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

Salute to Donald Trump Show

Aug 31, 2015

Donald Trump has emerged as an important figure in American politics, and has gone on record supporting single-payer health care, but also suggesting vaccines may cause autism. Health Matters, never a stranger to controversy, endorses Donald Trump as “a really strange guy”. The show is about refrigerator seizures, retirement choices for pot smokers, Kentucky’s long battle with narcotics, and 3-D printing your medicines.

Dr. Ellen Hahn show

Aug 25, 2015

Everyone in Kentucky owes Dr. Ellen Hahn a vote of thanks. Without her pioneering work in the 1990s, Lexington and other communities in the Commonwealth would never have gone smoke-free. We thank you, and our children thank you. Dr. Hahn discusses her latest work on radon and we remember tobacco wars and discuss e-cigarettes.


The Dr. Thomas Whayne show

Aug 19, 2015

Dr. Thomas Whayne is a veteran cardiologist, and a Professor at the University of Kentucky’s Gill Heart Institute. He was also smart enough back in the 1960s to change his PhD work to the emerging specialty of lipid metabolism. Throughout a distinguished cardiology career, he has continued to research, publish, and care for patients. Please join us for the privilege of hearing the thoughts of an outstanding doctor as he approaches the end of his professional career.

Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall show

Aug 4, 2015

According to Health Matters, summer would be great if you could only avoid Tiggers and chicks. That is way more funny than avoiding chiggers and ticks, and the comedic high point of the show. Otherwise we talk about the states cancer rates, the dangers of detergent pods and how to see with your tongue.

Tip: DEET 10-35% strength is still the best way to repel ticks. It is not as good as avoiding ticks by staying out of the high grass and leaves and tucking your trousers into your socks.

Water Over the Bridge Show

Jul 31, 2015


Jason Pierre Paul Fireworks Spectacular

Jul 23, 2015

New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre Paul injured his hands in a fireworks accident over the Fourth of July weekend. In his honor, Health Matters presents this anthology of pathology, including tanning rates, sports injuries, bariatric surgery, swimming safety—anything but fireworks.

Tip:  In an endurance event, use your thirst to guide your drinking.  Don’t strive for set amounts of fluids.  If an endurance athlete becomes dizzy and delirious, they need medical help, not more water.


Salute to the UK Ag Tractor Team show

Jul 23, 2015

Every year, the UK Ag Tractor Team builds a one quarter scale working tractor; students present the design and building process, and the tractor competes with machines from other universities. Three out of the past four years, the UK team has taken first place. We salute their consistency and excellence with the show. Unfortunately, it’s Health Matters, so we talk about high heels, vaccination, grapefruit and melanoma risk, and how to prevent skin cancers.

The Best of Times/Worst of Times Show

Jul 9, 2015

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear proudly notes that Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion will create 17,000 new jobs, and bring in over $15 billion over the next seven years. Meanwhile, the Kentucky Hospital Association claims they will lose $1 billion and lay off employees. Who is right? They both are. We will attempt to explain.

Tip: Don’t waste too much time and money on brain building games and puzzles. The time probably would be better spent on physical exercise and maintaining social engagement, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Salute to Kim Kardashian Show

Jun 30, 2015

Producers of “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” were stunned at viewer outrage over a guest appearance by media celebrity Kim Kardashian. Health Matters doesn’t get many viewer responses, outraged or otherwise. And that, in a nutshell, is how major programming mistakes occur. We talk about tattoos and cancer, cats and schizophrenia, and senior citizens with chronic illnesses.

Kerry John show

Jun 24, 2015

US Secretary of State John Kerry fell in Switzerland and fractured his femur. At the time we go to press, he is recovering from surgery to pin his thigh bone back together. This show asks the important question, “Will Iraniain nuclear disarmament be curbed by Kerrianian femur dislegament?”  (We don’t even know what that means). We also discuss tattoos, tanning, apple watches, and pills with tiny sugar needles in them.

Hooray for Communist China Show

Jun 17, 2015

They have done it! Beijing, with 50% smoking rates, in a country with one third of the world’s smokers (a country that has a state-run monopoly manufacturing cigarettes) has passed an indoor smoking ban. Kentucky has not. Oddly enough, Health Matters has an opinion on this, as well as some of the top medical advancements in the past 20 years and the epidemic of narcotic overdoses that claimed over 140,000 lives in the past 20 years.

It’s not the best title but it gets your attention. We discuss robots at McDonald’s, grip strength and life expectancy, screening for cancer, and the cesspool of the US pharmaceutical industry, which makes FIFA look clean by comparison.

Tip: Fee for service is the financial basis for our current healthcare system. The more things we doctors do to you, the more we get paid. It is time to pay doctors for keeping you healthy and alive, not doing procedures.


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.