Science, Health & Tech

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

Charles Krupa / AP

Pennsylvania is in line to receive more than $53 million as part of a nationwide settlement with a British company that once distributed a drug used to treat opioid addiction.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Thursday that the money is to settle allegations that the company defrauded Medicaid and other state health care programs.

The U.S. Department of Justice had accused an ex-Reckitt Benckiser subsidiary of marketing Suboxone Film by saying the drug was safer than other opioid addiction treatments.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

More and more people are working from home; one in 20 Americans worked remotely in 2018. Developing the skills, however, to find a remote career can be tricky, especially when you have children. This problem is what local company Moms Can & Co. aims to solve. 

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

A group of Pennsylvania state legislators gathered in the Capitol on Monday to rally support for their effort to dramatically restrict access to abortion.

Scott Kelly / NASA via AP

A device created in Pittsburgh will be sent to the International Space Station next month. SoundSee, developed by technology company Bosch, uses artificial intelligence to detect mechanical problems based on sound. The project is in collaboration with Pittsburgh-based space robotics company, Astrobotic.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Premiums for health insurers' individual policies in Pennsylvania for 2020 will reflect an aggregate statewide increase of 4 percent, with an increase of 10 percent in the small group market.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania opened its medical marijuana registry to patients two years ago, and it was only a matter of time before a case like Derek Gsell’s would arise.

Google Maps

Highmark-affiliated Penn State Health signed a letter of intent to buy Geisinger’s Holy Spirit Health System, five years after Geisinger acquired the hospital chain. The health systems aim to complete the deal by June 30, 2020, pending regulatory approval.

Walmart

Walmart rolled out a new grocery delivery service in Pittsburgh Tuesday that will bring goods into customers’ homes, even if they aren't there. The program is also being piloted in Kansas City, Mo. and Vero Beach, Fla.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

Airplanes are expensive to build, and relatively few are made each month. A Boeing press release from January touts the company has a seven-year order backlog for the Boeing 737, and is increasing production of the model to 52 airplanes each month.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Suicidal thoughts are a common occurrence among transgender teens, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh. About 85 percent of the 1,134 transgender adolescents surveyed said they’d experienced serious suicidal thoughts.

Whitethorn Digital

In an industry flooded with shooter games and adventure titles, one Erie company is branding itself as an oasis for stressed out gamers. Video game publisher Whitethorn Digital aims to give a platform to independent, chilled-out games.

Washington County Family Members Tell State To ‘Fix’ Their Cancer Study

Oct 8, 2019
Reid R. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The families of several people diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in one Washington County School District told state health officials to update their data at a public hearing Monday night. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Kim Stanley shook out a white pill from a prescription bottle and poured herself a glass of water, at the kitchen sink of her North Huntingdon Township home. The antibiotic was to treat an infected cut on her leg.

Nam Y. Huh / AP

The Pennsylvania Health Department says one person in the state has died from lung injuries associated with vaping and it's investigating dozens of other suspected or confirmed cases.

The state's health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, announced the death Friday and said Pennsylvania has also reported nine confirmed cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Health Department reported the death on Thursday to the federal agency.

State officials aren't disclosing publicly any other details about the death, such as where or when it occurred.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

In a matter of years, people with chronic conditions may not have to choose between pain relief and risking addiction.

Mary Altaffer / AP

The number of overdose deaths in the southwestern Pennsylvania region fell by 41 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to a new report from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Sean Spencer / 90.5 WESA

Students protested at Carnegie Mellon University Wednesday against a campus recruitment visit by software company Palantir. The business contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and its software has been used to aid the agency in workplace deportation raids. 

Brett Sholtis / WITF

The sale of Roundtop Mountain Resort in York County and 16 other ski resorts leaves the Sackler family, who made billions selling prescription opioids, to reap a profit amid increasing scrutiny over the family’s assets. The ski resort sale came eight days after Sackler family-owned Purdue Pharma declared bankruptcy.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Inside the Star Lab for sensor development at the University of Pittsburgh, professor Alexander Star holds a black box, about the size of a remote control. It's a breathalyzer developed to measure tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana.

'Gross': Lanternflies Causing Big Bug Problem For Some

Sep 26, 2019
Matt Rourke / AP

In the Great Spotted Lanternfly War, Pennsylvania's citizen-soldiers are fighting back with fly swatters and vacuums, dish soap and sticky tape. They're stomping and spraying and zapping and bragging about their kills on social media. "DESTROY THEM," a propaganda poster urges. "Die, die, die, spotted lanternfly," a balladeer sings.

Sam's Club To Offer Health Care Packages In Pennsylvania, 2 Other States

Sep 26, 2019
Sarah Bentham / AP

Walmart's Sam's Club is teaming up with several health care companies to offer discounts on everyday care its customers might delay or skip because of the cost.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Children aren’t always taught how to cope with stress, and their experience can look very different from what adults find stressful.

Rick Bowmer / AP

A rare virus that can lead to serious neurological problems or death in humans has been found in three Pennsylvania counties. 

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

A rare, potentially deadly virus transmitted by mosquitoes has been confirmed in three Pennsylvania counties.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Motorists were inconvenienced for months last year, when a section of Route 30 near East Pittsburgh was closed due to a landslide.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Sammia Eutsey’s son, Chadd Jr., was born 10 weeks early, due in part to her pre-eclampsia, a condition related to high blood pressure.

'Once You Have It, You Need It': Opioid Epidemic Still Rages

Sep 16, 2019
John Minchillo / AP

As lawyers exchange mountains of paper and dicker over the details of a settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, Americans are dying from opioids by the tens of thousands in an epidemic that grinds on in state after state, community after community, with no end in sight.

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. 

Nam Y. Huh / AP

Seventeen people across the state are believed to have “lung diseases associated with vaping,” according to the state Department of Health.

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.

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