NEWS BLOG from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Archive for February, 2015

Making Comparisons so Patients Can Make Better Decisions

Sally Morton, Ph.D., director of the University of Pittsburgh Comparative Effectiveness Research Center, explains that the center makes the patient the focus of studies investigating “what works best, for whom and under what circumstances.” This type of research seeks to improve health care by comparing different clinical treatment approaches in order to help patients decide what care is best for them. (more…)

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A Look Inside the Teenage Brain


Last weekend, Dr. Beatriz Luna talked about her research on the adolescent brain at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in San Jose, Calif. Stories about her work appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Telegraph, the Independent and other outlets.

“Our studies are beginning to challenge the traditional concept that the teenage brain can’t plan because of an immature prefrontal cortex,” she said. “The teen prefrontal cortex is not much different than in the adult, but it can be easily overruled by heightened motivation centers in the brain. You have this mixture of newly gained executive control plus extra reward that is pulling the teenager toward immediate gratification.”  (more…)

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The Science Behind the Scenes of FRED Measles

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health recently unveiled a free, easy-to-use simulation that allows people to see what a measles outbreak would look like in their town. Called FRED Measles, the simulation – optimized for mobile devices – allows users to compare a measles outbreak with high and low vaccination rates.

Despite FRED’s simplicity, creator John Grefenstette, Ph.D., professor of health policy and management at Pitt Public Health, explains that intricate details are involved in making the simulation work.  (more…)

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UPMC Senior Residents Make Valentine’s Surprise for Students


Residents of Lighthouse Pointe, a UPMC Senior Living Community, gave students at St. John the Baptist Catholic School an early Valentine’s Day present this week. The group worked together to paint an elaborate winter-themed banner for the young students that says, “God Loves You and So Do We!” Seven Lighthouse Pointe residents came to the school Tuesday afternoon to help hang the banner in the school’s entrance where the students were able to enjoy it in time for Valentine’s Day.  

This is not the first time the two groups have celebrated the holidays together. Lighthouse Pointe hosted Trick-or-Treating in October where residents waited outside their doors for the children in costume and the students performed a Christmas Pageant in December at Lighthouse Pointe. (more…)

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