CATEGORY: In the media

In the media: Week of April 20

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Study: Codeine prescribed for kids despite risks, ABC 7

A new study out of UCSF is suggesting that the potent painkiller codeine is being prescribed for too many children, despite warnings that the drug can cause an accidental overdose.

UC OKs paying surgeon $10 million in whistleblower-retaliation case, Los Angeles Times

University of California regents agreed to pay $10 million to the former chairman of UCLA’s orthopedic surgery department, who had alleged that the well-known medical school allowed doctors to take industry payments that may have compromised patient care. The settlement reached Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court came just before closing arguments were due to begin in a whistleblower-retaliation case brought by Dr. Robert Pedowitz, 54, a surgeon who was recruited to UCLA in 2009 to run the orthopedic surgery department.

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In the media: Week of April 13

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

The cure to doctor shortage? Another med school, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

Plans were announced Monday for a new medical school in San Bernardino County to be funded by $40 million from a non-profit foundation headed by the owner of a nationwide hospital chain. The California University of Science and Medicine — Cal Med — would admit the first 50 students in 2016, said founder Dr. Dev GnanaDev, chief of surgery and former medical director at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. Cal Med would be the second new medical school to open in the Inland region recently. When UC Riverside’s long-awaited School of Medicine opened in August 2013, it was the first new public medical school in California in 40 years. UCR medical school Dean G. Richard Olds is quoted.

Feds: Sacramento man tried to open door on Southwest flight (video), KCRA 3

A Sacramento man tried to open an exit door on a Southwest Airlines flight, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing Sunday, according to federal officials. Passengers said a man who wanted to jump out of the plane was trying to open an exit door. Hearing the commotion, a group of male passengers immediately headed toward the back of the plane. One of those men, Dr. Scott Porter, chief resident of orthopaedic surgery at UC Davis Medical Center, initially thought it was a medical emergency, but later realized it was more of a threat. He helped subdue the suspect.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times

Op-ed: The killers underfoot, The New York Times

Matthew Lewin, a doctor of emergency medicine and the director of the Center for Exploration and Travel Health at the California Academy of Sciences, writes about the need to address venomous snakebites. He has been testing a nasal spray that could help address the issue. Last April, in collaboration with researchers at UC San Francisco, and under the strict supervision of anesthesiologists and an emergency medicine doctor, he tested the nasal spray on himself.

Is Obamacare a success? We might not know for a while (audio), NPR

After months of focusing on how many people have or haven’t signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, we now have a rough total (7.5 million), and everyone’s keen to get to the bigger questions: How well is the law working? How many of those who signed up have paid their premiums and are actually getting coverage? How many were uninsured before they signed up? And just how big has the drop been in the number of uninsured people? Unfortunately, the answers to some of these questions simply aren’t knowable — or, at least, not knowable yet. Ken Jacobs, who heads the Center for Labor Research and Education at UC Berkeley, is interviewed . The labor center just published a of who’s signing up for coverage in California. The research predicts that fully half the people who enroll in a plan through the California health exchange won’t keep it for a full year.

Has confusion hampered the success of ACA subsidies?, California Healthline

Money to help pay for health insurance, no strings attached — sounds like a good deal, right? That’s exactly how proponents of the Affordable Care Act are touting the law’s federal subsidies and encouraging low-income consumers to sign up for health insurance. At the same time, opponents of the law and its provisions rail against the assistance. The idea of basing the health care system “on private insurance” and paying for it “with a combination of subsidies for low-income purchasers” is a Republican idea, according to Robert Reich, a professor at UC Berkeley and former U.S. Secretary of Labor under the Clinton administration. The article also quotes Dylan Roby, director of UCLA’s Health Economics and Evaluation Research Program, who mentions on CalSIM — a joint project between the UC Berkeley Labor Center and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Sichuan pepper’s buzz may reveal secrets of the nervous system (audio), NPR

The Sichuan peppercorn is known to give some Chinese dishes a pleasant tingling feeling. What’s not so pleasant is that pins-and-needles feeling we get when our foot falls asleep — or when people who suffer from paresthesia experience constant tingling in their limbs. Diana Bautista, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, wondered: Could these sensations be connected?

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In the media: Week of April 6

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Benioffs donate another $100 million to children’s hospitals, San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco power couple Marc and Lynne Benioff have doubled down on their already sizable support of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, writing a second $100 million check to further fund new facilities as well as world-class doctors and researchers. The donation, to be announced Tuesday, will be split between UCSF and Children’s Hospital Oakland, which formed an alliance in January to jointly conduct research and offer comprehensive medical care. With the money comes a new name for the East Bay hospital: UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Chronicle editorial, San Francisco Business Times

Paraplegics show gains in study of spinal-cord stimulation, The Wall Street Journal

A new study gives the greatest indication yet that people paralyzed by spinal-cord injuries can regain voluntary movement in their legs and feet even years after their initial injuries, researchers said. A combination of electrical stimulation and intensive physical therapy helped three men with paraplegia wiggle their toes and ankles, flex their legs and stand independently for moments at a time, according to a paper published online Tuesday in the medical journal Brain. To the researchers’ surprise, the treatment worked in two patients with the most complete type of paraplegia, who were previously unable to move or feel their lower bodies. The finding suggests that the brain is still capable of sending signals to the spinal cord in cases where doctors assume all connection has been lost, the researchers said. The study was conducted by researchers from UCLA and the University of Louisville in Kentucky, who implanted spinal-cord stimulators made by Medtronic Inc. into the backs of three patients who had been paralyzed by spinal-cord injuries.

See additional coverage: NBC News (video), Los Angeles Times

Brain health registry aims to build test subject pool, San Francisco Chronicle

UCSF officials hope to solve one of the biggest hurdles to clinical research for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other brain diseases: finding people willing to be subjects in trials in a relatively short time. With the Brain Health Registry, an online project to be announced Tuesday, researchers hope to recruit as many as 100,000 people over the next three years to serve as a ready-made pool of participants for studies in a wide range of neurological diseases as well as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other brain-related ailments.

See additional coverage: San Jose Mercury News

Drug shows promise battling breast cancer, The Boston Globe

A new type of drug can help prevent advanced breast cancer from worsening, potentially providing an important new treatment option for women, researchers say. In a clinical trial, the drug cut in half the risk that cancer would worsen, or progress, researchers said here Sunday. The median time before the disease progressed or the woman died was 20.2 months for those who received the drug, compared with 10.2 months for the control group. “The magnitude of benefit we are seeing is not something commonly seen in cancer medicine studies,” said Dr. Richard S. Finn, a principal investigator in the study. Finn, an oncologist at UCLA, called the results “quite groundbreaking.”

See additional coverage: New York Times

Catching up with Dr. Laura Esserman, breast cancer expert, San Francisco Chronicle

A Q&A with Dr. Laura Esserman – the breast cancer researcher, surgeon and visionary who runs the breast cancer center at UCSF. Esserman recently received the Journal of Women’s Health Award for outstanding achievement. Esserman is three years into a large-scale research program called Athena, focused on expediting and improving treatment by better understanding risk factors and outcomes.

Grateful patient donates $6.5M to Shiley Eye Center, U-T San Diego

A $6.5 million donation from an unnamed patient will help the Shiley Eye Center at UC San Diego strengthen its focus on stem cells, which hold the promise of repairing damage done by diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. Dr. Robert Weinreb, the center’s director and a widely-published glaucoma researcher, said he’s conducting a worldwide search for stem cell scientists to come to Shiley, which last year ranked fourth in National Institutes of Health funding among ophthalmology research centers nationwide.

Part of early exchange success due to insuring the already insured, California Healthline

No one knows yet exactly how many of the 1.2 million people enrolled so far in Covered California were previously uninsured — but one person has a pretty good guess. Ken Jacobs, chair of the Labor Center at UC Berkeley, projects about 39% of enrollees were previously uninsured. That means it’s likely that 61% of Covered California enrollees already had health insurance.

After the big deadline, a push to sign up individuals who are still eligible (audio), California Healthline

Experts, including Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, discuss the state’s renewed enrollment efforts following the March 31 open enrollment deadline for the exchange.

UCI cancer center’s new director pushes for fast treatments, The Orange County Register

The future of cancer treatment is targeting specific disease cells with drugs, says Dr. Richard Van Etten, director of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC Irvine Medical Center.

Second measles case confirmed at UC Berkeley, Oakland Tribune

UC Berkeley opened an emergency measles clinic Saturday, a day after a second student was diagnosed with the disease. According to a notice posted on the University Health Services website, the unidentified student attended classes on campus over the past week while infected. Campus officials worked with the city’s Public Health Department to notify anyone who may have been exposed to the disease. The student is currently in isolation. This is the second reported case of measles at the university. The first case was reported in February when a student, recently back from a trip to Asia, contracted the disease yet still attended classes on campus.

The 30 Top Thinkers Under 30: The ‘brilliant’ researcher who wants to put an end to dementia, Pacific Standard

Molly Fox, a postdoctoral research fellow at UC Irvine, is featured. Her most recent work examines serotonin’s role in depression. She’s also looking into the connection between progesterone and Alzheimer’s, as well as how prenatal stress affects fetuses. In short, she likes to study babies and old people.

Idea of new attention disorder spurs research, and debate, The New York Times

With more than six million American children having received a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, concern has been rising that the condition is being significantly misdiagnosed and overtreated with prescription medications. Yet now some powerful figures in mental health are claiming to have identified a new disorder that could vastly expand the ranks of young people treated for attention problems. Called sluggish cognitive tempo, the condition is said to be characterized by lethargy, daydreaming and slow mental processing. By some researchers’ estimates, it is present in perhaps two million children. Experts pushing for more research into sluggish cognitive tempo say it is gaining momentum toward recognition as a legitimate disorder — and, as such, a candidate for pharmacological treatment. The article quotes Keith McBurnett, a professor of psychiatry at UC San Francisco, and Steve S. Lee, an associate professor of psychology at UCLA.

Hearst Foundations gives $1.3 million to state nonprofits, San Francisco Chronicle

The Hearst Foundations have awarded $1.3 million in grants to eight California nonprofit organizations, including four Bay Area groups that support health and social service programs. The largest award, $500,000, went to the California Missions Foundation in Santa Barbara as a matching-funds grant for mission preservation and restoration projects. UCSF got the next largest award, $250,000, for construction of the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital at Mission Bay.

Fort Irwin, UCLA Health Services partner to battle brain injuries, Desert Dispatch

Fort Irwin and the UCLA Health System have formed a partnership to help wounded warriors suffering from traumatic brain injuries. Shannon O’Kelley, chief operating officer of the UCLA Health System; Dr. David Hovda, director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center, and retired Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli, executive advisor for the Ronald A. Katz Center for Collaborative Military Medicine, are all noted in this article.

Local health organizations helping children fight obesity (video), NBC Southern California

This story reports on the UCLA Fit for Healthy Weight program’s new use of telehealth to make it easier on patients to meet with the program’s medical specialists.  The patients, who are based at the Venice Family Clinic, meet via telehealth with the Fit program’s pediatrician, nutritionist and psychologist who are based in Westwood.   Dr. Wendy Slusser, medical director of the Fit for Healthy Weight program at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, is interviewed and Dena Herman, adjunct assistant professor in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and a registered dietitian/nutritionist serving in the FIT clinic, are featured.

Dream comes true for musician with disease (video), KABC

Brad Carter, a musician who played guitar in the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center operating room during a brain surgery that was tweeted live across the world, is profiled.  The segment captures his dream to record his first album after Dr. Nader Pouratian, assistant professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, implanted a device that controlled his essential tremor condition, which made his hands shake during movement.

UCLA seeks clearance for pharmaceutical marijuana testing, Los Angeles Daily News

A British company developing a pharmaceutical version of a cannabis extract used to treat epilepsy could test its product at UCLA as part of the Food and Drug Administration approval process. United Kingdom-based GW Pharmaceuticals received the go-ahead to continue with clinical trials for their product Epidiolex in February and UCLA wants to be on the list of test sites, according to Dr. Raman Sankar, chief of pediatric neurology at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.

Fisher: Teens show off scars in cutting’s panedemic of pain, The Orange County Register

Many teens who cut, burn or repeatedly injure themselves are often trying to relieve stress or emotional pain, according to UC Irvine Health psychiatrist Atur Turakhia.

UC Davis research finds ag health issues undercounted, Sacramento Business Journal

More than three-fourths of all injuries and illnesses experienced by U.S. agriculture workers and farmers aren’t reported, according to research led by a UC Davis public health sciences professor. In the April issue of Annals of Epidemiology, a study led by professor J. Paul Leigh suggested federal agencies don’t report 77.6 percent of such incidents, making it unlikely safety and health risks for those in agriculture will be addressed or corrected accurately.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of March 30

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

100 Great Hospitals in America, Becker’s Hospital Review

Three UC medical centers made Becker’s Hospital Review’s list of 100 Great Hospitals in America: Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest and UC San Francisco Medical Center.

See additional coverage: Fox 5City News Service

UC medical center workers overwhelmingly ratify contract, Sacramento Business Journal

Patient care workers at University of California medical and student health centers — including about 2,900 at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento — have ratified a new four-year contract. The contract covers 13,000 workers statewide who are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Workers voted for ratification last week by a near-unanimous margin of more than 99 percent. Read UC press release.

Desmond-Hellmann steps down as UCSF chancellor today (video), KQED

March 31 marks the end of UC San Francisco Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann’s five-year tenure. In December, it was announced that she would step down from her current position to become CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. UCSF is currently conducting a national search for a new chancellor to lead the university. In the meantime, Napolitano has appointed UCSF School of Medicine Dean Sam Hawgood as interim chancellor.

1M cancellations, 1.2M enrollments: How many Californians really signed up?, California Healthline

One-point-two million enrollments — and counting. Obamacare’s first open enrollment period is over, and if raw volumes are a proxy for state-by-state success, the Golden State wins in a landslide. Covered California had planned for fewer than 700,000 sign-ups, and the Congressional Budget Office forecast was just shy of 800,000. The state blew past both targets more than a month ago. The article quotes Dylan Roby, who directs UCLA’s Health Economics and Evaluation Research Program, which developed the CalSIM predictive model that regulators used to set expectations.

Many more Californians may qualify for Obamacare after deadline, Los Angeles Times

Even with 1.2 million people enrolled by Monday’s deadline, California’s health exchange isn’t done adding to the Obamacare rolls — and it won’t be for quite some time. In the months to come, it’s estimated that several hundred thousand more Californians could qualify for a special enrollment period as college students graduate, families move and workers change jobs. As new enrollees join during special enrollment, other exchange customers will leave for a variety of reasons, such as getting coverage through work. Close to half of Covered California customers eligible for premium subsidies could leave within a year, according to a report published Wednesday by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.

Why some don’t pay their Covered California premium: It’s not what you think, KQED

A new analysis finds that many people who signed up for a Covered California plan are likely to drop the coverage for a good reason: they found insurance elsewhere. Researchers at the UC Berkeley Labor Center released estimates Wednesday showing that about 20 percent of Covered California enrollees are expected to leave the program because they found a job that offers health insurance. Another 20 percent will see their incomes fall and become eligible for Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance program for people who are low income. In addition to the 40 percent of enrollees who move to Medi-Cal or job-based insurance, between 2 and 8 percent of those who sign up for Covered California are estimated to become uninsured, the analysis noted.

Can a transplant drug help eliminate lingering HIV infections?, Los Angeles Times

Researchers studying the effects of immune suppressant drugs on  transplant patients with HIV have made a surprising discovery: A drug intended to hobble the body’s defense system may actually help destroy dormant reservoirs of the virus that causes AIDS. In a paper published this week in the American Journal of Transplantation, authors found that when a small group of transplant patients received the drug sirolimus, they experienced a two- to threefold drop in HIV levels, whereas patients who received other immunosuppressants did not. “We were pleasantly surprised,” said study coauthor Dr. Steven Deeks, an HIV expert and professor of medicine at UC San Francisco. “It’s difficult with any drug to affect the [HIV] reservoir.”

Music soothes body and spirit at children’s hospital, San Francisco Chronicle

Six months ago, Oliver Jacobson became the first full-time music therapist at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, a position entirely funded by donors. He spends his days hauling a cart of instruments through the halls of the sixth and seventh floors of 505 Parnassus Ave., where on any given day there are at least 100 sick children doing their best to heal. At any given time, he is tasked with helping about two dozen.

Folding microscope opens up other worlds, San Francisco Chronicle

This story about a folding microscope developed by Stanford’s Manu Prakash quotes Judy Sakanari, a research parasitologist at UCSF who is working with Prakash on other medical tools for developing countries. The story also quotes Luke Lee, a bioengineering professor at UC Berkeley who works on global health problems, and mentions that at UC Berkeley, bioengineering professor Daniel Fletcher has come up with a small, inexpensive microscope called CellScope that attaches to smartphone cameras to take magnified pictures of blood and phlegm slides.

Insights into causes of autism grow, U-T San Diego

Autism, one of the most shadowy disorders ever faced by doctors and parents, is finally losing its mystery. At research centers in San Diego and across the country, the tools of modern biotechnology are allowing autism’s effects on the brain to be identified with greater specificity. More effective tests can now spot the neurological condition by the time a child turns 1 — and potentially even sooner. This earlier diagnosis leads to better treatment, and that usually means better outcomes. UC San Diego research is cited.

What’s happening with stem cell research in California?, Sacramento Business Journal

Nine of the first 14 disease research teams funded by California’s stem cell agency are actively enrolling patients for clinical trials or expect to begin doing so by the end of the year. Two trials at UC Davis have already started: one to test therapies related to HIV/AIDS and the other for congestive heart failure.

UCLA hospitals serve antibiotic-free meat in fight against superbugs, Los Angeles Times

Visitors and patients at UCLA hospitals probably won’t notice what’s gone missing from the chili, hamburgers and chicken dishes they order for lunch.But by putting antibiotic-free ground beef, ground beef patties and chicken breasts on the menus at the university’s Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, hospital officials hope to strike a blow against so-called superbugs. The article quotes Dr. Daniel Uslan, director of the UCLA Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, which works to assure drugs are used properly in the university’s health system, and UCLA Health director of nutrition Patricia Oliver.

After radical brain surgery, Mission Viejo man beats the odds, The Orange County Register

This story is on a Mission Viejo man who underwent a hemispherectomy surgery at UCLA 20 years ago to treat uncontrollable seizures.  He recently received his high school diploma and hopes to work in the office of the Orange County Fire Authority.  His surgeon, Dr. Warwick Peacock, professor of surgery, and Sue Yudovin, pediatric nurse practitioner, are quoted.

Local woman facing heart/lung transplant, U-T San Diego

This story is about a 22-year-old Escondido woman who suffers from pulmonary arterial hypertension and is awaiting a heart and lung transplant at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.  Her physician, Dr. David Ross, medical director of the UCLA Lung Transplant program, is interviewed.

The hospital-dependent patient, The New York Times

This piece highlights a New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece co-authored by UCLA Dr. David Reuben, chief of the division of geriatrics, on hospital-dependent patients whose health is so fragile that they repeatedly return to hospital. Reuben is quoted.

Medical breakthroughs! How combining medicine and technology is changing everything (video), Extra

Dr. Neil Martin, chair of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is featured in this story. He describes how UCLA researchers are blending technology with medicine to bring new hope to people with spinal-cord injuries, enable surgeons to virtually rehearse procedures and treat people with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease using brain implants.

Controversy follows UC Irvine scientist’s brain scan testimony, Voice of OC

Long one of UC Irvine’s most expensive medical investments, the PET Brain Imaging Center has given physicians an unmatched tool in the fight against diseases from cancer to dementia. The facility allows physicians to use radioactive compounds to observe brain activity in living individuals, engendering research programs and eventually developing new treatments. But in recent years, the center and a long-time clinical director, Dr. Joseph C. Wu, have earned a national reputation for dubious use of the technology for forensic diagnoses in court cases, which records show can bring in more than $20,000 per case.

UC Merced researchers to study kids, Valley fever, Merced Sun-Star

Erin Gaab, a postdoctoral scholar at UC Merced’s Health Sciences Research Institute, is taking the initiative in looking closer at the psycho-social issues faced by families with children who have been diagnosed with Valley fever. With the help of 13 undergraduate research assistants, Gaab is leading the pediatric coccidioidomycosis research project, which aims to better understand the quality of life and psychological functioning of Valley fever patients in California.

Medical profession falls short in recruiting minorities for research, study says, The Sacramento Bee

A new UC Davis study published by the American Cancer Society found that of the 10,000 clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1997, only about 150 focused on a particular ethnic or minority population. That accounts for less than 2 percent of all clinical trials, said Julie Dang, director of the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training, based at UC Davis.

State ‘deferred action’ immigrants less likely to use health care, California Healthline/Payers & Providers

Latino young adults who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in California are less likely to use medical services than young adults born in the U.S., according to a recent study. The study was conducted by researchers from the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of March 23

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC hospital strike averted by tentative contract agreement, Los Angeles Times

A strike planned this week by 13,000 UC hospital technical workers was averted with the announcement Sunday of a tentative four-year contract agreement. The pact between UC and the AFSCME 3299 union concludes more than a year of tense negotiations and means that UC’s five major medical centers and numerous health clinics around the state will operate as normal Monday. Up until the agreement, the union for respiratory therapists, operating room technicians and radiology workers had threatened to start a five-day strike Monday and the university had been prepared to hire replacement workers, potentially costing millions of dollars. A ratification vote has been scheduled for later this week. Read UC press release.

See additional coverage: Orange County Register, San Francisco Chronicle, Contra Costa Times, California Healthline, KPCC, Associated Press

Long winding road to approval for new drugs, San Francisco Chronicle

Under the new Partnership to Accelerate Clinical Trials, a single ethics board will serve multiple test sites that make up a clinical trial. Traditionally, each site has its own ethics committee: 15 sites, for example, have a total of 15 boards. “That’s a lot of delay, a lot of wasted time and energy, without much benefit,” said Dr. Clay Johnston, who helped start the nonprofit as director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at UCSF. The partnership, which is under the banner of the Bay Area BioEconomy Initiative, includes Stanford University, UC Davis, Children’s Hospital Oakland, Sutter Health and Dignity Health.

Brain changes suggest autism starts in the womb (audio), NPR

The symptoms of autism may not be obvious until a child is a toddler, but the disorder itself appears to begin well before birth. Brain tissue taken from children who died and also happened to have autism revealed patches of disorganization in the cortex, a thin sheet of cells that’s critical for learning and memory, in the New England Journal of Medicine. Tissue samples from children without autism didn’t have those characteristic patches. Organization of the cortex begins in the second trimester of pregnancy. “So something must have gone wrong at or before that time,” says Eric Courchesne, an author of the paper and director of the Autism Center of Excellence at UC San Diego. The new study appears to confirm from UCLA showing that people with autism tend to have genetic changes that could disturb the formation of layers in the cortex. Stanley Nelson, a psychiatrist at UCLA, also is interviewed.

See additional coverage: KPBS

Fresno research leads to speedier Valley fever test, The Fresno Bee

Doctors in the San Joaquin Valley have a new, fast way to help diagnose Valley fever using a test developed in a Fresno hospital laboratory. The Fresno test is the brainchild of Dr. Dominic T. Dizon, an associate clinical professor at the UCSF-Fresno Medical Education Program, and Marilyn Mitchell, supervisor of the microbiology laboratory at Community Regional Medical Center. The article quotes Dizon and Dr. Michael Peterson, a pulmonary specialist and head of medicine at the UCSF-Fresno Medical Education Program. UC Davis is mentioned.

Doctors say don’t give birth to baby in a tub, but midwives disagree, NPR

Hospitals are increasingly giving women the option of going through labor or giving birth in a pool of warm water. Laboring in the tub is fine, the nation’s obstetricians and pediatricians say, but there’s not enough proof that it’s safe to actually give birth in one. The doctors’ statement has raised eyebrows among nurse-midwives, who have been helping women deliver in water for decades in order to ease pain and speed delivery. The story quotes Jenna Shaw-Battista, director of the Nurse-Midwifery Education Program at UC San Francisco, and Dr. Aaron Caughey, an associate professor of maternal-fetal medicine at UC San Francisco and a member of the committee that wrote the opinion.

Interprofessional education: It’s here to stay, Medscape

This article highlights how UC San Francisco is incorporating interprofessional education. The effort has paid off, and not only students, but patients, are now reaping the benefits. JoAnne M. Saxe has seen firsthand the value of IPE in the education of prelicensure health care professional students. As a health sciences clinical professor, and co-director of the Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Master’s Specialty at the UCSF School of Nursing, she is involved in curriculum development and in teaching several courses that integrate IPE principles and content. In fact, according to Saxe, one of the greatest things about IPE is the number of different ways that it can be accomplished.

UCSF Fresno taking on 100 new residents, Fresno Business Journal

The UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program will welcome 100 new physicians to start their medical residency training this summer.

UC San Francisco takes Children’s under its wing, San Francisco Business Times

The University of California is taking steps to bolster Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland in coming years, starting with a near-term bond refinancing and followed up by a planned big loan in 2016 to fund capital projects at the Oakland pediatric hospital. The Regents of the University of California recently approved plans for UC San Francisco and its UCSF Health System to retire and refinance $55.5 million in existing tax-exempt debt obligations held by Children’s Oakland, which formally affiliated with UCSF in January.

Women’s hospital part of a trend toward improving women’s medical care, California Health Report

UCSF Medical Center is set to open a new woman’s hospital next year, one that is is part of a growing trend toward research and health care geared specifically to women’s needs.

California experiencing a dentist shortage, reports UCLA study, Los Angeles Examiner

Currently, many health care analysts predict a shortage of doctors in California, fueled by an influx of patients from enrollment in the Affordable Care Act. On March 26, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released a report that California is currently impacted by a shortage of dentists that is expected to worsen.

Suspended animation? Docs try stopping clock to save lives, NBC News

Dr. Paul Vespa, director of the neurocritical care program at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and a professor of neurosurgery and neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is interviewed about a new clinical trial placing trauma victims in a state of suspension by inducing hypothermia to help slow down cellular activity.

Los Angeles County public health director announces retirement, plans to return to UCLA, Los Angeles Daily News

After 16 years leading the nation’s second-largest public health department, Dr. Jonathan Fielding announced Thursday he will retire as soon as his replacement is found. Fielding, 71, said in a letter to his 4,000 member staff at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health that he plans to return to teaching at UCLA to help train future public health leaders. He credited the department with helping to launch the restaurant grading system, increase emergency preparedness, and hold the largest immunization effort in the county against the H1N1 influenza strain, among other campaigns.

Selling a poison by the barrel: Liquid nicotine for e-cigarettes, The New York Times

A dangerous new form of a powerful stimulant is hitting markets nationwide, for sale by the vial, the gallon and even the barrel. The drug is nicotine, in its potent, liquid form — extracted from tobacco and tinctured with a cocktail of flavorings, colorings and assorted chemicals to feed the fast-growing electronic cigarette industry. These “e-liquids,” the key ingredients in e-cigarettes, are powerful neurotoxins. Tiny amounts, whether ingested or absorbed through the skin, can cause vomiting and seizures and even be lethal. A teaspoon of even highly diluted e-liquid can kill a small child. “It’s not a matter of if a child will be seriously poisoned or killed,” said Lee Cantrell, director of the San Diego division of the California Poison Control System and a professor of pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco. “It’s a matter of when.”

Electronic cigarettes won’t help smokers quit, study claims (video), CBS News

Using an electronic cigarette won’t make you any more likely to quit smoking actual cigarettes, according to a new study. In a new research letter published March 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers at UC San Francisco surveyed the same group of about 950 smokers in November 2011 and 2012 and asked them about their smoking habits. They found those who tried e-cigarettes were no more likely to quit than those who hadn’t.

See additional coverage: KPCC (audio)

Cooking kills four million people a year, Quartz

Nasty airborne particles kill 7 million people a year prematurely, reports the World Health Organization—way more than previous estimates. What’s causing the air inside people’s homes to be so poisonous it kills around 11,000 people a day?  Stoves. “Having an open fire in your kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour,” says Kirk Smith, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, whose research suggests that household air pollution from cooking killed between 3.5 million and 4 million people prematurely in 2010.

Obamacare: California proving new health care law can work, San Jose Mercury News

As thousands of California procrastinators try to beat Monday’s midnight deadline to apply for a health care plan, they’ll be joining more than 1 million others in the Bellwether State who already have enrolled through California’s health insurance exchange. And another 2 million have been determined eligible for Medi-Cal, the state’s program for the poor. With exchange sign-ups in the state exceeding many projections for the first six months of open enrollment, health care experts say the federal law has worked in California pretty much as it was meant to — despite startup hassles such as a glitchy website and hourlong waits to talk to a human being on the phone. The article quotes Laurel Lucia, a policy analyst at UC Berkeley’s Labor Center. Lucia said the center’s modeling — done in conjunction with health policy experts at UCLA — showed it would take between three and five years before enrollment in California health plans levels off.

Obamacare: Asian-Americans sign up in droves; Latinos disproportionately stay away, San Jose Mercury News

Of the nearly 700,000 people who enrolled in a health plan as of Feb. 28 through the Covered California health insurance exchange and identified their ethnicity, 23.1 percent were Asian or Pacific Islander. Twenty-two percent were Latino. But the statistics are startling when you consider that Latinos make up 38.2 percent of California’s population and Asians just 13.7 percent. ”It’s the only thing that has been surprising to us so far — the higher Asian-American enrollment,” said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the UC Berkeley Labor Center, which worked with health policy experts at UCLA to make projections about the Obamacare rollout in California. The article also quotes David Hayes-Bautista, a professor of medicine and director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the UCLA School of Medicine, and Norm Matloff, a UC Davis computer science professor.

What do you need to know about Obamacare? (audio), KALW

Laurel Lucia, a policy analyst at UC Berkeley’s Labor Center, joins a discussion of the Affordable Care Act, a topic she has researched for more than four years.

UC Merced, UC Davis collaborate on new virtual physical therapy software, California Healthline

In the not-so-distant future, physical therapy patients could toss their hand outs with stick-figure drawings to the wind and instead do their prescribed exercises in the company of virtual physical therapists.A new system using avatars and patient-specific motions offers new promise for physical therapy. Computer scientist Marcelo Kallmann once used his expertise in computer animation, virtual reality and motion planning to develop new applications for video games. Now the associate professor at UC Merced is working on an answer to that question, one that could offer a long-term solution to an anticipated shortage of physical therapists — virtual physical therapy software. Kallmann has collaborated with Jay Han, an expert in physical medicine and rehabilitation at UC Davis.

UC Davis Med Center, Stockton hospital drop joint-venture plans, Sacramento Business Journal

The UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento and Dameron Hospital Association in Stockton announced Thursday they have dropped plans to pursue a joint venture after two years of negotiations.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of March 16

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC medical centers plan to slash up to $150 million from annual budgets, San Francisco Business Times

The University of California and its five medical centers, including UCSF Medical Center and UC Davis Medical Center, are embarking on an effort to shave up to $150 million from their collective annual budgets. The UC Regents approved the so-called “Leveraging Scale for Value” project at its meeting at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus Thursday, officials said. The effort will focus on cutting costs in three main areas: supply chain, revenue cycle and clinical laboratories. It’s part of a broader plan by UC President Janet Napolitano to cut costs and become more efficient — not a UC strength in the past. “We are leveraging the UC system’s collective strength to become more efficient,”Dr. John Stobo, UC senior vice president for health sciences and services, said in the March 20 statement. Read UC press release.

See additional coverage: California Healthline, Daily Bruin

Children’s Hospital Oakland finds safe harbor under UC San Francisco, The Hayward Daily Review

Noah Smith watched as his leg was fitted for a brace to help support his left heel, which can now touch the ground after a six-hour surgery at Children’s Hospital Oakland. Before, the 11-year-old could walk only on his left toes, an effect of cerebral palsy. But then his family, who lives in the Central Valley, found Dr. Coleen Sabatini, and she was able to extend his hamstring and Achilles tendon to resolve the problem. “The service, the care they give, Dr. Sabatini, they’ve all been excellent,” said Chuck Pasquale, Noah’s grandfather. Thanks to a new affiliation between Children’s and UC San Francisco Medical Center, that quality of care should be available to youngsters for many years to come. The deal between the two hospitals, nearly two years in the making and following exploration of linking with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, promises to shore up the finances and perhaps ensure the survival of previously struggling Children’s, the Bay Area’s only pediatric Level 1 trauma center.

California faces shortage of primary care doctors (video), CBS San Francisco

Friday is “Match Day,” when graduating medical students find out where they will do their residency training. But doctors are worried that there are not enough primary care physicians to meet growing demand. UCSF medical student Elise Taylor, who is interested in practicing in primary care, and UCSF Dr. Kevin Grumbach, are interviewed.

UC patient care technical workers plan strike, Sacramento Business Journal

The University of California’s 13,000 patient care technical workers — including 2,900 at UC Davis — have approved a five-day strike from March 24 through March 28. Workers are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, which has been in collective bargaining with the university for well over a year.

UC-corporate links produce trove of patents, study finds, San Francisco Chronicle

Corporations often attract criticism for funding university research, but a study published Thursday argues these sometimes controversial deals produce more innovations than those subsidized with taxpayer money. Research from UC Berkeley found that corporate-sponsored inventions at the University of California system over 15 years generated more patents and licenses – two benchmarks of innovation – than did those solely backed by the federal government, the traditional and largest source of funds. Businesses provided $3.2 billion, or 5 percent, of American universities’ total research budgets in 2012, a portion that has been stable since the 1970s, according to the National Science Foundation. Such partnerships are unusually common at the UC system’s 10 campuses and three associated national laboratories, which lead discoveries in medicine, engineering and other fields.

Making tech transfer work for universities, U-T San Diego

Tech transfer is about dancing robots and curing brain cancer. Google and Gatorade, sleep apnea and gene-splicing. It’s how inventions and ideas — intellectual property — move out of university labs and get translated into commercial products and startup companies. Some $2.5 billion in licensing fees flowed to U.S. universities in 2010, with nearly 600 new companies formed. A bit of tech history: In post-World War II America, inventions developed on university campuses with federal funds were centrally licensed through Washington to sluggish results. Then, in 1981, the University of California’s Richard Atkinson helped formulate the Bayh-Dole act in Congress, which gave universities the right to license their own IP, giving an incentive to smart colleges and energizing the U.S. economy to the tune of an estimated $3 trillion in Northern California, alone, and billions more in San Diego. UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla is quoted and examples from UC Berkeley and UC San Diego are cited.

UC Davis Medical Center launches cord blood collection system, Sacramento Business Journal

New mothers at UC Davis Medical Center can now donate the umbilical cord blood of their babies to California’s first comprehensive public system of collecting cord blood for transplantation and medical research. UC Davis administers the program, which is funded by a temporary $2 fee on birth certificate copies that’s expected to generate $2 million annually through 2017. By then, the program may be self-supporting, or may need authorization to continue the fee.

UCSD to house Salk’s papers, U-T San Diego

The family of famed polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk has donated almost 900 boxes of the virologist’s papers to UC San Diego, where they will be preserved by the school’s Mandeville Special Collections department in Geisel Library. Salks’ three sons — Peter, Darrell and Jonathan –recently gave the papers to the campus, which also was named the official repository for Salks’ holdings. All of the material will be kept a Geisel, which is about a 10 minute walk from the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences on North Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla. UC San Diego already houses the papers of such well-known figure as children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel, and three Nobel laureates, Francis Crick, Harold Urey and Maria Goeppert Mayer, and Leo Szilard, the physicist who is widely regarded as the father of the atomic bomb.

A prescription for team work: Conejo doctors band together against UCLA incursion, Pacific Coast Business Times

About 100 doctors in East Ventura County are fighting for their independence by working together. They’re members of Choice Health Associates, a loose affiliation of physicians in private practice who have teamed up to better compete with big out-of-town providers. The biggest of those competitors in the Conejo Valley is UCLA Health System, which has opened offices in Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks over the past two years.

Doctors hunting rare polio-like illness getting tripped up, San Francisco Chronicle

Stanford University and UCSF neurologists leading the investigation into a rare polio-like paralysis that’s affected at least two dozen children in California are still hunting for the source of the illness, and they’re finding themselves hampered by delays in reporting cases and questions about how to even describe the disease.

New health law is sending many back to school, The New York Times

Professional development classes constantly need to adapt to new realities, and that is especially true now in health care management, with the Affordable Care Act changing the rules for patients, managers, doctors and other health workers.Key provisions of the law, including the requirement that most people obtain health insurance and the creation of online insurance marketplaces where individuals can buy insurance, are leading to new policies and practices down the line. Confusion has inevitably ensued. But that could mean career opportunities for professionals with the best and most current understanding of the law and the way it is being put into practice. UCLA modified its certificate program in health care management, begun in 2005, in part to address the Affordable Care Act passed four years ago. Dylan Roby, an assistant professor of health policy and management in the university’s School of Public Health, is quoted.

Thousands of young California immigrants eligible for coverage — though often they don’t know it, Kaiser Health News/Los Angeles Daily News

California  is one of just a few states that is funding coverage for many young immigrants in the deferred action program.  Up to 125,000 low-income immigrants  statewide could qualify under the state’s Medi-Cal program for the poor, according to a report by University of California researchers. Many in this group are expected to remain uninsured, however, because they are not aware of their eligibility, have trouble enrolling or are worried about the impact on other relatives here illegally. Claire Brindis, director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at UC San Francisco and one of the authors of the report about the immigrant youth, is quoted. Los Angeles County-run Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is mentioned.

Thirdhand smoke poses health danger, especially to children, scientists say, The Sacramento Bee

A new study funded by the University of California’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program found that smoke residue on carpeting and furniture, known as thirdhand smoke, could damage DNA and increase the risk of cancer. The researchers said the smoke — which can last for several months in households and cars — poses a particular risk to children who are more likely to touch surfaces and put items in their mouth. The article quotes Bo Hang of Berkeley Lab and Kent Pinkerton and Mike Schivo of UC Davis.

Chronic condition most often caused by tobacco exposure, U-T San Diego

Dr. Xavier Soler, associate director of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program and the Clinical Trials Center & Airway Research Center at UC San Diego School of Medicine, is featured in this story about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of conditions caused almost exclusively by tobacco exposure in which limited or reduced airflow is the universal trait.

The doctor will see you onscreen, The New Yorker

UC Davis Health System is featured in this story about telemedicine. Thomas Nesbitt, the associate vice chancellor for technology at UC Davis Health System, is quoted.

Warning signs: How pesticides harm the young brain, The Nation

A pathbreaking UC Berkley study led by Brenda Eskenazi has detected developmental problems in children born to mothers who toiled in pesticide- treated fields.

What the world’s second most famous brain can teach public speakers, Forbes

In 1953, an epileptic had brain surgery to attempt to relieve the seizures he was experiencing that were making his life a nightmare.  A neurosurgeon, William Beecher Scoville, removed a piece of Henry Molaison’s brain about the size of an apple, and cured him of his seizures. Unfortunately, the operation also robbed H.M. (as he came to be called) of his memory.  He lived the rest of his life in the moment, but not in the wonderful sense the Zen masters mean.  Rather, as he saw the same nurses and doctors day after day, he greeted them as if for the first time, each time.  His brain thus became the world’s second most famous (after Einstein’s) because of what it told us about how memories are formed.  H.M. and his brain were studied right up to 2008, when he died, and his brain was frozen and sliced for further research after his death. Now researchers at UC San Diego have analyzed H.M’s brain in detail in ways that were not available in the past.

The future of brain implants, The Wall Street Journal

This story on brain implants mentions research by neurosurgeon Itzhak Fried and his colleagues at UCLA. It also notes that engineers like Michel Maharbiz and Jose Carmena and their colleagues at UC Berkeley are developing a wireless brain interface that they call “neural dust,” where thousands of biologically neutral microsensors would convert electrical signals into ultrasound that could be read outside the brain.

See additional coverage: Washington Post

UCSF team develops early-warning system for preterm labor, San Francisco Chronicle

A team of UCSF obstetricians and bioengineers is building a wireless device that can be inserted into a pregnant woman’s vagina and monitor her cervix and, when necessary, send an alert that the woman may be going into premature labor. The device, which will be similar in size and shape to a diaphragm used for birth control, would be the first early-warning system for preterm labor, which is the main cause of death among newborns worldwide.

Contest teaches students how to cook, eat well, San Francisco Chronicle

The first Teens Cook With Heart Bay Bridge Challenge, sponsored by the American Heart Association, was designed to highlight how easy it is to cook and eat well. “This is the most important kind of education,” said Dr. Robert Lustig, a UCSF pediatric endocrinologist and one of the day’s judges. “This is education they can use.”

Study: EHR data accurately predicts sepsis, Health Data Management

Researchers from UC Davis have shown that electronic health records can be used effectively to predict the onset of sepsis, a leading cause of death and hospitalization in the United States.

Active MRI shows how joints work (video), Voice of America

Researchers at UC Davis now say they have developed a new method that enables them to see moving images of body joints.

‘Trackers’ willing to share health data, U-T San Diego

People who use wearable devices and smartphone apps to track their health and fitness are generally willing to share their data with researchers, says a new UC San Diego survey that takes a narrow look at “self-trackers.” But respondents say their privacy would have to be assured. The survey was conducted by the school’s California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), which is involved in the development of both apps and wearable devices.

Computers stolen from UCSF contained 9,000 pateints’ data, Bay City News Service

The University of California at San Francisco is notifying more than 9,000 people that their personal data has been compromised after desktop computers were stolen from a clinic. The computers were stolen on or around Jan. 11 from the UCSF Family Medicine Center at Lakeshore, at 1569 Sloat Blvd., according to university officials.

UC Davis to help Kentucky collie shot in the jaw, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis veterinarians hope to partially reconstruct the jaw of a Kentucky collie that was shot in the muzzle. 

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of March 9

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Accelerated medical school proposal could yield more physicians, less debt, California Healthline

Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla said her bill to accelerate the medical school process from four years to three could have a significant impact for the state. AB 1838 would help young physicians by lightening the weight of their school loans and help California by having physicians start their practices a year early, Bonilla said. UC Davis would kick off the new accelerated program, Bonilla said. It plans to enroll its first class of four accelerated students in the summer of 2014. That choice of school has an added benefit, Bonilla said, in that the accelerated students would be on the rural primary care path — a particular need in California communities, she said. The bill was developed with the help of both the University of California and the Medical Board of California. “The University of California believes this change in law is straightforward and will benefit the state by reducing unnecessary and outdated barriers to practice in the state,” according to Cathryn Nation, the associate vice president of health sciences and services for the UC system.

See additional coverage: Sacramento Business Journal

University of California grants $2.5 million for health care improvement projects, San Francisco Business Times

The University of California gave $2.5 million total to four projects at its campuses — two of them at UC San Francisco — to improve health care and lower its cost. Grant recipients include UCSF’s Nathaniel Gleason for a project to improve communications between primary care doctors and specialists and Kevin Bozic to set up bundled payments for hip and knee replacements, as well as UC Davis’ Elisa Tong to develop a UC Tobacco Cessation Network and UC San Diego’s William Perry to cut down on overuse of emergency rooms by psychiatric patients by screening them better and giving them referalls. Read UC release.

See additional coverage: California Healthline, City News Service/KPBS

Calif. schools receive top rankings for medical health specialties, California Healthline

Several California graduate schools have received top rankings for health-related areas of study in a list released by U.S. News & World Report. Several UC schools are mentioned. Read UC coverage.

UC’s patient care technical workers to vote to authorize strike, Bay City News

Patient care technical workers at University of California health care facilities will vote on whether to authorize a strike this week, union officials said today. Around 13,000 patient care technical workers will vote on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299. University spokeswoman Dianne Klein said the UC has agreed to the union’s demands in areas including pensions, benefits and paid time off, but the two sides continue to disagree over wages.

UCSF, Salesforce in talks for S.F. Mission Bay site, San Francisco Chronicle

UCSF has entered “advanced discussions” with Salesforce.com to purchase part of the company’s sizable property in Mission Bay, the school says. The two sides could reach a deal within four months, which would allow the university to add parking and research and administration buildings to its burgeoning campus.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Business Times

First-ever blood test identifies impending Alzheimer’s disease, Los Angeles Times

For the first time, a test that detects 10 types of lipids, or fats, circulating in a person’s blood has been shown to predict accurately whether he or she will develop the memory loss and mental decline of Alzheimer’s disease over the next two to three years. A screening test based on the findings could be available in as little as two years, said the researchers who identified the blood biomarkers. The researchers — from the University of Rochester, Georgetown University and UC Irvine — did not start with a list of possible biomarkers, but recruited 525 subjects at least 70 years old. The team scoured their blood for possibilities while waiting to see which subjects would develop dementia symptoms.

See additional coverage: Orange County Register, U-T San Diego

Arsenic-free water — aided by Bay Area team’s technology, San Francisco Chronicle

Arsenic silently kills tens of millions of people through their drinking water, whether in developing countries like Bangladesh and India or even the Central Valley. Years of unintentional exposure to the odorless and tasteless chemical can cause cancer, skin lesions and severe damage to key organs. “Imagine yourself drinking a glass of clean, fresh water from the tap,” said Susan Amrose, a lecturer in UC Berkeley’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “A glass full of arsenic would look exactly the same as that.” Amrose and a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are developing a patented technology that uses electricity to remove arsenic from water, making it safe to consume. Citing the invention’s efficiency and affordability, Luminous Water Technologies in India has deployed the technology to villages in India and Bangladesh.

Beating malaria’s fatal bite, The Orange County Register

Along the rural Thailand side of the Moei River that borders Myanmar, health care workers routinely test for malaria by walking from hut to hut, collecting blood samples.During one collection last spring, UC Irvine biomedical engineering professor William Tang and four of his undergraduate students tagged along. Tang’s research lab is working to create a low-cost, rapid way to diagnose malaria, a life-threatening disease transmitted to humans by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito, which carries the malaria-causing parasite in its blood. Tang wants to diagnose malaria using saliva instead of blood, which is obtained with a finger prick.

Robot is good for both patient and doctor, U-T San Diego

Police officers and interventional cardiologists have something heavy in common: Both don metal to protect them from the hazards of their professions. But while cops will wear bulletproof vests as long as crooks carry guns, new technology now in use at UC San Diego’s Thornton Hospital in La Jolla takes docs out of the line of fire. A $500,000 robot allows cardiologists to shed the heavy leaded aprons, jackets and thyroid shields that many studies show cause back problems and offer incomplete protection from X-rays used to guide the catheters that restore blood flow in blocked arteries.

Time to learn about your microbiome, U-T San Diego

You know about your genome. But what about your microbiome? They are separate but related things that are increasingly being mentioned by such renowned scientists as J. Craig Venter, a La Jolla geneticist, and Larry Smarr, a UC San Diego computer scientist.  A Q&A with Smarr.

Random start ovarian stimulation gives cancer patients hope, San Francisco Chronicle

When Bree Dusbiber was diagnosed with breast cancer in October, one of her first thoughts was to wonder if the illness or the treatment might hurt her ability to have children someday. But then the full force of the unexpected health crisis hit her, and she focused on surgeries and treatment strategies. When she finally met with a fertility doctor at UCSF, he gently suggested that she consider freezing some eggs – and soon. Dr. Mitchell Rosen, director of the UCSF Fertility Preservation Center, is interviewed.

UCSF neuroscientists peer into the brain, San Francisco Chronicle

“The brain is the master clock, the super-organ that controls everything,” said Mickey Hart, drummer, rock ‘n’ roller, ethnomusicologist and neuroscience research collaborator. We were in the UCSF Mission Bay complex, and Hart was greeting guests at the launch of Adam Gazzaley’s Neuroscape Lab. He was wearing a close-fitting cap studded with sensors that could read his brain waves, a heart-shaped pendant that blinked lights in time with his heartbeats, and in case you didn’t notice all that, a bright orange shirt. But even if he’d been wearing a sports jacket and tie, as most gents were at this “introduction to the lab”/fundraising opportunity, the musician’s enthusiasm in contributing to science was obvious. “My grandmother had Alzheimer’s,” he told the crowd. “And I played the drum for her. And then she said my name. … I knew that the master clock laid down the groove.”

UCSF researchers studying recent spate of polio-like illnesses in California, California Health Report

In the last year and a half, doctors in California have seen about twenty cases of what may be a new disease. Patients, usually children, quickly and permanently lose muscle function in an arm or leg, sometimes, but not always after having respiratory symptoms. According to a recent update by UCSF, although the newly identified illness shares some features with polio—which killed and disabled tens of thousands of people in the U.S. before a vaccine was developed in the 1950s –the new condition is not the same disease as polio. UCSF researchers who will report on the disease at the American Academy of Neurology meeting next month say the cause of the disease is still unknown, but a strong possibility is that it is caused by a virus known as enterovirus-68, which was detected in two of five cases that the UCSF researchers will report on.

Celebs stepped out for show benefiting UCSF Children’s Hospital, CBS San Francisco

San Francisco got a generous dose of Hollywood-style glitz and glamour Monday night when several celebrities and internationally-known entertainers performed at a special event that raised funds for programs that help sick children throughout California.The benefit, that took place at Davies Symphony Hall, titled “A Starry Evening of Music, Comedy and Surprises,” included appearances from celebrities such as actress Annette Bening, singers Josh Groban & Amber Riley and comedienne Kathy Griffin. Money raised at the Vaudeville-style show benefits UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and The Painted Turtle, a camp for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses that was co-founded by the late Paul Newman a decade ago.

UC Davis MIND Institute wins national recognition, Sacramento Business Journal

The UC Davis MIND Institute has achieved coveted designation as an Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, an elite group of only 15 neurodevelopmental centers nationwide. It comes with a grant of $6.5 million over five years. Matching funds from the institute and university bring the total to $10.5 million.

Microbes in space (audio), Capital Public Radio

Microbes collected from the floor of SleepTrain Arena in Sacramento and the Cal Aggie stadium at UC Davis are headed to space later this week. The microbes are being sent to the International Space Station, and their growth rates in microgravity will be monitored and compared to counterparts kept in a lab at UC Davis.

See additional coverage: Sacramento Bee

Regularly sleeping too long may indicate a health problem, The Washington Post

Alon Y. Avidan, a neurologist who directs the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, is quoted in this story about “long sleepers.”

The ’60s are gone, but psychedelic research trip continues (audio), NPR

Dr. Charles Grob, UCLA professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute, is interviewed about clinical research on medical and psychiatric uses for LSD and other psychedelic drugs, and the difficulty scientists have in securing funding for this type of research.

Casinos, sites of excess, might actually help families slim down (audio), NPR

Dr. Neil Halfon, professor of pediatrics, public health and public policy and director of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, is interviewed about the impact of research showing that Native American communities with casinos tend to have higher household incomes and lower rates of childhood obesity.

Emotions vented online are contagious, study finds, The Wall Street Journal

In the digital swirl of Facebook status updates, emotions expressed online can be contagious, according to a new study encompassing more than 100 million people in the U.S. and a billion messages they posted. Moreover, upbeat messages were far more likely than negative ones to affect the mood of others online, researchers at the University of California, San Diego, Yale University and Facebook Inc. reported Wednesday in one of the largest public studies of the social network to date. The article quotes UC San Diego political scientist James Fowler, who was lead author on the research published online in the journal PLOS ONE.

Covered California closing in on one million, California Healthline

Covered California officials announced yesterday that almost one million Californians have signed up for health insurance through the new exchange, far exceeding estimates. “We are at more than 920,000 Californians who have picked a plan through the health benefit exchange,” Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said. “That has more than exceeded our base estimate.” The original “enhanced scenario” estimate by UC-Berkeley researchers — if everything went optimally well during the first six-month enrollment period — was 560,000 signups. Exchange officials Thursday said 923,832 people have enrolled as of March 9.

Hearing looks at high cost of medicine, California Healthline

“This is a time of great hope for many of us in health policy,” said Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) at last week’s Senate Committee on Health hearing, “Making Health Care Affordable: Exploring California’s Efforts.” “To date, more than 2.3 million Californians have been added to Medi-Cal or the exchange,” Hernandez said. “These successes should be celebrated, but they do come at a great cost.” That cost is borne by taxpayers, employers and individuals, and that cost is too high, Hernandez said. “The next debate in the state and in the country has to be: Why are medical bills so high?” The article quotes Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Kaiser embraces telemedicine to improve access to dermatology (audio, video), KPBS

UC San Diego Dr. Casey Carlos is interviewed in this story about teledermatology.

Injured who lived near closed trauma centers more likely to die, Kaiser Health News

Injured patients who had to travel an average 13 minutes longer to reach a hospital trauma center because a facility nearer to home had closed were more likely to die of their injuries in the hospital, according to a new California study. The article quotes Renee Y. Hsia, lead author of the study and an associate professor of emergency medicine at University of California, San Francisco.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of March 2

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

What you need to know about flame retardants, Scientific American

Janine LaSalle, a microbiologist at the UC Davis MIND Institute, has investigated how persistent organic pollutants, including polybrominated diphenyl ethers, may influence fetal neurodevelopment at the molecular level.

Studies show big advance in HIV prevention, The Associated Press

Exciting research suggests that a shot every one to three months may someday give an alternative to the daily pills that some people take now to cut their risk of getting HIV. The experimental drug has only been tested for prevention in monkeys, but it completely protected them from infection in two studies reported at an AIDS conference on Tuesday. This article quotes Dr. Robert Grant, an AIDS expert at the Gladstone Institutes, a foundation affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco, and Dr. Judith Currier, an infectious disease specialist at UCLA.

Doctors hope for cure in a 2nd baby born with HIV, The Associated Press

A second baby born with the AIDS virus may have had her infection put into remission and possibly cured by very early treatment — in this instance, four hours after birth.Doctors revealed the case Wednesday at an AIDS conference in Boston. The girl was born in suburban Los Angeles last April, a month after researchers announced the first case from Mississippi. That was a medical first that led doctors worldwide to rethink how fast and hard to treat infants born with HIV, and the California doctors followed that example. “We don’t know if the baby is in remission … but it looks like that,” said Dr. Yvonne Bryson, an infectious disease specialist at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA who consulted on the girl’s care.

See additional coverage: New York Times

Twitter could give clues to HIV-related risky behaviors, The Huffington Post

This story reports on research led by Dr. Sean Young, assistant professor of family medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and co-director for the Center for Digital Behavior at UCLA, suggesting that real-time social media like Twitter could be used to track HIV and drug related behavior to detect potential outbreaks as a tool for prevention efforts.

A genetic entrepreneur sets his sights on aging and death, The New York Times

J. Craig Venter is the latest wealthy entrepreneur to think he can cheat aging and death. And he hopes to do so by resorting to his first love: sequencing genomes. On Tuesday, Dr. Venter announced that he was starting a new company, Human Longevity, which will focus on figuring out how people can live longer and healthier lives. To do that, the company will build what Dr. Venter says will be the largest human DNA sequencing operation in the world, capable of processing 40,000 human genomes a year. Obtaining the genomes to sample could also take time. Human Longevity said it would collaborate with the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego and offer to sequence the DNA of the tumors of all patients, as well as the DNA from healthy cells.

See additional coverage: U-T San Diego

UCSF opens virtual brain lab (video), ABC 7

Researchers at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus are opening a new window into the human brain. It’s an interactive lab that could soon be used to understand and even treat a variety of conditions. On the day we visited the system was being road tested by a celebrity supporter of the research — Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart. “I’m in training with my own brain waves, getting in sync with them,” says Hart as he drums along to videogame projected in front of him. The lab is the brain child, so to speak, of Adam Gazzaley, who specializes in combining biofeedback with videogames, to both probe and train the brain.

See additional coverage: KQED

Dr. Ephraim Engleman is 102 and has no plans to retire — ever, San Francisco Chronicle

On Monday, March 24, Dr. Ephraim P. Engleman turns 103. He doesn’t come into the office on Mondays, but the next day he’ll be driving the Cadillac Eldorado up from his home in San Mateo to UCSF Medical Center in Parnassus Heights. A Q&A with the UCSF arthritis expert.

UCLA program helps slow the mind’s aging, one exercise at a time, Kaiser Health News/The Washington Post

The UCLA Longevity Center and its innovative UCLA Memory Care program is featured in this article that points to the benefits discovered from combining memory training, stress management, and emotional support for both Alzheimer’s patient and caregivers.  Dr. Gary Small, Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging at the Semel Institute and director of the UCLA Longevity Center; Dr. Karen Miller, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute who developed the program; and Dr. Ashley Curiel, a psychologist and instructor at the UCLA Longevity Center, are quoted.

A powerful new way to edit DNA, The New York Times

UC Berkeley molecular and cell biology professor Jennifer Doudna’s founding contributions to the development of a revolutionary genetic engineering technique are discussed in a story about the “scientific frenzy” the discovery sparked.  “I knew it was like firing a starting gun in a race,” professor Doudna said.

New ‘lab on a chip’ IDs ancient plague from body in London, San Francisco Chronicle

Livermore gene detectives have used a new “lab on a chip” to rapidly identify ancient plague bacteria from a body in a London cemetery where victims were buried during the “Black Death” that devastated 14th century Europe. In another example of the high-speed gene-sniffing system’s power, the scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory say they also detected cholera microbes in the body of a victim who died in an outbreak of the disease in Philadelphia in 1849.

Young using e-cigarettes smoke too, study finds, The New York Times

Middle and high school students who used electronic cigarettes were more likely to smoke real cigarettes and less likely to quit than students who did not use the devices, a new study has found. They were also more likely to smoke heavily. But experts are divided about what the findings mean. The study’s lead author, Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who has been critical of the devices, said the results suggested that the use of e-cigarettes was leading to less quitting, not more.

E-cigarettes, by other names, lure young and worry experts, The New York Times

The emergence of e-hookahs and their ilk is frustrating public health officials who are already struggling to measure the spread of e-cigarettes, particularly among young people. The new products and new names have health authorities wondering if they are significantly underestimating use because they are asking the wrong questions when they survey people about e-cigarettes. The article mentions a conference for high school students that was focused on health issues and held at UC Berkeley. The article quotes Emily Anne McDonald, an anthropologist at UC San Francisco who is studying e-cigarette use among young people.

Teens’ brain structure may be altered by smoking, Time

Dr. Edythe London, professor of psychiatry and molecular and medical pharmacology in the Semel Institute and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is featured in this story about a study by her and her colleagues that showed young cigarette smokers have differences in a specific brain region compared with non-smokers, that the differences emerged even with a relatively light smoking habit, and finally, may be the reason adult smokers have such a difficult time quitting.

Health workers’ union pushes hospital cost control in California, Capital Public Radio/Kaiser Health News

A California health care workers’ union is collecting signatures to get two measures onto the ballot that it says would lower health care costs. United Health Care Workers West, or SEIU-UHW, wants to cap what hospitals can charge to 25 percent above the actual cost of services. SEIU-UHW says on average, hospitals charge 320 percent above the cost of care. The union also wants to cap CEO salaries at nonprofit hospitals to $450,000 a year. Health economist Dylan Roby at UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research is quoted.

Covered California begins ad blitz in final enrollment weeks, Los Angeles Times

With less than a month left for enrollment in Obamacare, California’s insurance exchange is applying a major dose of peer pressure. In a new TV ad blitz, recent enrollees extol the benefits of having coverage for checkups or a serious illness. A man plays soccer with his sons, a musician carries his guitar down the street. “I’m in,” young, fit-looking people say. “Are you in?” the announcer asks. This new marketing marks a more direct appeal to millions of uninsured Californians before open enrollment ends March 31. After March 31, people can’t enroll in most health plans again until late fall. Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, is quoted.

Same health plan, different costs in Los Angeles, San Bernardino counties, Los Angeles Daily News

While Californians may grumble about high health care premiums, consumers pay less through the Affordable Care Act in the Golden State compared with half the nation, according to a national analysis. Professor Shana Alex Lavarreda, director of health insurance studies and research scientist at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, is quoted.

Scripps celebrates $130M groundbreaking, U-T San Diego

Scripps Health moved another notch forward in its $2 billion renovation plan for Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla Wednesday with the ground breaking of a six-story $130 million medical office building on the Genesee Avenue medical campus. Scripps is not the only local health care player participating in the local health care building boom. La Jolla neighbor UC San Diego Health System opened its Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center in 2011 and broke ground in 2012 on Jacobs Medical Center, a 509,500-square-foot 10-story hospital building due to open in 2016. Kaiser Permanente San Diego made a move of its own in February, breaking ground on a new 565,000-square foot central hospital on Ruffin Road in Kearny Mesa at a cost of $900 million.

Big-name celebrities coming to S.F. event for kids, San Francisco Chronicle

A flock of big-name, big-heart celebrities – including Annette Bening, Danny DeVito, Josh Groban, Randy Newman, Jack Nicholson, Renee Zellweger and Bonnie Raitt – whooshes into Davies Symphony Hall on Monday for “A Starry Evening of Music, Comedy & Surprises.” The invitation list includes local tech stars, too. Jack Dorsey (Twitter and Square) and Sean Parker (Napster and Facebook) are on the event committee, along with more familiar names: Montana, Wilsey, Newsom, Traina and Baer. The evening is a benefit for the Painted Turtle, a camp for sick kids; the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, which cares for sick kids; and the Teddy Bear Rescue Fund, which helps the families of sick kids.

Fragile X in Colombia (audio), Capital Public Radio

Autism researcher Randi Hagerman from the UC Davis MIND Institute is interviewed on Insight about her work researching fragile X syndrome in Colombia.

New app helps with mental illness triage, Sacramento Business Journal

Sacramento-area youth in the early stages of severe mental illness can receive a smartphone app that helps them detect early warning signs of psychosis. The offer is part of a one-year, $588,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to a UC Davis clinic to study whether this kind of mobile technology can improve patient care.

BPA-free plastics linked to adverse human health effects (audio), KQED Forum

Meg Schwarzman, a research scientist at Berkeley’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Health and associate director of the UC Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, joins a discussion of controversial plastics additives.

Still not skinny, Christie cheered as a weight-loss surgery success, NBC News

Embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may be hurting politically, but he appears to be on track to shed much of his girth, says UC Irvine Health bariatric surgeon Dr. Ninh T. Nguyen. Nguyen, president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, says that Christie has likely shed between 90 to 100 pounds — or about 40 percent of his excess weight since undergoing bariatric surgery in February 2013.

Efforts to repeat controversial stem cell technique intensify, The Boston Globe

Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell scientist at UC Davis, has been chronicling the controversy about scientists who claim to have created stem cells with a simple acid bath and has been collecting early reports of scientists’ efforts to repeat the experiment on his blog.

Immediate medical help can save pet after poisoning, San Francisco Chronicle

Karl Jandrey, associate professor of clinical small animal emergency and critical care at UC Davis, discusses recent pet poisonings in San Francisco and offers advice to pet owners.

Column: FDA meningitis vaccine delay killing Americans, USA Today

UC Santa Barbara began vaccinations for meningitis on Feb. 24. The vaccinations are welcome, but too late for UCSB lacrosse player Aaron Loy, whose feet were amputated after he contracted meningitis in November. The reason Loy and other UCSB students hadn’t already been vaccinated is because the federal Food and Drug Administration has delayed the vaccine’s approval, writes K. Lloyd Billingsley, a fellow at the Independent Institute.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Feb. 23

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Strike averted with contract settlement at UC, Los Angeles Times

The University of California system and the union that represents 8,300 custodians, food workers, gardeners and other campus service workers have reached a tentative contract agreement, averting what was threatened to be a disruptive five-day strike next week, officials announced Thursday. The four-year contract agreement between UC and AFSCME 3299 ends the most tense labor situation facing the 10 campuses and five medical centers at the university. Negotiations have dragged on for more than a year. The union held two brief strikes last year and was planning another to start Monday.

See additional coverage: San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Business Times, Sacramento Business Journal, Westside Today, KPBS (audio), CalWatchDog

A hot debate over e-cigarettes as a path to tobacco, or from it, The New York Times

Dr. Michael Siegel, a hard-charging public health researcher at Boston University, argues that e-cigarettes could be the beginning of the end of smoking in America. He sees them as a disruptive innovation that could make cigarettes obsolete, like the computer did to the typewriter. But his former teacher and mentor, Stanton A. Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, is convinced that e-cigarettes may erase the hard-won progress achieved over the last half-century in reducing smoking. He predicts that the modern gadgetry will be a glittering gateway to the deadly, old-fashioned habit for children, and that adult smokers will stay hooked longer now that they can get a nicotine fix at their desks. The story also quotes Dr. Neal L. Benowitz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who has spent his career studying the pharmacology of nicotine.

Calif. students getting unlicensed meningitis vaccine, CNN

Starting Monday, students at UC Santa Barbara will be getting an unapproved vaccine scientists hope will stop a meningococcal disease outbreak there, the university said.

Mystery illness causing paralysis not widespread, doctors say, San Francisco Chronicle

A mysterious illness that has caused polio-like paralysis in at least 20 California children – including half a dozen or so in the greater Bay Area – does not appear to be widespread or pose a significant threat to other families. In fact, doctors can’t yet say for sure that all of the cases are even the same disease. But doctors and public health officials who are eager to find the source of the illness said there may be other patients who have not yet been identified. The illness is not polio. All of the children identified so far had been vaccinated, and none of them tested positive for the virus that causes polio. But, like polio, their illness causes sudden paralysis in at least one limb, and so far the children have recovered very little strength or motor function since they first became sick. The first signs of the illness emerged in late 2012 in patients who were treated at Stanford and UCSF. Those cases and three others were described in a report released Monday, but doctors have found at least 15 other patients.

See additional coverage: Capital Public Radio (audio), KTLA 5 (video), Washington Post

Pain pill in pregnancy may raise child’s ADHD risk, study finds, NBC News

The “safest” drug for relieving aches and pains, lowering fever and treating headaches in pregnancy may not be so safe after all, according to a new report — it may raise the risk of ADHD and similar disorders in their children.Researchers found that pregnant women who frequently took acetaminophen, sold under the brand name Tylenol, were more likely to have children later diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and similar issues. They say it doesn’t mean that pregnant women must never, ever take the drug, but they said women may want to avoid using it frequently until more studies have been done. “We aren’t saying if you take one Tylenol once it will give your child hyperactivity,” said Dr. Beate Ritz, an epidemiologist at UCLA who worked on the study. “You should just avoid chronic or long-term use.”

See additional coverage: CBS News (video), Los Angeles Times, USA Today

Walgreens, UCSF to help manage prescriptions, San Francisco Chronicle

UCSF and pharmacy chain Walgreens are launching a joint effort to help patients smoothly, safely and accurately fill their prescriptions, the two will announce Tuesday.

Stanford’s StartX among region’s key university incubators, San Francisco Chronicle

Incubators like Stanford’s StartX are increasingly bridging the traditional gap between research and commerce – as well as helping fill universities’ wallets – by producing companies that go public or get acquired. In North America, one-third of the 1,250 business incubators were housed in universities in 2012, up from one-fifth in 2006, according to the National Business Incubation Association. The growth is particularly strong in the Bay Area, home to research powerhouses of Stanford, UC Berkeley and UCSF – all of which have their own incubators – as well as hundreds of biotechnology, software and Internet companies on the hunt for the next profitable innovation.

UCI cancer research center established, The Orange County Register

A newly established UC Irvine cancer research center will provide clinical trials for people with advanced-stage or treatment-resistant diseases. The university created the Sue and Ralph Stern Center for Cancer Clinical Trials and Research thanks to a $5 million donation from the Tustin couple. The new center will increase the scope of clinical trials at UC Irvine’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and help toward UC Irvine’s goal that cancer patients never have to leave Orange County to receive treatment.

Kaiser Permanente, UCSF provide 55 billion bits of genetic data to researchers, San Francisco Business Times

Kaiser Permanente and UC San Francisco have provided genetic data on 78,000 individuals — including 55 billion bits of discrete genetic data — to researchers worldwide through a National Institutes of Health database.

Michael Fischbach: Assistant professor, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco Business Times

UCSF assistant professor Michael Fischbach is featured in the San Francisco Business Times’ 40 Under 40.

Dede Wilsey on old guard vs. techie fundraising, love, art, San Francisco Chronicle

Dede Wilsey, a diminutive powerhouse who raised nearly $200 million to build the new de Young Museum in 2005, has served as the Fine Arts Museums’ president for more than 15 years. She has spearheaded a long list of blockbuster shows and raised money for numerous causes, including for the children, women and cnacer hospital at UC San Francisco.

Learning to cut the sugar, The New York Times

A Q&A with Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist who runs a weight management clinic for children and families at the University of California, San Francisco. Lustig, who believes that calories from sugar are driving an epidemic of obesity and chronic disease, discusses his newest book, “The Fat Chance Cookbook.”

The ADHD explosion: A new book explores factors that have fueled it, Los Angeles Times

“The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money and Today’s Push for Performance,” released this week by Oxford University Press, chronicles the steep increase in ADHD diagnoses in the United States over the last two decades. The new book offers provocative evidence that economic pressures and government policies — not just concern for children’s welfare — are behind the increase in diagnoses of the psychiatric disorder marked by hyperactivity, disorganization, impulsiveness, inattention and poor academic performance beginning in childhood. The authors of the new book — psychology professor Stephen P. Hinshaw and health economist Richard M. Scheffler, both of UC Berkeley, are hardly ADHD deniers: They acknowledge ADHD to be a disorder that can hobble the lives of those who have it, and they cite abundant evidence that the prescription stimulant medication used to tame ADHD’s symptoms can bring about remarkable improvement in those with the disorder.

Taking a step toward a machine that can think, Los Angeles Times

A profile of James Gimzewski, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA, highlighting his research on developing robotic systems that mimic the structure and function of the human brain. Gimzewski is quoted.

UCSD scientist awarded French Legion of Honor, U-T San Diego

Dr. Palmer Taylor, a UC San Diego researcher whose work has helped advance understanding of communication between nerve cells, received France’s highest honor Thursday from an old friend and ongoing collaborator. During a short ceremony at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy, Dr. Jean-Pierre Changeux pinned the French Legion of Honor medal to Taylor’s lapel. “You have created and strengthened Franco-American connections and, more importantly, friendship between our two countries,” Changeux said. A highly decorated neuroscientist who received his own Legion of Honor recognition in 2010, Changeux is a professor at Institut Pasteur and the Collège de France in Paris. Taylor has been the dean of the Skaggs School since it opened in 2002.

HTC takes on cancer with smartphone-powered supercomputer, The London Telegraph

UC Berkeley adjunct computer science professor David Anderson, inventor of Berkeley’s Shared Computing Initiative BOINC, has helped HTC develop a Power to Give initiative to harness the unused processing power in Android smartphones to create a supercomputer. The project will support vital research in the scientific and medical fields. “The impact that this project will have on the world over the years to come is huge. This changes everything,” Anderson says.

Heart transpant (video), Telemundo 52

This story is about a teenage girl who underwent a successful heart transplant at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA and now wants to spread the word about organ donation.  Her physician, Dr. Juan Alejos, medical director of the pediatric heart transplant program at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, is interviewed.

Osteoporosis screening strategies suboptimal for younger postmenopausal women, Reuters Health

This story reports on research led by Dr. Carolyn Crandall, professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research, finding that current osteoporosis screening guidelines may miss two-thirds of women aged 50 to 64. Crandall is quoted.

Jackson Laboratory, UC Davis expand research collaboration, Sacramento Business Journal

The Jackson Laboratory and UC Davis are expanding their 15-year collaboration to stretch research dollars and reduce operating expenses through mutual research and infrastructure support.

How stress affects mental health, PsychCentral

A UC Berkeley study informs a story about the harmful effects of stress on a person’s mental health. Previous research had found that the ratio of the brain’s white matter to gray matter is higher in those with stress-related mental disorders compared to those without, and the Berkeley researchers investigated why that is. They found that chronic stress leads to oligodendrocyte stem cells becoming myelin-producing cells rather than neurons, which in turn affects cognitive function.

Mindful meditation at school gives kids tools for emotional expression, Chicago Tribune

Hundreds of schools in California alone have mindful meditation programs, and educators see benefits. Mindfulness is said to help with focus, attention, calming the emotions and school performance. The article quotes Vicki Zakrzewski, the education director at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, which studies the science behind mindfulness, and Lorraine Hobbs, the director of youth and family programs at UC San Diego’s School of Medicine and Center for Mindfulness.

Report: 125,000 immigrants given deferred action eligible for Medi-Cal, Los Angeles Times

A new report shows that as many as 125,000 young California immigrants may qualify for an expansion of Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program.The Affordable Care Act bars insurance subsidies and enrollment in the Medicaid expansion for undocumented immigrants, but a wrinkle in California rules does offer coverage for those with “deferred action status.” The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was created by President Obama in 2012 to grant immigrants who came to the country illegally as children — sometimes called Dreamers — legal status and work authorization for two-year periods. Laurel Lucia, a policy analyst at the UC Berkeley Labor Center and author of the report released Tuesday, said California is one of the few states that lets youth with deferred action status enroll in Medicaid.

Inside Medicine: Doctor’s white coat may prevent communication, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis professor of medicine Michael Wilkes writes in his column that a doctor’s white coat is now a literal and figurative barrier that separates doctor and patient.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Feb. 16

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Union calls for five-day strike next month at UC, Los Angeles Times

The union representing the University of California’s 21,000 service workers and patient care employees has scheduled a five-day strike starting March 3 — which would be their third and longest walkout in less than a year. Unless a contract with UC is settled before March 3, AFSCME Local 3299 said its 8,300 food workers, custodians, gardeners and other service workers at UC’s 10 campuses and five medical centers would walk out for those five days next month. The union’s 13,000 patient care technical workers, such as respiratory therapists, would strike in sympathy, according to a union statement issued Thursday. UC system spokeswoman Dianne Klein said university leaders “are extremely disappointed that, even as contract negotiations continue, AFSCME leadership has called for yet another strike that that will hold our patients, students and staff hostage and cost the university tens of millions of dollars.” She said UC has offered raises above the general market and the same pension contribution formula that other UC unions have accepted.

See additional coverage: Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Strike 3, literally, at UC?, The Orange County Register

Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, representing 21,000 University of California system employees, voted with 98 percent support to authorize their leaders to call a strike if an already lengthy negotiation with management sours. A strike would be the third in less than a year by the 8,300 UC service workers and 13,000 sympathetic patient-care workers, at a cost, according to Dwaine Duckett, the university’s vice president of human resources, of “about $10 million each day it goes on.”

Meningitis vaccine clinic starts Monday at UCSB, The Santa Barbara Independent

The University of California system is picking up the tab for more than 18,000 unlicensed meningitis vaccines recently approved for specific UCSB students and faculty. All undergraduate students, graduate students who live in university-owned housing, and others with certain medical conditions are eligible to receive the free two-part vaccine, Bexsero, beginning Monday. Four cases of meningitis serogroup B — a strain that is not protected by the vaccine currently approved in the United States — were diagnosed at UCSB last November.

Michael Hiltzik: The anti-vaccination movement brings the measles back home, Los Angeles Times

In yet another sign of the perils and irresponsibility of the anti-vaccination movement, thousands of riders of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system are being warned that they may have been exposed to measles — a disease that was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000 but has since returned. The latest threat comes from an unnamed and unvaccinated UC Berkeley student who apparently contracted the disease while traveling in the Philippines during an outbreak there. Public health officials in Contra Costa County say people who rode BART during the morning or evening rush hours from Feb. 4 through Feb. 7 may have been exposed by the carrier, who is unidentified.

UCSF, Samsung work to help mobile technology for health care, San Francisco Chronicle

UCSF and electronics giant Samsung are establishing a center for digital health care innovation, they said Friday, an endeavor that seeks to accelerate the development of mobile technologies for preventive health care. The lab, to be located on UCSF’s Mission Bay campus, will function as a kind of cross-cultural exchange, the rare kind of space where technologists and innovators will be able to validate technologies like smartphone apps or wearable sensors alongside top medical researchers. At the same time, researchers and clinicians will be able to funnel ideas through Samsung designers and engineers.

$5B initiative proposed for stem cell research, U-T San Diego

Supporters of California’s multibillion-dollar stem cell program plan to ask for $5 billion more to bring the fruits of research to patients. Robert Klein, a leader of the 2004 initiative campaign that established the program, said Thursday he’s going to be talking with California voters about the proposal. If the public seems receptive, backers will work to get an initiative on the 2016 ballot to extend funding for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Klein outlined the proposal Thursday at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, during a symposium on how to speed research to patient care.

$220M proton center open for business, U-T San Diego

What started as a proton therapy competition among two of the region’s largest health systems has ended in collaboration. Wednesday, at a grand opening ceremony for a new proton therapy center that bears its name, Scripps Health will announce a new affiliation agreement with Rady Children’s Hospital and UC San Diego Health System. The deal will allow doctors from both organizations to treat their own cancer patients in the new $220 million Mira Mesa facility.

UCSF ranks 4th nationally on MD-residency survey, San Francisco Business Times

 UC San Francisco’s medical residency program ranked 4th on a first-ever survey of doctors to name the nation’s top training programs for internal medicine specialists, according to U.S. News and Doximity, which conducted the survey. UCSF had 579 nominations or votes, narrowly trailing No. 3 Brigham and Women’s Hospital, with an even 600. Mass General topped the list with 732 nominations, followed by Johns Hopkins with 696. Stanford University nabbed 155 nominations. UCLA Medical Center had 131.

3 teens with rare pain disease connect in California (video), ABC 13

A Virginia girl, who traveled all the way to Orange County to treat excruciating pain caused by a disorder commonly known as the “suicide disease,” is doing remarkably well following surgery. She’s also connecting with others coping with the same condition. KatieRose Hamilton can’t help but smile. “I feel like I can do more now without worrying about the pain,” said the 13-year-old, who suffers from trigeminal neuralgia. KatieRose underwent brain surgery at UC Irvine  Medical Center in Orange.

Local woman says ‘game-changing’ cancer treatment helped her beat the odds (video), ABC 10

It is being a called a potential game changer in cancer treatment. A local woman is sharing her story after beating the odds, thanks to a treatment that is being called the ultimate in personalized medicine.In 2011, Heather Clark was confronted with a diagnosis that left her drowning in uncertainty: an aggressive breast cancer had spread to both breasts and lymph nodes, likely the same cancer that had killed her aunt. Clark knew her prognosis was grim. “I don’t know of many things in my life that I’ve experienced that have been scarier,” said Clark, 31. Fear turned to hope at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, where she was enrolled in a national iSPY clinical trial with a unique approach.

Next generation: Photoswitch chemical restores sight, The Scientist

Richard Kramer from UC Berkeley and his colleagues have restored sight to blind mice using a small molecule called DENAQ, which, as a photoswitch chemical, changes conformation in response to light.

Itching: More than skin-deep, The New York Times

UC Berkeley assistant cell and developmental biology professor Diana Bautista is cited for her research into the physiology of itching. She has found that substances other than histamine, released from inflammatory cells, are involved in chronic itching, along with three different types of nerve cells. “Before,” she says, “the focus was on next-generation antihistamines. … Now, it’s on new molecular and cellular targets to develop new therapies. The pharmaceutical industry is recognizing that they have to go beyond antihistamines.”

Disruptions: Using addictive games to build better brains, The New York Times

First it was Doodle Jump. Then Dots. And now — will it never end? — Flappy Bird. So many of the games that we download on our smartphones are a waste of time, but we can’t seem to stop playing them. Why do we keep falling for these things? The answer to that question just might be found in, of all places, a medical laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. Researchers there are trying to figure out what makes games addictive — and how we might use video games to make our minds stronger, faster and healthier.

Secrets of the brain, National Geographic

This story explores research from the UCLA Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory that unravels how individual nerve cells in the brain process what the eyes see and how the brain stores that information.  Photos accompanying the article capture a team led by Dr. Itzhak Fried, professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, as the researchers implanted electrodes in the brains of patients and observed the nerve cells at work.

Training your brain to improve your vision, The Atlantic

Brain training is becoming big business. Everywhere you look, someone is talking about neuroplasticity and trying to train your brain. Soon there will be no wild brains left. At the same time, everyone who spends more than two continuous hours using a computer is, according to the American Optometric Association, ruining their eyes with Computer Vision Syndrome. So, Dr. Aaron Seitz might be onto something with his new brain-training program that promises better vision. Seitz is a neuroscientist at the University of California, Riverside. To test out his vision-training game, he had players on the university’s baseball team use the app.

Scientists turn to crowdfunding to support research, Los Angeles Times

With traditional funding stagnant and competition fierce, some scientists are using Internet sites such as Experiment to appeal to the public for money. Several UC examples are cited.

Citalopram eases agitation in Alzheimer patients, with some risks, Reuters

Citalopram can reduce agitation in Alzheimer’s patients as well as distress among caregivers, according to new research. The study also found extended QT intervals with higher doses of the drug and a one-point drop in Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores among patients who were given the drug compared to those on placebo. According to Dr. Gary Small, who studies aging at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the drop in MMSE scores seen in the study should not be cause for concern.

Who needs stimulants for ADHD?, Scientific American

In 1970, 150,000 U.S. children were taking stimulant medications. By 2007, that number had risen to 2.7 million, according to pediatrician Sanford Newmark of the University of California, San Francisco.

Does expanding Covered California to cover undocumented immigrants make economic sense? (audio), KPCC

California State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) has introduced a bill to give undocumented immigrants in the state access to free or subsidized health care. Lara discusses the bill, along with Nadereh Pourat, director of research planning at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute.

Marijuana tested as treatment for children with epilepsy, San Francisco Chronicle

Shreeya Burman had her first seizure when she was 6 months old. She’s 12 now, diagnosed with a debilitating, largely untreatable form of epilepsy. Her seizures occur almost daily, sometimes more than a dozen in a day. Her parents never know when she’ll have her next seizure, how bad it will be or how long it will last. Shreeya is on multiple medications and has tried dozens of treatments, some prescribed, many highly unconventional. Her parents have given her holy basil and frankincense oil, and they’ve taken her to India to see a “spirit doctor.” Twice they’ve brought her to China for experimental stem cell injections. Now Shreeya is taking marijuana. She’s part of a long-anticipated study at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital testing the safety and efficacy of daily cannabis use, in the form of a liquid, highly purified version of the drug.

KCBS in depth: UCSF Dr. Stanton Glantz on smoking and the tobacco industry (audio), KCBS

It’s been 50 years since the Surgeon General’s report labeled cigarettes as a cause of serious health problems, but even with that knowledge the most recent report shows tobacco still figures quite prominently in a list of health problems for Americans. That’s not surprising according to Dr. Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Center Research and Education at UCSF, who argues that tobacco companies remain immensely politically powerful.

Are men the weaker sex?, Scientific American

UC Davis autism researcher Irva Herz-Piciotto is quoted in this story on health as it relates to the Y chromosome. A UC Berkeley study also is mentioned.

UCLA faces another discrimination suit, Los Angeles Wave

This story mentions that a former UCLA School of Public Health staff member has filed a complaint against the university, claiming racial discrimination.

UC Berkeley fined in deaths of lab animals, San Francisco Chronicle

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has fined UC Berkeley $8,750 for accidentally allowing five voles to die of thirst in a lab in 2011. Roger Van Andel, director of Berkeley’s Office of Laboratory Animal Care, says that this was the first such incident on campus, and his office has taken “very aggressive action to make sure this sort of thing could not occur again.”

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Feb. 9

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC union authorizes what could be third strike in a year, Los Angeles Times

Members of the union representing the university of California’s 21,000 service workers and patient care employees have voted to authorize another possible strike — which would be their third walkout in less than a year. University officials have criticized the latest strike threat, saying that the previous walkouts cost UC millions in hiring replacement workers and lost revenue. They noted that most other UC unions have signed new contracts and said that AFSCME 3299 needs to compromise more.

Strategies for safer hospital medicine also cut costs, HealthLeaders Media

New doctors are turning the tables on seasoned physician leaders by introducing strategies to improve quality by curtailing opportunities for medical error and harm. They’re also saving hospitals millions in unnecessary spending. Examples cited include UC San Francisco Medical Center. UCSF hospitalist Christopher Moriates and UCSF Chief Medical Officer Josh Adler are quoted.

Sex matters: Drugs can affect sexes differently (video), CBS 60 Minutes

Differences between men and women prompted the FDA last year to recommend that each take different dosages of this country’s most popular sleep drug, Ambien.  The FDA cut the suggested dose for women in half after new studies showed that women were more likely to be left the next morning with levels of the drug in their bodies that could impair driving an automobile.  That’s because women metabolize Ambien differently, reaching maximum blood levels 45 percent higher than those of men.  Despite the fact that many other drugs are also metabolized differently by men and women, Ambien is the only drug on the market for which the FDA has different suggested doses based on sex.  Lesley Stahl talks to scientists who believe Ambien is typical of a much larger problem and that further study of sex differences is needed.  Larry Cahill, a neuroscientist at UC Irvine, is interviewed.

‘Lung in a box’ keeps organs breathing before transplants, NPR

The company TransMedics in Andover, Mass.,  has developed an experimental device that keeps hearts and lungs alive while they’re transported from the donor to the recipient. It’s essentially a “lung in a box,” transplant surgeon in a video for UCLA. Known as the , the device circulates blood through the lungs and pumps oxygen through the lobes. So the lungs can breathe outside the body. The machine isn’t yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the U.S. But eight hospitals around the country are it out in a clinical trial.

See additional coverage: New York Daily News

UCSF tests cold caps to reduce hair loss during chemotherapy, San Francisco Chronicle

Before Deborah Cohan settled into her second round of chemotherapy, she dunked her brown ringlets in water and was fitted with a tight, silicone and neoprene cap that would cool her head to just above freezing. “It’s like Amelia Earhart’s spa day,” she quipped, having set the mood with a music playlist that included India Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair.” Cohan, a UCSF physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, was diagnosed with breast cancer in September. As a UCSF patient, she is participating in a clinical trial of more than 100 patients for DigniCap, an experimental treatment that cools the head during chemotherapy to reduce hair loss.

No quick fix for strokes, but L.A. trial made care speedier, better, Los Angeles Times

This story reports on a study led by Dr. Jeffrey Saver, professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and director of the UCLA Stroke Center, that found that giving stroke patients intravenous magnesium within an hour of the onset of symptoms did not improve outcomes. Saver is quoted.

UCSF nabs $517 million in NIH funding, San Francisco Business Times

UC San Francisco nabbed $517 million in NIH funding last year, trailing only Johns Hopkins nationally, and topped the ranks of public universities. The UCSF School of Medicine finished No. 1 in that category, with $439.6 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, topping Johns Hopkins University’s medical school tally of $404.9 million. UCSF’s pharmacy, dentistry and oral hygiene, and nursing schools also led the nation in NIH funding, with $29.2 million, $13.7 million, and $9.6 million, respectively.

Temecula: City partners with UCR medical school, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

Temecula has partnered with UC Riverside’s School of Medicine to give the city’s young adults access to the school’s Future Physician Leaders Program, which aims to boost the number of doctors in Inland Southern California. That large geographic area — which includes western Riverside County, San Bernardino County and the Coachella Valley — has traditionally been underserved by doctors and well short of other metropolitan areas when it comes to health care access and hospital beds.

UC San Diego center aims to improve both human and animal health (audio, video), KPBS

UC San Diego’s new Center for Veterinary Sciences and Comparative Medicine is exploring whether interdisciplinary biomedical research can lead to advances in both human and animal health.

KMC launches telemedicine consultations for MS patients, The Bakersfield Californian

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Kern Medical Center and UCLA are launching a telemedicine program to bring access to MS specialty care to the uninsured and underinsured.

Nearly 400,000 Californians smoke cigarettes but don’t identify as smokers, Nature World News

Hundreds of thousands of Californians say they use cigarettes but reject being classified as a “smoker,” according to researchers at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, who report that nearly a quarter of these non-self-identifying smokers use tobacco every day. The research suggests that there are about 396,000 Californians who smoke but reject the label of smoker, and the phenomenon has both social and health implications, said study leader Dr. Wael Al-Delaimy chief of the Division of Global Health in the UC San Diego Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

It takes more than a produce aisle to refresh a food desert (audio), NPR

In inner cities and poor rural areas across the country, public health advocates have been working hard to turn around food deserts — neighborhoods where fresh produce is scarce, and greasy fast food abounds. In many cases, they’re converting dingy, cramped corner markets into lighter, brighter venues that offer fresh fruits and vegetables. In some cases, they’re building brand new stores. Alex Ortega, a public health researcher at UCLA, agrees that providing access to nutritious food is only the first step. Ortega directs a UCLA that converts corner stores into hubs of healthy fare in low-income neighborhoods of East Los Angeles.

California health exchange planning for budget deficit, The Associated Press

Covered California, held up as a jewel in the nation’s up-and-down health care overhaul, is setting aside nearly $200 million to fight off projected budget shortfalls as it prepares for what it says is a challenging financial future without hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid. The pace of enrollment so far suggests the agency will be able to support its operations in 2015 and into future years, provided sign-ups continue to increase through 2016 and then at least remain stable, said Dylan H. Roby at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Fielding School of Public Health.

San Diego’s Covered California enrollment ahead of projections, California Healthline

By the end of December 2013, slightly more than 45,000 people in San Diego County had enrolled in a private health insurance plan through Covered California, about 2,000 more than the goal of enrolling 43,000 by the end of March. According to the state’s most recent enrollment statistics, San Diego has already surpassed its target, reaching 105% of its goal by the end of December. Statewide, California has met 86% of the statewide target it hopes to meet by the end of open enrollment March 31. Of the more than 500,000 Californians who enrolled in a new health plan via the state’s exchange, 9% are based in San Diego, a part of the state representing 8.3% of the state’s total population.

State senator’s bill seeks health aid for undocumented; costs unclear (audio), KPCC

In an effort to make health insurance available to undocumented immigrants who are barred from receiving federal benefits under the Affordable Care Act, state Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) plans to unveil legislation on Friday that would commit the state to help pay for their coverage. Questions remain about how much his measure would cost taxpayers if it becomes law. The article quotes Ken Jacobs, a UC Berkeley researcher, and Nadereh Pourat, research director at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Latino issues at exchange prompt bill proposing change in board composition, California Healthline

A state Senate bill introduced yesterday would increase the number of Covered California health benefit exchange board members from five to seven and would increase the number of expertise categories for those board members. SB 972 by Sen. Norma Torres was prompted, in part, by low numbers of Latino enrollees in the exchange, and by exchange oversights that were contributing factors to those low numbers. Gilbert Ojeda, director of the California Program on Access to Care at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, is quoted.

Hospitals have mixed year as profits for some dip, Orange County Business Journal

Orange County’s largest hospitals posted mixed results on the profit side over the past year or so. UC Irvine Medical Center came in at No. 1, dethroning longtime leader Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, which had held the top spot for several years.

UC Davis lands $800K grant to study chemicals and the brain, Sacramento Business Journal

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday awarded UC Davis $800,000 to do research on how chemicals interact with the brain. The grant to Davis is one of four to universities to conduct research studying the effect of chemicals on biological processes and potentially altered brain development. At Davis researchers will demonstrate how toxic chemicals alter the thyroid hormone, which is responsible for brain development.

Inside Medicine: 15 percent of the time, doctors’ diagnoses are off the mark, The Sacramento Bee

In his column, Michael Wilkes, professor of medicine at UC Davis, discusses why doctors sometimes make incorrect diagnoses.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Feb. 2

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Op-ed: Audit of UC medical facilities shows error of AFSCME’s claims, The Daily Californian

Next week, members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 will vote to authorize their third strike in nine months at University of California medical centers, where union leaders claim staffing levels are so low that patient lives are endangered and the quality of care has plummeted. In June, AFSCME asked the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to order a state audit of UCLA and UC San Francisco medical centers. Last week, the state auditor released the results of her exhaustive probe, the cost of which was estimated to be close to $300,000 in taxpayer funds. The state audit report repudiated all of the union charges and noted that the level of patient care and satisfaction at UCSF and UCLA medical centers was among the highest in the nation, writes Dr. John Stobo, senior vice president for health sciences and services at the UC Office of the President.

UCR’s residency program has been issued accreditation, The Palm Springs Desert Sun

The recently founded UC Riverside School of Medicine has been accredited for its first residency program that will bring eight medical residents to the Coachella Valley by July 2015, the university announced Thursday. The new program was accredited by the national Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in late January. In partnership with Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, the three-year medical residency program will bring residents to train at Desert Regional and the UCR Health Family Medicine Center just beside the hospital. Eventually there will be 24 medical residents in the family-medicine program.

Startups see healthy future for Google Glass in medicine, San Francisco Chronicle

Among the tech elite, Google Glass is a sleek symbol of minimalist, futuristic cool. But several startups see deeper potential in Glass: the ability to heal wounds and save lives. Pristine in Los Angeles makes the app EyeSight, which enables physicians and nurses to transmit live video and audio of wound patients from Glass to authorized computers, smartphones and tablets. After months of a pilot program at UC Irvine, the startup said this week it will soon roll out the technology at outpatient wound care clinics operated by Wound Care Advantage in Southern California.

Hospitals use ‘hot spotting’ to zero in on super-users, San Francisco Chronicle

A growing trend of “hot spotting” – using sophisticated data mapping to zero in on the chronic “super-users” of health services – is taking hold, spurred in part by provisions in the federal Affordable Care Act that financially reward efforts to help keep patients healthier and out of the hospital. Two years ago, San Francisco General Hospital created a program in its adult medicine clinic called the Care Management Program. Dr. Elizabeth Davis, a UC San Francisco health sciences assistant clinical professor and the Care Management Program’s medical director, is quoted.

How to repair someone’s brain using gadgets and videogames, San Francisco Chronicle

I’m traveling through Mickey Hart’s brain. I look to my left and a blue plum of sparks blaze down the Grateful Dead drummer’s corpus callosum. A set of neurons has fired. I travel upward, through a mess of pink synaptic spaghetti, and the two hemispheres of his cerebrum vibrate and banter about some new information. I float back toward his lower brain, where I pass his cerebellum, pulsing softly, and leave through his spinal chord. Okay, I’m actually in Dr. Adam Gazzaley’s neuroscience lab in UCSF Mission Bay. I’m wearing Oculus Rift virtual reality glasses, holding an Xbox controller and sitting in a comfortable room that could pass for a basement den, if you can afford a new Meyer sound system and two billboard-sized flatscreens. This is Gazzaley’s idea of modern neurology lab. “It’s not the standard,” he says with a smile.

Pesticides linked with increased Parkinson’s risk, The Huffington Post

This story reports on a study that linked certain pesticides to increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Jeff Bronstein, professor of neurology and director of movement disorders at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is quoted.

Heart failure risk: UCLA researchers’ app projects survival rate (video), KABC 7

Dr. Tamara Horwich, assistant professor of medicine in the division of cardiology, is interviewed about a smartphone “risk calculator” she and colleagues developed that helps predict heart failure patients’ five-year survival chances and assists doctors in determining whether more or less aggressive treatment is appropriate.

For UCLA, pomegranate research is sweet and sour, The Chronicle of Higher Education

This story highlights David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA research on the potential health benefits of pomegranate products and the connection between researchers and a pomegranate products company. Dr. David Feinberg, president of the UCLA Health System and associate vice chancellor for health sciences, is quoted; Dr. Louis J. Ignarro, professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the Geffen School, and Dr. David Heber, professor at the Geffen School and director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, are cited.

Scientists set out to map whole genome of cats — 99 of them, San Francisco Chronicle

Cats may not have nine lives, as the myth goes, but they do have 38 chromosomes. And a team led by a former UC Davis professor is trying to understand those genes by sequencing a lot of cats – 99 cats, to be precise.

New stem cell genomics research center may put Calif. in leadership role, California Healthline

A $40 million grant awarded last week — the largest ever by California’s stem cell funding agency — is aimed at putting the state in a world leadership role in stem cell genomics, an emerging field with potential for creating genetically specific medical treatments for individual patients. In a controversial vote after a hotly-contested competition, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine directors awarded the funding to a consortium of seven institutions led by Stanford University and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. The new entity, to be called Center of Excellence in Stem Cell Genomics, also includes four San Diego institutions — UC San Diego, the Scripps Research Institute, the J. Craig Venter Institute and Illumina. UC Santa Cruz will oversee data collection and coordination. In addition to the $40 million genomics grant, CIRM board members approved $27 million in grants for additional projects at 11 California institutions, including UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, Stanford University and Gladstone Institutes. See UC story.

AMA chief tells UCSD med students to be good students, U-T San Diego

Speaking to a room full of young and optimistic UC San Diego medical students Thursday, Dr. James Madara, chief executive of the American Medical Association, drove home the point that being a doctor these days is about more than taking care of individual patients. It’s about being aware of how individual decisions affect the nation’s whole health care system, he said.

Sugar tied to fatal heart woes; soda’s a culprit, The Associated Press

Could too much sugar be deadly? The biggest study of its kind suggests the answer is yes, at least when it comes to fatal heart problems. It doesn’t take all that much extra sugar, hidden in many processed foods, to substantially raise the risk, the researchers found, and most Americans eat more than the safest amount. ”Too much sugar does not just make us fat; it can also make us sick,” said Laura Schmidt, a health policy specialist at UC San Francisco. She wrote an editorial accompanying the study in Monday’s JAMA Internal Medicine.

See additional coverage: The Toronto Globe and Mail

Study shows exactly how fast food packs on pounds, NBC News

A recent study led by Roberto De Vogli of the Department of Public Health Sciences at UC Davis shows that for every extra fast-food transaction in a country, the average BMI went up by .03 points.

UCSF studies whether cannabinoid helps childhood epilepsy, NBC Bay Area

Researchers at UC San Franciso’s Benioff Children’s Hospital will be the first in an international study to test whether purified cannabinoid – yes, the stuff in marijuana – will treat severe forms of childhood epilepsy for those who do not react to traditional drugs.

See additional coverage: KQED

SF children’s hospital awarded $284,000 as of Seahawks’ victory night, San Francisco Examiner

While the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks ended the San Francisco 49ers’ season two weeks ago, a couple Seahawks fans continued a friendly competition with Niners fans through the big game Sunday and together have raised an estimated $364,000 for children’s hospitals in both cities. Of that total, about $284,000 will go to the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, and $80,000 to Seattle Children’s Hospital, said Aaron Managhan, 32, a co-organizer of Seattle’s fundraiser. The money includes matching fund pledges from both the 49ers and Seahawks franchises.

Leftover cigarette smoke on surfaces is deadly, says University of California study, San Francisco Business Times

Residual or “third-hand” cigarette smoke on surfaces gets “progressively more toxic” over time and is just as dangerous as smoke directly inhaled into the lungs, according to research by University of California scientists. It is particularly dangerous to children. The study, led by researchers at UC Riverside, also included scientists at UC San Francisco, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, San Diego State University and Harvard Medical School.

See additional coverage: CBS Atlanta

Op-ed: Two sick babies and Obamacare at AOL, CNN

As a business decision, America Online’s recent announcement that it was planning to pullback its employee 401(k)matching program to save money was not a surprise. It is common practice for U.S. companies to lay off workers, reduce hours, and cut benefits to look more attractive to shareholders, even while posting record profits. The surprise was when he announced the change, AOL’s chief executive Tim Armstrong had placed blame for the cuts on Obamacare, which he says would cost the company $7 million, and two female employees with “distressed babies” that cost $2 million in 2012, writes Dylan H. Roby, director of health economics and evaluation research at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and an assistant professor of Health Policy and Management in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

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UC Davis: Investigating liver cancer disparities

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