A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:
Op-ed: Public universities need to be nurtured, protected as an investment for all, Washington Monthly
UC President Janet Napolitano writes about the value of public higher education in Washington Monthly, noting UC’s role in health sciences training and in serving California’s safety net needs. Her piece coincided with the magazine’s rankings of how well colleges and universities serve the public interest. UC had the top three ranked campuses in the nation, four of the top five and eight in the top 100. Read UC release.
UCLA’s DNA detectives in action, U.S. News & World Report
Calvin Lapidus, 3, sits on an exam table at UCLA Medical Center and points correctly when asked to identify different animals on an iPad. His mom, Audrey Davidow Lapidus, lowers him to the floor and holds him as he moves his legs in “purposeful steps” as UCLA geneticist Stanley Nelson observes. Calvin can’t walk, but his movements are far beyond what they were at 10 months old, when he still wasn’t rolling over or sitting up and first came to UCLA. Medical tests had not turned up anything, though one doctor had wondered about possible genetic implications of some “interesting” facial features. Indeed, a cutting-edge analysis of Calvin’s DNA revealed a mutation resulting in ultrarare Pitt Hopkins syndrome. UCLA is one of a number of institutions now regularly charting patients’ exomes, the protein-coding portions of genes that account for only about 1 percent of DNA but close to 85 percent of known disease-causing DNA errors, and putting that information to clinical use.
UC Davis clinic serves the uninsured in Sacramento for free, The Sacramento Bee
Daniel Heidelburg normally heads to the emergency room when his breath gets short and his heart starts racing. But on one of his recent visits to the ER at UC Davis Medical Center, his doctor told him about a different option for follow-up care: the school’s free TEACH clinic. Earlier this month, Heidelburg, 51, a former Paratransit driver from Oak Park, paid his first visit to the UC Davis clinic. Heidelburg was examined by third-year medical student Kevin Dias and Dr. George Gallardo, a third-year resident. Dias and Gallardo are part of a core group of 25 medical students and nine residents who work at the TEACH clinic, which treats about 2,000 patients a year. Started in 2005 with a $3 million federal grant, the TEACH clinic has likely saved taxpayers millions of dollars in emergency room visits, said Mark Henderson, UC Davis Medical School dean of admissions. At the same time, Henderson said, the clinic has helped UC Davis attract a more ethnically diverse crop of medical students, many of whom intend to remain in primary care.
Teen crushed by bricks in Napa earthquake recounts pain, fear, San Francisco Chronicle
Nicholas Dillon felt the weight of the bricks fall on his back. Panic set in. His screams filled his pitch-black house in Napa as his mother struggled to reach him. The 13-year-old yelled. He couldn’t move. “I thought I was paralyzed. I couldn’t feel my legs. I couldn’t feel my back,” said Nicholas, who was crushed by a falling chimney in Sunday’s magnitude 6.0 earthquake, which injured more than 250 people in Napa and surrounding areas. Nicholas spoke to reporters Tuesday for the first time from his hospital bed at UC Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento. He said he was tired and in pain, but his eyes were alert and he’s listed in fair condition. He’s still taking inventory of his injuries, the worst of which was a badly fractured pelvis that required nearly 10 hours of surgery. A large scar stretches across his lower belly, he said. “I do consider myself lucky to be alive,” Nicholas said. “If I hadn’t moved, I’m telling you, I shouldn’t be here right now. I should be dead. … I didn’t black out. I remember the whole thing.”
When Google went public, Stanford University made millions. The windfall came because Stanford had equity: not only Google’s intellectual property but also the company itself. This kind of direct investment in a startup was not allowed at the University of California — that is, until now. UC President Janet Napolitano made the change possible by removing guidelines for industry-academic relations. Her action is raising questions about ethics, funding and the future of basic research. This piece cites the example of a company called Caribou Biosciences, co-founded by UC Berkeley grad Rachel Haurwitz and UC Berkeley professor Jennifer Doudna, which grew out of their basic research on RNA at UC Berkeley.
StartX, QB3 partnership targets biotech startups in Palo Alto accelerator, San Francisco Business Times
Two powerhouses for biotech startups — StartX and QB3 — are joining forces to open lab space in Palo Alto for as many as 20 life sciences companies. StartX-QB3 Labs already has a handful of companies that pay $1,500 a month for a five-foot lab bench in the facility’s 2,000 square feet, or less for only a desk — and a startup ecosystem three blocks away from Stanford University, access to vital core lab facilities and two organizations with big-name connections and enviable track records for translating fresh ideas into standalone companies. The labs are part of a boom in accelerators and incubators in the Bay Area aimed at moving ideas into the marketplace or helping large companies more quickly identify up-and-coming drugs and technologies. QB3 has focused on turning ideas from researchers at UC Berkeley, UCSF and UC Santa Cruz into companies. Within its two on-campus incubators and three other affiliated incubators in Berkeley and San Francisco, it has helped spawn more than 100 companies.
Cedars-Sinai didn’t make the list in year 1. What will year 2 of narrow networks hold?, California Healthline
Not a single health plan available through Covered California’s Region 15 and Region 16 — the Los Angeles County — initially offered access to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center last year. (Health Net ended up contracting with Cedars for the ACA’s first enrollment period.) Earlier this year, Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic detailed how insurers’ decision to leave out Cedars-Sinai (and generally avoid UCLA, ranked the top hospital in California by U.S. News) was driven by a focus to control costs and offer low-price plans in the insurance exchange. All told, about half of the plans sold on HealthCare.gov and state health insurance exchanges in 2014 had “narrow networks,” a McKinsey report found. The limited networks sparked a political and media outcry — especially among patients who had a specific preference for hospitals like Cedars and UCLA, which are known for their top-tier health services. In California, Anthem and Cedars struck a deal this spring that will allow the hospital to be offered through Anthem’s plans in Covered California’s next enrollment period.
New ‘biochips’ that mimic our bodies could speed development of drugs, Kaiser Health News/Wired
Imagine if scientists could recreate you — or at least part of you — on a chip. That might help doctors identify drugs that would help you heal faster, bypassing the sometimes painful trial-and-error process and the hefty costs that burden our healthcare system. Right now, inside a lab at the University of California, Berkeley, researchers are working to make that happen. They’re trying to grow human organ tissue, like heart and liver, on tiny chips. These aren’t your standard computer chips. They’re miniature networks, derived from adult skin cells coerced into becoming the type of tissue scientists want to study, that grow on miniscule pipe-like plastic chambers glued atop a microscope slide.
When researchers at UC San Diego wanted to an experimental Alzheimer’s drug last year, they sought help from an unlikely group: people with Down syndrome.
More and more Americans are sleeping less and less. That’s according to data from the Centers for Disease Control that show a growing number of people sleep less than six hours a night. And research shows people who sleep less are at greater risk for heart disease, obesity and diabetes. We talk with experts about all things sleep. Guests include Matthew Walker, professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley, where he runs the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory.
If a patient in the intensive care unit is receiving futile care, can that hurt another patient’s chances of getting needed treatment? In the journal Critical Care Medicine, researchers from UCLA and RAND Health conclude: Yes.
Shared decision-making in high gear at UCLA, HealthData Management
Using a combination of technological tools, videos, and surveys, clinicians and patients at UCLA are undertaking shared decision-making in several treatment areas.