. As Snayder continued to grow and develop in his first year of life, the lesion also grew substantially in size. Eventually the lesion encompassed most of the inside of his cheek, the floor of his tongue and, most noticeably, a large portion of his lower lip. In addition to interfering with speech development and eating, the lesion weighed down Snayder's lower lip and caused frequent bleeding from the mouth. Because of the abnormality, he was ostracized in his community.
Snayder's family sought out help from local doctors, but none were willing to remove the lesion because of the high risk of complications, such as bleeding and scarring. According to UK HealthCare plastic surgeon Dr. Henry Vasconez, total removal of the lesion would have resulted in the loss of three-quarters of the child's face. His condition was more complex, requiring surgical intervention as well as steroids to stunt the growth of the lesion.
"The child was born with this at birth, but it was small," Vasconez said. "As is common with these type of congenital abnormalities, it continued to grow, and it would only get bigger until it became very large."
Dr. Thomas Young, a UK professor and director of the UK Shoulder to Shoulder Global program, met Snayder and his mother while serving in the program's year-round health clinic in Santa Domingo. He brought photos of Snayder's lesion to Vasconez, the William S. Farish Endowed Chair of Plastic Surgery at UK HealthCare, who is also a native of Ambato, Ecuador.
As a first step, Vasconez contacted a colleague in Quito, Ecuador, to inquire about the possibility of treating the lesion in Snayder's home country. After some deliberation about the complexities involved with Snayder's condition, Vasconez's colleague opted not to perform the necessary surgery. Vasconez and Young presented the case to officials at UK HealthCare and rallied support for Snayder and his mother to travel to Kentucky for treatment.
When Snayder came to UK HealthCare last September, Vasconez first examined the mass to determine the most effective course of action that would not further damage the child's appearance. He operated on the mass to remove the most abnormal parts. Through the surgery, he was able to remove 50 percent of the lesion and inject a sclerosing agent to stop growth in a remaining 25 percent. A few days after the surgery, Snayder was saying words, eating properly and showing good control of his mouth.
"It's quite satisfying to be able to help someone who would not otherwise receive care," Vasconez said. "This 3-year-old would be pretty much an outcast otherwise."
Vasconez received his medical degree in Ecuador but completed a residency and specialty training in pediatric surgery in the United States. He has worked at UK HealthCare for more than 27 years. In addition to helping with special cases identified through the Shoulder to Shoulder clinic, Vasconez has conducted outreach through his own charitable mission in Ecuador for more than 20 years. Every year, he organizes a group of 80 to 90 medical volunteers to conduct clinics and perform surgery in impoverished areas of the country.
While Vasconez said Ecuador is a beautiful country with many natural resources, it is also a very typical Third World country in need of support. Half of the population fall into a low income category and have little access to health care.
"Like this child, if they can't get something done in their community or village, they usually can't get anything done," Vasconez said. "If it was life-threatening or disfiguring, they would just have to live with it.
"This was a way for me to get back to that country and try to give back," he said.
Vasconez returns to Ecuador for a medical mission in February. Those interested in knowing more about the connections between Kentucky and Ecuador can learn more through the Kentucky Partners of the Americas at http://kentuckyecuadorpartners.org/.
The UK Shoulder to Shoulder program would like to thank American Airlines, Healing the Children and UK HealthCare for supporting this child.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 23, 2014) — Children treated in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Kentucky Children's Hospital are bombarded with scary sights, sounds and feelings.
"We use lots of scary things, and they go through scary procedures," Emily Turner, a nurse in the PICU, said. "Usually they are very sick while they are here."
But the welcoming grins of cartoon characters, a pleasant barnyard scene and sparkling princess carriages are happy and comforting images for children in the busy, intense PICU environment. Paintings of friendly childhood characters, figures and scenes adorn windows to seven patient rooms in the PICU. The colorful paintings provided by a group of UK art education students brighten the atmosphere for children and families going through a difficult time, as well as the nursing staff that cares for patients in critical situations.
"We just want it to be kid-friendly, appropriate, and to make them feel a little more joyous," Turner said.
The UK Art Education Student Chapter (AESC), a student organization that prepares its members for careers in art education, volunteered their time and artistic talents to paint child-friendly scenes and characters on the glass windows. The UK chapter is led by faculty adviser Beth Mosher Ettensohn. Turner, a member of the Culture Council at Kentucky Children's Hospital, and fellow nurses in the PICU took personal time to paint the windows last year. After convening with the Culture Council this summer, Turner reached out to students in the School of Art and Visual Studies requesting help with painting the PICU windows. The students started painting the windows in November and will continue to maintain the paintings throughout 2015.
Contributing art to the PICU was especially meaningful to Ettensohn, whose son fought and survived a rare form of cancer in 1998. Ettensohn recalls long stays in intensive care units, both at Kentucky Children's Hospital and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Ettensohn valued the support and encouragement of the KCH nursing staff who worked with her son.
"You could tell they were working as a team and every person cared about who they were treating," Ettensohn said of the nurses. "They would take that extra step to help families manage the insanity that comes with caregiving a critically ill child."
As the family member of a patient, the art professor appreciated seeing vitality and variety in hospital décor. She believes a positive visual environment is essential to everyone's health.
“What we see has a profound effect on what we do, how we feel, and who we are. An engaging visual environment is essential to our health,” Ettensohn said.
Ashley Worley, the vice president of the AESC, has noticed family members of patients looking over her shoulder as she paints. She said painting one scene on a window could take as long as two or three hours. Engaging future art educators in community service is part of the AESC's mission. Worley, who plans to become an art teacher, feels gratified sharing her artwork with families and medical workers in a challenging and sometimes dreary environment.
"The children are really sick, so even if one painting can make a child smile, then that makes a difference," Worley said.
The AESC is an official UK student organization sponsored by the UK School of Art and Visual Studies. Members are undergraduate and graduate art education students. Find out more at http://ukaesc.weebly.com/
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2014) – UK HealthCare has temporarily amended its inpatient hospital visitation policy to be proactive in helping protect the health and well-being of patients and health care workers during this flu season. Visitation restrictions are in effect as of 7 a.m. Monday, Dec. 22.
The measures include:
o No visitors under the age of 12
o No visitors with any symptoms of flu-like illness
o Only two visitors will be permitted in a patient’s room at one time
o Visitors may be issued masks or other protective clothing for use when visiting
o Additional restrictions may be in place in special care units such as women's and children’s units, critical care and oncology units.
o Compassionate visitation exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
"Due to an increasing number of flu cases in Kentucky, UK HealthCare will be instituting these procedures designed to help protect patients, visitors and staff from exposure to the flu and are in effect at all UK HealthCare inpatient units including University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children's Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Eastern State Hospital," said Kim Blanton, enterprise director for infection prevention and control at UK HealthCare.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the flu was widespread in 29 of the 54 states and territories that it tracks -- including Kentucky. This time last year, it was widespread in only four.
It is still recommended everyone six months of age and older who hasn't received a flu shot yet, receive one, Blanton said. "A flu vaccine is still the first and best way to prevent influenza," she said.
Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Flu antiviral drugs are available and work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick. However, starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high risk health condition or is very sick from the flu.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 4, 2014) — More than a decade ago, Ruth Berry and Gail Carpenter retired from longtime careers practicing and teaching nursing to college students. But even in retirement, the two friends and former colleagues are drawn back to the health care setting where they continue to serve patients in meaningful ways.
Wearing the volunteer uniform of pale blue button-down shirts and navy blue slacks, the retirees sort through piles of mail, organize a cart full of cookies and help families navigate the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. During the Thursday morning shift they share at the UK HealthCare Volunteer Office, they deliver mail, bouquets of balloons and flower arrangements to patients throughout the hospital.
Often during deliveries, they will offer to open and read mail to incapacitated patients. As former nurses, they are well-versed on bedside manner and sensitive to the health care circumstances affecting each patient. Although their role today is on the periphery of medical care, they know a few moments to sit and listen could make a difference in the patient's life.
"Going into a room in pediatrics where a child is alone, and opening up the mail for them and spending a few moments with them — those are precious moments just to be able to talk to them," Berry said. "They might not have family member there all day."
When asked why they volunteer, Carpenter and Berry say their roles keep them connected to the health care profession, but they also enjoy the camaraderie of the volunteer office. Both women retired from faculty positions in the UK College of Nursing and at Lexington Community College (now known as Bluegrass Community and Technical College) and are now members of the hospital's auxiliary board of directors. Berry and Carpenter first became acquainted as colleagues from their involvement in the university community and professional organizations. Carpenter, who retired in 1997, helped recruit Berry to the volunteer office after she retired in 2000.
Carpenter's interest in a profession in nursing started in high school when she learned of a friend's sister who was completing a nursing program in New York City. She was attracted to a profession caring for people and was fascinated by the science of nursing. She accepted a position teaching fundamental courses and pediatric nursing at Lexington Community College in 1976 and eventually become coordinator of LCC's nursing program, retiring in 1997.
Berry, whose mother was a neonatal nurse who emigrated from Germany, read the popular Sue Barton series of youth novels when she was young, which sparked her interest in a nursing career. At the age of 14, she started working as a nurse's aide in a local hospital. While she originally intended to study chemistry in college, she chose to study nursing at the collegiate level. She joined the faculty of the UK College of Nursing in the Department of Public Health Nursing in 1965, and after a period of time away from the profession, returned to the department in 1986. During her time at UK, she established a health clinic for the homeless and a parish nursing program, retiring from her role in 2000.
"I always liked helping and being with folks," Berry said.
When she first started volunteering, Carpenter was assigned to assist with a health clinic run by Berry, who was still working as a faculty member. Berry was thrilled to have Carpenter, a former nurse, as a volunteer in her clinic. Carpenter also volunteered as a patient liaison in the surgery department for several years before she changed roles to delivering mail and flowers. After her retirement, Berry decided to join Carpenter as a UK HealthCare volunteer on Thursdays. She also works in the auxiliary gift shop, which is primarily staffed by volunteers, on Mondays.
In addition to serving together at on a weekly basis, the women fill their schedules with volunteer roles for the Lexington Public Library, God's Pantry and the Department of Veteran's Affairs hospital. They are members of the same theater club, which meets several times a year. Outside of the volunteer office, Berry said Carpenter is a reliable friend. Carpenter has helped Berry through periods of hospitalization, picking her up for appointments at 5 a.m.
"(Volunteering) is more enjoyable when I know we can be there together and we can catch up at some of our other events," Berry said of Carpenter. "If we have concern about something, we can share it with each other."
As volunteers, Berry and Carpenter have heard many stories and met many interesting people of all ages. They have developed a sense of community and purpose within the hospital through their involvement. They are always encouraging others to become new volunteers at UK HealthCare as help is constantly needed for patients and visitors.
"We get to see how the medical center really works," Carpenter said of volunteers. "We have a way of helping people navigate them through this physical maze at the medical center — it's enjoyable to do."
To learn more about volunteering, visit http://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/volunteer.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 3, 2014) — The UK HealthCare Birthing Center at Kentucky Children's Hospital recently scored among the nation's top birthing facilities for implementing best practices related to breastfeeding and infant nutrition.
In results from a Centers for Disease Control survey, the UK HealthCare Birthing Center ranked in the 83rd percentile nationally and in the 97th percentile in the state. The Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) is a national survey of maternity care practices and policies conducted every two years. The survey obtains information about birthing center services and practices, including breastfeeding assistance, infant nutrition, skin-to-skin bonding, postpartum care, patient discharge procedures and more. UK HealthCare was among the 82 percent of 2,666 birthing facilities surveyed nationally that responded to the self-reported survey in 2013, with results recently released in 2014.
In 2007, the year the mPINC survey was introduced, UK HealthCare's Birthing Center scored in the 13th percentile nationally. The department raised its score to rank in the 45th percentile in 2011.
Gwen Moreland, interim assistant chief nurse executive at Kentucky Children's Hospital, attributed the department's improvement to a team of doctors and nurses committed to evidence-based practices in maternal care services. The Birthing Center has adopted practices and procedures scientifically proven to be beneficial for mother and baby.
Nurses and doctors facilitate skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth, transfer mother and baby as a couplet to the mother and baby unit, limit the amount of time a baby is away from his or her mother, and provided lactation specialists to help mother and baby adjust to breastfeeding. In addition, leaders within the department have introduced annual training sessions on up-to-date maternal care policies and procedures for nurses and doctors.
"I think it really validates the hard work and dedication of the nursing and physician staff," Moreland said of the CDC ranking. "We are more focused on quality outcomes and evidence-based care."
UK HealthCare is currently making strides toward a Baby-Friendly accreditation from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). American hospitals can achieve this accreditation by offering an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding.
While working toward this goal, the birthing department was one of 92 birthing centers in the nation, and the only in Kentucky, to receive the Best Fed Beginnings Grant from the National Institute for Children's Health Quality in 2012. UK HealthCare follows the 10 Steps to Successful Breast Feeding outlined by the Baby-Friendly Initiative and provides patients with breastfeeding support at its Mommy and Me Clinic.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 16, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center announced today that St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, Ky., has joined the Markey Cancer Center Research Network, a newly launched initiative conducting high priority cancer research through a network of collaborative centers with expertise in the delivery of cancer care and conduct of research studies.
Thousands of patients across eastern Kentucky will have close-to-home access to innovative clinical research studies in the treatment and epidemiology of cancer as well as research studies in the prevention and early detection of cancer.
The team at St. Claire Regional Medical Center was invited to participate based on their previous experience in conducting oncology research. St. Claire has participated in research with Markey for more than 10 years, enrolling more than 120 patients from seven surrounding counties in nearly 20 different cancer clinical studies in that time. St. Claire’s clinical research studies included those initiated at UK in priority areas of lung cancer screening and early detection, smoking cessation, treatment therapies for lung cancer, and environmental risk factors for lung cancer.
St. Claire’s long-standing oncology research portfolio will expand as a result of joining the Markey Research Network. Clinical research studies currently open at St. Claire include a study to identify the best approaches to help cancer patients quit smoking which will help to improve their response to cancer treatments, with studies coming soon in lung cancer screening and survivorship.
“St. Claire continually works to provide an advanced level of healthcare to the 160,000 plus people in our service area,” said Mark J. Neff, president/CEO of St. Claire Regional Medical Center. The unfortunate truth is that Eastern Kentucky faces some of the highest rates of cancer incidence and mortality in the nation which is why St. Claire is so excited to join the Markey Cancer Center Research Network in the battle to reduce cancer deaths in our region by offering close-to-home access to some of the most advanced clinical cancer trial treatments available.”
Clinical research studies are key to developing new methods to prevent, detect and treat cancer, and most treatments used today are the results of previous clinical studies. These may include studies in which patients who need cancer treatment receive their therapy under the observation of specially trained cancer doctors and staff. Patients who volunteer for cancer treatment studies will either receive standard therapy or a new treatment that represents the researchers’ best new ideas for how to improve cancer care.
The portfolio of available clinical research studies for each Markey Research Network member will be targeted, focusing both on the areas with the highest burden of disease, and the types of cancers that most affect these overburdened regions. Appalachia has some of the highest rates of cancer incidence and mortality in the country, especially for lung, colorectal, and cervical cancers.
As a member of the Markey Research Network, the physicians at St. Claire Regional Medical Center will offer the opportunity to consider participation in clinical research studies to their patients, with the patients remaining under their direct care and closer to home during their treatment.
"Being able to offer not only our own trials on site, but also major NCI trials, is a huge benefit to the members of our Research Network," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. "The patients who chose to enroll in one of these trials at St. Claire should be assured that they are receiving the latest, best treatment options for their disease, with the added benefit of staying much closer to their own support system at home."
By disseminating Markey's clinical research studies across the region, the collaborative Research Network will offer better, more progressive treatment options to patients without the burden of traveling away from home and their physicians.
"Clinical research is the best way to advance cancer treatment protocols and move forward with the most effective new therapies," said Dr. Tim Mullett, medical director of the Markey Cancer Center Research Network. "As the only NCI-designated cancer center serving the Appalachian region of Kentucky, we have an obligation to address the most devastating cancers in this area by continually improving cancer prevention, detection, and treatments. The Markey Research Network will play a vital role in improving the grim cancer mortality rates in our region."
To be invited into the Markey Cancer Center Research Network, medical centers must demonstrate a capacity to deliver the highest caliber of clinical expertise and demonstrate quality work in clinical research and complying with federal regulations. Other medical centers are expected to join the Research Network in the coming months.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 3, 2015) – Scott Logdon of Salvisa, Ky., seldom needed to visit the doctor. But in September 2012, a troublesome sore throat prompted him to make a rare visit to his primary care physician. Expecting a diagnosis of strep, he got some far worse news.
"I just thought it was strep throat," Logdon said. "It turned out to be leukemia."
Logdon was immediately referred to the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, where he was officially diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.
Because this type of cancer can worsen quickly, treatment began right away. Logdon underwent a rigorous round of chemotherapy at Markey, getting his infusion nonstop 24 hours a day for seven straight days.
The chemo put him into temporary remission. But further testing suggested that Logdon's cancer was likely to return at some point. While taking the “wait and see” approach was an option, it was risky.
“Statistically speaking, in high-risk patients like Scott, the cancer is probably going to come back,” said Dr. Greg Monohan, the Markey hematologist/oncologist who treated Logdon. “And if you wait and see if the cancer returns, the chemo may not take as well the second time around.”
Monohan’s team began discussing the option of a bone marrow transplant, a procedure that replaces damaged bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells. Markey performs more than 80 bone marrow transplants each year.
Logdon agreed to try the transplant in October 2012, and the search for a viable donor began. The likelihood of transplant success is highly dependent on how closely the donor’s stem cells matches the recipient’s, and usually the best donors are siblings.
However, Logdon's brother and sister were tested, and neither were a match. His medical team then contacted the National Marrow Donor Program where he could potentially be matched with an anonymous donor from one of the international bone marrow registries.
In the meantime, Logdon underwent several rounds of ‘maintenance’ chemotherapy, aimed at keeping the cancer at bay until a match was found. Every 30 days, he endured five straight days of treatment, followed by a 10-day inpatient stay at Markey where he was monitored closely by Monohan’s team. Waiting took its toll on Logdon and his family, but an unexpected phone call of encouragement from UK Men's Basketball Coach John Calipari brightened the UK fan's spirits.
"Scott has had some dark days," said Angela Logdon, Scott's wife. "But he really appreciated Coach Cal taking the time to do that."
In January 2013, Logdon and his family got the call they’d been waiting for. An ideal donor had been found: a 20-year-old male who matched 10 out of the 10 major categories of proteins that determine the likelihood of the immune system accepting the transplantation.
While walking toward the campus library one afternoon three years ago, University of Wisconsin freshman Christopher Wirz passed by tables for a national bone marrow registry donor drive. Wirz’s cousin was one of the UW students working the drive, and when he stopped to chat, she convinced him to register.
“I signed up on a whim,” Wirz said. “I just happened to be walking that way that day.”
Wirz was told that his chances of actually getting matched were slim – only about one in 100,000. But in just over a year, Wirz got the call to be a potential donor twice – the first time, he wasn’t a close enough match. But the second time, he was a perfect candidate. He agreed to do the procedure.
Wirz was flown to Washington D.C. on two separate occasions, once for major testing and evaluation, and once for the stem cell harvesting. Prior to extraction of his cells, he received a series of injections to help his stem cells move from the bone marrow to the blood. He was tested again before the extraction began to ensure his blood counts were optimal.
“You’re kind of rooting for it, even though you don’t know the person,” Wirz said. “I was really cheering for good numbers.”
His stem cells were collected using a process called leukapheresis, which is similar to giving plasma. Wirz was hooked up to an IV for several hours to extract the stem cells from his blood, filling a large IV bag with the life-saving fluid, while another IV returned the blood to his body. After his donation was complete, Wirz felt a little tired, but spent the rest of his day touring DC before heading home. He thought about where that little piece of him could be going.
“I was wondering, ‘What happens to it now?’” Wirz said. “Where is it being delivered?”
Logdon received his bone marrow transplant on Jan. 31, 2013, following one last round of chemo. After nearly four weeks in the hospital, he was allowed to go home, though he continued to have weekly checkups for many months. Logdon's strength gradually returned, and he was able to return to his job at the Woodford County Detention Center, initially working part-time, in October.
“It took about a year to feel ‘normal’ again,” Logdon said.
Unrelated hematopoietic cell donations are anonymous – and any contact between the donor/recipient remains anonymous during the first year. After that mark, direct contact is allowed if both parties consent to release their personal information. Wirz received a handful of letters thanking him for his donation – from Scott, Angela, and their four children, including one carefully scrawled by their eight-year-old son.
Curious about the family, Wirz found them on Facebook, where Angela and Scott had documented every step of his illness.
“I saw his entire journey, from diagnosis and after,” Wirz said. “He was going through this life-threatening disease, but stayed so positive throughout it.”
That included some big moments: statuses about their joy at finding a match, and the happy outcome of the procedure, where Logdon was deemed cancer-free.
“I thought, ‘That’s me!’” Wirz said. “He has a part of me growing in him, and that’s what’s helping him.”
The two communicated via Facebook for several weeks, but their first phone call came early in April 2014 -- just a few days, in fact, after the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Team knocked off the University of Wisconsin in the semifinal game of the NCAA tournament.
Logdon, who describes his whole family as “die-hard UK fans,” couldn’t resist making a joke to the young Wisconsin student.
“I told him, ‘You know, I knew I felt kind of bad about beating Wisconsin in the tournament,’” Scott said. “’I guess it’s because I’ve got a little Badger blood in me now!’”
Later that summer, the Logdons invited Wirz and his family to come to Kentucky for the opportunity to celebrate and thank them in person. The first meeting between donor and recipient was emotionally overwhelming.
"There were a lot of tears," Logdon said. "I didn't want to let go of him when I hugged him."
Wirz, his sister, and his mother stayed for three days, touring the area and meeting dozens of thankful friends and family. One of the tour stops included Rupp Arena, where they convinced Wirz to try an Ale8 -- and, Logdon jokes, to show off UK's basketball tradition.
"We took him to Rupp Arena to show him where championships happen," Logdon said with a laugh.
Wirz, who described the whole experience as "amazing," said seeing how beloved Logdon was in his community made the whole experience finally seem real.
"Getting to see his community, and seeing how everything would be different without him," Wirz said. "That was really overwhelming."
"He's a very giving guy," Logdon said. "You don't see many 20-year-olds like him."
Wirz, now a senior and a triple-major at UW, said he wouldn't hesitate to help out another anonymous patient in need again.
"I would do it again in a heartbeat," Wirz said.
Signing up to become a donor in the marrow registry is easy – participants only need to fill out about five minutes of paperwork and complete a set of cheek swabs.
On Monday, April 13, the UK College of Pharmacy is hosting a Be the Match registry drive at the UK Markey Cancer Center. The drive will be set up at the Combs Research Building atrium at Markey from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day. If you can't make it to a local drive but would like to join the registry from home, visit Be the Match for more information.
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Lexington, Ky. (April 2, 2015) - The Christ Hospital Health Network (TCHHN) in Cincinnati, Oh., announced today an affiliation with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, the state's first and only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. The affiliation will provide patients with more cancer treatment options and advanced education and research.
“We look forward to expanding healthcare choices for patients with cancer with this affiliation,” said Mike Keating, president and CEO of The Christ Hospital Health Network. “Our cancer experts will work closely with their colleagues at the UK Markey Cancer Center to advance high-quality care, with a focus on exceptional outcomes, affordable care and the finest patient and family experiences.”
“Our world-renowned physicians from the best educational institutions in the country, are critical, driving factors in our recognition, including high performing in our region by U.S. News & World Report," said Dr. Brian Mannion, medical director of oncology services at The Christ Hospital Health Network. "UK has a long-standing history as Kentucky’s top academic medical center. This affiliation will allow us to do even more for our cancer patients, particularly as we expand access to needed cancer services in Northern Kentucky.”
For the last 30 years, The Christ Hospital Health Network has been recognized as a national leader in cancer clinical trials with research and innovation that has led to breakthrough medical advances and improved outcomes. The Christ Hospital Health Network averages 30 active studies, from phase I through phase IV, and is affiliated with leading national research institutions, individuals, groups and corporations.
Through The Christ Hospital Health Network’s commitment to transforming care and expanding patient access and convenience in Northern Kentucky and across the region, patients will now have access to significant clinical cancer trials in Northern Kentucky through the UK Markey Cancer Center’s designation as a National Cancer Institute cancer center, one of only 68 cancer centers in the country and the only one in Kentucky.
“We are providing choice to our patients and their families with cancer without the stress and inconvenience of having to travel to other parts of the country,” Keating said. “Providing access to quality healthcare services where people live and work is at the heart of The Christ Hospital Health Network’s mission and is one of the key reasons we have been recognized by local consumers as the Most Preferred provider in the region for 19 consecutive years.”
"The burden of cancer in this area is huge, and reducing its impact requires collaboration and teamwork from many excellent community hospitals in the region," said Dr. Tim Mullett, director of the Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network. "Bringing The Christ Hospital Health Network into the Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network is another major step toward improving cancer care in Kentucky and beyond."
The affiliation provides many benefits to patients and physicians, including:
· More patient choice and convenient access
· New and innovative cancer treatments
· Cutting-edge clinical trials consultations with specialists and subspecialists
· Multidisciplinary cancer conferences, where physicians share knowledge, experience and explore new approaches to treatment
· Program support in medical oncology/hematology, pathology, molecular diagnostics, pharmacy, nursing and dietetics
· Access to the latest education and training for physicians, nurses and other caregivers
· Support for community outreach and education activities.
The Christ Hospital Health Network is the first affiliate hospital from outside the state of Kentucky. The Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network began in 2006 and now comprises 13 hospitals:
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 27, 2015) – Next week, KET will feature three University of Kentucky experts discussing cancer care in a set of programs that will accompany the three-part documentary series Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies by Ken Burns.
The series, which will air March 30, 31 and April 1 at 9 p.m., is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee.
On Sunday, March 29, at 1 p.m. on KET, UK Markey Cancer Center Director Dr. Mark Evers, will appear on One to One with Bill Goodman, discussing the latest news in cancer care and research, and Markey's goals to conquer cancer in the Commonwealth. Evers' interview will air again on Monday, March 30, 12:30 a.m. on KET and Tuesday, March 31, 7:30 p.m. on KET2.
On Wednesday, April 1 at 8 p.m., two UK experts will join KET Health Three60 host Renee Shaw for a live call-in program called "Answers for Cancer." Dr. Tim Mullett, a UK HealthCare lung cancer specialist who is himself a cancer survivor, and Dr. Fran Feltner, director of the UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health, will be on the panel to take questions from viewers about cancer screening, treatment and recovery resources in Kentucky.
Other panelists include Donald Miller, director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville, and Patrick Williams, medical director at Norton Cancer Institute in Louisville.
Viewers can submit questions to the original program via Twitter at @HealthKET, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 800-753-6237. A recording of the program will air on KETKY April 6 at 9 a.m., April 10 at 11 a.m., April 11 at 4 a.m. and April 13 at 2 a.m.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 26, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center announced Wednesday that King's Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, Ky., has joined the Markey Cancer Center Research Network, a newly launched initiative conducting high priority cancer research through a network of collaborative centers with expertise in the delivery of cancer care and conduct of research studies.
Thousands of patients across eastern Kentucky, southern Ohio and West Virginia will have close-to-home access to innovative clinical research studies in the treatment and epidemiology of cancer as well as research studies in the prevention and early detection of cancer.
The team at King's Daughters Medical Center was invited to participate based on their previous experience in conducting oncology research. King's Daughters has participated in research with Markey for more than 25 years, enrolling more than 450 patients from nine surrounding counties in nearly 50 different cancer clinical studies in that time. Their active clinical research studies included those initiated at UK as well as national research studies sponsored by the National Cancer Institute in the National Clinical Trials Network. This long-standing oncology research portfolio will expand as a result of joining the Markey Research Network.
Dr. David Goebel, oncologist/hematologist at King's Daughters, said that this formal membership in the Markey Cancer Center Research Network would further King's Daughters' already strong relationship with the oncology researchers at UK.
"This research collaborative helps our patients with the best options to battle cancer," Goebel said. "The benefit of these studies not only can help the person with cancer, but also provide insight into treating others."
As a member of the Markey Research Network, the physicians at King's Daughters Medical Center will offer the opportunity to consider participation in clinical research studies to their patients, with the patients remaining under their direct care and closer to home during their treatment.
"Being able to offer not only our own trials on site, but also major NCI trials, is a huge benefit to the members of our Research Network," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. "The patients who chose to enroll in one of these trials at King's Daughters should be assured that they are receiving the latest, best treatment options for their disease, with the added benefit of staying much closer to their own support system at home."
"Clinical research is the best way to advance cancer treatment protocols and move forward with the most effective new therapies," said Dr. Tim Mullett, medical director of the Markey Cancer Center Research Network. "As an NCI-designated cancer center not just serving all of Kentucky, but regions of Appalachia including West Virginia, we have an obligation to address the most devastating cancers in this area by continually improving cancer prevention, detection, and treatments. The Markey Research Network will play a vital role in improving the grim cancer mortality rates in our region."
To be invited into the Markey Cancer Center Research Network, medical centers must demonstrate a capacity to deliver the highest caliber of clinical expertise and demonstrate qualify work in clinical research and complying with federal regulations. Other medical centers are expected to join the Research Network in the coming months.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 19, 2015) – Singing, laughing and smiling are not words that most people would associate with a cancer treatment, but for Lexington resident Bahar Aleem, it's a common experience.
Aleem was diagnosed with breast cancer after her doctor found a small cancerous lump in her breast during an annual mammogram. After having surgery to remove the tumor, she was required to come to the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center weekly for chemotherapy. That's when she discovered the healing power of music therapy.
Music therapy is a specific type of complementary therapy where a board-certified music therapist provides patient-preferred music before, during, or after treatments to help a patient relax and explore new ways of thinking about their experiences. Studies indicate that music therapy can help reduce patient anxiety, lower pain perception and even reduce the amount of sedative intake needed before a procedure.
Music therapy is always conducted with the purpose of achieving therapeutic outcomes. Because there's not one specific type of music that functions the same for everyone, music is chosen carefully in order to find songs that will have the best therapeutic effect for each individual patient and/or family.
UK HealthCare has offered music therapy in many inpatient areas of the hospital since 2010. Last year, Music Therapist Jennifer Peyton was hired to treat patients at Markey, and the cancer center is able to offer this service to both its inpatients and chemotherapy outpatients.
During cancer treatments, Peyton will visit a patient's room, armed with her guitar, shakers and other musical instruments. She sings and plays for the patients and encourages them to participate with her, hoping that the music will allow them to express their emotions in a new, comfortable way.
Peyton is quick to point out that the therapy aspect of what she does is the most important part.
"We use patient-preferred music to elicit change in spiritual, cognitive, physical, and emotional domains," said Peyton. "This is not entertainment. While it can be entertaining, music therapy is not entertainment. It's therapy that uses music as a vehicle to do it."
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Peyton sees Aleem regularly, and the song of choice for Aleem is "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
"I think it takes you away from your current situation and just makes you feel normal for a little while," said Aleem. "You don't think about or worry about anything. It just takes you away and makes you feel happy."
After singing, Peyton asks Aleem a round of questions, including "What does this song do for you?" or "Where is 'over the rainbow' for you?" These are opportunities for Aleem to explore any emotions the song might have evoked.
"It's amazing how people can identify with lyrics of a song much more readily than they can express them themselves," said Peyton.
Once the music starts, Aleem's eyes light up and she begins to smile from ear to ear. Peyton plays her guitar and sings while Aleem happily sways back and forth, taps her feet, claps her hands and sings along. Even Aleem's husband joins in by playing small maracas. Because of music therapy, Aleem now looks forward to getting her treatments.
"Even though having someone sing and play to you isn't a typical event, it can help someone feel special and it normalizes things and make things not so scary and not so anxious and not so stressful," said Peyton.
Overall, Peyton says the response from patients receiving music therapy has been very positive. She looks forward to growing the program at Markey and serving even more patients from all across the state.
After experiencing its positive effects, Aleem hopes the program expands as well.
"It just kind of uplifts you and makes you feel better no matter how you feel," said Aleem. "So hopefully we will be seeing more of it."
For more information on the music therapy program at Markey Cancer Center, contact Jennifer Peyton at email@example.com.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 9, 2015) – Nathan Vanderford, assistant director for research at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and assistant professor in the Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology, has a featured article on graduate education in the March 5 edition of Nature. Nature is one of the most prominent and prestigious interdisciplinary scientific journals in the world.
Vanderford co-wrote an article titled, "Wanted: Information" with Viviane Callier from the Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship. In the piece, Vanderford and Callier examine why recent doctoral graduates are having trouble obtaining jobs. They note that doctoral students, specifically those in the science and engineering fields, are not given enough information before obtaining a higher degree and also do not receive enough information about the job market while obtaining the degree.
According to the article, "those pursuing a Ph.D. need a more accurate picture of the academic and non-academic job markets and they need it well before they graduate."
Vanderford and Callier believe that with better information, students can better prepare to enter the job market and avoid common mistakes that leave them feeling both overqualified and unqualified for positions.
To view the full article, visit Nature online.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 25, 2015) – The National Cancer Institute recently awarded a two-year, $357,743 grant to University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center researchers to study the role of a certain protein in aggressive cancer metastasis.
The lab of Kathleen O'Connor, professor in UK's Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, studies how tumor cells interact with their environment to make cancer more aggressive.
Specifically, O'Connor's lab studies a protein called integrin α6β4, a protein that integrates signals from its environment so that cells can respond properly and die off if they are in the wrong context. This protein can cause carcinoma cells to take on some of the worst properties of cancer, including invasion, metastasis and drug resistance.
The integrin can selectively increase the expression of genes that cause cells to become particularly invasive and metastatic through a process known as DNA demethylation, but O'Connor says they do not yet know how these specific genes can be regulated.
"Through this study, we expect that understanding how the integrin affects this process will tell us more about how specific DNA demethylation occurs, as well as how cancers can become more invasive without mutating the DNA," O'Connor said.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 3, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center is hosting a free patient education program on clinical trials at noon, Wednesday, Feb. 4, in the atrium of Markey's Combs Research Building.
In conjunction with World Cancer Day 2015 and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, UK HealthCare hematologist/oncologist Dr. Greg Monohan will present information about clinical trials. Attendees will learn why clinical trials are performed and how they work, how new treatments are developed and approved, the benefits and risks of participating in a research study, how to find local clinical trials and information about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
This event is free and open to the public, and it includes lunch and giveaways. For more information or to register for this event, please call Joan Scales at 859-323-1403. Free parking is available in the Markey Cancer Center lot, or visitors may park in any UK HealthCare Garage.
The Markey Cancer Center was founded in 1983 and is a dedicated matrix cancer center established as an integral part of the University of Kentucky and the UK HealthCare enterprise. In July 2013, Markey was designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to receive research funding and many other opportunities available only to the nation’s best cancer centers. Markey is the only NCI-designated center in Kentucky and one of only a handful in the country.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 2, 2015) - Starting this month, University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center art therapist Fran Belvin will be hosting several art therapy craft sessions each month in the Whitney-Hendrickson Building.
The table is an extension of Markey's regular art therapy program, which gives patients a way to express themselves through creating a unique work of art and to also allow them to share their experience and emotions in a more comfortable environment than a typical therapy session. Although the regular art therapy sessions are mainly for patients, loved ones and staff are also welcome to join and benefit from the open art therapy craft sessions at Markey.
In February, the art table project will be making Valentine's Day-themed pillows. All sessions will be located in the Whitney-Hendrickson Building first floor lobby. The dates and times for February's events are:
· Monday, Feb. 2; noon-2 p.m.
· Wednesday, Feb. 4; 9-11 a.m.
· Friday, Feb. 6; 9-11 a.m.
Previously, Belvin has hosted art therapy "Healing Symbol" and ornament tables at Markey.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 21, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center will host a special gala on Saturday, Feb. 7, to support its second annual Expressions of Courage exhibit this summer.
Markey's Expressions of Courage exhibit is a yearly art showcase featuring original, artistic expressions connected in some way to an experience with a cancer diagnosis, or crafted by or in memory of a Markey patient whose battle has ended. The exhibit takes place in June, which is National Cancer Survivorship Month.
The Expressions of Courage Gala will help raise funds to support the exhibit, which allows patients and family members to showcase their original art, dance, poetry and music in a celebratory environment.
The Gala will take place at the DoubleTree Suites at Hilton Hotel at 2601 Richmond Road
in Lexington. The gala's events include:
6 p.m. Appetizers, cocktails, and a silent auction
6:30 p.m. Musical performances by Dr. Jay "Zwisch" Zwischenberger and Kayla Smith
7:30 p.m. Buffet dinner
8:45 p.m. Entertainment by the Donnie Brooks Band.
Tickets for the Gala are $50. To purchase tickets, visit ukmarkey.org/markeyevents or buy in person at the Markey Administrative Offices on the first floor of the Ben F. Roach Building at the Markey Cancer Center.