CATEGORY: In the media, News

In the media: Week of Feb. 19

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Putting the care back into health care (audio, video), KPBS

Whether it’s transplanting an organ or saving a premature baby, doctors can do things that would have been considered miracles 100 years ago. But while medical science has evolved, the need for doctors to be caring and compassionate hasn’t changed. UC San Diego Medical School is trying to make sure aspiring doctors get that message. KPBS Health Reporter Kenny Goldberg tells us about one medical student that’s seen the light.

A push to train more primary-care doctors, Los Angeles Times

The U.S. is failing to produce enough family doctors to meet current and future needs. To address the shortage, new medical schools are opening with an emphasis on primary care and others are changing their curricula to boost the number of graduates interested in the field. The key to getting more graduates to pursue community medicine is recruiting the right students, said G. Richard Olds, dean of UC Riverside Medical School, which is waiting for accreditation and expects to focus in part on primary care. The article also mentions that Christina Thabit is among the first students in a new medical school program run by UC Davis and UC Merced that aims to increase the number of doctors in the San Joaquin Valley.

UC Davis volunteers give tiny Knights Landing its first health clinic since 2008, The Sacramento Bee

Medical students and undergraduates in white coats and blue scrubs swarmed around patients at the new Knights Landing health clinic Sunday, sometimes as many as three to one. The attention was a welcome flood after the medical drought that the tiny farming community has suffered since its only clinic closed more than three years ago. Sunday was the official opening of the free clinic, the product of several years’ planning by students and faculty at UC Davis School of Medicine and residents of Knights Landing. Housed in the office of the nonprofit Yolo Family Resource Center and staffed entirely by volunteers, the clinic gives free medical care. The new site is a satellite of Sacramento’s Clinica Tepati, one of seven free health clinics where UC Davis medical students train under supervising physicians. It is the first site run entirely by students in Rural-PRIME.

The patient of the future, MIT Technology Review

Back in 2000, when Larry Smarr left his job as head of a celebrated supercomputer center in Illinois to start a new institute at the University of California, San Diego, and the University of California, Irvine, he rarely paid attention to his bathroom scale. He regularly drank Coke, added sugar to his coffee, and enjoyed Big Mac Combo Meals with his kids at McDonald’s. Exercise consisted of an occasional hike or a ride on a stationary bike. “In Illinois they said, ‘We know what’s going to happen when you go out to California. You’re going to start eating organic food and get a blonde trainer and get a hot tub,’ ” recalls Smarr, who laughed off the predictions. “Of course, I did all three.”Smarr, who directs the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology in La Jolla, dropped from 205 to 184 pounds and is now a fit 63-year-old. But his transformation transcends his regular exercise program and carefully managed diet: he has become a poster man for the medical strategy of the future.

Father, son develop drug to fight brain diseases, San Francisco Chronicle

Joseph and Paul Muchowski are working at the Gladstone Institutes, an independent research group affiliated with UCSF. Paul Muchowski, 40, is a full-time investigator at Gladstone. His father, now retired from the Swiss drug maker Roche, splits his time between a lab at Gladstone and his current home just east of Vancouver in British Columbia.

60 lives, 30 kidneys, all linked, The New York Times

The world’s longest chain of organ donations has been completed in the U.S., with 30 patients receiving a kidney from 30 living donors. The chain included UCLA.

See additional coverage: BBC News

Nobel laureate Renato Dulbecco dies, San Diego Union-Tribune

Salk Institute virologist Renato Dulbecco, the Italian immigrant who earned a Nobel Prize for helping explain how viruses can cause cancer and who helped create the Human Genome Project, died on Sunday at his home in La Jolla. He was 97, and would have turned 98 on Wednesday. “Renato Dulbecco moved to La Jolla when Jonas Salk enticed the M.D. and scientist to help launch the Salk Institute. UC San Diego was in its infancy then, but in 1977 the Nobel laureate began serving on the UC San Diego School of Medicine faculty,” UC San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox said. “Renato will be missed – he was one of our region’s brilliant minds, laying groundwork in the sciences and technology fields.”

California health insurers to raise average rates 8% to 14%, Los Angeles Times

The proposed premium hikes for hundreds of thousands of California consumers with individual coverage would outpace the cost of overall medical care, which has risen just 3.6 percent in the last year. The article quotes Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Brain Series 2: Generalized defects in cognition: Alzheimer’s disease (video), Charlie Rose Show

Bruce Miller, director of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, participated in a roundtable discussion on Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia on the Charlie Rose Show. The episode, the fourth in Rose’s Brain Series 2, included Nobel laureate Eric Kandel of Columbia University, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, formerly of UCSF and now of Rockefeller University, and Alison Goate and David Holtzman of Washington University in St. Louis.

Q&A: Why your doctor may be wearing a mask, The Sacramento Bee

Don’t be surprised if, the next time you see your doctor, her medical advice to you sounds a little muffled. The health officers of Sacramento and Yolo counties last summer issued a new rule that health care workers who don’t receive a flu vaccine must wear a protective mask at work, all flu season long. All four major health care systems in the region – Sutter, Kaiser Permanente, Mercy and the UC Davis Medical Center – are enforcing the rule. Nationwide, 64 percent of health care workers got the shot last flu season. The rates are much higher at hospitals, such as UC Davis, that require vaccination for their employees (except individuals who opt out for medical reasons). Dr. Christian Sandrock, health officer of Yolo County and associate professor of medicine at UC Davis, explains the change.

Chinese firm, UC Davis sign genomics lab deal, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis signed a “master agreement” Friday with a Chinese firm to establish a major genomics lab on the university’s Sacramento medical campus. The agreement further cements the relationship between the university and BGI, a world-renowned genomics firm from Shenzhen, China. The two organizations signed interim agreements last summer in China and October in Sacramento.

Colic may be migraine precursor, UCSF team says, San Francisco Chronicle

Colic, it turns out, may be closely connected to migraines, say researchers at UCSF. A study released this week found that moms who suffer migraines are 2 1/2 times more likely to have colicky infants than those who don’t.

S.F. elementary schools falling short on exercise, San Francisco Chronicle

Many of San Francisco’s public elementary schools aren’t scheduling as much time as they should for student exercise, according to a new UCSF study to be announced today.

Skin cancer drug hopes raised by study, BBC News

This article reports on a UCLA study finding that a newly approved drug for metastatic melanoma nearly doubles the median survival time for patients with a common genetic mutation. UCLA Dr. Antoni Ribas, professor of hematology–oncology and a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher, was co-principal investigator.

Brain ‘hyperconnectivity’ linked to depression, USA Today

People with depression appear to have hyperactive brain activity, says a UCLA study published online Tuesday that offers new insights into the brain dysfunction that causes depression.

UCD researchers close to developing vaccine for salmonella (video), CBS 5

Researchers at UC Davis are getting close to a vaccine to prevent a food borne illness that can sometimes kill.  Scientists at the UC Davis Center for Comparative Medicine are developing a vaccine against salmonella, the increasingly antibiotic-resistant bacteria that kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide each year.

Tammerlin Drummond: UC Berkeley institute studies science of gratitude, The Oakland Tribune

The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley has just launched an intriguing $5.9 million project to advance the scientific study of gratitude. In the first phase, the institute is awarding $3 million in grants for research into the science and practice of gratitude. It’s a collaboration with UC Davis and funded in part by the John Templeton Foundation. Fellows will be selected in July.

Editorial: The dynamo who leads UC Merced, Merced Sun-Star

This editorial, which praises UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland, references the UC Merced San Joaquin Valley PRIME medical education program.

Op-ed: A contraception game-changer, Los Angeles Times

Malcolm Potts, an obstetrician and reproductive scientist and a professor at UC Berkeley, writes that in the battle over contraception, it’s time for the Roman Catholic Church to acknowledge the pill’s benefits. He calls for the U.S. to allow over-the-counter sales of the pill.



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