Monthly Archives: June 2018

Walton Family Foundation Supports $1.16 Million Trail System In Springdale

Springdale is growing Northwest Arkansas’ mountain biking scene with a new $1.16 million trail system on Fitzgerald Mountain that will be the largest in the city.

The project is funded by grants from the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) to NWA Trailblazers, a nonprofit organization that builds trails in Northwest Arkansas. It will include 10 miles, and the first 7 miles of natural-surface trails will open June 29. The remaining 3 miles will be finished this fall.

“The natural rock formations at Fitzgerald Mountain create unique ride experiences accessible to cyclists of all skill levels,” Steuart Walton said in a statement. “Adding Springdale to the Oz Trails network will strengthen Northwest Arkansas’ reputation as a powerhouse mountain biking destination.”   MORE

UAMS Device Can Help Assess Fetal Health After Opioid Exposure

LITTLE ROCK — A biomagnetic technique developed at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) can be used to assess the brain and heart health of third-trimester fetuses exposed to opioids, UAMS researchers showed in a recent pilot study.

The study was published online this month in the medical journal Addiction, authored by Diana Escalona-Vargas, Ph.D., research faculty in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Jessica Coker, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, all in the College of Medicine.

The study was conducted by recording and analyzing biomagnetic data from fetuses of eight women exposed to the opioid buprenorphine and 16 non-exposed women. Researchers acquired the data noninvasively by using the SARA (SQUID-Array for Reproductive Assessment) device developed by UAMS researchers.

During the SARA examination, the pregnant woman sits against a concave shield that covers her abdomen. More than 100 sensors obtain three-dimensional data from the fetus and the uterus – without employing needles or any other invasive instruments. Advanced techniques with the SARA allowed for the simultaneous examination of cardiac and brain activities in the fetuses.

Exposure of fetuses to opioids, including buprenorphine, has been shown to affect fetal activity, specifically heart rate variability and fetal movement. Opioid-dependent pregnant women are treated with the opioids buprenorphine or methadone because those drugs are thought to have less effect on the fetus than other opioids and keep the women from going through the cycle of detoxification then relapse.

Babies born after exposure to opioids in the womb are immediately at risk for withdrawal, which can include tremors, seizures, excessive crying, breathing problems and more.

Current standards of care include the use of opioid maintenance therapy during pregnancy instead of detoxification because of the high rates of relapse and potential adverse effects on the fetus. Little is known about any risks to the fetus from intoxication or detoxification from opioids. Understanding how buprenorphine or opioids may impact the development of the fetus is also important for health care providers.

“A biomagnetic device such as SARA could help to understand the impact of buprenorphine on the clinical care of pregnant women with opioid use disorder as well as care of their exposed children,” Escalona-Vargas said.

“The use of opioid maintenance therapy has grown along with the opioid epidemic in the United States,” Coker said. “For pregnant women, studies like these can help us identify babies who may be at higher risk for negative outcomes such as neonatal abstinence syndrome.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the incidence of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome has increased about 400 percent nationally, from 1.2 per 1,000 hospital births in 2000 to 5.8 per 1,000 in 2012, with some states reporting rates in excess of 30 per 1,000 hospital births.

Researchers and co-authors in the study are Shona Ray-Griffith, M.D., assistant professor in the UAMS Department of Psychiatry; Eric R. Siegel, research associate in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Biostatistics; Curtis Lowery, M.D., chair of the UAMS Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Zachary Stowe, M.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, Wisconsin; and Hari Eswaran, Ph.D., professor in the UAMS Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; northwest Arkansas regional campus; statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Myeloma Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,834 students, 822 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses throughout the state, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

Where You Live Determines Plastic Surgery Chioce

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder — but where folks live around the country appears to figure in their choices when it comes to plastic surgery.

The most popular plastic-surgery procedures vary widely in different parts of the country, the American Society of Plastic Surgery found in a new study.

While buttocks implants are the most popular in the Southeast, lip reduction is top of mind in the Midwest, the society found in its report. In the South, hair transplants are the big thing. In the Northeast, it’s male breast reduction.    MORE

Arkansas House Speaker Suspends Representative Gates

Add Rep. Mickey Gates, R-Hot Springs, to the growing list of Arkansas legislators arrested, indicted or convicted of various crimes in recent months. Gates was arrested Thursday (June 28) for failing to pay income taxes for a reported 14 years.

Gates, who owes $259,841 to the state, surrendered to authorities with the Arkansas State Police Thursday, according to a report from KATV, a content partner with Talk Business & Politics. “Willfully” failing to file tax returns is a class D felony, according to state law.

Arkansas House Speaker Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado, said Gates has been suspended from his leadership and committee duties.    MORE

Arkansas Transportation Report: River Traffic Tops 5 Million Tons Through May

For the first time in five years, barge activity on the Arkan­sas River topped 5 million tons through the first five months of the year.

According to information from the U.S. Army Corps of En­gineers, year-to-date traffic on the Arkansas River (McClel­lan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System) through May to­taled 5,010,298 tons. Historical records are kept online by the Corps of Engineers dating back to 2011. Barge traffic has topped 5 million tons only one other time since then, in 2013 with a total of 5,030,424 tons. This year’s barge activity is up 9.2% from the same five-month period of 2017.   MORE

ARDOT Seeking Input At “30 Crossing” Public Hearing

The Arkansas Department of Transportation, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will conduct an open forum Location and Design Public Hearing to present and discuss the 30 Crossing Environmental Assessment (EA) and proposed design plans.

The Location and Design Public Hearing will be held on Thursday, July 12, 2018, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at the Wyndham Riverfront (Silver City Rooms), located at 2 Riverfront Place in North Little Rock. The public hearing will present the proposed preferred alternative, the 6-Lane with Collector/Distributor (C/D) Lanes with Split Diamond Interchange (SDI) at the Highway 10 interchange.  MORE

John Carter Cash Continues Father’s Legacy Through Festival

JONESBORO – It’s no accident that John Carter Cash invited acclaimed musical artists Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss to perform at the 2018 Johnny Cash Heritage Festival, Oct. 18-20, in Dyess. He knows they understand and respect the legacy that has sprung from his father’s words and music. And, being an essential part of the event strengthens his own spiritual connection to Johnny Cash.

John Carter is a Grammy Award-winning record producer, singer-songwriter and author who has been involved in music his entire life. The son of Johnny and June Carter Cash and the grandson of Maybelle Carter, he carries on the family tradition of creativity and music.

John Carter will serve as host for this year’s heritage festival and plans to alternate each year with sister Rosanne. He is one of the highlighted entertainers along with Johnson, Krauss and Cash’s wife Ana Cristina Cash who will perform during the benefit concert, Saturday, Oct. 20, in the cotton field beside the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home. The highlight of the three-day festival is from noon to 5 p.m.    MORE

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