Health

Brett Sholtis / WITF

A proposed bill that would require insurers to pay for telemedicine services is drawing widespread support from health care providers and opposition from some in the health insurance industry.

"Telemedicine" is a term for the use of smart phones, laptops and other devices, paired with health care apps, to connect patients with doctors.

The idea is that instead of trying to book an appointment with a primary care provider, or rush to the emergency room, people can talk with a physician by video chat, phone call or instant message.

DIANE CORDELL / Flickr

UPMC patients can get their flu vaccines starting this week, but unlike previous years, these immunizations were not manufactured with chicken eggs.

Efrem Lukatsky / AP

A University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researcher has received a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for a pilot program to help HIV patients manage their chronic pain.

Colin Charles / Flickr

New analysis from the University of Pittsburgh has found a link between alcohol and perceived physical attractiveness. In other words, “beer goggles” are real.

Researchers looked at data from some 1,800 people collected from 16 previous studies. Participants rated the attractiveness of people in photographs, about half were drinking, and the other sober.

The intoxicated group gave modestly higher scores.

Brett Sholtis / Transforming Health

Marilou Yingling has run York's home lead testing and enforcement program for 28 years.

Eric Risberg / AP

A new program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine aims to help young physicians learn the ropes of research. Less than 1.5 percent of medical doctors pursue research careers, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Thein Zaw / AP

For a long time, scientists thought that the flu virus degraded in humid conditions and that was the reason most people don’t catch it in the summer.

University of Pittsburgh microbiologist Seema Lakdawala and collaborators devised an experiment to determine how mucus enables the airborne transmission of H1N1, which caused the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and found that it survived in several types of environments. Dry, moist – it didn’t matter.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

An ambulance pulled up to the entrance of UPMC Preysbetarian's emergency room in early June, a pair of EMTs unloaded a portable isolation pod, basically a human-sized, medical-grade Ziploc bag.

The Breathe Project

A new initiative aims to employ citizen scientists to monitor air pollution created at U.S. Steel Corporation plants located in the Mon Valley.

M. Spencer Green / AP

Women who deliver children before 37 weeks of pregnancy are also more likely to have heart attacks, according to a new study from Magee-Women’s Research Institute.

Researchers followed 1,049 women for 25 years and found that women who had preterm births and a pattern of increasing blood pressure were also more likely to have greater calcium buildup in their hearts, putting them at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.

Walter Astrada / AP

Black babies in Allegheny County are nearly three times more likely than white babies to die before their first birthdays.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Kerry Cannon, 31, of Bethel Park, works the salad bar at an Eat n' Park restaurant, a job she said she enjoys. She has Down syndrome, and said she has a good life. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Asthma rates among elementary school students in the Northgate School District have dropped significantly since one of the region’s top polluters ended operations in 2016, according to preliminary data.

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

A group of parents from the Fox Chapel School District is concerned about how their children’s health will be affected by hydraulic fracturing in the area. 

Administración Nacional de la Seguridad Social / Flickr

Seven out of 10 babies born to mothers with Hepatitis C at Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC are not screened for the virus, which can cause serious liver damage.

The information comes from a new study from the University of Pittsburgh, published last week in the journal Pediatrics, which looked at children who continued to receive pediatric care from UPMC through their second birthday.

Matt Rourke / AP

Several state lawmakers are trying to boost a proposal that would qualify women with postpartum depression for support through Pennsylvania’s Early Intervention program.

Small Businesses Grapple With Maze Of Conflicting Pot Laws

May 3, 2018
Ted S. Warren / AP

A low unemployment rate and the spreading legalization of marijuana have led many businesses to rethink their drug testing policies for the first time in decades.

Maya Alleruzzo / AP

The sleep lab at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC looks like an extended stay hotel suite. There’s a small kitchen, sitting room and a nice TV. It’s clean and sparse, dark and quiet.

Dank Depot / Flickr

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana dispensaries may eventually be permitted to sell the product in plant form for vaping, after a vote by the state's medical marijuana advisory board recommended a change in the regulations. 

Screenshot / Google Maps

A new University of Pittsburgh study asks whether a revenue model set to be introduced in six rural Pennsylvania hospitals next year can both reduce patient admissions and increase profits.

The program is expected to be implemented in 30 rural hospitals by 2023. Data from Pennsylvania's Department of Health Innovation shows that in 2015, 47 percent of all rural hospitals in Pennsylvania had negative operating profit margins

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

At the offices of Pittsburgh’s Creative Nonfiction Foundation in Garfield, high schoolers experiment with writing in the style of a storied American literary institution—The Onion, a satirical online newspaper.

Marijuana-Friendly States, Including PA, Want Meeting With Sessions

Mar 30, 2018
David Goldman / AP

Pennsylvania, California and other marijuana-friendly states are seeking a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in hopes of resolving the conflict between federal and state laws that has left the nation's cannabis industry in legal limbo.

Marijuana is illegal at the federal level, even as 29 states have legalized pot in some form.

State treasurers from California, Oregon, Illinois and Pennsylvania told Sessions in a letter Thursday that businesses and banks need greater clarity on how federal law enforcement will respond to the growing legalization trend.

The Health Risks Of Fracking From A To Z

Mar 29, 2018
Alex Brandon / AP

Over the last 4 years, the Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility have compiled a list of studies and reports which outline what they call “the risks and harms of fracking” to public health.

SalFalko / Flickr

Social Security numbers are used for just about everything--financial records, medical information, legal documents.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Shouts of surprise and joy erupted Friday at noon from graduating students at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Garisha Peoples stands in the kitchen of her first floor Rankin apartment while preparing a Russet potato for lunch. She cuts off the ends of the fist-sized tuber and then pops it in the microwave.

Subconsci Productions / Flickr

People who retire early may be tempted to purchase so-called “skinny” health insurance plans before Medicare kicks in because they’re less expensive, but Pennsylvania’s Acting Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman told an AARP audience in Penn Hills on Wednesday that they should be careful when considering this type of insurance, as it’s not compliant with the Affordable Care Act.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

People marched through the streets of downtown Pittsburgh Thursday afternoon, holding signs and chanting slogans in support of paid sick leave.

Keith Srakocic / AP

After less than a month of medical marijuana being sold in Pennsylvania dispensaries are running out of product.

“I would almost call it like a ‘growing pain,'” said Rocco Levine, the general manager of Solevo Wellness in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh’s sole dispensary, which sold the last of its marijuana over the weekend.

A Surge Of Black Lung Disease In Appalachia

Feb 22, 2018
Timothy D. Easly / AP

An ugly legacy of the coal mining industry is making a comeback in Appalachia. Despite regulations meant to protect workers from toxic coal dust, a whole new generation of miners is being diagnosed with the most severe form of black lung disease. 

Pages