Science, Health & Tech

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

Courtesy of The Renfrew Center / Twitter

A national network of clinics specializing in eating disorders is seeing more women struggling with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and related mental health issues in mid-life than ever before, Oakland site director Erin Wentroble says.


Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is asking the state Supreme Court to extend in-network access for Highmark-insured patients at UPMC facilities beyond June 30.

(Kriston Jae Bethel for WHYY)

Democratic U.S. Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Tom Carper of Delaware met with local politicians and community leaders from Bucks and Montgomery Counties Monday to discuss the remediation of a toxic class of chemicals known as PFAS, which has contaminated drinking water supplies across the country.

Nati Harnik / AP

A new study from University of Pittsburgh researchers looks at how different behaviors affect weight gain after gastric bypass surgery.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

McGuffey Middle School in Claysville, Washington County is rolling out three Wi-Fi-enabled school buses to serve kids with long commutes who may not have internet access at home. This is the latest location of Google's Rolling Study Halls initiative, which is currently operating in 16 communities across the country.

Amy Sisk / WESA


Some Allegheny County residents use a smartphone app to report foul smells in their communities, and a new version of that app is now available to the rest of the country.

Seth Weing / AP

Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program has reached a milestone: more than 100,000 patients have been certified in the commonwealth since medical marijuana was legalized in 2016. Certification means the patient has registered for the medical marijuana program, has had physician approval for use and they've obtained their medical marijuana card. 

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration / AP

Pennsylvania officials say a system that tracks overdoses and information about drug investigations has been widely adopted during its first year of use.


The Commonwealth Court has ruled that it cannot extend the consent decree between UPMC and Highmark.  

Sarah Boden / WESA News

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has taken legal action against UPMC, western Pennsylvania’s largest health care system, in an effort to force it to give in-network care to customers of one of the region’s largest insurers.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Buying a car can be a stressful process that requires time, research and money. Online car retailer Carvana aims to make that process a little easier, likening itself to the Amazon of used cars.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Two weeks after a Christmas Eve fire at U.S. Steel's Clairton Coke Works, the Allegheny County Health Department warned residents to limit time outside because of potentially dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide in the air. Three months later, Mon Valley residents say it’s still affecting their quality of life. 

Michel Spingler / AP

The nonprofit Women In Cybersecurity, or WiCyS, will hold its sixth annual conference in Pittsburgh this week, starting Thursday.

Nam Y. Huh / AP

From e-cigarettes to vape pens, electronic vapor devices are growing in popularity among Pittsburgh-area teenagers. 

Google Maps

A proposed rule from the Trump administration would bar federal Title X funding to health care organizations that provide abortions. 

John Amis / AP

New analysis from the University of Pittsburgh finds patterns among the social media activity of people holding anti-vaccination beliefs. 

Mel Evans / AP

The city with the highest opioid death rate of any large city in the United States could soon become the location of the nation's first supervised drug injection site.

Nelson Antoine / AP

Allegheny County Council is considering an ordinance that would ban mental health care professionals from providing so-called “conversion therapy” to minors.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Matt Michaux used to be a basketball coach at Fox Chapel High School. He said back then, he'd train with students before and after school. However, when he and his wife had a kid, that wasn't an option anymore. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

UPMC broke ground Thursday morning on its new vision and rehabilitation tower.

The nine-story, Uptown facility will be part of UPMC Mercy and is projected to open in late 2022. Hospital officials said it will contain subspecialty clinics and research facilities, which will treat complex medical needs and draw patients from outside the region. 

“Uptown, Pittsburgh, Mercy Hospital will become a destination for [ophthalmology] care,” said Michael Grace, president of UPMC Mercy. “Our hopes are for this building to help cure blindness.”

Jim Cole / AP

Preliminary results show artificial intelligence developed by the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC can reduce false positive test results for lung cancer.



Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers’ Homewood workshop is filled with the whirring sounds of electronic music. Founder Richard Nicol started the company in his basement in 2012. Now, he and his team design and develop synthesizers for creating electronic music that are used all over the world.

Struggling Rural Hospitals To Test New Funding Model

Mar 11, 2019
Courtesy photo

Five rural Pennsylvania hospitals are testing a pilot program that aims to keep them financially viable and help them better target resources to patients. 

The plan replaces the typical "fee for services" payment structure with something called a "global budget model." 

Pennsylvania Looking For New Ways To Fight Spotted Lanternfly

Mar 11, 2019
Photo by Courtesty Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Pennsylvania is looking for new ways to fight the invasive spotted lanternfly, nearly five years after it was first discovered in Berks County.

Despite the commonwealth's efforts, the pest is spreading to other states.

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding told lawmakers at a recent budget hearing the strategy to fight the invasive insect so far has been to contain and suppress the population.

That's done partly though quarantines and educating people on what the bug and its offspring look like, so eggs can be destroyed as they're found.

Mark Schiefelbein / AP

Starting this fall, people will be able to take courses in cybersecurity at the University of Pittsburgh without attending the school full-time. Instructors say the opportunity is to address a growing gap between available cybersecurity jobs and those qualified to fill them.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration has reopened the application process for marijuana producers who want to supply the drug to medical researchers to study its “therapeutic or palliative” uses.

The process and guidance have not changed from the first time around, when all eight producers who applied were rejected. In December, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said that six of the submissions were incomplete, and the other two didn’t meet minimum standards.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Millions of insects will make their way through Pittsburgh over the next five years under a renewed contract between the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under the partnership, a team at the museum will study 6,000 insect traps per year, searching for unwanted and invasive species.

Allegheny County Health Department

Fewer Allegheny County residents are dying from opioid-related overdoses. 

Joshua Franzos / Courtesy of Dr. Arthur Levine

Dr. Arthur Levine is stepping down from his longtime post as dean of the University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine and as its vice chancellor for health sciences to start a new Alzheimer’s research lab.