Arkansas Health

Wendy Reaves (seated) speaks to members of the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Commission with her daughter Regan and Gov. Asa Hutchinson looking on.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says diverting money from Arkansas’s tobacco settlement to help people with developmental disabilities has cut the number of families on a waiting list by 500.

Speaking at the quarterly meeting of the state’s Tobacco Settlement Commission Tuesday, Hutchinson praised commissioners for supporting a proposal he made in September 2016.

"You embraced that idea, which I wanted to thank you for," he said.

Arkansas’s health groups are reacting to corrective statements the tobacco industry began airing on network TV in late November with some optimism that they will help reduce the state’s high smoking rate as well as concern the ads won’t reach young people.

flu shot
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

This year's flu season is off to a quick start and so far it seems to be dominated by a nasty bug.

Health officials say the flu vaccine seems well matched to the viruses making people sick, but it's too early to tell how bad this season will be. The main flu bug this season tends to cause more deaths and hospitalizations and vaccines tend not to work as well against this type.

Flu began picking up last month. By the end of last week, seven states reported widespread flu activity: Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Virginia.

Soy has been widely accepted as a heart-healthy food for nearly two decades.  Manufacturers of packaged food products have claimed that soy protein reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, and labeled their products thusly.

Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration isn’t so sure and is seeking an unprecedented revocation of the authorized claim.  With an authorized claim, manufacturers get a stamp of approval from the FDA to directly state a health benefit — calcium, for instant, helps stymie osteoporosis.

The agency said a review of evidence linking soy protein to improved heart health wasn’t conclusive enough to warrant an authorized claim. 

Douglas Balentine, director of the Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling, said studies have evolved since the authorized claim for soy's heart benefits was approved in 1999.

flu shot
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A mass flu vaccine clinic will be held Wednesday at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock. Flu shots will be available from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Hall of Industry at 2600 Howard Street off of Roosevelt Road.

People with health insurance should bring their insurance cards, while those without coverage will also be able to get the vaccine at no charge. The clinic is being hosted by the Arkansas Department of Health.

Six researchers are laying out details of how they plan to study the causes of childhood obesity. The Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention at the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute announced its first round of projects Wednesday.

Created last year through a $9.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, the Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention seeks to address all levels of the issues surrounding overweight kids.

pediatric exercise science lab at the Arkansas Children's Research Institute
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center on Tuesday unveiled an exercise science lab designed to help researchers better understand how physical activity promotes better health. Officials say it’s only the second such facility in the nation.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson joined officials inside the lab, which is equipped with treadmills and other equipment, to mark the opening. Hundreds of children from a broad range of backgrounds will take part in the research, said the center’s Director Sean Adams.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Potential operators of medical marijuana cultivation facilities and dispensaries came together at a half-day symposium in Little Rock Wednesday to discuss their expectations of what the new industry will be like.

Among the attendees was TV host Montel Williams, who gave the keynote address at the event organized by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association. Williams has multiple sclerosis, and has long advocated for medicinal cannabis use. His visit had added significance, since he recently accepted a position on the association’s board.

Arkansas Department of Health
Arkansas Department of Health

Arkansas health officials say a mumps outbreak has ended in the state after infecting nearly 3,000 people.

The Arkansas Department of Health says the last confirmed case in the state was on July 13.

The outbreak began in August 2016 and during the following 12 months, the health department confirmed 2,954 cases statewide.

The department says there are fewer than 10 cases of mumps in a typical year in Arkansas.

npr.org

Arkansans affected by the opioid epidemic can now receive life-saving treatment over-the-counter at pharmacies. Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the creation of the state’s Naloxone Standing Protocol alongside state healthcare officials at a press conference Wednesday.

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