CATEGORY: In the media

In the media: Week of Jan. 15

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UCSF seeks to ease ties with UC, San Francisco Chronicle

UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann proposed Thursday to UC Regents that a working group be formed to help UCSF explore options to secure its financial future so it can realize its vision to become the world’s pre-eminent health sciences innovator.

UCSD Medical Center revamps trauma unit, San Diego Union-Tribune

The walls are the same soft beige, the abstract artwork and bulletin boards haven’t moved. Don’t let that fool you. Important changes have come to the fifth floor of UC San Diego Medical Center. For the first time, a continuous care trauma unit has been created at the Hillcrest hospital for patients suffering potentially life-threatening injuries in car crashes, serious falls, assaults or in other ways.

Thinking makes it go, San Francisco Magazine

It’s the stuff of science fiction: a marriage of brain and computer that allows the disabled to walk, the mute to speak, and all of us to control our reality with our thoughts alone.  A Wi-Fi implant in the brain? If anyone’s going to deliver, it’s the visionary scientists at the UCSF and UC Berkeley Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses, the Bay Area’s bold new research hub.

Helping injured dogs walk again, The New York Times

Dogs with spinal cord injuries may soon benefit from an experimental drug being tested by researchers at UC San Francisco and Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences — work that they hope will one day help people with similar injuries.

See additional coverage: NBC Bay Area (video)

Jobs top Lee’s plan for visits to China, Washington, San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is taking his show on the road. Fresh off being sworn to a full term, Lee is wasting little time trying to drum up outside support for his job-creation agenda, including trips to Washington, D.C., and China – his first official visit abroad as mayor. (Lee and wife Anita visited his in-laws in Hong Kong over the holidays on a personal trip.) UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, former president for product development at Genentech, is expected to accompany the mayor on the trip, Lee said.

Blue Shield-UCLA dispute, LA Weekly

This item about a contract dispute between UC and Blue Shield mentions that UC just signed a contract agreement with Anthem Blue Cross.

UC Berkeley gossip study finds it’s a good thing, San Francisco Chronicle

If you don’t have something nice to say … well, go ahead and say it anyway. You may actually be doing something good for your health as well as humanity. UC Berkeley psychologists have found that gossiping – specifically spreading information about a person who has behaved badly – can play a critical role in maintaining social order, preventing exploitation and lowering stress.

UC Riverside: Regents hear pleas, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

Concerns about funding for UC Riverside and support for the university’s still unopened medical school dominated the public comment session as the University of California Regents opened a two-day meeting at the campus Wednesday morning.

Teardrops could enable early detection of cancer, International Business Times

Teardrops need not be futile anymore; they could, in fact, aid in detecting chronic diseases such as cancer. In a breakthrough study, UC Irvine scientists have established the existence of a disease-fighting protein in human teardrops. Using a novel technique, scientists have managed to isolate and study proteins in human tears that could go a long way in early detection of cancers and other chronic diseases.

UCSF worm research challenges thinking on cells, San Francisco Chronicle

Consider the lowly planarian, a tiny flatworm that wriggles in puddles and ponds and has long intrigued laboratory scientists who can chop one worm into many pieces and watch each piece quickly grow into a whole new worm. Chop off a planarian’s head, and the head will regenerate an entire new wriggling body, complete with its tail; chop off a tail, and the tail will grow a new head and body. Now planarians are posing a fresh mystery for scientists at UCSF who have discovered that every cell in every planarian’s body lacks a key structure that all other animals in the world – from bugs to humans – possess in order to divide and multiply, indeed to stay alive.

Mission Bay redevelopment shows what could be lost, San Francisco Chronicle

A visit to San Francisco’s Mission Bay shows what could be lost in California when redevelopment ceases to exist. People of all ages stroll the trail along Mission Creek. Construction crews are at work on 644 housing units and a $1.5 billion hospital. plans to break ground this year on a campus for 9,000 employees next to a new bayfront park. Mission Bay included the audacious stroke of giving UCSF Mission Bay free land for a campus – the hook to lure other developers to the former rail yard – but there also are parks threaded throughout and a requirement that more than 1,800 of the 6,000 apartments and condominiums be reserved for lower-income residents.

Ending nightmares caused by PTSD (audio), NPR Morning Edition

Scientists wanted to find out the reason why people with PTSD can’t sleep and dream normally. One theory comes from Matthew Walker, a psychology researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. His particular interest lies in rapid eye movement, or REM. It’s the time during sleep when a lot of dreaming occurs.

Editorial: A smoke-free UC goes too far, Los Angeles Times

The University of California system’s plan for campuses to be smoke- and tobacco-free within two years has noble intent but goes too far, according to this editorial.

See additional coverage: Merced Sun-Star



CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Jan. 8

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC system to ban smoking, chewing tobacco, Contra Costa Times

The University of California will ban smoking and chewing tobacco on all 10 campuses within two years, President Mark Yudof told campus chancellors this week.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, CBS 13 (video)

Marijuana study a boost for supporters, San Francisco Chronicle

A new UCSF study on the effects of marijuana smoke should relieve one of the primary concerns about its medical use. The study of 5,115 men and women over two decades concluded that marijuana smokers did not suffer the level of lung damage experienced by tobacco smokers.

See additional coverage :The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Time, NPR, KQED, CBS 5 (video)

Cancer treatment: Are personalized molecular profiles in our future? (video), PBS NewsHour

This report on the war on cancer includes this story that features cancer research at UC Davis. Additional coverage mentions efforts to treat pediatric cancer at UC Davis and by the Who’s Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, including the Daltrey/Townshend Teen & Young Adult Cancer Program at UCLA. A slideshow features comments by UC Davis’ Ralph deVere White and UCSF’s Elizabeth Blackburn.

Letters: Context missing from UCI salary report, The Orange County Register

Cathy Lawhon, Media Relations Director, UC Irvine: Scott Martindale’s report on the University of California and UC Irvine salaries [“Top-heavy UC may leave middle class shut out,” Jan. 8] demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding about the funding structure and role of the UC system on so many fronts, it’s difficult to know where to begin. But allow me to try: He cites students’ concerns that rising tuition is paying for a “sprawling bureaucracy of hospitals.” In truth, no student fees support UC Irvine Medical Center, which plays a crucial part in the academic function for UCI’s medical students and the research function for its physicians/faculty.  Another Orange County Register story addressed a bill that seeks to limit pay hikes for CSU, UC executives.

Review of NIH grants in 2011 shows top five recipients same as last year’s, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Johns Hopkins University was the leading recipient of NIH grants and UC San Francisco was second.

UCSF, Sanofi launch $3.1M pilot diabetes drug project, San Francisco Business Times

UCSF and drug maker Sanofi will work together in a $3.1 million pilot project to identify drug targets both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It is the third to come out of a master agreement in January 2011 between the French company and UCSF.

Iron builds a better brain, The Scientist

This article reports on a study led by Paul S. Thompson, professor-in-residence of neurology and a member of the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, showing that even in healthy young adults, slight deficiencies in the body’s iron levels can result in changes in brain structure. Thompson and Dr. George Bartzokis, professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and a member of the UCLA Brain Research Institute, are quoted.

Endorphin study may help refine alcohol treatment, San Francisco Chronicle

It’s no big secret that alcohol makes most people feel pretty good, but scientists at UCSF and UC Berkeley have for the first time found evidence that liquor triggers the release of pleasure-inducing endorphins in the brain – and that heavy drinkers are especially influenced by those endorphins.

Multi-million dollar gratitude project seeks researchers, Berkeley Patch

Offering a “thank you” to a friend or family member may be more powerful than you think. Scientists claim being grateful can chase away the blues, bring more joy into your life and even help lower high blood pressure. That’s why UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Center is undertaking a five-year project to measure the effect being grateful has on adults and children. The center is offering research grants and awards to those who will study the subject.

UC Davis study examines keys to lower patient death rates, The Sacramento Bee

Three key components of primary health care lead to lower rates of death in adult patients, according to new research released by the UC Davis Medical Center.

Open source surgery, a robot called Raven takes flight, MedGadget

A multidisciplinary team of engineers from the University of Washington and the University of California, Santa Cruz have developed a surgical robot, called Raven 2, for use as an open source surgical robotics research platform. Seven units of the Raven 2 will be made available to researchers at Harvard , Johns Hopkins, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Los Angeles, while the remaining two systems will remain at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of Washington.

Frequent eating tied to less weight gain in girls: study, Reuters

Girls who ate frequent meals and snacks put on less weight and gained less on their waistlines over a decade than those who only ate a couple of times a day, according to a UC Berkeley study.

My word: Time to treat child poverty as a public health disaster, Oakland Tribune

Jill Duerr Berrick, Zellerbach Family Foundation Professor of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley, writes that research conducted over the past 30 years provides convincing evidence that children raised in poverty are likely to experience a range of significant health and developmental hazards.



CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Jan. 1

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Dameron, UC Davis talk, The Stockton Record

Dameron Hospital is in the midst of confidential negotiations to affiliate with UC Davis Medical Center, consistently ranked among the nation’s best hospitals.

Buff your brain, Newsweek

In a 2010 study, psychology professor Matthew Walker and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, found that a nap may not merely restore brain power but also raise it.

Traumatic stress linked to biological indicator, San Francisco Chronicle

Researchers are getting closer to being able to predict who might be more vulnerable to stress even before they experience trauma. A study of Bay Area and New York police academy recruits by researchers at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, UCSF and New York University is considered one of the first and largest studies to look at biological stress indicators before and after traumatic events.

California makes progress in reporting health infections, CHCF Center for Health Reporting/The Sacramento Bee

California health regulators on Friday released infection rates for hundreds of hospitals statewide in what it called a major push to inform residents about the infections that can sicken patients during hospital stays. They vowed to make the state a national leader in disclosing those reports, saying that the publicity can prompt reforms and potentially save hundreds of California lives annually. UC Davis is mentioned.

See additional coverage: San Diego Union-Tribune

UC salary criticisms fuel student protests, The Orange County Register

Students and some faculty members say the UC system is being run as a private bureaucracy, with executive compensation levels to match.

Hand transplant receives waves in Rose Parade, The Associated Press

Emily Fennell, the West Coast’s first hand-transplant recipient, participated in the 2012 Rose Parade.  She underwent surgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and rode on a float emphasizing the importance of organ and tissue donation.

See additional coverage: CBS 2 (video)

San Diego hospital settles lawsuit on immigrants, The Associated Press

The U.S. Justice Department says it has settled a complaint with a major San Diego hospital over how it screens immigrant employees and job applicants. The department said Wednesday that UC San Diego Medical Center has agreed to adopt new procedures to verify the immigration status of its workers and pay a $115,000 civil penalty.

UCI faulted for drug errors by Medicare, The Orange County Register

UC Irvine Medical Center failed to program drug pumps to stop a medication error, which “could have contributed” to the death of a kidney transplant patient, according to a federal inspection report released Thursday.

Death of prominent O.C. surgeon still a mystery, Los Angeles Times

The director of a UC Irvine medical facility died of drowning after blunt-force trauma to her head, but the circumstances of her death remain unknown, according to a county coroner’s report. Dr. Marianne Cinat, 45, was found dead in the pool of her Rossmoor home in June. Cinat was a prominent Orange County surgeon and served as medical director for the UCI Regional Burn Center in Orange until her death.

O.C.’s first 2012 baby a healthy girl, The Orange County Register

Orange County’s first baby born in in 2012 was delivered at 1:52 a.m. New Year’s Day at UC Irvine Medical Center.

It’s not mind-reading, but scientists exploring how brains perceive the world (video), PBS NewsHour

UC Berkeley alum Jake Schoneker reports on cutting-edge research led by UC Berkeley neuroscience professor Jack Gallant that reconstructs brain activity.

Paper denying HIV-AIDS link secures publication, Nature

A controversial research paper that argued “there is as yet no proof that HIV causes AIDS” and met with a storm of protest when it was published in 2009, leading to its withdrawal, has been republished in a revised form, this time in the peer-reviewed literature. The reworked version of the paper, led by Peter Duesberg of the University of California, Berkeley, who is well known for denying the link between HIV and AIDS, was published in the Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology (IJAE) last month.

UC Berkeley study: Empathy as an antidote for job burnout, Contra Costa Times

Roy Brasil was doing a favor when he agreed to hear a pitch about testing a burnout prevention strategy on his staff of juvenile probation officers. ” ‘It’s a Ph.D. candidate out of Berkeley again,’ ” Brasil said he thought at the time. But it didn’t take long for San Mateo County’s deputy chief probation officer to realize that Eve Ekman, a social welfare researcher at UC Berkeley, was offering something unique and valuable. She proposed a pilot project to cultivate empathy between the staff and the young inmates, as well as among the officers.

Group wants pollution monitoring near CA freeways, The Associated Press

A 2010 study by researchers from the University of Southern California and University of California, Berkeley, found that Los Angeles residents living near freeways were more likely to develop hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart disease and stroke than those who live farther away.

Last-chance surgery pays off for Aussie pup, San Francisco Chronicle

As breeders of Australian shepherds, Kevin Blackwell and his wife, Faith Shimamoto, have a special love for the spirited pups and take responsibility for their dogs’ welfare even after they are placed in their “forever” homes. Recently, their dedication was put to the test when Kevin and Faith learned that one of their “Aussies,” Mick, was diagnosed with a dire medical condition – one that presented a financial and emotional toll that the dog’s new family wasn’t equipped to handle. Their vet recommended they contact UC Davis to see if Mick might be a candidate for a new advanced surgery.

Drumming out fat in the new year, CNN

This article about a new fitness program combining aerobic exercise with drumming cites research on the benefits of group drumming by Ping Ho, founding director of UCLArts and Healing, a partnership between the UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine and a nonprofit group. Ho is quoted.

Sexual satisfaction highest in oldest, youngest women, study says, Los Angeles Times

A woman’s sexual satisfaction does not require high levels of sexual desire–and in fact, does not require sexual activity at all, according to a new UC San Diego study that finds rates of sexual satisfaction highest among the youngest and oldest women it surveyed.

Op-ed: Keep walking to stay mentally sharp, The Huffington Post

This op-ed is written by Dr. Gary Small, Parlow–Solomon Professor on Aging, director of the UCLA Longevity Center and co-author of the new book, “The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program: Keep Your Brain Healthy for the Rest of Your Life.”

Belching yellow buses (audio), KQED Perspectives

Lizzie Velten, an M.P.H. student in the Nutrition Program at UC Berkeley, is featured. She addresses the pollution caused by school buses.


CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Dec. 25

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Determined to thrive, a little boy battles a brain disorder, Los Angeles Times

Dylan is nearly 2. Because of radical surgery at UCLA more than a year ago, he talks, goes to preschool and inspires his family with hope.

Computers implanted in brain could help paralyzed, San Francisco Chronicle

In the coming decades, scientists say, the field of neural prosthetics – of inventing and building devices that harness brain activity for computerized movement – is going to revolutionize how people who have suffered major brain damage interact with their world. “Medicine has not taken neural prosthetics very seriously until recently,” said Dr. Edward Chang, a UCSF neurosurgeon and co-director of the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses at UC Berkeley and UCSF. “But it’s become clear in the last five to 10 years that there are some practical applications.” Jose Carmena, a neuro-engineer at UC Berkeley and Chang’s co-director, puts his thoughts more succinctly: “There’s going to be an explosion in neural prosthetics.”

UC Davis’ impact on area estimated at $5.3 billion, The Sacramento Bee

The economic impact of the University of California, Davis, campus on the Sacramento and Northern California region totaled $5.3 billion in 2009-2010, according to an independent report. The center’s study is a companion to its December 2010 report on the UC Davis Health System.

Coroner: UCI burn doctor drowned after head trauma, The Orange County Register

The prominent Orange County burn-injury surgeon found in her backyard pool in June drowned because of blunt-force trauma to her head, according to autopsy and forensic reports obtained under California Public Records Act. Marianne E. Cinat, medical director of UC Irvine Regional Burn Center in Orange, had swelling and scrapes on her forehead, a small cut on her nose, internal bleeding in her front scalp and a small cut on the back of her head. Her respiratory system showed evidence of fresh-water drowning.

UC Davis Health partners with Sinaloa, Mexico, Sacramento Business Journal

The UC Davis Health System has signed an agreement to partner with the state of Sinaloa, Mexico, to improve the health and well-being of its residents.

Treating ‘Fragile X syndrome’ autism symptoms (video), KABC 7

Randi Hagerman, professor and medical director of the UC Davis MIND Institute, discusses her treatment of a child with Fragile X syndrome, and the possibility that the same treatment also could help children with autism.

Scientists address anosmia, loss of sense of smell, San Francisco Chronicle

Research by neuroscientists at UC Berkeley provides hope of new therapies for those who have lost their sense of smell, whether due to aging, trauma or a viral infection.

Greater Good Science Center’s key to happy holidays, San Francisco Chronicle

It turns out you don’t have to be miserable during the holidays. That’s now scientifically proven by studies, say UC Berkeley scientists who do those studies.

Yoga helps breast cancer survivors curb fatigue, Reuters

After three months of twice-weekly yoga classes, a group of breast cancer survivors in California reported significantly diminished fatigue and increased “vigor.” A control group of women who took classes in post-cancer health issues, but didn’t do yoga, had no changes in their fatigue or depression levels. Some studies have shown that stress-reduction techniques or exercise classes can help reduce fatigue among cancer patients and survivors in general. But none of them has specifically targeted cancer survivors experiencing fatigue to see if a potential therapy reverses the problem, according to Julienne Bower, an associate professor in the psychology department of UCLA, and her colleagues.

Perspective: Copyright and open access at the bedside, The New England Journal of Medicine

Enforcing copyright law could potentially interfere with patient care, stifle innovation and discourage research, but using open source licensing instead can prevent the problem, according to a physician – who practices both at the University of California, San Francisco and the San Francisco VA Medical Center – and a legal scholar at the UC Hastings College of Law. “For a long time, doctors have been able to ignore copyright, but that is changing in a dramatic way,” said John Newman, M.D., Ph.D., of UCSF and SFVAMC. “The exercise of copyright is creating a threat to basic medical care,” said Robin Feldman, J.D., professor of law and director of the Law and Bioscience Project at UC Hastings.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Dec. 18

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

The Think Tank: How can California make the most of telehealth law?, California Healthline

For the second half of the 20th century, California was a leader on several fronts of health care’s evolution. California innovations and maturations in integrated delivery, managed care, stem cell research and electronic health records often set the agenda for national trends. Now California is poised to do it again with a 21st century innovation — telehealth. New state legislation (AB 415) passed this fall has the potential to move two-way audio-visual technology out of the realm of wonky oddity and into the mainstream, according to some industry experts. Expert commentary includes responses from Thomas Nesbitt of UC Davis, Catherine Dower of UC San Franciso and Molly Coye of UCLA.

30 Under 30: Science & Innovation, Forbes

Forbes’ list of 30 scientists under 30 includes postdoctoral candidate Rizia Bardhan of Berkeley Lab, graduate student Mozziyar Etemadi and QB3 fellow James Fraser of UC San Francisco,  graduate student Albert Mach of UCLA, and Ryan Tewhey of UC San Diego. Read more on UC Research.

50 People to Watch in 2012, San Diego Magazine

Santiago Horgan, UC San Diego Center for the Future of Surgery: Spotted on campus: A chief of minimally invasive surgery wearing a Hermès tie. At just 43, the Argentina native was the U.S.’s first doc to take out a patient’s diseased appendix through his mouth. Why go that route? It reduces pain and scars. After Horgan appeared on a top 10 list in TIME magazine, ER did a show on the appendix removal, and named the character “Dr. Horta.” Grey’s Anatomy did a show about his similar gall bladder trick. At UCSD, he just opened the world’s largest training site for minimally invasive surgical techniques.

The 50 best Mayo Clinic doctors. Ever, MinnPost

John Stobo, senior vice president at University of California Office of the President and a Distinguished Mayo Alumnus, is named to the top 50 list for his contribution to the field of academic health centers.

Two leaders in pain treatment have long ties to drug industry, ProPublica

UC Davis pain medicine physician is mentioned in this article about pain treatment and ties with the pharmaceutical industry. Read a response from UC Davis Health System here and a response from Fishman here.

Rob Summers willing to walk again (video), ESPN

The paralyzed former Oregon State pitcher is determined to stand, walk again, with help from UCLA researchers.

Takeda acquires San Diego’s Intellikine for $190M upfront, Xconomy

Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals, which has its cancer drug development operations in Cambridge, Mass., said it is acquiring San Diego-based Intellikine to get ahold of the startup’s portfolio of cancer drugs. Intellikine, founded in September 2007 with a $12.5 million venture financing, grew out of science from the lab of Kevan Shokat at the University of California, San Francisco.

Top 5 San Diego science stories of 2011, San Diego Union-Tribune

You expect scientific achievement in San Diego; it’s one of the largest research centers in the country. But 2011 was an especially fruitful year. Here’s a snap shot of five particularly newsworthy achievements and events. UC San Diego is mentioned.

Inspectors find safety concerns with drug pumps at UCI hospital, Los Angeles Times

Officials at UC Irvine Medical Center have promised to correct problems found with the operation of drug-infusion pumps after an inspection by state and federal health regulators.

Class-action lawsuit filed over UCLA Health System data breach, California Healthline/Modern Healthcare

Attorneys have filed a class-action lawsuit seeking as much as $16 million in damages over a data breach that exposed the personal information of more than 16,000 patients at the UCLA Health System.

Little boy is a big giver (video), CBS 2

This story is about an 8-year-old Moorpark boy who led his second annual toy drive to benefit the pediatric patients at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. The boy, who has a chronic condition requiring frequent hospitalizations, collected more than 400 presents and delivered them to the hospital with his family. Amy Bullock, director of the hospital’s Chase Child Life Program, is featured.

Some toys may hurt child’s hearing, UPI

Some of the most popular Christmas toys, including Road Rippers Lightning Rods and the I Am T-Pain musical microphone, may hurt hearing, U.S. researchers say. Dr. Hamid Djalilian of the University of California, Irvine, and colleagues measured the noise levels of two dozen popular toys in stores and purchased the 10 loudest. Using a soundproof booth at UC Irvine Medical Center, the researchers found all exceeded 90 decibels and several reached 100 or more — equivalent to the noise of a chainsaw, subway train or power mower.

UCSD director appointed to Medical Board, San Diego Union-Tribune

Michael Bishop, director of anesthesia for same-day surgery at the UC San Diego Medical Center, has been appointed to the Medical Board of California.

Hand transplant woman to ride Rose Parade float, The Associated Press

The West Coast’s first hand-transplant recipient will ride the Donate Life float in the Rose Parade on Jan. 2.  Emily Fennel became the UCLA Hand Transplant Program’s first patient at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in March.

An Alzheimer’s researcher reveals: The best ways to ward off dementia, O, The Oprah Magazine

There was a time when forgetting a person’s name was merely embarrassing. In the age of Alzheimer’s, it can be frightening: early evidence, potentially, of a dreaded disease. The good news, according to Gary Small, MD, is that we may be able to do more to keep ourselves healthy than we think. As the director of UCLA’s Longevity Center, Small has spent the past two decades researching the ways lifestyle choices affect memory; in his new book, The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program, he argues that it is indeed possible to stave off this form of dementia.

Rich people lack empathy, study finds, The Huffington Post

Social psychologists are making an argument that Occupy Wall Street protesters have been saying for months: Many rich people just aren’t in the habit of thinking of others. According to researchers at UC Berkeley, people who grew up in economically comfortable circumstances are less attuned to the suffering of other people.

See additional coverage: Time

UCSF study challenges thinking on anorexia, San Francisco Chronicle

The standard approach to feeding patients hospitalized with anorexia nervosa – starting with a low number of calories and increasing them very gradually – is being challenged by new research from UCSF.

A look into the future of genetic medicine, San Diego Union-Tribune

The ability to manipulate the human genome – the collection of 30,000 or so genes that uniquely combine and interact to produce each human being – is indisputably compelling. Among other things, it promises a future when genetic diseases ranging from cystic fibrosis to schizophrenia might not just be cured, but prevented altogether. We asked two scientists at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine to assess recent developments: Bing Ren, a professor of cellular and molecular medicine who specializes in epigenetics, the study of how genes are changed by mechanisms beyond DNA, and colleague Kun Zhang, an assistant professor of bioengineering who focuses on stem cell research.

Commentary: Improving participant recruitment in clinical and translational research, Academic Medicine

In this commentary, top recruitment experts at UCSF urge academic medical researchers to embrace new methods for recruiting participants into clinical trials.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Dec.11

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

University of California, clerks’ union agree to two-tier pensions, The Sacramento Bee

The Coalition of University Employees – Teamsters Local 2010 and the University of California have agreed to a new labor contract that trades raises for a new pension plan tier and higher employee contribution costs for current employees and future hires.

Blue Shield coverage of care at UCLA medical centers may end, Los Angeles Times

A dispute between Blue Shield of California and the University of California’s health system over reimbursement rates could force thousands of patients at UCLA’s medical centers to seek treatment elsewhere if the disagreement is not resolved by Dec. 31.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Business Times, Kaiser Health News, California Healthline

Graduate students press for ‘humanitarian licensing’ vow in U. of California patent policy, The Chronicle of Higher Education

A graduate-student group that pushes universities to make health-related inventions affordable to poor people in developing countries is calling on thousands of researchers in the University of California system not to sign the system’s new patent agreement until university leaders commit to a comprehensive “global-access licensing” policy.

High school students try hand at surgery, The Orange County Register

A program at UC Irvine Medical Center aims to generate interest in medical careers.

Thinking Simply (video), BioCentury This Week

Former Genentech executive Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, now the chancellor of UCSF, says conventional notions of secrecy and collaboration must be challenged to reduce the time, cost and uncertainty of drug development.

Chimp research is sharply curbed after critical report to NIH, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Using chimpanzees in medical studies involving AIDS, malaria, much of neuroscience, and several other areas is unnecessary, a major scientific report said on Thursday. After hearing these conclusions, Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, announced that “effective immediately, the NIH will not issue new awards for chimpanzee research.” Chimps have proven to be poor models for some diseases, such as AIDS, said a report co-author, Warner C. Greene, a professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.

See additional coverage: McClatchy Newspapers

Flu shot mandate ups vaccination rate of hospital workers, MedPage Today

Implementing mandatory flu shot policies for healthcare workers more than doubled coverage rates, researchers found. Rates jumped from about 40% to more than 90% after influenza vaccination was made mandatory at UC Irvine, Susan Huang, M.D., M.P.H., of the institution, and colleagues reported in the January issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Report: Fixing health law ‘glitch’ would expand subsidies to tens of thousands, The Hill

Fixing a glitch in President Obama’s healthcare reform law would allow an extra 144,000 Californians to benefit from the law’s promise of affordable coverage, according to a new report from the University of California at Berkeley and UCLA. The proposed fix would have similar effects on states across the nation.

UC Davis puts ‘humanity’ in medical school curriculum (audio), Capital Public Radio

Experts say better doctor-patient communication can improve patient compliance and reduce malpractice suits. One program at UC Davis medical school is working to make doctors better communicators.

At hospital, two signals on eating and health, The Bay Citizen/New York Times

This story reports on a study by researchers from UCLA and the RAND Corp. showing that less than 10 percent of meals at California children’s hospitals can be considered “healthy.”


CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Dec. 4

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Stanford, UCSF to test ultrasound for cancer pain, San Francisco Chronicle

Scientists at Stanford and UCSF are recruiting patients for two clinical trials to test the use of ultrasound waves, as an alternative to traditional radiation therapy, to ease pain in people whose cancer has spread to their bones.

UC Berkeley creates first online degree program, San Francisco Business Times

UC Berkeley has created its first online degree program — a master’s degree in public health. Earning a degree will cost about $52,000 to $59,000. Students, starting in spring 2012, will be able to earn an M.P.H. degree in two and a half years by doing 85 percent of their coursework online and going to three sessions on campus that total 15 days. Courses in the program will be offered all year round — spring, summer and fall terms. Cal’s School of Public Health created the program to help fill a nationwide shortage of 250,000 trained public health professionals.

Several Calif. facilities named to list of top hospitals nationwide, California Healthline

The Leapfrog Group has named several hospitals in California to its 2011 list of top U.S. hospitals. The list includes UC San Diego Health System.

See additional coverage: City News Service

Federal government sues UCSD Medical Center over job bias, Los Angeles Times

The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit alleging that the UC San Diego Medical Center has discriminated against new employees who are not citizens by requiring them to present more documentation than is required of citizens. “All workers who are authorized to work in the U.S. have the right to work without encountering discrimination because of their immigration status or national origin,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general in the civil rights division. A UCSD Medical Center spokeswoman said that the medical center has been working with Department of Justice representatives since January to insure that its employment verification system complies with federal law.

State fines Scripps Memorial for surgery error, San Diego Union-Tribune

Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla was among 14 California hospitals issued administrative penalties Thursday for errors that caused or could cause serious injury or death to patients, state health officials said. This is the sixth penalty Scripps Memorial has received since the California Department of Public Health began issuing them in 2007 — more than any other hospital in the county. Statewide, UC San Francisco Medical Center is the only other hospital to get six penalties, exceeded only by Southwest Healthcare System in Riverside County, which has been hit with seven since 2007, state records show.

See additional coverage: California Healthline, SF Weekly, The Bay Citizen

CPMC spends far less on poor, S.F. report says, San Francisco Chronicle

California Pacific Medical Center, including its St. Luke’s campus, is San Francisco’s most profitable hospital, yet it spends proportionately far less on care for poor residents than other private nonprofit hospitals in the city, according to a new report. California Pacific Medical Center and St. Luke’s averaged an annual net income of nearly $149 million between 2006 and 2010, almost 12 times the combined annual profit of the other private, nonprofit hospitals required to report to the city the amount of charitable care they provide to indigent and low-income residents. But the report released Thursday by UC Hastings College of the Law found the hospital, which is affiliated with the Sutter Health network, spends considerably less than other hospitals on charity care when compared with the amount of money received per patient.

UCLA study on health food at children’s hospitals, San Francisco Chronicle

They took away the deep fryer at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, and it’s just a matter of time before the sodas are gone too. At UCSF, the dedicated non-dieter can still buy a cheeseburger and french fries at the main cafeteria, but might be hard-pressed to find a Snickers. In the cafeteria at Children’s Hospital Oakland, apples have replaced candy bars at the checkout counter, where impulse buyers do their last-minute grabs. Many hospital cafeterias have undergone major overhauls in the past decade or so, replacing grease- and salt-laden hot lunches with salad bars and grilled vegetarian plates. But they’re still setting a pretty lousy example for the patients, visitors and employees who eat there, at least according to one study out of UCLA published last week.

See additional coverage: The Sacramento Bee (UC Davis Medical Center cafeteria gets top rating for healthy food)

Pot, narcotics OK to treat pain, UCSF study finds, San Francisco Chronicle

Inhaled marijuana appears to be a safe and effective treatment for chronic pain when used in addition to narcotics like morphine and oxycodone, according to a small UCSF study that is the first to look at the combined effects of the two classes of drugs in humans.

Maintain muscle tissue with regular exercise, San Diego Union-Tribune

A Q&A with Simon Schenk, an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery and a core director at the National Skeletal Muscle Research Center at the University of California, San Diego.

Many U.S. men with low-risk prostate cancer should delay or forgo treatment, panel says, The Washington Post

This article is about a National Institutes of Health panel’s recommendation for men with low-risk prostate cancer to wait and see if their disease progresses before treating it . Dr. Patricia Ganz, director of cancer prevention and control research at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and panel member, is quoted.

What phantom limbs and mirrors teach us about the brain, BBC

In a lab in Southern California, scientists are curing the previously incurable with little more than a mirror, and changing our understanding of the brain in the process. In mid-November the team at the University of California, San Diego, announced the results of a small pilot study which suggests that a simple mind trick involving mirrors can help ease the pain of osteoarthritis, a condition that affects one in 10 people.

CIRM puts up $5.6M to recruit stem cell researcher to UC Berkeley, San Francisco Business Times

UC Berkeley’s attempt to woo stem cell researcher Zhigang He from Children’s Hospital Boston got a $5.6 million boost from California’s stem cell research funding agency.

Poisoning cancer cells with sugar, Digital Journal

A new two-part therapy combining a modified sugar molecule with two cancer killing drugs causes many types of cancer cells to “commit suicide” by apoptosis, a type of programmed cell death, researchers at UC San Diego and Kyushu University wrote.

A growing number of registered nurses in California, U.S., Los Angeles Times

If the trend continues, say researchers at the Rand Corp., there may be enough nurses by 2030 to meet the projected needs of aging baby boomers and the expansion of the health care system. The article quotes UCSF professor Joanne Spetz and nurse Michelle Panlilio, who has a master’s degree from UCLA, and includes a photo of UCLA nurses.

New California nursing graduates find it hard to get hired, The Sacramento Bee

California has spent at least $95 million in federal, state and private funds in the past decade to double the number of nursing graduates by expanding college programs and grants. As recently as three years ago, hospitals were offering moving expenses, housing allowances and signing bonuses to recent graduates of nursing schools. But today, some new grads are happy to be offered an unpaid internship. That’s because fewer nurses are retiring during the recession, and hospitals are saving money by turning to veteran or temporary nurses who don’t need expensive training. The article quotes Timothy Bates, a program analyst at the Center for the Health Professions at UC San Francisco and mentions UC Davis Medical Center.





CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Nov. 27

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

New hope of a cure for HIV, The New York Times

Medical researchers are again in pursuit of a goal they had all but abandoned: curing AIDS. Until recently, the possibility seemed little more than wishful thinking. But the experiences of two patients now suggest to many scientists that it may be achievable. One man, the so-called Berlin patient, Timothy Brown, apparently has cleared his HIV infection, albeit by arduous bone marrow transplants. Brown now lives in San Francisco and is a patient at UCSF. The article quotes UCSF’s Steven Deeks and Jay Levy and mentions research at UCLA.

See additional coverage: Time, The Washington Post, Pasadena Star-News, NBC San Diego, ABC 7 (video)

Oz at the CareNow Clinic (video), The Dr. Oz Show

Nearly 4,000 people lined up for the chance to receive free medical care at the largest free health clinic this year. Dr. Oz shares the stories of people he met and treated, including a breast cancer patient being treated by UCLA physicians. View the next part here.

UC and Stanford rank high in earnings from business spinoffs, San Jose Mercury News

Stanford University and the University of California continue to be fertile breeding grounds for breakthrough technologies, generating many millions of dollars in annual income for two schools that have played a central role in building Silicon Valley. Despite continuing difficult economic conditions, in 2010, Stanford collected $65.5 million from the commercialization of its inventions, up slightly from $65 million in 2009, according to a new survey from the nonprofit Association of University Technology Managers. The 10 campuses in the University of California system also did well, earning a total of $104.5 million in licensing income — up slightly from last year’s earnings of $103.1 million. The article mentions that UC’s technology transfer program generates about half of its licensing revenues last year from five patents. Among them: a Hepatitis B vaccine, a treatment for intercranial aneurysms and a bovine growth hormone.

Stem cell science gets new home in La Jolla, San Diego Union-Tribune

The quest to figure out the nature of stem cells and how to use them to treat disease will greatly expand Tuesday with the opening of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, a $127 million center in La Jolla that will draw scientists from five major research institutions. The 150,000-square-foot complex will be the largest of its kind in California, housing 335 people, including such eminent scientists as Salk Institute geneticist Fred Gage and biologist Martin Friedlander of The Scripps Research Institute and scientists from the UC San Diego, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology.

The economics of stem cell research (audio), KPCC

Stem cell research is expensive. But advocates say it will one day yield cures that could save Americans billions in long-term healthcare costs. California is now a world leader in stem cell research. Backers of the science believe this field will not only save lives but possibly save the state’s economy as well. UCSF/Gladstone researcher Bruce Conklin is interviewed.

UC students push for affordable medicine, San Diego Reader

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, an organization largely comprised of medical students across the country, is pushing University of California faculty to refrain from signing a new patent agreement until the system takes steps to ensure that medicines developed in its research facilities will be made affordable to those in developing nations. In the recently decided Stanford v. Roche case, the Supreme Court awarded the rights to a Stanford professor’s research to Roche, a private pharmaceutical company. In response, the University of California sent a letter on November 15 asking faculty to sign a patent agreement with stricter controls over UC’s rights to its own research.

UC regents approve pay hikes for 12 staffers, Los Angeles Times

Even as they dealt with student protests over economic inequities and rising tuition costs, the University of California regents this week approved salary raises of between 6.4% and 23% for 12 highly ranked administrators and attorneys, most of whom now earn more than $200,000 a year. The action has renewed debate about the university’s efforts to retain what it describes as important talent while it seeks more state funding and considers further fee increases. Coming as Occupy protests disrupted the regents meeting, the raises struck some critics of UC as inappropriate and likely to anger taxpayers and legislators. Those mentioned include the COO of the UC Davis Health System, four campus vice chancellors and six campus chief counsels. Read a related opinion piece here.

Must hospital cafeteria food be healthful?, The Wall Street Journal

California children’s hospitals aren’t dishing up particularly healthful fare, a new study shows. Researchers from UCLA and the Rand Corp. report in the journal Academic Pediatrics that of the 16  food venues serving 14 hospitals studied in July 2010, 81% offered unhealthful “impulse items” — think freezers stocked with ice-cream treats — near the cash register. Only 31% offered nutrition information at the point of purchase, while just 25% sold whole-wheat bread.

UCD Med Center logs 70% jump in income, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis Medical Center posted a 70 per- cent jump in income in 2011, even as patient visits and hospital stays fell slightly, according to financial statements released this week.

Sale would preserve Nevada Cancer Institute’s mission, board chairman says, Las Vegas Sun

The Nevada Cancer Institute, whose joint mission of research and outpatient treatment was jeopardized by financial stresses, was breathed new life Friday in a deal that turns it over to the University of California, San Diego.

The birth of biotech, San Francisco Business Times

A reception for the launch of a book about Genentech ’s early days attracted a technology and finance Who’s Who of the time — guys who ended up with their names on the door like David Morganthaler (Morganthaler Ventures) and Tom Perkins (Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers). There were also Roberto Crea and Herb Heyneker, among Genentech’s first scientists. But there were notable absences, too: founders Herb Boyer, the former UCSF scientist whose work laid the platform, and the late Bob Swanson, the out-of-work VC who saw its potential. Boyer was suffering from a severe sinus infection. Swanson’s memory was well served by his widow, Judy Swanson.

A scientist’s life: 10 things UCSD’s Todd Coleman has done, San Diego Union-Tribune

Meet Todd Coleman, an associate professor of bioengineering at the University of California San Diego. Coleman, 34, develops “epidermal electronics,” thin, wireless, wearable sensors that researchers believe will soon be used for everything from monitoring a person’s heartbeat to studying brain activity.

Actors help arm medical students for real life (video), CBS Early Show

This segment spotlights the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA’s standardized patient program, which hires professional actors to portray difficult patient cases designed to teach medical students interpersonal and communication skills in a less pressurized setting than the clinic.  Medical students Molly Diaz and Cathryn Haeffele are interviewed.

Mental health needs high, treatment low, California Healthline

About two million Californians are under stress and need some kind of mental health care – and are not getting the help they need, according to a UCLA study.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, KQED, UPI

Operation Mend (video), KTLA 5

An interview with UCLA’s first Operation Mend patient who described the program’s effect on him. UCLA Dr. Timothy Miller, one of the program’s lead surgeons, also is interviewed. Operation Mend is a partnership between UCLA, Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and the Los Angeles Greater V.A. Medical Center.

Medical breakthroughs you need to know about: Heart transplant (video), The Doctors

A segment on an experimental organ-care system that delivers donor hearts in a warm, beating state.  Dr. Abbas Ardehali, principal investigator of the multicenter study and director of the UCLA Heart Transplant Program, is interviewed.  The segment also features the story of a 41-year-old UCLA heart transplant recipient who participated in the trial.

The Infection Files: Dirty cookstoves pose risk for childhood pneumonia and death, Los Angeles Daily News

This column by Dr. Claire Panosian Dunavan, UCLA clinical professor of medicine, division of infectious diseases, explores how the use of wood, coal and animal dung for indoor cooking and heating in poorer countries can contribute to pneumonia.  A UC Berkeley study is mentioned.

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In the media: Week of Nov. 21

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Enterprising organizations, Healthcare Informatics

An inside-and detailed-look at how three hospital systems, including UC San Diego Health System, achieved HIMSS Analytics Stage 7, an objective measure of progress toward EMR implementation.

UC Merced students investigate health disparities in Central Valley, HealthyCal

A select group of undergraduates and graduate students at UC Merced are researching health topics in a unique but “unfortunate” laboratory. The students are studying an array of topics related to health disparities, and the lab is the community of Merced. It is an unfortunate laboratory, UC professors say, because of the prevalence of diseases and chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and asthma. That and the unique ethnic and racial profile of Merced makes the community ideal for studying health disparities. The study is part of the university’s Center of Excellence for the Study of Health Disparities in Rural and Ethnic Underserved Populations, funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Profits surge at UCD medical center, Sacramento Business Journal

Hospital sees fewer patients, but revenue and profits rise.

Edna Medeiros’ son with kidney transplant gets aid, San Francisco Chronicle

Edna Marie Medeiros chokes up talking about how Season of Sharing – The Chronicle’s annual giving campaign – helped her move to a larger apartment so her son Antonio could have his own room while recovering from a kidney transplant at UC San Francisco.

Kiwanis facility provides comfort of home for UCD patients’ families (video), The Sacramento Bee

Jennifer Deshaies went to a prenatal doctor’s appointment in Redding in August. She knew her baby had medical problems, but she was in disbelief when they told her it was so severe she’d be taken by ambulance to UC Davis Medical Center. “I said, ‘Shut up,’ ” Deshaies recalled. A few minutes later they said, no, she wasn’t going by ambulance. She was going to be flown by airplane. Deshaies has been in Sacramento since. Needless to say, she didn’t have time to collect her belongings to bring with her. After Erica Zipora Hope Chilton was born at the medical center by Caesarean section Aug. 17, Deshaies moved to Kiwanis Family House – a facility for patients and families at the medical center who don’t have a place to stay in Sacramento.

Sports-med clinic joins Kaiser team, The Sacramento Bee

Kaiser Permanente opened the doors to its new sports medicine center in Elk Grove earlier this month, a first for the health network in Northern California and the latest entry in an increasingly competitive market. The UC Davis Health System for years has been a local leader in the field. with expertise in exercise physiology, nutrition, orthopedics and sports psychology. While Kaiser’s sports medicine center is the newest on the sports medicine block, UC Davis’ midtown Sacramento facility at 28th and J streets remains the largest under one roof in the area. It consists of approximately 7,000 square feet for its lab and clinic areas, plus an additional 947 square-foot biomechanics lab. The facility is staffed by a dozen physicians and sports medicine experts in specialties from biomechanics to nutrition and sports physiology.

Protect yourself from Alzheimer’s disease, Reader’s Digest

If everyone in the United States added just one healthy habit, it might prevent or delay a million cases of Alzheimer’s disease that would otherwise be expected to occur over five years, says psychiatrist Gary Small, MD, director of the UCLA Longevity Center. Research hasn’t yet proved that lifestyle changes can ward off the disease, he says in his new book, “The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program” (Workman, $24.95) — “but if you read the small print, the evidence is compelling.” With the oldest baby boomers reaching their mid-60s, when Alzheimer’s risk starts to climb, we asked him what changes matter most.

Bushmeat from endangered animals feeds hungry: study, National Geographic News

Despite their best intentions to avoid such conflicts, environmentalists often end up squaring off against those who say protection measures deny them jobs or other resources. Perhaps nowhere is this debate more heated than when it comes to Africa, whether the issue is malaria vs. DDT or GMOs vs. the precautionary principle. Among the most incendiary topics of all is starving children, and how environmental policies may be affecting them. At first glance, a study released today from researchers at UC Berkeley may seem to pile fuel on the fire, although News Watch spoke with one of the study’s authors, who urged a thoughtful and measured response.

Davis arrow-toting turkey gets relief and release, The Sacramento Bee

A male turkey was left running around last week with an arrow in his posterior after being shot by an unknown archer. On Friday, he was captured by the state Department of Fish and Game and brought to the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Teaching Hospital, part of the UC Davis School of Medicine, where the arrow was safely removed and the turkey was later released.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments (1)

In the media: Week of Nov. 13

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Bruce Alberts has passion for science education, San Francisco Chronicle

A profile of Bruce Alberts, 73, professor emeritus of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF. Alberts helped create UCSF’s Science and Health Education Partnership. Last month, SEP organized the weeklong Bay Area Science Festival, which drew more than 70,000 parents and children to scores of events at museums, colleges and high-tech firms and major circus-like events in Hayward, Sonoma and San Francisco.

UCSD’s ‘Trojan horse’ attack on cancer, San Diego Union-Tribune

Fighting will soon erupt on a battlefield so tiny you’ll need a microscope to see how things turn out. The victor will either be cancer, a wily adversary, or a young scientist pressing a simple question: Can I launch a sneak attack on leukemia by tricking the immune system into welcoming drug-filled particles that are a million times smaller than an ant? The immune system devours gate-crashers, seeing them as a threat. But it might be possible to hoodwink the body’s biological police. In a new approach to an old problem, UC San Diego researcher Liangfang Zhang is disguising the synthetic particles with the skin of red blood cells, hoping that something natural will hide something fake.

Meet the scientist nurtured in a bread warmer, San Diego Union-Tribune

Marta Kutas, chair of cognitive science at the University of California San Diego and holder of the title Distinguished Professor, an honor given to a small number of UC faculty, is profiled in “10 Things,” a feature in which local scientists discuss their life experiences. Kutas, 62, explores how the human brain works, with a focus on language comprehension and memory. She also examines such things as mood and cognitive aging, creativity and humor.

Super memory, obsessive behavior: Do they share the same brain space?, Los Angeles Times

Memory researchers at UC Irvine are developing a large collection of remarkable research subjects, who themselves maintain a remarkably large collection of memories. They are people with “highly superior autobiographical memories,” and UC Irvine researchers so far have found at least 22 — and possibly as many as 32 subjects in this country alone — who can remember with extraordinary accuracy and in extraordinary detail the events of their lives and the days on which they occurred.

A genius among us: UCSF neuroscientist William Seeley (audio), KALW

“Genius” is a pretty loaded title. But the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation began bestowing that honor on American luminaries who shine in a variety of respective fields. They no longer call the recipients “geniuses,” but they do still award half-a-million dollars to 20 or so every year to support their work. No strings attached. Two of this year’s MacArthur fellows are from the Bay Area – former poet laureate Kay Ryan from Fairfax, and William Seeley, an associate professor of neurology at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center here in San Francisco. KALW’s Ben Trefny met up with Seeley at his lab in UCSF to talk with him about his significant study of frontotemporal dementia, and on being recognized for his particular genius.

Donna Karan brings her Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program to UCLA Medical Center, Hollywood Reporter

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center will be the first hospital on the West Coast to implement fashion designer Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Integrative Therapy program, which uses Eastern healing techniques to enhance the care of hospital patients.

Report: Closure of MLK facility led to negative effects in community, California Healthline

The August 2007 closure of the Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital in South Los Angeles negatively affected physicians and patients in the community, according to a report that was based on physician interviews and published in the Annals of Family Medicine, Medscape Medical News reports. Researchers from UC San Francisco conducted the interviews between six and 13 months after the closure of the facility, which included a trauma center, emergency department and residency training program. Researchers queried local primary care physicians on how the closure affected their practices.

Geron Corp. shuts down world’s first stem-cell trial, The Orange County Register

Geron Corp. is shutting down the world’s first patient trial of a treatment involving human embryonic stem cells, citing lack of funding and economic difficulties. The company’s decision leaves a doubtful future for clinical trials of the spinal-cord injury treatment, developed by researchers at UC Irvine. Hans Keirstead, who developed the treatment along with UCI researcher Gabriel Nistor, said he is exploring alternative funding to continue the trials. Neither was involved in Geron’s clinical trial.

See additional coverage: The Washington Post

UC Davis Med Center unveils new pediatric unit, KCRA 3

On Thursday, a new pediatric intensive care unit will open at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.It will serve critically ill children throughout Northern California.

UCSF to get presidential award for mentoring, San Francisco Chronicle

A program that brings UCSF scientists into San Francisco’s public schools and sponsors internships for the brightest high school students in the city has won a presidential award for its mentoring programs in science, math and engineering, the White House announced.

Millions of Americans face life without dental care (audio, video), PBS NewsHour

The UCSF School of Dentistry and assistant professor Elizabeth Mertz are featured in this story about dental care and the difficulty that many Americans face getting it.

Study says millions at risk for health problems in the Valley (video), NBC 24

A new UC Davis study shows that over one million people in the San Joaquin Valley face health problems because of their environment. One-third of the population is living in areas subject to bad air, lack of clean drinking water, and exposure to pesticides and other chemicals, which could compromise their health. The study reports that low-income areas are most at risk, and health concerns are largely impacting minorities.

See additional coverage: The Fresno Bee

Data could be king in reformed health care system, California Healthline

This article about health information exchange mentions the UC San Diego-led San Diego Beacon Collaborative.

Analyzing the sharp end of health care, Health Data Management

Perioperative services account for a huge chunk of hospital revenue, but they also account for a sizable slice of costs and medical errors. At UC Irvine Medical Center, perioperative and anesthesia services were managed with rudimentary information technologies when Zeev Kain, M.D., came on board in 2008 as chairman of anesthesiology and perioperative care. One of the conditions for Kain accepting the position was the guarantee that the medical center would install a perioperative information system. The system — from Surgical Information Systems — went live in 2008 and UC Irvine has since added a number of modules, including an analytics module a well as applications for clinical documentation for anesthesia, inter-operative and post-operative care, and a surgeon preference app.

Emergency room closures hit minorities, poor hardest, NPR Shots

Patients in California may find a shuttered glass door the next time they seek out emergency care, as hospitals across the state close emergency rooms. California hospitals that serve large numbers of blacks and Medicaid patients, who often rely on ERs the most, run a higher risk of closing the emergency department, according to an analysis just published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. Financial factors, such as how much the hospital relies on Medicaid payments, contribute to the shutdowns, says Dr. Renee Hsia, study author and assistant professor of emergency medicine at University of California, San Francisco.

Why brain injuries are more common in preemies (audio), NPR Shots

Scientists say they are beginning to understand why brain injuries are so common in very premature infants — and they are coming up with strategies to prevent or repair these injuries. chief of neonatology at the University of California, San Francisco, is featured.

San Francisco’s universal care add millions to official cost, SF Public Press

UC Berkeley School of Public Health Dean Stephen Shortell is quoted in this article about how clinics in San Francisco are scrambling to switch to electronic health records.

UCSD scientist explains Perry and Cain’s ‘brain freeze’, San Diego Union-Tribune

Texas Gov. Rick Perry experienced a long memory lapse last week during a nationally televised debate on CNBC. Something similar happened this week when journalists in Milwaukee asked Herman Cain about U.S. political relations with Libya. The fleeting moments of “brain freeze” brought a lot of laughter and derision. But these sort of lapses are understandable, common and can occur with increasing frequency as people grow older, says Douglas Galasko, a professor in the Department of Neurosciences at UC San Diego.

Celebrated AIDS researcher reflects on move to UC Davis, Meharry tenure, Diverse Issues in Higher Education

In June, James E.K. Hildreth was named dean of the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, and awarded with the Director’s Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health. Hildreth has worked over the years to develop and transform discoveries on the HIV/AIDS front.

Fundraiser at Tutto Fresca for mother fighting brain cancer, The Orange County Register

A profile of a patient who was treated on a dendritic cell vaccine study led by Dr. Linda Liau, a professor of neurosurgery and a researcher with UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Eat like a caveman to lose weight, Medical News Today

Researchers from UCSF say that their research has shown people on a diet of high protein and plenty of vegetables show dramatic health improvements, including weight loss without exercising profusely and lower blood pressure. In short it’s the diet of our caveman ancestors thousands of years ago who were what is termed “Hunter Gathers.” The article quotes UC Berkeley paleobiologist Tim White and UCSF endocrinologist Robert Lustig.

The trustworthy gene — just one look and you can tell if a stranger is wired to be kind and compassionate (audio), KPCC

In a new study, a group of scientists, including researchers at UC Berkeley, have found that people who tested high for empathy shared the same DNA linked to promoting social interaction and love. Dacher Keltner, UC Berkeley professor of psychology and co-author of the study, is a guest.

Replacing fire with cook stove helps kids, UPI

Exchanging an indoor fire with a cooking stove with a chimney lowered the risk of severe pneumonia in small children in Guatemala, U.S. researchers say. Study leader Kirk Smith of UC Berkeley and Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said childhood deaths from pneumonia are relatively uncommon in the United States. However, it kills almost 1.6 million children worldwide — more than any other disease — and open fires used for heating and cooking are thought to be a major cause, the researchers said.

Blood test better for coronary arteries, UPI

A blood test is more effective to rule out obstructive coronary artery disease than a test that uses a radioactive agent, U.S. researchers say. Dr. Gregory S. Thomas, clinical professor of medicine and director of nuclear cardiology education at the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, said the blood test used gene expression, which provides valuable tissue and cell-specific information about the molecular mechanisms involved in disease processes.

Op-ed: Will partisanship shape the healthcare ruling?, Los Angeles Times

The Supreme Court has agreed to decide the constitutionality of the individual mandate. But will the judges see the issue in terms of legal precedent or partisanship? UC Irvine law school Dean Erwin Chemerinsky weighs in.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Nov. 6

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC to seek state funds to avoid tuition hike next year, Los Angeles Times

A new proposal by President Mark Yudof would seek a $411 million hike in state funding for the 2012-13 academic year while adding courses and hiring professors. The article also mentions that UC announced a tentative five-year contract agreement with the union that represents 12,500 clerical workers at the university. The settlement is the latest in a series that is bringing a measure of labor peace to the 10-campus system after years of nasty disputes. In recent months, UC reached agreements with custodians and hospital service workers, nurses, university police and academic lecturers and librarians.

See additional coverage: Merced Sun-Star

Actors cast as patients to teach medical students, San Francisco Chronicle

Don Schwartz is sitting on an examination table in a hospital gown, eyes closed, getting into character. An actor, he must channel a 55-year-old with chest pain for medical students at UCSF. In medical schools across the country, students are perfecting their bedside manner and taking high-stakes tests needed to graduate by practicing on “standardized patients” like Schwartz – actors who fill in for the real thing.

Bay Area Science Festival hits it out of the park, San Francisco Chronicle

The wide green turf of AT&T Park and the sandy stretches along first and third base never encountered anything like the crowds of kids and parents who streamed into the stadium Sunday for what may have been the largest science sideshow ever seen. There were telescopes to peer at sunspots whenever they were visible between the windswept clouds, animal skulls with ferocious teeth to test for sharpness, chemicals that popped under pressure, gauges revealing the gases emitted by human lungs, and human brains to reveal the mysteries of the nervous system. All these and more highlighted the climactic event of the first Bay Area Science Festival, sponsored by UCSF to spur interest in science.

UCSC team wins award for innovation in health research, Santa Cruz Sentinel

A multidisciplinary team from UC Santa Cruz beat out 38 other nominees for the Deloitte and California Institute for Quantitative Sciences award for innovation, which recognizes research that has the potential to improve human health. The UCSC team, chemistry and biochemistry graduate student Kelly Peach, microbiology and environmental toxicology graduate student Nicholas Shikuma and UCSC Chemical Screening Center research specialist Walter Bray, won the $10,000 award for their work in researching drugs that could combat cholera and other types of bacteria.

Operation Mend: Reconstructing injured veterans (audio), KPCC

These days, military veterans are surviving injuries that would have killed them in previous wars. They return home with severe burns that leave them so disfigured their families and friends might not recognize them. One Southland-based program helps these veterans through the next stage of recovery, UCLA’s Operation Mend.

See additional coverage: ABC News (video),The Huffington Post (video), MSNBC “Morning Joe” (video), New York Magazine

The Who legends look to help teens with cancer, CBS “The Early Show”

The Who’s Roger Daltrey was joined Nov. 4 by Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and others at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center to launch the Daltrey/Townshend Teen & Young Adult Cancer Program, one of the first of its kind in the U.S.  The Who’s Pete Townshend participated via video message.

Fewer CA kids overweight, but Bay Area struggles, San Francisco Chronicle

For the first time in 30 years, the number of overweight schoolchildren in California is falling, suggesting that the state may finally be making some headway in the long battle to prevent childhood obesity, according to a report put together by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, The Orange County Register

HealthWatch: Caveman diet makes room for saturated fats (video), CBS San Francisco

If you’re trying to eat like a caveman on the Paleo Diet, meat –which is heavy in saturated fat- is on the menu. However, the consensus may be changing on how dangerous those fats are. According to the modern Paleo movement, a little bit of “bad” fat can do a body “good,” actually helping your triglyceride levels. At a sold out symposium at UCLA, new findings on saturated fat wowed researchers, medical doctors and nutritionists from around the world. UCSF endocrinologist Robert Lustig is quoted.

Shortage of doctors in the Valley anticipated, The Fresno Bee

Shortages of doctors and other health professionals in the central San Joaquin Valley could grow worse as more people gain insurance coverage under federal health reform, a new study says. The Affordable Care Act is expected to add millions of new Medi-Cal patients statewide between 2014 and 2019, said researchers at the Center for Health Professions at the University of California at San Francisco.

See additional coverage: Kaiser Health News

Climate change’s health costs projected to be enormous, The Huffington Post

A tally of lost lives and health care expenditures arising from just six recent weather-related or epidemiological events suggests that the economic toll of future climate change is likely to be even more staggering than previously thought, according to a study published Monday in the journal Health Affairs. The analysis, conducted by a team of researchers from the Natural Resources Defense Council, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco, represents one of the most ambitious attempts to establish a uniform method for putting a price tag on the health impacts of climate change. Most previous estimates have only looked at costs associated with property losses, damage to infrastructure and other resource forfeitures.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times

Tinkering with life, The Scientist

This article about a decade’s worth of engineering-infused biology features the anti-malarial drug work by Jay Keasling of Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley.

Therapy dogs and healing, Saturday Evening Post

This article is about the UCLA People Animal Connection (PAC) program, which provides animal-assisted therapy to hospitalized patients. The story and photos feature several PAC volunteers, patients and family members.

UCSD study may suggest autism’s cellular basis, San Diego Union-Tribune

A new study led by researchers at UCSD has found that boys with autism had two-thirds more cells in the area of their brain associated with social, cognitive and communication development. UC Davis also is mentioned.

Combination of tests may warn of Alzheimer’s, San Diego Union-Tribune

A Q&A with Dr. James Brewer, a neurologist at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Brewer and colleagues published a paper describing a novel combination of widely available tests that more accurately predicted the likelihood of impending Alzheimer’s disease in patients with mild cognitive impairment — an intermediate state between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging and the more pronounced decline of dementia.

Op-ed: The threat to San Diego’s cancer research centers, San Diego Union-Tribune

As lawmakers grapple to set fiscal priorities for 2012 and beyond, we call on them to preserve funding for cancer and biomedical research, write Kristina Vuori, president of the San Diego-based Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute; Thomas Kipps, interim director of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center; and Tony Hunter, director of the Salk Institute Cancer Center.

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In the media: Week of Oct. 30

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UCSD Health leader announces resignation, San Diego Union-Tribune

Tom Jackiewicz will leave UC San Diego Health System on Dec. 1 after serving as its chief executive for two years, presiding over major expansion plans for the university’s medical facilities and the opening of a $227 million cardiovascular center last summer. Jackiewicz, 53, is headed for the University of Southern California, where he will start on Jan. 1 as senior vice president and chief executive for USC Health.

Larynx transplant results (video), The Doctors

Brenda Charett Jensen, a Modesto woman whose historic larynx transplant at UC Davis Medical Center grabbed headlines around the world earlier this year, is featured on this daytime television program. View an additional clip here.

The Who and other celebrities launch teen, young adult cancer program at Los Angeles hospital, The Associated Press

The two original members of the British rock band The Who have launched a program for teens and young adults with cancer. Roger Daltrey and Peter Townshend pledged Friday to raise money to renovate part of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center pediatric floor into a separate space for patients ages 15 to 25.

See additional coverage: Fox News (video), CBS Los Angeles (video), KPCC

Editorial: Biosciences hub could be the spark of something big, The Sacramento Bee

Medical Center has a big footprint in Sacramento. Yet in some corners of City Hall and the business community, there is a belief that it could be an even bigger force in creating jobs and serving the community. Two developments in recent days are reason for optimism. On Monday, UC Davis announced a significant partnership with one of the world’s leading genetic research labs. The university and BGI,a Chinese research institute, will build a 10,000-square-foot DNA sequencing facility at the School of Medicine. Two days after the BGI announcement, City Councilman Jay Schenirer announced a wide-ranging initiative that counts on volunteers and cooperation from UC Davis Medical Center and other hospitals. Focused on the nearby Oak Park neighborhood, it’s called WayUp Sacramento and includes education, medical screenings, community gardens, homebuying assistance and employment.

Biotech breakthrough could end malaria drug shortages, PBS NewsHour

A synthetic biology breakthrough, achieved at laboratories in Northern California, could expand access to malaria treatment around the globe beginning in 2012. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and the biotech start-up Amyris developed a process to manufacture artemisinin, a crucial ingredient in first-line malaria drugs that until now had to be extracted from a natural crop called sweet wormwood.

Stem-cell pioneer takes aim at M.S., The Orange County Register

A Q&A with UC Irvine stem-cell researcher Hans Keirstead, who is pushing ahead to develop new treatments.

Rewriting the textbook on disease (video), PBS NewsHour

A new report from the National Research Council is calling for a “new taxonomy” that would define diseases more precisely by their underlying molecular causes rather than their traditional physical signs and symptoms. Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, co-chair of the committee and chancellor of UC San Francisco, believes the new definitions and molecular-level view of disease will lead not only to more effective care but to new research, more collaboration and the development of innovative drugs.

UCLA Health System warns patients personal information was stolen, Los Angeles Times

The UCLA Health System is warning thousands of patients that their personal information was stolen and they are at risk of possible identity theft, officials said in a statement released Friday. Officials don’t believe the information has been accessed or misused but are referring patients to a data security company if their name and credit are affected. Information from 16,288 patients was taken from the home of a physician whose house was burglarized Sept. 6, according to the UCLA Health System.

Decoding the brain’s cacophony (video), The New York Times

A feature on UC Santa Barbara psychology professor Michael Gazzaniga, author of a new book, “Who’s in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain.”

Sanford-Burnham joins Pfizer-UCSD drug collaboration, San Diego Union-Tribune

The Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute has joined a collaboration with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and UC San Diego to move promising drug research through the toughest phase of preclinical development and into early human trials. The move, which will be announced today (Nov. 4), expands participation in the newly established Center for Therapeutic Innovation at Pfizer’s campus in La Jolla. Scientists from Sanford-Burnham and UCSD will work with university research physicians and Pfizer scientists on therapies to treat brain diseases, cancer, diabetes, inflammation, HIV and pain.

Barnidge: Easier to identify UC’s problem than the solutions, Contra Costa Times

If you wanted to feel as smart as a university president, Lafayette Library was the place to be Tuesday night. That’s where UC President Mark Yudof addressed the Commonwealth Club, casting a forward look to “The Fate of Higher Education.” Yudof contends that a public research university system such as UC provides broad “benefits that flow to all.” It powers economic growth, new product lines, health care advances, scientific discoveries, more jobs and taxes.

Sacramento jury tells UC Davis to pay $7.6 million to paraplegic woman, The Sacramento Bee

A Sacramento Superior Court jury awarded $7.6 million to an Elk Grove woman on a finding that UC Davis Medical Center personnel misread an MRI exam and that ensuing complications left her paraplegic.

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center cited for safety violations, Los Angeles Times

Harbor- UCLA Medical Center has failed to keep its operating rooms clean and safe and to protect its patients from possible infection, according to federal inspection reports recently released to The Times.

Bay Area hospitals struggling with drug shortages, The Bay Citizen

As nationwide drug shortages grow more acute, Bay Area hospitals and clinics are struggling to maintain supplies of medications needed to treat cancer and perform surgeries. Alameda County Medical Center, which includes Highland Hospital in Oakland, has seen shortages of seven or eight chemotherapy drugs this year. “We’ve had to borrow drugs from UCSF, from hospitals in Walnut Creek. We’ve even had to call UC Davis, San Jose, anyone who is willing to let us borrow drugs,” said Priya Patel, a clinical pharmacy specialist at Highland Hospital. In the first six months of 2011, UCSF Medical Center borrowed from or lent drugs to other Bay Area hospitals 136 times.

UCR student has tuberculosis, The Palm Springs Desert Sun

A UC Riverside student recently diagnosed with tuberculosis was in isolation Wednesday, with campus officials offering TB screenings for anyone concerned about exposure to the respiratory disease.

Austerity won’t help physician shortage, experts predict, California Healthline

While legislators in Washington, D.C., haggle over the health care impacts of reducing the national debt and California health care providers absorb a 10% cut in Medi-Cal payments, physicians continue to be scarce — and so do ideas for solving the physician shortage. Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program. The article mentions that statewide budget cuts have made financial aid more difficult at the state’s nine medical schools and have put two new medical schools on hold. A proposed medical school at UC Riverside – in the heart of the Inland Empire, where primary care physicians are particularly scarce – is in limbo.

UCSF Medical Center Mission Bay rises to occasion, San Francisco Chronicle

Amid construction at UCSF’s Medical Center at Mission Bay, UCSF CEO Mark Laret recalled that 10 years ago, his team possessed the vision to create a new hospital complex but weren’t certain they had the will. “I finally believed we’d achieve our goal when founder Marc Benioff told me, ‘People overestimate what they can accomplish in one year. But they underestimate what they can accomplish in 10 years.’ “

UCSF Mission Bay med center helps DPR thrive, San Francisco Business Times

DPR Construction has found a cure for the lagging economy in UC San Francisco’s $1.5 billion Mission Bay Medical Center.

Council OKs helipad for new UCSD cardiovascular center, City News Service/La Jolla Light

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved construction of a temporary ground-level helipad in La Jolla that will service the new UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center. The helipad will be located on university-owned property near Regents Road and Eastgate Mall, receiving three or four transfers of patients per week from hospitals in Imperial County, with which UCSD has contracts, according to city staff. Trauma patients will still be flown to UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest.

UCLA, Operation Mend help heal scars of war, Beverly Hills Courier

A partnership between UCLA Health System, Brooke Army Medical Center and VA-Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System is helping servicemen and women wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus far, 52 combat veterans have been treated at UCLA.

Secondhand smoke study flawed; new data posted, NBC Los Angeles

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has updated its report on secondhand smoke after a methodology error skewed researchers’ findings.

UC Merced students pitch in for Haiti, Merced Sun-Star

UC students — including some at UC Merced — are helping rebuild Haiti. UC Haiti Initiative is an organization formed of students, faculty, staff and alumni at all the UC campuses, said Ariana Ruiz, the UC Merced chapter director. The organization has a bilateral partnership with the Universite d’Etat d’Haiti, or State University of Haiti, she said. Students at each campus run their own projects in the areas of health, engineering, economy, law and social justice. “We develop projects that can potentially be developed and implemented in Haiti,” Ruiz said, who is a third-year biology major.

UC Merced professor develops HIV inhibitor, Merced Sun-Star

A new potential drug that’s being developed in Merced County could become another weapon in the global fight against HIV transmission. UC Merced professor Patricia “Patti” LiWang has created an inhibitor using a combination of two drugs to help prevent the virus from being transmitted. Linking the two drugs, LiWang says, makes the “entry inhibitor” extremely potent.

Scientists and autism: When geeks meet, Nature News

A UC Davis epidemiologist led an analysis of autism diagnoses in California that did not find autism clustered preferentially around areas rich in IT industry, but rather around older parents and higher education. The article quotes Irva Hertz-Picciotto of UC Davis and Bryna Siegel of UC San Francisco.

UCD device gives paralyzed people independence, Sacramento Business Journal

UC Davis professors Sanjay Joshi and Anthony Wexler have developed a new technology that enables paralyzed patients to connect facial-muscle signals via electrodes to a cell phone and converter, which allows them to run external devices. Joshi says that for some paralyzed individuals, the technology “could provide independence.”

Ekso Bionics maykes big strides forward, San Francisco Business Times

Ekso Bionics is giving people with spinal cord injuries something that medical intervention and surgeries can’t — the ability to walk. Hikers, military pilots and spinal cord patients have all benefited from Ekso Bionics’ weight-bearing frame, which supplements a person’s bone structure. Engineers at the Robotics and Engineering Lab at UC Berkeley first built the mechanical exoskeleton in 2005.

Embarrassment seen as a sign of many virtues, San Francisco Chronicle

Embarrassment is often experienced as a negative emotion, most often evoked after committing a social faux pas. But a new UC Berkeley study published online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finds that people who display embarrassment at life’s missteps have reason to appreciate their inherent bashfulness.

The neuroscience of why gratitude makes us healthier, The Huffington Post

This piece on gratitude cites studies by Robert Emmons of UC Davis.

Lipitor rage, Slate

Patient 1 wanted to kill someone. Normally even-tempered, the 63-year-old man found himself awaking with an uncontrolled anger and the desire to smash things. His violent impulses started after he began taking the cholesterol-lowering statin Lipitor and they vanished within two days of quitting the drug. Patient 2 developed a short fuse after he started on Zocar, another popular statin. The 59-year-old felt an impulse to kill his wife, and once tried, unsuccessfully, to do so. His violent tendencies subsided within a few weeks of stopping Zocar. Physician Beatrice Golomb at the University of California-San Diego has collected thousands of anecdotes like these through her website,, and she’s convinced that these drugs—taken by one in four Americans over the age of 45—can provoke sever irritability and violence among a tiny subset of users.

Cancer rate doubled for transplant patients, San Francisco Chronicle

Organ transplant recipients are twice as likely as the average American to get cancer, in large part because they must suppress their immune system to avoid organ rejection and that leaves them more vulnerable to infections that can cause cancer, according to a large national study. The article quotes Dr. Ryutaro Hirose, an associate professor of surgery and transplantation at UCSF who was not involved in the study.

Toxic chemicals: Agency hardens stance on products, San Francisco Chronicle

The state agency charged with regulating toxic substances has taken another crack at writing a “green chemistry” regulation intended to provide consumers with information about harmful chemicals in products, after its first draft was criticized as too weak. The new proposal includes a much larger list of so-called chemicals of concern, expands who would be responsible for complying with the new regulation, and sets a higher bar for products that include even traces of potentially harmful chemicals such as lead and bisphenol A. One of the most vocal critics of the previous proposal, UC Berkeley scientist Michael Wilson, said Monday that the new regulation appears sound and scientifically based.

A ‘King’s Speech’ that could help save the world: A discussion with UC Berkeley’s Dr. Malcolm Potts, Forbes

A Q&A with UC Berkeley School of Public Health professor Malcolm Potts.

Op-ed: Raise the salary of doctors, The New York Times

C. Cindy Fan, UCLA associate dean of social sciences and professor of geography, writes an op-ed on the subject of whether China is facing a health care crisis.

Fade to silence, San Diego Union-Tribune

Upcoming holiday parties and dinners are a great time to catch up with friends and family. But for millions, it’s a time of frustration instead of celebration, because they can’t understand what’s being said. One of the first places people notice that there’s something wrong with their hearing is at social events. Background noises make it difficult for people to understand what’s being said even though they hear the words. “Primarily, it’s wear and tear and exposure to noise over a lifetime that makes people lose their hearing,” said Dr. Jeffery Harris, an otolaryngologist at the University of California San Diego.

Is alcohol good or bad for your health?, CBC News

This story about the risks and benefits of alcohol consumption highlights a study by UC Davis brewing scientist Charles Bamforth showing that beer might have nutritional properties that could strengthen bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other diseases.

Fast food’s link to lower-income obesity questioned, Scripps Howard News Service

A UC Davis study has found that the fast-food industry attracts the most customers from middle-income areas, locating restaurants in their neighborhoods and offering convenience to budget-conscious parents. Lead author J. Paul Leigh, professor of public health sciences at UC Davis, says there is a correlation between obesity and lower income, but these new results show that restaurant choice is not the sole cause.

Food increases gut size by stimulating stem cells and insulin, KQED QUEST

New research from UC Berkeley sheds light on how our bodies respond to food, making room for more when it is available and shrinking the gut when food is scarce. Researchers investigated how stem cells in the gut of the fruit fly respond when different amounts of food are present. They found that when food is abundant, stem cells in the gut divide more rapidly, increasing the size of the gut as long as food continues to be available. When food is removed, the cells stop dividing and the gut shrinks down again.

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