Health

A Deeper Look at Health

When Kelle Cunningham had her first appointment with David Lobur, M.D., it was unlike anything she had ever experienced. They talked for 90 minutes. “He wanted to know all about my health history: How I was born? What I did. He just wanted to know everything about me, which I never had happen before,” says …

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Is It Possible to Target Areas of Unwanted Fat?

Question: “I’ve been on a diet and lost several pounds but still want to get rid of unwanted fat in a few areas, primarily on the back of my arms and hips. How can I target these areas?” Targeting specific areas of the body for weight loss, commonly known as spot reducing, has been a …

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Can Walking Do Much to Affect Health and Fitness?

Question: “I want to get in better shape and lose a few pounds. I am not very athletic but do enjoy hiking and being outdoors. How effective is walking as an exercise that will help me achieve my goals?” Walking is an excellent choice of exercise for people of all ages and ability levels whose …

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Is Lifting Weights Safe for Older Adults?

Question: “I am 65 years old and recently read an article that said lifting weights is beneficial at almost any age. Is that true? I am interested in information on a strengthening program specifically for older adults. Can you provide guidelines or some suggestions?” People of almost all ages can lift weights and benefit from …

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What is Cross-Training, Anyway?

Question: “Can you explain what is meant by “cross-training”? I see it advertised at my health club. Is it a special kind of workout program?” Many people, myself included, often fall into the routine of performing the same workout regimen day after day, week after week. This is not necessarily a good practice because by …

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Detraining: How to Maintain Fitness with Less Time

Question: “I recently completed the Pittsburgh half marathon. Although not a competitive runner I’m probably in the best shape of my life. However, over the next few months I won’t have time to run my usual 25–30 miles per week. Is there anything I can do to maintain my present level of fitness, or will …

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Getting Kids Moving: Sports vs. Free Play

Question: “I’m trying to get my kids to be more physically active. What are the benefits of participating in recreational youth sports, like soccer and baseball? Or is it better to simply encourage kids to play on their own?” I’ve spent a career in competitive athletics, first as a player and later as a college …

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Why Am I Gaining Weight?

Question: “I am a middle-aged man who has never had a weight problem until recently. Over the past two years I have gained about 10 pounds even though my diet has not really changed. I try to eat healthy and low-fat when I can and have been doing so for years. I do not understand …

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Lyme: Pittsburgh’s Growing Epidemic

Ever since her Peace Corps days in Uganda, Libby Ernharth has been fascinated by infectious diseases. In Africa in the 1990s, she first saw the havoc wreaked when parasites and other tiny organisms make their way inside of human hosts. Later, when she became a physician assistant in Pittsburgh, she dealt mainly with “first-world infections—the …

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A Different Kind of Pharmacy

Susan Merenstein tells people that she has “pharmacy” in her blood. Her late father ran Drug Lane, a Washington, D.C. drugstore, and she spent lots of time there, working the cigar and candy counter at age 10 and, ultimately, being a technician. She attended the University of Pittsburgh and became a registered pharmacist, working at …

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Small Steps – Major Results

Despite a large selection of best-selling diet books and an abundance of low-fat and non-fat foods, the latest data from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) shows that Americans are heavier than ever before. We spend more than $60 billion annually on diet and weight loss products yet four in 10 adults, over 90 million …

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Saving the Aging Brain

Think of all the products and promises for sale claiming to improve brain health. Mental-fitness games offer a gymnasium for the brain while one-a-day pills pledge a mental fountain of youth. Regardless of these claims, there may be no big secret to keeping the brain healthy and maintaining cognitive function. Rather, practicing all the components …

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Making a Splash

More than a century ago, scientists figured out how to deploy sound waves to locate the position and distance of enemy submarines. This discovery would also lay the groundwork for using high-frequency sound waves to peer inside the human body and usher in the age of ultrasound. Today, ultrasound (or sonography) is the most widely …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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