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Pittsburgh 71 articles

Opioid overdose survivors still prescribed opioids following treatment

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Few doctors are prescribing anti-addiction medications after discharging patients who suffered opioid overdoses, and some medical professionals are continuing to prescribe opioids to these patients, according to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “Forty percent of those with a heroin overdose and 60 percent of those with a prescription opioid overdose filled a prescription in the six months after overdose for the very kind of medication that contributed to the overdose in the first place,” Julie Donohue, PhD, told HealthDay. Donohue is an associate professor of health policy and management at the University of ... Read More

CSX Train Derailment Forces Pennsylvania evacuation

railroad tracks

A CSX freight train laden with hazardous materials derailed in Southwestern Pennsylvania Wednesday morning, igniting fires and forcing the evacuation of an entire town. According to the Associated Press, at least 32 cars of the CSX freight train careened off the tracks in Hyndman, Pennsylvania, destroying the garage of a residence. A CSX spokesman said at least one of the cars carrying gasoline and one laden with molten sulfur spilled and caught fire. Authorities investigating the accident haven’t determined what caused the train to derail. It’s also unclear how extensive the damage is. According to the AP, the residential garage ... Read More

Dry Drowning Kills Houston Boy Days After Swimming

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Doctors determined “dry drowning” was the cause of death for a 4-year-old Houston, Texas, boy, June 3 – days after he had last gone swimming. Parents Francisco Delgado Jr. and Tara Delgado told ABC 13 that they took their son Frankie swimming at the Texas City Dike near Houston on Memorial Day weekend. The boy, who the Delgados affectionately called “Baby Frankie,” seemed fine in subsequent days, but little did anyone in the family realize that his lungs were filling with fluid. On the morning of Saturday, June 3, Frankie complained of his shoulders hurting. Hours later, he sat up ... Read More

Study Finds Bladder Cancer Toxins in E-Cigarette Users

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A pilot study looking at the potential impact of e-cigarettes on the health of those who use them found a strong correlation between vaping and the presence of two carcinogens known to cause bladder cancer. The preliminary study analyzed the urine of 13 e-cigarette users and 10 non-user controls. The e-cigarette users had a median of 26 months of use. Researchers found two known carcinogens, otoluidine and 2-naphthylamine, in the samples of all but one of the e-cigarette users. Neither toxin was found in the nonuser samples. The study suggests that e-cigarettes are not without their own risks, despite being ... Read More

IVC Filter Fragments Lodged in Heart, Lungs prompts lawsuit

IVC filter

A Pennsylvania resident has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of his inferior vena cava (IVC) filter, The Daily Hornet reports. At the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (Shadyside), Robert T., a resident of North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, was given a G2 Retrievable IVC filter, made by C.R. Bard, on April 10, 2008. Dr. Kevin McCluskey thought it was the best way for Robert to avoid a pulmonary embolism, the condition in which a blood clot enters the lungs. IVC filters are cage-like devices that are inserted into the vena cava, the largest vein in the body, and are designed to catch blood ... Read More

Uber Suspends Self-Driving Car Program After Arizona Crash

Uber self driving car - Wikimedia Commons

Uber’s self-driving car research program hit a speedbump last week after one of the automated cars was involved in a crash with two other vehicles in Tempe, Arizona. Uber, like Google and most major car companies, has been testing autonomous vehicles that can self-drive at length. The company suspended its self-driving vehicle program at least until an investigation of the crash is complete. According to the Tempe Police Department, a driver in a second vehicle attempting a left turn “failed to yield” to the Uber vehicle, a Volvo SUV. “The vehicles collided, causing the autonomous vehicle to roll onto its ... Read More

Metformin helps reduce weight in children with autism treated with antipsychotics


The commonly prescribed type 2 diabetes drug metformin is effective at reducing weight in overweight children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, and is especially true in children who take antipsychotic medication to treat their condition, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Children with autism are about twice as likely to be obese compared to adolescents without developmental disabilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Two medications are approved to treat irritability with autism in children – risperidone (Risperdal) and aripiprazole (Abilfy). Both medications can cause significant ... Read More

Large-scale screening for melanoma is feasible and increases detection of thinner melanomas, study finds


According to the Skin Cancer Foundation an estimated 9,730 people will die of melanoma in 2017. Although it accounts for less than one percent of skin cancer cases, it is the most deadly form of skin cancer. If it isn’t caught early, melanoma can spread rapidly throughout the body and is much more difficult to treat. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh published in February in JAMA Oncology the results of an evaluation of the feasibility and success of population-based skin cancer screening. They promoted and offered full-body skin examination (FBSE) screenings for patients age 35 or older during their ... Read More

Guidelines needed to rein in opioid use following vaginal delivery with aim of preventing abuse

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Opioid-prescribing recommendations for common obstetrics procedures including vaginal delivery are needed to prevent the potential for abuse, according to a study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. The retrospective cohort study, conducted by researchers with the University of Pittsburgh, involved nearly 165,000 Medicaid-enrolled women who give birth to a live baby vaginally from 2008 to 2013. Researchers examined the prevalence of opioid prescription filling and refilling after delivery. They found that 12 percent of women who had left the hospital after giving birth filled a prescription for an opioid five days or less after delivery. Among these women, 14 ... Read More

Environmental Expert Links Deadly Fungal Infections At UPMC Hospitals to Moldy Linens

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A report on the possible source of fungal infections that allegedly killed five transplant patients at hospitals within the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s network links the deaths to mold on linens supplied by a launderer. Andrew Streifel, a hospital environmental expert at the University of Minnesota’s department of environmental health and safety, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he would “put money on it” that that moldy linen had sickened the patients. Mr. Streifel’s analysis came to light Jan. 26 as part of two lawsuits filed against UPMC by the family of transplant patients who died from fungal infections at ... Read More