Eat more plants for a healthier heart, says UK’s Dr. Gretchen Wells

Dr. Gretchen Wells

Written by Dr. Gretchen Wells, director UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute’s Women’s Heart Health Program

Most people don’t realize that the power to prevent many diseases is in their own hands.

By exercising – even a little – and quitting smoking, you greatly reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease and even dementia. But perhaps the easiest way to tip the odds in your favor is to change your diet. If you’re looking for a way to eat healthier, consider a plant-based diet.

A plant-based diet is based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. It excludes or minimizes meat, eggs and dairy products, as well as highly processed foods like bleached flour, refined sugar and some oils.

Numerous studies have linked a plant-based diet to lower risks of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease – as much as 30 percent, according to one Harvard study.

Don’t know where to begin? Here are some guidelines:

  • Veggies: Any vegetable, especially leafy green or yellow vegetables with high water content.
  • Fruits: No limits here, but deeply colored berries are a plus.
  • Starches: This includes starchy vegetables like potatoes as well as whole grains like oats, rice or quinoa.
  • Beans and legumes: These are starchy, but generally have a higher protein content. Consider beans, lentils and dried peas.
  • Nuts and seeds: Use sparingly to avoid weight gain.

You can adjust slowly to a plant-based diet. Adopt the popular “Meatless Mondays” trend in your home and add Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. as you go. Or experiment by adjusting your favorite recipes to be plant-based: make your chili all beans, or prepare a stir-fry with tofu or edamame instead of chicken.

Heart-healthy cooking demo at UK HealthCare

If you want some ideas, come to UK HealthCare on Saturday, Nov. 18, for “Feeding Your Heart and Soul” featuring best-selling cookbook author Jane Esselstyn. Esselstyn, who has spent most of her life advocating for a plant-based, meatless, whole-food diet, will demonstrate recipes from The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, which she co-authored with her mother, Ann. You’ll also get the opportunity to taste some of her dishes and see for yourself that a plant-based diet can be healthy and delicious.

The morning will begin at 8 a.m. with an optional free yoga session. Esselstyn will take the stage for a brief lecture at 9 a.m., followed by a cooking demonstration at 10 a.m. and tastings at 11 a.m.

The registration fee for “Feeding Your Heart and Soul” is $15 and includes a free copy of The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook and tastings.

For more information or to register, call 859-218-0121.

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Falling back – tips for a smooth transition

When Daylight Saving Time ends in the wee hours this Sunday and we set our clocks back an hour, it might be tempting to spend that extra hour sleeping. But that’s just delaying the inevitable transition, which can disrupt your sleep patterns and leave you feeling tired, cranky and miserable. The sooner you adjust to the new time, the better off you’ll be.

Here are a few tips to help you smoothly adjust to the time change:

  • Keep your regular schedule. Wake up, eat and exercise at your normal times.
  • Get moving. Exercise helps advance your body clock and adapt to the time change.
  • Don’t take long naps. Limit yourself to a half-hour. Longer daytime naps can make it harder to get a full night’s sleep.
  • Have a bedtime routine. Wind down early to help slow your body down. Take a warm bath or shower, and read a book to relax.
  • Avoid screen time close to bedtime. Electronics stimulate your brain and make falling asleep more difficult.
  • Limit alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. These substances can impact your sleep.

Seasonal affective disorder

It can take a week or so for your body to adjust to the time change, but if you feel sluggish or down for an extended period, you may have seasonal affective disorder. SAD is a type of depression that is related to the seasons.

If you have extra trouble adjusting to the time change, or you feel dejected as the days get shorter, see a healthcare professional for help. Don’t tough it out on your own – there are a variety of effective treatments to help you enjoy the cooler months and changing seasons.

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chronic cough

Got a chronic cough? Knowing the cause might help you find relief.

Dr. Jonathan Kiev

Dr. Jonathan Kiev

Written by Dr. Jonathan Kiev, a cardiothoracic surgeon at UK HealthCare.

Coughing all the time can be a major annoyance to you and those around you. Even worse, chronic cough can affect your sleep, your job performance, and your overall health and well-being.

So, what causes chronic coughing and what can be done to find relief? I answer those and other questions below. Check it out.

What causes chronic cough?

Chronic cough is very common and can be caused by many things. Your doctor will work with you to narrow down the possible causes of your cough and help you find a solution.

Other symptoms that accompany a chronic cough can tell you more about what’s causing it. These symptoms include a stuffy or runny nose, the frequent need to clear your throat, hoarseness, and heartburn. If you have chronic cough and also have shortness of breath or are coughing up blood, you should see your doctor right away.

Does smoking cause chronic cough?

Yes, it can. Hot cigarette or cigar smoke can irritate the membrane and lining of the nose and the throat, which can cause chronic cough. Secondhand smoke is also a common trigger of chronic cough.

Quitting smoking can help you find relief from chronic coughing, in addition to having an array of other health benefits. Talk to your doctor about products and programs that can help you quit.

Can work hazards cause chronic cough?

Work-related irritants, including soot and dust, can also cause the condition. To prevent inhalation on the job, many employers will provide a mask to employees working around paint, woodworking materials, concrete dust and other particles that can be easily inhaled.

High-risk professionals who work around asbestos – including shipyard workers, fiberglass industry professionals and insulation installers – should be especially cautious and take active measures to prevent potential inhalation.

What are some of the less common causes?

Food entering the airway instead of the esophagus is a very common cause of coughing. In children, swallowed objects, such as peanuts or a small battery, can become lodged in the airway and cause coughing. (Always do your best to keep batteries and other choking hazards out of children’s reach.)

Less commonly, lung cancer can be the cause of chronic coughing. Your doctor will use X-rays and other tests to look for early signs of the disease.

Asthma and sarcoidosis (an inflammatory disease that can affect the lungs) are two conditions that can cause a chronic cough. These conditions require active management by your doctor to minimize coughing and to prevent these diseases from causing organ damage.

What happens if I cough up blood?

Sources of bleeding need to be looked at more aggressively. Your physician may recommend a CT scan or referral to a lung specialist (pulmonologist) who may recommend a bronchoscopy to pinpoint the source of bleeding.

I’ve heard people say that severe coughing can cause a broken rib? Is that really possible?

This is not an uncommon story. A hard cough may, in fact, fracture a rib, cause dizziness, or cause a patient to lose bladder control or even pass out.

Many patients are not able to lie flat because it aggravates their cough, causing them to feel like they’re choking. These are symptoms of severe chronic cough and require urgent evaluation by a physician.

How is chronic cough treated?

It really depends on what is causing your cough.

Many medicines, especially certain blood pressure medications, can cause chronic cough and can be adjusted to provide relief.

Patients with postnasal drip often have chronic cough and may need specific medicines to prevent the irritating trigger of excess mucus.

Patients who have GERD or gastrointestinal reflux can have irritated vocal cords, which can also cause chronic coughing. These patients can be prescribed acid-blocking medication to provide relief, and in some cases, may require surgery.

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Gluten-free: Fad or medical necessity?

It’s common these days to hear people say they are avoiding gluten, and gluten-free foods are everywhere. While it’s true that going gluten-free is just a dietary fad for some people, for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, there’s a genuine medical need to avoid gluten.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in certain grains, including wheat, rye and barley. It acts as a sort of glue that holds food together, giving it its shape.

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is a genetic illness that makes a person unable to digest gluten. Eating gluten causes the body to mount an immune response that inflames and damages the small intestine, and the small intestine stops absorbing nutrients properly. This creates a host of uncomfortable symptoms, including stomach problems such as gas and diarrhea. Those with the disease might lose weight and feel tired and achy. Other symptoms include:

  • Bone, joint pain or arthritis.
  • Depression or anxiety.
  • Tingling numbness in hands and feet.
  • Fatigue.
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Sores in the mouth or tooth discoloration.

If you think you have celiac disease, your doctor can do a test to be sure.

Gluten sensitivity

Gluten sensitivity includes many of the unpleasant symptoms of celiac, but tests for celiac come back negative. While the symptoms are real, a recent study published in Gastroenterology suggests gluten sensitivity may not be sensitivity to gluten at all, but a reaction to something called FODMAPs, short-chain carbohydrates that coincidentally are found in many foods containing gluten. If you think you are gluten-sensitive, it may really be FODMAPs that are causing your problems, so do some research or talk to your doctor to make sure you’re avoiding the right foods.

Foods to avoid

If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, avoiding gluten is imperative. But there’s also nothing wrong with going gluten free if you choose to do so.

Avoiding gluten isn’t so easy – it’s found in an amazing variety of foods and drinks. Here’s a short list:

  • Beer.
  • Breads.
  • Cakes and pies.
  • Candies.
  • Cereals.
  • Cookies and crackers.
  • French fries.
  • Pastas.
  • Processed lunch meats.
  • Salad dressings and sauces, including soy sauce.
  • Seasoned rice mixes and snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips.
  • Soups and soup bases.

What CAN you eat?

The news is not all bad. Here’s a list of things you CAN eat if you have celiac disease:

  • Fruits.
  • Vegetables.
  • Most meat, poultry, fish and seafood.
  • Dairy.
  • Beans, legumes and nuts.

Gluten-free also doesn’t mean you have to give up bread. There are many safe breads and snacks made with gluten-free ingredients. These foods are made with grains and starches from plants including rice, corn, quinoa, gluten-free oats and many others. Wheat-free doesn’t always mean gluten-free, so check nutrition labels.

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Exercise pain could be compartment syndrome, says UK team doctor

Dr. Kimberly Kaiser

Written by Dr. Kimberly Kaiser, a physician with UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine and a team physician with UK Athletics.

Each of our arms and legs have compartments that contain muscles and nerves which are surrounded by tough walls of tissue called fascia.

When we experience an injury or overuse our muscles, these compartments can fill with fluid and swell. In some people, the fascia surrounding each compartment is not very flexible and swelling can restrict blood flow, which can lead to pain, numbness and weakness in the affected limb. These may be signs of compartment syndrome.

Compartment syndrome occurs when excessive pressure builds up in an enclosed muscle space. The acute condition is often the result of bleeding or swelling into the muscle after an injury like a severe bone fracture or a crush injury, and while rare, it is a surgical emergency.

The chronic condition, called chronic exertional compartment syndrome or CECS, is often the result of prolonged physical activity and is most common in endurance athletes like runners and soccer players.

Symptoms and treatment

For those experiencing CECS, the associated symptoms occur, or worsen, during physical activity and subside immediately after stopping. Symptoms of CECS can mimic symptoms of other overuse injuries such as plantar fasciitis or shin splints, and if you’re middle aged or older, it may be the result of cholesterol build-up in the blood vessels. Your doctor may want to perform several tests to rule out other diagnoses.

Treatment for CECS depends on your activity levels and fitness goals. A physician may suggest modifying or taking a break from the exercise causing the injury or performing low-impact activities such as biking or swimming. Physical therapy, strengthening and stretching are a few approaches that can help relieve symptoms.

For those who don’t respond to conservative measures, or if activity modification is not an option, surgery may be the most effective treatment. The surgical procedure, called a fasciotomy, involves opening or removing the fascia in each affected compartment to relieve pressure. While there is a risk of complications associated with surgery, compartment syndrome left untreated can lead to permanent muscle and nerve damage, or the inability to continue participating in your favorite activity.

If you experience symptoms after an injury, or if symptoms develop during physical activity and worsen over time, it’s important to talk with your primary care provider and see a doctor who specializes in sports medicine.

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UK researcher working to prevent concussions in jockeys

It’s the fifth race on a beautiful, sunny day at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington and the jockeys are on their mounts up in the gates. The bell rings and the horses spring forward, looking for the perfect spot from which to make their charge. At the second turn, the No. 8 horse stumbles and recovers, but its jockey tumbles to the dirt. He sits for a few seconds, dazed, but then leaps to his feet and scrambles to safety.

Injuries are frequent among jockeys. During a recent interview, one jockey listed a jaw-dropping succession of injuries: two broken collarbones, a fractured wrist, broken ribs, a fractured spine and several occasions when he “got his bell rung.” These athletes get back to their jobs as quickly as possible – and potentially before they’re completely healed. That’s because, unlike other professional sports which offer guaranteed contracts to their players, horse racing operates on a “pay-to-play” model:  jockeys don’t get paid unless they’re riding.

Concussion dangers

While broken bones are nearly impossible to miss, concussions are a subtle but potentially more dangerous injury. Concussions – a brain injury caused by whiplash or other blow to the head – are notoriously difficult to diagnose, and symptoms are transient but can last several days or even weeks.

Repeated concussions have a cumulative effect. A recent study in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, determined that 110 of 111 autopsied brains donated to science by former NFL players showed evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head and believed to be responsible for later cognitive impairment, depression and/or aggression. At this time there is no data to document the incidence of CTE among jockeys, although anecdotal evidence exists; for example, the effects of Gwen Jocson’s repeated concussions forced her retirement from racing in 1999.

During the healing process after a concussion, victims can experience headaches, memory loss, balance issues, sleep disturbances and/or disorientation. According to UK College of Health Sciences researcher Carl Mattacola, PhD, ATC, that’s a dangerous state to be in if you’re trying to pilot a 1,000-pound horse around a track at 30 miles per hour. That’s why he’s developed a clinical and research interest in helping jockeys.

Developing a safety protocol

Historically, Mattacola says, attention for the jockeys has been secondary to the equine athlete. But as the awareness of the dangers of concussion has risen, all corners of the racing industry – the tracks, the horse owners, and the jockeys themselves – have come together to assess the situation and lay the groundwork for a new model. And that process has its origins in Kentucky, born of a partnership between the Jockeys’ Guild, the Jockey Club, and the UK College of Health Sciences, among others. This is the second year of a pilot project to gather baseline cognitive data on every jockey racing in Kentucky. Mattacola spearheads the project, and starting with Keeneland’s Fall Meet this month, baseline cognitive and neuromuscular testing was mandatory for every mount.

Mattacola explains that most major professional sports – the NFL, the NHL, FIFA – have concussion protocols that guide decisions about when a player is healthy enough to return to play, but it’s difficult to copy their model exactly because each state – and sometimes each individual track – operates under different set of rules, so return to ride protocols aren’t consistent.

“Our group wants to create change in how we manage and assess concussions in horse racing, so we’re beginning local and we hope to use that data to develop a protocol that can be transferred to other states,” he says.

To illustrate how the data he’s collecting would be useful, Mattacola uses blood pressure as a metaphor.

“If we know what your blood pressure is this year and you come back and that changes, we can try to determine the underlying factors or the underlying mechanisms that contributed to that change,” he said. “Similarly, the baseline assessment provides additional information to the health care provider when a jockey falls, which can help him/her make a decision about whether to suspect a concussion.”

Establishing a strong rapport

Jockeys’ Guild National Manager Terry Meyocks said that the Equine Jockey/Rider Injury Prevention Initiative is a logical extension of the Jockey Health Information System (JHIS), a database that stores jockeys’ medical histories for access by racetrack medical personnel in the event of an injury.

“Our job is to protect jockeys by making sure that they operate in a safe racing environment,” Meyocks said. “As the issue of concussions has come to the forefront, we’ve made it a priority to educate our jockeys and find ways to protect them, which is in everybody’s best interest.”

At the Jockey’s Quarters on Keeneland’s opening day, the Clerk of Scales sends a jockey to Carolina Quintana, a certified athletic trainer and a doctoral student from the UK College of Health Sciences, who administers the SCAT-5 assessment tool, which gathers injury history and data related to cognitive and neuromuscular performance. Then the jockey completes several simple tasks, such as counting backward by threes and standing on one foot.

The jockey acts a bit sheepish as his friends look on in amusement, but this testing, which will be entered into his JHIS record, will be invaluable should he suffer a head injury.

There was not instant buy-in among jockeys, however, who were concerned that the project might affect their livelihood. But Mattacola and Quintana quickly won them over in a series of meetings as the pilot project took shape.

“We – but especially Carolina – have established a strong rapport with the jockeys and they now recognize that we are not here for any other reason than to help them. If they were to be injured, we would have the data to make a healthy decision on their behalf,” he said.

Building on previous research

This is not Mattacola’s first foray into the jockeys’ world. In 2015, he conducted a series of tests to determine how well several equine helmet models protected wearers from repeated impacts, which helped inform guidelines for replacing helmets after a fall and prompted the Jockeys’ Guild to reinforce that all riders wear ASTM-approved helmets. His work on helmet safety lent him credibility with the jockeys as he nudged the concussion pilot study to fruition. “It’s impossible to eliminate all concussions in sports, but we’re obligated to do what we can to prevent it, to recognize it when it occurs, and to keep the jockey’s long-term health and safety first in mind,” he said.

His next great chapter may well be applying the resources of the UK Sports Medicine Research Institute (SMRI), a state-of-the-art multidisciplinary research center dedicated to improving athletes’ performance and preventing injuries, to helping the jockeys.


narrative medicine

What is narrative medicine? Our expert explains.

Dr. Robert Slocum

Dr. Robert Slocum

Written by Robert Slocum, PhD, the narrative medicine facilitator at UK HealthCare.

At the UK Integrative Medicine & Health program, our goal is to combine traditional medical therapies with other health and wellness practices to help patients achieve optimal health and healing.

When a patient is diagnosed with an illness or disease, the focus is often on treatment and healing the body. Unfortunately, as patients confront the anxieties of being sick, their mental health can decline, too.

One practice we use at UK HealthCare to help promote mental strength and well-being is called narrative medicine.

What is narrative medicine and how does it help?

Narrative medicine invites patients to share stories of their life and treatment through guided conversations and personal writing.

As patients share their unique experiences, a narrative medicine facilitator will help to tease out important details and insights that patients can use to cope with their diagnosis and recover mentally.

Narrative medicine helps patients understand their illness and healthcare journey in the context of their entire life story. Patients often gain new perspectives on their illness and treatment by putting their experiences into words.

Narrating these experiences may also help them discover connections between the journey of treatment and their own beliefs.

Patients often come away from narrative work with a clearer sense of personal meaning and direction.

What happens during a narrative medicine session?

Narrative medicine sessions usually take place in a patient’s hospital room or at a treatment or infusion center.

During the session, the narrative medicine facilitator will ask a few simple questions to learn more about the patient’s story and will help direct the conversation. Patients are always welcome to focus on a particular concern, issue or memory.

Although the direction of each conversation varies greatly from patient to patient, I try to ask three questions every time:

  • “What is your source of hope?”
  • “Where do you get your strength?”
  • “What gives you the courage to face the future?”

How does narrative medicine help patients’ families?

Facing illness and treatment can be a challenging journey for patients and their loved ones.

Through the narrative medicine process, patients may be better able to share the story of their treatment journey with family, friends and care providers, leading to a feeling of greater support from those who are most important in their life.

Are there medical benefits to narrative medicine?

Absolutely. Narrative medicine has been shown to:

  • Help release emotional and physical pain and encourage overall well-being.
  • Offer nonpharmacological pain management.
  • Encourage the trust and rapport between the patient and their treatment team, improving communication and promoting patient cooperation and outcomes.

UK HealthCare’s narrative medicine practice

Narrative medicine sessions are available for UK HealthCare patients and their families.

While we primarily work with cancer patients at the UK Markey Cancer Center, we also work with other specialties at UK HealthCare including heart care patients and those in the Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

For more information about narrative medicine or to schedule an appointment for a narrative medicine session, contact me at 859-324-0955 or

Next steps:

  • Find out more about UK Integrative Medicine & Health, a program that focuses on the treating the whole patient using all appropriate therapies, healthcare expertise and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.
  • Learn about UK HealthCare’s music therapy program, which uses music to help improve patients’ well-being.

Author of heart-healthy cookbook to speak at UK on Nov. 18

Popular cookbook author Jane Esselstyn is coming to UK HealthCare on Nov. 18 for a lecture and cooking demonstration about the benefits of a plant-based diet for heart disease prevention.

Esselstyn, a former health educator, has spent most of her life advocating for a plant-based, whole-food diet. A collection of her recipes is featured in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, which she co-authored with her mother, Ann.

The event is part of the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute Women’s Heart Health Program’s “Feeding Your Heart and Soul” initiative. Dr. Gretchen Wells, the program director, is an enthusiastic voice in the campaign to reduce the incidence of heart disease in Kentucky.

Numerous studies have linked a plant-based diet to lower risks of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease – as much as 30 percent, according to one Harvard study, Wells said. Plant-based doesn’t mean vegetarian, however: Smaller amounts of lean meats such as chicken or fish are OK.

“One of our missions at the Gill is to educate Kentuckians about lifestyle and encourage them to make changes that reduce their risk for heart disease,” Wells said. “Jane can provide them the tools to live healthier lives, so bringing her to Lexington was a logical fit.”

The event takes place in the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital Pavilion A Auditorium and will kick off at 8 a.m. with an optional free yoga session. Esselstyn will take the stage for a brief lecture at 9 a.m., followed by a cooking demonstration at 10 a.m. and tastings at 11 a.m.

Some of the recipes Esselstyn will be demonstrating include: kale bruschetta, corn muffins with jalapenos and salsa, chocolate-raspberry mango parfait, smoky little devils (a healthy take on deviled eggs), and several salad dressings. Samples of most recipes will be available for tasting following the demonstration.

The $15 registration fee includes the tastings and a copy of her Esselstyn’s cookbook.

Registration ends Nov. 10 and is limited to the first 125 people. Free parking is available in the UK HealthCare parking garage at 110 Transcript Ave., directly across South Limestone from Chandler Hospital.

To register, contact Karen Michul at or call 859-218-0121.

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10 warning signs of domestic violence

10 warning signs of domestic violence

One in four women (and one in seven men) in the United States will be victims of domestic violence at some time in their lives. Domestic violence isn’t just physical – it’s a pattern of physical, verbal, sexual and psychological violence used by one partner in a relationship to gain power or control over another partner. The effects can be devastating.

It’s important to understand the signs of domestic violence so that you can take action to help yourself or a loved one. Here are 10 of the most common indications that a relationship is abusive:

1. Physical abuse: Any use of force or physical harm.

2. Mental or emotional abuse: A regular pattern of verbal offense, threatening, bullying and constant criticism, as well as more subtle tactics like intimidation, shaming and manipulation.

3. Controlling money: Your partner should not have financial secrets, keep money from you or control how you spend your money.

4. Checking phone, email or social media without your permission: Looking through your email, phone or internet history without your knowledge or permission.

5. Isolation/keeping you from seeing friends or loved ones.

6. Cruelty to animals or children: Violent behavior toward animals or children.

7. Threats or intimidation: This may include your partner breaking things on purpose that are sentimental or valuable to you.

8. Threats of suicide: Using threats of suicide as a way to control a partner and/or keep them from leaving.

9. Drug or alcohol abuse: This can lead to other abusive behaviors. One partner insisting the other drink or take drugs is also a form of abuse.

10. Extreme jealousy or possessiveness: Calling or checking up on you excessively or insisting on knowing where you are at every moment. This also includes possessive behavior, such as criticizing or dictating what you wear.

These behaviors are not acceptable in any relationship. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these signs of abuse, tell a trusted friend immediately and talk with a health professional or contact a local domestic violence awareness group.

Visit to find a shelter and other domestic violence help in your area. GreenHouse17 Inc., formerly the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Prevention Program, an advocacy group for victims of intimate partner violence, has locations in Lexington. Reach their toll-free hotline at 800-544-2022.

In other areas, the National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached by phone at 800-799-7233 or on the web at

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Barnstable Brown

UK celebrates new expansion of Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center

The UK Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center is celebrating a significant milestone in its 10-year history with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new clinic expansion at UK HealthCare at Turfland and recognition of a recent top 50 ranking in U.S. News and World Report for patient care in endocrinology and diabetes.

Since its inception in 2008, the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center has been a leader in diabetes prevention, education, research and comprehensive care. The new clinic space at UK HealthCare at Turfland will allow the center to care for even more patients and includes space for an education center.

The Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center was established by twins Patricia Barnstable Brown and Priscilla Barnstable along with their mother, Wilma. They pledged the initial funding to support the center in memory of Patricia Barnstable Brown’s husband, David, who passed away from complications of diabetes in 2003.

Proceeds from the family’s annual Derby Eve Gala, which attracts celebrities from across the world to the Barnstable Brown family home in Louisville, have benefited research and patient care at the diabetes center at UK. To date, more than $13 million has been donated.

“Thanks to the generosity and vision of the Barnstable Brown family, patients with diabetes in Kentucky are receiving the highest level of patient care and benefiting from innovative research that impacts treatment and understanding of the disease,” UK President Eli Capilouto said.

Treating diabetes in Kentucky

Currently, the center treats more than 7,500 adult patients and 2,500 pediatric patients each year in the management and treatment of diabetes and related diseases.

“The support from the Barnstable Brown Family has enabled us to recruit talented physicians, physician-scientists and specialized staff dedicated to the care of patients and their families,” said Dr. Mark F. Newman, UK executive vice president for health affairs. “Having a center where clinical care, research and education come together for the benefit of patients now and in the future is a tremendous asset and resource for everyone in Kentucky and beyond.”

Overall, it is estimated that more than 600,000 Kentuckians have diabetes and that as many as one in three adults in Kentucky may have pre-diabetes, either diagnosed or undiagnosed.

“As the burden of diabetes in Kentucky continues to grow, the UK Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center is pushing forward to improve diabetes prevention and quality of life and to increase better health outcomes,” said Dr. John Fowlkes, director of the center and a pediatric endocrinologist. “The newly expanded clinic marks a monumental step towards that goal.”

Comprehensive care in one location

The expansion will allow the center to care for more patients of all ages – from infants to seniors – with diabetes and related disorders at one consolidated location. The Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center at Turfland also will house on-site access to pharmacy and supplies, ophthalmology and optometry services, laboratory testing, ultrasound, and radiology.

Services offered include consultation with expert diabetes specialists; coordination of care for diabetes complications; screening and management; and comprehensive patient education plans.

Clinical resources include:

  • 11 physicians and four advanced practice providers at the adult clinic.
  • Five physicians, two advanced practice providers, a certified social worker and nursing resources at the pediatric clinic.
  • Six outpatient clinic-based diabetes educators.
  • Five outpatient diabetes educators.

Impacting lives across Kentucky

“This is a very emotional and heartfelt time for me to witness the recognition of the center as it continues to expand and flourish in helping patients throughout the Kentucky,” Patricia Barnstable Brown said. “The expansion of space and resources means the center can touch even more lives across the Commonwealth and beyond.”

Touching lives is at the heart of what the center is all about.

Lives impacted include those of the Middleton family of Lexington – James (JC) and Lisa, along with their children, Kara and Max. JC and both children have Type 1 diabetes and receive care and diabetes management at the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center.

“Diabetes has touched our entire family,” said JC Middleton. “It’s a different challenge every day, but we are learning to live a full and healthy life with diabetes with the help of the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center.”

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