CATEGORY: In the media, News

In the media: Week of Jan. 29

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

For soldier disfigured in war, a way to return to the world (video), The New York Times

A page one feature on a program at UCLA Medical Center called Operation Mend that provides cosmetic surgery for severely burned veterans at no cost.

UCSD finalizes Nevada cancer center purchase, San Diego Union-Tribune

Sale of the bankrupt Nevada Cancer Institute to UC San Diego was finalized Tuesday, university officials announced. The $18 million purchase creates a first for the University of California. UC San Diego is alone among the system’s five academic medical centers in buying clinical property outside California. But the deal does not represent a trend, “not as far as purchasing out-of-state real estate,” said Dr. John D. Stobo, senior vice president for health sciences for the University of California. “This is a one-off.”

UCSF scientists declare war on sugar in food, San Francisco Chronicle

Like alcohol and tobacco, sugar is a toxic, addictive substance that should be highly regulated with taxes, laws on where and to whom it can be advertised, and even age-restricted sales, says a team of UCSF scientists.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, Time, ABC News

UCD stem cell research battles Huntington’s disease, The Sacramento Bee

A team of researchers at UC Davis has pioneered a technique to use stem cells to smother the genetic problem that causes Huntington’s disease. The findings, due in the journal Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, could pave the way for a treatment that stops the disease’s devastating progression.

Dr. Richard Olney dies: expert on, victim of ALS, San Francisco Chronicle

In 1939, when Lou Gehrig had to say farewell to baseball at Yankee Stadium because of a mysterious neurological disease, he called it nothing more than “a bad break.” On Friday, Dr. Richard K. Olney and his family shared some pizza for lunch at home in Marin. Then he had to say farewell. Another case of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Another “bad break.” Dr. Olney, 64, founder of a UCSF clinic devoted to the study of Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, died later that day of the same disease that afflicted his patients.

See additional coverage: The New York Times

Intellectual pursuits may help prevent Alzheimer’s, Boston Globe

Reading, playing a variety of games, and engaging in other intellectual pursuits on a daily basis over the course of a lifetime could help prevent the formation of amyloid plaques that gunk up the brain and are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. But we may need to get our brains engaged early in life – years or decades before we start to forget things – to reap the most benefits. “It was fascinating to see that no one who engaged in high levels of cognitive activity had high levels of these plaques,’’ said study leader Susan Landau, a research scientist at the University of California-Berkeley’s Neuroscience Institute.

UC Merced students tap telehealth tools to treat diabetes, California Healthline

Business students at UC Merced are launching an ambitious telehealth project to help underserved women in the Central Valley manage their gestational diabetes without having to make multiple doctor visits. Through the project, patients will be able to send results of their blood sugar tests electronically to their health care providers.

Would ‘mission-focused medicine’ make an impact in the Valley?, Vida en el Valle

Could San Joaquín Valley health clinics and hospitals lure more doctors to the region if they focused more on “mission-based medicine?” I suspect that pipeline programs like the high school Doctors Academy, medical school programs — like the new UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education — that train doctors to address the region’s unique medical needs, and the proposed medical school at UC Merced, will more effectively fill the critical doctor and specialist shortage in the region, over the long term.

Gaining on prostate cancer, The Wall Street Journal

This article reports on two new drugs anticipating FDA approval. One compound, MDV3100, was developed at UCLA by Dr. Charles Sawyers, now at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and Michael Jung, a researcher at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center.

Genentech drug to fight common skin cancer gets OK, San Francisco Chronicle

Federal regulators Monday approved the first drug for people with advanced forms of basal cell carcinoma, the most common kind of skin cancer, as well as the most common cancer in general in the United States. The drug, made by South San Francisco’s Genentech, a subsidiary of the Swiss drug giant Roche, is designed for patients whose basal cell cancer has spread either locally or to other parts of the body. More than 100 patients worldwide were involved in the trial, which was conducted at about 40 centers around the world including UCSF Medical Center and Stanford University Medical Center.

Berkeley scientists reveal promising speech gains, San Francisco Chronicle

In experiments whose results may one day provide synthetic speech to people who have lost the ability to speak, UC Berkeley scientists have taught computers to read and reproduce the electrical signals in the brain produced by the sound of the human voice.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times

Heart transplant teen thanks blood donors, The Orange County Register

Donovan Ho, 17, felt his heart beat a little faster as he stood at a microphone in front of a room full of strangers, wearing black skinny jeans and an untucked shirt and tie. Two years ago, Donovan was lying in a UCLA hospital bed waiting for a heart to become available for transplant. What sustained him were a series of smaller donations – in all, 72 units of blood, plasma and platelets – that he received during his four-month stay. Usually, the process is anonymous. Donors give and have no idea who receives. Recipients, if they are conscious, see nothing but a bag of blood dripping from an IV pole. But Friday, Donovan and his family, who live in Orange, were given the opportunity to meet and thank 11 of his donors.

Baby boomer brain power (video), ABC News

Dr. Gary Small, UCLA’s Parlow–Solomon Professor on Aging, professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute and director of the UCLA Longevity Center, is interviewed about brain function during middle age and how to keep our cognitive skills sharp as we get older.

Some call healthy L.A. school lunches inedible (video), CBS News

New federal guidelines aimed at making school lunches more nutritious were announced this past week. It may seem like a welcome trend, but in the Los Angeles school district, many students are calling healthier inedible. CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports that everything inside one L.A. school cafeteria may be nutritious, but few students have anything good to say about L.A.’s health lunch menus. UCLA nutritionist Wendy Slusser is interviewed.

No kidney transplant for dying dad who is illegal immigrant, Contra Costa Times

Without a new kidney, Jesus Navarro will die. The Oakland man has a willing donor and private insurance to pay for the transplant. But he faces what may be an insurmountable hurdle in the race to save his life: He is an illegal immigrant. Administrators at UC San Francisco Medical Center are refusing to transplant a kidney from Navarro’s wife, saying there is no guarantee he will receive adequate follow-up care, given his uncertain status. Their decision is a stark illustration of the tension between health care and immigration policies in the state and underscores the difficult role medical professionals play in trying to save the lives of undocumented residents. Though no data are available, anecdotal evidence suggests clinics sometimes perform organ transplants on illegal immigrants, especially when the patients are young. In one high-profile case, UCLA Medical Center gave an undocumented woman three liver transplants before she turned 21. See follow-up story.

Lifelens malaria app wins Microsoft ‘Imagine Cup’ grant, CNet News

UC Davis student Wilson To is part of Team Lifelens, one of four teams around the world to win a $75,000 Imagine Cup grant.


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