Open Mics With Doctor Stites 10-26-22

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Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


     The University of Kansas Health System is treating a total of 54 COVID patients today, up from 52 yesterday. Other significant numbers:

  • 31 with the active virus today, same as yesterday
  • 5 in ICU, same as yesterday
  • 2 on a ventilator, same as yesterday
  • 23 hospitalized but out of acute infection phase, up from 21 yesterday

Key points from today’s guests:

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

  • Kansas University Medical Center has been awarded a $12 million grant from the National Institute of Health is to establish a new resource center to study human obesity and obesity related disease.
  • The grant will establish the Kansas Center for Metabolism and Obesity Research (KC MORE).
  • It will be a hub for researchers studying obesity prevention and treatment and will further KUMED’s position as one of the national leaders in obesity, metabolism, and obesity related disease research.

Georgia Dittmeier, patient

  • Never entered the weight clinic to “get skinny” or be a certain size. She entered it to get her liver enzymes down and to reduce the inflammation in her liver.
  • When she joined the weight group at KU it was a group effort and not just a therapy group -- it was educational medical data.
  • She wanted to understand “Why am I not losing weight? Why do I need to exercise and why do I need to continue down the pathway.”
  • The tracking was easy. The directions were simple and easy to follow. It was successful and that was reinforcing.
  • When it comes to upcoming holidays -- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas – where food is more prevalent, she has been trained to eat in moderation and move on. And take a walk afterward – at the mall or in a gym if the weather is cold.
  • Not everything is your fault – control what you can control. Celebrate the little successes.
  • It is important to balance diet AND exercise.

Dr. Steve Weinman, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, The University of Kansas Health System

  • There are sadly there are a lot of diseases caused by obesity -- including diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated blood lipids, like cholesterol that can cause heart disease, vascular disease, and fatty liver disease.
  • Those are the core, but obesity is related to a number of cancers. There are very strong relationships between obesity and esophageal cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and a number of other ones as well.
  • All fat is not the same. Visceral fat seems to be what correlates with diabetes and fatty liver and metabolic syndrome.
  • You can convert from an overweight person who's unhealthy to an overweight person who is healthy through exercise, and possibly loss of some of this visceral fat.
  • BMI is not always the best measure of health.
  • Improvements in fatty liver seem to be correlated very well with weight loss.
  • We want people to be healthier, we don’t want to stigmatize or label people based on weight challenges. This is not always “your fault”.
  • Studies are showing there are also gene variants associated with causing fatty liver disease.

Steve Herrman, Ph. D., Division of Physical Activity and Weight Management, The University of Kansas Medical Center

  • There's not a secret diet when it comes to weight loss. It is important to surround patients with a care team that supportive. These weight loss programs are built on the evidence that we know is effective.
  • That starts with is some initial structure to help simplify things because we know that obesity is a very complex disease.
  • That structure early on can give people some success and allow them to practice behaviors, learn new knowledge and tools over time. And then that structure starts to go away, and they are more confident in the skills that they've been practicing and building.
  • Weight loss activities needs to be diverse. Think of October as the new January to start healthy habits now.
  • If you need weight loss help, ask for it. This can be difficult to do alone, and some situations require unique care plans.

John Thyfault, Ph. D., professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Endocrinology, Metabolism & Genetics, The University of Kansas Medical Center

  • With the grant, one core is to help with clinical research around exercise interventions, nutrition interventions, or assess energy balance by measuring food intake and energy expenditure.
  • Increasing BMIs can lead to increasing risk of diabetes.
  • About 80-85 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes are obese.
  • Lifestyle can have a big impact on preventing diabetes.
  • Don’t quit if you don’t see immediate results. This can take time.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control, The University of Kansas Health System

  • Need to collect more sequencing on different COVID variants and where they are showing up.
  • Monoclonal treatments may not be as effective against certain variants. More studies need to be done.
  • It is important to keep an eye on variants to assess where they are spreading and how they are affecting patients.
  • Flu and RSV cases are increasing at the Health System, so it is important to get flu vaccines early.

Thursday, October 27 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. Cardio scores can help with determining heart risks. We’re going to take you live to see an actual cardio score test. Find out what’s involved and see whether it’s right for you.

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