Arkansas Health

The president of the University of Arkansas System, Donald Bobbitt, says he is working with schools to gather information on the effect of President Trump's order on immigration.

The Arkansas House advanced a restriction on food stamps, or SNAP, that would ban the purchase of junk food.

If approved by the federal government, the measure would make Arkansas the first state to ban the purchase of junk food with food stamps. 

In what was an unusually close vote for the chamber, 55-39, state Representative Mary Bentley of Perryville pushed through her bill.

State Rep. Mary Bentley (R-Perryville) presenting her bill to limit the use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Jacob Kauffman

The first step toward restricting the use of food stamps in Arkansas has been taken by the state legislature. The House Public Health Committee voted 12-6 on Tuesday to back a bill intended to ban the purchase of junk food under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Republican State Representative Mary Bentley of Perryville said lowering the state’s high obesity rate is her driving reason for sponsoring a measure to ban items like soda and chips.

Arkansas Department of Health
Arkansas Department of Health

Arkansas officials say the number of mumps cases in the northwest part of the state appears to be leveling off.

The Arkansas Department of Health says there were 2,400 confirmed or strongly suspected cases as of Jan. 5. State epidemiologist Dr. Dirk Haselow says there are about 10 new cases of mumps per day. According to Haselow, health officials were seeing 40 or 50 new cases a day at the height of the outbreak.

Mumps symptoms can include fever, aches and swollen salivary glands.

Butterball Huntsville
Gabriel Thompson / Slate Magazine

The months leading up to Thanksgiving Day are a busy time for poultry companies that process turkeys. A new report by Slate Magazine says it also adds to an already disturbing amount of pressure for those who work in turkey plants, including one in northwest Arkansas.

telemedicine
www.rochester.edu

Students in four Arkansas school districts could help shape the future of medicine in the state.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Department of Education are partnering to pilot a telemedicine program in Jasper, Lee County, Malvern, and Magazine School Districts. The four districts were chosen partly because they have existing school-based health centers.

Tina Benton with the UAMS Center for Distance Health says the program is designed to reach students in rural parts of the state.

The University of Central Arkansas says there are four possible cases of mumps at the school.     

Dr. Randy Pastor, UCA's Student Health Center medical director, tells the Log Cabin Democrat that three students went into the medical center with swelling on the side of their faces on Friday.   

Pastor says there was an additional case Monday, but none of the cases have been confirmed as mumps. According to Pastor, all four students live off campus but none of the cases are related. 

Arkansas Children's Hospital is breaking ground on a new clinic aimed at expanding access to medical care for thousands of children, many of them from Spanish-speaking families.

The new clinic in southwest Little Rock is expected to open next spring. Officials say the new facility will feature a bilingual staff, 15 exam rooms, an X-ray suite and a laboratory.

A researcher at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has been awarded $10 million to study the causes and possible treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

UAMS announced Wednesday that researcher Sue Griffin will lead the team that received the five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health. UAMS says the researchers will study a possible link between Alzheimer's and obesity and type-2 diabetes and design drugs that can counteract the effects of the disease.

The grant is a renewal of funding that has been in place since 1995 for Griffin's research team.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public Media

Funding cuts for mental health services through Medicaid are taking effect October 1, despite a last-ditch effort at the state legislature Friday to walk back a change that some say could have dire consequences.

The cuts, finalized last week, would limit group therapy length from an hour and a half to an hour and set a cap of 25 counseling visits per year for Medicaid recipients who might otherwise go every week.

The vote to revisit the decision failed to gain two thirds from the Arkansas Legislative Council Friday morning.

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