University Of Pittsburgh

Timothy K Hamilton / Flickr

Scientists have long known that there is a link between schizophrenia and rheumatoid arthritis. People who suffer from schizophrenia tend not to develop rheumatoid arthritis, and people with rheumatoid arthritis are at low risk for schizophrenia.

Though this relationship has been clear for more than 50 years, nobody really knew why the link existed, according to University of Pittsburgh professor of psychiatry and human genetics Vishwajit Nimgaonkar.

“We thought that there might be genetic factors that might explain this phenomenon,” he said.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Many American cities are struggling with police-community relations, and racial divisions are often the heart of the problem.

On this week's episode of 90.5 WESA's Criminal Injustice, Pitt law professor David Harris talks to David Kennedy of the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

Liver Transplant Surgical Pioneer Dr. Thomas Starzl Dies

Mar 6, 2017
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Dr. Thomas Starzl, who pioneered liver transplant surgery in the 1960s and was a leading researcher into anti-rejection drugs, has died. He was 90.

The University of Pittsburgh, speaking on behalf of Starzl's family, said the renowned doctor died Saturday at his home in Pittsburgh.

Wystan / Flickr

From Obama-era task forces to widespread protests, the idea of community policing has become part of our national conversation. 

On this week's episode of the Criminal Injustice podcast, University of Pittsburgh law professor and host David Harris talked to Jerry Clayton, the elected sheriff of Washtenaw County, Mich. Now in his third term, Clayton started overhauling the department of 400 officers eight years ago with service and sustainability in mind.

Gerry Bloome / AP

Facial recognition systems look fast and effective in the movies and on television crime shows, but a new report shows that these identification tools suffer from some of the same biases that we’ve heard about when humans try to identify an alleged criminal.

University of Pittsburgh

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have helped develop a diagnostic blood test for Alzheimer ’s, which could make it easier and cheaper to detect the disease.

Pitt collaborated with researchers at the Center for Biomedicine in Italy and the University of Chile.

Neurology professor Oscar Lopez said the test will help doctors differentiate between Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

National Eye Institute / National Institutes of Health

A new approach to retinal imaging developed at the University of Pittsburgh could lead to earlier diagnoses of eye diseases like glaucoma. The technique provides a detailed picture of the back of the eye, which could help ophthalmologists determine the health of cells essential for vision.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

The first night of Hanukkah falls on Christmas Eve year this, a phenomenon some are dubbing Chrismukkah. In 2013, the second night of Hanukkah was on Thanksgiving and was dubbed Thanksgivukkah.

But why do the dates of Hanukkah vary so widely from year to year?

“The basic thing to know about the Hebrew calendar is that it’s a lunar calendar and not a solar calendar,” said Adam Shear, director of the Jewish Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Kristi Jan Hoover / City Theatre

For Pittsburgh’s theater community, national headlines like “Oscars So White” feel just as relevant to local stage productions. 

City Theatre Company artistic producer Reginald L. Douglas said playwrights often write with certain types of actors in mind to speak about themes of race, class or gender. A play about the immigrant experience could be cast with white actors, he said, but that might not tell the same story.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

First year medical student Aneta Kowalski knocked on the door of the classroom. Upon entering, she used sanitizer to clean her hands and introduced herself to the patient, Brandi Welle. 

Kowalski and Welle sat down and began to talk. Welle said that she was in a car accident four years ago. She was suffering from hip pain and was dependent on pain killers. But she also no longer has a prescription and had been dropped by several doctors for her dependency.

“I think I have a problem,” Welle told Kowalski. “I think I need some help." 

Brian Cantoni / Flickr

A former University of Pittsburgh student who pleaded guilty to being the go-between for Chinese students who paid to have impostors take college entrance exams for them faces sentencing before a federal judge.

Han Tong faces up to three years in prison on Monday, though his attorney is expected to argue for leniency.

Tong is one of 15 Chinese citizens charged by federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh last year with conspiring to have impostors take the Scholastic Aptitude Test or other college entrance tests in western Pennsylvania since 2011.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

When talking to researchers in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh, “Star Wars” is likely to come up. Specifically, the scene in “The Empire Strikes Back” when Luke Skywalker is fitted with a prosthetic hand, after losing his in a lightsaber battle with Darth Vader.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are using light to see inside the brains of subjects in ways traditional static imaging scanners cannot.

Functional near infrared spectroscopy, or NIRS, is portable and can measure brain activity while subjects are moving around. It can also be used in remote situations when people can’t get to an MRI scanner, which requires patients lie down and remain very still to get a usable image.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Sage Arnold, 13, is not a big fan of this year’s election.

“When I was little I watched one of the debates between Obama and Mitt Romney,” he said. “I couldn’t really understand a lot of it, but it sounded really civilized and mature.”

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

When Barack Obama campaigned in 2008 and 2012, some credited his success, at least in part, to his use of Twitter.

This election, the short-length video platform Snapchat, first released in 2011, could help tip the scales for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump. 

Susan Walsh / AP

The National Department of Transportation announced Thursday that Pittsburgh had received an $11 million grant for advanced technology transportation projects. The announcement was made shortly before Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joined Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto in a panel discussion during the White House Frontiers Conference at Carnegie Mellon University.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 FM WESA

When then-Pittsburgh Mayor Richard Caliguiri died from amyloidosis in 1988 not much was known about the disease. Since then, research and awareness has increased and now an endowed chair is being created to further research and treatment at the University of Pittsburgh.

Amyloidosis is a systemic disease that usually attacks the heart but can impact other internal organs.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 FM WESA

Law enforcement, public health officials and policy experts are hoping a 64-page report released Wednesday will serve as a model for the rest of the world when it comes to combating the growing opioid crisis.

Mel Evans / AP

Michelle Obama told supporters in Philadelphia on Wednesday that candidates don't change once they become president and that America "needs an adult in the White House."

The first lady never mentioned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the rally at LaSalle University. But there was no question that she was warning voters that President Trump would be the same as candidate Trump.

"The presidency doesn't change who you are, it reveals who you are," she told the cheering crowd.

Morry Gash / AP Photo

First lady Michelle Obama will be in Pennsylvania on Wednesday to campaign for Hillary Clinton.

She's attending a late afternoon rally for Clinton at the University of Pittsburgh following a Democratic Party event at noon at LaSalle University in Philadelphia.

Obama will speak at Fitzgerald Field House at 3:30 p.m. Doors open at 1 p.m. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

University of Pittsburgh Athletic Director Scott Barnes said traditional rivalries like the one between Pitt and Penn State University are an essential part of college football. On the eve of the first gridiron clash between the Panthers and Nittany Lions in 16 years, Barnes sat down with 90.5 WESA’s Paul Guggenheimer to discuss Saturday's sold out game at Heinz Field and what the future holds for a rivalry that dates back to 1893.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity

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Michael Righl / Flickr

 

Faculty and staff members at the University of Pittsburgh now receive transgender benefits, including behavioral health support, medications and surgery.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports officials say the change, which was sent to employees last week, is meant to bring the university into compliance with federal rules on sex discrimination in employment.

Michael Ward / University of Pittsburgh

Researchers are a step closer to figuring out how our brains turn those squiggly lines on papers and screens into words.

A team of cognitive neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh have completed a landmark study looking into how the human brain recognizes and processes written words – or, more simply, reads.

“We really don’t really think about it when we’re reading a word, but all you’re really seeing are black and white lines and you turn that into a story, a sentence, a word, something with real meaning,” said Avniel Ghuman, one of the lead researchers.

Courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The healthy human gut is home to hundreds of millions of bacteria species.

But people who are missing a few hundred or so particular species are at greater risk for certain health issues, including Crohn’s disease, which is characterized  by chronic inflammation of the bowels. 

Richard Duerr, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is co-senior author of a study linking that lack of gut diversity with a specific genetic variation.

Flickr user Shaine Hatch

The state of Pennsylvania and University of Pittsburgh announced a new partnership aimed at helping stem the tide of opioid addiction, county by county.

“It doesn’t matter where you go in the commonwealth, in southwestern PA, in urban PA, rural Pennsylvania and suburban Pennsylvania. It doesn’t matter what you look like or what zip code you come from, too many lives are being taken by heroin and opioids,” said Josh Shapiro, head of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, which is funding the new center.

Flickr user TheKarenD

Black Americans with the heart condition atrial fibrillation are nearly twice as likely to suffer stroke, heart failure and coronary heart disease as their white counterparts, according to a new study from University of Pittsburgh professor Jared Magnani.

The finding is based on data from a 30-year study of more than 15,000 people in four communities: Forsyth County, N.C.; Jackson, Miss.; suburbs northwest of Minneapolis, Minn. and Washington County, Md.

NASA

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are working on technology that could help make a human mission to Mars possible.

Flickr user Hitthatswitch

A lab worker at the University of Pittsburgh has contracted the Zika virus by accidentally sticking herself with a needle.

The Allegheny County Health Department reported the county’s fourth case Thursday.

According to a Pitt spokesman, the accident occurred on May 23. The worker developed symptoms by June 1 and returned to work on June 6.

In a statement, ACHD director Karen Hacker said, “there is still no current risk of contracting Zika from mosquitos in Allegheny County.”

Flickr user t b

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have unraveled one of the longstanding mysteries of how our sense of smell works.

Melinda Roeder / 90.5 WESA

A doctorate project-turned-start up by two University of Pittsburgh students has grown from its days sharing a space at AlphaLab in East Liberty.

Kasey Catt and Noah Snyder first started InterPhase Materials with the intent of developing nontoxic coatings to be used inside the body for brain or dental implants. But after hitting roadblocks with the FDA, they refocused their efforts on coatings to keep marine life, such as mussels and barnacles, and mold from sticking to boats and buildings. 

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