Health Insight

Stepping Up

Leonardo Da Vinci called it a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art. He was referring to the human foot — a lever that propels us forward, provides balance, and bears all of our weight. Though small compared to other parts of the body, the average human foot supports a force…

Ankle Joint Replacements on the Rise

While arthritic hips and knees have long been regularly replaced, surgeons have been reluctant to replace ankle joints. But that’s changing.

YMCA Leads Effort to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

More than one third of American adults are pre-​diabetic. This means a person’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal, putting them at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Patrice McNeely of Hazelwood falls into this group but is determined not to follow in her family’s…

Dissecting Diabetes

When Steve Lawthers takes a golf swing, his arm rubs against a small device attached to his skin, near his belt. “Other than when I play golf, I don’t know it’s there,” says Lawthers, 61, of McCandless.

Unfounded Fears of the HPV Vaccine May Have Grim Consequences

The virus is hearty, robust and everywhere: on our skin, our fingertips, our countertops. Most of us can fight it off. But certain strains can lead to chronic infections and later cancer for an estimated 25,000 American men and women. The human papillomavirus (HPV) has long been known as the…

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…

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.

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…

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.

Rethinking depression

Growing up in New Castle, Brenda Weingartner, 53, was a teenager when she had her first of many bouts with depression. “Back then, my parents didn’t have a good understanding of mental illness and what to do for it,” she said. “My mother’s suggestion was to go talk to the…

Three percent of you isn’t you

by Kelly Casey
Susan Lambie was desperate. It was the summer of 2009 and her mother’s health was deteriorating rapidly. What began as a cold turned into pneumonia. Then her mom developed Clostridium difficile — a nasty bacterium that causes severe diarrhea.

Too fat too young

by Kelly Casey
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.

Halting the Revolving Hospital Door

by Kelly Casey
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…

Laugh out loud

by Kelly Casey
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…
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