CATEGORY: In the media, News

In the media: Week of Jan. 22

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Stem cell study may show advance, The New York Times

A treatment for eye diseases that is derived from human embryonic stem cells might have improved the vision of two patients, bolstering the beleaguered field, researchers reported Monday. “It’s a big step forward for regenerative medicine,” said Dr. Steven D. Schwartz, a retina specialist at UCLA, who treated the two patients.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, KABC 7 (video), CNN

Editorial: Ideas on saving higher education merit more study, San Francisco Chronicle

From the University of California’s ultra-select medical school to the state’s scores of commuter colleges, hard financial times are forcing new approaches. The responses are challenging, disruptive and in need of more study, but they’re a starting point for a big question: How will California save higher education? None of the ideas will make up for billions in cuts imposed by Sacramento. But until the economy rebounds, restored state support is unlikely. That leaves higher education on its own, and its leaders are hunting for ways to pay the bills.

See additional coverage: KQED Forum (audio)

UCSD buying Nevada cancer clinic, San Diego Union-Tribune

UC San Diego is buying the bankrupt Nevada Cancer Institute in Las Vegas for $18 million, with the sale expected to become final in one to four weeks. It’s the university’s first major foray outside San Diego beyond a handful of small satellite medical offices rented near Las Vegas and in Riverside and Imperial counties. It also may be a first among University of California health systems.

Healthcare system woes clearly seen in cataract patient’s case, Los Angeles Times

A woman scheduled for surgery finds herself caught in the middle of a contract dispute between Blue Shield and UCLA.

Gene test may aid early-stage lung cancer patients, San Francisco Chronicle

In a finding that could improve the survival odds for early-stage lung cancer patients, UCSF researchers have determined a new molecular test can predict more accurately than current diagnostic methods which tumors are more likely to be aggressive and turn deadly.

Stem cell tech may aid Alzheimer’s research, ABC News

With 5.4 million of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, a proven treatment or cure remains elusive.  And the methods scientists are using to study the disease have yet to yield much in the way of understanding, much less treatment, of the disease. But researchers at UC San Diego have developed a technology using stem cells to more accurately model what goes wrong in diseased brain cells of  Alzheimer’s sufferers.  Their findings will be published in this week’s issue of the journal Nature.

Reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s (video), ABC 7

A new study from UC Berkeley has uncovered physical evidence that people who challenge themselves intellectually could be decreasing their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and the clues are visible in their brains.

UCSD launches major study of Parkinson’s, San Diego Union-Tribune

The first and most common sign of Parkinson’s disease — the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s — is trembling of a hand, foot, arm or leg, a shaking that progressively worsens. There is no cure, but there are serious efforts under way to better understand how the disease occurs and how to remedy it. Last year, scientists at the UC San Diego School of Medicine helped launch a landmark five-year, $45 million international observational clinical study called the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative, funded in part by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, to identify biomarkers (early indicators) of the condition before disease symptoms become obvious. A Q&A with Douglas Galasko, a professor in the UCSD Department of Neurosciences and a principal investigator of the PPMI.

Bottom Line: Catholic Healthcare West becomes Dignity Health, San Francisco Chronicle

Catholic Healthcare West has changed its name to Dignity Health. The new name is just one of the changes occurring at the not-for-profit hospital chain, the fifth largest in the country, with 40 full-service hospitals in California, Arizona and Nevada, and 150 ancillary clinics. This column quotes Colin Cameron, who teaches health economics at UC Davis.

Ndola Prata: fighting for women’s reproductive health, The Lancet

“Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to fix things,” says Ndola Prata, scientific director of the Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability at the University of California, Berkeley. Prata battles daily for more pragmatic approaches to reproductive and sexual health care. “I find myself questioning why we don’t focus on interventions that can be scaled up, thus reaching most of the women in need”, she says. Her conviction that “it’s worth fighting for what you believe in” comes from her parents, she says. Growing up in conflict-ridden Angola in the 1970s wasn’t easy. Once Portugal acceded independence in 1975, some Angolan citizens left but Prata’s parents resolutely stayed put, believing that Angola would “become a great country.”

Can gossip be good? (audio), KQED Forum

Contrary to popular belief, gossip can be beneficial and help maintain social order. That, among other revelations, is the substance of new research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and contained in a new book, “Gossip: The Untrivial Pursuit.” This show talks with UC researcher Robb Willer and author Joseph Epstein about their research into the respectability of gossip.

Walnuts slow growth of prostate cancer in mice, UC Davis research shows, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis researchers have found that mice genetically programmed to develop prostate cancer had smaller, slower growing tumors if they consumed a diet containing walnuts. A low-fat diet is frequently recommended for reducing a man’s risk of prostate cancer, but the study suggests excluding walnuts due to their fat content may not be in the patient’s best interest.

Marijuana-based painkiller seeks FDA approval, Time

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has not endorsed marijuana use by patients but is currently sponsoring a study by a UC Davis neurologist to determine how smoking marijuana addresses painful muscle spasms.

UC Davis students to staff Knight’s Landing clinic, Sacramento Business Journal

UC Davis medical students will open a new health clinic Sunday in Knight’s Landing to provide free care to underserved residents in rural Yolo County. The clinic will be open every third Sunday of the month. It will be staffed by medical students and undergraduates, along with volunteer doctors, nurses and graduate students in public health.

UC Davis Health buys Broadway office building, Sacramento Business Journal

The UC Davis Health System bought a vacant office building on Broadway recently for $7.7 million.The two-story, 68,000-square-foot office building will be renovated to provide office and support space for a variety of research programs, health system facilities director Mike Boyd said. The deal was less than half the asking price in the tough commercial real estate market — and too good to pass up. The almost 4-acre property secures a key parcel adjacent to the UC Davis Medical Center campus.

Commentary: World must wake up to the coming crisis in the Sahel, People & Planet

If forecasters could draw isobars outlining human suffering, then the high pressure zone of human pain would surely be in the failed, and failing states, along the Sahel, and across to Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan, says UC Berkeley professor Malcolm Potts.


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