Sarah Boden

Science, Health And Tech Reporter

Sarah Boden covers health and science for 90.5 WESA. Before coming to Pittsburgh in November 2017, she was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio where she covered a range of issues, including the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

Sarah’s reporting has appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition Saturday and WBUR's Here and Now. She has won multiple awards, including a regional Edward R. Murrow for her story on a legal challenge to Iowa's felon voting ban.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Hepatitis A is on the rise, but the Allegheny County Health Department says it could be worse.

There have been 22 cases of the disease since January 2018, the highest number in over a decade.  Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver disease that causes inflammation. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Summer is winding down, which means pumpkin spice lattes are popping up in coffee shops and Halloween decorations are appearing on store shelves.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

The rate of fatalities caused by the opioid epidemic has begun to wane, according to both national and local data.

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Parents of students who attended the recently closed Saint Raphael Elementary want to know what happened to $250,000 they raised in an effort to keep the school open. They’re also demanding increased transparency from the parish and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Sarah Boden / WESA

People were given free naloxone, the medication that can revive someone from an opioid overdose, at an event at the City County building in downtown Pittsburgh, Tuesday afternoon. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala will not charge a Penn Hills police officer in the July 14 shooting death of 20-year-old Onaje Dickinson.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Central Lawrenceville buzzed with the sounds of chainsaws Monday, after strong winds and rain from a weekend downburst uprooted several trees in the Allegheny Cemetery. Crews spent Monday afternoon cutting off branches from a particularly large tree hovering over a grassy patch near the cemetery’s gates off Butler Street. 


University of Pittsburgh

Some hormone replacement therapies for menopausal women might increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, which was published the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Women are often prescribed estrogen to relieve menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, osteoporosis and vaginal dryness. Compared to oral hormone medication, the transdermal estradiol patch is seen as safer, since it’s worn on the skin.

Mark Lennihan / AP

In 2017, 5,614 people in Pennsylvania died from a drug overdose. County coroner and medical examiner reports show that fentanyl, a synethic opioid, was present in 64.8 percent of these fatalities. 

Many of these deaths were accidential as people often ingest or inject fentanyl without knowing it.

Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania

A new study finds that pregnant women living near hydraulic fracking activity in Pennsylvania are more likely to develop depression and anxiety.

“These are vulnerable women who are growing another human being inside of them," said Joan A. Casey, the study's lead author and an environmental health scientist at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Casey and her colleagues conducted the study with 7,715 research volunteers; all were expectant mothers within the Geisinger Health System, which serves much of central Pennsylvania.

Richard Drew / AP

An audit of Pennsylvania nursing homes warns that staffing levels at these facilities are insufficient and on track to get worse.

Allegheny County Health Department

An asthma registry for children secured $300,000 in funding from the Allegheny County Board of Health on Wednesday. The registry could illuminate why certain areas of the county have higher rates of the chronic respiratory condition. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Regular computers, including smart phones, can do a lot of cool stuff, but some datasets are so big that normal PCs just don’t cut it. When that’s the case, many researchers turn to the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, which is planning to construct a faster, stronger machine next year.

TERESA CRAWFORD / AP

Approximately one in eight sexually active high school girls have experienced reproductive coercion in the last three months, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh.

Tony Dejak / AP

Seniors today are happier than previous generations, according to new findings from the University of Pittsburgh.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Authorities say an off-duty police officer was critically wounded in a shooting in Pittsburgh.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Furries are people who have created anthropomorphized versions of themselves, and a Pittsburgh-based researcher has found that up to 15 percent of people with this hobby have autism spectrum disorder. This number includes people who have been diagnosed with autism, but may or may not agree with the analysis, and people who have never received a diagnosis, but self-identify as autistic. 

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UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh said on Tuesday afternoon that it was likely a visitor introduced the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria to its facility, where it spread to six babies in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said on Monday that it’s possible to have both clean air and steel production in the Mon Valley.

Fetterman made his comments while flanked by union workers outside the U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Western Pennsylvanians breathed a sigh of relief earlier this week when it was announced that UPMC and Highmark had reached a 10-year agreement, though not everyone insured by Highmark will have access to all UPMC medical facilities.

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Pittsburgh is a hub for technology research and development, but sometimes innovations bear questionable results.  

Usually a monopoly results in bigger bills for consumers, since a lack of competition allows a business to demand high prices. But a new analysis from the University of Pittsburgh finds that's not always the case for the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Two western Pennsylvania health care giants have a deal that averts the looming breakup of their business relationship, an agreement that prevents disruption and higher costs for many patients.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Many people look into their family histories because it gives them a sense of identity. Black Americans often hit brick walls when doing this research, and some are turning to DNA testing to illuminate lost branches of their family trees.


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Addiction treatment needs to be integrated with other aspects of patients’ lives, according to presenters at the Pittsburgh-based Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addictions. Those aspects include stable housing and employment, adequate social support and other chronic health issues.

Learning a new skill can be tricky, and neuroscientists aren’t entirely sure how humans do it.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are using video games, brain implants and Rhesus monkeys in an effort to figure it out. 

UPMC announced Thursday that the Hillman Cancer Center would accept all insurers, including Highmark commercial and Medicare Advantage plans. 

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that it will post a monthly list of underperforming nursing homes. This comes after Pennsylvania’s two US Senators released a report highlighting a lack of federal oversight of these facilities.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

A recent analysis by the Pittsburgh-based Jewish Healthcare Foundation finds that just 50 percent of eligible Pennsylvanians receive assistance from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC.

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