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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
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