Drs. Evers, Smyth discuss personalized medicine

The past decade, Dr. Mark Evers says, has been a revolution.

Thanks to advances in personalized medicine over the past 10 years, Evers says patients today receive treatments that are better tailored to their genetic makeup and specific medical history. Evers, the director of the UK Markey Cancer Center, along with Dr. Susan Smyth, director of the Gill Heart Institute, appeared Sunday on KET’s One to One to discuss personalized medicine.

“Really it has been the last 10 years, I would say, that the revolution has occurred,” Evers said. “I’ve been in this business treating patients for 20 years and now is such an exciting time to be practicing medicine, to be doing research.”

In a wide-ranging conversation with KET’s Bill Goodman, Evers and Smyth discussed how personalized medicine is changing the landscape of cancer and cardiovascular treatments.

Check out some highlights from the interview and be sure to watch full video below.

Smyth on defining personalized medicine

Personalized or precision medicine really means taking as much information about one individual as possible to be able to tailor specific treatments or preventative strategies toward them. So it’s taking their genetic information, taking information from environmental exposures they may have had and putting all of that together in a package that really chooses for that one particular person a best treatment or preventive strategy.

Evers on the pace of personalized treatment advances

I’ve been in this business treating patients for 20 years and now is such an exciting time to be practicing medicine, to be doing research. Because 20 years ago, if a 35-year-old lady came in with colon cancer, she’d be treated the same way as an 85-year-old gentleman. We were very limited in terms of drugs, but it’s only been within the last 10 years, I would say, that there’s been an explosion of techniques, technologies that really have allowed us to … identify biomarkers to be able to treat patients differently.

Drs. Mark Evers, Susan Smyth set to appear on KET on Sunday

UK HealthCare’s Dr. Mark Evers and Dr. Susan Smyth will appear on KET’s One To One with Bill Goodman on Sunday afternoon.

Evers, the director of the Markey Cancer Center, and Smyth, the director of the Gill Heart Institute, will discuss personalized medicine using genomics.

Tune in at 1 p.m. on Sunday, and check back here on Monday for a recap.

Sundown Syndrome can be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease

Have you ever noticed that a family member becomes confused, irritable or restless as night falls? Or as the night progresses, they become agitated and pace throughout the house? This person could be showing signs of sundowning, a phenomenon commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Sundowning, or Sundown Syndrome, is the materialization of different symptoms that occur at a specific time of day. Symptoms present most commonly as the day changes from day to dusk, hence the name “sundowning.” Symptoms can vary and include restlessness, irritability, becoming disoriented or confused, pacing and mood swings.

While doctors are unsure of what causes sundowning, many think that someone’s internal body clock gets altered with the progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia. In people with Alzheimer’s, doctors know that the area of the brain that controls sleep patterns (waking up, falling asleep) deteriorates. This could also explain sundowning.

Though sundowning typically occurs late in the day, other “triggers” have been shown to cause symptoms. Lots of activity or noise and even nonverbal cues from another person can cause a shift in behavior.

Although sundowning can be frustrating for everyone involved, there are many ways to cope with and reduce the gravity of the symptoms:

  • Keep the house well-lit. Shadows can cause disorientation and can be frightening.
  • Maintain a sleep schedule and try to reduce daytime napping. Keeping a daily routine will emphasize sleeping at a certain time and will make it easier for he or she to sleep at night.
  • Avoid stimulants like caffeine.
  • Avoid alcohol, which can disrupt sleep patterns.
  • At night, try to stifle any background noise or stimulation that could be upsetting.
  • Maintain a familiar environment, which can be more soothing.
  • Try to avoid over-the-counter sleep aids and other medicines, such as Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton, which cause drowsiness.
  • Research shows that a low dose of melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone that aids in sleeping, can be helpful. However, talk to a doctor before starting a melatonin regimen.

If a loved one is presenting with symptoms of sundowning, as a caregiver it is important to remain calm and not get flustered. Nonverbal indicators of frustration can further agitate an already irritated individual. Instead, approach your loved one calmly and reassure them that everything is okay. Ask if there is anything that he or she needs to be comfortable. If he or she needs to pace, let them do so but continue to supervise them. Try to avoid arguing at all costs, which could exacerbate the situation.

If you or someone you love is showing symptoms similar to sundowning, it could be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Sundowning usually presents during the middle phases of Alzheimer’s disease and goes away as the disease progresses. If you are concerned, contact your family doctor or neurologist.

Dr. Ronan Murphy

Dr. Ronan Murphy



Ronan Murphy is an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.

Simple reminders can prevent a heatstroke tragedy

As we enter the dog days of summer, when the heat and humidity seems unbearable at times, it’s important to remember steps to protect our children against heatstroke.

Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children younger than 14. In 2014, 32 children died from heatstroke, and heatstroke deaths have been reported in all 50 states, 11 months out of the year. Since 1998, more than 636 children across the U.S. have died from heatstroke when unattended in a vehicle.

Tragically, most child deaths caused by heatstroke are preventable. More than half of all heatstroke deaths occurred when a busy or distracted caregiver forgot a child was riding in the backseat of a vehicle. One-third of heatstroke deaths resulted from a child becoming trapped inside a vehicle after climbing in on their own.

Heatstroke dangers are entirely avoidable when caregivers take time to observe safety protocols. Remember to ACT against heatstroke through these safety tips recommended by Safe Kids Worldwide:

A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child unattended in a vehicle. A young child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body, and the internal temperature of a car can increase 20 degree in just 10 minutes. Cracking windows won’t make the car environment any safer.

C: Create reminders for those chaotic days. Hang a note on your rearview mirror or make a habit of placing your purse or briefcase beside a car seat. Create an alarm or alert on your Smartphone. Be accountable to someone else for dropping a child off at a daycare.

T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.

On July 31, National Heatstroke Awareness Day, Safe Kids Fayette County will host an event at Buy Buy Baby in Hamburg to spread awareness of the Never Leave Your Child Alone in a car campaign. The event will take place from 3 to 6 p.m., with car seat checks until 5:30 p.m. In addition to car seat checks, Safe Kids representatives will provide information and tips for preventing heatstroke deaths.

For more information about heatstroke prevention, visit kidsandcars.org.


Sherri Hannan

Sherri Hannan


Sherri Hannan is a registered nurse and director of Safe Kids Fayette County based at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.





Cooking Demonstration!

Join us for a FREE cooking demonstration, featuring:

Head Chef Jason Ritchey from The Villiage Idiot 

Wednesday, July 8 from 11am-12pm

306 Whitney-Hendrickson Building at the UK Markey Cancer Center


A free program, open to the public. Watch and learn how to make something tasty at home, and sample it! No reservations necessary.