HEALTH /​SCIENCE

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…

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.

What Drives Red Whittaker?

In January, Carnegie Mellon University professor Red Whittaker set a goal that had nothing to do with robotics: to best a field of competitors in an indoor rowing race. The ergometer competition, a 2,000-meter battle on stationary machines, marked the first time the 69-​year-​old Whittaker had rowed since his college…

Exploring Millennial Romance and the Brave New World of Dating Apps

You can find articles, video clips and nearly every type of media content deriding dating apps as the death of romance and the downfall of traditional dating. For some, that translates and escalates to a belief that millennials — the primary users of dating apps — have killed romance. A hefty claim, to be…

3 Not-​So-​Simple Questions, Part IV

Editor’s note: This is the fourth and final part of a feature that began in the pages of the Fall issue of Pittsburgh Quarterly. We invited the heads of the region’s top independent schools to address three important questions, in 200 words or less for each. The final question is…

Will Someone Please Tell Me What This Bitcoin/​Blockchain Thing Is All About?

Everyone has heard of Bitcoin by now (by convention, it’s capitalized when used as a protocol and lower case when used as a unit of exchange, like a dollar), but very few understand the importance of the “blockchain” technology that underpins it. This article expresses no opinion one way or…

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.

Examining Austin as a Boomtown — Lessons for Pittsburgh?

Today’s high in Austin is 104 degrees, with 106 predicted for tomorrow. Even the native Texans, proud and defensive of the State’s hardships, are complaining. It has become a standard topic of conversation between strangers in elevators and in bars. And still the masses make their way here.

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…

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…

The Silver Tsunami

Editor’s note: The Allegheny Conference on Community Development claims that as many as 760,000 people in the 10-​county southwestern Pennsylvania region will be heading toward retirement in the next 20 years. This unprecedented retirement wave promises to bring significant challenges to the region’s labor force as well as such sectors…

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…

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…

Silicon Valley — and the Rest of Us

Last week I was in northern California’s Bay Area for a few days and, as I prefer to do when traveling even to familiar places, I make sure to read and watch the local media rather than “the usual” array of nationally available sources.

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…
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