Open Mics With Doctor Stites 4-20-22

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 22 COVID patients today, the same as yesterday. Other significant numbers:

  • 8 with the active virus today, 7 yesterday
  • 2 in ICU, 2 yesterday
  • 0 on ventilator, 0 yesterday
  • 14 hospitalized but out of acute infection phase, 15 yesterday

Key points from today’s guests:

Rajesh Pahwa, MD, Neurologist, Director Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Program

  • Explained a neurological disorder called essential tremor, in which a person has uncontrolled muscle movements, usually in the hands. For most the condition is inherited.
  • Described how this condition is different from Parkinson’s disease
  • Traditional treatment has been medication, and when that didn’t work, deep brain stimulation. In that procedure, two holes are drilled into the patient’s head and a stimulating device is implanted into the brain to control the problem with electric impulses
  • New procedure involves guided focused ultrasound ablation, a non-invasive procedure, which targets and destroys the brain lesion causing the tremors

Jennifer Cheng, MD Neurosurgeon

  • Focused ultrasound treatment has been highly successful, reducing tremors by 70 percent.
  • Researching whether it can help with epilepsy and Alzheimer’s
  • Currently only FDA approved to treat one side for tremors. Studies are underway to show that it’s safe and effective for both sides, and approval is expected
  • Very rewarding to see how it changes the quality of people’s lives

Shirley Thurber Godbold, essential tremor patient

  • Has had essential tremor for many years, which caused her to give up some of her favorite activities
  • Made eating difficult, had to have husband do things like cut her meat
  • The focused ultrasound treatment has changed her life. She demonstrated by holding a glass in her right hand and showed the uncontrollable shaking. She then shifted it to her left hand, which was the side treated by the procedure, and showed it completely still.
  • She can hardly wait until the FDA gives approval to have both sides treated, which would eliminate all tremors for good

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

  • Showed COVID heat map of United States. A week ago, cases were way down, but now COVID is beginning to spread around the country again
  • States like New York, California, Wyoming and Colorado seeing big outbreaks
  • Most likely these hot spots will begin to emerge in the Midwest in the next four weeks
  • Even though the CDC dropped all other countries from its COVID do not travel list, it’s not likely to make a difference as coronavirus is everywhere

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director, Infection Prevention and Control

  • Even though mask mandates have been lifted for plane travel, you are still at higher risk of COVID when flying because of your proximity to other people on the plane
  • You are especially at risk in airports when waiting in ticket lines, food lines or screening lines with others
  • Even if not required, masks are still the best practice to avoid catching or spreading COVID

Dr. Gregory Nawalanic, clinical psychologist

  • Pandemic has made mental health crisis worse on college campuses across the country, forcing many students to pull back from group gatherings such as classes and social events
  • It was already a stressful time for many making the transition to adulthood, but depression and anxiety are up 21 to 35%
  • Too many students began self-medication with alcohol or drugs
  • Family members can help by watching to see if they seem to lose interest in clubs, sports or other activities. Reach out and give them the opportunity to talk about it.

Thursday, April 21 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. For some couples, having a baby is tough. Throw in a pandemic and it sometimes becomes almost impossible. You’ll meet a couple who turned heartache into triumph thanks to in vitro fertilization.

ATTENTION: media procedure for joining:

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