Tagged Articles

Pittsburgh 66 articles

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

Opioid abuse - Shutterstock

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

linens - Wikimedia Commons

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

Risk of infection remains with Pentax specialized endoscope


Tiny cracks and gaps in the adhesive seals used on Pentax Ed-3490K duodenoscopes, a specialized endoscope used to diagnose and treat certain gastrointestinal conditions, can trap bacteria and make thorough cleaning and high-level disinfecting difficult, which can increase the risk of infection transmission between patients, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned in a Safety Communication. The issue is related to an issue with the design and manufacturing of the ED-3490K duodenoscope. Cracks and gaps in the adhesive that seals the device’s distal cap to its distal tip can occur, “which can lead to microbial and fluid ingress,” according to the ... Read More

GNC agrees to pay $2.25 M, strengthen practices to ensure quality, safety of products

dietary supplements - pills, probiotics

Pittsburgh-based health and nutrition company GNC Holdings Inc., has agreed to pay $2.25 million and “take a number of actions” to ensure the dietary supplements and other products it sells do not contain unlawful and potentially harmful ingredients. The announcement comes on the heels of a federal investigation into how a GNC vendor’s falsely labeled and branded dietary supplement imported from China made it to GNC’s retail sites nationwide. The issue arose when GNC sold Oxy Elite Pro Advanced Formula, a product manufactured by Dallas-based USP Labs, which was indicted in November 2015 for allegedly conspiring to import the tainted ... Read More

GNC dietary supplements recalled due to undeclared major allergen


Nutra Manufacturing, Inc., is recalling one lot of GNC Women’s Ultra Mega Time Release dietary supplements because they may contain an undeclared major food allergen, milk. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk are at risk of having a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product. The recall affects the supplements sold in 180-count containers with the UPC 048107158910, the lot number 3044FQ2024, and an expiration date of June 2018. The lot number can be found on the bottom of the product box and the side panel of the product label. The affected dietary ... Read More

Study: Trauma Patients Do Not Benefit from IVC Filter Use

IVC filter

Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters that were used in trauma patients to prevent pulmonary embolism proved to be unnecessary, according to a single-center study at Boston Medical Center. Trauma patients who survived at least 24 hours after the time of their injury didn’t show a decreased death rate associated with an IVC filter insertion. The trend didn’t change at either six months or 1 year after the discharge date. Among the patients who received an IVC filter, only 8 percent of the filters were removed over a 3.8-year average follow-up. IVC filters are usually placed in patients that cannot tolerate anticoagulation medication, but the high failure rates ... Read More

PA Doc Pays Nearly $1 Million To Resolve FCA Lawsuit Alleging Medicare Fraud

Pills - Stethoscope on Money

A Western Pennsylvania doctor and a health care company he operated in five states will pay the U.S. government nearly $1 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging he and the companies defrauded the Medicare program. David J. Hickton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, said Tuesday that Dr. John Balko and Dr. John Balko & Associates Inc., doing business as Senior Healthcare Associates, have agreed to settle the False Claims Act case for $930,000. The False Claims lawsuit alleged Medicare fraud due to Dr. Balko and his clinics submitting claims to Medicare for a range of ... Read More