CATEGORY: In the media, News

In the media: Week of April 1

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Riverside County looks to get medical school running by 2013, The Palm Springs Desert Sun

An extra $10 million in funding from Riverside County supervisors could help the University of California, Riverside’s proposed medical school gain the accreditation it needs to start classes for its first 50 students in fall 2013.The Board of Supervisors is set to vote Tuesday on the increased funding, which along with a previous commitment of $10 million would give the school $1.5 million a year in county funds for the next nine years.

Inside UCSF’s Mission Bay hospital, San Francisco Business Times

UC San Francisco Medical Center is making rapid progress on its new 289-bed, $1.52 billion women’s, children’s and cancer specialty hospital at Mission Bay, which will include the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

Is sugar toxic? (video), CBS 60 Minutes

If you are what you eat, then what does it mean that the average American consumes 130 pounds of sugar a year? Sanjay Gupta reports on new research showing that beyond weight gain, sugar can take a serious toll on your health, worsening conditions ranging from heart disease to cancer. Some physicians go so far as to call sugar a toxin. Those interviewed include UCSF’s Robert Lustig and UC Davis’ Kimber Stanhope.

Health Care 911 (video), San Diego Union-Tribune

This five-part series examines the problem of frequent users of emergency services. The frequent 911 users in this series are the most chronic users of the emergency room and can defy institutional, government-based, solutions. They will remain a challenge no matter what becomes of the health reform law currently under U.S. Supreme Court review. UC San Diego is highlighted in this series.

DIEP flap surgical alternative to breast implants, San Francisco Chronicle

When Lori MacKenzie was diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2010, her immediate impulse was to schedule a double mastectomy with implants because that offered her the quickest resolution. But after doing some research, she realized she had other options. She needed a mastectomy because of the type and location of her cancer. That was done at UCSF last year. But for her reconstruction, the mother of three from Napa chose a relatively new type of breast surgery. The highly specialized technique uses fat tissue and tiny blood vessels taken from the patient’s abdomen to form a new breast, while preserving the abdominal muscle. MacKenzie waited a year until UCSF could bring in a microsurgeon to perform the surgery – called a free DIEP flap, for deep inferior epigastric perforator flap. The surgeon, Dr. Hani Sbitany, was recruited from the University of Pennsylvania in August to head up UCSF’s Breast Cancer Center’s reconstruction program.

Infectious disease: Blowing in the wind, Nature

A feature on Kawasaki disease and how it may be impacted by climate highlights UC San Diego research.

Son’s leukemia sends mom on search for donor, San Francisco Chronicle

It started with a nosebleed that lasted too long. After three hours, Heather Banaszek decided to take her 11-year-old son, C.J., to the emergency room at Petaluma Valley Hospital. C.J., who loves basketball, soccer and baseball, had been pale and dragging for several days. In the early hours of Feb. 21, the fifth-grader was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. The Banaszeks, who spent two weeks after diagnosis in the hospital at UCSF, are back home and focused on finding a bone marrow match for their son. A bone marrow transplant is the only thing that will cure C.J., Heather Banaszek said. At the same time, they are on a mission to raise awareness about the importance of and relative ease of donating bone marrow.

UCSF chancellor honored by Commonwealth Club (video), ABC 7

A woman who helped revolutionize cancer treatment is being honored this month for her new role: leading the massive UCSF medical school and research centers. Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann is one of four people chosen by San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club as leaders who are moving the Bay Area forward.

‘Solar Suitcase’ sheds light on darkened delivery rooms (video), PBS NewsHour

After witnessing the consequences of power outages in Nigeria’s health facilities, obstetrician Dr. Laura Stachel came up with a solution: a suitcase containing elements to produce and store solar energy. Spencer Michels reports on the life-saving device that aims to reduce maternal mortality rates in the developing world. Stachel is associate director of West African Emergency Obstetric Research for UC Berkeley’s Bixby Center. She has an M.D. from UC San Francisco and an M.P.H. from UC Berkeley.

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center makes changes after series of failed inspections, patient death, The Torrance Daily Breeze/CHCF Center for Health Reporting

This article investigates patient care issues at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Harbor-UCLA is a cornerstone of emergency care in the South Bay and Long Beach area and the only Level I trauma center south of the Santa Monica Freeway. It is also a key safety-net hospital for low-income and uninsured residents and a major teaching facility for the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Read a follow-up article: Official defends County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center after incidents.

UC-owned Fair Oaks property plan calls for development, broad tree removal, The Sacramento Bee

The University of California is planning on removing 400 trees and a historic ranch in order to build a housing development in Fair Oaks. Allan Meacham, university assistant director of real estate services, says the 7-acre property on Fair Oaks Boulevard was donated to the university with the intention of funding scholarships at UC Davis School of Medicine.

Aetna mistakenly tells 8,000 customers their doctors were dropped from coverage, The Sacramento Bee

Thousands of Aetna customers across the state, including many in the Sacramento region, were mistakenly sent letters this week telling them that their health care provider is no longer covered in the network and that they need to find new doctors. More than 8,000 Aetna customers were sent the form letters from the Hartford, Conn.-based health insurance company and have been receiving them in the mail over the past few days. Since then, patients have been calling their doctors and the insurance company to find out if they are still covered. “Patients were concerned about not being able to see their UC Davis physician. Patients with appointments in the near future were especially worried,” said Karen Finney, UC Davis health system spokesperson. “We told them they should continue to see their physicians as planned.”

Counterfeit drugs show need for tracking, San Francisco Chronicle

The discovery of a second batch of a phony cancer drug in the United States this week has frustrated regulators in California, where the nation’s most stringent law to track and trace pharmaceuticals was passed in 2004 but has yet to be implemented. At UCSF, pharmacists use sophisticated scanning methods to help ensure that the product is legitimate. Bret Brodowy, UCSF’s director of pharmacy, is quoted.

Humans a major source of indoor bacteria, UC researchers find, California Watch

You are a big bag of germs. And just by walking into a room, you add 37 million bacteria to the air for every hour you remain there. At least, that’s what researchers at UC Berkeley and Yale University have discovered about the presence of a person in a room.

The 2012 Time 100 Poll: Karen Pierce, Time

Karen Pierce, assistant director of the UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence, has been nominated by Time magazine writers and editors to be included in the 2012 Time 100 List for her work to help identify children at risk of autism at an early age. Cast your vote for Pierce, assistant professor in the UC San Diego department of neurosciences, to be included among the leaders, artists, innovators, icons and heroes that you think are the most influential people in the world. Official voting ends Friday. The poll winner will be included in the Time 100 issue and revealed on April 17.

Researchers hunt for causes of autism, USA Today

Recently, scientists have discovered a number of risk factors for autism. These include genes, as evidenced in a study by David Amaral, research director at the UC Davis MIND Institute who found that 15 percent to 20 percent of autistic children have a genetic mutation. And if parents have one child with autism, the risk of having a second child is nearly 20 percent, according to Sally Ozonoff, vice chair for research at the UC Davis MIND Institute.

See additional coverage: San Diego Union-Tribune

Scientists identify genetic changes that may increase risk of PTSD, Time

This story highlights research by Dr. Armen Goenjian, a UCLA research professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute, and Julia Bailey, adjunct assistant professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, linking two genes involved in serotonin production to a higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.

Robot bladder cancer surgery, fewer deaths, UPI

Robotic surgery resulted in fewer deaths and in-patient complications than open surgery for bladder cancer, but it was costlier, U.S. researchers say. Dr. Jim Hu of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA said previous research involving robotic-assisted surgery has come from single medical centers and did not include direct comparisons with traditional surgery.

Partnering with disease: 9 doctors studying an illness close to home, The Atlantic

UCLA Dr. Stanley Nelson, vice chair of human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine and a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute, and his wife, Carrie Miceli, a UCLA professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, are featured in this story profiling scientists who study diseases that affect them personally. Nelson and Miceli aim to unravel a genetic disorder that affects their young son.

Public invited to hear health care panel, San Diego Union-Tribune

The UC San Diego alumni organization has scheduled a forum on the future of health care in this country. The event, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Healthiness,” is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday in the newly opened Telemedicine Building at the university’s School of Medicine. It is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required.

Outbreak, the game, ScienceNow

You’re sitting at lunch when your friend hands you a note with some bad news: You’ve been infected with Muizenberg Mathematical Fever (MMF). Are you going to get sick? Will you die? To find out, you visit a website that reveals the severity of your infection and how many people you’ll infect. As the outbreak spreads among your colleagues, some report to the health clinic. Others go untreated. Fortunately for you, this is all a simulation. It’s part of a new game designed to teach students the complexity of data generated by outbreaks. MMF is the brainchild of Steve Bellan, an ecologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in the epidemiology of wildlife diseases like anthrax, and Juliet Pulliam of the University of Florida, Gainesville.

Op-ed: Supreme Court needn’t fear healthcare law’s individual mandate provision, Los Angeles Times

Vikram Amar, professor and associate dean at the UC Davis School of Law, and Alan Brownstein, constitutional law professor at UC Davis, wrote this op-ed discussing the Affordable Care Act that was debated in the Supreme Court last week.

Op-ed: NFL penalty for bounties didn’t go far enough, San Francisco Chronicle

The long suspensions handed down by the National Football League to the coaches who orchestrated the New Orleans Saints’ injury bounty program may cause some to wonder whether the NFL went too far. I wonder if the NFL went far enough, writes Geoffrey T. Manley, M.D., Ph.D., is the chief of neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital and professor and vice chairman of neurosurgery at UCSF.

Commentary: Stay the course toward better health care quality, NAPH Safety Net Matters

The politics, business and delivery of health care underwent a permanent, seismic shift in 2010. Whether or not you are a supporter of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is little debate that it was a game changer, writes Aaron Byzak, UC San Diego Health System’s director of government and community affairs, in a blog post.

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