Arkansas Health

World Down Syndrome Day Being Marked In Arkansas

Mar 20, 2015

World Down Syndrome Day is being observed Saturday with events in Arkansas and throughout the country.

Typically, a person has 23 pairs of chromosomes. Those with Down syndrome have an additional copy of a third chromosome, chromosome 21, according to Tim Kinnard, president of the Arkansas Down Syndrome Association. He said that’s why March 21 is a perfect day for the events.

"The purpose of the day is to let the world know what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives," Kinnard said.

Arkansas water providers would be able to opt out of providing cavity-fighting fluoride under a bill endorsed by a House panel.

The House Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor voted 11-5 on Tuesday to support the move despite pushback from the state Department of Health and the Arkansas Children's Hospital. Opponents told lawmakers that allowing providers to remove fluoride would cause more cavities and increase health care costs.

A pair of researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will study how opioids are prescribed and dispensed by doctors and pharmacists.

The $538,781 grant by the National Insitute on Drug Abuse will cover three years' of study by Geoff Curran and Bradley Martin at the UAMS College of Pharmacy.

Opioids are pain relievers that include codeine, hydrocodone, morphine and oxycodone.

The Arkansas Department of Health says 25 people have died from flu-related illness in the state so far this season.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the Health Department released its weekly influenza report on Friday. Of the 25 deaths, officials say 19 of the victims were over age 65, four were 45 to 65 years old and two were between the ages of 25 and 44.

The Arkansas Department of Health tracks the flu for one calendar year starting on Sept. 28, as well as from September through March.

Already Widespread In Arkansas, Flu Could Get Worse

Jan 7, 2015
A map showing the extent of flu activitiy in each U.S. state
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Arkansas may be on track to see a flu season just as bad, if not worse, than the 2013-14 season. The Arkansas Department of Health says so far, there have been 12 confirmed flu-related deaths. At least six of those were people over the age of 65. Spokeswoman Kerry Krell says the pattern is widespread.

“Predominantly this season we're seeing H3N2,” she says. “It is notorious for causing a lot of illness; causing a lot of hospitalizations, especially in the elderly population.”

For Smith National Historic Site / National Park Service

Arkansas’s second largest city, Fort Smith, will embark on 12-year, $255 million upgrade to its sewer and water treatment operations as part of a settlement regarding a decade of Clean Water Act violations. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman talked to the Environmental Protection Agency’s chief of the Municipal Enforcement Branch Loren Denton about where untreated waste ended up and the prospects of cleaner water.

The head of an Arkansas non-profit group dedicated to improving the quality of care for nursing home residents says an NPR series reinforces the need for stricter enforcement of an existing law.

The federal Nursing Home Reform Act was passed 27 years ago, saying antipsychotic medications should not be used to sedate residents suffering from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.

State Rep. John Hutchison (R-Harrisburg)
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Members of the state legislature on Monday reviewed the potential impact of a proposed $2 billion, 750 mile interstate transmission line that would cross Arkansas from west to east from just north of Fort Smith to West Memphis.

Outgoing Republican State Representative John Hutchison (R-Harrisburg) has typically been against regulating the energy sector. However, Hutchison believes the Plains and Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project will bring problems to waterfowl, such as ducks, in the areas it crosses. That includes an area nearby his own property in northeast Arkansas. 

Flu Shot
Carmichael Yepez / U.S. Navy

The Arkansas Department of Health has scheduled vaccine clinics for areas throughout the state as the flu season begins to ramp up.

The flu shot clinics had been pushed back this fall because there was a delay in the shipment of the vaccines from manufacturers. The clinics are now set to take place in November and December at cities and towns throughout Arkansas.

One of the largest clinics will be held Dec. 4 at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock.

Flu Shot
Carmichael Yepez / U.S. Navy

Public flu shot clinics throughout Arkansas are being postponed because of a delay in the shipment of more than a quarter-million doses of the vaccine.

The Arkansas Department of Health says the shipment of 256,450 doses of the vaccine is expected to arrive no later than early November. But the health department says it already has more than 191,000 doses on hand that will be used in school flu shot clinics throughout the state.