Open Mics With Doctor Stites 1-18-23

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


   The University of Kansas Health System is treating a total of 60 COVID patients today, 61 Friday. Other significant numbers:

  •  27 with the active virus today, 31 Friday
  •  6 in ICU, 5 Friday
  •  4 on a ventilator, 2 Friday

Key points from today’s guests:

Dr. Steven Stites, chief medical officer, The University of Kansas Health System

  • A study in JAMA neurology found that about 10,000 steps a day was linked to less cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart failure, plus decreasing your risk of 13 types of cancer in reducing the risk of dementia.
  • Taking 10,000 steps is about the same as walking four or five miles depending on your stride.
  • Physical activity is essential for physical and mental health. If you have not been active, get some forward motion and then build on that over time.

John Jakicic, Ph. D., Division of Physical Activity and Weight Management, KU School of Medicine

  • According to research, 10,000 steps per day is the key number. If you don't get 10,000, that doesn't mean you're not getting benefit, but if you can get to 10,000, you're going to actually maximize the health benefits across the vast majority of the health parameters that we're talking about.
  • When it comes to physical activity vs. exercise, think about it as an activity – 10,000 steps a day.
  • When our heart pumps, we get oxygen rich blood to all of our muscles and our organs and our heart – that's really important for health and benefits.
  • There's actually benefits when your heart rate goes up, it actually causes your vessels to stretch and give them flex and when we do that regularly at rest, that helps our blood pressure actually go down. When our blood circulates, we get a lot of other nutrients and hormones and everything that gets circulated through our body.
  • If you’re not close to 10,000 steps per day, made gradual improvements in steps per day – parking further away at the store, adding a few minutes per day of walking.
  • The goal should be to “sit less” and “move more.” And when you move, move like you are late for a meeting.

Lauren Ptomey, Ph. D., R.D., researcher, registered dietician, KU School of Medicine

  • Looking at exercise and metabolism in brain health, there are currently more than 15 National Institute of Health funded studies occurring at the University right now.
  • We are actually becoming one of the leading fields in Exercise Science and Health, which is really great that it's happening right here.
  • There is a variety of research being conducted from youth, adults, older adults, individuals with Alzheimer's disease, Down Syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.
  • There is a current study with Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers looking at different intensities of exercise and how that affects brain health metabolism and people older adults with or without Alzheimer's disease.
  • Lack of exercise is the second leading contributors to Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Exercise is the key to healthy aging. For older adults or wheelchair-bound people, there are exercises that can get the heart rate going, even lifting cans of soup or bottles of water, or sitting and standing.

Sandra Billinger, Ph. D., professor of neurology, KU School of Medicine

  • The pandemic may have led to a decrease in exercise when it came to not walking to meetings and joining online.
  • It's really important to not only think about steps, but also think about minutes of physical activity.
  • The JAMA neurology paper that came out showed that for individuals who even got 3,800 steps per day, there was a 25 percent reduction in dementia onset.
  • Something is better than nothing, so move as much as you can. Where you're starting at is great, and if you can add just a little bit each day, that is outstanding.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, director of infection and prevention control, The University of Kansas Health System

  • The XBB COVID variant is a recombination of two Omicron sub lineages. So basically, it's a great grandchild of Omicron essentially, and we are seeing those numbers increase.
  • The XBB variant does seem to be the one that is starting to predominate if it's not predominant already.
  • Although we can't use those monoclonal antibodies anymore for treatment, we do know the current vaccines continue to reduce your risk of hospitalization and severe disease, so it is important to be up to date with those vaccines.
  • It is especially important if you are in those higher risk categories.
  • A new study in the British Medical Journal shows that long COVID symptoms ease for most people within a year. It also showed that those who were vaccinated had a less risk of those long COVID symptoms as well.

Friday, January 20 is the next live edition of the Morning Medical Update. A young mom who battled cervical cancer is now using her story to reach others about the importance of early detection. Meet Erin Reyes and her doctor, who explains why a radical hysterectomy was the best option for Erin.

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