HEALTH /​SCIENCE

Just Breathe

Emily is an emergency dispatcher, yet work is the only place where she always feels calm. Sometimes, when Emily (not her real name) walks her dog on the sidewalks of her Pittsburgh neighborhood or gets ready to leave her home to run errands, she feels a spell of dizziness. Then…

Breaking the Silence

At age 35, after a long labor and birth of her second child, Lisa (not her real name) developed urinary incontinence. She kept it a secret even from her then-​husband, a military man. “He never knew. It’s humiliating… Even bringing it up to the Army doctors was embarrassing. They said,…

Neither, Either, Or

If you want to explore the vexing subject of global climate change, Seamus McGraw is the guy to have as a tour guide. He will not torture your brain with elaborate science, tax your patience with lectures about evil consumer habits, or bash you over the head with partisan arguments.…

Is being overweight the new smoking?

Since hitting puberty four decades ago, Claudia Pianko has struggled with her weight. “When I was in 6th grade, I was 144 pounds,” she says. By last January, the 58’’ Greensburg woman weighed in at 385 pounds.

Setting a New Standard

by Evan Pattak
The professor sits at her console and looks to the monitor at her right. There, she sees the smiling, eager faces of her students, 16 strong, for this evening’s lecture. She greets them and is greeted in return.

The Internet of Things

We carry our smartphones everywhere, and they connect us to everything. We feel comfortable talking to them and having them talk back. We call them phones, but they’re pocket computers, as powerful as the supercomputers of a decade ago. We use them as calculators, cameras, memory aids, executive assistants, voice…

Clouds gathering over Pittsburgh

As his rowboat swept over Penn Avenue, Charles H. Allard looked for the bronze tablet on the Horne’s building. The object commemorated the high water mark of the Flood of 1907, previously the most severe flood to ravage Pittsburgh. Allard, reporting for the Pittsburgh Post-​Gazette on March 18, 1936, couldn’t…

Transhumanism

It was my first interview with an artificial intelligence — a talking head without a body. The conversation was awkward, but considering that Bina48 is an android, it went better than I expec-​ted. Bina48 is a synthetic replica of a real woman named Bina Rothblatt. We met at a Juniata College conference…

Stroke alert

It was around 10 p.m. on a summer evening a year ago. Kelly Pieczynski of North Braddock was chatting with her 21-​year-​old daughter about her day at Kennywood. When Pieczynski went to kiss her goodbye, she thought she was saying, “I love you. Drive safe.” But all that came out…

Nature’s Comeback

Every year, while spring was busy prying away the season from winter’s grasp, my family would make the trek down to Deep Creek, Maryland, to visit my grandparents’ cottage. The drive from our Long Island home was just over seven hours, which, to a kid with very little concept of…

Living with Amnesia

When I pulled up to Diana Staab’s house in May, it would mark my third interview with her and the second time that month that I would spend a few hours at her home in Level Green near Murrysville. When she opened the door and said hello, she was wearing…

Heroin hits home

By the time he was 35, James (a pseudonym) was living in a Shadyside home worth $500,000, driving an Audi A4 and earning six figures. He was seven years into his job as a recruiter for a technology company. His wife was from a wealthy family, and they traveled often.…

3-​D mammograms premier in Pittsburgh

When Diana Napper gets a compliment on her crystal bracelet, she can’t help but make a life-​saving sales pitch. “This bracelet is funding some of the best technology in the world,” says Napper, 58, of McCandless.

Plastic surgery on your wish list?

In Los Angeles, it’s not uncommon to hear someone boasting about her plastic surgeon. In Miami, people don’t brag so much but definitely don’t hide cosmetic work. In these parts, plastic surgery is rarely a topic of conversation but is thriving.

Building STEM Solutions

by Evan Pattak
Our region is facing a potentially crippling workforce shortage, with too few young, skilled workers to replace an older generation poised for retirement. According to research by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the gap could be yawning — as many as 144,000, with the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields especially…
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