Health

Take as Prescribed, with Care

Medications prescribed to treat illness do unintended harm to an alarming number of patients in the United States each year. While advances in drug therapy have resulted in improving treatment for many diseases, nearly 700,000 patients end up in the emergency room each year as a result of overdose, medication errors, or other reactions to …

Take as Prescribed, with Care Read More »

The Powder of Death

Marley Fisher walked away from several overdoses during her six years of opioid addiction. The batch that finally killed her left her unable to even stumble out of the Point State Park bathroom stall into which she ducked to shoot up. In April of 2017, Fisher, 28, accompanied a friend to buy heroin from a …

The Powder of Death Read More »

A New Way to Fight Overdose

When Dave Lozier campaigned to be the district attorney of Beaver County, one topic dominated conversation at every meet-and-greet and campaign stop. “I was up in rural Darlington Township and down in Monaca and the [more populated] river towns and everyone kept asking, ‘What can we do about these overdoses?’ ” recalled Lozier, a former …

A New Way to Fight Overdose Read More »

Hard to Swallow

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. ”When you can’t breathe because …

Hard to Swallow Read More »

Helping Children Heal and Thrive

When Pamela Schanwald was pregnant, doctors relayed a terrifying image from an ultrasound: extra skin on the back of her son’s neck indicated possible Down syndrome. She immediately began searching for day care options in the Pittsburgh area for children with special needs. She couldn’t find any. “Obviously, I knew it would be a lifelong …

Helping Children Heal and Thrive Read More »

New Age Nuances

Spring. A time for renewal and rejuvenation, especially if you’re feeling tense. A great place to start your revival is with your body. The best defense against burnout is a peaceful, relaxed offense. There are several companies in the area that can help you reach nirvana naturally. Peace, Love & Zen Holistic Wellness Center is …

New Age Nuances Read More »

The Trouble with Sugar

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 has crept into the American …

The Trouble with Sugar Read More »

Looking Inward, Way Inward

Until about six weeks ago I never fully appreciated that, just like all the strange characters in science fiction movies, I am a mutant. It all began in June when a friend mentioned his results from a genetic testing outfit. A few years ago, I’d considered paying one of the services to find out my …

Looking Inward, Way Inward Read More »

Sepsis Alert

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. When doctors opened her up, they found gangrene and a …

Sepsis Alert Read More »

What Does It Take to be a Living Donor?

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 sick loved one. A small …

What Does It Take to be a Living Donor? Read More »

Starzl’s Growing Shadow

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 unknown, his body attacked his …

Starzl’s Growing Shadow Read More »

Healthcare On Demand: There’s an App for That

We’ve all been there. You think you might have the flu, and you need to see a doctor, stat. You call your PCP but she’s booked solid for the next three weeks. So you hop in your car and fight the traffic to the urgent care clinic, only to find out there’s an hour-and-a-half wait. …

Healthcare On Demand: There’s an App for That Read More »

A Doctor’s Face on a Billboard

After retiring from medicine, I drove across most of the southern and western United States to explore national parks and visit relatives. Every day, I would drive by billboards showing faces of physicians. I’m sure most of you have seen this type of marketing in the Pittsburgh region if not on billboards, then certainly in …

A Doctor’s Face on a Billboard Read More »

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 equivalent to several hundered tons …

Stepping Up Read More »

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. “In the past five years, we’ve gotten so much better at total ankle replacements,” says Dr. James Sferra, director of the Division of Foot and Ankle Surgery for Allegheny Health Network. “Today, I do …

Ankle Joint Replacements on the Rise Read More »

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 footsteps. “I just turned 45 …

YMCA Leads Effort to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes Read More »

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. The device constantly measures his blood sugar and displays it on his iPhone. He got it by participating …

Dissecting Diabetes Read More »

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 major cause of cervical cancer …

Unfounded Fears of the HPV Vaccine May Have Grim Consequences Read More »

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 comes shortness of breath. After …

Just Breathe Read More »

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, ‘Oh well, that’s what happens …

Breaking the Silence Read More »

Room Service in Wonderland

The view from up here is majestic. The smudged, working class neighborhood of my youth has grown up to be a gentrified village whose renovated rooftops peer out of a sanitary blanket of January snow. I can almost hear the bustle of the hipsters and their Uber apps, heading out to work in the city. …

Room Service in Wonderland Read More »

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 5’ 8’’ Greensburg woman weighed in at 385 pounds. Not surprisingly, Pianko, now 54, has a slew of weight-related health problems: high blood pressure, diabetes, knee …

Is Being Overweight the New Smoking? Read More »

Top