Science, Health & Tech

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

Marc Levy / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf says preliminary statistics are pointing to a decrease in overdose deaths in Pennsylvania last year, as his administration suggests the opioid crisis might be starting to wane in some parts of the state.

Gerry Bloome / AP

On today’s program: A look at Pittsburgh’s primary elections; scientists seek a cure for a disease endangering Pennsylvania’s bat populations; online privacy on display through the Carnegie libraries; and the controversies and constitutionality of facial recognition technology.

GiftYa

Imagine this: It's a special occasion, and you're given a gift card to celebrate. You put it in your wallet, amongst other cards and coupons, then forget it's there. Or, you can't remember how much money is still on it – was it three dollars or three cents? – and eventually, it goes in the trash.

Steven Senne / AP

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is declaring an outbreak of hepatitis A, with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh the hardest-hit regions. 

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

A tweak to smart watches to have them identify dozens of movements could change the face of health tracking apps, according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A massive National Institutes of Health study with a recruitment hub in Pittsburgh has turned a year old. The All of Us precision medicine project has an aim to recruit 1 million people, and it still has a long way to go.

Steph Krane / WPSU

A new Penn State study shows that the number of ticks that can carry Lyme disease is increasing in the state. Since 2000, Pennsylvania has had the highest number of Lyme disease cases in the country.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Thursday on whether to extend a consent decree that would force UPMC to continue taking Highmark insurance.

Emma Lee / WHYY

Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine led discussion with the medical marijuana advisory board around adding anxiety and Tourette Syndrome to the list of conditions to be treated with medical cannabis. 

Damian Dovarganes / AP

The Allegheny County Health Department reported two new cases of measles Wednesday.

Carnegie Mellon University

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Tokyo and Waseda University in Tokyo are developing a suitcase that helps visually impaired people navigate airports. 

Maker Of OxyContin Hit With Another State Lawsuit, This Time From PA

May 14, 2019
Toby Talbot / AP

Pennsylvania's state attorney general filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing the company that makes OxyContin of fueling the opioid epidemic, making it at least the 39th state to make such a claim against Purdue Pharma.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pittsburgh-area patients and advocates are heading to Harrisburg on Tuesday where they say they'll urge lawmakers to pass bills requiring that UPMC accept any insurance at in-network rates. Some patients anticipate skyrocketing health care costs if the split between Highmark Health and UPMC goes through on July 1.

Sarah Boden / WESA News

The Allegheny County Health Department administered 44 doses of the measles vaccine at a free clinic held Wednesday at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA. 

MARC LEVY / AP

Some people entering Pennsylvania’s state-run prisons will soon be able to get medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorder.

Starting on June 1, new inmates can continue taking suboxone and oral naltrexone if they have prescriptions. Methadone will eventually be available too.

These medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat opioid dependency. Naltrexone, known by the brand-name Vivitrol, also aids with alcohol use disorder.

The Allegheny County Health Department will operate a free measles vaccine clinic on Wednesday, May 8 from 12 to 4 p.m. at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA at 7140 Bennett Street in Homewood. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

An Allegheny Health Network chemist is developing a longer-lasting version of naloxone, to stop people from slipping back into overdose.

Brett Sholtis / WITF

 

 

On the Monday afternoon before Easter, about 35 people gathered in the basement of Bethany Lutheran Church in Altoona--some decorating eggs, others sitting quietly at long tables. They sat in small groups, sharing their stories over a meal.

Health officials in western Pennsylvania have released new information about possible exposure to measles last month in the Pittsburgh area. 

REID FRAZIER / STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

The Allegheny County Health Department has formally requested to join a federal lawsuit against U.S. Steel

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

There are four more cases of measles in Pittsburgh. The Allegheny County Health Department said the new cases are within one family and that two adults and two children are infected. One of the adults and both children are visiting from overseas and are not residents of the county. The other infected adult is a county resident and is not vaccinated.

On Monday a man went to the UPMC Shadyside emergency room where he was diagnosed with measles.

This disease is highly contagious and can be airborne for up to two hours after an ill person leaves an area, which is why doctors say people who think they might have measles should not go the ER or physician’s office. Instead, call your primary care doctor who will advise you of next steps.

Eric Risberg / AP

A new outbreak of measles across the U.S. has made headlines recently, but the first known case was reported in Pittsburgh this week.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Center for Victims is offering survivors of violent crimes a way to stay informed about the legal status of their perpetrators. The center has worked with the Allegheny County Jail to keep survivors informed about release dates for more than 20 years, but according to Center for Victims CEO Laurie MacDonald, the app takes this work a step further.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh held a grand opening this past weekend for its new Museum Lab, a space that allows kids 10 and older to be hands-on with art, tech and shop tools. 

Groups Sue U.S. Steel, Alleging Potentially ‘Thousands’ Of Clean Air Act Violations

Apr 30, 2019
StateImpact Pennsylvania

Two environmental groups have sued U.S. Steel over alleged Clean Air Act violations following a Dec. 24 fire that knocked the plant’s pollution controls offline for over three months.

Toby Talbot / AP

Last week, a rabid raccoon was found in Frick Park, making it the sixth animal to test positive for the disease in Allegheny County this year.

Jeff Roberson / AP

Graphic images on cigarette packaging keep some adult smokers from buying them. But smokers who have their first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking up aren't influenced the by the stomach-churning photos, according to new research from the RAND Corporation in Pittsburgh.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

It’s no secret that for the past few years the highest concentration of self-driving vehicle testing occurred in the Strip District and Lawrenceville. But on Thursday, the city of Pittsburgh released a report noting more than 50 additional neighborhoods and surrounding communities where vehicles are tested.

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