2018 Spring

Pittsburgh Quarterly Archives

Health Insight

A New Way to Fight Overdose

by Nick Keppler
When Dave Lozier campaigned to be the district attorney of Beaver County, one topic dominated conversation at every meet-​and-​greet and campaign stop.

Hard to Swallow

by Kelly Casey
It started with a cough and the need to clear her throat whenever she ate. Eventually, swallowing became more difficult — and even dangerous — for Patricia Grimm, 63, of the North Side. “I’d be at Red Lobster eating a salad or in the car eating a hamburger and I’d start choking,” she says.…

The Trouble with Sugar

by Kelly Casey
As a liver specialist for more than 25 years, Dr. Michael Babich has seen a seismic shift in his practice. No longer are viruses or chronic alcoholism destroying the livers of most of his patients at Allegheny Health Network. Now, it’s the overconsumption of fructose — an industrialized form of sugar that…

Sepsis Alert

by Keith Gillogly
By the time Nancy Schollaert Nichol arrived to see her family doctor after experiencing abdominal pain for five days, the visit didn’t last long. She was immediately sent to the UPMC Northwest emergency department in Cranberry where she found out she’d need emergency gallbladder surgery.

What Does It Take to be a Living Donor?

by Kelly Casey
Michaela Cook of Beaver Falls didn’t hesitate to give her husband one of her kidneys in 2010. The couple had two young children when Erik Cook’s organs were damaged beyond repair by type 1 diabetes. Like most living organ donors, Michaela was motivated by the desire to help a very…

Starzl’s Growing Shadow

by Kelly Casey
Brothers Tim and Joe Scherer have always been close. They play on the same men’s softball team in Beaver County. They talk on the phone every day. Whenever one needs help on their home, they’re there for each other. In August 2015, Tim learned he needed a kidney. For reasons…

Stepping Up

by Kelly Casey
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

by Kelly Casey
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

by Kelly Casey
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

by Kelly Casey
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

by Kelly Casey
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

by Nick Keppler
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?

by Kelly Casey
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

by Kelly Casey
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

by Kelly Casey
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.
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