PIKEVILLE — Santa Claus and his helpers will make their annual return to the area on Saturday. CSX officials have announced the 75th-annual, 110-mile journey of the Santa Train will make stops in Pike County.


Despite the decline of coal and CSX's reduction of workforce as a direct result, officials said the holidays for many throughout the Appalachian region will remain bright.


The train will kick off its journey from Pike County to Kingsport, Tenn., with Santa and his helpers giving out more than 15 tons and $300,000 worth of clothing, food, toys and gifts at several stops along the train route.


This year's holiday ride will feature country music star and 15-time Grammy winner Ricky Skaggs.


Skaggs, a Kentucky native, will accompany Santa, along with sponsors CSX, Food City, Appalachian Power, Soles4Souls and Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.


Items distributed come from donations nationwide each year – from individuals, groups and businesses.


Thousands will line up along the train route that crosses Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee, for the opportunity to see Santa, as well as receive a number of gifts.


The train will depart the Shelby Yard at approximately 5:45 a.m., and make stops at Marrowbone and Elkhorn City, before crossing into Virginia. There, folks in Toms Bottom, Haysi, Clinchco, Fremont, Dante, St. Paul, Dungannon, Ft. Blackmore and Kermit will have a chance to participate.


The journey will conclude with a stop in Waycross, Tenn., before concluding in Kingsport.


For more information, visit The Santa Train on Facebook or call 423-392-8800.

Author Name: 
Abigail Gibson
Friday, November 17, 2017

PIKEVILLE — Millions of children received gift-filled shoeboxes from Operation Christmas Child last year.


Many of those boxes came from local communities.


Samaritan's Purse, which organizes the annual donation drive, works to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with local churches worldwide, to share the good news of Jesus Christ.


In addition to toys, stuffed animals and other gifts, the shoeboxes also provide a Christian message about Jesus Christ.


Collection week for Operation Christmas Child is observed Nov. 13-20.


In eastern Kentucky, gift-filled shoeboxes are collected at local churches and taken to the Whitesburg collection center or a West Virginia based collection center, where they are boxed up and trucked to an Operation Christmas Child Processing Center.


Hundreds of volunteers check each shoe box at the processing center. They remove items that can't be mailed — candy, breakable items or liquids — replace them with donated toys and prepare the boxes for shipment to more than 100 countries.


Locally, gift-filled shoeboxes will be collected this year at Meta Baptist Church, Fitzpatrick Baptist Church in Prestonsburg, Borderland Baptist Church in Williamson, W.Va., and other locations before being taken to the Whitesburg collection center.


Meta Baptist Church will receive and process over 1,000 shoeboxes over the next couple of weeks that will be distributed all over the world, Pike Association of Southern Baptists Director of Missions, Jason Lowe said.


Packages from this region are sent to children in Albania, Africa, Jamaica, Lebanon, India, Honduras and Zimbabwe, among other countries.


Donors can wrap the lid and the shoe box separately and secure the box with a rubber band before donating it. Plastic or cardboard boxes are accepted.


Individuals are asked to pay a $9 donation fee, to cover critical shipping and ministry costs. If the donation is made, donors can follow their box by using the 'Look-Up Tool' to find out which country their box will be delivered to.


Local residents can drop their shoeboxes off at: Meta Baptist Church, 8807 Meta Hwy., Pikeville, Ky. 41501


Drop-off hours:


Nov. 17, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.


Nov. 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.


Nov. 19, 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.


Nov. 20, 9 a.m.-11 a.m.








How to Pack a Shoebox:


Find a shoebox – if you want to wrap it, cover the box and lid separately.


Girl or Boy – Choose whether you will pack a box for a girl or boy.


Age – Decide which age category 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.


Fill with gifts – select a large gift item, then fill with other fun toys, hygiene items and school supplies.


Pray – pray for the child who will receive your gift. You may also include a personal note and photo.


Follow your box label – Donate $9 online and receive a tracking label and discover the destination of your shoebox.


Drop-off – Take your shoebox to a local drop-off location during National Collection Week, Nov. 13-20.


Gift Ideas:


Personal Care Items: comb, hairbrush, toothbrush, washcloth, bar soap, adhesive bandages, reusable plastic containers, blanket


Clothing and accessories: shirts and pants, underwear, shoes, socks, flip-flops, hat, scarf, mittens, sunglasses, tote bag, backpack


School supplies: pencils, colored pencils, crayons, markers, notebooks, etc.


Toys: kickball, slinky, interactive toys, Frisbee, tennis ball, jump rope.


Personal note: may include a note and picture of you and your family.


Do not include used or damaged items, candy, toothpaste, war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figurines, chocolate or food, seeds, fruit rolls or other fruit snacks, drink mixes (powdered or liquid), liquids or lotions, medications or vitamins, breakable items, aerosol cans.


For more information about the local collection center, call Meta Baptist Church at 606-631-1194 or visit samaritanspurse.org.

Author Name: 
Abigail Gibson
Friday, November 17, 2017

Smokers across the country took part in The Great American Smokeout, held on Nov. 16. Pikeville Medical Center encouraged all smokers to use this date to make a plan to quit. By quitting smoking, even for one day, you will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing your risk of cancer and other serious smoking-related illnesses.


If you are a smoker, or know someone who is, setting a date to quit can be an important step in protecting your health and the health of your loved ones. The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout encourages smokers to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking on a specific day.


The American Cancer Society suggests these five tips to promote a smoke free lifestyle:


Set a quit date. Choose the Great American Smokeout or another quit day within the next 2 weeks.


Tell your family and friends about your quit plan. Share your quit date with the important people in your life and ask for support.


Be prepared for challenges. The urge to smoke is short-usually only 3 to 5 minutes, but those moments can feel intense. Before your quit day, write down healthy ways to cope.


• Drink water


• Exercise


• Listen to a favorite song or play a game


• Call or text a friend


• Get social support by joining @CDCTobaccoFree on Facebook and Twitter


Sign up for Smokefree TEXT for 24/7 help on your mobile phone


Remove cigarettes and other tobacco from your home, car and workplace. Throw away your cigarettes, matches, lighters and ashtrays. Clean and freshen your car, home and workplace. Old cigarette odors can cause cravings.


Talk to your pharmacist, doctor or quit line coach about quit options. Nicotine patches, gum or other approved quit medication can help with cravings.


Visit Pikeville Medical Center's Facebook page and the Nov. 17 issue of the Medical Leader for important information from our skilled physicians on how smoking affects various areas of your health.


The support provided by the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout doesn't end when the day is over.


For more information and assistance call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

Friday, November 17, 2017

Here is a look at this weekend's high school playoff games:




Class 1A


Regional championship


Pikeville (7-4)


at Hazard (9-2)


Date: Nov. 17


Site: Daniel Field


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.


Radio: 98.1 FM


Coaches: Chris McNamee (Pikeville); Mark Dixon (Hazard)


Players to Watch: RB Jackson Hensley, RB Zack Roberts (Pikeville); QB Bailey Blair, RB Mathew Francis (Hazard)


Last Week's Results: Pikeville 42, Williamsburg 6; Hazard 43, Lynn Camp 8.




Paintsville (11-1)


vs. Raceland (8-4)


Date: Nov. 17


Site: Memorial Field


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.


Radio: 94.7 FM


Coaches: Joe Chirico (Paintsville); Michael Salmons (Raceland)


Players to Watch: RB Tyrese Allen, QB Jake Hyden (Paintsville); QB Damon Black, RB Judd Adkins (Raceland)


Last Week's Results: Paintsville 43, Bracken County 0; Raceland 31, Paris 9.




Class A




Tug Valley (10-1)


vs. St. Marys (9-1)


Date: Nov. 17


Site: Bob Brewer Field


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.


Radio: No radio


Coaches: Tony Clusky (Tug Valley); Jodi Mote (St. Marys)


Players to Watch: RB Jonathan Blankenkship, QB Nathan Muscat (Tug Valley); RB Matt Eichhorn, RB Jaiden Smith (St. Marys)


Last Week's Results: Tug Valley 30, Pocahontas County 29; St. Marys 44, Doddridge County 14.




Class AA


Mingo Central (11-0)


vs. Liberty Harrison (9-2)


Date: Nov. 17


Site: "Buck" Harless Stadium


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.


Radio: 96.5 FM


Coaches: Joey Fields (Mingo Central); A.J. Harmon (Liberty Harrison)


Players to Watch: QB Jeremy Dillon, WR Drew Hatfield (Mingo Central); RB Dalton Westfall, RB Broderick Lantz (Liberty Harrison)


Last Week's Results: Mingo Central 76, Robert C. Byrd 40; Liberty Harrison 27, Nicholas County 7.

Author Name: 
Teddy Paynter
Friday, November 17, 2017

NAUGATUCK, W.Va. — The difference in Tug Valley advancing or being eliminated from the post-season playoff was a single yard.


Defensive end Kyle Sturgell stopped Pocahontas County quarterback Briar Wilfong on a two-point conversion run with 48 seconds left to preserve a thrilling 30-29, come-from-behind win in the Class A playoff opener played at Bob Brewer Field on Nov. 11.


Wilfong had pulled the Warriors (7-4) to within one on a four-yard touchdown run prior to the conversion attempt.


The Panthers, now 10-1, recovered the ensuing onside kick and were able to run out the clock.


Tug Valley took its first lead of the game on the opening drive of the second half. Running back Jonathan Blankenship raced 20 yards and then ran in the conversion to make it 22-20 with 9 minutes, 51 seconds left.


Blankenship followed with a 77-yard run with 6:14 remaining in the quarter and Noah Lucas added the conversion to push the lead to 30-20. Blankenship finished with 231 yards on 25 carries.


Pocahontas County closed to within 30-23 on Dillion Shinaberry's 21-yard field goal heading into the final 12 minutes. Tug Valley had pulled within six at halftime on Lucas' five-yard run with 51 seconds remaining before the break. Chris Ellis ran in the conversion to make it 20-14. Ellis had 116 yards on nine rushing attempts.


The Warriors had built a 20-6 lead as Shane Peacock capped the opening series of the game with a six-yard run. Sharp then added a 14-yard TD run after Tug Valley's Ellis scored on a one-yard run, set up by Lucas' big run on the prior play.


Tug Valley will host St. Marys (9-1) tonight in the state quarterfinals.




At Naugatuck, W.Va.


(Class A playoffs)




PC (7-4)….....................................14 6 3 6 – 29


TV (10-1)…...................................6 8 16 0 – 30




First Quarter


PC – Shane Peacock, 6-yard run (Dillion Shinaberry kick)


TV – Chris Ellis, 1-yard run (run failed)


PC – Shane Peacock, 14-yard run (Dillion Shinaberry)


Second Quarter


PC – PC – James Sharp, 6-yard pass from Briar Wilfong (kick blocked)


TV – Noah Lucas, 5-yard run (Chris Ellis run)


Third Quarter


TV – Jonathan Blankenship, 20-yard run (Jonathan Blankenship run)


TV – Jonathan Blankenship, 77-yard run (Noah Lucas run)


PC – Dillion Shinaberry, 21-yard field goal


Fourth Quarter


PC – Briar Wilfong, 4-yard run (run failed)


Next up: Tug Valley (10-1) vs. St. Marys (9-1), 7:30 p.m., Nov. 17.

PLAYOFF ACTION: Tug Valley running back Noah Lucas runs for a big gain during the Panthers’ 30-29 win over Pocahontas County in the opening round of the Class A playoffs at Bob Brewer Field on Nov. 11
Medical Leader│Photo by TEDDY PAYNTER
Author Name: 
Teddy Paynter
Friday, November 17, 2017

Quinn Reagan Smith, daughter of Carley and Harold Smith, born Nov. 3; weight: 7 lbs., 2 oz.


Alexa Danielle Webb, daughter of Samantha Howard and Randy Webb, born Nov. 3; weight: 6 lbs., 5 oz.


Jase Christopher Allen, son of Whitney Loper and Grover Allen, born Nov. 3; weight: 7 lbs., 6 oz.


Reagan Elizabeth Watson, daughter of Brandy Younce, born Nov. 4; weight: 7 lbs., 9 oz.


Ariana Marie Pickett, daughter of Tessa Justice and Steven Pickett, born Nov. 4; weight: 7 lbs., 12.7 oz.


Channing Douglas Shepherd, son of Heather and Robbie Shepherd, born Nov. 4; weight: 6 lbs., 12 oz.


Colton Brae-Lee Gibson, son of Jessica and Gavin Gibson, born Nov. 5; weight: 6 lbs., 7 oz.


Dawsyn Blayke Vance, son of Desrae Vance, born Nov. 7; weight: 5 lbs., 9 oz.


Chrisley Nichole Anderson, daughter of Lesley and Christopher Anderson, born Nov. 7; weight: 6 lbs., 6 oz.


Remington Hope Nichols, daughter of Loralie and Robert Nichols, born Nov. 7; weight: 6 lbs., 11 oz.


Christian Wade Anderson, son of Deonna and Corey Anderson, born Nov. 7; weight: 7 lbs., 5 oz.


Riley Allen Bronson, son of Madison Adkins, born Nov. 7; weight: 8 lbs., 15 oz.


Emilia Claire Little, daughter of Lucinda and Josh Little, born Nov. 7; weight: 8 lbs.


Zoey Odelia Morris, daughter of Kendra and Danny Morris, born Nov. 9; weight: 7 lbs.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Ronnie Dean Slone, 59, of Pikeville, passed away Nov. 11. Funeral, Nov. 15. Burial, Annie E. Young Cemetery, Pikeville.


Betty Jean Thacker, 61, of Raccoon, passed away Nov. 13. Funeral, Nov. 16. Burial, Betty J. Thacker Family Cemetery, Hurricane.


Roy Shell, 85, of Phyllis, passed away Nov. 12. Funeral, Nov. 17, Upper Grapevine Church of Christ. Burial, Bevins Cemetery, Phyllis.


Bonnie Sue Hopson Crisp, 77, of Martin, passed away Nov. 11. Funeral, Nov. 14. Burial, Crisp Cemetery, Martin.


Benita Lynne Haywood VanHoose, 57, passed away Nov. 10. Memorial service, Nov. 12. Private burial followed.


Billy Joe Hall, 50, of Prestonsburg, passed away Nov. 9. Funeral, Nov. 14. Burial, Tackett and Hall Cemetery, Grethel.


Delmer Williams, 98, of Ivel, passed away Nov. 8. He was a U.S. Army veteran, having served during World War II. Funeral, Nov. 12, New Salem Association Building, Minnie. Burial, Davidson Memorial Gardens, Ivel.


Amanda Leigh Howard Newman, 37, of Gunlock, passed away Nov. 8. Funeral, Nov. 12, Little Salt Lick Baptist Church, Gunlock. Burial, K&K Howard Family Cemetery, Gunlock.


James Wendell Justice, 71, of North Tazewell, Va., formerly of Belfry, passed away Oct. 23. Memorial service, Nov. 18, First Baptist Church of Belfry.


Ethel Daniels Talentinow, of Huntington, W.Va., formerly of Pike County, passed away Nov. 7. Funeral, Nov. 12. Entombment, York Mausoleum, Johnson Memorial Park, Pikeville.


David Turner, 54, of North Matewan, W.Va., passed away Nov. 12. Funeral, Nov. 15. Burial, Maynard Cemetery, North Matewan.


Vicie Stafford, 55, of Blackberry City, W.Va., passed away Nov. 8. Per her request, the body has been cremated.


Gloria J. "Mimi" Hall Robinett, 74, of Stopover, passed away Nov. 11. Funeral, Nov. 15. Burial, Robinett Cemetery Stopover.


Randy Blankenship, 60, of Stopover, passed away Nov. 11. Funeral, Nov. 14, Stopover Church of God. Burial, Whispering Hills Cemetery.


Daniel Jordan "D.J." Dillon, 22, of Sidney, passed away Nov. 5. Funeral, Nov. 12, New Beginning Church of God, Sidney. Burial, Royce Family Cemetery, Dix Fork, Sidney.


Elster Coleman, 88, of Pikeville, passed away Nov. 11. Funeral, Nov. 14. Burial, R.H. Ratliff Cemetery, Shelbiana.


Dustin Nathanial Wright, 36, of Jenkins, passed away Nov. 10. Funeral, Nov. 12. Burial, Bumgardner Cemetery, Dorton.


Larry Edward Coleman, 74, passed away Nov. 11. Funeral, Nov. 14. Burial, Johnson Memorial Park, Pikeville.


Steve Fuller, 63, of Pinsonfork, passed away Nov. 8. Memorial service, Nov. 11.


Homer J. Smallwood, 89, of Dorton, passed away Nov. 8. He was a U.S. Army Veteran. Funeral, Nov. 11. Burial, Smallwood Family Cemetery, Dorton.


Ted A. Thompson, 77, of Burdine, passed away Nov. 7. Funeral, Nov. 10. Burial, Green Acres Memorial Garden, Whitesburg.


Pamela Cantrell Hamilton, 49, of Ashcamp, passed away Nov. 9. Funeral, Nov. 12. Burial, Cantrell Cemetery, Sycamore.


Bertha Cool, 82, of Belcher, passed away Nov. 6. Funeral, Nov. 10. Burial, Johnson Memorial Park, Pikeville.


John "Jim" Fouts, 64, of Long Fork, passed away Nov. 6. Funeral, Nov. 10, Neon Church of Christ. Burial, Bentley Cemetery, Orchard Branch.


Gary Edward "Eddie" Prater, 62, of Hueysville, passed away Nov. 13. He was a U.S. Army Veteran. Graveside service, Nov. 16


Freddie Johnson, 63, of Prestonsburg, passed away Nov. 11. Funeral, Nov. 15. Burial, Fred Johnson Family Cemetery, Prestonsburg.


Lucille Gayheart, 66, of Wheelwright, passed away Nov. 9. Funeral, Nov. 12, Little Rock Old Regular Baptist Church, Bevinsville. Burial, Denver Tackett Cemetery, Melvin.


Omar Donald Compton, 86, of Hi Hat, passed away Nov. 8. Funeral, Nov. 12, Little Nancy Old Regular Baptist Church, Price. Burial, Little Cemetery, Price.


Scrline Hamilton, 71, of Teaberry, passed away Nov. 8. Funeral, Nov. 11, Samaria Old Regular Baptist Church, Teaberry. Burial, Davidson Memorial Gardens, Ivel.


Juanita Akers "Teeto" Reynolds, 69, of Grethel, passed away Nov. 7. Funeral, Nov. 10. Burial, Akers Cemetery, Grethel.


Doug Cooley, 48, of Hippo, passed away Nov. 7. Funeral, Nov. 10. Burial, Reed Cemetery, Hippo.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins. Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet.


For many people, varicose veins and spider veins, a common, mild variation of varicose veins are simply a cosmetic concern. For other people, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Sometimes varicose veins lead to more-serious problems.


"Varicose veins may be associated with blood clots and venous stasis wounds," said Pikeville Medical Center Vascular Surgeon Nancy Clark, M.D.


When painful signs and symptoms occur, they may include:


•An achy or heavy feeling in your legs


•Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs


•Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time


•Itching around one or more of your veins


•Bleeding from varicose veins


•A painful cord in the vein with red discoloration of the skin


•Color changes, hardening of the vein, inflammation of the skin or skin ulcers near your ankle, which can mean you have a serious form of vascular disease that requires medical attention.


Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are smaller. Spider veins are found closer to the skin's surface and are often red or blue.


They occur on the legs, but can also be found on the face. Spider veins vary in size and often look like a spider's web.


"Consultation with a vascular specialist may be helpful for treatment of aching leg pain associated with venous disease, treatment of venous stasis wounds, and to discuss removal of bulging and painful varicose veins," said Dr. Clark.


Self-care such as exercise, elevating your legs or wearing compression stockings can help you ease the pain of varicose veins and may prevent them from getting worse. But if you are concerned about how your veins look and feel and self-care measures have not stopped your condition from getting worse, see your doctor.


Dr. Clark said, "Varicose veins can be hereditary, and commonly seen in females, especially during and after pregnancy. Varicosities are also seen in patients with prior history of DVT, and in patients with history of prolonged standing, such as in a work environment."


Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your tissues. Veins return blood from the rest of your body to your heart, so the blood can be recirculated. To return blood to your heart, the veins in your legs must work against gravity.


Muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps, and elastic vein walls help blood return to your heart. Tiny valves in your veins open as blood flows toward your heart then close to stop blood from flowing backward.


Age, sex, family history and obesity are factors that increase the risk of developing varicose veins.


For additional information about varicose veins or to schedule an appointment with Pikeville Medical Center Vascular Surgeons Dr. Nancy Clark or Dr. Al Addasi call 606-218-2202.

Author Name: 
Carol Casebolt
Friday, November 10, 2017

PIKEVILLE — The Pike County Cooperative Extension Office held a reality store for Pikeville Independent eight-grade students last week.


The reality store is a life skills simulation, preparing students for employable and successful futures.


The Sapling Center Program Facilitator Amber Collins, participated in the event and talked with students in hopes that if they need an extra push or help they could stop by The Sapling Center, located at 404 S. Mayo Trail, Pikeville, to get assistance with resumes and interview building skills.


"The reality store is basically its meaning, it is a reality check for the students since they are going to be transitioning into high school soon," she said. "They need to see what it is like to help them prepare for their future."


Collins said when they're in high school they're going to be thinking about what they are going to major in when they go to college and thinking about picking an occupation.


"It is an eye-opener to show them how much money they are going to have to make to survive," she said. "They get to have a job, but their job is picked based on their current GPA. How hard you work in school, can determine what kind of job you're able to get."


Collins said she came to the reality store in eighth grade and remembers it vividly.


"I remember Mrs. Froman and this program and I thought it was the coolest thing. I heard my parents talking about bills they had to pay and when my mom would go to the store she would look for the best deals," she said. "I remember walking up to the grocery store section during the reality store where they asked if you wanted to buy name brand or generic food items."


Collins knew she wanted to buy the name brand food items.


"I realized very quickly that I didn't have enough money to pay for health insurance, so I had to end up buying the generic food brands. It was a reality check for me," she said. "The day we were here, really put into perspective what my mom and dad had to deal with on a daily basis."


The reality store helps the students think of the necessities and priorities, over things they don't necessarily need.


"I hope they keep this in the back of their mind when they're going into college and deciding on a major. I hope this even pushes them to go to college," Collins said. "Showing and teaching the students that getting a college degree is important to be able to support your family, because in today's world the majority of jobs require a college degree or certain certifications."


The students participated in paying for transportation, housing, property taxes, insurance, utilities, clothing, child care, groceries, entertainment, furniture, medical and dental care, and much more.


The Sapling Center also provides counseling, peer support and community support services for youth ages 14-25. It is an opportunity for students to seek guidance and motivation.


4H Extension Agent Novella Froman said, "I hope the students see the correlation with their grade point average and quality of life. This gives them a simulation of real life and how much things actually cost. It lets them see real life and what it is like to make a living."

STORE: Eighth-grade students from Pikeville Independent took part in a reality store held at the Pike County Cooperative Extension Office last week. This gives them a simulation of real life and shows them how much things actually cost.
Medical Leader│Photo by ABIGAIL GIBSON
Friday, November 10, 2017

One in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1.2 percent of the United States population, or about 3.4 million people, have active epilepsy.


It is not clear what causes epilepsy.


Epilepsy can be caused by different conditions that affect a person's brain. Many times the cause is unknown. Some causes include stroke, brain tumor, traumatic brain injury or head injury and central nervous system infections.


"Epilepsy is a very complex and chronic disease of the brain that is characterized by altered awareness and loss of consciousness, or seizures," explains Dr. Naveed Ahmed, Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) neurologist. "The frequency of these seizures can be disabling." It is diagnosed by history of episodes and by electroencephalogram (EEG).


At PMC epilepsy can be treated in various ways.


"Proper diagnosis is the first step in treatment, then education," explained Dr. Ahmed. "Medication is the next step in treatment and an assessment to determine if the patient is a candidate for surgical treatment, or vagus nerve stimulation."


Epilepsy can affect people in very different ways. The frequency of seizures plays a major role in determining both the severity of the person's condition and the impact it has on his or her life.


Most people with epilepsy live a full and healthy life. However, epilepsy can be fatal. The leading cause of epilepsy-related death is believed to be sudden, unexpected death in epilepsy, also known as SUDEP.


Dr. Ahmed is very concerned about SUDEP as the most serious complication of epilepsy that is left untreated. It occurs in someone who is otherwise healthy. In SUDEP cases, no other cause of death is found when an autopsy is done. Each year, about one in 1,000 adults and one in 4,500 children with epilepsy die from SUDEP. This is the leading cause of death in people with uncontrolled seizures.


According to Mayo Clinic, many people with epilepsy can become seizure-free by taking anti-seizure medication. Medications do not work for everyone suffering with epilepsy. About one in three cases are resistant to medication.


Those who are resistant to medications often have the doses increased in attempts to better manage the seizures. Side effects of prolonged usage of high doses of seizure medication are gum disease, weakened bone density and excess facial hair in women.


When the usual medications fail to control epileptic seizures, implantation of the vagus nerve stimulator can help.


Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a cutting-edge procedure performed at PMC by Dr. Greg Hazelett and Dr. William Hoskins, PMC otolaryngologists. It is designed to prevent seizures by sending regular, mild pulses of electrical energy to the brain via the vagus nerve. These pulses are supplied by a device something like a pacemaker.


VNS is not a curative treatment, but has shown significantly reduced seizures by sensing and stopping them before they happen. Statistics show 60 percent or better improvement rate in most patients.


If you suspect someone is having a seizure, Dr. Ahmed insists on calling 911 immediately and putting them on their side. If at all possible, video the occurrence to show a physician later to help explain what happened during the episode.


For more information or to make an appointment, please call 606-218-2208.

Author Name: 
Amy Charles
Friday, November 10, 2017