Sarah Boden

Health And Science 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.

Mark / Flickr

A new analysis estimates that Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana market will rake in $60 million in revenue this year, a number that's expected to quadruple to about $240 million by 2020.

Jim Stauffer / Flickr

The Allegheny County Health Department will spray select areas with pesticide Thursday evening, following recent samples of mosquitos that tested positive for West Nile Virus.

tengrrl / Flickr

The suicide rate among survivors of head and neck cancers is more than four times higher than suicide among the general U.S. population; male survivors of these cancers are six times more likely than females to commit suicide.

Mike Mozart / Flickr

Pennsylvania is one of six states starting a pilot program providing reemployment services to people with a history of opioid use.

Funding comes from a $22 million grant overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly $5 million of which will go to Pennsylvania. The grant will run through the end of June 2019, and be administration by the state Department of Labor and Industry.

Daveynin / Flickr

A new health insurance rule from the Trump administration is being criticized by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. The agency said the policy, issued Wednesday, would jeopardize those who buy health insurance on the individual market. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Kids from the Homewood-Brushton YMCA recently explored outer space – by journeying to a Bridgeville business park.

The space-themed, three-day field trip was hosted by DDI tech workers, a leadership consulting company. They invited kids from the Y Creator Space program, which teaches, “innovation, collaboration, and problem-solving skills through projects involving 3D printing, robotics, graphic design, circuitry, engineering, and more," according to the program's website.

David Zalubowski / AP

Starting Wednesday, people with medical marijuana cards will be able to buy the product in dry leaf form at more than a dozen Pennsylvania dispensaries, including stores in Squirrel Hill and the Strip District.

Previously, medical marijuana first had to be processed into other forms, such as pills, liquids or topical ointments. Patients are still prohibited from smoking it, but can consume the product with a vaporizer.

Gov. Tom Wolf said the new policy increases access and options for consumers.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is back in compliance for the amount of lead in its drinking water, according to results from the latest round of testing showing levels at 10 parts per billion.

UPMC

A march is scheduled on Tuesday ahead of a public hearing at Pittsburgh’s city council about a proposed UPMC vision and rehabilitation hospital in Uptown.

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.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh ranks fourth out of all large U.S. metropolitan areas in the number of days where the air posed moderate-to-serious health risks, according to new analysis from a statewide environmental organization.

Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education, and Research

The virtual reality simulation “Opioid Rescue” opens with an unconscious man lying on a basement floor next to an empty syringe.

“The first thing I’m going to do is try to talk to him and see if he’s conscious,” said Grace Mueller, an intern at the University of Pittsburgh’s Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education, and Research, also known as WISER.

“Are you OK? Wake up!” a female voice asked the unconscious man.

“It seems like he’s not responding so I’m going to try and shake his shoulders,” she said.

Sarah Boden / WESA News

The death of black teenager Antwon Rose at the hands of a white police officer has been a catalyst for social activism in Pittsburgh, and might also stir up past trauma for people of color.  

Sue Ogrocki / AP

A new algorithm created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University could help geneticists understand the DNA replication process and how it varies from organism to organism. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Protesters gathered in Mellon Square in downtown Pittsburgh on Saturday, calling for an end to the Trump Administration’s policy of separating immigrant families that are detained at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Patrick Semansky / AP

In January, 39-year-old Damian Chadwick died at a Bethel Park barbershop a little before 2 p.m. According to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner, the overdose death was due to a combination of cocaine, alcohol and the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

As the opioid epidemic rages on, more and more places from libraries to Goodwill stores are keeping the anti-overdose drug naloxone on hand. 

Since September, all YMCAs of Greater Pittsburgh have had somoene on duty who’s trained to administer naloxone, which reverses the effects of an overdose by restarting a person’s breathing.

Mel Evans / AP

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health finds that opioid-related overdose deaths are being underreported, and this means the epidemic may be worse than it appears.

Potentially 70,000 opioid-related overdose deaths were not included in national estimates between 1999 and 2015. Researchers estimates that 1,307 of those deaths where in Pennsylvania, the largest number of any state.

Mark Thiessen / AP

Microscopic mites are causing extreme itching in Pennsylvania’s black bears, leading to hair loss, lesions, infections and even death.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Saturday marked the fourth day of demonstrations in Pittsburgh to protest the killing of an unarmed, black 17-year-old.

Antwon Rose Jr. was fatally shot by East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Tuesday night while fleeing a traffic stop. Many are calling for criminal charges to be brought against Rosfeld -- sentiments that were on display during Saturday's Juneteenth parade to celebrate the end of slavery.

John Amis / AP

Researchers have apologized to the Pennsylvania Department of Health for erroneously calling Pittsburgh a “hot spot” for kids going unvaccinated for religious or philosophical reasons.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Pittsburgh-area scientists are part of an international group to discover a new squirrel-like mammal from the time of the dinosaurs. 

Ambolestes zhoui it is the most complete fossil of a relative of placental mammals found from the Mesozoic Era. It was unearthed in Inner Mongolia, a region of northeast China, in a quarry that, 126 million years ago, was a lake.

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.

Angela Washko

The aesthetic of “The Game: The Game” couples lurid fluorescents with hazy shadows to create the same disjointed feeling of standing in a loud, dark bar.

While the player's character is femme-presenting, the other avatars are all men. The goal of the game is to navigate a bar that's been infiltrated by a group of so-called "pick-up artists."

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.

Blair Roughley / Netflix/AP

A University of Pittsburgh psychiatrist is one of the primary collaborators on a new, public health toolkit that presents important information related to the Netflix program “13 Reasons Why,” a teen drama that depicts events surrounding a high school girl’s suicide.

The second season came out earlier this month. 

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.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

A recent report from Allegheny County’s medical examiner on the number of overdose fatalities in 2017 contains both good and bad news.

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