Sarah Boden

Science, Health And Tech Reporter

Sarah Boden covers health, science and technology for 90.5 WESA. Before coming to Pittsburgh in November 2017, she was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio where she covered a range of issues, including the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

Sarah’s reporting has appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition Saturday and WBUR's Here and Now. She has won multiple awards, including a regional Edward R. Murrow for her story on a legal challenge to Iowa's felon voting ban.

UPMC

A march is scheduled on Tuesday ahead of a public hearing at Pittsburgh’s city council about a proposed UPMC vision and rehabilitation hospital in Uptown.

Colin Charles / Flickr

New analysis from the University of Pittsburgh has found a link between alcohol and perceived physical attractiveness. In other words, “beer goggles” are real.

Researchers looked at data from some 1,800 people collected from 16 previous studies. Participants rated the attractiveness of people in photographs, about half were drinking, and the other sober.

The intoxicated group gave modestly higher scores.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh ranks fourth out of all large U.S. metropolitan areas in the number of days where the air posed moderate-to-serious health risks, according to new analysis from a statewide environmental organization.

Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education, and Research

The virtual reality simulation “Opioid Rescue” opens with an unconscious man lying on a basement floor next to an empty syringe.

“The first thing I’m going to do is try to talk to him and see if he’s conscious,” said Grace Mueller, an intern at the University of Pittsburgh’s Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education, and Research, also known as WISER.

“Are you OK? Wake up!” a female voice asked the unconscious man.

“It seems like he’s not responding so I’m going to try and shake his shoulders,” she said.

Sarah Boden / WESA News

The death of black teenager Antwon Rose at the hands of a white police officer has been a catalyst for social activism in Pittsburgh, and might also stir up past trauma for people of color.  

Sue Ogrocki / AP

A new algorithm created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University could help geneticists understand the DNA replication process and how it varies from organism to organism. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Protesters gathered in Mellon Square in downtown Pittsburgh on Saturday, calling for an end to the Trump Administration’s policy of separating immigrant families that are detained at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Patrick Semansky / AP

In January, 39-year-old Damian Chadwick died at a Bethel Park barbershop a little before 2 p.m. According to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner, the overdose death was due to a combination of cocaine, alcohol and the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

As the opioid epidemic rages on, more and more places from libraries to Goodwill stores are keeping the anti-overdose drug naloxone on hand. 

Since September, all YMCAs of Greater Pittsburgh have had somoene on duty who’s trained to administer naloxone, which reverses the effects of an overdose by restarting a person’s breathing.

Mel Evans / AP

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health finds that opioid-related overdose deaths are being underreported, and this means the epidemic may be worse than it appears.

Potentially 70,000 opioid-related overdose deaths were not included in national estimates between 1999 and 2015. Researchers estimates that 1,307 of those deaths where in Pennsylvania, the largest number of any state.

Mark Thiessen / AP

Microscopic mites are causing extreme itching in Pennsylvania’s black bears, leading to hair loss, lesions, infections and even death.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Saturday marked the fourth day of demonstrations in Pittsburgh to protest the killing of an unarmed, black 17-year-old.

Antwon Rose Jr. was fatally shot by East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Tuesday night while fleeing a traffic stop. Many are calling for criminal charges to be brought against Rosfeld -- sentiments that were on display during Saturday's Juneteenth parade to celebrate the end of slavery.

John Amis / AP

Researchers have apologized to the Pennsylvania Department of Health for erroneously calling Pittsburgh a “hot spot” for kids going unvaccinated for religious or philosophical reasons.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Pittsburgh-area scientists are part of an international group to discover a new squirrel-like mammal from the time of the dinosaurs. 

Ambolestes zhoui it is the most complete fossil of a relative of placental mammals found from the Mesozoic Era. It was unearthed in Inner Mongolia, a region of northeast China, in a quarry that, 126 million years ago, was a lake.

Eric Risberg / AP

A new program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine aims to help young physicians learn the ropes of research. Less than 1.5 percent of medical doctors pursue research careers, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Angela Washko

The aesthetic of “The Game: The Game” couples lurid fluorescents with hazy shadows to create the same disjointed feeling of standing in a loud, dark bar.

While the player's character is femme-presenting, the other avatars are all men. The goal of the game is to navigate a bar that's been infiltrated by a group of so-called "pick-up artists."

Thein Zaw / AP

For a long time, scientists thought that the flu virus degraded in humid conditions and that was the reason most people don’t catch it in the summer.

University of Pittsburgh microbiologist Seema Lakdawala and collaborators devised an experiment to determine how mucus enables the airborne transmission of H1N1, which caused the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and found that it survived in several types of environments. Dry, moist – it didn’t matter.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

An ambulance pulled up to the entrance of UPMC Preysbetarian's emergency room in early June, a pair of EMTs unloaded a portable isolation pod, basically a human-sized, medical-grade Ziploc bag.

The Breathe Project

A new initiative aims to employ citizen scientists to monitor air pollution created at U.S. Steel Corporation plants located in the Mon Valley.

Blair Roughley / Netflix/AP

A University of Pittsburgh psychiatrist is one of the primary collaborators on a new, public health toolkit that presents important information related to the Netflix program “13 Reasons Why,” a teen drama that depicts events surrounding a high school girl’s suicide.

The second season came out earlier this month. 

M. Spencer Green / AP

Women who deliver children before 37 weeks of pregnancy are also more likely to have heart attacks, according to a new study from Magee-Women’s Research Institute.

Researchers followed 1,049 women for 25 years and found that women who had preterm births and a pattern of increasing blood pressure were also more likely to have greater calcium buildup in their hearts, putting them at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.

Walter Astrada / AP

Black babies in Allegheny County are nearly three times more likely than white babies to die before their first birthdays.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

A recent report from Allegheny County’s medical examiner on the number of overdose fatalities in 2017 contains both good and bad news.

For the fourth year in a row, the number of overdose deaths was the highest on record -- more than 735 people in 2017 -- but the rate of fatalities decreased in each subsequent quarter of last year.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Many anti-smoking efforts are focused on cigarettes, but new research from the University of Pittsburgh suggests that more energy should be spent discouraging the use of water pipes, or hookahs.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Kerry Cannon, 31, of Bethel Park, works the salad bar at an Eat n' Park restaurant, a job she said she enjoys. She has Down syndrome, and said she has a good life. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

First-time candidate Sara Innamorato declared victory over a five-term incumbent in the Democratic primary for House District 21.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Asthma rates among elementary school students in the Northgate School District have dropped significantly since one of the region’s top polluters ended operations in 2016, according to preliminary data.

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

A group of parents from the Fox Chapel School District is concerned about how their children’s health will be affected by hydraulic fracturing in the area. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

In Spring Hill, early 20th Century houses look out over cinematic views of downtown Pittsburgh. The front of 36-year-old resident Randal Miller’s home appears fine, but the back is a mess. Part of it was slammed by a landslide this February.

“The door broke in the first day,” he said. “It didn’t break in in a way that like you could move it, cause there’s like trees sticking through.”

Miller’s laundry room sustained the worst of the damage. Reddish mud and glass cake the floor and everything smell likes mildew.

Administración Nacional de la Seguridad Social / Flickr

Seven out of 10 babies born to mothers with Hepatitis C at Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC are not screened for the virus, which can cause serious liver damage.

The information comes from a new study from the University of Pittsburgh, published last week in the journal Pediatrics, which looked at children who continued to receive pediatric care from UPMC through their second birthday.

Allegheny County Health Department

The Allegheny County Health Department reports the highest concentration of overdose deaths in the Pittsburgh region from 2008 to 2016 is an area covering parts of Mt. Oliver and neighborhoods on the southern side of Pittsburgh, like Allentown and Knoxville.

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