Appalachia Health News

Appalachia Health News tells the story of our health challenges and how we overcome them throughout the region. 

Reporter Kara Leigh Lofton covers topics such as women’s health, chronic disease and substance abuse.

Her reports document the health-related innovation, improvement and success within the Appalachian region.

Follow her on twitter at @KaraLofton and #Appalachiahealth

Appalachia Health News is produced with support from the Claude Worthington Benedum FoundationCAMCMarshall Health and WVU Reporter Kara Leigh Lofton will be covering topics such as women’s health, chronic disease and substance abuse.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A Senate bill that would ban elective dismemberment abortions in the state is now making its way through the House. The bill was the subject of a public hearing Monday and passed through the House Health Committee before being taken up by the Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

After a veto from Governor Tomblin last year, members of the Senate and the House have both taken up a bill that would allow West Virginians to consume raw milk. Members of the Senate passed the bill earlier this month on a vote of 22 to 12, and yesterday, Delegates cast their final votes.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House of Delegates is just beginning its work on a bill that would ban one of the nation’s most commonly used second-trimester abortion methods.

As approved in the Senate, Senate Bill 10 would ban what are commonly referred to as dismemberment abortions. That ban is only when the abortion is elective, not in cases of medical emergencies. Discussion over the bill began with a public hearing Monday morning.

Doctor, medicine
sudok1 / Dollar Photo Club

People who have a terminal illness often prefer to spend their last days at home, rather than a hospital. WVU published research this month showing there’s a way to make it easier for those people to do so. In reality, it all comes down to paperwork.  

Janet Black looks up from her bed. She is terminally ill with end-stage lung disease and is due to be discharged into hospice care any day.

Cigarette, tobacco
nikkytok / Dollar Photo Club

A new Tobacco-Free Coalition from the Tennessee Department of Health has proclaimed February 22-26 as Tennessee Quit Week.

According to a press release, “It is part of a statewide effort to raise awareness of the Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine and other free resources available to help Tennesseans quit smoking and/or using other tobacco products.”

Learn more and find a calendar of Quit Week events at http://tn.gov/health/topic/FHW-tobacco. Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #QuITTInTimeTN.

Heart Disease, Cholesterol, American Heart Association, Heart, Heart Health, Body, Veins, Blood, Health, Appalachia Health News
Dollar Photo Club

The Virginia Department of Health, Mount Rogers Health District is offering cholesterol clinics to residents in Bland, Carroll, Grayson, Smyth, Washington and Wythe counties and the cities of Bristol and Galax.

High cholesterol is one of the major risk factors leading to cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association. In the United States, heart disease continues to be the number one killer for both men and women.

The clinics will be available at all district health department locations.

Dollar Photo Club

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the first case of Zika virus infection in a North Carolina resident today. The adult, whose name was withheld, had recently traveled to a country with ongoing Zika virus transmission. The patients’ symptoms have resolved. 

chapelboro.com

Free radon testing kits are now available to all 100 North Carolina counties, according to a press release earlier this week.

The kits are available through the NC Radon Program, which is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. Officials are distributing the kits through county health departments, although the press release noted supplies are limited.

Chuck Kleine / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A local-food nonprofit based in the Northern Panhandle is busy this week reclaiming abandoned property. 

“Once upon a time this was the Lincoln Home site,” said a founder of Grow Ohio Valley, Danny Swan. “There were three apartment buildings here with a parking lot. We’ve taken the parking lot and the three apartment buildings - which were torn down decades ago - and we’ve reclaimed those two terraces. Each are about 40 feet wide and about 200 or 300 feet long. And we plan to build greenhouses on them.”

Del. Don Perdue, Delegate Don Perdue
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Seven bills were up for passage in the House Wednesday, including one that would give pregnant women in the state priority for substance abuse treatment.

We all know West Virginia has a huge substance abuse problem; one of the worst in the nation. So lawmakers are considering measures to address it.

School Lunch Line
Slick-o-bot / Wikimedia Commons

A national nonprofit that advocates for federal food programs released its School Breakfast Scorecard today. West Virginia sits at the top.

The School Breakfast Scorecard ranks states on their rate of participation of low-income children in the federally-funded School Breakfast program. West Virginia topped the list for the last school year, while Utah is at the bottom.

401(K) 2012 / www.401kcalculator.org

The West Virginia Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities has announced funding opportunities for the expansion of some health services across the state.

Swimmerguy269 / wikimedia Commons

  West Virginia University office of wellness and health promotion has launched a Collegiate Recovery Program to offer addiction and recovery support to students.

The goal of the program is to connect college students who are seeking recovery from substance abuse and addictive behaviors to peer-support and services.

Dollar Photo Club

School-based fluoride rinse programs have been available to West Virginia schools for decades. Advocates argue they are still one of the cheapest and most effective tools schools have for preventing tooth decay. However, they are not well utilized. Recently, the Bureau for Public Health, which funds these programs, has begun a push to get more schools to take advantage of them.

At Mount Hope Elementary School in Fayette County, health educator Rosalie McCauley passes out toothbrushes and plastic cups of bubblegum-flavored fluoride mouth rinse to students.

Zika, United States, Mosquitos, virus, Appalachia
Dollar Photo Club

While West Virginia continues to be free of the Zika virus, the Appalachian states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Alabama and Georgia have all reported cases. The virus is spread through mosquitoes and was first dectected in South America.

Breast, Breast Cancer, Cancer, surgery, pink, pink ribbon
Dollar Photo Club

West Virginia University Cancer Institute has become the first hospital in the state to offer a specialized breast cancer treatment that can shave weeks off treatment time for some patients.

The treatment is called Intraoperative Radiation Therapy. This is how it works: Directly after surgery to remove the cancerous lump, a radiation applicator is inserted directly into the cavity previously occupied by the tumor. Specialists then apply concentrated radiation to the area. Surgery and radiation are completed in one visit.

Dollar Photo Club

Representatives from 37 citizen groups fighting for “water justice” met Tuesday at the Capitol to release a letter of solidarity with Flint, Michigan.

The letter, dated February 9th, parallels the 2014 West Virginia Water Crisis with the water crisis currently unfolding in Flint.

Dollar Photo Club

West Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina have issued advisories for the Zika virus, urging caution, particularly for pregnant women traveling to areas where the disease is circulating.

WVPB

Two central Appalachian healthcare non-profits, out of eleven nationwide, were awarded grants of about 180,000 each today from AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. The grants are intended to support already successful work in improving regional cardiovascular health. 

Sick, woman, pregnancy, thermometer, fever, flu, cold
Dollar Photo Club

Pregnant women hospitalized with the flu, especially severe cases, should be treated early with antiviral medication, according to a study published today in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The study included 865 pregnant women who were hospitalized with flu from 14 states. Sixty-three of these patients, or about 7 percent, had severe illness.

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