Kelly Casey

Kelly loves telling people's stories. She began her journalism career at the Pitt News, University of Pittsburgh's student newspaper. For several years, she was a general assignment and Sunday feature writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. After moving to Virginia, she joined the University of Virginia Medical Center marketing department. For the past several years, she has focused on health writing, including serving as regional editor for the nationally syndicated quarterly magazine, Vim & Vigor. She was lulled back to Western Pennsylvania in 2006 but continues to work for UVA from afar and is excited to be once again reporting on the Pittsburgh region. Kelly lives in Oakmont with her husband and two sons.

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. Last August at 10-year-old Meccah’s wellness exam, Penn-Nored talked with the physician assistant about getting a prescription so Meccah could join Weight Watchers. She carried a lot of …

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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. “These systems are beautifully adapted for …

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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 discharge, revealing that a good …

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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. Not many imaging screening tests have generated such differences of opinion. The object of this …

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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 was pretty much the end …

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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 patients, controlling robotic arms doing …

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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 introduces his line of work. …

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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 Public Health. About 1-in-2 women …

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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. He and his wife, Jacqueline, have been putting their corporate and venture capital acumen to use …

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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 research subject that has led …

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Insurance innovations

Ask someone about their health insurance plan and you wouldn’t expect to hear, “I’m having a great experience.” Health insurance is expensive and difficult to understand. And in the Pittsburgh region, many have, not surprisingly, grown tired of the very public battle between the area’s largest insurer and largest provider—Highmark and UPMC. But this very …

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Is Sitting the New Smoking?

The headlines have been frightening. CNN says, “Sitting for hours can shave years off life.” Men’s Health magazine declared in bold type, “Why your desk job is slowly killing you.” Google “sitting disease” and the first link is juststand.org, where anyone can download a free “info graphic” featuring a skeleton typing away at a desk. …

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DNA Decoding: An Economic Driver

Mapping the entire human DNA blueprint was ultimately done to advance medicine, but it has had a bonus impact: giving a jump start to a stagnating economy. A May 2011 report by Battelle Technology Partnership Practice of Columbus, Ohio, said the $3.8 billion federal investment in the Human Genome Project from 1988 to 2003 drove …

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Genomic Stimulus

Not long ago, one of the nation’s most dreaded diseases was polio, paralyzing and sometimes killing its victims. Fortunately, polio proved no match for medicine. Just as polio reached its peak in 1952 with 57,000 new cases, a University of Pittsburgh team, led by Dr. Jonas Salk, was testing a vaccine. Soon, polio all but …

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Healthful Discoveries

We brush to stave off cavities and bad breath. But it may even help us avoid major diseases. Research shows that the plaque build-up in our mouths may contribute to plaque build-up in our brains and heart arteries. In a study published in BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal), British researchers found that …

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Salty Debate

Salt is essential to life. The sodium found in salt regulates the heartbeat and the body’s balance of fluids. Once known as “white gold,” salt helped establish civilization with the discovery of its food-preserving ability. Roman soldiers were paid in salt (from which the expression “worth one’s salt” is thought to derive). A few centuries ago, …

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Shall We Dance?

Don Shepherd may have stumbled upon the closest thing to the fountain of youth. While millions of Americans—and Steelers fans—tuned in to watch Hines Ward glide and smile his way across the dance floor in “Dancing with the Stars,” Shepherd was leading his own dance partner. The 58-year-old Peters software salesman took up ballroom dancing …

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