Science, Health & Tech

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

Emma Lee / WHYY

Pennsylvania is making it easier for doctors to provide treatment for opioid addiction. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Beginning next year, paramedics and emergency medical technicians for the City of Pittsburgh will work 12-hour shifts, instead of the current eight-hour shifts.

Mary Altaffer / AP

Eighty locations across Pennsylvania are getting ready to hand out free naloxone this Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Pennsylvania's independently elected fiscal watchdog is urging state lawmakers to rein in pharmacy benefit managers, saying the companies are allowed to operate in secrecy in ways that let them profit while driving up health care costs.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released an 18-page report Tuesday saying many other states have taken action to lower drug costs by forcing more transparency on pharmacy benefit managers.

Bizuayehu Tesfaye / AP

A computer scientist at Duquesne University is working to develop software that strips unique words and phrases from a piece writing to preserve anonymity for the author.

Teresa Crawford / AP

More obstetricians are being hired by Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, about two hours east of Pittsburgh. 

PFAS: What Is It? And Why Should You Care?

Dec 6, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

NOTE: This story comes from our partners at Michigan Radio’s Environment Report, a program exploring the relationship between the natural world and the everyday lives of people in Michigan.

There’s a class of chemicals you may have never heard of that’s been discovered in drinking water and at military and industrial sites across the country.

Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania is expanding efforts to make the anti-overdose medication naloxone available to the public with a statewide distribution day next week.

Officials said Thursday that naloxone will be provided free to any state resident at 80 locations — most of them state, county and municipal health offices — from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 13.

The drug is also regularly available at most pharmacies in Pennsylvania, at little or no cost for those with insurance.

Alex Proimos / Flickr

A report released Thursday by the RAND Corporation recommends that the federal government greenlight clinical trials on the effectiveness of medical-grade heroin for treating people with opioid addictions.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Department of Health has announced that none of the eight applicants to grow, process and dispense medical marijuana for research institutions has been awarded a permit. Spokesperson April Hutcheson said six of the applications were incomplete and two did not meet minimum standards.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA


Gaps in medical resources across rural Pennsylvania can be challenging, even for nursing school recruiters hoping to ultimately fill the local workforce.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Rift Valley Fever is transmitted by mosquitoes, infecting people and livestock. This tropical disease so far has only been found in the Middle East and Africa, though the types of mosquitoes that carry Rift Valley are found around the globe. One of which, the Aedes, lives in North America.



A toaster’s Twitter page turns 10 years old this month. The @mytoaster account joined the site in December 2008 and soon after tweeted its first message: “Toasting.”

Ted S. Warren / AP

Teenagers are using marijuana more than cigarettes, and they try it before their first tipple, according to recent studies. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Experts gathered in Pittsburgh Friday said the country could be on the precipice of a new AIDS epidemic.

Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's charity has announced a $50 million donation to help fight the nation's opioid epidemic.

Report Shows Nationwide Increase In Uninsured Children

Nov 30, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania's population of uninsured children decreased slightly amid a nationwide increase in uninsured children. 

For the first time in at least 8 years, the number of uninsured children rose in the U.S., according to a study from Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. 

In Pennsylvania, 125,000 people 19 or younger didn't have health insurance in 2017, the report states. That's 1,000 fewer children than in the previous year. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is expansive — a person could spend hours walking the different exhibitions. But what's on display is only a small portion of what's in the museum's possession.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

There is no safe level of lead in the blood for kids. We know kids are exposed to lead through water, and lead paint in older homes and even in schools.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

For a parent or guardian, having a child get on the wrong school bus or end up at the wrong stop can be a nightmare. But local company Keeping Your Kids Safe is giving parents peace of mind that their child is in the right place.

NASA/JPL-Caltech /

Mars, Pennsylvania wasn't named after the Red Planet, but it's fully embracing those celestial connections. 

Andrew Harnik / AP

It’s that time of year again: the enrollment window is open to sign up for health insurance on the Affordable Care Plan individual market.  


Nurses at Indiana Regional Medical Center in Indiana, Pa. are planning a 24-hour strike starting at 7 a.m. Monday.

The nurses' previous contract expired on Oct. 31. Hospital administration and registered nurses have been negotating a new contract since August, but are now at an impasse.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

A team of University of Pittsburgh undergraduate students has designed a special pill dispenser that helps kids take their medication on time, by making the task a game.

David Goldman / AP


Demographically, college students are among the least likely age group to receive their flu shots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rick Callahan / AP

Cases of Hepatitis A are in the rise in Pennsylvania.

The commonwealth’s Department of Health said Monday that over the last several years, there have been between 40 and 60 Hepatitis A cases annually.

This year, 81 have been reported.

And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there is heightened risk for people who are homeless, men who have sex with other men, people who use drugs, or recently-incarcerated people.

Other states are experiencing outbreaks too—including neighboring Ohio and West Virginia.

NFL Awarding More Than $35 Million To Brain Injury Studies

Nov 15, 2018
Paul Sancya / AP

The NFL is awarding more than $35 million in funding to five organizations conducting research into diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA


Transferring content from one video to the style of another relies on consistencies — a type of artificially intelligent mimickry that creates images after studying similarities and transforming them. 

Mel Evans / AP


Many substance use disorder treatment centers expect their patients to immediately stop using when they enter treatment. But this approach, often referred to as quitting “cold turkey,” is not a one-size-fits-all solution.


University of Pittsburgh scientists are working with NASA to conduct research 240 miles above Earth – on the International Space Station. 

One of the six projects will look at how microgravity affects the fabrication of magnesium alloy, a versatile material used in a variety of applications inculding electronics, medical devices, aircraft and motorcycles.