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

Live with Jacob and Kira Litras show

Jun 4, 2015

Jacob LeQuire and Kira Litras are two University of Kentucky Hospital dietetic interns assigned to our area for their education. The show gives us a chance to review their work in our community, to discuss flavonoids, and to explain how you apply emotional stress to a five-year-old. It’s all in good fun, but seriously, who torments five-year-olds for a living?

Tip: Flavonoids are compounds found in plants that have antioxidant properties. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and spices is a healthier diet.


Let’s summarize what we knew and when we knew it. We knew from the outset that a show based on “know your arboviruses” was going to be a tough sell. Honestly, we did not know it would be this bad. Join us for an update on medicines for overactive bladder, chikungunya and West Nile viruses, and the Affordable Care Act winners and losers.

Tip: one-time vaccines for adults include a tetanus booster with pertussis, the two-stage pneumonia vaccine at age 65, the shingles vaccine after age 60, and a measles or MMR vaccine if you are born after 1957.


Two Variables Walked into a Bar Graph Show

May 12, 2015

Mayo Clinic researchers have shown that 85% of the bar graphs used in top physiology journals in 2014 were used for the wrong purpose. If you have a discrete variable (“yes or no”), put it in a bar graph. If you have a continuous variable (test scores from 50-100) don’t divide them into quartiles, average the quartile, and put those averages in a bar graph. The show is also about techno trousers, double chins, and the new ACP guidelines on Pap smears.

I’ve Got Ice in the Back of My Bulkhead show

May 7, 2015

We continue our April salute to disasters with this Titanic show. On April 15, 1912, 1500 people drowned after the Titanic struck an iceberg. Every year, Kentucky loses 3500 people needlessly to lung cancer. Unfortunately, Kentucky’s loss is not as romantic – the movie rights are still available. We talk about the health benefits of PE teachers and woodworking, and about getting bad news over the phone.

Tip: Lowering our smoking rate with smoking bans and taxes would save 1200 lives per year if our lung cancer rate dropped to the national average.


Our American Cousin Show

May 1, 2015

Named for the three act play attended by Pres. Lincoln on his final night, this show reviews our own disaster of healthcare financing. When Gleevec costs $11,000 a month in the US while a generic sells for $735 a month in Canada, our citizens suffer. Though they are not assassinated, they die nonetheless because of weaknesses in our healthcare system. But then, the Health Matters short attention span kicks in. April 12 was grilled cheese sandwich day, and we talk about the (dubious) health benefits of cheese.

Big Blue Nation is still in mourning about our first basketball loss of the season. Rick and I take a somber look at healthcare and the interaction of healthcare and technology. The show includes an analysis of Kentucky’s extremely low “well-being” ranking, and our thoughts on texting while driving and screen time.

Tip: in order to devote our healthcare resources to things we can change, we have to stop doing things that don’t work. This includes getting x-rays for routine cases of low back pain, and prescribing antibiotics for routine cases of bronchitis.


Where’s the Rodeo Team? Show

Apr 14, 2015

Jean Jones is back on Health Matters, bringing her dietitian’s viewpoint and assisted by UK interns Molly Dawahare and Christa Childers. We discussed the future of Jell-O, benefits of apples, snacking preferences of Google employees, and their thoughts on eating red meat.

Tip:  According to the American Academy of pediatrics, spoons should be for serial and not for dispensing medicines. Spoons come in many different sizes and are not precise enough for measurement. Get a dosing device in your pharmacy with metric measurements and protect your child.


Stress for Success Show

Apr 7, 2015

April is stress awareness month, but don’t worry about it. Health Matters has a new show to help you reduce your stress levels. There’s a great discussion of delivering blood supply by drones, having a purpose in your life, and the benefits of palliative care in people with chronic illnesses. Well, maybe a decent discussion. We’ve heard worse.

Yes, I have a new grandson. Yes, my daughter and grandson are doing fine. No, that’s all we will say about grandchildren in the show. We do talk about recreational marijuana, pollen, hot sauce and brain tumors, cancer drugs, hepatitis drugs, and the new sleeping pill Belsomra®. It’s what we do.

Tip: if you are allergic to pollen, the first step is to avoid it. Keep the windows closed and use the AC while the pollen counts are high, and wash the pollen off your hair and skin in the evening.


Open Letter to Kentucky Show

Mar 24, 2015

It appears that the best way to inform foreign governments of our constitutional system is through an open letter. We decided to create an open letter to Kentucky this spring, reminding you that the next storm could revoke your driveway with the flash of a flood, and future weather could modify the terms of your road at any time. We discussed fluoride in the water, blue eyes, and common environmental factors that may cause cancer.

Forget the Blue Dress show

Mar 17, 2015

If you are searching this show in our archives, you may remember when the entire Internet was obsessed with a white and gold/blue and black dress, and most of the eastern United States was buried under a blanket of snow that was most certainly white. The show talks about headphones and hearing loss, peanut allergies and peanut consumption, and the gap between our genetic medicine and people’s perception that personal behavior and stress are 2 of the most common causes of ill health. For some reason, it’s hard to focus on the important things.

This show, in memoriam to my friend Roger, provides an update on marijuana, the safe fun drug of 2015 and contrasts that with benzodiazepines (Valium, Librium), the safe fun drugs of the 1990s. Here we go again. We also talk about MRI scams, the benefits of sauna bathing, and unplugging the dishwasher for children’s health.

Tip:  Colon cancer screening is accepted by upper-middle-class but not by lower social economic groups, and they are paying a price. Kentucky’s colon cancer death rate among high school grads is twice that of college grads. Get screened this month.

50 Sheds of Gray show

Mar 4, 2015

Our Health Matters salute to the tobacco barns of Eastern Kentucky includes information on sex toy injuries, testosterone and mandates. But we also discuss Kentucky’s forward-looking initiative on prescription narcotics and contrast this with our incredible lack of vision on smoking cessation.

Tip: the individual mandate requires every US citizen to obtain insurance or pay a tax penalty. Unfortunately, enrollment for 2015 has closed and those who remain without insurance face penalties on their 2014 and 2015 taxes.


We salute the 10 million Americans signed up for the ACA with this show.  We discuss Medicare at age 50, a new side effect of fecal transplants, and the shameful profiteering of Gilead, the manufacturer of Solvaldi for hepatitis C.

Tip:  The most important way to save on your healthcare costs is to not get sick in the first place.  Stay healthy, but also ask questions about your medical bill.


"Medicare Moving Forward”, from the New England Journal of Medicine

Millions of Americans, including ex-news anchor Brian Williams, suffer from False Helicopter Attack Memory Syndrome.  Tormented by false war memories, many never recover.  As someone who actually was attacked by RPG fire in my helicopter ride at Gatlinburg, I can give them my sympathy.  Meanwhile, Rick and I discuss measles, cancer, fecal transplants, and the side effects of bladder control medicines.

Tip:  Two thirds of heart attacks could be prevented with exercise, control of weight, smoking cessation, and attention to cholesterol, sugar, and blood pressure.


Intoxilyzer 8000 show

Feb 12, 2015

The Intoxilyzer 8000 is a new device, made by Kentucky company, that can be carried in the back of a police cruiser and tests your breath for alcohol. It appears to be accurate at the factory, but the company has not developed a maintenance and calibration plan, meaning it may not be accurate if left in the police cruiser trunk. As Kentucky plans to deploy the Intoxilyzer 8000s, several of our neighboring states have experienced court challenges to its accuracy. We at Health Matters like the name “Intoxilyzer 8000”. That’s all.

This show is a tribute to the ill-starred teens Dalton Hayes and Cheyenne Phillips, recently arrested in Panama City Beach Florida after a multi-state crime spree. According to Mr. Hayes’ mother, by the time her son realized Ms. Phillips was 13 years old, “he was already done in love with her”. Much of our health problems stem from being “done in love” with things such as cigarettes, fast food, computer screens, etc. before we realize their health effects.

At the beginning of the year, we like to forget about 2014–ignore the warrants, the restraining orders, the summonses–and look ahead to the new year. This show is about the trends of 2015. Everything from wearable technology to the role of drones in medical care, to the future of office visits. Health Matters visits the future, where people like us are obsolete, and brings back a fascinating report of our demise.

The new year arrives with events that defy logic – the Charlie Hebdo massacre, tanning bed injuries, Tony injures his ankle – and Health Matters struggles to make sense of it all.  This wide-ranging show covers Dr. Oz, new obesity drugs, e-cigarettes, and the sensible use of cholesterol medicine, while trying to maintain hope that the year is still salvageable.

“Good widdance to bad Wubbish”—Elmer Fudd

Health Matters feigns a fond farewell to 2014 by comparing the top headlines for the year from Medscape to our 2014 show topics. It’s a relatively painless way to review the year, and helps lower your expectations for 2015.


Time magazine health headlines for 2014

Medscape health headlines for 2014

Let’s face it – if you live in Kentucky, you’re more likely to see drizzle than snow on Christmas. There are other situations where reality is a little less than ideal, as well. We talk about flu vaccines, the real virus threatening southeastern America, the problems with narcotics and the end with our salute to the Time Magazine Persons of the Year.

We start with the raging controversy over how to dry your hands in the bathroom. Rick and I give our thoughts on the worst office healtlh habits. But the star of the show is the exciting changes we see in routine office visits. They’re going to be more convenient, easier to schedule, more focused, and not necessarily in person. Enjoy the show, and we will explain what we mean.

Health Matters salutes hemoglobin, the chemical on your red blood cells that carries oxygen, but also colors your skin, your stool, and your urine. The show is about the risks of deer hunting, the healthiest choice for drinking, toy injuries, and the annual state health rankings, that show Kentucky dropping to number 47 nationally. Enjoy Christmas! We’ll try to find something happier next week.

The Christmas Holiday Shopping Companion Part II Show

Health Matters Holiday Shopping Companion


Our salute to the late Car Talk cohost Tom Magliozzi includes some treats for my cohost, including a paper on smart phones and childhood injuries, a "Top 9 Fun Facts about ACA Open Enrollment" and Homeland Security's efforts to prevent someone from hacking into your pacemaker.

Tip: Open enrollment for 2015 insurance exchange plans is from November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015. Make sure you have insurance for next year by signing up before December 15.


Health Matters, at times, can strain credulity. Crash dieting leads to the same sustainable weight loss as control dieting? True. For women, each daily glass of milk increases risk of death from all causes by 15%? Probably false. We also talk about type I diabetes, celiac disease and the importance of your approach to chocolate cake.  EKU dietetic intern Andrea Danley and St. Claire Clinical Nutrition Services Manager Jean Jones are guests.

Tip: Milk is supposed to do a body good, but coffee has all the numbers. Consider the health implications of your favorite beverage.

Bowling for Ebola Show

Nov 13, 2014

Health Matters issues our take of the 2014 Ebola panic, in which 80% of American voters favored quarantines for healthcare workers, despite the fact that there was no known benefit. Add that to the 64% of people who don’t get the flu vaccine, and the 1-6% of people who will not even vaccinate their children, and this is why we stay on the air despite bad journalism. We also talk about drunken bicycling, chikungunya virus, and safe bowling practices.

Ebola Czar show

Nov 5, 2014

Ebola is named after the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The word, “Czar” is an abbreviation of Caesar, taken by Eastern European rulers, including Ivan the Terrible. Richard Nixon used the term for a government official in charge of all things pertaining to one government function, a position he likened to Albert Speer’s in Nazi Germany. From these despicable origins, we now have a Czar in charge of Ebola. We will talk about Ebola plus toothbrushes and pneumonia vaccines on this show.

Around Halloween, we at Health Matters like to amp up your anxiety with horrifying medical stories. This year, your anxiety is high enough, so were taking a more laid-back approach. This is a show about scary movies, dying before you get old, snakes, and severed fingers. Mellow out with us this Halloween.

Tip: Both the CDC and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend that all pregnant women receive influenza vaccine. You can be vaccinated anytime during pregnancy.