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

The Presumptive Nominee Replacement Surgery Show

Jun 21, 2016

Maybe it wasn’t that funny. Some show titles look better on the computer than they sound on the air. Health Matters celebrates the joy of our two-party democratic system with this pile of fetid “health information”. The show features a discussion of gut flora, the Zecurity migraine patch, a test on ionizing radiation and our concerns about our country’s declining life expectancy.

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.  Mark Twain.

Maybe we did not understand this quote fully. Health Matters gleefully welcomes St. Claire dietitian Jean Jones and Riley Loy, UK dietetic intern, for a discussion of the Heimlich maneuver, swimming pool safety, saturated fats, and dietary changes after divorce.

In the last 15 years, we’ve lost over half a million Americans due to drug overdoses. On May 17, at the international meeting of the American Thoracic Society, attendees learned that our ICU death rates for drug overdose are increasing. That is, we are not any better at treating drug overdoses, and the drugs are getting more deadly. Health Matters tries our best to ignore this ongoing catastrophe with a show on swallowing your cell phone and “water bottle mouth”.

Good Widdance to Bad Wubbish show

May 25, 2016

We send our show’s student producer, Hunter Reece, back to North Carolina for his summer break with this mess. Starting with hospital snakes and paintball injuries, moving to surgical robots and the definition of healthy, it never quite gets traction. But hold on until the end anyway, for the unarguably worst joke I have ever told in public.

Bathroom of Your Birth Show

May 18, 2016

We start with zipper injuries to the male diaper area, and the show goes downhill from there. There’s new information on ideal body weights, the FDA has finally decided to regulate the chemicals our children are putting in their lungs, and medical errors are now estimated to be (arguably) the third most common cause of death. Laugh and learn with us.

Tip: One way to avoid fatal medical errors is to take only the medicines you really need. Talk to your doctor about your medicines, and bring all your pill bottles into your visit.

Change Your Diet, Change the World show

May 11, 2016

“If venture investing is a trustworthy indicator…, Americans can be optimistic about the future of the US healthcare system.” Ezekiel Emanuel.

This show explains why Barack Obama will not be remembered as the “Agricultural President”, and why candy is probably not a big driver of obesity. We also note that tick larvae look a lot like tiny adult ticks, and Jean gets to vent on the Affordable Care Act. St. Claire dietitian Jean Jones and UK dietetic intern Jordan Bressler are our guests.

Mr. Peabody’s in Paradise Show

Apr 27, 2016

What do you do when bad things happen to someone you oppose? Health Matters has reflected on this over the past week, when a fire destroyed the local hookah bar and tanning center. On April 13, Peabody Coal Company filed for bankruptcy in the US, which means people in Kentucky have had an unfortunately good month. Join us for a detailed discussion of the reliability of health apps, the care provided in virtual visits, and a reminder of how to manage those nasty spring allergies.


This show is our salute to those annoying Canadian listeners who took over our Facebook page, liked, commented, and did exactly what we asked for – how dare you! It includes information about PCSK9 inhibitors, Kentucky traffic deaths, and deleting HIV from your genome. Thanks as always to all our regular listeners; please give generously to Morehead State Public Radio and help them find a replacement for our show.

The Flower Power show

Apr 7, 2016

Here’s proof Health Matters has lost our last shred of human decency. The show features segments on generic Viagra and a report on plastic surgery. I suppose it’s time to move on to paternity testing and selling anticancer supplements now. But seriously, we have some thoughts on research techniques including using satellite data to determine how streetlights affect your health, and measuring your daredevil spirit by having you blow up an animated balloon with a helmet on.

Jettison Medicine show

Mar 22, 2016

It seems every year our political parties ignore the power of the bumper sticker and elect candidates such as Mitch and Trump, whose names rhyme with synonyms of the word discard. We have seen the “Ditch Mitch” and “Dump Trump” movements. Heck, MSPR even has a “Chuck Mraz” movement. In honor of sinus pain awareness month, the $250 “Genius” toothbrush, Mitt Romney and smart phone apps that don’t record your blood pressure properly, we dedicate this show.


Bruce of the North Show

Mar 17, 2016

Health Matters salutes our intrepid international fan page pioneer, Bruce from Canada. We discuss brucellosis, smoking legislation, blood donation, Victoza, and pets in the bedroom. Sure is nice to get some health information this weekend, eh? (Sorry).

Tip: Brucellosis is one of many infectious conditions transmitted by unpasteurized milk. We recommend everyone take advantage of modern science.


CDC fact sheet on brucellosis

Spring Changes Everything show

Mar 9, 2016

“You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.” Pablo Neruda

“Please mention that to my wife after I finish with the Weed Wacker.” Tony Weaver

The show salutes the changes that occur in spring by pointing out changes in colon cancer, better flu vaccine coverage, changes in the threats to our internet security and changes in the way we treat blood pressure. Perhaps you can change your opinion of Health Matters after the show.

Justice Antonin Scalia Show

Mar 2, 2016

The untimely death of Justice Scalia at age 79 leaves an important number of Supreme Court cases involving healthcare in limbo. We believe our country will survive, so we salute him with this show on hacking hospital systems, the purple pill and dementia, tanning beds and Accountable Care Organizations. Brought to you by scoliosis, “the only disease we could think of that sounds like Scalia”, this show should bring a smile to your habeas corpus.

“Avoid Kissing Strangers” Show

Feb 24, 2016

Health Matters struggles to keep up with the numerous pronouncements regarding the Zika virus this week. Zika is a serious threat to unborn babies. As Paulo Gadelha, president of the Fiocruz Research Institute notes, “this is not a generalized public health measure, for the love of God”. We also discussed fitness monitors, high deductible plans, and a lifetime free of diarrhea.

Robinson Scholars Show

Feb 16, 2016

Education is strongly correlated with good health outcomes, and neither is frequently seen in Eastern Kentucky. The Robinson Scholars Program serves first generation high school and college students in 29 impoverished Eastern Kentucky counties. Selection for the program begins early in high school, looking for students with a track record of service to their community, academic excellence, and leadership. In addition to a generous college scholarship, students also get assistance in transitioning from rural high schools to the UK college environment.

Health Matters Caucus Show

Feb 10, 2016

The word caucus either comes from an Algonquian word for “counselor” or from egg record for “drinking cup”. Do you gain knowledge from wise elders, or from beer? Well, you won’t gain knowledge from Health Matters. We talk about snow shoveling and heart disease, drug prices, and the new CRISPR method for altering human DNA.

Tip: Sometimes blood-pressure medicines, called ace inhibitors, can cause a cough. These are very good blood-pressure medicines, and 30% of the time changing brands will solve the problem.


The Big Shorts Show

Feb 3, 2016

“The Big Short” is a critically acclaimed movie exploring the 2008 housing market crash.  “The Big Shorts” is a clinically deranged show exploring the Zika virus, the dangers of hoverboards, and the problem with Lumosity.  Don’t get them confused.  See the good one, and then listen to Health Matters.

Heigh-Ho the Holly show

Jan 26, 2016

“Heigh-Ho the Holly”, or “Oh Ho the Mistletoe”, which was written by Shakespeare? The first, in “Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind”.  Mediocre poetry sounds great on this cold January day, along with tips for treating coughs, grumpiness and life expectancy, fascinating findings from the state health rankings, and four-year-olds with cell phones.

Blame It on the Papilloma (Again) show

Jan 19, 2016

Human papilloma virus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the US, with nearly 80 million people infected. Almost all sexually active people will acquire HPV, but 90% will clear the infection on their own. If it persists, it can cause cancer of the cervix and women, cancer of the penis in men, and cancers of the mouth in both sexes. Dr. Robin Vanderpool has dedicated her career to understanding why people do not try to prevent these horrible cancers with the HPV vaccine. She tells her story this week.

2016 and Beyond show

Jan 12, 2016

Health Matters confidently predicts that in 2016, many of the trends we have identified in 2015 will continue and only get worse. However, new things will come up that we had not thought of, so people should expect the unexpected (which will make it expected and ruin everything).   Anyhoo… This show contains our predictions for 2016, including action on outrageous prescription drug prices, more people seeing their doctor online, financial planning for healthcare due to high deductibles, and hospitals forced to publish their prices in an understandable format.

Returns and Exchanges Show

Jan 5, 2016

You are in the home stretch – the nightmare ends soon. But one final task awaits. As always, Health Matters is right there beside you in the returns and exchanges line keeping you safe and informed until you see the next available representative, who will be with you shortly. The show includes a bizarre research project involving sex and kidney stones, blood pressure management, and the real reason Metformin may be so good for diabetes.

Holiday Shopping Guide Part II show

Jan 5, 2016

We finally put together the show you needed to hear for the holidays. This show is all about ladder safety, decorating safety, holiday buffets, as well as the most dangerous and most deadly toys this Christmas. Health Matters hope you enjoy the warmth of the season, as long as it’s not a candle setting your house on fire.

Tip:  When you set up your letter, or engage in any outdoor activity, remember that frosty deck lumber and wet leaves are extremely slick. Falls are very common this time of year, and this is one reason why.


Dr. Jamie Studts is a psychologist, affiliated with the University of Kentucky Department of Behavioral Science and the Department of Psychology, and the only psychologist we know who has published a paper in the journal “Harmful Algae”. His interest is in patient information and patient decision-making, and he is an expert on how patients make decisions about screening for cancer and undergoing treatment for cancer.

“The Twelve Diseases of Christmas” show

Dec 8, 2015

It started when we saw a bizarre research article about using pigeons to diagnose breast cancer.  The results were better when researchers aggregated results using four pigeons to make the diagnosis.  Four calling birds.  Seriously.  Read the article.  We researched the 12 diseases of Christmas, and actually discuss three or four on the show.  This, plus the image of Rick dancing the Zebola make for a show you should probably avoid.  Try again next week?

Salute to Matt Bevins show

Nov 25, 2015

Kentucky made history as the earliest and most enthusiastic adopter of the Affordable Care Act.  Now, we may make history again as the first state to dismantle or modify ACA provisions.  Looking forward, what will happen to Kentucky’s Medicaid recipients?  Obviously, we haven’t a clue, but we’re a radio show, so why not talk about it anyway?  We also discuss careers in marijuana dispensing and the rise of retail clinics.


Salute to Kristi Show

Nov 19, 2015

Kristi likes our Facebook page. A lot. Common sense like that should be celebrated, and that’s why we titled our show. We talk about 3-D printing, sleep apnea, dietary supplements, and the benefits of chronic pain.

Tip: the clues to sleep apnea include snoring, feeling tired, having high blood pressure, BMI greater than 35, male gender and a large neck size. Take the StopBang questionnaire to assess your risk.


The StopBang questionnaire

Salute to Abu Dhabi Show

Nov 11, 2015

Abu Dhabi, on the Arabian Peninsula, is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It is also in danger of becoming uninhabitable, with temperatures regularly exceeding 135° by the end of the century, according to the journal Nature Climate Change. That sober reminder makes for a fun-loving show on antibiotics and childhood obesity, the rising rates of diverticulitis, and antioxidant vitamins helping cancer cells to metastasize. Join us for another one-hour health-related yukfest.

“Chang'e 3 Lunar Lander show”

Nov 4, 2015

Did a winter birthday doom Tony to be short?  Do cancer survivors eat junk food, or do people who eat junk food survive cancer?  Will you have enough retirement money to pay someone to carry your retirement number around for you?  This show doesn’t answer any of those questions, but it is “mildly entertaining”.

Tip:  Lung cancer screening has been slow to be accepted, but we feel it may be important for eastern Kentucky.  If you are a long term smoker, aged 55-77, talk to your doctor.


“Patchy Valley Fog, Drive Carefully” Show

Oct 28, 2015

Brought to you by your good friends at the vaccination league, the show tells you how to prevent EpiPen injuries, discusses the outrageous price hikes for the anti-parasite drug Daraprim, announces the effective end of the Ebola epidemic, and tells you where to get the best night’s sleep in America.

Tip: It’s October; it’s time for your flu shot. Everyone age 6 months or older with very rare exceptions should get a flu shot.


The Electronic Sniffer Dogs Show

Oct 21, 2015

We recently read an article on the use of smell and physical diagnosis, which included the concept of Electronic Sniffer Dogs. It sounded like an excellent name for a rock ‘n roll band or a show title, so we snatched it before the band formed. The show includes fun facts on vision, motivational text messages, dressing like a doctor, and cancer risk by height.