Science, Health & Tech

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

KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County says it is preparing in case coronavirus makes its way to western Pennsylvania, though there are no confirmed cases in the state.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: One lawmaker is urging Harrisburg to reconsider its definition of a health emergency; Pittsburgh is updating its pandemic plan; farmers say a new horse racing bill could do more than harm than good; and Sojourner House welcomes a new leader.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Personal training is a popular but expensive option in the $100 billion fitness industry; it can cost an average of $40-70/hour. Local startup Delta Trainer is using artificial intelligence to make personal training more accessible.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus in multiple countries, Pittsburgh-area universities and high schools are ramping up preventative measures. There have been no suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus in Pennsylvania.

NIAID-RML / AP

On today's program: Allegheny County makes plans for a potential COVID-19 outbreak; why one climate scientist is breaking up with airplanes to decrease his carbon footprint; hear two sides of the debate about government health care; a barber offers political discourse with your monthly trim; an Erie-to-Pittsburgh bike trail could be coming soon; and competition is heating up ahead of the 2020 fish fry season. 

Pennsylvania Is Preparing For Coronavirus

Feb 26, 2020
Andre Penner / AP

Pennsylvania’s health department is preparing for the expected arrival of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

 

On today's program: Wilkinsburg gets funding for new strategies to curb gun violence; some PA public schools are struggling to meet the needs of immigrant students; child life specialists in Lawrenceville give sick patients a new creative outlet; and an international boat club wants to get Pittsburghers on the water. 

REID FRAZIER / ALLEGHENY FRONT

An Allegheny County judge has approved a settlement to resolve a class action lawsuit that claims pollution from the country's largest coke producing facility created a nuisance and hurt nearby property values.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

An important supplemental nutrition program for young families continues to lose enrollment in Allegheny County, despite recent changes to make the Women, Infants and Children program more user-friendly.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

People in the military often have to work as part of a team under stressful circumstances. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University want to see if artificial intelligence can help teams communicate and function more smoothly, in a project funded by DARPA, the Department of Defense's research arm.

LM Otero / AP

This season’s flu vaccine is effective about 45 percent of the time, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first Americans quarantined after evacuation from Wuhan, China, the center of this winter's coronavirus outbreak, are now beginning to settle back into normal routines.

For 24-year-old Daniel Wethli, a history buff who majored in philosophy as an undergrad, leaving Wuhan last month at the urging of the U.S. State Department was bittersweet.

Sarah Boden / WESA News

State officials are gathering teacher input as they prepare to update the Commonwealth’s science education standards, and teachers had a lot to stay at a Thursday stakeholder session, held at the Monroeville campus of the Community College of Allegheny County. 

Google Maps

A western Pennsylvania-based chain of more than 50 skilled nursing homes has agreed to pay $15,466,278 to resolve claims that it provided medically unnecessary rehabilitation therapy to residents in order to generate revenue.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Tim Pearce knows a lot about mollusks. But, he says, he knows very little about social media.

To his surprise, his pun-filled videos shared on a fairly new social media platform, TikTok, have gone viral in the last month, making him what he calls a “shell-ebrity.”

Kerie Trimble

Today is Valentine’s Day, which means your social media feeds are likely flushed with saccharine sentiments from couples who are SUPER IN LOVE. Or are they?

CAROLYN KASTER / AP

A bill introduced by an Allegheny County state representative this week would prohibit smoking in all workplaces in Pennsylvania. The legislation, from Rep. Dan Frankel, would include all bars, casinos and private clubs, which are currently allowed to apply for an exemption from the state Clean Indoor Act.

Civic Mapper

When you flush the toilet in Allegheny County, chances are that the waste ends up at a facility just up the Ohio River from the McKees Rocks Bridge.

To track the waste's path from one's toilet to the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, people can use Flush.It.  This interactive map directs users to type in an address that’s within the ALCOSAN service area. After several seconds, a bright turquoise line appears, tracing a flush's route.

Marinus Analytics

An international competition for tech companies making a humanitarian difference has two Pittsburgh-based semifinalists. Marinus Analytics and CleanRobotics are among ten companies still in the running for the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE.

AP Photo/David Goldman

If you’ve noticed more coworkers have been calling in sick with the flu, it’s not just your imagination. Data show nearly twice as many Pennsylvanians have gotten the flu so far this season, compared to this time last year.

However, flu-related fatalities and hospitalizations are not particularly high this year.

That’s because Type B is that strain of influenza that’s been circulating for most of this season. Compared to Type A, the B strain is less deadly.

Brett Sholtis / WITF

When Act 106 was passed into law in October 2018, lawmakers said it would help people with some of the most severe mental illnesses by allowing judges to set up “assisted outpatient treatment” plans.

Terry Chea / AP

As concerns of a global pandemic amplify, some Pittsburgh institutions are taking precautions against the new coronavirus by restricting travel to China.

UPMC Enterprises

On today's program: What UPMC wants from its $1 billion life sciences investment; why small dams are a problem in the Ohio watershed; opening arguments begin in the Wilkinsburg mass shooting trial; and new data details jobs lost to the U.S.-China trade deficit. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

University of Pittsburgh reseachers studying nerve regeneration are seeing promising results in monkey test subjects. Kacey Marra, a professor of plastic surgery and faculty member of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, hopes to try the method in humans soon.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

 

On today's program: The medical community is amending its thoughts on when and how new moms should be cared for; Doors Open Pittsburgh explores the city’s African American history; an expanding program teaches locals how to care for their environment. 

NASA / AP

Two retired satellites will cross paths this evening above Pittsburgh. At around 6:30 p.m., the IRAS telescope and GGSE-4 payload are expected to come within about 40 feet of each other during their orbits. But scientists say it’s unlikely the two will make contact.

Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General / AP

Companies that help Pennsylvanians living with intellectual disabilities failed to report two deaths and thousands of other “critical incidents” in 2015 and 2016, according to an audit by a federal inspector general. The same audit concluded that state officials failed to ensure those companies followed the rules.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County, the city of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security are teaming up to address bias in the region's automated decision making tools. The 22-person Pittsburgh Task Force on Public Algorithms was announced Wednesday, and is charged with forming guidelines and best practices for municipal algorithms.

Closed hospital and empty parking lot.
Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

The door to the emergency room at the Ellwood City Medical Center is locked. 

JAKE SAVITZ / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh-based PPG says it has made good on its 2016 pledge to eliminate lead from all products by 2020.

Pages