Health & Science

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Meigs County, Ohio, has a complicated history with marijuana.

“Meigs County Gold” has been grown illegally for years. Local legend has it that was the strain of choice for musicians like the Grateful Dead and Willie Nelson when they toured Ohio.

But for Meigs County Commissioner Randy Smith, that isn’t a source of pride. Instead it felt like a target on his back.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A Glenville State College professor set out to turn his experiences working in a mental asylum into a novel.

Jessica Lilly

Robert Bailey was a coal miner for 36 years. He began working in McDowell County, and after it became too hard to breathe, he retired from a mine owned by Patriot Coal in Boone County. Bailey first told his story with WVPB in June 2014. He shared his final story with Inside Appalachia host, Jessica Lilly, on February 15, 2019. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia looks at a disease that at least 2,000 former miners struggle with -- black lung. An NPR investigation found that miners are finding it tough to get help from doctors, lawyers, coal companies, and many lawmakers.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the rate of Alzheimer’s is increasing in every state. Researchers, including some at WVU, are working on a cure, but the cause of Alzheimer’s is still poorly understood, let alone reversing or stopping it. And as Kara Lofton reports, there’s no end in sight for families struggling with the disease.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, hemp products are becoming hot sellers, especially those containing CBD. The compound is derived from cannabis but does not intoxicate a user. Instead, users say, CBD has a wide array of health benefits. And some Ohio Valley businesses are betting big on CBD sales. But as the Ohio Valley ReSource's Liam Niemeyer reports, there’s little evidence for the health claims. And researchers worry that CBD sales are far ahead of the science.

ARC Funds Addiction Treatment For Women In Rural Kentucky And Ohio

Apr 9, 2019
Aaron Payne / Ohio Valley ReSource

The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded more than two million dollars to expand addiction treatment and recovery resources for women in rural regions of the Ohio Valley hit hard by the opioid crisis.

Ohio University received $1,100,000 for the Appalachian Recovery Project in Athens County, Ohio. WestCare Kentucky, Inc., received $1,136,000 for the Judi Patton Center for Families project in Pikeville, Kentucky.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, 800 elementary school students gathered at Marshall University on Thursday for the 11th annual Brain Expo. Kara Lofton reports the expo is designed as an opportunity to bring science out of the classroom and give third-sixth graders hands-on learning.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, emergency personnel in Wheeling were responded to more than 130 overdose calls last year.  That’s about 20 more than they received in 2017. Overdose deaths doubled. The city decided to respond by enlisting the help of people who understand this trouble better than anyone else. Corey Knollinger reports.

HHS Provides Additional Funding to Expand Addiction Treatment

Apr 3, 2019
Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

The Ohio Valley has received nearly $60 million in additional federal funds to help combat the opioid epidemic.

Kentucky received $16,431,436, Ohio $29,122,692 and West Virginia $14,630,361. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the funds as a supplement to the first-year State Opioid Response, or SOR, grant awards.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear the next installment of our occasional series Windows into Health Care. Health reporter Kara Lofton speaks with hospice nurse Lori Carter. Carter has been a hospice nurse for 20 years. She said for her, and for many of the hospice nurses she knows, the work is a calling.

Carter says some of what she does is straight-up nursing – managing pain, dressing wounds and addressing symptoms of end-stage disease. But the more subtle part of the job is helping families navigate one of the most intimate and emotional times of their lives.

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$1 million has been awarded to West Virginia to help improve the health of pregnant women and their children.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy Start Initiative awarded the funds to the West Virginia University Research Corporation.

Adobe Stock

A total of $14,630,361 has been awarded to West Virginia by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to combat the opioid epidemic.

West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito made the announcement in a press release Thursday.

Retired coal miner John Robinson displays his mining helmet at his home in Coeburn, Va., on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019.
Dylan Lovan / Associated Press

The Trump administration and coal industry allies are insisting that a federal black lung trust fund will continue to pay benefits to sick miners despite a drastic cut in funding.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a new apprenticeship program through the West Virginia Folklife Program is helping connect apprentices with master traditional artists in West Virginia. We heard from several of these folklorists in a recent episode of Inside Appalachia called Appalachia’s Folkways: Handmade and Passing it On. Roxy Todd has a story about how one of the people involved in the apprenticeship program is learning old-time fiddle music.

AP Photo / Randy Snyder

As state administrators throughout Appalachia grapple with mounting health care costs, a new resource is offering assistance to policymakers by taking lessons from success stories outside of the health sector.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Monring, people can be suspicious of end-of-life care, especially Hospice. There’s a perception that when Hospice comes in, it’s only for the last hours before someone dies. In the final story of the series about aging in Appalachia, Kara Lofton found that for some families, Hospice services can not only help the dying live, but ease the caregiving burden on their families for weeks or months.

The world has two kinds of measles problems.

In low-income countries like Madagascar and in strife-ridden countries like Yemen, the disease takes a toll because vaccines are not available or accessible or affordable. In Madagascar alone, there have been nearly 80,000 cases and an estimated 900 deaths since September.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, caring for a loved one as they age can be incredibly demanding. It can also leave you with the feeling that society has forsaken you -- especially as families move away from their home base, leaving fewer people to share responsibilities. Kara Lofton reports about a growing problem in need of innovative solutions.

Wirt County is employing many tactics to try to cultivate a more compassionate, learning-ready environment; among them: the Whole Child Health Project.
Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The state faces complex ripple effects as a result of the opioid crisis. Among them, educators anecdotally report suspension rate increases in kindergarten classes, and a generation of babies born dependent on substances now being introduced to Head Start programs throughout the region.

Public school teachers and staff staged a statewide walk-in earlier this year to bring attention to what they say is a dire need for in-school mental health support. Many counties have already mobilized efforts to support students and help teachers who are not trained to cope with the increased number of traumatized youths disrupting the learning environment, including Wirt County.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the state faces complex ripple effects as a result of the opioid crisis. Schools are especially affected as they respond to increased number of children experiencing traumatic events. Many counties are working to adapt to a changing educational landscape, including Wirt County. Glynis Board visited Wirt Middle and Elementary schools recently to explore tactics being deployed.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Kaiser Family Foundation published an analysis this week that found Affordable Care Act marketplace premiums are least affordable for middle-income older adults. And some of the highest premiums in the country are in rural areas like West Virginia. Kara Lofton spoke with Cynthia Cox, one of the authors of the analysis, about the findings.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, on last night’s episode of “The Legislature Today,” discussion was focused on racism and discrimination. This was in reaction to the anti-Muslim poster and materials displayed during West Virginia’s GOP Day at the Capitol last Friday. Host Suzanne Higgins spoke with three of West Virginia’s faith leaders: Rabbi Victor Urecki, Father Brian O'Donnell, and Ibtesam Sue Barazi, Vice President of the Islamic Association of West Virginia. We hear an excerpt from the interview.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, in rural parts of the Ohio Valley, qualified therapists are sometimes hours away from people who need help. That’s a problem in cases of sexual assault and domestic abuse, when such services can be a lifeline. Mary Meehan, with the Ohio Valley ReSource, visited a rural clinic in Wyoming that’s using telemedicine to connect with survivors of sexual assault.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this A bill to modify West Virginia’s foster care system – House Bill 2010 – would transition the system to a managed care model. The issue has sparked debate at the statehouse and the state. On last night’s episode of “The Legislature Today,” Health Reporter Kara Lofton brought both sides of the issue together to have a discussion about the bill and ways to meet in the middle.

Emotions ran high in the House of Delegates late Wednesday evening as HB 2519 – the Campus Self Defense Act – came to the floor after a day of procedures that took it off and then back on the House’s active calendar. We recap the night’s action, and we take a special look at foster care.

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A bill that sought to place work or other requirements on Medicaid recipients in West Virginia has died in the House of Delegates.

A House committee put the bill on its inactive calendar Wednesday, Feb. 27, the final day that legislation could be passed in their chamber of origin. The full House earlier Wednesday debated the bill but stopped short of voting on it, and did not take up the bill during a late evening session before adjourning.

Oxfordian Kissuth / wikimedia Commons

The West Virginia Senate has passed a bill that would raise the state's minimum legal age for using tobacco products from 18 to 21.

The Senate passed the bill on a 20-14 vote Wednesday. The bill covers all tobacco and vaping products. A similar bill is pending in a House committee.

New ARC Grants Combine Economic Recovery and Addiction Recovery

Feb 27, 2019
Rebecca Kiger / Ohio Valley ReSource

The Appalachian Regional Commission announced Thursday another $22.8 million in funding to 33 projects aimed at revitalizing economies in places affected by the decline in the coal industry.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Gov. Jim Justice’s bill to give a 5 percent pay raise to teachers, state employees, and state police passed the West Virginia House of Delegates last week, but the Senate has yet to take it up. On last night’s episode of “The Legislature Today,” host Suzanne Higgins spoke with Senate President Mitch Carmichael and Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso about the bill. We hear an excerpt from the interview.

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