Everyone has at least one, and probably way more memories of Kennywood: Finally getting behind the wheel of the blue car on the Turnpike. Stealing a kiss on the Old Mill. Begging Mom for another hour at the park. Putting up with your own whining kids when you say it’s time to leave.…

Additional Info

  • Issue Quarter Summer
  • Issue Year 2018
  • Sub Heading Pittsburghers recall the place to be on a summer night
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 was mumbling. Her…

Additional Info

  • Issue Quarter Winter
  • Issue Year 2016
  • Sub Heading Risks women need to know
  • Sidebar Title Making stroke strides
  • Sidebar Content Block

    When a stroke hits, the go-​to treatment long has been injecting a clot-​busting drug. But several studies, published in prestigious medical journals over the last several months, show that mechanically removing a clot can be a more effective treatment for some types of strokes.

    These studies have really caused a sea change in how we approach certain acute stroke patients,” says Dr. Lawrence Wechsler, founder of the UPMC Stroke Institute and chair of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurology.

    The treatment is known as endovascular thrombectomy — a physician threads a thin tube and clot-​retrieving device through a person’s leg artery and up to the brain where the blockage is located. This procedure is only effective when blockages occur in large blood vessels (about 10 percent of all strokes) and needs to be performed within six hours of the onset of symptoms.

    Stem-​cell therapy is another promising development. UPMC has been part of a worldwide effort that has shown the safety of injecting millions of stem cells in and around the stroke-​damaged areas of someone’s brain. UPMC is soon to embark on a larger clinical trial to test the procedure’s effectiveness. “With our small clinical trials that tested only for safety,” Wechsler says, “we didn’t see anybody make huge gains, but they made small gains and certainly the patients considered them to be significant… But this is probably due in large part to a placebo effect… These trial participants are going to be motivated to have some benefit occur. But what we’ve seen so far is encouraging and certainly is better than having bad outcomes.”

    The larger clinical trial at UPMC will be open to those who are about a year out from a stroke and will use a line of cells derived from bone marrow. Wechsler adds, “I don’t think we expect everybody to be completely back to normal because of [stem-​cell] treatment. But when you have a stroke and you can’t walk or use your arm or hand, just a small change — to be able to stand up and use a cane to get around — can have a significant impact.”

Close Window Welcome to Pittsburgh Quarterly
Keep up with the latest

Sign up for our Newsletter, Pittsburgh Quarterly This Week.

We’ll keep in touch, but only when we think there’s something worth sharing. To receive exclusive Pittsburgh Quarterly news and stories, please fill out the form below. Be sure to check your email for a link to confirm your subscription!

View past newsletters here.

Don’t miss a story! Sign up for our newsletter to receive award-​winning journalism in your inbox.

Please let us know your name.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your email address.
Invalid Input