Science, Health & Tech

We cover these essential linchpins of the Pittsburgh regional economy, and how they impact residents' personal health and employment. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Labor organizers demonstrated outside UPMC headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh on Tuesday to highlight two August rulings by the National Labor Relations Board that found the state’s largest hospital system violated workers’ rights.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration via AP

A former Pennsylvania doctor has pleaded guilty to felony charges after officials say he filled 332 prescriptions for Hydrocodone medications he wrote in family members' names.

The state attorney general's office announced Tuesday that 65-year-old Ralph Capone of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, had pleaded guilty to fraud, forgery, identity theft and felony charges related to the prescriptions.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

A scientist who warned about the environmental threat of microbeads is one of six people being honored with $250,000 cash awards from the Pittsburgh-based Heinz Family Foundation.

The annual Heinz Awards recognize achievement in the arts, public policy, the economy and other areas. The recipients of the 23rd annual awards were announced Tuesday.

Molly Riley / AP

Children waiting for a liver transplant are at a disadvantage when they're in competition with adults, according to a new study led by the University of Pittsburgh.

Berlyn Brixner / Los Alamos National Laboratory

The Anthropocene isn’t officially recognized as a geological epoch, but some scientists believe it’s necessary to mark the ways that humans have affected Earth’s geology and ecosystems -- starting with the Great Acceleration prompted by a nuclear blast test in New Mexico in 1945.

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.

Tom Crane / Wikimedia Commons

study from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital has found success in a new approach to prevent further memory loss in older African-Americans. It’s not a pharmaceutical treatment — in fact, no medications are involved at all. Instead, it’s behavioral.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

A clean needle exchange that provides free syringes to drug users could soon open in the Carrick neighborhood, making it the first needle exchange in the southern part of the city.

Matt Rourke / AP

Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner says he'd sue the makers of prescription painkillers to recoup Pennsylvania's cost of dealing with opioid-related addiction.

Jeff Chiu / AP

New research from Duquesne University finds when a patient requests a high dose prescription for a certain epilepsy medication, it could be a warning sign of illicit drug use.

Gerald Herbert / AP

State Rep. Dan Frankel and state Sen. Jay Costa, both Democrats from Allegheny County, are calling on their fellow lawmakers to pass bills that would close exemptions to the state's Clean Indoor Air Act. The law was passed 10 years ago and bans people from smoking tobacco in most esetablishments.

However, the law does not apply to some bars and casinos, and Frankel said it's time that changed.

"We've given the law a decade to work, and we know it does," Frankel said. "Now it deserves to work for absolutely everybody in Pennsylvania."

UPMC

Doctors often ask patients to rank their pain on a scale of one to 10, and responses inform prescriptions, diagnoses and help physicians monitor progress. But University of Pittsburgh assistant professor Charles Jonassaint says this isn't a very effective way for doctors and patients to communicate, because there are different types of pain and not everyone has the same tolerance for pain.

Carnegie Mellon University

The dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science is leaving higher ed at the end of the year to lead Google Cloud AI.

 


 

Francesca Tortorello’s son, Alexander, was born in November. That’s when she and her husband Michael DeBruyn became engaged in the epic battle all new parents must face: the battle for sleep.

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.

Andrew Harnik / AP

Pennsylvanians with insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchange will see little or no premium increase next year, according to data compiled by Associated Press.

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

*The flush and boil advisory has been lifted as of Saturday, September 8. Residents in Spring Hill are no longer being recommended to take precautionary measures. 

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has announced a precautionary flush and boil order for parts of the Spring Hill neighborhood.

Hospital Planned Near West Shore Signals Renewed Highmark, UPMC Rivalry

Sep 5, 2018
Penn State Health

Highmark-affiliated Penn State Health is moving forward with plans to build a 108-bed hospital in Cumberland County, across the interstate from UPMC Pinnacle West Shore.

Major Opioid Maker To Pay For Overdose-Antidote Development

Sep 5, 2018
Tony Talbot / AP

A company whose prescription opioid marketing practices are being blamed for sparking the addiction and overdose crisis says it's helping to fund an effort to make a lower-cost overdose antidote.

Kelley McCall / AP

Pennsylvania's statewide prison system remains locked down after dozens of employees at different locations became sick over the past month. Department of Corrections officials believes the staff came into contact with a synthetic cannabinoid.

Entertainment Technology Center / Carnegie Mellon University

A new game developed by Carnegie Mellon University students is helping elementary schoolers understand what life is like for kids on the autism spectrum. 

Carnegie Mellon University

A team of computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University has developed a technology that makes run-of-the-mill paper move on its own.

The paper is cut into a shape, such as a flower, and treated with a thin conductor that's either applied by a 3-D printer or painted on. It adds only a half millimeter of thickness. The paper is then folded or bent into a shape and heated in an oven.

At that point, an electrical current, heat, or touch will cause the paper to uncurl; when the stimulus is removed, the paper goes back to its natural curled state.

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.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

“We’re still hiring humans” proclaims a billboard situated just east of the 31st Street Bridge near Lawrenceville. On the sign, a coy, Pixar-looking automaton beckons engineers and programmers to apply to nearly a dozen positions at Carnegie Robotics.  

Senate Proposal Aims To Add Funds To Struggling Rural Hospitals

Aug 27, 2018
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A state Senate proposal aims to help struggling rural hospitals by changing the way they get paid.

Report: More Mental Health Services Would Make Schools Better

Aug 27, 2018
Gerald Herbert / AP

A report on safety threats and security concerns in Pennsylvania schools concludes there is a need for better access to mental health services.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

*The flush and boil advisory has been lifted as of Sunday, August 26. Residents in Millvale are no longer being recommended to take precautionary measures. 

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has announced a precautionary flush and boil order for part of Millvale.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A program that works to improve health outcomes by providing stable housing is expanding from Allegheny County to other parts of Pennsylvania.

Julio Cortez / AP

Bishop David Zubik said over the course of 30 years, the Pittsburgh Diocese has made changes in how it prevents and responds to accusations of clergy abuse, including psychological screenings of seminarians so as to identify potential issues in men before they enter the priesthood.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Every minute, 1 million plastic bottles fly off store shelves and into the hands of consumers. More than 90 percent of these are not recycled, winding up in landfills or waterways. Thread aims to help reduce the amount of cast away plastic bottles by using them to make fabric.

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