Science, Health & Tech

We cover these essential linchpins of the Pittsburgh regional economy, and how they impact residents' personal health and employment. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro sued Thursday in an effort to keep health giant UPMC from ending its business relationship with rival Highmark Health, in hopes of preventing higher costs from hitting about 70,000 western Pennsylvania patients.

Matt Rourke / AP Images

State Sen. Jay Costa, a Democrat from Forest Hills, is proposing legislation to require Pittsburgh’s two largest health care systems to accept each others’ insurance policies. 

Carnegie Mellon University

On Friday, the U.S. Army activated its new Artificial Intelligence Task Force, which will have a hub at Carnegie Mellon University and develop military uses for artificial intelligence.

Military representatives who were at the ceremony said U.S. adversaries are already developing AI, and that collaborating with institutions like CMU is necessary to minimize American causalities.

Push Resumes To Recognize Pennsylvania’s Official Amphibian

Feb 5, 2019
Peter Petokas / AP

The Pennsylvania Senate renewed its push Monday to make a slimy and unsightly salamander the state's official amphibian in an effort to highlight the plight of a creature whose numbers researchers say are declining rapidly because of pollution in rivers and streams.

The Senate approved the bill in support of the Eastern hellbender, 48-1.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority board on Monday voted to terminate its cooperation agreement with the City of Pittsburgh and negotiate a new one.

Brett Sholtis

Twenty-four-year-old Samantha Valley is a familiar face to staff at Dauphin County's Case Management Unit, where she meets regularly with her caseworker.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Friday he filed 161 criminal charges against the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority relating to partial lead line replacements the authority made between 2016 and 2017.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Many people use social media to create community, but a new study from University of Pittsburgh researchers shows that social media is actually more likely to make people feel lonely.

Brad Larrison / WHYY

new study suggests hospital emergency rooms across the country could play a bigger role in preventing gun violence.

NASA

A research project from students at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Pharmacy is headed to the International Space Station. The team hopes to find out how microgravity impacts antibiotic resistance, which may shed light on the issue on earth.

Wolf Takes New Step On Marijuana With Town Hall Sessions

Jan 24, 2019
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Wolf administration wants to open a "conversation" about legalizing marijuana in Pennsylvania and announced Thursday that the lieutenant governor will hold a series of town hall-style sessions on the subject.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, himself an advocate of legalizing recreational use of the drug, said he will hold a listening session in each of Pennsylvania's 67 counties in the coming months and otherwise accept comments submitted online or through other means.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The Breathe Project is holding a meeting Thursday night to discuss how the rerouting of rail traffic might impact air quality north of the Monogahela River.

Carnegie Mellon University

Learning coding in schools has become more commonplace, but as kids get older, teaching more complex topics can pose a challenge. Not all teachers have computer science backgrounds, and there are no statewide requirements for what a programming curriculum should look like. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority remains out of compliance with federal standards for lead in drinking water.

David Goldman / AP

Imagine falling on the sidewalk.

You think you might have broken a rib, and you want to know what a chest X-ray costs at an emergency department near where you live in Harrisburg.

Richard Vogel, / AP

Driving for companies like Lyft or Uber can be a hustle. Once you factor in gas and the cut these companies get from each ride, drivers might even lose money some days.

GoogleMaps

The public health community has long called for a needle exchange in south Pittsburgh, as fatal overdose data indicates high opioid use in this area. On Tuesday, a proposed site for distributing sterile syringes to injection drug users passed its final hurdle. 

Kathleen J. Davis

The very first video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, is being recreated in an ongoing project that aims to give others the opportunity to play with the system.

Federal Judge In Philly Blocks Trump Birth Control Coverage Rules

Jan 15, 2019
Rich Pedroncelli / AP

A federal judge on Monday put a nationwide hold on Trump administration rules that allow more employers to opt out of providing women with no-cost birth control.

KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

A new study from University of Pittsburgh researchers finds the price of brand-name medications is growing five times faster than the rate of inflation.

Animaxx3d / BigStock

More funding to help Alzheimer’s patients will soon be available thanks to federal legislation passed at the end of last year. Advocates hope it will create opportunities to bring better care to those with the disease and reduce race-related disparities in Philadelphia-area communities.

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

Soon, people will no longer be having babies at UPMC Mercy in Uptown.

Googlemaps

A south-Pittsburgh needle exchange is no longer being proposed for a residential area of the Carrick neighborhood. Instead, the Allegheny County Board of Health on Wednesday gave approal to an alternative location on Route 51. 

Elaine Thompson / AP

A group representing rural Pennsylvanians says expanding high speed broadband internet access in the state needs to be a priority this year, but acknowledges funding for infrastructure upgrades continues to be a challenge.

Pennsylvania Criticized For How It Handles Elder Abuse Cases

Jan 9, 2019
Matt Rourke / AP

A Pennsylvania state watchdog agency is criticizing how county-level agencies investigate thousands of complaints they receive about elder abuse and how the state ensures complaints are investigated adequately.

Susan Walsh / AP

The public comments period ended Friday for a proposed federal rule that would allow more employers to use health reimbursement arrangements, which are untaxed funds that employers could set aside for employees to use on health care expenses. Most employers are currently prohibited from using the arrangements, which are also known as HRAs.

Jason Redman / AP

Starting January 1, a new federal rule is requiring hospitals to publish online their official charges for different medical services, like diagnostic tests or surgeries.

Hannah Owens / Flickr

The first day of the new year is a great date to turn over a new leaf, but setting an overly ambitious new year’s resolution may not be the best way to make a major change.

Court Rules Mothers' Drug Use In Pregnancy Isn't Child Abuse

Dec 28, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

 Pennsylvania's highest court says mothers who use illegal drugs while pregnant can't be considered perpetrators of child abuse against their newly born children under the state's child protection law.

John Minchillo / AP

Diagnosing concussions could become easier with technology that tracks minute eye movements, according to a study by Allegheny Health Network.

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