Health

Health
10:38 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Watchdog Finds Insurance Coverage Lacking in PA

A new study looking to build a baseline for future evaluations of the federal Affordable Care Act has found some deficiencies in Pennsylvania that at least one group feels need to be improved. 

“Some of the goals of the health care reform law are to provide insurance to more people and basically make the health care system more accessible to people,” said Pennsylvania Partnership for Children Spokesperson Michael Race.  “We wanted to find a way to measure the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act, as its implemented, in reaching children and in insuring children.”

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Health
4:02 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

DA Recommends Stepped-Up Security at UPMC Facilities

Following the deadly Western Psych shooting in March and the recent abduction of a newborn from Magee Womens Hospital, the Allegheny County District Attorney is recommending police patrols be added inside of UPMC medical facilities.

“One of the most important considerations is the presence of a uniformed police officer,” said Zappala, “just to refresh the public’s memory, it took about 5 minutes and a little over 15 seconds for police to arrive on scene [at the Western Psych shooting] and the movement of the shooter was pretty much unlimited until that time.”

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Health
8:38 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Parkinson's in the Spotlight This Saturday in Pittsburgh

Hundreds of Parkinson’s patients and their loved ones are expected to gather at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center Saturday in an effort to learn more about the disease, the latest research, and a few tricks to living with the illness.  The day-long and free Victory Summit sponsored by the Davis Phinney Foundation kicks off at 9:00am.

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Health
7:14 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Pittsburgh Healthcare System 1 of 40 in U.S. for Vet Research Project

http://2cccd5dfe1965e26adf6-26c50ce30a6867b5a67335a93e186605.r53.cf1.rackcdn.com/MVP Wrap_Emily Farah_SOC.mp3

All veterans who receive healthcare from the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System have the opportunity to be one of potentially one million veterans participating in a research project at 40 locations nationwide, the Million Veteran Program (MVP).  Dr. Elif Sonel, a medical physician with the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, says MVP is a national, voluntary research program.

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Health
5:19 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Peters Doctor to Pay Insurers $.7 Million over Prescriptions

A Pittsburgh-area physician has agreed to repay two insurance companies $700,000 for covering powerful narcotic painkillers that he pleaded guilty to overprescribing to dozens of patients.

McMurray physician Oliver Herndon pleaded guilty in May and is will be sentenced Sept. 24. As part of his plea agreement, he's expected to serve 11 years and three months in federal prison, though a federal judge has yet to formally approve the deal.

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Health
8:31 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Ryan Clark’s Cure League Tackles Sickle Cell

The Steelers play in Denver Sunday night, and Ryan Clark, who usually starts at safety, will once again be inactive. If he has his way however, Clark and others eventually won’t have to shy away from activities that could affect their genetic disorder—sickle cell trait.

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Health
9:35 am
Sun September 2, 2012

Study Looks At Connection Between Eating Behaviors And Weight Loss

With more than one third of the American population considered to be obese, weight loss is a popular and important issue, especially among women. A study has shown that postmenopausal women who increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables while decreasing their intake of desserts, sugar-sweetened drinks, meat, and cheese are more likely to control and maintain their weight over time.

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Health
7:56 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

2012 Experiencing Record High Of Positive West Nile Mosquito Samples

Although there have been no human cases detected in western Pennsylvania, there has been a record-high number of mosquitoes carrying the deadly West Nile Virus (WNV). Allegheny County health officials reported 138 samples tested positive, which is nearly twice as many as last year and the highest number ever.

The samples were gathered during the period in the summer when humans are most vulnerable to the virus. Dr. Ron Voorhees, Acting Director of the Allegheny County Health Department, said the root of the problem actually comes from birds.

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Health
7:13 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Steelers, UPMC Urge Young Athletes “Don’t Hit the Head, Don’t Use the Head” in Play

In an effort to raise awareness about and prevent concussions, Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin is sharing one of the team’s mantras – “don’t hit the head, don’t use the head,” to young football players in the region.

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Health
7:50 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Surplus Suture Wanted

A Pittsburgh-based international medical relief agency is calling on hospitals to donate surgical suture kits to prevent surgical delays and deaths in countries including Malawi, Jamaica, and Bolivia. For the past 23 years, Global Links has provided medical materials for resource-poor countries, and while large amounts of suture have already been donated, there is still a need for more.

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Health
7:05 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Highmark Updates Takeover Request to State Insurance Dept.

Highmark has sent the Pennsylvania Insurance Department an updated version of its request to take over local healthcare providers.  The new plan increases the cost estimate to $1 billion due to the addition of another hospital takeover option and new physician agreements.

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Health
6:31 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Phipps Conservatory Will Host Red, Ripe, And Roasted Festival

It's the time of year when many home gardeners are enjoying harvesting and eating plenty of varieties of tomatoes.  This Sunday Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will host the 8th annual "Red, Ripe, and Roasted Tomato and Garlic Festival"  to celebrate two of this year’s most bountiful crops. The event will focus on fresh, local produce and its culinary possibilities.

Jordyn Melino, Exhibit Director at Phipps, described the festival as perfect for the city of Pittsburgh, given its rich local farms and history of food.

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Health
7:35 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Campaign to Vaccinate Hospital Workers Against The Flu

With influenza season not far away, the Allegheny County Health Department wants to increase the number of workers at the 18 Pittsburgh area hospitals who receive flu shots.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 63.5% of health care workers nationwide were vaccinated against the flu last season.  "That is surprising," said Dr. Ron Vorhees, the acting director of the County Health Department.  "We think this is a good opportunity to really encourage people to step up, be protected, and protect their patients."

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Health
12:40 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Health Department Tries To Vaccinate Raccoons

So far this year, four rabid raccoons have been spotted in Allegheny County down from 23 that were found in 2002. To reduce those numbers even further, the Allegheny County Health Department will conduct its 11th annual raccoon rabies vaccine baiting program. From August 20-24, Health Department workers, part of the “Rabies Control Team”, will place nearly 230,000 baits in all municipalities.

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Health
6:22 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

First Liberty Mile Run Will Feature Olympic-Caliber Talent

Pittsburgh continues to grow as a racing town as the city hosts the inaugural Liberty Mile run this Friday, August 17. Top competitors from across the country as well as recreational runners will participate in the event that is a partner of the Bring Back the Mile campaign. The closest race distance to the mile is the 1500 meter, about 0.93 of a mile. The 1500 has been an Olympic event since the 1896 summer games.

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Health
6:30 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

No Reprieve from Ragweed for Allergy Sufferers this Season

An unusually hot and dry summer in the Pittsburgh area may have had some hoping that it would lead to some relief from ragweed allergies, unfortunately the hot temperatures and lack of rain had little to no impact on the plant, according to Dr. Barry Asman, an allergist with the Allergy and Asthma Care Center in Monroeville.  “Ragweed has been growing all summer long. For some reason, the ragweed seems to be drought resistant, whereas my yard has not been drought resistant.

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Health
4:35 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Pitt Study Shows 'Decoy' Can Fight Cancer

An injection of 'decoy' material into human tumors helped reduce certain cancer activity, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Pitt Professor of Otolaryngology Jennifer Grandis said the decoy targets a protein called "Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3" (STAT3), which is difficult to treat because it's found mainly in the nuclei of cancer cells.

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Health
5:35 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

State Gives CMU $1 Million to Study New Cancer Diagnostics

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has given a $983,783 grant to Carnegie Mellon University to fund two studies of a new digital scanner that could improve cancer diagnostics.

The two-year project will compare the scanner's capabilities with the current methods of diagnosing a tumor's status by placing a biopsy under a microscope. CMU principal investigator Dr. Robert Murphy said each study will focus on the diagnosis of a specific cancer.

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Health
7:00 am
Mon August 13, 2012

CCAC Gets Grant To Train More Caregivers For The Elderly

"They call it either the gray tsunami or the silver tsunami," said Linda Raimondi, coordinator of Geriatric Education at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC).  "This is a problem all over the world."  Raimondi was referring to the growing elderly population.

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Health
8:45 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

RMU Professor Finds Way to Send Chemotherapy Drug Directly to Tumor

A Robert Morris University (RMU) professor has created a computer simulation that showed incredibly small particles, or nanoparticles, could be manipulated into carrying a chemotherapy drug directly to a cancerous tumor. Since current chemotherapy drugs have more of an indirect route, the drug kills healthy cells as well as the cancerous ones, causing severe side effects, and limiting the dosage that can be given to patients.

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Health
8:45 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Pittsburgh Region Gets High Marks in Quality of Life Survey

Local residents are generally happy to live in the Pittsburgh area, according to a survey released on Tuesday by the University of Pittsburgh and PittsburghTODAY. However, African-American are not so pleased.

Roughly 1,800 survey respondents in the 32-county Pittsburgh region ranked the local quality of life at 7.8 out of 10. The national average is 7.4 out of 10.

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Health
4:00 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Researchers, Speech-Disabled Discuss Maximizing Communication Potential

More than 1,800 people from all 50 states and nearly 40 countries are in Pittsburgh discussing ways to enhance communication for individuals with severe speech problems.

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Health
7:00 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Local Doctor Attempting to Increase Clinical Trial Enrollment

Dr. Peter Shaw, Director of the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (AYA) Program at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, said that cancer patients 15-40 years old have had inferior survival rates over the past three decades.

"One of the reasons [for that] is the young adult populations and adolescents are less likely to be in clinical trials than pediatric patients and also older adult patients," Shaw said.

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Health
6:00 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Clean Indoor Air Act, 4 Years Later

The House Democratic Policy Committee heard testimony from community members, experts, and business owners advocating for the expansion of the Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) that went into effect in Pennsylvania beginning in September 2008.

The CIAA allows establishments to permit smoking if they apply and qualify for an exemption. Some taverns, cigar bars, and tobacco shops can all qualify. As of December, more than 2,800 establishments in the commonwealth were exempt from the smoking ban. 60% of bars in Allegheny County allow smoking.

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Health
7:00 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Majority Of Pennsylvania Labs Ready To Use Electronic Health Exchange

The days of "snail mail" may be in the past for Pennsylvania laboratories, with most now sending test results electronically. About 93% of the state's 516 independent laboratories and critical care hospital-associated labs participated in a survey conducted earlier this year by the Pennsylvania eHealth Collaborative. Nearly 80% of them confirmed they are electronically submitting data at the present time.

In 2009 the state was awarded $17.1 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help establish an electronic exchange of health information.

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