Health & Science

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Both the Northern and Eastern Panhandles are experiencing flooding this week as rain continues to fall on the two regions. Preparations are also being made across the state to respond to possible heavy rainfall from Hurricane Florence at the end of the week.

Reining In Abuse: Lax Laws On Animal Welfare Affect Pets And People

Sep 5, 2018
Nicole Erwin / Ohio Valley ReSource

Suzanna Johnson is an education officer with the Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue in Camner, Kentucky. Johnson is looking after a pregnant horse she rescued recently.

“Be good,” she instructs the mare, named CC, and pats her belly. 

Wednesday is looking like yet another pivotal day in the life-or-death saga that has marked the history of the Affordable Care Act.

Family members of victims of Sunday's mass shooting speak at a press conference Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla.
John Raoux / AP Photo

A California man who played video games to earn money for college and a West Virginian whose e-sports winnings helped support his young family were slain at a Florida tournament where a gunman specifically targeted fellow gamers, authorities said Monday.

Black lung is a deadly disease caused by exposure to dust underground.
Department of Labor

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators have introduced a provision that aims to boost participation in black lung detection programs.

Virginia Democrat Sen. Mark Warner introduced the amendment Wednesday into the defense, labor, health and education spending package that is being debated on the Senate floor.

If passed, the provision would require the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or NIOSH to create a report for Congress within 180 days detailing how to increase participation in black lung screening programs.

Rural Risk: Mobile Clinics Help Tackle Multifaceted Opioid Crisis

Aug 20, 2018
Anthony Scott Lockard / KY River Dist. Health

In a room at the Letcher County Health Department in Whitesburg, Kentucky, about 20 people are learning how to use naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication.

Among them is 18-year-old Morgan Hopkins. An aspiring therapist, Hopkins said she wants to be ready with naloxone if someone overdoses around her.

“You never know what you’re going to see,” she said. “If anything goes wrong, you have it, rather than you don’t have it.”

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, owning a dog is said to help improve self-esteem. Man's best friend can improve social lives, makes us less lonely, and even help keep us active.  In our next installment of our summer series Outside in Appalachia, health reporter and dog-lover Kara Lofton explores how to safely enjoy outdoor recreation to maximize the physical and mental benefits of pet ownership as well as explore local natural resources.

Molly Born / WVPB

Wharncliffe is a tiny community deep in the hills of Mingo County, in a rural corner of southern West Virginia. The road there is narrow with the signature hairpin curves of this region.

A Jeep SUV stocked with enough food to feed 50 kids makes the hour-long round trip five days a week from the nearby community center, over the mountain, to the local fire hall here.

Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture Facebook

West Virginia has been awarded a $400,000 federal grant to provide agriculture training for military veterans.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a Beckley neighborhood has rallied to fight a new psychiatric clinic, that among other things, will offer medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. Kara Lofton reports the tension lies between what experts say is a much-needed service that residents don’t want in their neighborhood.

Alexandra Kanik / Ohio Valley ReSource

Jim Thacker is frustrated.

The spokesperson for the Madison County, Kentucky, Health Department said there is a real threat of a Hepatitis A outbreak at the detention center right down the road in Richmond.

Built to house about 240 inmates, it holds more than 400. 

“It’s like a petri dish, they are packed so close together,” he said.

Aaron Payne / Ohio Valley ReSource

The Ohio Valley is not known for good health. Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia often rank near the bottom of states in many health rankings.

But a new report shows there are “bright spots” in the region where some health measures are better than expected. And a team of health researchers thinks these communities can offer a guide to improve health across Appalachia.

Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

The low rumble of industrial fans fills the Catholic Action Center in Lexington, a shelter that provides meals and other services for homeless people.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Cicadas have been seen doing some strange things, like moving around and mating despite having up to a third of their bodies missing. Researchers suspect that fungi are involved. Several scientists at West Virginia University took advantage of the 17-year cicadas that emerged about two years ago to dig a little deeper. So they investigated the relationship between cicadas and certain kinds of fungi by looking very closely at what kinds of compounds are in the fungus.

pills
Wikimedia Commons

A federal judge has ruled that state and local governments cannot publicize federal government data about where prescription opioids were distributed — a blow to news organizations seeking to report more deeply on the nation's overdose and addiction crisis.

Health Official: Regional Overdose Death Rates Up, But Flattening

Jul 27, 2018
Drugs, Drug abuse, Drug overdose, overdose
Pixabay

Health officials in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia say the number of overdose deaths continued to rise in 2017. The Ohio Valley ReSource's Aaron Payne reports that one public health official says, however, there is cause for optimism.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear about how summer food providers are trying to overcome the challenge of feeding West Virginia kids during the summer months, and we’ll hear the latest on possible impeachment proceedings from the statehouse. These stories coming up on West Virginia Morning.

Jail Cell
Evad37 / Wikimedia Commons

A West Virginia jail is set to launch a new pilot program aimed at helping inmates overcome drug addiction.

The Huntington Herald-Dispatch reports the program was announced Wednesday by the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety secretary, Jeff Sandy. The Western Regional Jail's pilot program will serve 32 men and 32 women in Cabell, Wayne and Putnam counties.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, coal companies in central Appalachia have used mountaintop removal to mine coal for decades. The controversial process blows the tops off mountains to reach the coal seams below. Researchers and policy makers have struggled to understand the full extent of mountaintop removal across the region. Brittany Patterson reports on a new study that provides a big-picture view of the mining method’s impact.

West Virginia ambulance
wikimedia / Wikimedia Commons

Uninsured and underinsured first responders in West Virginia will be able to access free hepatitis A vaccines.

The Exponent Telegram reports that the new West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Threat Preparedness will provide the free vaccines amid the state's recent outbreak.

Doctor, Health, Doctor with tablet, Doctor with iPad
Public Domain Pictures

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded more than $1.7 million for health care programs in West Virginia.

Aaron Payne/ OHIO VALLEY RESOURCE

Central Appalachia has some of the worst health measures in the country. But some communities are bucking those trends with better health outcomes. A new report looks at how some Appalachian counties are improving their health statistics and becoming bright spots. 


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, there are at least 11 harm reduction programs across in West Virginia that offer help to people with substance use disorders. And though there is some controversy about the practice of giving free needles to people who use illegal drugs, these programs can be successful to help get more people into long-term recovery.

Angie Gray, Nurse Director for the Berkeley-Morgan County Health Department, shows a box of sealed, sterile syringes given to participants in her harm reduction program.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Across West Virginia, people are fighting back against the opioid epidemic and pushing the message of recovery. Some of these people run harm reduction clinics – which sometimes include needle exchanges. We meet a nurse in the Eastern Panhandle who runs one of these programs.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

An outbreak of hepatitis A that started in California is now barreling through seven states, and the Ohio Valley has the nation’s highest rate of infections. More than 1,800 cases have been confirmed in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, and health officials say the number of undiagnosed infections is far higher. 
Mary Meehan reports on the response from the food industry and some of those working with populations at highest risk of hepatitis A infection.

Health, doctor, nurse, mask, breathing
Dollar Photo Club

West Virginia health officials say 540 confirmed cases of hepatitis A have been reported in the state.

Adobe Stock

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has approved a rule change requiring drugmakers to identify a legitimate need for opioids to justify their production in an attempt to rein in their diversion for illicit purposes.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, state Supreme Court Justice Menis Ketchum submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday, July 11. Ketchum’s stepping down from the bench comes as the entire West Virginia Supreme Court is under investigation for possible impeachment.

Adobe Stock

Residential treatment services for substance abuse will be offered in five additional West Virginia counties.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources announced the availability of $1 million in funding to expand treatment services in Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Nicholas and Roane counties.

Hydrocodone pills
Toby Talbot / AP

News organizations are pushing for the public release of data detailing the distribution of prescription opioids throughout the U.S., information that could show how drug manufacturers and distributors contributed to the nation’s addiction and overdose crisis.

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