You should know about the dangers of childhood concussions.

Know the signs of childhood concussions

Does a child in your family play sports? If so, there are things you should know about the risks and dangers of childhood concussions.

Concussions are serious, traumatic brain injuries that get worse each time they happen. A second concussion can even be fatal to anyone not yet recovered from the first, a condition called second impact syndrome (SIS).

Be able to recognize concussion symptoms

It’s important to know the warning signs when you may be dealing with something as serious as brain trauma. A few concussion symptoms include:

  • Headache, vomiting or nausea.
  • Trouble thinking normally.
  • Memory problems.
  • Fatigue and trouble walking.
  • Dizziness and vision problems.
  • Changes in sleep patterns.

These symptoms can occur right away, but may not start for weeks or even months. If your child has any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately.

Don’t forget a helmet

Helmets are a required standard in team sports like football, but even backyard activities like riding a bicycle and skating call for protection.

Keep coaches in the know

If your child is playing team sports and has or may have had a concussion, be sure the coaches know. Continuing to play is not worth the risk of a second concussion, so when in doubt, sit them out.

Know your head injury ABCs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you know your ABCs. That means you will Assess the situation, Be alert for the signs and symptoms, and Contact a healthcare provider when there is a head injury.

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Markey first to perform unique procedure for ovarian cancer

Physicians at the UK Markey Cancer Center are the first to perform a unique procedure to treat a rare and persistent type of ovarian cancer.

Dr. Lauren Baldwin

Dr. Lauren Baldwin

Surgical oncologist Dr. Lauren Baldwin and radiation oncologist Dr. Jonathan Feddock collaborated on the procedure, which involved resecting a patient’s tumor and installing a special internal radiation device known as a CivaSheet.

The CivaSheet has been used for some gynecological, colorectal, head and neck, and pancreatic cancers as well as soft tissue sarcomas, but this is the first known instance of using it for ovarian cancer.

Dr. Jonathan Feddock

Dr. Jonathan Feddock

The patient who underwent the procedure has been living with a rare type of slow-growing ovarian cancer for nearly three decades. Multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation failed to stop the disease.

Prior to this procedure, she had undergone four previous surgeries at both a local community hospital and at Markey to remove as much of the tumor as possible every few years as it grew back. Because of the location of the cancer, surgeons have only been able to safely resect about 90 percent of the tumor.

“This cancer is tricky to treat, because it is prone to recur but grows slowly,” Baldwin said. “That makes it relatively resistant to chemotherapy, which attacks fast-growing cells. Surgery is usually the best option, but each additional surgery becomes riskier for the patient.”

Markey experts brainstorm an innovative idea

Before deciding to offer yet another tumor resection as an option to the patient, Baldwin sought help from Markey’s weekly multidisciplinary tumor conference to see if oncology experts in other fields had any ideas. Feddock, who specializes in brachytherapy – a form of radiation that involves using internal implants to disseminate radiation – suggested they try combining the surgery with an implantation of the CivaSheet.

The CivaSheet is a highly flexible membrane embedded with radioactive palladium. After Baldwin resected the tumor, Feddock sewed the CivaSheet directly to the remaining cancerous area. The radiation seeds are capped with gold on one side, so they provide direct, localized radiation to the area where the tumor has been growing back while sparing the other surrounding tissue from damage.

Potential to help patients with difficult cancer

While the procedure may not cure the patient of her cancer, the hope is that the CivaSheet will inhibit the cancer’s growth, allowing many more symptom-free years to pass before the patient may need further treatment.

Because of the tumor’s slow-growing nature, Baldwin says it will take some time before they know how effective the procedure is, but she is hopeful about the outcome.

“This treatment has potential to offer control of this cancer for patients who don’t have any other options,” Baldwin said. “We’re hoping to add both quantity and quality of life for a patient in a difficult scenario.”

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Protect your eyes with these 9 tips for everyday sun safety

Dr. Claire Fraser

Written by Dr. Claire Fraser, an ophthalmologist at UK Advanced Eye Care.

Now that the solar eclipse is over, it’s a good idea to review the basics of everyday sun protection for your eyes. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight can lead to damage on the inside and the outside of your eyes.

There is an increased risk of developing cancers of both the eyelids and the eye itself with increased exposure to the sun. Long-term sun exposure can also result in chronic eye irritation and non-cancerous growths. Sun exposure can even cause cataracts. Every time we are out in the sun without eye protection, we may be adding damage that increases our risk. These problems can take years to develop, but it’s never too early to protect your eyes.

Eye protection is important all year. Snow-blindness is a type of painful damage to the front of the eye that can occur when UV rays are reflected from ice and snow.

For these reasons, eye doctors recommend that you wear proper sunglasses and a brimmed hat when you’re in the sun for long periods of time. Here are nine tips for eye protection:

1. Choose the right sunglasses.

Look for sunglasses that offer at least 99 percent UV absorption. Glasses with 100 percent UV absorption are even better. This can also be indicated by a label stating, “UV absorption up to 400 nm.”

2. A darker lens isn’t always the best.

It can make your eyes feel more comfortable in bright light, but it doesn’t mean improved UV protection. A colored lens such as amber, green or gray can still have 100 percent UV absorption.

3. Large-framed lenses offer more protection.

Larger frames and wraparound styles allow fewer UV rays to reach the eye from around the glasses. This means more protection to the eyes and eyelids.

4. You don’t have to spend a lot of money.

There are excellent inexpensive options for sunglasses that offer 100 percent UV protection.

5. All sunglasses must meet impact standards.

These standards are set by the Food and Drug Administration for safety. Plastic lenses are less likely to shatter when hit by an object. For sports, get plastic lenses that offer shatter-protection.

6. Sun damage can happen during all seasons.

Don’t forget to protect your eyes during the winter months, especially when outside in the snow.

7. Tanning beds can cause severe eye damage.

Tanning beds can produce UV radiation levels up to 100 times higher than that from the sun.

8. Never look directly at the sun, even with sunglasses.

Looking directly at the sun at any time can lead to permanent damage to the center of your vision.

9. Protect your children’s eyes, too.

Don’t forget to protect your children’s eyes with hats and sunglasses. Damage from UV radiation adds up over time.

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Pediatric patients play ball with UK athletes at No Limits camp

Don’t miss the video at the end of this post to see highlights from this year’s camp!

Patients from Kentucky Children’s Hospital and Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center Lexington learned there are no limits to what they can do at the No Limits Baseball and Softball Camps this past Saturday.

After moving to the UK medical campus on South Limestone earlier this year, Shriners needed a new venue for the annual No Limits event. UK Athletics stepped up to the plate, offering Cliff Hagan Stadium and John Cropp Stadium as well as some help from the members of the UK Baseball and UK Softball teams, including head coaches Rachel Lawson and Nick Mingione.

Throughout the day, patients had a chance to practice and develop their baseball and softball skills with drills in batting, catching, throwing and nutrition. A member of UK Baseball or UK Softball accompanied their “buddy” to each of the stations to help them one-on-one.

Fun on the field for patients and parents

JP David, who has participated in the No Limits Camp in previous years, was able to get in on the fun once again. For 12 years, David has seen physicians at Shriners and KCH to receive care for cerebral palsy. David’s mother accompanied him to the camp, as she’s done in previous years. She appreciates that Shriners gives patients the opportunity to have typical childhood experiences.

“He would love to just keep going but his body won’t let him,” she said. “But when they host events like this, he realizes he’s not the only one and he feels like a normal kid.”

For the first time, patients at KCH were also invited to participate in the camps. Jaxon Russell, a big fan of UK Baseball, was glad to be at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Russell has undergone two open-heart surgeries in the first five years of his life. He is also being treated for pulmonary atresia. His parents, Shannon and Miranda, were excited to be a part of the big day.

“For a program like this to take time out of their days to make these kids smile and have a memorable moment is tremendous,” Miranda said. “It’s something that they’ll never forget.”

After Jaxon’s diagnosis, Shannon and Miranda founded a nonprofit organization that helps other children diagnosed with heart conditions enjoy the game of baseball.

Long-lasting benefits

Illness can often take away the opportunity for young patients to have the same experiences as other children or their siblings. Sometimes things that happen outside of a clinical setting can be incredibly beneficial for health and wellness, said Dr. Scottie Day, physician-in-chief at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

“The opportunity for a child to attend this camp gives them an experience that proves to have a long-lasting effect on psychosocial development, including self-esteem, peer relationships, independence, leadership, values and willingness to try new things,” he said.

Three patients who attended the camp also will have the opportunity to represent Kentucky in the 2018 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic next year in Houston, where they will serve as Kentucky’s batgirls/batboys during the tournament.

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Dr. Mark Newman

Welcome, Dr. Mark Newman!

UK HealthCare is excited to welcome Dr. Mark F. Newman as its new executive vice president for health affairs. He is responsible for UK HealthCare, the clinical enterprise of the University of Kentucky, and also oversees the UK College of Medicine in conjunction with the provost.

Newman joins UK from Duke University Medical Center, where he had a distinguished career in medicine, specializing in anesthesiology, as well as in healthcare management.

In joining UK, Newman is returning to his home state of Kentucky. He is an Owensboro native and grew up on his family’s farm in Ohio County. He earned his undergraduate degree in biology from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green and went on to attend the University of Louisville College of Medicine on an Air Force Health Professions Scholarship. He earned a medical degree in 1985 and went on to residency training in anesthesiology at the U.S. Air Force’s Wilford Hall Ambulatory Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. He followed that with a fellowship in cardiothoracic anesthesiology and transesophageal echocardiography at Duke University Medical Center.

After completing his medical education, Dr. Newman returned to active duty in the Air Force and was deployed in Operations Desert Shield, Just Cause and Desert Storm. He also practiced anesthesiology at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio.

Later, at Duke, Dr. Newman served as chief of cardiothoracic anesthesiology, chair of anesthesiology, and chairman of the board and then-president of the Duke Private Diagnostic Clinic – Duke’s physician practice organization. He was named the Merel H. Harmel Distinguished Professor of Anesthesiology in 2005 and currently holds research grants of more than $10.5 million.

Newman is a prolific author of medical publications, chapters, editorials and books. He is a 2010 Alumni Fellow of the UofL School of Medicine and received the 2012 Duke Medical Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Award.

He takes the helm at UK HealthCare during a period of rapid growth and expansion. UK HealthCare and the UK College of Medicine make up the Commonwealth’s largest academic medical center, offering advanced subspecialty care to the people of the state and the region and creating outreach programs throughout the state with the aim of giving people access to high-quality care close to where they live.

Newman and his wife, Susan, have three adult children.

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UK College of Medicine-Northern Kentucky

St. Elizabeth gives $2.5M for UK College of Medicine scholarships

St. Elizabeth Healthcare will provide a gift of $2.5 million to support a tuition scholarship program for the UK College of Medicine-Northern Kentucky campus. Through this gift, scholarships will be awarded to medical students enrolled at the Northern Kentucky campus, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019.

The affiliation between UK, Northern Kentucky University and St. Elizabeth Healthcare was announced in February. This scholarship program is the next step in the development of a regional medical college in Northern Kentucky.

“In providing these scholarships, we are making an enormous investment in the future of the health of our community,” said Garren Colvin, St. Elizabeth president and CEO. “With our partnership with the University of Kentucky, we will be able to provide additional benefits to both organizations as well as the region and Commonwealth by directly assisting in medical school support and recruitment for the Northern Kentucky campus.”

These scholarships will be provided to medical students who meet the following criteria:

  • Enrolled as medical students at the UK College of Medicine-Northern Kentucky campus.
  • Meet the college’s financial need requirements.
  • Remain in good academic standing and progress toward completion of the medical degree.
  • Maintain continuous, full-time enrollment at the Northern Kentucky campus

“This scholarship program, seeds sown in ground made fertile by a willingness to care for others, will ripple through many generations of health practitioners,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “We are grateful to St. Elizabeth’s leadership and the donors who support this remarkable gift, one that will directly support medical students, and ultimately the patients whose names the donors may never know. That is the highest form of giving, and it is the highest honor we can receive as a partner in this endeavor.”

Increasing the number of physicians in the Commonwealth will increase healthcare access for residents, which will improve the health of Kentuckians. Kentucky leads the nation in cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease rates and also ranks sixth in heart disease, seventh in diabetes and eighth in stroke.

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hip replacement

Don’t let hip pain keep you down

Written by Dr. Patrick O’Donnell, an orthopaedic oncologist who treats bone cancer and also does reconstructive orthopaedic surgeries. 

When patients have hip pain and other treatment options aren’t providing relief, the next step is often a hip replacement surgery.

Hip replacement surgery can drastically improve your mobility, offer pain relief and allow you to get back to a more active lifestyle. Although it might sound scary, hip replacement is one of the most common and effective surgeries in medicine today. In fact, it’s one of my favorite surgeries because my patients tend to do so well afterward.

So, who’s a candidate for hip replacement and what can you expect during the procedure? Let’s find out.

What is a hip replacement?

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint formed by the acetabulum of the pelvis (the socket) and the upper-end of the femur, called the femoral head (the ball). Hip pain is frequently caused by arthritis in the hip joint. When arthritis damages the cartilage between the two bones, it can create friction in the joint, damaging both the femur and pelvis.

During hip replacement surgery, your surgeon will remove the damaged parts of the femur and pelvis and insert artificial replacements that allow your joint to move smoothly.

Who should consider a hip replacement?

Hip replacement is usually recommended for patients who have hip pain despite having tried other nonoperative treatment options. For many patients with end-stage arthritis, a replacement might be the best option.

Not everyone is a candidate for hip replacement, however. If you’ve had a history of infection, blood clots or pulmonary embolism, hip replacement might not be right for you.

How long does the procedure take and what’s recovery like?

Usually between 45 minutes and an hour. Many patients are able to walk soon after their surgery, though most people require about three months of rehabilitation before the hip joint is fully recovered.

I hear old myths about people not being able to walk after a hip replacement surgery, but the truth is that it’s a much easier recovery than other surgeries, such as knee replacements. We expect each of our patients to make a full recovery and return to the activities they love with reduced pain.

We can help

What makes UK unique is our breadth of care for anyone with hip pain.

We offer hip preservation treatments for patients who aren’t ready for a hip replacement, but we also have a team of surgeons who can take care of you, no matter what kind of surgery you need.

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Dr. Michael Karpf

Karpf honored for his leadership, dedication to UK HealthCare

Members of the UK HealthCare and UK communities gathered on Sept. 13 to honor the career and leadership of UK Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Dr. Michael Karpf as he prepares to complete his last week in the role he has held for the past 14 years. Dr. Mark Newman will begin his post as the new EVPHA beginning Sept. 18.

“It’s a pleasure to honor an individual who has so deeply impacted our campus and our Commonwealth,” UK President Eli Capilouto said. “Thanks to his vision and his leadership, we now ensure that Kentuckians with complex illnesses do not have to leave the state to receive top-quality care.”

Under Karpf’s leadership, UK has invested close to $2 billion for faculty recruitment, program development, technology acquisition and facilities, while also fostering partnerships with leading regional health providers across the state to extend care to those who need it most.

Since being recruited to UK in 2003 from UCLA, Karpf has developed advanced subspecialty care programs comparable to those available at the nation’s very best referral, research-intensive academic medical centers. This has been achieved in great part through the recruitment of outstanding physicians and aggressively built, nationally competitive tertiary and quaternary programs, which have grown dramatically both in volume and quality.

Karpf plans to transition to a part-time faculty position working on health service and health policy issues and plans to stay involved in the Arts in Healthcare program.

“Our journey together from a small academic medical center (AMC) to one of the nation’s larger AMCs has certainly been challenging yet significantly more rewarding than I could have ever imagined,” Karpf said. “Ellen and I cherish the wonderful friends we have made here, and we intend to continue to make this our home.”

In addition to focusing on advanced subspecialty care on campus, Karpf has also strived to develop strong relationships with community providers by expanding and improving the services they can offer. The culmination of these efforts has been the launching of the Kentucky Health Collaborative, 10 major systems in Kentucky comprising more than 50 hospitals working together to deliver value-based care – producing the best outcomes at the highest level of efficiency.

Check out some photos from Dr. Karpf’s celebration!

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Here’s how to improve your everyday memory as you age

Research shows that the human brain starts to shrink with age. When the brain shrinks, your ability to remember things can decline. You can help offset the decline in memory with regular activity that challenges both the mind and the body.

Here are some tips to help minimize age-related changes and improve everyday memory:

Stay active

Cardiovascular activity for 20 to 30 minutes at least three times a week is important for physical and mental health. Try walking, swimming or another activity that you enjoy. Physical activity enlarges the hippocampus (the most vital part of the brain for memory) and improves long-term memory.

Sleep more

It is a common misconception that sleep needs decline with age. What often happens is sleep patterns change. As we age, we spend more time in lighter sleep stages than deeper sleep stages. Try and get as much sleep as it takes for you to feel rested (at least seven to nine hours), and this includes and encourages naps.

Continue to socialize

Being social and getting out improves your memory and your mood.

Be sure you can see and hear well

It is hard to learn new things and remember old things if you can’t see or hear well. Wear your prescription glasses or hearing aids if they are prescribed to you. Have your sight and hearing tested periodically.

Avoid distractions that divert your attention

Distractions can range from trying to do several things at once to loud background noises. Even your own thoughts can distract you. When you’re preoccupied, it’s harder to pay attention. Stay focused on one task at a time so you don’t forget directions or other important information.

Try new things

New experiences, such as going to a new place or even taking a different route to your usual places, can also improve recall. Trying new things activates the part of your brain that turns short-term memory into long-term memory.

Use these memory aids

Despite the best efforts, episodic memory, which captures the “what,” “where,” and “when” of daily life, declines somewhat over time. So does long-term memory. The American Psychological Association offers these suggestions:

  • Make lists of what you want to accomplish and check off items when they are finished. Follow your established routine.
  • Don’t hurry. Take your time learning new information or remembering old information.
  • Stay organized: Keep things you use a lot in the same place each time. Put your keys and other important things somewhere that you walk by frequently.
  • Make visual associations to remember names or places.
  • Keep a calendar or planner of important dates. Check it throughout the day.

How we can help

Normal memory problems should not affect your everyday life. If you occasionally forget where you put things, you might just need to get better organized. However, if you forget how to do something or what to do in certain situations, you should see a health care provider. These memory problems are not a normal part of aging.

The UK Memory Disorders Clinic at the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute offers a variety of services to individuals with memory problems and their families. Patients at the clinic undergo a complete evaluation from our team of experts to diagnose and treat a variety of memory disorders.

Next steps:

  • Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that can affect mental capability and cause memory loss. It usually affects people who are 65 or older, so if there’s a senior in your life, be aware of these signs and symptoms of the disease.
  • Learn more about the UK Memory Disorders Clinic, which provides support to those with memory problems and their families.

Couple works with UK to help ALS patients maintain independence

Last month, the ALS Clinic at UK HealthCare earned a coveted recognition from the ALS Association: ALS Association Certified Treatment Center of Excellence. The certification honors UK’s commitment to research and patient care, which centers around a multidisciplinary approach where patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, see a variety of specialists in a single visit.

But the ALS Clinic – part of the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute – goes beyond those requirements, offering a valuable service called the ALS Equipment Loan Closet in partnership with the ALS Association’s Kentucky Chapter and Roddy and Kim Williams, who co-own APEX Mobility.

“ALS is decimating financially, as patients require expensive, customized equipment to help prolong their independence, and they often need it right away,” said Dr. Edward Kasarskis, director of the ALS Clinic. “The Loan Closet helps bridge the gap between a patient’s diagnosis and the time it takes for the equipment to arrive.”

Kim Williams said that a customized wheelchair for an ALS patient can have any number of features to help the patient navigate, sleep and/or stand. That level of technology comes with a steep price tag – between $25,000 to $30,000 – and the process can take up to eight weeks from insurance approval/reimbursement to equipment delivery.

Williams comes to KNI every Tuesday to visit with ALS patients and match their needs to what’s currently available, which can range from wheelchairs, walkers and lifts to speech-generating devices. The Loan Closet is stocked through equipment donations from the families of former patients. It’s supplemented by fundraising and is available free of charge to patients.

“ALS is often not diagnosed until the patient has significant symptoms, and you can’t just get equipment off the shelf,” Kim Williams said. “The Loan Closet exists so that the patient and his/her family can adjust more quickly,” adding that she and Roddy see it as critical to patient safety, independence and well-being.

According to Kim, Kasarskis approached Roddy about 13 years ago, asking for help on behalf of his patients.

“By the second time Roddy visited the ALS Clinic, he was hooked,” Kim said. “It became his passion to help these people.”

Since then, APEX Mobility has focused almost entirely on the needs of ALS patients. Kasarskis, who is similarly devoted to his patients, sings the Williams’ praises.

“Roddy and Kim do this with a generous heart, and in doing so make the lives of countless patients and families a lot better,” he said. “For that, we are so grateful.”

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