Health Matters

Saturdays @ 10AM and Sundays @ 6AM

Health Matters is a hour-long program that focuses on the health care needs of the mountain region. The weekly program is a co-production of Morehead State Public Radio and the Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center. AHEC offices are located at the Saint Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead and Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Ashland. Host Tony Weaver, a practicing physician in Rowan County, and his team of health experts interview guests and discuss health issues like obesity, tobacco use, heart disease, exercise and other topics concerning the well being of eastern Kentuckians.

Health Matters won the 2013 American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons media award!
Credit MSU

On the 95th anniversary of Robert Frost’s “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening”, Health Matters revisits this classic American poem. We talk about insomnia, low blood pressure and suicide, legalizing marijuana, and a cancer “Ground Shot” for Eastern Kentucky.

Tip:  Sleep experts are focusing on avoiding white light at night. They even suggest using sunglasses if you wake up and must look at a screen.


Joe Polchinski show

Mar 14, 2018

Joe Polchinski was an early pioneer of string theory, describing tiny particles of matter as vibrating strings of energy and the possibility of multiple universes. The show conveys our admiration and respect for his work. Since we don’t understand it, and can’t explain it, we discuss sugar sweetened beverages, dietary recommendations, and the death rates on Grey’s Anatomy.

Tip: Adding a tax on sugar sweetened beverages is one tool to end our misguided reliance on getting energy from carbohydrates. The other tool is cheese.

Prompted by our visit to the Rowan County Fiscal Court to listen to the debate over supporting legalization of medical marijuana in Kentucky, this show includes a discussion of the alarming lack of scientific data on marijuana, skepticism over recent research on cleaning products and emphysema, and the benefits of cold water.

Tip: Women experience heart attacks differently than men. The pain is more likely to be in the jaw, neck, arms, or between the shoulder blades, and women were nearly twice as likely to perceive the problem as anxiety.

Oh, the dedication of our cast and crew! We were scheduled to record this show on the evening of Valentine’s Day. We subsequently realized that no one (no one!) had any conflict on that day. So, we spent the most romantic evening of the year in the studio discussing brain implants, vaccinations, and colon germs. Please, please – give generously to Morehead State Public Radio.

Tip: at age 65, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends two different pneumonia vaccines (Prevnar and then Pneumovax) one year apart.

Aaron Burr Show

Feb 20, 2018

On February 17, 1801 the US House of Representatives broke an electoral college tie, and chose Thomas Jefferson as our president over Aaron Burr. Mr. Burr was the consummate politician for modern times: questionable business practices, character assassination, and even sex scandals. Health Matters looks back at Mr. Burr with this offering on Marlboro Heatsticks, generic Viagra, and Restasis.

In his State of the Union address, President Trump described a new tide of optimism that was sweeping the nation. We had Health Matters can feel it, and dedicated the show to that concept. Unfortunately, the only tide we could find in the medical literature was Tide Pods, which are being eaten by disturbed teenagers seeking attention. Soooo, we just did our usual depressing health update.

Tip: The new American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology blood pressure guidelines emphasize aggressive treatment with hypertension being any blood pressure above 130/80. For those over age 60, the American College of Physicians/American Academy of Family Physicians guidelines begin treatment at 150. It will take time to sort out which guideline prevails.


There comes a certain time when winter becomes tiresome. We have reached that time. This show is a unique combination of gripes about Kentucky’s disability rates and new blood pressure guidelines and about good news and how to be happy in 2018. Consider it your radio “seed catalog”, with hopes for a better Spring.


The Hole Truth Show

Jan 24, 2018

President Trump’s alleged statements comparing certain developing nations to the human posterior diaper area aroused concern among our nation’s leaders, but gave Health Matters an opportunity to teach you about your private parts. Tune in for our “Is It Uranus or Your Anus?” Quiz.

Tip: This flu season appears to be particularly nasty with a strain of virus that causes more illness and is harder to vaccinate against. Get your vaccine now if you haven’t before, and wash your hands frequently.


Matthew Gentry show

Jan 3, 2018

Dr. Matthew Gentry, Prof. of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry and director of the Lafora Epilepsy Cure Initiative Center at the University of Kentucky, is a remarkable man. From his beginnings in a blue-collar family in southern Indiana to being refused entry into a PT program to his current position working for the cure of an extremely rare disease, he is the definition of a rural whiz-kid scientist. Listen to us unravel his story.

Uwe Reinhardt Show

Dec 13, 2017

Uwe Reinhardt was a health economist who not only understood the numbers of healthcare, but also was able to communicate them clearly and logically. He understood the social mission of healthcare better than most. Tune in for some of his best quotes as well as a discussion of why women are less likely to get CPR, and the benefits and problems with exercise.

Tip: antihistamines combine with decongestants are often helpful for the cough that follows a cold. Dextromethorphan, guaifenesin, and codeine are not.


The Geoff Show

Dec 5, 2017

Dedicated to our loyal listener Geoff from Canada, the show features famous Geoffs, food tongs, digital hospitals, virtual doctors, and exercise in moderation.

Tip: There are about 250 injuries a day due to holiday decorating. Keep burning candles within sight, don’t burn wrapping paper, and use caution on the ladder.


Holiday decorating safety

Just in time for your Thanksgiving indigestion, we bring you a radio leftover-turkey stew of information on Nerf guns, high blood pressure guidelines, single-payer health plans, and the perils of Christmas decorating. Don’t let your Holly lead to an emergency room IV. Listen to Health Matters instead.

Tip: It is time to ditch those hot dangerous incandescent Christmas tree lights, and get the new LED version.


The Armistice Day Show

Nov 14, 2017

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, The Great War, the war to end all wars, ended. Unfortunately, the peace after that war only lasted 2 decades, and many of the lessons from The Great War have been lost. The next year, a 2 minute silence was proposed to remember those killed in the war, and then to remember the people they left behind. Armistice Day and its subsequent remembrance provided the foundation for Veterans Day.

This show, patterned after some advice Shelley’s young son received, talks about the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, self-driving cars, regular walking, and a new shingles vaccine. We also discuss the problem of interpreting research on controversial issues such as e-cigarettes and the health effects of guns.

When a fearsome monster wants you dead

When terror fills your heart with dread

You’d best be wearing shoes with tread

Brought to you by shoes with tread, we discuss falls down the stairs, falls due to pets, falls from tree stands, hockey games, musicals, and scary movies. If you are too frightened to celebrate Halloween, this show offers you a very low-adrenaline alternative. Boo.

Tom Price is another Republican rising star turned falling star. Since 1979, when the Department of Health Education and Welfare was renamed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), his 231-day term is the shortest on record. Canned due to taxpayer-funded air travel, he was also blamed for the failure of the legislature to pass an alternative to the Affordable Care Act. We discuss flu shots, E cigarettes, and the dangers of watching a musical such as “Dreamgirls”.

Dr. Kip Thorne show

Oct 18, 2017

When Health Matters was a young boy, we received a letter from Dr. Kip Thorne, our hero, the winner of the Nobel prize in physics for his research on gravitational waves, the scientist who wrote “Interstellar”, the man responsible for Stephen Hawking appearing on the Big Bang Theory.  To say that we were “best buds” in high school MAY be an overstatement, but at least we have his autograph.

Every weekend, football teams across our great country struggle with the decision to take a knee, and Health Matters can help. Orthopedic surgeons have been making this same decision for years. We present our salute to knee replacement surgery, including information on fall prevention, children and slides, physical activity, and fun facts about knee replacement.

Tip: Most knee replacements are done for osteoarthritis, due to long term where on the knee, and not due to trauma.


“Left in the lurch” describes a French board game where players “suffered a lurch” if they were left in a hopeless position from which they couldn’t win. We had Health Matters see patients in our region who are left in the lurch, with declining health resources and a diminishing life expectancy. We document this, talk about insurance companies left in the lurch, Alzheimer’s families left in the lurch, and then we end on a proud note, with a Native American tribe receiving a patent for a billion-dollar drug.

Dr. Eric Higgins is Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University Kentucky College of Medicine. He’s also an extremely nice young man who is dedicated to the eye problems of underserved populations. From cataract surgery in Swaziland to diabetic eye screening in rural Kentucky, Eric has made a career out of helping those in need. This show is about diabetes and diabetic retinopathy but it’s also a salute to Dr. Higgins.

It’s late summer, and Health Matters has stayed up late at night contemplating chiggers. OK, we stayed up all night scratching, but still the questions came up. If a cancer-sniffing dog said you had cancer, would you believe it? Should you finish your antibiotics if you already feel better? Why do people with Parkinson’s disease have a higher risk of melanoma? When should we prepare our dermatologists to diagnose disease in dark-skinned people? And will there be chiggers in purgatory?

Former Trump campaign advisor Paul Manafort is an interesting character. A figure reportedly tied to the Russian mob hired a private detective to find him concerning $19 million that went missing. He borrowed $250,000 from a Middle Eastern arms dealer for a personal loan. The FBI executed a pre-dawn raid on his house to recover some documents, the day after his testimony to a Senate subcommittee. And he testified regarding the diversion of profits from an attack submarine to help finance the French presidential elections. Guilty of a crime?

Dr. Daniel Larrow Show

Aug 29, 2017

Autism spectrum disorder, as defined by the National Institute of Mental Health, is the name for a group of developmental disorders characterized by difficulty in communicating with others, repetitive behaviors, a limited number of interests or activities, and these disorders compromise a person’s ability to function socially. Dr. Daniel Larrow has moved to Kentucky to work on caring for people with autism by modifying their environment to maximize their potential.

Health Matters salutes former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus with this chaotic show. Sponsored by the Disease of the Month Club, we discuss Alzheimer disease prevention, maternal mortality rates, work related fatalities in older workers, spirituality, and our nation’s opioid problem. Like Reince Priebus as President Trump’s Chief of Staff, at least it is brief.

Ice Breaker Show

Aug 1, 2017

The National Science Foundation runs our research program at McMurdo base in Antarctica. Unfortunately, the buildings and equipment are ancient, temperamental, and should be replaced. There is no budget for this, and our research efforts are hampered by a lack of funding. The “Polar Star” is the only US icebreaker big enough to resupply the station, and it is 40 years old. Health Matters presents the Ice Breaker Show, and promises that half the profits from the show will go to Polar research.

On June 14, NATO agreed to make cyber operations part of its war domain, along with air, sea, and land operations, and to beef up the defense of its computer networks. This means that a NATO member nation could call upon the organization to help defend it from a cyber attack. Knowing that the enemy has already infiltrated your thermostat and your refrigerator, Health Matters prepares you for the upcoming war with this show about wearable health monitors, birthrates, proton pump inhibitors, and insurance rates.

On June 23, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced California would add Kentucky to a list of states to which state-sponsored travel has been banned. Kentucky joins Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi, Kansas, South Dakota, Alabama, and Texas as states felt were the of a travel ban because they have enacted laws which are felt to be discriminatory against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals and their families. Health Matters celebrates the end of civil discourse in these United States of America with this show.

RIP Lawrence Weed show

Jul 10, 2017

Dr. Lawrence Weed realized that a medical record organized around patient problems, not dates of service, would provide a structure to guide diagnostic critical scientific thinking. He crisscrossed the United States presenting arguments for a universal structure to medical records and changed medicine. We are now engaged in a great struggle over an electronic medical record, designed for billing purposes, that does not hold true to Weed’s model. This, plus liver disease, tattoos, smoking, and defibrillators, makes for an interesting show.

World Leader in Health Inequality show

Jul 10, 2017

Another survey is out; the US stands alone with Chile and Portugal as having the greatest disparity between the health of our wealthiest and our poorest citizens. The survey was compiled before the Affordable Care Act was implemented, and will reflect the situation if the ACA is repealed. Even if the ACA is not repealed, if it is not supported, we will end up in the same place. As our wealthier citizens and our politicians develop their own separate system for maintaining their health, Health Matters believes things will get worse rather than better.