HEALTH /​SCIENCE

Too fat too young

Michelle Penn-​Nored of Penn Hills has been dealing with type 2 diabetes since her late 40s. She’s determined to keep her daughter from having the same fate.

Life under pressure

We’ve all experienced it: Our heart suddenly starts pounding, adrenaline courses through our legs and, unintentionally, we shout a profanity. Our body’s automatic response systems are helping us deal with a sudden stressful situation so we have the energy to act quickly, like when another driver cuts us off.

What we say (and do) about the environment

Lori Rieger and Kim Haynes are strolling Point State Park on a July afternoon that is sunny, hot and humid enough to notice. It’s the kind of day that invites ozone pollution to accumulate at levels that violate federal air quality standards, which is something Pittsburgh and the region do…

Halting the Revolving Hospital Door

For years, hospitals focused on getting patients home as quickly as possible — and applauded themselves for short length of stays. But five years ago, a landmark New England Journal of Medicine study showed that as many as one in five Medicare patients bounced back to the hospital within 30 days of…

The STEM dilemma

When Elizabeth Roeske was growing up in the small New Jersey town of Salem, she seemed a natural for a career in science. Several members of her family are scientists, and she was planning to study chemistry and environmental science in college. But she found little peer support — “No one from…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Mind over matter

“Let me eat chocolate.” That was quadriplegic Jan Scheuermann’s simple request when she committed to a trailblazing UPMC and Pitt School of Medicine study that would let her control a robotic arm with her mind.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

A sustainable aesthetic

What is sustainable, or green architecture, anyway, and what is it supposed to look like? The fact remains that the operation of buildings uses 40 percent of the earth’s energy resources, so construction aimed at reducing that consumption is both admirable and necessary. But do you know it when you…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Heart trouble in your future?

A prominent cardiologist calls it “one of the worst examples of medicine gone wild.” Other physicians say it is a useful tool when used in the right patient for the right reason. Still others think it’s somewhat underutilized in healthcare.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

More than skin deep

As a teen growing up in Mt. Washington, Jessica Vega Rogowicz remembers her dad being diagnosed with skin cancer. He went to the doctor to have it removed and came home with a Band-​Aid on his nose. Because he had basal cell carcinoma, which rarely spreads beyond the skin, that…

Robotics has changed surgery forever

During the first 8,500-year history of surgery, surgeons stood at the patient’s side using tools that evolved from knapped flints to tiny, high-​tech cameras. But, in 2000, when the da Vinci Surgical System was cleared by the FDA, surgery changed forever. Surgeons could now sit several feet away from their…

Laugh out loud

David Russell isn’t a stand-​up comedian. But without much effort, he regularly gets a room full of people laughing for a good 20 minutes or so. Russell is among a handful of certified laughter yoga leaders in the Pittsburgh area. A laugh is often the response he gets when he…

Catching the Fall

A broken bone early in life is typically painful and a nuisance. Late in life, it can be devastating. “Among the elderly, bone fractures — particularly in the hip, wrist and back — can lead to long-​term disability and death,” says Jane Cauley, professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of…

Can Venture Capital Help Cure Alzheimer’s Disease?

In 1988, Jeffrey L. Morby left American Express to join the management team tapped to rescue the nearly bankrupt Mellon Bank. After helping turn Mellon around, he retired at 59, but Morby has hardly been wiling away the time.

The Cholesterol Conundrum

Cholesterol was first discovered in 1769, but it wasn’t until the early 20th century that scientists linked these oily molecules in our blood to atherosclerosis — when artery walls become thick with plaque, potentially triggering a heart attack or stroke. Since then, many have devoted their lives to understanding cholesterol. It’s a…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Ancient dig

Twelve thousand years ago, a Native American hunter left a flint spear point at a campsite beneath an overhanging rock along Cross Creek, a tributary of the Ohio River some 29 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. The three-​inch by one-​inch point was a re-​sharpened remnant of a larger spear or arrow…
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