This year's CCTS conference acknowledges the significant challenges of translating knowledge into new interventions for individual and community health.

UK HealthCare modifies visitation policy for flu season

To help protect the health and well-being of patients and healthcare workers during this flu season, UK HealthCare has temporarily amended the inpatient hospital visitation policy. The temporary restriction on visitations goes into effect on Thursday, Feb. 16 and includes:

  • No visitors under the age of 12 (except in Bone Marrow Transplant, where no visitors under the age of 18).
  • No visitors with any symptoms of flu-like illness.
  • Only two visitors will be permitted in a patient’s room at one time.
  • Visitors may be issued masks or other protective clothing for use when visiting.
  • Additional restrictions may be in place in special care units such as women’s and children’s units, critical care and oncology units.
  • Compassionate visitation exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

This will continue for an undetermined amount of time as we monitor the presence of influenza in our communities.

We apologize for any disruption this may cause to your family time, but assure you that all of us at UK HealthCare are working to provide the very best care for your loved one in the safest environment possible. Please join with us in our effort to keep your loved one’s risk of exposure to a minimum.

If you have not already received a flu shot, we highly recommend that you and everyone in your household receive one. Please get one at your local pharmacy or primary care physician’s office.

Please remember that thorough and frequent handwashing is the best defense against the spread of disease.

Thank you for your understanding and please let us know if you have any questions.

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When Lester Walters, a 59 year-old Berea native, had a heart attack, his journey to heart transplantation began. But he first required an artificial heart.

Mechanical heart keeps Berea man living, loving as he waits for transplant

Relaxing in a recliner in the corner of his ICU room, Lester Walters is all smiles. His red hair askew, he casually jokes with his wife and the nurses who come in regularly to check on him. The 59-year-old Berea native is waiting to be listed for a heart transplant, but he’s already one step ahead of most patients on the list – as of Dec. 12, 2016, Walters no longer has a failing heart.

Instead, a special machine has replaced it: the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart, a battery-powered device that contains the same components as a real human heart and serves as a bridge to transplant.

“I feel great,” Walters said, the machine humming and pulsing like an air compressor in the background. “I feel about as good as one can.”

The first sign of heart problems

Walters’ journey toward a transplant began 17 years ago when he suffered a heart attack. Because he was adopted as a child, he had no knowledge of any heart-related medical history that may have been a risk factor. Doctors discovered Walters had atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can cause poor blood flow. He had a pacemaker and an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) installed to “shock” his heart back into a regular rhythm if he experienced a life-threatening arrhythmia.

Walters resumed his normal lifestyle. He retired from Berea College in 2013 after 31 years of service and spent time taking care of his farm in Madison County. Seven years ago, the widower met his second wife, B.J. Pittman, and the two have spent their retirement fishing, raising chickens and gardening.

But by January 2015, his heart problems began to worsen. After a stint in another local hospital and a bacterial infection, he was referred to the UK Gill Heart Institute for more serious treatment. By the time he arrived, his body was swollen from edema – fluid retention caused by poor blood flow, where pressure in the blood vessels increases and fluid is forced from the vessels into body tissues.

Dr. Maya Guglin, medical director of UK’s Mechanical Circulatory Support Program, was the first to see Walters at UK. Her initial course of treatment focused on using medications to eliminate the swelling.

“We treated him with diuretics, beta blockers and other heart-failure medications,” Guglin said. “We managed to stabilize him for many months.”

Three shocks in a row

Then in early December 2016, Walters’ ICD went off once, then twice and then a third time a short while later, which knocked him unconscious. Although Walters had been shocked before – including one memorable time where his son caught him mid-fall and received a shock himself – he’d never experienced three shocks in a row.

Pittman rushed him to UK Chandler Hospital, where he was admitted. Walters had developed ventricular tachycardia (VT), a regular but very fast heart rate caused by improper electrical activity in the heart ventricles. The VT became incessant – a “VT storm,” as Guglin describes it – and his ICD ultimately shocked him 21 times over the course of a single day. Despite two alcohol ablations to attempt to kill off the misfiring heart cells, Walters’ heart was simply too damaged and scarred for the procedure to work.

He needed a heart transplant, but he was far too sick to survive one. The team placed Walters on ECMO, a treatment that provides support for patients with extreme cardiac and respiratory failure, to stabilize his condition.

Most patients with end-stage heart failure like Walters would then receive a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), a mechanical device that helps the heart pump blood throughout the body and allows the patient the chance to recover and gain back their strength. But in Walters’ case, the LVAD wasn’t enough.

“The LVAD was not an appropriate option in this case because of the VT,” said UK cardiothoracic transplant surgeon Dr. Alexis Shafii. “It could help his circulation, but it wouldn’t stop the electrical problem with his heart.”

The solution: Go ahead and remove the heart.

A bridge to transplant

On Dec. 13, Shafii performed the surgery to install the Total Artificial Heart in Walters, making him just the fourth patient at UK to receive the device as a bridge to transplant.

After the weeks of rapid deterioration leading up to his emergency hospital visit, Walters was blunt about his expectations going into surgery.

“I expected to die,” he said.

But the surgery went well.

“He immediately had a better color,” Pittman said.

From there, it was just a matter of time and work to regain his strength. Walters spent 10 weeks in the cardiovascular ICU, carefully monitored by Shafii and ICU staff. With the Total Artificial Heart keeping his heart rate at a steady 125 beats per minute for optimal blood flow, Walters soon began walking with the rolling power supply for his Total Artificial Heart, called the Companion 2 hospital driver, and an entourage of nurses in tow.

At first, he could only make it to the door of his room before needing to return to bed. But as the weeks went on, he worked his way up to twice-daily laps around the ICU.

“Starting out, it was really tough,” Walters said. “But I got to where I could walk a little more each day.”

Taking it ‘one day at a time’

In early February, he was stable enough to be switched to the Freedom portable driver, a smaller, wearable power supply for the Total Artificial Heart. The Freedom driver can be carried in a small backpack or shoulder bag and allows the patient to leave the hospital while they wait for a donor heart. Because of his progress, Walters was moved down to the cardiovascular telemetry unit, with hopes of being both listed for a transplant and discharged soon.

Dr. Navin Rajagopalan, medical director of heart transplantation at UK, notes that Walters’ steady improvement is a testament not only to his personal strength, but that of Pittman, who has been her husband’s rock through it all.

“Mr. Walters has made tremendous progress in the weeks following surgery,” Rajagopalan said. “It’s a testament to his strong determination and courage. But his wife has also been by his side every step of the way, providing encouragement and optimism, which has helped him in his recovery.”

And on this day, when the heart is on the minds of people across the country, Walters marks it as just another day in the journey that began with his initial heart attack 17 years ago. He and Pittman try not to think too far ahead, but focus on living in the present.

“I just take it one day at a time,” he said.

Media inquiries: Allison Perry, UK Public Relations,

See Lester Walters talk about his journey toward heart transplantation.

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Teen suicide awareness

Lexington high schoolers ‘Spread the Love’ to prevent teen suicide

Written by Jennifer Perry, LCSW, a social worker at UK Adolescent Medicine. This post is part of a series written by Dr. Hatim Omar and his team in Adolescent Medicine related to the unique health concerns faced by teens and young adults.

Last Thursday, more than 100 Lexington high schoolers gathered to promote positivity among their peers and send messages of encouragement, or lifelines, to one another. Around Valentine’s Day every year for the past eight years, UK Adolescent Medicine and Stop Youth Suicide have hosted the event, called Spread the Love-A-Thon, to raise awareness about teen suicide and mental health.

The event is centered on the idea of making lifelines. Participants make lifelines with their peers by sharing compliments via social media, text message, phone call or any other means of technology. They also share statistics about suicide. The idea is to put daily social media habits and interaction to good use.

Teens spend hundreds of hours with their friends, but how often do they talk about why they like each other? Spread the Love-A-Thon is an opportunity for our participants to tell their friends something specific they appreciate and why it makes them special. The hope is that the compliment will stick, and the person will remember it when they have a bad day.

During the event, teens don’t have to read from a printed script but are urged to offer one or two genuine compliments. The best compliments usually start with something that the teen appreciates about the other person. It’s best when that thing isn’t something that changes often or easily.

We also encourage the students to share statistics that show just how common thoughts of suicide are in the adolescent population. For example, one in three Kentucky high school students report being sad or depressed to the point that their daily functioning is impaired. Even I was pretty shocked to learn that 11 percent of high schoolers in the U.S. have made a plan to commit suicide, and 9 percent actually attempt suicide every year.

Each participant tracks their lifelines over the course of the two-hour event. At the end, we celebrate with pizza and recognize the 50 participants who created the most lifelines. In 2016, we had 165 participants who made 6,905 lifelines!

For the past three years the event has been held at Tates Creek High School in Lexington and has been co-hosted by the Tates Creek’s FCCLA club (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America). Having it at Tates Creek gives students the opportunity to really own the event. They make unique invitations to Spread the Love and hand deliver them the day before the event. They also do a week of suicide awareness in their school by hanging posters with statistics and hosting a wellness fair, where they invite community members to share information about resources available to teens.

Ultimately, Spread the Love-A-Thon is an opportunity for students to see how meaningful simple gestures of kindness and positivity can be.

“This event is so important because so many people really doubt themselves. Some people don’t really think they’re worth anything, so events like this are great for people to come spread positive vibes, give love,” said Blake Caudill, a senior at Tates Creek High School. “You never know what a text message could do  how it could help someone’s day.”

Check out a few photos from this year’s event!

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Dr. Gretchen Wells writes a lot of prescriptions and orders a lot of tests. But she says the most rewarding thing she dispenses is hope.

Video: Dr. Gretchen Wells talks hearts and her passion for women’s health

Dr. Gretchen Wells writes a lot of prescriptions and orders a lot of tests. But the most rewarding thing she dispenses is hope, she says. As director of the Women’s Heart Heath Program at the UK Gilll Heart & Vascular Institute, she helps Kentucky women enjoy longer, fuller lives with healthy hearts.

In Kentucky, the mortality rate from heart disease is among the nation’s highest, and Wells understands that in the fight against women’s heart issues, prevention is especially important. There are other issues to tackle as well, she says, including:

  • The biology of heart disease is different in men than in women, so new ways of detection and treatment need to be explored to address those differences.
  • More women are surviving breast cancer only to develop heart problems relatedto chemotherapy.
  • Young women with pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia are at higher risk for heart disease later in life.

All of these and more are what bring Wells to the office every day. She spends her time collaborating across campus to establish testing, identify biomarkers and explore treatments tailored specifically to the needs of women with heart disease.

But Wells says the best part of her job is developing relationships with her patients. “They teach me about family, they teach me about forgiveness and they teach me about love,” she says.

Watch the video below to see why Wells says “the best is yet to come for the women of Kentucky.”

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Dr. Timothy Mullett accepting the Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award at the ACS summit in January.

Markey’s Dr. Timothy Mullett honored for exceptional patient care

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recently honored UK Markey Cancer Center surgeon Dr. Timothy Mullett with the Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award. He was one of six recipients chosen for the national honor for his leadership in serving the complex needs of cancer patients and their families.

The ACS Quality of Life Award honors providers who routinely excel in providing care to their patients experiencing cancer, going beyond the bounds of their duties. Lane W. Adams emphasized the importance of a “warm hand of service” during his vice presidency of the American Cancer Society. This award represents Adams’ credence to serve and enhance others’ well-being.

Mullett has committed his time to lung screening and education by chartering the Lung Screening Excellence Project in Kentucky and serving as co-investigator at Kentucky Lung Cancer Education, Awareness, Detection and Survivorship, or LEADS. As a stage-4 liver cancer survivor, Mullett has a unique and personal perspective in providing care to his patients. He is known for his devotion to providing high-quality care for underrepresented citizens in Kentucky by working with nonprofit, government and medical groups.

Mullett currently serves as medical director for the Markey Cancer Center Research Network. He has also served as a colonel in the Army Reserves, with deployments in 2004 and 2012.

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10 things to know about women's heart health

Top 10 things to know about women’s heart health

By Dr. Gretchen Wells, director of the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute’s Women’s Heart Health Program.

Dr. Gretchen Wells

Dr. Gretchen Wells

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, but it often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. Part of that comes from the fact that women’s hearts are different from men’s in certain ways, which can affect the way women develop heart disease and experience heart attack symptoms.

People assume all heart attacks feel like a crushing in the chest, but often, and for women in particular, the symptoms of a heart attack can be quite different. That’s why it’s so important to teach women what to look for and how to take the best care of their hearts.

Check out my top 10 list of things women should know about their hearts, and be sure to listen to an interview I did recently about heart health below!

1. Know your symptoms

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
  • If you’re having symptoms, call 911!

2. Quit smoking. Just do it. You know you should. UK HealthCare has resources to help you quit. Check them out.

3. “Waist it.” Watch what you eat! Women have an increased risk of heart attack if their waist circumference is big.

4. Move it! The Nurses’ Health Study demonstrated that women who exercise (brisk walking) 30 minutes five out of seven days a week reduce their risk of a heart attack by 50 percent.

5. Know your numbers! Know your blood glucose (sugar), cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. If these are abnormal, talk to your healthcare provider about ways to improve them.

6. Don’t be sweet! If you’re diabetic, get treatment. This is a far greater risk factor in women than in men.

7. And while we’re at it – treat your blood pressure, too.

8. Talk to your doctor about whether or not you should be taking an aspirin (or any other medications for that matter). Women over the age of 65 should take a daily aspirin for prevention. The recommendations vary in other groups.

9. Don’t worry, be happy! The type-A personality has been strongly associated with heart attacks in men, and we’re learning more about optimism and positivity in women.

10. Call your mother (that’s my mother’s suggestion). Find out from her about your family history. Heart disease runs in families. Find out exactly what type of heart disease your family has and discuss it with your doctor.

Dr. Wells was recently interviewed on Behind the Blue, the University of Kentucky’s podcast. She was joined by Gail Cohen, a patient who experienced firsthand the dangers of undetected heart disease. Listen below to hear Gail’s story as well as tips from Dr. Wells about how you can improve your heart health.

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Researchers are looking for exotic microorganisms, and they reported a unique bacterium found in a coal mine fire that's burned for nearly a decade.

Bacteria from Kentucky coal mine fire could make antibiotic drug more effective

Researchers looking in Appalachia for exotic microorganisms that could produce groundbreaking new medicines have reported a unique find from the smoldering remains of a coal mine fire that’s burned for nearly a decade in southeastern Kentucky.

In new findings published this week in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, a research team from UK, Rice University and the University of Oklahoma made new — and in some cases, more effective — versions of the antibiotic drug daptomycin by using an enzyme from soil bacteria found in smoke vents of the Ruth Mullins coal fire. The study’s authors said the enzyme, called PriB, could prove useful in drug development.

Study co-author Jon Thorson, PhD, director of the UK Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation (CPRI), says the finding is part of the center’s efforts in “bioprospecting,” or the search for new organisms that could be useful for making drugs. Thorson and colleagues have isolated more than 750 microbial strains, including some that live miles below ground in coal mines. In addition, the team has isolated more than 250 corresponding microbial metabolites, more than half of which have never been previously documented.

“A major focus of the CPRI is the discovery of novel microbial natural products and corresponding biocatalysts that have synthetic applications,” Thorson said. “PriB is one of the first capable of modifying highly complex drugs like daptomycin.”

The organism that yielded PriB is Streptomyces species “RM-5-8.” The RM stands for Ruth Mullins, the name of the coal fire where RM-5-8 was found.

“We don’t know the mechanism for why it makes daptomycin work better,” said Rice structural biologist George Phillips, whose team determined the three-dimensional structure of the enzyme. “It may be that it just gets into membranes better because the enzyme’s specialty is adding a prenyl group, an organic molecule that typically comes into play when a molecule docks with the outer membrane of a cell. The target for the drug is associated with the membrane, so this might be the mechanism for the improvement.”

Phillips has collaborated closely with both Thorson and co-author Shanteri Singh, an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma, for more than a decade. Phillips’ team specializes in using X-ray crystallography to determine the precise structure of enzymes like PriB.

“In the organism, the enzyme both makes prenyl groups and attaches them to the standard amino acid tryptophan,” Phillips said. “This is part of a much larger metabolic pathway, but the (UK) team isolated the gene that produces the enzyme, and they used that to create a form of E. coli that produced the enzyme in bulk.”

Phillips’ team crystallized the enzyme and determined its shape. Phillips said the enzyme has a pocket where it binds with tryptophan and attaches the prenyl group. Studies at UK found the enzyme readily prenylates more than a dozen other compounds and can also use “nonnative” prenyl donors that notably expand its synthetic utility. Phillips said his group is already looking for ways to modify PriB’s pocket to make it even more useful in biosynthesis.

“This prenylation reaction could be broadly useful in producing drugs and other chemicals through biotechnology,” Phillips said. “Because the enzyme is permissive, it is possible to think of using it to produce all sorts of drugs, including antibiotics and anti-cancer therapies.”

In the video below, Thorson explains how bioprospecting for microorganisms in Appalachia works.

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Meet Dr. Susan Smyth, director of the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute

Making the RoundsOur latest Making the Rounds interview features Dr. Susan Smyth, medical director of the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute. Dr. Smyth is a researcher and physician focused on treating patients with bleeding and clotting disorders.

What do you enjoy most about being a heart doctor?

The field of cardiology is just extraordinary. It’s incredibly rewarding to be part of a field that has done so much for our society and to every day be thinking about, “How can we do this better? How can we keep people out of the hospital? How can we make them live longer? How can we make them feel better? How can we get rid of their suffering?” To be able to translate something that we observe in a clinical study to a patient and make their lives better is incredibly rewarding.

Why is research such an important part of your job?

The thing that drives me is to think about how we apply the scientific method to alleviating pain and suffering, extending life, and promoting health. How can we apply the knowledge that we have today so that we can improve tomorrow what we’re doing for folks across the United States?

What do you want patients to know about the care team at Gill?

We have a phenomenal care team at the University of Kentucky. We have staff whose entire job is to be there for the patient, for the family member and for the loved one and to support them throughout their journey.

Know that when you come here, you will be surrounded by a team that is dedicated to taking care of you.

Tell us about your interest in women’s heart health.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, and a lot of people don’t realize that. As a female cardiologist, it’s something that’s very close to my heart and a lot of my patients’ hearts, and we do have a very large focus on women’s heart health at Gill.

Another thing that I’m passionate about is trying to get more women in medicine and science in general. We do not have enough female cardiologists. Less than 15 percent of the cardiologists in the United States are female. That’s a number that needs to change. And so while we think about how we can improve heart health in women, I also want to encourage women to consider this as a career because I can’t think of a more rewarding specialty to go into.

You were born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Do you root for the Wildcats or the Tar Heels?

I am a native North Carolinian but I changed colors of blue when I moved to Kentucky. I continue to bleed blue, but it’s a little bit darker now than when I was younger. I have been in Kentucky for a little over 10 years and I cheer for the Wildcats, much to my mom’s chagrin!

Watch our video interview with Dr. Smyth, where she talks more about the types of conditions she treats and what patients can expect when they come to Gill.

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Cold or flu? It’s a question that comes up every winter. Knowing the subtle and not-so-subtle difference between the two illnesses, though, is important.

Is it a cold or the flu?

Cold or flu? Knowing the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between the two is important, since seeking early treatment when you have the flu can shorten its duration and severity.

Key differences

Colds and flu have many of the same symptoms, but here are some differences:

  • Body aches. With flu, they are much more severe.
  • Stuffy/runny nose usually signals a cold. The same is true for sneezing.
  • With a cold, a cough usually creates yellow or green mucus. The flu tends to appear with a dry, unproductive cough.
  • Sore throat. Could be either cold or flu.
  • Nausea. A cold does not produce nausea (unless in cases of severe nasal drainage that upsets the stomach).
  • Fever. Usually signals the flu, particularly if it’s 100° or higher.
  • Chills and sweats. It’s the flu.
  • Onset of symptoms. A cold comes on over time. The flu makes a much more sudden appearance.

If you’re still unsure whether you have the flu or a cold, consider seeing your healthcare provider for a definitive diagnosis. Anti-viral medications are available to reduce the longevity and severity of the flu, if it’s caught early. Most colds can be treated with over-the-counter medications. Check with your pharmacist to choose the medications right for your specific symptoms.

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The celebration of women's heart health in Albert B. Chandler hospital featured giveaways, prizes and simple tips to make your diet more heart-healthy.

‘Gill Goes Red’ shares treats and tips in celebration of Heart Month

Kate Breeden closed her eyes as she took a bite, trying to concentrate on the flavors of the food she was sampling.

“Well, it’s definitely a brownie,” she said, “but I have no idea what the mystery ingredient is. Maybe carob instead of chocolate. Or dates? But I’m not 100 percent sure to be honest.”

Breeden was among dozens of women – and a few men – gathered on Feb. 3 to launch American Heart Month at UK with “Gill Goes Red.”

The celebration of women’s heart health in the Pavilion A atrium of Albert B. Chandler hospital featured giveaways, prizes, and simple tips and substitutions to make your diet more heart-healthy. But the most popular attraction? Free samples of tasty treats with a “secret ingredient” that made each treat more heart-friendly.

Taking baby steps to better heart health

“Every New Year, thousands of people resolve to eat healthier and lose weight, but lose their momentum within a few weeks and return to their old habits,” said Dr. Gretchen Wells, director of the Women’s Heart Health Program at the UK Gill Heart Institute, and one of the day’s speakers. “We encourage people to take baby steps to improve their diet as a long-term path to healthier eating and better heart health.”

Vanessa Oliver, a dietitian with the UK’s Health and Wellness program, shared with the audience her tips for making foods more nutrient-rich as a way to take those baby steps.

“Women’s risk of heart attack has been directly related to waist circumference,” Oliver said. “Making an effort to enhance the quality of the choices you make can be an effective way to reduce waist circumference without a sense of self-denial.”

Oliver suggested a few simple changes that can help achieve that goal, including eating brightly colored foods (usually fruits or vegetables) instead of “white” or “beige” foods, increasing dietary fiber by choosing whole grains over processed ones, and reducing sugar intake, particularly from sodas and fancy coffee drinks, which contain large amounts of “hidden” sugars.

“One of the best ways to start making those changes is to keep a food journal, either by writing it down, using an app or even taking a picture,” Oliver said. “Doing so can help you be aware of what you’re eating and identify places where you can make changes.”

The secret ingredients

At the end of the program, the secret ingredient for each treat was announced to a chorus of laughter and exclamations of surprise.

Jennifer Vissing, the nurse coordinator for the Gill’s Structural Heart Program, correctly guessed that the brownie’s secret ingredient was black beans.

“Black beans provide extra fiber and complex carbohydrates, which can improve blood cholesterol levels ” Oliver said. “The brownies are made with applesauce and blueberries as well, reducing the amount of refined sugar and adding a dash of antioxidants.”

The prize for correctly guessing that the chocolate chip “cookie dough” was actually a form of hummus went to Maria Kraemer, a postdoc in the Saha Cardiovascular Research Center.

“Chickpeas are a more complex carbohydrate than the white flour in traditional cookie dough, which makes you feel fuller longer,” Oliver said. “On top of that, the recipe is much lower in fat than the real thing, since it contains no butter or eggs.”

The granola was the true mystery treat, and no one was able to guess its secret ingredient.

“Most granolas are made with a lot of oil, which greatly increases fat content,” Oliver explained. “This granola is made with made with egg whites instead of oil.”

‘One of many ways’ to improve nutrition

Oliver reminded attendees that portion size is also important.

“You should be able to indulge every once in a while, and these are wonderful options, but even black bean brownies aren’t healthy if you eat half a pan,” she said. “Think of these as one of many ways you can improve nutrition for you and your family.”

Vissing, like many of the participants, voiced her enthusiasm for the day’s events.

“I really enjoyed learning more about how to make anything healthier, and it was fun,” she said.

Wells was pleased that attendees came away from the day with some real information to help them live healthier lives.

“We wanted to have fun, we wanted to celebrate women and we wanted to empower women to make changes in their lifestyle,” Wells said. “I think Gill Goes Red 2017 achieved all three.”

If you want to make these treats at home, the brownie recipe comes from Forks Over Knives, the granola recipe comes from Epicurious and the “Cookie Faux” hummus recipe comes from The Wannabe Chef.

Check out video footage and pictures from the event.

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