CATEGORY: In the media

In the media: Week of Feb. 22

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Geisinger Health System names UCLA Health president as its chief, New York Times

Geisinger Health System, which is viewed as a national model in providing both high-quality and cost-effective medical care, announced on Monday that it had chosen Dr. David T. Feinberg, the president of the UCLA Health System, as its next chief executive.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, Modern Healthcare, CBS Los Angeles, NBC Southern California, KPCC

UC Davis student hospitalized after being infected with a form of meningitis, The Sacramento Bee

A UC Davis student has been diagnosed with meningococcal disease, a contagious bacterial infection, university officials announced Feb. 23. The student has been hospitalized and is doing well, said Constance Caldwell, health officer for Yolo County. University health officials and Yolo County public health officers are working to identify people who had close contact with the student and are recommending they take preventive antibiotics, a university news release states. Meningococcal disease – a type of meningitis – is most common in teens and young adults, Caldwell said. The disease is spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions such as spit, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is not spread through casual contact. University officials are recommending antibiotic prophylaxis to people who lived in close quarters, had prolonged close contact with or kissed the student.

See additional coverage: Reuters, ABC 10 (video), CBS Sacramento, Fox 40 (video), KCRA 3

UCLA superbug: Lawmaker asks Congress to investigate FDA response, Los Angeles Times

Prompted by the UCLA superbug outbreak, a federal lawmaker is calling on Congress to investigate what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and device makers are doing to prevent further patient deaths and infections. In a letter sent Feb. 23 to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) said outbreaks related to contaminated medical scopes “have national security ramifications.” Last week, UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center became the latest in a string of U.S. hospitals suffering outbreaks involving CRE and other deadly bacteria.

See additional coverage: California Healthline, Modern Healthcare, Associated Press

Patient, 18, sues medical-scope maker tied to UCLA superbug outbreak, Los Angeles Times

In the first lawsuit stemming from the superbug outbreak at UCLA, an 18-year-old patient accused a major health care device maker of negligence for selling a medical scope prone to spreading deadly bacteria. Aaron Young, a high-school student still hospitalized at UCLA for his infection, sued Olympus Corp. of the Americas in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleging negligence and fraud. Young and his San Fernando Valley family declined to comment on the suit filed late Monday, said attorney Pete Kaufman. UCLA and the University of California regents may be added as defendants after more investigation into the matter, Kaufman said. More patient lawsuits are also expected. The patient’s complaint offers some support for UCLA, saying it complied with the cleaning protocols provided by the manufacturer. L.A. County public health officials made a similar determination and said they observed no breaches in UCLA’s cleaning procedures during their investigation of the outbreak.

UCLA outbreak: Family of 48-year-old who died sues scope maker, Los Angeles Times

Following a superbug outbreak at UCLA, the family of a 48-year-old patient who died there has sued a medical device maker for wrongful death. The family of Antonia Torres Cerda sued Olympus Corp. of the Americas on Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

See additional coverage: NBC Los Angeles

Editorial: When medical devices spread superbugs, The New York Times

Germs that are resistant to antibiotics are cropping up with alarming frequency at American hospitals. A lethal “superbug” known as CRE infected seven patients at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and killed two of them. The germs were apparently transmitted on inadequately sterilized medical scopes. The episode brought an immediate reminder and warning from the Food and Drug Administration that the complex design of the instruments, known as duodenoscopes, makes them hard to clean after they are used. It is imperative that government agencies, medical institutions and the manufacturer take more aggressive steps to ensure sterilization and protect patients.

Dr. Deborah Cohan prescribes dancing as a healing remedy, San Francisco Chronicle

Deborah Cohan reached peak Internet fame a few days after her double mastectomy. In the minutes leading up to her surgery, Cohan led her team of doctors and nurses in a Beyoncé dance party that was captured on video. Suited up for surgery, her wild, curly hair tucked under a cap and medical bracelets on her wrists, Cohan shimmied all around the operating room, shaking her hips and letting her hospital gown slip down past her bare shoulders. The video went viral shortly after the surgery in November 2013, and it’s since been viewed more than 8 million times on YouTube. It’s inspired dozens of similar festive dances. She’s the “dancing doc” on the Internet. But in San Francisco and the global public health community, Cohan, a UCSF obstetrician, has reached a different kind of fame. She’s widely respected for her work in HIV care — specifically, in treating pregnant women with HIV and pioneering efforts to help HIV-affected couples have healthy families.

When memory misses a beat, music can offer dementia patients new meaning (audio, video), PBS NewsHour

Special correspondent Judy Muller has been exploring how music can provide help for people suffering from several forms of dementia. UCLA neurobiologist Marco Iacoboni is interviewed, as is Sam Mayo, a retired UCLA history professor whose dementia has robbed him of the ability to speak clearly. Mayo plays harmonica in a band called The Fifth Dementia, a humorous reference to the fact that they all suffer, to varying degrees, from dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

Best friends forever: Separated in China, 2 girls reunite in U.S., San Francisco Chronicle

Mae and Mai spent the first years of their lives in the same orphanage in southern China, before they were adopted by families on opposite coasts of the United States. They were inseparable in China. As close as sisters. They ate together and played together, and even after they were moved to separate foster families in the same town, they went to school together and often shared meals at one girl’s home. Adoption may have saved their lives, but they both lost someone they loved. This week, four years after the best friends were split up, the girls reunited in Oakland, where they’re receiving treatment for the same genetic blood disease at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.

What it’s like to see 100 million colors, New York Magazine

Tetrachromats can see colors that most people cannot — up to 100 million, estimates suggest, which is 100 times that of the average human. Concetta Antico, a tetrachromat artist and oil-painting teacher from San Diego, recently spoke with Science of Us about her hyper-charged color perception. She is now being studied at UC Irvine by Dr. Kimberley Jameson and her colleagues.

CIRM’s Klein proposes $100B biomed program, U-T San Diego

Bob Klein, the main backer of California’s 2004 stem cell initiative has proposed a $100 billion international bond program in life sciences, to speed up research and clinical testing of disease therapies. The program would be focused on stem cells and genomics. The United States and a few other countries would jump-start the program, and other countries would join, said Klein, a real estate investor, at last Thursday’s UCSD Moores Cancer Center symposium. The UCSD Moores Cancer Center symposium at which Klein and Peters spoke mainly discussed scientific advances and challenges in cancer treatment, but included the political discussion, and an appearance by a cancer patient rescued by an experimental drug, to present different perspectives on issues in biomedical research.

Report: California uninsured rate fell by as much as 40% under ACA, Payers & Providers/California Healthline

California’s uninsured rate fell by as much as 40% in 2014, in large part because of expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act, according to a fact sheet by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments (0)

In the media: Week of Feb. 15

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Low-profile retail titan’s gift to UCSF: $100 million, San Francisco Chronicle

A $100 million gift to UCSF has made an ex-billionaire who is determined to give away all his money the largest single donor not only to the academic medical center, but to the entire UC system. The donation, announced late Wednesday, brings to $394 million the total given to UCSF by Charles F. “Chuck” Feeney, a philanthropist who made his fortune by co-founding a company that runs duty-free shops across the world. The money will be used to support the medical students, faculty and new hospitals that opened Feb. 1 at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus. The money will also be directed to research programs focused on the neurosciences and aging.

Fighting patient, fighting doctor, U-T San Diego

The struggle against cancer involves advanced medical research and bold risks. But most of all, it concerns sick people seeking relief, otherwise known as patients. Hundreds of top doctors and scientists heard from one of those patients, Theresa Blanda, at an annual meeting at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center on Thursday. Her message to the doctors: Patients who won’t give up want doctors who also won’t give up. Backed morally and medically by her inpatient medical team and her hematologist, Catriona Jamieson of UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, Blanda struggled to stay alive until another experimental drug became available.

Superbug linked to 2 deaths at UCLA hospital; 179 potentially exposed, Los Angeles Times

Nearly 180 patients at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center may have been exposed to potentially deadly bacteria from contaminated medical scopes, and two deaths have already been linked to the outbreak. The Times has learned that the two people who died are among seven patients that UCLA found were infected by the drug-resistant superbug known as CRE — a number that may grow as more patients get tested. The outbreak is the latest in a string of similar incidents across the country that has top health officials scrambling for a solution. UCLA said it discovered the outbreak late last month while running tests on a patient. This week, it began to notify 179 other patients who were treated from October to January and offer them medical tests.

See additional coverage: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Kaiser Health News, Reuters, NPR, CNN, Associated Press

Who are best-paid public employees? UCLA, Cal coaches are tops, but UCI surgeons also make the list, Orange County Register

The best-paid public workers in the state of California are the athletic coaches at UCLA and UC Berkeley, with compensation often eclipsing $2 million a year, according to data from the state controller’s office. Orange County folks didn’t weigh in at the tippy-top of the list, but four placed in the Top 30, including former Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Hunt ($1.25 million following a lawsuit) and three surgeons at UC Irvine, who made more than $1 million each.

Number of Latino doctors isn’t keeping pace with population, study says, Los Angeles Times

The supply of Latino physicians in California and other states has not kept pace with the increasing growth of the Latino population in the U.S., according to a UCLA study published in the journal Academic Medicine.

Chris Dufresne: For Erik Compton, there’s more than golf at the heart of the matter, Los Angeles Times

This column cites UCLA regarding two-time heart transplant patient and professional golfer Erik Compton’s efforts to raise awareness about organ donation.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Feb. 8

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC to mandate vaccines for incoming students by 2017, San Francisco Business Times

The University of California, citing a widespread measles outbreak that originated in Disneyland and the re-emergence of other vaccine-preventable diseases, said it will require incoming students to be vaccinated against a host of diseases under a plan set to take effect in 2017. Currently, the Oakland-based university system only requires students to be vaccinated against hepatitis B, although some individual campuses have additional requirements. Under the new rules, students will be screened for tuberculosis and vaccinated for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, meningococcus, tetanus and whooping cough, the university said. Read UC coverage.

See additional coverage: California Healthline

Roll up your sleeves, Inside Higher Ed

The outbreak of measles in the United States is leading some institutions to change rules or practices. The University of California System, which has been studying the issue since before the current outbreak, announced Friday that it will require incoming students to be screened for tuberculosis and vaccinated for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, meningococcus, tetanus and whooping cough.

Measles outbreak highlights the importance of adult immunization, Los Angeles Times

Measles was once considered a childhood illness, spreading rapidly across schools, playgrounds and parks. But the national measles outbreak that began two months ago at Disneyland has showed another side of the highly infectious disease — that it is a danger to people of all ages. Some institutions already are taking action. The University of California announced last week that it will for the first time require proof of four immunizations, including for measles, in addition to an existing Hepatitis B vaccine requirement. The article quotes Dr. James Cherry, a UCLA professor and primary editor of the Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Gina Fleming, medical director of the UC Student Health Insurance Plan.

Vaccine avoiders put Californians at risk, San Francisco Chronicle

In a state with some of the most lenient childhood immunization laws in the country, thousands of California children enter kindergarten every year with incomplete vaccination records, and it’s easy for parents to opt out of vaccinating their kids. California’s immunization rates are lower than the national average for almost all vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles, which is still spreading widely in the largest outbreak in the state in more than a decade. Dr. Art Reingold, head of epidemiology at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, and Dr. George Rutherford, director of UCSF’s Institute for Global Health, are quoted.

California officials warn against ‘measles parties’, The Washington Post

In a warning issued Feb. 9, the California Department of Health seemed to state the obvious: “CDPH strongly recommends against the intentional exposure of children to measles,” the agency said. “It unnecessarily places the exposed children at potentially grave risk and could contribute to further spread.” Epidemiologist Art Reingold of UC Berkeley is quoted.

Whooping cough vaccine failing for many patients, Sacramento Bee

As debate simmers nationwide about whether parents should be forced to vaccinate their children, Elk Grove residents have made their choice: Only 80 of the suburb’s 4,500 kindergartners opted out of vaccinations last year, state data show. Despite those precautions, whooping cough ripped through Elk Grove’s classrooms and cul-de-sacs in 2014. Infection rates within the large Sacramento suburb were three to five times higher than rates elsewhere in the county, local health records show. The paradox – high infection rates amid high immunization rates – underscores a disturbing truth about the current whooping cough vaccine: It is wearing off after just a few years, and many Californians who thought they were protected instead are catching the disease. Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Mark Sawyer, a professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego, are quoted.

Vaccines are one of our best weapons against global warming, Mother Jones

Kirk Smith — an environmental health expert at UC, Berkeley, and a lead author of the IPCC chapter on health impacts — points out that “a child weakened by measles is more likely to die from the malnutrition caused by climate change.” In other words, anything we can do to reduce the impact of existing health problems will be even more important in a warming world. And vaccinating children, he says, is one of the most cost-effective public health tools we have.

Psychological biases play a part in vaccination decisions, NPR

With the recent outbreak of measles originating from Disneyland, there’s been no shortage of speculation, accusation and recrimination concerning why some people won’t vaccinate their children. There’s also been some — but only some — more historically and psychologically informed discussion, writes Tania Lombrozo, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley.

New UC medical center supports Obama’s precision medicine initiative, California Healthline

The new UC San Francisco Medical Center at Mission Bay sits on the site of what was once a wasteland of abandoned railroad tracks. It has evolved from a single bioscience office in 2003 — an overflow of scientists from UCSF’s Parnassus campus — to an 878,000-square foot complex housing three hospitals catering to women, cancer patients and children. The medical center moves the university one step closer to achieving its precision medicine mission by integrating research and patient care, and providing more efficiency, a UCSF spokesperson said. To Keith Yamamoto, vice chancellor of research at UCSF and executive vice dean of the UCSF Medical School, Mission Bay Medical Center represents an opportunity for UCSF to promote its core mission — precision medicine — an initiative supported by President Obama and first announced during his 2015 State of the Union address.

New medical technology could bolster chemotherapy (video), ABC 7

Chemotherapy helps save the lives of thousands of cancer patients each year. But now, researchers at the Lawrence Livermore Lab and UC Davis believe they’ve developed a technology that could make chemo treatments even more effective.

Finding ways to create cancer-killing swords, U-T San Diego

For cancer research and treatment, precision medicine has become practiced medicine. At the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, for example, the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy already performs advanced, clinical-grade molecular diagnostics on any patient with advanced cancer where the physician feels such information may be relevant to the patient’s care.Last year, UC San Diego and Human Longevity, a San Diego-based company cofounded by Craig Venter, who famously helped sequence the first human genome, began a collaborative effort to sequence the genome of every consenting Moores Cancer Center patient. A few weeks ago, scientists at UC San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Francisco, with multiple collaborators, launched the Cancer Cell Map Initiative, an ambitious plan to essentially draw up the complete wiring diagram of a cancer cell and then figure out how these cells work together to wreak havoc.

For complex brain surgeries, doctors turn to robotic ROSA, Orange County Register

UC Irvine Medical Center is the first hospital on the West Coast, and one of only a dozen nationwide, to use ROSA – a robotic device employed to perform neurological procedures including finding exactly where in the brain seizures originate and burning off deep brain tumors in a minimally invasive manner. Dr. Sumeet Vadera, a neurosurgeon at UCI, says this $650,000 device approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has revolutionized certain types of brain surgery. Vadera says he underwent training to perform surgery using the robotic device at the Cleveland Clinic. He talks about how the device works, what it is used for and the risks associated with it.

Road to Reform: How two states are addressing consumer concerns about narrow networks, California Healthline

During the first enrollment period, some consumers learned that despite promises to the contrary, they were not able to keep their health care plans if they liked them. President Obama took immediate action to rectify the issue, letting people stay in their preferred plans even if those policies did not meet the Affordable Care Act’s minimum coverage requirements. This year, consumers ran into a different, but related, problem: After selecting and enrolling in their preferred plans through the ACA’s exchanges, some people learned that they would not have access to the providers of their choice. So is 2015 the year to address narrow networks? If so, what exactly are policymakers and legislators doing about it, and how will this affect narrow networks going forward? This edition of “Road to Reform” takes a closer look. Gerald Kominski, director of UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research, is quoted.

Health care for the undocumented complicated by cost questions (audio), California Healthline

Experts discuss the possible pitfalls and promise of SB 4, a recently introduced legislative bill that would provide health coverage to the uninsured. The effort comes on the heels of two major shifts in low-income programs — the expansion of Medi-Cal to include millions more Californians, and the recent federal executive action that extends temporary work status and other benefits to millions of the undocumented immigrants in America, including the roughly 1.5 million undocumented in California. The report includes comments from Nadereh Pourat, director of research at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

DPH fines 10 California hospitals $700K for adverse events, California Healthline

On Feb. 11, the California Department of Public Health announced that it has fined 10 hospitals hundreds of thousands of dollars for medical errors.  Those fined included UC San Diego and UC San Francisco medical centers.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Daily News, CBS San Francisco, City News Service, U-T San Diego, NBC San Diego

Researchers find clues about human autism in foals (audio), Capital Public Radio

New research into a horse disorder that has puzzled horse owners and veterinarians for a century may offer clues to autism in humans. Veterinary researchers at UC Davis are teaming up with colleagues in human medicine to investigate the disorder known as neonatal maladjustment syndrome.

Tobacco smoke exposure in womb increases diabetes risk, UC Davis researchers find, CBS San Francisco

A new study from researchers at UC Davis and the Public Health Institute found women exposed to tobacco smoke from their parents in the womb have are at higher risk for diabetes.

Food for Thought: Ahhhh, sweet chocolate, a life saver, Santa Cruz Sentinel

“Our work supports the concept that the chronic consumption of cocoa may be associated with improved cardiovascular health.” Those are the words of UC Davis researcher Carl Keen. Who am I to doubt him?

Dr. Lois Barth Epstein of Tiburon, noted cancer researcher and artist, dies at 81, Marin Independent Journal

Dr. Lois Barth Epstein, former associate director of the Cancer Research Institute at the University of California at San Francisco, died Feb. 6 after a brief illness. She was 81. She retired in 1996 after 16 years as a professor of pediatrics at UCSF. Read UCSF coverage.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Feb. 1

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC widens vaccination requirements for 2017, Los Angeles Times

All UC students will have to be vaccinated against measles, meningitis, whooping cough and several other diseases or they will not be allowed to register for classes in fall 2017, university officials announced Friday. Those shots will be in addition to the current systemwide requirement for the hepatitis B vaccine. The announcement has been in the works for years and was not triggered by the measles scare that has rattled the state, according to Gina Fleming, a high-ranking UC health official. If anything, she said, it was pushed by the 2013 meningitis outbreak at UC Santa Barbara that sickened four students and led to the amputations of one student’s legs below the knees, she said. UC is giving 2 1/2 years’ notice to make sure everyone is adequately warned and has time to take the needed steps, said Fleming, medical director for UC Student Health Insurance Plan. Read UC coverage.

See additional coverage: Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News, Orange County Register, Riverside Press-Enterprise, Time, Associated Press, Bloomberg, CBS San Francisco, CBS San Diego (video), CBS Los Angeles, KABC 7 (video), NBC Bay Area, Mashable, Reuters, City News Service, KPCC

UCSF officially opens new Mission Bay medical center, KTVU

UCSF officially opened its new $1.52 billion medical center at Mission Bay on Sunday (Feb. 1). The facility on Sunday transferred about 120 combined patients from its main Parnassus campus, as well as its Mt. Zion facility. Ambulances took patients to the new Mission Bay location, which is along the San Francisco waterfront, near Pier 54. The 878,000 square foot facility actually consists of three hospitals, including a children’s hospital and cancer center.

Zuckerberg, wife give $75 million to S.F. hospital, San Francisco Chronicle

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, are donating $75 million to San Francisco General Hospital to help fund critical equipment and technology for the new public hospital, which is scheduled to open at the end of the year. Sue Currin, San Francisco General’s chief executive officer, said the gift has special meaning given that Chan, a pediatric resident at UCSF, has trained alongside doctors at the public safety-net hospital. Chan “knows the patient population and the mission of San Francisco General,” she said. While some tech titans have taken heat for not being as generous as critics would like, the health sector has been a beneficiary of benevolence from the Zuckerbergs and other philanthropists in the tech industry. Last fall, Zuckerberg, who has an estimated worth of $33.3 billion, gave $25 million to the Centers for Disease Foundation to help fight Ebola. Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff’s name was added to UCSF’s children’s hospitals after donating $200 million, and venture capitalist Ron Conway’s name was added to UCSF’s Gateway Medical Center after his $40 million contribution.

U.S. FDA approves Pfizer’s high profile breast cancer drug, Reuters

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday (Feb. 3) approved Pfizer Inc’s Ibrance, a potential new standard of care for advanced breast cancer, in a regulatory decision that came more than two months earlier than expected. UCLA which helped test the drug for Pfizer, in a statement, said Ibrance produced “groundbreaking results” in studies conducted at the university and has potential to become a mainstay treatment.

Many California child-care centers have low measles vaccination rates, Los Angeles Times

Dr. James Cherry, distinguished research professor of pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and attending physician of pediatric infectious diseases at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, is interviewed in this story about low measles vaccination rates at many California child-care centers.

UC Davis researchers get almost $4M in stem cell technology grants, Sacramento Business Journal

Two UC Davis researchers were awarded more than $1.8 million each in new grant funding to continue their work on tools that enable doctors to assess the effectiveness of stem cell therapies. The two local awards are part of almost $30 million in three-year “tools and technologies” grants awarded Thursday (Jan. 29) by the state stem cell agency, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. The awardees included 10 UC recipients from six campuses. Read UC coverage.

Vulnerable to measles, Inside Higher Ed

Students at three California campuses — Moorpark College, California State University at Channel Islands and California State University at Long Beach — are now believed to have contracted measles, joining more than 90 other people in the state who have contracted the largely eradicated disease. California students are within their legal rights to come to campus without having been vaccinated — the state is one of 22 that does not require college students to be vaccinated against measles. As a result, many California colleges, including the 10 campuses of the University of California System, do not require students to receive immunizations before enrolling. The University of California may soon move to change its policy. A proposed three-year plan would require incoming students in 2017 to receive vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, meningococcus; and tetanus. Currently, the system only requires students to be vaccinated against hepatitis B.

Trying to be less stupid: The hard work of brain science, National Geographic News

Michael Gazzaniga was still a graduate student when he helped make one of the most intriguing discoveries of modern neuroscience: that the two hemispheres of the brain not only have different functions, but also operate independently — the so-called split-brain phenomenon. A lover of fine wine and conversation, Gazzaniga, today a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is also that rarity: a scientist whose life and work cross over into the humanities. From his home in Santa Barbara, the author of “Tales From Both Sides of the Brain: A Life in Neuroscience” talks about where the next big breakthroughs in our understanding of the brain will come from, why a 14-day-old blastocyst isn’t a human being, and how he came to meet Groucho Marx.

Announcing the honorees of the 40 Under 40 class of 2015, San Francisco Business Times

The San Francisco Business Times’ 40 Under 40 list includes Jennifer Lai of UC San Francisco.

UC Davis Medical Center faces Medicare penalty for patient infections, injuries, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis Medical Center is the only hospital system in the Sacramento region to be penalized by Medicare for its rates of infection and other harm to patients. UC Davis Medical Center Chief Medical Officer J. Douglas Kirk said Medicare’s formula to tally human error is weighted heavily against urban academic medical centers. Comparing the urban teaching hospitals to smaller, rural hospitals is unfair, he said, because the larger medical-school centers see a sicker, poorer population of patients who often have not taken good care of their health. He noted that Leapfrog ranked the medical center as one of the 54 best urban hospitals in the United States.

UCLA study finds Latino physicians decreasing while Latino population surges, Examiner

Latinos are the fastest growing ethnicity in California as well as other parts of the nation; since 1980, their numbers having soared about 243%. However, according to a new study by UCLA’s Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture (CESLAC), the Latino physician workforce per 100,000 Latinos has decreased by 22%. The growing disparity is likely to impact the quality of healthcare among Latinos.

Pros and cons of sitting, standing, walking, perching at work (audio), KPCC

Jennifer Mempin, injury prevention program manager for UCLA Health System, is featured in this report on the pros and cons of sitting, standing, walking or perching at work.

Op-ed: What causes girls to enter puberty early?, The New York Times

UC Berkeley School of Public Health associate professor Julianna Deardorff and Louise Greenspan, a pediatric endocrinologist at Kaiser Permanente, discuss what is known about the causes of early puberty in girls. They also go over ways parents and society at large can help protect against early puberty.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Jan. 25

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

2 suspected Ebola patients in Sacramento-area test negative for virus, The Sacramento Bee

Two people being evaluated at Sacramento-area hospitals for the Ebola virus have both tested negative, public health officials said Friday (Jan. 30). The negative lab tests capped a week of health alerts that also included a possible outbreak of measles. One Ebola patient arrived Thursday at Mercy General Hospital in East Sacramento, but was quickly transferred to UC Davis Medical Center. At the time, Mercy officials said the patient had symptoms consistent with the deadly disease and had traveled to an Ebola-stricken country. A second Ebola patient arrived Wednesday evening at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, south Sacramento, though hospital officials didn’t publicize the case until Friday morning. That individual is being discharged, according to a Kaiser spokeswoman.

See additional coverage: San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle

Possible Ebola patient at UC Davis Medical Center, Los Angeles Times

A person has been checked into UC Davis Medical Center with symptoms consistent with Ebola, the hospital announced in a statement Thursday (Jan. 29) .The person was transferred to the hospital Thursday morning from Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento, said UC Davis Medical Center spokeswoman Dorsey Griffith. The hospital could determine if the patient has Ebola by the end of the day Thursday, she said. If the person is diagnosed with Ebola, UC Davis is well prepared, Griffith said.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, Sacramento Business Journal, KCRA 3 (video)

Grand UCSF hospital’s opening to change care in S.F., San Francisco Chronicle

After more than a decade in the works, a new $1.52 billion UCSF Medical Center will open Sunday, finalizing the university’s vision to provide more personalized patient care and create a closer relationship between its physicians at the hospital and its scientists conducting biomedical research on the Mission Bay site. By linking clinical care with the research, UCSF officials say, they hope to translate ideas into practice more quickly and turn discoveries into treatments and cures targeted specifically for a patient’s biology. “We are bringing together so much more knowledge around precision medicine, around new approaches to providing care,” said Mark Laret, UCSF Medical Center’s chief executive officer. “For us, this becomes the place where people will participate in those clinical trials and research and benefit from that creativity. It’s a big investment in the future of medicine.” The 878,000-square-foot center — a trio of hospitals that includes UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, the UCSF Bakar Cancer Center and the UCSF Betty Irene Moore Women’s Hospital — is also the next step in a changing landscape in health care in the Bay Area.

Robots and other tech on display at new UCSF hospital, San Francisco Chronicle

At the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, patients will chat with physicians through tablets and get their medications delivered by robots. From interactive wall installations to wireless communication devices for the staff, cutting-edge technology is front and center at the $1.5 billion medical facility that, after more than a decade of planning and construction, will open Feb. 1.

UCSF Medical Center more practical than personable, San Francisco Chronicle

The new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay shows that a big hospital can be added to a big city in a conscientious way, making a genuine effort to fit into its surroundings. It also shows the strains involved in such an effort.

Editorial: A cutting-edge hospital for a modern San Francisco, San Francisco Chronicle

The city’s newest medical institution is nearing liftoff. A $1.52 billion University of California at San Francisco campus complex will open for patients, researchers and medical students this weekend, a Super Bowl Sunday in the hospital world.

Op-ed: UCSF is committed to pediatric patients and their families in the Valley, The Fresno Bee

In the rapidly growing, diverse San Joaquin Valley, UCSF Fresno is rooted in the community and committed to the patients we serve, write Bruce Wintroub, Catherine Lucey and Michael Peterson of UCSF.

Motorcyclist nearly killed in crash thanks blood donors who helped save him (video), CBS Los Angeles

A story about an emotional meeting between a man who nearly died in a motorcycle accident and 40 of the almost 200 blood donors who helped save his life. The event was organized by the UCLA Blood & Platelet Center to increase public awareness of the importance of donating blood and platelets.

UC doctors stage one-day strike at student-health clinics, Los Angeles Times

About 125 doctors and dentists staged a one-day strike Jan. 27 at student health clinics at 10 UC campuses as part of a contract dispute between the union and the university system. UC officials said management doctors and others would provide replacement services throughout the day so that the walkout would The walkout by members of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists came after the union filed formal complaints of unfair labor practices against UC involving what its leaders said was UC’s refusal to provide financial information during bargaining. have a minimal effect on students. Some nonurgent appointments already had been shifted to other days. UC system spokeswoman Shelly Meron said university leaders “are disappointed” that the doctors decided to strike. “The best way to resolve these issues is at the bargaining table, not at the picket line,” she said.

See additional coverage: CBS Los Angeles, Orange County Register, Sacramento Business Journal, U-T San Diego

UC’s student health center doctors set for 1-day strike Tuesday, San Francisco Chronicle

Doctors at 10 University of California student health centers, including UCSF and UC Berkeley, will stage a one-day strike Tuesday to protest what they call unfair labor practices on the part of university administrators. The strike involves roughly 150 doctors who belong to the Union of American Physicians and Dentists — as well as student supporters and other sympathetic UC workers. Shelly Meron, a UC spokeswoman, said the union’s allegations against the university have not been proved and management believes its most recent contract proposal is a fair one.

Tentative UC plan on vaccinations draws mixed reaction from students, Daily Bruin

Incoming students may have to take four additional vaccines recommended by the state health department before registering at the University of California in fall 2017, according to a tentative university plan. The change would be part of a three-year proposal to educate students about immunizations and take preventive measures against infectious diseases on college campuses, said Dr. Gina Fleming, medical director for the UC self-insured health plans. The plan, which is in its early stages, comes in the wake of outbreaks of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis and meningitis, on college campuses in recent years.

Infectious disease expert explains why the measles spreads so quickly (audio), Capital Public Radio

The number of measles cases in California is rising. Seventy-nine people in the state are now known to be infected, 52 of them directly linked to Disney theme parks. Measles can be transmitted much like the common cold. But you can catch it by breathing the air where an infected person has been as long as two hours ago. “I would say it’s one of the most contagious diseases known to mankind,” says Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious disease at UC Davis.

Disney measles outbreak: Younger doctors need a measles crash course (audio), KPCC

As public health officials have been working to curb the measles outbreak that began last month at Disneyland, they have run into an unexpected challenge: Because measles was all but eliminated in the United States about 15 years ago, most younger physicians have never seen it. So now a generation of doctors is getting a crash course via a combination of methods, including informal workshops, emails, fliers and old college textbooks. On a recent morning, Dr. Greg Moran, interim chief of emergency medicine at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar, gave a quick seminar to a handful of residents, interns and other doctors during their daily huddle in the ER.

Marcos Breton: Autism research vaccinates us from infectious lies, The Sacramento Bee

At places like the MIND Institute at UC Davis, researchers are making progress on learning more about why an exploding number of children are being placed on the autism spectrum.

Scientists crack the code on how to un-boil a hard-boiled egg, ABC News

Scientists have cracked the code for un-boiling hard-boiled egg whites and it could have huge implications for cancer research. Egg whites are made of proteins that start out with a certain shape, explained Gregory Weiss, a professor of chemistry and molecular biology at UC Irvine, and the experiment’s lead researcher. “Once you boil them, the proteins stay intact but they change their conformation,” he said. This is a big deal because even chemists assumed once you hard-boiled an egg it was game over, Weiss explained. But his team has been able to reverse the process so that proteins can be recovered and reused.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, CBS Los Angeles (video), NBC News, Orange County Register, Washington Post, Time

What do health experts see in our near future?, Los Angeles Times

What’s in store for your health in the next five years? Doctors, authors, researchers and more weigh in, including UC San Francisco’s Robert Lustig and Marion Nestle, a visiting journalism professor at UC Berkeley.

Legislature may mull measure to train more doctors in the Valley, Central Valley Business Times

The California Legislature is being presented with a bipartisan proposal that would expand enrollment in UC Merced’s medical school partnership with UC Davis, known as the San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education. Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, has introduced the proposal, Assembly Bill 174, in cooperation with state Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres. The bill also would appropriate the necessary resources to fund a two-year planning effort to establish a medical school at UC Merced.

UCSD team forecasts flu faster, U-T San Diego

UC San Diego researchers say they can predict the spread of the flu a week in advance, with accuracy equal to Google Flu Trends’ real-time information. The researchers say they’ve boosted the power of Google Flu Trends, which is based on searches for flu information, with flu monitoring data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

UCLA report could serve as ‘baseline’ to measure ACA effects, California Healthline

A report by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research showing “where we were” with health insurance coverage before health care reform could help advocates and lawmakers evaluate the effects of the Affordable Care Act on California’s insurance market. The report — “The State of Health Insurance in California” — was funded by the California Endowment and the California Wellness Foundation and based on data from the 2011-2012 California Health Interview Survey. It outlines trends in employer-based health coverage, uninsured rates and other elements of the state’s insurance market.

With half of California’s kids on Medicaid, advocates worry about service, Kaiser Health News

California’s Medi-Cal program has grown to cover nearly half of the state’s children, causing policymakers and child advocates to question the ability of the taxpayer-funded program to adequately serve so many poor kids. In the past two years alone, the program has added nearly 1 million young people up to age 20, including those newly eligible for Medi-Cal coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The increase brings the total number of young people on Medi-Cal to 5.2 million, more than ever before. Evidence is emerging that the public insurance program is falling short in some key respects. According to an ongoing study led by Ninez Ponce at UCLA and funded by the California Healthcare Foundation, children on Medi-Cal were five times more likely than kids on private plans to have visited the emergency department for asthma care because they couldn’t see their own doctor.

Don’t get sidelined with heart issues this Super Bowl (video), Fox 40

The big game for many Americans means lots of excitement and lots of salty foods that can cause a spike in blood pressure, so much so that emergency rooms across the country expect to see an increase in visitors this Super Bowl Sunday. Cardiologist Dr. Kathleen Tong of UC Davis Health System discusses healthy ways to safely indulge and enjoy Super Bowl Sunday. February marks “American Heart Month.”

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In the media: Week of Jan. 18

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Director Alan Ashworth seeks to raise UCSF cancer center profile, San Francisco Chronicle

As Alan Ashworth settled in this month as the new director of the UCSF Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the British scientist’s top priorities was to set up some lab space in the Mission Bay campus where he could conduct research. It’s not like he’s anticipating having much spare time to spend there, given the demands of his new position. But he talks about working in the lab much like other people discuss their favorite pastimes. “Actually I find it terribly relaxing,” Ashworth said. “You put liquid you can barely see into a tube. You add a little DNA, you add an enzyme, you put it on a gel. … It’s all hands on.” The combination of his outgoing personality along with his international stature in cancer research helped land Ashworth his new job, said UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood.

Funding may increase for UC mental health services, The Daily Californian

A potential increase in student services fees could benefit the UC system’s mental health services, with additional funding enabling campuses to hire more counselors for their students.

Adults urged to get measles shot as outbreak spreads, Orange County Register

It’s a good idea to get a measles vaccine as an adult, even if you already received one as a child, medical experts and public health officials said. The vaccine is 99 percent effective, but that can wane over time. Even people who, as a child, received the two doses required by the state might consider getting another booster, said Dr. Shruti Gohil, associate medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention at UC Irvine. A blood test can determine whether someone who was vaccinated is still immune.

UC Irvine scientist develops cold shoulder vest as a chilly weight loss tool (video), ABC 7

Olympian Michael Phelps averaged eating 12,000 calories a day and never gained weight. But surprisingly it wasn’t just because of how much he exercised. “Michael Phelps would need to… do about 10 hours of continuous butterfly stroke to burn 12,000 calories a day,” said UC Irvine science professor Wayne Hayes. He says the answer lies in the chilly temperature of the pool. That, and the high amount of “good” brown fat, helped him become a calorie burning machine. Those two elements and 50 years of research motivated Hayes to design The Cold Shoulder. It’s an ice vest to help the rest of us lose weight by getting chilly.

Help sought with mystery goo killing birds in San Francisco Bay (audio), KQED

Rescue workers continue to comb East Bay shorelines for seabirds coated in a mysterious, gooey substance. State fish and wildlife officials are now testing the sticky, gray goop that’s been described by some as akin to rubber cement. About 100 have died from the substance and 300 are being treated. Mike Ziccardi, Oiled Wildlife Care Network director at UC Davis, is interviewed.

Molly the cow rescued three days after 30-foot plunge into Tuolumne mine (video), CBS Sacramento

Three days after falling 30 feet into a Tuolumne County mine, Molly the cow was rescued by UC Davis veterinarians.

Think Tank: How to pay for retiree health coverage, California Healthline

California Healthline asked politicians, academics and consumer advocates how California should pay for the rising costs of providing health coverage for retired state workers. Those responding include Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

How safe is your hospital? A look at California ratings, Los Angeles Times

UC medical centers have largely shined in the Leapfrog ratings — except for UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center. It has a C letter grade, up from an F in 2012. Seven other UC medical centers, including UCLA’s Santa Monica hospital, notched top grades.

15 state community colleges get OK to offer bachelor’s degrees, San Francisco Chronicle

Jubilant education officials chose 15 community colleges on Jan. 20 — including two in the Bay Area — to be California’s first to offer bachelor’s degrees in high-need fields as part of a pilot program meant to boost the economy and help students avoid costly for-profit programs. Sometime before fall 2017, colleges up and down the state will offer bachelor’s degrees for about $10,000 in such fields as automotive technology, bio-manufacturing, emergency services, airframe manufacturing and mortuary science — fields that are hiring but which need better-skilled workers, college officials said. Foothill College will offer dental hygiene, and Skyline College will offer respiratory care — and students are already excited about it. Brice Harris, the state’s community college chancellor, called it a “historic day in the history of our community college system,” as the system’s Board of Governors prepared to approve the 15 schools. Each will offer one bachelor’s program in areas of health, science and technology not already offered at CSU or UC.

See additional coverage: San Jose Mercury News

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In the media: Week of Jan. 11

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Ron Conway donates $40 million to new UCSF outpatient center, San Francisco Chronicle

Venture capitalist Ron Conway is donating $40 million to help pay for the new outpatient medical building at the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay. The donation was announced Saturday night at a gala in San Francisco to celebrate the imminent opening of the center. The 207,500-square-foot facility that anchors the $1.5 billion hospital complex will host outpatient services for women, children and cancer patients and be named the UCSF Ron Conway Family Gateway Medical Building. Scheduled to open Jan. 26, the outpatient center is expected to draw more than 1,500 visits daily, and serve as a teaching facility. The rest of the complex is slated to open Feb. 1.

Duke University hires new medical leader from UCLA, Charlotte Observer

Duke University Health System announced the hiring of a new president and chief executive, naming A. Eugene Washington, a gynecology professor who is currently vice chancellor for UCLA Health Sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine.

UCI Medical Center CEO set to retire, Orange County Register

The CEO of UC Irvine Medical Center, Terry Belmont, said Jan. 14 he will retire on June 30 after six years in the post. Belmont, 68, was named CEO of the then-troubled center in 2009, as the staff was moving into a new state-of-the-art hospital in Orange, which replaced one that had been deemed seismically unfit.

UCSD hires star biologist Rob Knight, U-T San Diego

UC San Diego has recruited Rob Knight, a world leader in the study of the microbiome, the immense collection of good and bad microbes that live on a person’s skin and in their mouth and gut.

UCSF nabs ‘big data’ guru from Stanford University, San Francisco Business Times

UC San Francisco announced a “big data” coup Thursday, recruiting medical technology guru Atul Butte, M.D., from rival Stanford University. Butte will head UCSF’s new Institute for Computational Health Sciences, which the university describes as “the cornerstone of (its) efforts to harness the power of ‘big data’ ” to improve medical care and outcomes globally. It’s also part of a broader effort at UCSF to target “precision medicine,” the field in which computational power is used to mine huge amounts of clinical data and genetic information to help drugs and other therapies target individuals’ unique conditions.

Mini Medical School just what the doctor ordered, Davis Enterprise

“This is not just a health lecture series … this is fantasy camp medical school!” So declared Dr. Michael McCloud, a clinical professor of medicine at UC Davis who also is the creator and course director of UCD’s wildly popular Mini Medical School. Now in its 13th year, Mini Medical School is geared toward “the foresighted middle-ager and novice senior,” according to the website — http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/minimed — although students have ranged in age from their early 20s to 90s. The free course is six weeks long, offered on consecutive Saturdays, and covers topics such as the anatomy of aging, nutrition, vision over 50, fitness/sports, medications and the aging mind. But before you get too excited about signing up, note that all 500 spots for the upcoming program were reserved within 90 minutes of enrollment opening. And the wait-list has more than 500 people on it.

Stem cell treatment has UC Davis a step closer to HIV cure (video), CBS Sacramento

Researchers at UC Davis say they are one step closer to finding a cure for HIV in a breakthrough study for millions around the world living with the virus.

Brain cancer takes a toll, but unlocks her creativity, Los Angeles Times

This story reports on a woman living with oligodendroglioma, one of the rarest forms of brain cancers for 18 years.  The patient explains how she has learned to cope with the life debilitating disease.  Dr. Timothy Cloughesy, professor of neurology, director of the neuro-oncology program and a member of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, is one of Kaufman’s doctors who is quoted.

UC system to directly supply electricity to UCSF, other campuses, focusing on renewable sources, San Francisco Business Times

The University of California is starting to supply electricity this month through a new wholesale purchasing program to several campuses, including UC San Francisco and its UCSF Medical Center, a move designed to cut costs by up to 10 percent this year and bolster its use of renewable energy. The Oakland-based system will not be generating electricity itself. But it is now the only academic institution in California to be its own certified electric service provider, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.

Worst pertussis outbreak in 70 years, but what can state health officials do? (audio), California Healthline

Experts discuss the rise in pertussis, or whooping cough, in California. The disease was nearly eradicated in the state through vaccination, but now almost 10% of California’s kindergartners have not had their immunizations. Last year more than 10,000 cases of pertussis were reported statewide, and two infants died from it.  The report includes comments from James Cherry, a researcher and professor of pediatrics at UCLA School of Medicine.

This year’s flu shot not very effective (audio), KQED Forum

Professor Art Reingold, head of epidemiology at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, discusses the relatively low effectiveness of this year’s flu vaccine and why doctors are still recommending the shot.

New flu vaccine may be the end of yearly flu shot (video), Fox 40

The yearly call for flu shots may be a thing of the past as researchers begin developing a long-term flu vaccine that can work on multiple strains of the flu virus. Dr. Dean Blumberg, Associate professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases for the UC Davis Health System says the new vaccines can be taken less often.

Ode on a stethoscope, The New Yorker

Today, many medical schools offer courses that bridge medicine and the humanities, arts, and social sciences, on the supposition that, say, literature hones students’ empathy and their capacity for observation in ways that immunology cannot. Johanna F. Shapiro directs the program for medical humanities at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. “You think a patient is going to be like a well-organized essay, but what you really get is a poem,” she told me. “You’re not sure what they mean, and they don’t tell you everything all at once, up front.”

The importance of spacing out: What happens to the brain when we’re never bored (audio), KPCC

UCLA Dr. Robert M. Bilder, professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute and director of the Tennenbaum Center for the Biology of Creativity in the Semel Institute, is featured in this segment about the overuse of smartphones, which can lead to a lack of boredom. Boredom has been described as the brain’s “default mode” because when bored, the mind starts to wander, looking for stimulation, and can lead to creative thinking.

Sleepless nights becoming a public epidemic (video), Fox 40

The CDC says Americans are not getting enough sleep, and it’s becoming a public epidemic. An interview with Dr. Steven Brass from the UC Davis Sleep Clinical Program about what causes insufficient sleep, and ways we can get more rest.

Many more people are dying from gun suicides than gun-related homicides, The Washington Post

Gun deaths by suicide have outpaced homicide-related deaths in the United States over the past 35 years. But since 2006, the decrease in gun-related homicides have almost been matched by the increase of gun suicides, according to the study from Garen Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis.

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In the media: Week of Jan. 4

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Ten years in, California’s stem cell program is getting a reboot, Los Angeles Times

Turning 10 years old may not quite mark adolescence for a human child, but for a major government research effort such as California’s stem cell program, it’s well past middle age. So it’s a little strange to hear C. Randal Mills, the new president and chief executive of the program known formally as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, say it’s time to instill in CIRM “a clear sense of mission.” But that’s what Mills is planning for the coming year, as he launches CIRM 2.0, a comprehensive reboot of the program. Arnold Kriegstein, director of the stem cell lab at UC San Francisco, is quoted.

UC Davis work will improve mass production of Ebola drugs (video), CBS Sacramento

Abhaya Dandekar is a lead researcher at the UC Davis lab, and he’s part of the team just awarded $200,000 to ramp up production of the anti-Ebola drug ZMapp.

Will twin Medi-Cal cuts affect access?, California Healthline

Reimbursement rates dropped Jan. 1 for Medi-Cal primary care providers in two ways. It’s the combination of the two rate decreases that has Francisco Silva concerned. Silva, vice president of legal affairs at the California Medical Association, said primary care providers who see a lot of Medi-Cal patients will have to scale back or stop seeing those beneficiaries. UCLA researcher Dylan Roby is quoted.

Color, light abound in UCSF’s new $1.52 billion Mission Bay hospital, San Francisco Business Times

The UCSF Medical Center, set to open Feb. 1, combines three specialty hospitals and a medical office building and outpatient center. It’s chock full of new technology. But what stands out about the shiny $1.52 billion facility, after a more than two-hour tour on Jan. 5, is the feel of the place.

Valley Children’s Hospital to train pediatricians, specialists with new programs, The Fresno Bee

Valley Children’s Hospital announced Jan. 8 that it plans to create its own graduate education program to train pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists, potentially ending a 40-year partnership with UCSF-Fresno. “Our goal is to establish a Valley Children’s-sponsored pediatric residency program and over time pediatric subspecialty fellowships,” said Dr. David Christensen, the hospital’s chief medical officer. The decision by Valley Children’s to go its own way to teach residents is not a reflection on the University of California at San Francisco-Fresno Medical Education residency program, Christensen said. “We want to expand on the great work that’s already been done and move forward.”

Scientists identify genes linked to PTSD, Voice of America

A UCLA study linking two genes to a heightened risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder is covered.

Limiting rest is found to help young concussion patients, New York Times

Experts recommend that young people who have suffered a concussion get one or two days of rest at home, until symptoms start resolving, before gradually returning to school and physical activity. But scientific evidence to support this approach is sparse, and some doctors have recommended that young patients remain inactive for even longer periods after a concussion. Now a randomized trial has compared the approaches and found that among a group of patients ages 11 to 22, those with a concussion who were prescribed strict rest for five days by staff members of an emergency department actually reported more symptoms than those told to rest for one or two days. The story quotes Dr. Christopher Giza, a professor of pediatric neurology at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, who was not involved in the research.

Covered California board about to get makeover, California Healthline

Three of the five Covered California Board of Directors seats are about to get newly appointed occupants in a shift that could have significant influence on the future of the four-year-old health insurance exchange. Dylan Roby, director of Health Economics and Evaluation Research at UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, is quoted. He mentions Gerald Kominski at UCLA (director of UCLA Center for Health Policy Research) and Will Dow (professor of health economics at UC Berkeley, and an expert on risk adjustment and behavioral economics), as possible candidates.

Blue Shield in dispute with Sutter Health over costs, Los Angeles Times

In a high-stakes fight over healthcare costs, insurance giant Blue Shield of California contends that a major hospital chain is trying to hide some of its business practices from public scrutiny. The dispute has prevented Blue Shield and Sutter Health, which runs 23 hospitals in Northern California, from reaching a new contract that could affect numerous employers and consumers. Their previous agreement expired Dec. 31. Blue Shield said state regulators were notified and it’s informing about 280,000 health plan members that they might lose network coverage with Sutter doctors and hospitals. James Robinson, a UC Berkeley professor of health economics, is quoted. Robinson published a study in October showing hospital ownership of physician groups in California led to 10% to 20% higher costs overall for patient care.

How much is your eyesight worth?, OZY

I once was blind, but now I see. And it cost only … $66.8 billion. That’s how much the United States spent treating eye disorders last year, making it one of the most expensive chronic health conditions around, based on a report published by the organization Prevent Blindness America. Add in the indirect expenses that come from lost productivity and nursing care, and the price tag inflates to $139 billion. Still, that’s nothing compared to the $373 billion we’ll be spending by 2050 … barring some medical or divine intervention. Obamacare won’t be that savior, either. While standard plans cover cataract surgery, they don’t include routine eye exams, and subsidies aren’t offered for vision insurance. Kathy Tran, chief of the University of California at Berkeley Refractive Surgery Center, warns that people need to start making eye care a priority, ASAP.

Psoriasis costs Americans up to $135 billion annually, study finds, HealthDay

Psoriasis is more than just a troublesome skin condition for millions of Americans — it also causes up to $135 billion a year in direct and indirect costs, a new study shows. According to data included in the study, about 3.2 percent of the U.S. population has the chronic inflammatory skin condition. In the new study, a team led by Dr. Elizabeth Brezinski of UC Davis reviewed 22 studies to estimate the total annual cost of psoriasis to Americans. They calculated health care and other costs associated with the skin condition at between $112 billion and $135 billion in 2013.

Vaccines: 10 questions and answers to help clear up confusion, Orange County Register

Shruti Gohil is a medical doctor, but she also has a master’s in public health. As someone who takes care of sick people and at the same time tries to protect whole societies, she’s especially aware of the problems parents face when deciding what to arm children with in the fight for what could be their lives. It’s especially important now as children are back at school, where their microbes get reacquainted. Gohil, associate medical director of hospital epidemiology at UC Irvine Medical Center, where she is also an assistant clinical professor of infectious diseases, addressed lingering concerns about the efficacy and safety of vaccines for measles and other communicable diseases.

‘It was bad, bad, bad’: Investigation widens into Three Kings Day bread illness, Orange County Register

Three Kings Day, or rosca de reyes, cake from Cholula’s Bakery in Santa Ana sickened about 40 people in Orange County, health officials have said. Dr. Carl Schultz, a professor of emergency medicine at UC Irvine, is quoted.

UC San Francisco affiliated medical group reaches settlement in balance-billing case, California Healthline/Payers & Providers

The San Francisco General Hospital Medical Group and the Department of Managed Health Care have reached a settlement regarding allegations that the medical group used a practice known as balance billing in which members of a Blue Shield of California PPO between January 2009 and March 2014 were charged the difference between the provider’s bill and the allowed amount. The medical group is affiliated with UC San Francisco.

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In the media: Week of Dec. 28

A sampling of news stories involving UC Health:

University of California system boosts surplus thanks to higher volume, rates, Modern Healthcare

The University of California medical centers, which include the state’s five public teaching hospitals, more than doubled their combined operating surplus on higher patient volume and payment rates in their fiscal 2014, according to their latest financial report.

Commentary: UC Riverside med school stresses preventive care, U-T San Diego

When people ask me why we started the UC Riverside School of Medicine last year — the first new public medical school on the West Coast in more than four decades — I talk about the need for well-trained doctors in inland Southern California. But we also wanted to demonstrate that a health care system that rewards keeping people healthy is better than one which rewards not treating people until they become terribly ill, writes G. Richard Olds, founding dean of the UC Riverside School of Medicine.

UC Davis developing way to make Ebola drug, Sacramento Bee

The National Science Foundation has awarded UC Davis a $200,000 “fast response” grant to develop a wide-scale production method for the experimental Ebola treatment ZMapp. The ZMapp treatment is a cocktail of antibodies produced and extracted from whole tobacco plants. The drug is new, and it made news recently when it was given to two American health care workers who contracted Ebola while working in West Africa. The university team was chosen for the grant because it owns patents related to the technology needed to make ZMapp on a larger scale. “We’ll be using technology we developed at UC Davis back in the late 1990s,” said Raymond Rodriguez, professor of molecular cell biology at UC Davis and co-researcher on the team.

UCSF doctor helps fight recent surge of Ebola cases in Sierra Leone, San Francisco Examiner

For many in San Francisco, Thanksgiving weekend was a time to catch up with family, gorge on turkey and spend hours plunked in front of a television watching football. But some 7,000 miles away in West Africa, the hot spot of the world’s worst Ebola outbreak was about to shift from Liberia to Sierra Leone for the first time since the epidemic began early this year. “Nobody realized it was getting really bad,” said Dr. Dan Kelly, a UC San Francisco clinician who has immersed himself in the outbreak and traveled to Sierra Leone about half a dozen times since the summer to provide health care training. “It wasn’t until … around Thanksgiving and early December that it spiraled out of control,” he said.

Ebola’s lessons, painfully learned at great cost in dollars and human lives, Washington Post

A year after it began, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa continues to be unpredictable, forcing governments and aid groups to improvise strategies as they chase a virus that is unencumbered by borders or bureaucracy. The people fighting Ebola are coming up with lists of lessons learned — not only for the current battle, which has killed more than 7,500 people and is far from over, but also for future outbreaks of deadly contagions. Ebola surveillance and research is now getting abundant funding, but Ebola isn’t necessarily the most dangerous pathogen that humanity could face in the near future. “We’re always chasing what just happened,” said Jonna Mazet, a professor of epidemiology and disease ecology at UC Davis and the director of the Predict project, a disease-surveillance program funded largely by USAID and operating in 20 countries. The project Mazet oversees has set up dozens of labs in the developing world. It has tested thousands of animals — bats, rats and monkeys among them — and identified about 800 previously unknown viruses.

UCLA uses ‘physician informaticists’ to win over medical staff, U.S. News & World Report

While other hospitals talk about the need for “physician champions” to convince medical staff to adopt technology, a major academic medical center has gone a few steps further, expanding its brand of medical informatics specialists. For nearly three years, UCLA Health System, an affiliate of UCLA, has offered the services of “UCLA physician informaticists,” a team now numbering 16.

Why eating red meat raises cancer risk, U-T San Diego

Red meat elevates the risk of cancer because it contains a chemical that’s unnatural to human biology, according to a new study by UC San Diego scientists.

If you’re toasting to health, reach for beer, not (sparkling) wine, NPR

What’s the healthiest libation for ringing in the New Year? Beer, says Charlie Bamforth, a professor of brewing sciences at the University of California, Davis. Though it’s been blamed for many a paunch, it’s more nutritious than most other alcoholic drinks, Bamforth says.

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In the media: Week of Dec. 21

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Most Influential 2014: Dr. Susan Huang, Orange County Register

Dr. Susan Huang, medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention at UC Irvine Medical Center, is profiled. In 2014, Huang published 19 research papers, and she has more coming. Her research has led to changes in medical practices. For example, her research on preventing MRSA infections in intensive care units by bathing patients daily with an antiseptic soap was adopted in 2014 by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and is now a recommended protocol and common practice in hospitals nationwide. She’s also studying more accurate methods for hospitals to publicly report infections, and because of her research, this year the state and federal governments began using billing data to validate a type of infection acquired during colon and and hysterectomy procedures.

Can AIDS be cured?, The New Yorker

UCLA and UC San Francisco are mentioned in this feature about AIDS research.

LA County probation officer’s kidney transplant save mom, stranger (video), ABC Los Angeles

This story reports on the first meeting of kidney donor Michael Valdez and recipient Danielle Jones. Valdez, a 37-year-old Los Angeles County probation officer, had wanted to donate to his mother, but was incompatible. Instead, he donated his kidney to 30-year-old Jones, a Las Vegas school teacher, as part of a kidney transplant chain in which his mother, Nora Cruz, received a kidney from a Maryland donor.

Boy, 11, with rare disease delivers 1K toys to Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA (video), CBS Los Angeles

A story on Casey Abrams, an 11-year-old boy who collected more than 1,000 toys and delivered them to the Chase Child Life program at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. Casey, who suffers from a very rare progressive and degenerative disease, has been a frequent patient at UCLA since birth. When he was 6 years old, he had to spend the holidays in the hospital, but was given toys on Christmas.

Do you have a sugar belly? UCSF’s SugarScience educates the public on the truth behind added sugar, Synapse

SugarScience is a website developed by UCSF to act as an authoritative source for the scientific evidence about the effects of sugar on health and disease. It aims to educate the public and provide resources for medical professionals. It was launched in November 2014. Laura Schmidt, principal investigator of the project, is professor of health policy in the UCSF School of Medicine. She discusses the project’s launch and early success.

UC Davis Health System stays the course with a flat bottom line, Sacramento Business Journal

The UC Davis Health System reported net income of about $47 million for fiscal year 2014, according to figures released this week. That’s roughly the same as last year, after taking new pension reporting rules into account. ”We had a stable year,” said Ann Madden Rice, chief executive officer at the UC Davis Medical Center.

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In the media: Week of Dec. 14

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Op-ed: It took 40 years for California to build a new public medical school, Zocalo Public Square

When people ask me why we started the UC Riverside School of Medicine last year – the first new public medical school on the West Coast in more than four decades – I talk about the need for well-trained doctors here in inland Southern California, writes Founding Dean G. Richard Olds. But we also wanted to demonstrate that a healthcare system that rewards keeping people healthy is better than one which rewards not treating people until they become terribly ill. As we build this school, we have a focus on wellness, prevention, chronic disease management, and finding ways to deliver health care in the most cost-effective setting, which is what American health care needs. We also teach a team approach to medicine — another necessary direction for our health care system.

UC trumps Stanford in pushing entrepreneurship, QB3 head says, San Francisco Chronicle

Neuroscientist Regis Kelly has watched the Bay Area’s life-science industry blossom. As executive vice chancellor at UCSF, he oversaw the construction of its Mission Bay campus. Since 2004, he has directed the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, or QB3, a network of biologists at UCSF, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz. A major part of QB3 is its four incubators, in which scientists turn discoveries into companies. Those startups have raised more than $500 million. This month, Kelly took on a new challenge: senior adviser on innovation and entrepreneurship to UC’s Office of the President. In addition to keeping his job at QB3, he’ll help market technologies developed at UC’s 10 campuses and three national laboratories. His work will complement UC Ventures, a new $250 million fund that will invest in those inventions. A Q&A with Kelly.

UCLA institute to help biologists, doctors mine ‘big data’, Los Angeles Times

This story reports on the announcement of the creation of UCLA’s new Institute for Quantitative and Computational Biosciences, which will mine “big data” for new disease diagnostics and treatments.

UCLA study authors urge greater awareness of older Californians falling, California Healthline

More than a half million older Californians have fallen more than once during the past year, according to new research underscoring the severity of a national public health trend with medical costs exceeding $2 billion annually. A new study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research names falls as “the leading injury-related cause of death and of medical care use among older Californians.” The study’s author and the center’s associate director Steven Wallace urged greater awareness about the risks of falling. He also encouraged health practitioners to ask questions and make recommendations to patients to help prevent future falls.

Video of boy hearing for the first time goes viral (video), CBS Los Angeles

A special report on a 2-year-old who received a cochlear implant at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.  Video of him giggling the first time he heard his parents’ voices went viral around the world. Dr. Arineh Khachatoorians, senior audiologist at the UCLA Audiology Clinic, is interviewed.

Commentary: Registered nurses are Ebola fighters and scientists/researchers, The Huffington Post

Kimberly Baltzell, director of the UC  San Fransiciso School of Nursing Center for Global Health, co-writes this piece about the role of nurses in fighting Ebola.

Bill introduced to create statewide health care cost, quality database, California Healthline

Legislation to create a statewide health care cost and quality database was introduced this month in Sacramento. The bill, SB 26 by Sen. Ed Hernandez, is considered a step toward cost transparency meant to inform consumers about true costs of health care products and services and encourage providers to develop more cost-effective programs. The bill directs California HHS to contract with a not-for-profit organization over the next two years to create and administer the California Health Care Cost and Quality Database. The database would be created and available for public searches by Jan. 1, 2019. Another cost comparison effort is under way in California. The state Department of Insurance has an agreement with the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at UC-San Francisco to collect and analyze data for a database reflecting health care costs and quality in specific geographic regions. The database is scheduled to be online next summer. The work is funded by a $5.2 million grant under the Affordable Care Act.

New state law allows community colleges to offer four-year degrees, California Healthline

A new state law due to take effect Jan. 1, 2015, creates a pilot program under which 15 California community colleges can offer four-year degrees as long as they do not duplicate the fields of study offered by the University of California or California State Universities. Some proposed degrees are in health care fields. “As patients are being treated with more and more complexity and are being taken care of at their home, health providers need more education to do that very well,” said Joanne Spetz, assistant director for research strategy at the UC San Francisco Center for the Health Professions.

California border residents grapple with out-of-state health insurance restrictions (audio), Capital Public Radio

Capital Public Radio’s health reporter Pauline Bartolone traveled to the town of Quincy, California, where major insurers Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California aren’t covering routine out-of-state care. This is the first of a three-part series. Dylan Roby, assistant professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, is interviewed.

California study finds abortion complications very rare, Reuters

Less than one quarter of one percent of abortion procedures result in major complications, a very low rate that is comparable to minor outpatient procedures in the U.S., according to a study of more than 50,000 women. “We reviewed every emergency department visit in detail, all return visits to the original abortion provider, visits to primary care doctors, or any other health care provider and included any complications that were diagnosed or treated,” the study’s lead author told Reuters Health by email. “Our results suggest that abortion is safe,” said Ushma D. Upadhyay of the University of California, San Francisco. And the extremely low complication rate further suggests that state laws requiring abortion providers to have hospital admission privileges “will have limited benefits,” she said.

China’s e-cigarette boom lacks oversight for safety, New York Times

This year, Chinese manufacturers are expected to ship more than 300 million e-cigarettes to the United States and Europe, where they will reach the shelves of Walmart, 7-Eleven stores, gas station outlets and so-called vaping shops. The devices have become increasingly popular, particularly among young adults, and yet hundreds of e-cigarette manufacturers in China operate with little oversight. Experts say flawed or sloppy manufacturing could account for some of the heavy metals, carcinogens and other dangerous compounds, such as lead, tin and zinc, that have been detected in some e-cigarettes. Scientific studies hint at a host of problems related to poor manufacturing standards. “We’ve found on the order of 25 or 26 different elements, including metals, in the e-cigarette aerosols,” says Prue Talbot, a professor of cell biology at UC Riverside, and co-author of several of the studies. “Some of the metal particles are less than 100 nanometers in diameter, and those are a concern because they can penetrate deep into the lungs.”

UC Davis wants to save a million cats (audio), KGO Radio

The Koret Shelter Medicine Program at UC Davis has partnered with the shelter medicine program at the University of Florida to create a program to save the lives of one million cats in shelters.The program aims to put pressure on animal shelters to save the lives of cats by adopting initiatives like reforming the process for admitting cats to shelters, making cats easier to adopt by decreasing the cost and processing barriers, or returning vaccinated cats back to live on the streets.

Hajj pilgrimage ‘leads to annual spike in severe air pollution’ in Mecca, International Business Times

The annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca leads to a spike in severe air pollution, with “dangerously high levels” reached every year. Research reported at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco looked at air samples taken during the 2012 and 2013 Hajj pilgrimages. This year, over two million pilgrims made their way to Mecca for the six day event in October. As well as many choosing to drive to the holy site, many use their cars to drive to and from same places every day while there. Isobel Simpson, a UC Irvine research chemist who took part in the study, is quoted.

Your commute may be hazardous to your health, Los Angeles Magazine

Diana Winston, director of mindfulness education at UCLA’S Mindful Awareness Research Center, and Dr. Karol Watson, professor of cardiology and director of the UCLA Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Health Program, are quoted in this story on how traffic can impact one’s health.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Dec. 7

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

When cancer is not cancer, California Sunday Magazine

Hundreds of thousands of women have likely been overtreated for breast tumors as others continue to die. One doctor says it’s time to make a change — Laura Esserman, director of the Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center at the University of California, San Francisco.

Disrupting cancer (video), CBS 60 Minutes

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is turning heads with unconventional ways of treating the deadly disease. UCLA is mentioned.

A friend gave her an antibiotic; now she’s fighting for her life (video), CNN

It started with a sore throat on Thanksgiving and an antibiotic from a friend who wanted to help. Now 19-year-old Yaasmeen Castanada is fighting for her life inside a California hospital’s burn unit, suffering from an allergic reaction that’s so severe she has large open wounds all over her body. Doctors diagnosed Castanada with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a rare disease that can be triggered by antibiotics or other medications. Now Castanada, the mother of a 4-month-old, is in critical condition at the University of California, Irvine, burn center. Her prognosis is good, even though the disease has a high mortality rate, according to Dr. Victor Joe, the center’s director.

See additional coverage: ABC Los Angeles (video), New York Daily News, Orange County Register, UPI, USA Today

Got an earache? S.F. startup says a smartphone’s the cure, San Francisco Chronicle

CellScope, a San Francisco startup, believes that telemedicine’s next frontier is buried under earwax. The company makes a case that slides over the iPhone and transforms it into an otoscope, the device doctors use to peer into patients’ ears. The gadget comes with a lens that enables the smartphone to film quality videos of the ear canal and eardrum. Amy Sheng and her co-founder, Erik Douglas, met in 2009 in a UC Berkeley laboratory run by bioengineering and biophysics professor Daniel Fletcher. Douglas was a postdoctoral student, Sheng a part-time graduate student at the business school. Her full-time job was to manage one of his projects: an attempt to create simple, cell phone-based microscopes that could be used to remotely diagnose malaria and other diseases in developing countries. The project attracted so much outside interest that the pair spun the technology out of UC Berkeley, formed the company in 2010 and joined Rock Health, a San Francisco digital health accelerator.

Innovation awards: And the winners are …, The Economist

UC Berkeley chemical engineering professor Jay Keasling has been awarded The Economist’s annual innovation award for bioscience, in recognition of his development of synthetic artemisinin, a derivative of the wormwood plant, used to treat malaria.

UC Davis Medical Center helps newborns miles away, Sacramento Bee

When a baby is born, a hospital’s delivery team knows almost immediately if something is wrong – a blue face, a concerning rash, the absence of a healthy screech. For some rural facilities lacking specialized staff and equipment, the question is how to keep the newborn healthy until help from a bigger hospital arrives. At the UC Davis Center for Health and Technology, telehealth experts are determined to deliver virtual care, especially emergency neonatal care, to remote facilities across Northern California. The Pediatric Emergency Assistance to Newborns Using telehealth, or PEANUT program, started this summer and is providing a handful of rural nurseries with access to lifesaving consultations and training via web-based video. The general telehealth program, established at Sacramento’s UC Davis Medical Center in 1996, aims to provide health care over a distance, minimizing cost and travel time for patients in remote areas.

Free clinics run by med students on the rise, HealthDay News

The number of medical student-run free clinics at U.S. medical schools has doubled in the last decade, according to a new study. In 2005, there were about 110 student-run free clinics at 49 medical schools that belonged to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). This new study found just over 200 such clinics at 86 AAMC-member medical schools. More than half of all medical students are involved in such clinics, Dr. Sunny Smith, of the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues found.

With ‘die-in,’ UCSF medical students urge doctors to fight racism, KQED

The din of excited chatter grew as the crush of UC San Francisco medical students put on their white coats and distributed picket signs saying “black lives matter” Wednesday, instructing one another to tag their Tweets and Instagram photos #WhiteCoats4BlackLives. But at 10 minutes past noon, when the group laid down in unison in front of the medical school’s library on Parnassus Avenue, it was eerily silent. Many students closed their eyes. Some held hands. Passers-by stopped to watch and police officers lingered in the background. More than 100 medical students participated in the “die-in” at UCSF Medical Center, lying down as if dead just outside the doors to the hospital. They joined the wave of protests following the grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York not to indict white police officers involved in killing unarmed black men. These students were emphasizing how racism affects health care. Similar “die-ins” were held nationwide, including at other UC medical schools.

See additional coverage: Sacramento Bee, Capital Public Radio, Bustle, OCWeekly, Washington Post

Ebola’s lasting impact on the U.S. health care system, Huffington Post

One of the biggest humanitarian tragedies in 2014 has been the Ebola epidemic, which to date has infected 17,942 people and killed 6,388. The epidemic continues in West Africa, and there is no doubt it will impact the governments, economies and people of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea for years to come. But while Ebola has affected the U.S. in a much smaller way, the handful of cases that arrived here may also have an enduring impact on the U.S. health care system. Those quoted in this story include Dr. Stuart Cohen, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of hospital infection control at the UC Davis Health System; Dr. Susan Huang, a professor of medicine at UC Irvine Medical School and the medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention at UC Irvine Health hospital; and UCSF Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Adrienne Green.

UC San Diego expects to be part of California’s Ebola preparedness, response, California Healthline

UC San Diego Medical Center officials expect to be part of California’s ramped-up preparedness efforts to treat patients with Ebola. A series of initiatives launched in the past six months to improve the safety and effectiveness of care at hospitals around the state to respond to the deadly virus raging in West Africa is culminating this month. CDC announced last week that 35 hospitals nationally — including four in Northern California — have been designated as Ebola treatment centers. Several hospitals in Southern California — including the UC San Diego Medical Center — are expected to achieve CDC designation as Ebola treatment centers in the coming weeks. The designated California hospitals are the UC San Francisco Medical Center, the UC Davis Medical Center, Kaiser Oakland Medical Center and Kaiser South Sacramento Medical Center. The UC San Diego Medical Center was expected to have a site visit from CDC officials last week in order to obtain designation as an Ebola treatment center, said Chief Medical Officer Angela Scioscia.

Doctor nearly killed by Ebola shares story of survival at UCSF (video), CBS San Francisco

A few months ago, Dr. Ian Crozier was in Sierra Leone, working with the World Health Organization, in the fight against Ebola. He never dreamed the virus would nearly kill him. “I feel very, very grateful to be here, literally,” Crozier said. Crozier shared his story of survival at a roundtable at UCSF Medical Center, and in front of students and staff. His message: “There’s a great deal left to be done lest we get complacent about this epidemic.”

New director of autism center plans greater reach, Orange County Register

UC Irvine Health autism specialists are expanding their program to reach not just young children, but also teens and young adults. The shift in focus came once they realized how few resources are available for older children, adolescents and young adults, says Catherine Brock, the new executive director for the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders of Southern California. The center also has more than doubled its staff from 12 to about 35 over the last year, broadening the range of experts and of services offered. A Q&A with Brock.

Finding help and hope on the spectrum, Orange County Register

The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders has adopted an ambitious mission: to become the nation’s premier center for evaluation, treatment, education and research for the wide range of autism spectrum disorders. The center’s partnerships now extend to CHOC Children’s, Chapman University and UC Irvine – enhancing their services with a powerful blend of education, community engagement and groundbreaking research. Center Executive Director Catherine Brock is quoted and Dr. Robin Steinberg-Epstein is mentioned.

Preeclampsia during pregnancy raises autism risk, CBS News

As autism rates continue to rise in the U.S., researchers are searching for reasons why. Even though children don’t typically show signs of autism until a few years after birth, some of the most significant risk factors may actually be encountered in-utero. A new study finds children born to mothers who had preeclampsia during pregnancy are as much as twice as likely to develop autism spectrum disorder. Preeclampsia is a complication during pregnancy in which a mother develops high blood pressure and often kidney damage. The symptoms can come on suddenly, typically late in her second trimester or early in the third. The condition, which affects approximately 5 to 8 percent of all pregnancies, can be fatal to a mother if left untreated. The latest research indicates that the sicker a mother was with the disease, the more likely autism may occur in their child. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California Davis MIND Institute and published in JAMA Pediatrics, involved 1,000 children age 2 and 3 years old.

We may be able to reverse signs of early Alzheimer’s disease, CNN

Dr. Dale Bredesen, the Augustus Rose Professor of Neurology and director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA, is featured in this article about his preliminary study that reversed memory loss in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Robotic arms aid UCLA doctors with invasive surgeries (video), ABC Los Angeles

This story reports on a new surgical technique performed with the help of a robot to successfully access a previously unreachable area of the head and neck. This pioneering method can now be used safely and efficiently in patients to remove tumors that many times were previously thought to be inoperable, or necessitated the use of highly invasive surgical techniques in combination with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Dr. Abie Mendelsohn, assistant professor-in-residence, Department of Head and Neck Surgery, and member of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, is interviewed.

Schools work to improve vision health, EdSource

This story reports on a study by Dr. Anne Coleman, the Fran and Ray Stark Foundation Professor of Ophthalmology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and director of the Stein Eye Institute’s mobile eye clinic, finding that 95 percent of students who need eyeglasses still don’t have them one year after their mandatory vision screening in kindergarten. Coleman is quoted.

Port of Oakland truck pollution drops 76 percent in black carbon, San Jose Mercury News

Lung-damaging diesel air pollution at the Port of Oakland is down dramatically since a state law forced truckers to use cleaner burning engines starting in 2010, according to new data from a team of UC Berkeley researchers. And the gains in clean air likely are even greater because the law’s emission limits became more stringent at the beginning of the year, after the study had ended, researchers said. Thomas Kirchstetter, an air quality scientist at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and other researchers tested 2,000 trucks by dangling an air sampling device from a bridge over SeventhStreet in West Oakland, which is a route from Interstate 880 to the port. He started testing in 2009 before the 2010 law went into effect. Then he continued testing from 2010 through 2013 when trucks were required to put a diesel particle filter on their exhaust pipes.

Online tool helps pediatricians assess weight loss in newborns, The Carlisle Sentinel

Using weights obtained from more than 100,000 Northern California babies, a new study is the first to detail the weight loss patterns of exclusively breastfed newborns. The results show that some breastfed babies lose weight faster and for a longer period than was previously recognized. The investigators have captured their findings in an online tool that is the first of its kind to help pediatricians determine whether exclusively breastfed newborns have lost too much weight in the first days of life. The Newborn Weight Tool, or Newt, was developed by the study’s senior author, Dr. Ian Paul, professor of pediatrics and public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine and pediatrician at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, and Eric Schaefer, a statistician at Penn State College of Medicine, along with researchers at UCSF and Kaiser Permanente.

Mobile health faces a bumpy road in rural California, Los Angeles Times

Older adults in California’s rural communities in 2007 were more likely to be overweight or obese than their counterparts in cities and suburbs, a 2011 analysis by researchers at the UCLA Center for Health Policy research found. Rural seniors also had relatively high rates of heart disease, diabetes and falls.

Study: Doctors paid more for multiple procedures than for multiple patients, U.S. News and World Report

Highly-paid doctors make more money ordering multiple procedures for individual patients than they earn seeing multiple patients, according to a study released Dec. 8 by the UCLA Department of Urology and the Veterans’ Health Administration. The findings, described as “very surprising” by UCLA researchers, suggest the payment reform many expected under the Affordable Care Act has yet to be realized.

How I Made It: Arlene Blum, Los Angeles Times

UC Berkeley visiting chemist and lecturer Arlene Blum is profiled for her achievements in science and mountaineering. She has fought to have the health risks of flame retardants understood and minimized, and in 1978 she led the first American climbing expedition on one of the most difficult and dangerous peaks in the Himalayas of Nepal – Annapurna 1. The interview concludes with the following: “Vision and a good team are the keys to success, whether it’s climbing a mountain or making furniture safer, Blum said. ‘You go slowly up the mountain, step by step. … There are storms and avalanches, but you keep plodding up the mountain to make it to the top.’”

Why most people won’t shop again for health insurance, The New York Times

You may have noticed when you last subscribed to a magazine that the company put you on an automatic renewal plan. Instead of sending you a letter when your subscription was about to lapse and asking you to take steps to renew, most now keep your credit card on file and keep extending your subscription unless you take steps to stop it. In general, people have a bias toward the status quo — and a bit of laziness. That’s why similar auto-renewal policies are showing up all over the place. For most businesses, it pays if the default option is that you remain their customer. Auto-renewals are also a key feature of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces. “You’re more likely to stick with the choice you’ve already made if you’re not sure you’re going to benefit from switching,” said Benjamin Handel, an assistant professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, who has studied inertia in employer health plans. His research found that workers were losing as much as $2,000 a year by staying in their insurance plans.

S.F.’s quirky Exploratorium science museum goes global, San Francisco Chronicle

The Exploratorium, that quirky, hands-on science museum on the Embarcadero, is spreading its exhibits to exotic places, from Turkey to Abu Dhabi and beyond — and as close to home as the new children’s hospital soon to open in Mission Bay. Helping educators in far-off countries to duplicate the Exploratorium’s unique approach to visual games and learning was the high-priority mission of its founder, the physicist Frank Oppenheimer, when he helped start the first one in China more than 40 years ago. When the new UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, a six-story model of modernism, opens in San Francisco’s Mission Bay on Feb. 1, its halls, lobby and waiting rooms will hold 15 new Exploratorium exhibits ready to stimulate its young patients. The hospital exhibits are all specially designed to be accessible to children, whether they walk the corridors or stop by in wheelchairs.

Do’s and don’ts of your startup’s next pitch for cash, San Francisco Business Times

Startup biotech companies are hot on science, but they can run cold when it comes to pitching themselves to investors. So QB3, the three-campus University of California effort to shepherd lab breakthroughs closer to patients, brought together a dozen entrepreneurs to teach them the do’s and don’ts of pitching potential backers. Capping a seven-week workshop that included weekly pitches that zeroed in on what entrepreneurs learned the previous week, the companies will make their final presentations Dec. 9 at Byers Hall on the Mission Bay campus of UC San Francisco. After each gives a five-minute pitch, the roughly 400 people expected for the event — voting via text messages — and judges each will select a winner.

Op-ed: Biotech industry needs to be nurtured, Sacramento Bee

Todd Gillenwater, president and CEO of the California Healthcare Institute, writes thatCalifornia has been associated with risk-taking, entrepreneurship and innovation since the Gold Rush. Today, California is still an innovation engine in such varied sectors as agriculture and the Internet. But only one homegrown industry can stake a claim as a leading contributor to our state’s economy and the health of people around the world: the life sciences sector. Combining our world-class universities and research institutes, venture capital-backed startups and global biotechnology and medical device corporations, California leads the world. Our world-class universities and research institutions are the starting points for groundbreaking biomedical research, Gillenwater writes, adding that it’s critical that the Legislature supports the University of California and California State University systems, science and math education at all levels and common-sense regulatory policy.

Learning more about virtual medicine (video), Fox 40

Sonseeahray Tonsall sits down with Dr. Dean Blumberg of UC Davis Health System to find out more about virtual medicine.

How successful people squash stress, Forbes

Research from UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC San Francisco is mentioned in this piece about stress.

UC Davis Medical Group signs big lease on Folsom Boulevard, Sacramento Business Journal

Medical Group is leasing a building at Folsom and Alhambra boulevards, with clinical and medical offices coming to the space in about a year. “It’s a consolidation where they will bring six to seven offices together under one roof,” said Mike Stassi of CBRE Sacramento, who represented the landlord in the deal at 3160 Folsom Blvd. “This gives them some efficiencies and synergies.”

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off