West Highlighted Several Health Issues in Keynote at Senior University

Jean WestWhen The Temple’s Senior University 2015 convened on Thursday, April 16, Louisville television personality and long-time WAVE3-TV reporter started off the day with a keynote address that brought her audience up to date on changes in her personal life and provided updates on current hot topics in health.

“Sixty is the new 40,” West told her audience, “and 100 is the new 80.” The medical breakthroughs that make things like this possible are the kinds of stories she reported on during her 22-year career with WAVE.
In 2007, she left the station to drive her teenage son around after his older siblings were gone. The time in the car, she explained was time he spent talking to her, and she enjoyed every minute.

When he went to college, West wanted to resume her medical reporting. She developed her own independent production company and produced her own half hour show. She also did some stories for WLKY.

Now, West said, she is back at WAVE and does some consulting work. She travels the world and is focused on what is trending in medicine today.

Hip replacements are big she said, and talked about her own procedure. The wave of the future, she said, is anterior hip replacement, which is the kind of procedure she had. Since it requires only a small incision, West said she was walking two hours after the surgery, off the walker in two weeks and the only pain was from the surgery and not the hip.

She also talked about the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Defects on these genes are indicators of the most deadly forms of cancer. Some doctors are recommending prophylactic mastectomies, but West advises getting second and third opinions before making a decision.

Another significant issue West identified is adolescent eating disorders. There is currently a surge in eating disorders in teen, tweens and children as young as 8 and 9. This needs to be treated like an addiction, she contends, with residential programs. She described it as a most fatal illness among young people because by the time the problem is discovered, the victims are in critical condition. There is a shortage of residential treatment programs for adolescent eating disorders in Louisville, she reported, forcing many families to leave the city to find help for their children.

HIV infections, West warned, are not just a problem happening in southern Indiana. Drug abuse is prevalent in Louisville as well, and needles are being found in Louisville parks. The number of cases of HIV being diagnosed in nursing homes is also on the rise, she said, because the senior residents of such facilities often don’t see the need to take precautions for safe sex.

Alzheimer’s Disease is in the news a lot. West reported that Dr. Robert P. Friedland, a neurologist and neurological researcher and the University of Louisville and KentuckyOne is focusing on the impact what you eat has on neurologic disease.

She says he contends we can fix Alzheimer’s Disease in the kitchen because the wrong bacteria in the intestines can impede the folding of a critical protein in the brain. Through diet, however, it is possible to change the balance of bacteria in the intestines and control the balance of bacteria. Eat more fruit, vegetables and fiber and less meat, she said, adding that the Mediterranean diet is better than the typical American diet.

The rest of the day included a series of workshops and a healthy lunch.

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