CATEGORY: In the media, News

In the media: Week of March 4

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Innovator tracks everything his body does (video), San Diego Union-Tribune

Larry Smarr stops a visitor and says, “Before you go, let me show you my stool sample.” The UC San Diego physicist-futurist reaches into his kitchen refrigerator, past the milk, and pulls out a small white box. He marvels over its contents. Feeling squeamish? Smarr can have that effect on people. Virtually nothing is out-of-bounds these days when he promotes the “Quantified Self,” an emerging movement in which people use biosensors and other gadgets to closely monitor their bodies in the name of wellness. At 63, Smarr thinks he’s found the future of personal health care. Time will tell. But colleagues note that he’s one of the most original thinkers in the country, with an almost eerie gift for sensing and shaping where society and technology are going.

Editorial: Med-school Rx?, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

UC Riverside’s plans for a new medical school need to rest on a more reliable foundation than the uncertain promise of state funding. The university should look at other options to fund this crucial project, instead of counting on a recurring state contribution. Waiting for money from a cash-strapped state risks indefinite postponement of the new school.

California mandates 48 specific areas of coverage, California Healthline

An analysis released yesterday by the California Health Benefits Review Program shows that a large cross-section of Californians  – about 32 million people –  will be covered by health care mandates passed by the Legislature. There are now 48 of those mandates that either require coverage or require an offer of coverage, and another five mandates that deal with more general terms and conditions of coverage. That is not the final word on the number of mandates. CHBRP was asked to evaluate three more legislative bills recently that deal with mandated coverage of tobacco cessation, prescription drugs and children’s immunizations. In addition, some of the 16 bills the agency analyzed last year are up for approval this year. They include mandates ranging from mental health coverage to oral chemotherapy treatment.

Hospitalists on the move, The Hospitalist

This item notes that Wendy Anderson, assistant professor of medicine and clinician-investigator with the UCSF Division of Hospital Medicine and Palliative Care Program, has been selected for a fellowship to improve health quality by the UC Center for Health Quality and Innovation. The center awarded 13 fellowships.

Sen. Sharon Runner goes home early after lung transplant, Los Angeles Times

State Sen. Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster) left Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Tuesday, 10 days after receiving a double lung transplant. Runner was diagnosed in 2008 with limited scleroderma, an autoimmune condition that damages healthy tissue, and several lung infections had kept her from attending legislative sessions since January while she waited for a transplant. Her physicians said Runner should be able to return to work in the Legislature in late spring.

To stay fiscally healthy, state’s hospitals want fewer patients, Los Angeles Times

Health care reforms will mandate more treatment in doctors’ offices and clinics. The changes take effect in 2014, but some California institutions are trying to get an early start. The article quotes Richard Scheffler, a UC Berkeley health economics professor.

Study linking abortion and mental health problems is called false, The New York Times

The Journal of Psychiatric Research, which in 2009 published a research article purporting to show a a link between abortions and long-term mental health problems, this month offered a critique of the research, saying that the authors’ analysis “does not support their assertions that abortions led to psychopathology.” In adetailed re-analysis of the (publicly available) data used in the study, Julia Steinberg of the University of California at San Francisco and Lawrence Finer of the Guttmacher Institute found what they called, in a letter to the journal’s editors, “untrue statements about the nature of the dependent variables and associated false claims about the nature of the findings.”

Study: Plateau seen in state childhood obesity rate, San Jose Mercury News

The first comprehensive assessment of a statewide campaign found that between 2003 and 2008, the rate of obesity among children in grades five, seven and nine grew by 0.33 percent. UC Davis researchers reviewed the results of Fitnessgrams and found that despite the weight gain, more students achieved perfect fitness scores.

UC Davis professor on panel to assess physician pay, Sacramento Business Journal

A UC Davis professor of internal medicine has been named to a newly formed independent commission that will assess how physicians are paid, university officials announced Tuesday.

Hydrogels heal themselves — and maybe your ulcers and stomach perforations, Scientific American/The Huffington Post

They’re called hydogels: Jell-O-like materials made of networks of long-chain molecules in water. And they’re as flexible as living tissue. But hydrogels could not recover from a cut—until now. Bioengineers at UC San Diego have made hydrogels that are self-healing in acidic conditions.


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