A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:
There is a knock at the door early on in my interview with Nobel prize-winning cell biologist Randy Schekman at his office at UC Berkeley, overlooking San Francisco Bay. The 2014 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine was announced in the early hours, California time, and one of his colleagues is calling by for a gossip. Schekman shared the 2013 prize with James Rothman of Yale University and Thomas Südhof of Stanford University for his role in working out how cells, the smallest units of life, transport and secrete proteins. Those proteins are much-needed molecules such as hormones, digestive enzymes and neurotransmitters. Schekman’s share of the prize was for discovering a set of genes required for transporting the proteins through and out of the cell in the small packages – called vesicles – in which they hitch a ride. Schekman didn’t bask in the glory. Instead, he decided to speak out about what he sees as the distorting effect elite journals have on the scientific enterprise.
How to stop the next Ebola: Call in the veterinarians, National Journal
How do you find the next Ebola, the next rabies, the next West Nile before it comes to infect humans? You actively look for it in the wild. That’s what the University of California (Davis) is doing by deploying teams of veterinarians into zoonotic hot spots around the world—in Africa, Asia, Central America, and South America—to detect outbreaks in animal populations before they get out of control. Through their Predict initiative, funded through USAID, they also empower local governments by giving them the tools to detect and diagnose strains without having to ship samples abroad. ”We’re looking for viruses in viral families that have had a lot of zoonotic diseases, especially ones that have high pandemic potential—viruses like influenza, viruses like MERS, flaviviruses [e.g., encephalitis],” Christine Kreuder Johnson, a UC Davis veterinarian and epidemiologist, says.
See additional coverage: Sacramento Business Journal
Bay Area nurses, hospitals clash over Ebola training, Contra Costa Times
Fear has sparked a vigorous debate over how much preparation and training is enough for health care workers to deal with the Ebola virus, after two Texas nurses contracted the disease from an infected patient. Bay Area hospitals are pursuing various approaches, with some focusing on training select staff members while others train more broadly. Some are opting for hands-on instruction while others resort to online training modules. The lack of a clear plan prompted thousands of nurses around the Bay Area to take to the streets last week to demand that their hospitals step up their efforts. Hospital administrators responded by saying the action had more to do with labor negotiations than Ebola training, adding that they are doing all they can to protect those on the front lines of the virus. Dr. Adrienne Green, associate chief medical officer at UCSF Medical Center, and Maureen Dugan, a nurse of UCSF’s medical-surgical abdominal surgery unit, are quoted.
Elk Grove’s state rep lead Ebola hearing, Elk Grove Citizen
State medical officials said at a state Assembly committee hearing that they are prepared to respond if a case of Ebola is diagnosed in California. The hearing was chaired by Assembly Member Dr. Richard Pan, whose district includes Elk Grove. Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health, said Nov. 18 that the state and federal governments are tracking the travel of people leaving the African countries of Guinea, Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone where Ebola is prevalent. Chapman said all five University of California hospitals including the Davis facility have identified themselves as able to treat Ebola patients.
Drugging Our Kids: The Rx alliance that drugs our kids, San Jose Mercury News
An investigation by this newspaper has found that drugmakers, anxious to expand the market for some of their most profitable products, spent more than $14 million from 2010 to 2013 to woo the California doctors who treat this captive and fragile audience of patients at taxpayers’ expense. Drugmakers distribute their cash to all manner of doctors, but the investigation found that they paid the state’s foster care prescribers on average more than double what they gave to the typical California physician. UCLA and UCSF are mentioned. UCLA social welfare professor David Cohen, who has studied medication use in the foster care system and drug company influence; Jerome Hoffman, a emergency medicine specialist at UCLA and critic of the pharmaceutical industry’s influence; and Dr. Raman Sankar, the chief of pediatric neurology at UCLA; and UCLA student Olivia Hernandez, are quoted.
Google offers high-tech spoon that stays steady in shaky hands, Los Angeles Times
For a company best known for its search engine, Google is making big investments in the medical field: A contact lens to help diabetics monitor their glucose levels; magnetic nano particles to detect signs of cancer and impending heart attacks. And now, spoons. Its latest medical venture is the Liftware spoon, which could make life easier for the millions of people who live with Parkinson’s disease or with essential tremor, a nervous system disorder that causes rhythmic shaking. Developed by health technology company Lift Labs, which Google acquired in September for an undisclosed sum, the spoon comes embedded with an electronic device that uses hundreds of algorithms to sense how a hand is shaking. Lift Labs founder Anupam Pathak, who has B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC Berkeley, and UC San Francisco Medical Center neurologist Dr. Jill Ostrem, who specializes in movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor and helped advise the inventors as they developed Liftware, are quoted.
See additional coverage: Associated Press
TV review: ‘Sleepless’ documentary is a real eye-opener, San Francisco Chronicle
It’s too bad Adam Mansbach already used “Go the F— to Sleep” as a book title, because it is the resounding message of the new documentary “Sleepless in America,” airing Sunday on the National Geographic Channel. The two-hour film is a collaborative effort by the Public Good Projects, the National Institutes of Health and NatGeo to bring public attention to what can only be called a national epidemic of modern American life: lack of sleep. Dr. Matthew P. Walker of UC Berkeley, who has studied the effects of sleeplessness on brain function, and Dr. Thomas Neylan of UC San Francisco, are mentioned.
A cardiologist who helped develop an electrocardiogram-reading gadget told a crowd at the San Jose Tech Museum last week that wearables, while great, still fall short. Mainly, they still haven’t solved the critical health problem of inciting motivation. Dr. Jeffrey Olgin, chief of cardiology at UC San Francisco, said doctors have faced the same problem for a long time. “Many people already don’t take the medicine that can help them,” he said. In a KQED-sponsored forum, Olgin and a pair of wearable experts talked about the rise and implications of big data from wearables.
Kaiser-Target partnership another step in ‘retailization’ of health care, California Healthline
Marking a significant step in what might be called the “retailization” of health care delivery, Kaiser Permanente is partnering with Target to open medical clinics in the retail stores in Southern California. Three Kaiser clinics opened last week in Target stores in Fontana, San Diego and Vista. Another is scheduled to open next week in West Fullerton. Chain retailers — CVS, Walmart, Target and others — have operated clinics in their stores for years, but the Kaiser-Target partnership is a notable new chapter: Kaiser’s size and previously insular reputation suggest a new, perhaps far-reaching change in health care delivery, relying heavily on telehealth technology. The partnership is new and small, but Kaiser officials hope the model will grow in the eight states and District of Columbia where Kaiser does business. Dylan Roby, director of UCLA’s Health Economics and Evaluation Research Program, is quoted.
4 incredibly easy ways to practice everyday gratitude, The Huffington Post
With Thanksgiving here, now is the time when many of us pause to reflect on all that we have and give thanks. But research shows there are major benefits to practicing gratitude — which Robert Emmons, a professor in UC Davis’ psychology department and author of Gratitude Works, defines as an “awareness of how we are supported and sustained by others, and a desire to give back the good that we have received” — throughout the year. It boosts well-being, improves sleep and may even help improve immune system function.
New research into Alzheimer’s disease (audio), Capital Public Radio
Associate Director of the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Center Dr. John Olichney talks about the latest research into the disease.
Study shows need for payment reform, according to California physicians group, California Healthline
The costs per patient for hospital-owned physician groups are higher than in groups owned by physicians themselves, according to a new UC Berkeley study.
Constipated? Try pressing your perineum, The Washington Post
This story reports on research led by Dr. Ryan Abbott, visiting assistant professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, finding that perineal self-acupressure, a simple technique involving the application of external pressure to the perineum, is an effective treatment for constipation.