Allegheny General Hospital

Asbestorama / Flickr

  More Allegheny County residents die from asbestos-related illnesses than any other county in the state, according to a study by the Environmental Working Group Action Fund.

Researchers found that between 1999 and 2013, at least 189,000 Americans died from asbestos-related diseases, including 14,216 in Pennsylvania and 1,616 in Allegheny County alone. The county’s average death rate was nearly double the national average, authors said.

Service and technical workers at Allegheny General Hospital voted Wednesday to unionize with more than 80 percent of the 1,200 workers voting in approval.

The employees, including radiology and lab technicians, nursing assistants, secretaries and food service workers joined the state’s largest health care union, Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

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New research within the field of epigenetics may change the way we look at the treatment of mental health issues in children. Dr. Sharna Olfman, a professor of developmental psychology at Point Park University and a practicing psychologist, has published a new book, The Science and Pseudoscience of Children's Mental Health, that aims to de-mystify how mental health issues are introduced within a child's developing brain.

Dr. Olfman believes that the question is no longer confined to internal factors, but instead an integration of children's changing environments with the processes of early brain development and transferrable genetics.   

"We put tens of thousands of chemical toxins into our environment, kids are sitting in front of screens for hours a day…we’ve radically changed the way kids eat…we’ve really changed every facet of their environment." - Dr. Sharna Olfman

Also on the program, a new application out of the Entertainment Technology Center helps children cope with traumatic experiences through gameplay, and the President of the Senator John Heinz History Center Andy Masich commemorates the 150th anniversary of the day the American Civil War came to an end. 

The Allegheny Health Network is the first health system in the Pittsburgh region to offer a new medication called Lutonix to help those suffering from peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

Between 8 and 12 million people in the U.S. are affected by PAD - the hardening of the arteries from cholesterol and plaque buildup. It can obstruct blood flow, which could result in amputation or death if untreated.

Allegheny General Hospital and UPMC Presbyterian Hospital are the first in the region to offer a minimally invasive heart surgery that allows physicians to operate as the heart beats.

The MitraClip is designed to treat degenerative mitral regurgitation (MR), a heart condition where blood flows backwards through the mitral valve, forcing the heart to pump even harder to get the blooding moving in the right direction. MR causes fatigue, shortness of breath and heart failure.

With the hope of being able to help epilepsy patients who have not responded to other treatments, Allegheny General Hospital Friday opened a unit designed to monitor and evaluate those who suffer from the condition.

The division includes four private rooms, each equipped with a video camera and an EEG (electroencephalography) device, which, combined, allows physicians to record patient behavior and their neurological activity.

More than 120,000 people across the United States are waiting for an organ transplant — 8,300 in Pennsylvania alone.

April is National Donate Life Month, recognizing those who need transplants, those who have donated and encouraging more people to do so.

Can a Capsule Camera Replace the Colonoscopy?

Mar 10, 2014
Euchiasmus / Wikipedia Commons

Colon cancer is the second most common cancer-related death in the U.S.

The FDA has approved a new colonoscopy capsule which is a camera in pill form. There are many advantages to this capsule, but people are wondering if this new colon cancer detection device will replace the colonoscopy.

Dr. Edward Chu, deputy director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute says that the pill is not a replacement for the colonoscopy.

Rob Bratton / Flickr

Twenty five years ago an interesting partnership developed between North Side neighborhoods and the Allegheny General Hospital. That partnership continues today and has proved to be beneficial on both sides. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Diana Nelson Jones recently reported on this collaboration.

We took a further look at how large institutions and neighborhood groups can work together to increase the quality of a community.

Why Young People are Getting the Worst of the Flu

Jan 22, 2014
SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget / flickr

The H1N1 flu is back and it's striking mostly young adults. More than 90 percent of flu cases statewide have been identified as the H1N1 strain, commonly referred to as "Swine Flu" since it reemerged in 2009 after lying dormant since the 1960s and 1970s.

Marc Itskowitz, an internal medicine physician at Allegheny General Hospital has the answer for why the swine flu is hitting young people so hard.

“Many of the young adults and children have not been exposed to this virus and therefore do not have built up, innate immunity to this virus. And so without the vaccine this is the most vulnerable population to get sick when they’re exposed to this infection.”

@aerial_m / Flickr

Studies show the rate of childhood asthma in Allegheny County is around 13 percent, higher than the national rate of 9 percent.

An Allegheny General Hospital study is underway to more precisely determine childhood asthma rates in the region and exactly what triggers the respiratory disease.

Dr. David Skoner, Division Director in asthma, allergies and immunology for the Allegheny Health Network, is a co-director for the study.

Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) nurses have ratified a new two-year contract Wednesday after their previous contract expired Sunday.

Eighty-seven percent of the 1,238 nurses voted in favor of ratifying the contract.

Transplant nurse Cathy Stoddart, president of the SEIU unit that represents AGH’s nurses, said they gained a combined 4.25 percent raise over the life of the contract.

Dr. Arvind Venkat says that hospital emergency rooms are basically an autistic person’s worst nightmare.

“I think if you were to purposefully design an environment that was going to be difficult for an autistic patient, you could not do worse than what we do day to day in emergency medicine,” he said.

Meddy Garnet / Flickr

Hypertension, known as the “Silent Killer,” is more prevalent in Allegheny County African Americans than any other group. Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension has taken the lives of over 50,000 people in the last year.

Dr. Indu Poornima is a cardiologist at Allegheny General Hospital and conducts research with high blood pressure patients in Allegheny County. She says the increased prevalence of obesity and stressors, along with access to health care and genetic predispositions, are all possible factors that cause hypertension.

In an effort to better understand brain aneurysms, researchers in Pittsburgh will examine aneurysm tissue to try and learn what determines whether an aneurysm ruptures or doesn’t.

Tips Times / Flickr

 

A New York Times op-ed by Angelina Jolie disclosed her decision to have a double mastectomy after learning she carries a mutation of a gene that increases her risk of breast cancer.

Last week, researchers at Allegheny General Hospital, in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic published important findings regarding breast cancer.

Each year more than 200,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer, and now doctors in Pittsburgh have confirmed that a less-invasive surgical procedure for women with early stage breast cancer is as effective as traditional surgery.

According to Dr. Thomas Julian, associate director of the Breast Care Center at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), a 10-year follow up on a clinical trial involving 5,611 women with invasive breast cancer showed no significant difference in overall survival or disease-free survival.