CATEGORY: In the media

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.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

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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In the media: Week of Oct. 23

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Editorial: Delivering doctors, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

A large and growing shortage of doctors poses a serious long-range challenge for the Inland region. That condition will not heal itself, but requires prompt action: Legislators need to find money for the most promising first aid — a new medical school at UC Riverside.

UCSF chancellor: New companies make new jobs (video), CBS News

Scott Pelley speaks with UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann on how the United States will create new jobs to fix the struggling economy. Read a transcript of the interview.

UCSF trial offers new hope for melanoma patients, San Francisco Chronicle

Shannon Jimerson, an advanced-stage melanoma patient at UCSF, did a little dance this week while still sitting on the exam table after she got the news she desperately wanted to hear. Nine months after starting a combination drug therapy in early phase clinical trials, her tumors were continuing to shrink.

Bionic breakthrough helps a paralyzed Morris Plains woman get back on her feet, Newark Star-Ledger

Laurie Kammer slipped into the embrace of the high-tech backpack, connected to the lightweight black braces that ran down her unresponsive legs. Then, after some coaching, she stood on her feet and took her first steps since the fall in June that broke her back, leaving her paralyzed. The Ekso machine has four motors and 15 sensors that mimic the normal human gait. It was originally conceived by the UC Berkeley Robotics and Human Engineering Lab. In 2005 the company was spun out of the lab and soon after it licensed the technology to Lockheed Martin to develop exoskeltons for soldiers to carry heavy loads.

At 1 year, UCI stem-cell treatment safe, The Orange County Register

The world’s first test on patients of a treatment for spinal cord injury using human embryonic stem cells is so far proving safe, one year after the first of four patients received injections. The treatment, developed by researchers at UC Irvine, involves injection of neural cells derived from human embryonic stem cells into the site of a spinal cord injury within seven to 14 days — known as “acute” injuries, as opposed to longer-term injuries known as “chronic.” None of the patients has experienced any adverse reactions from the treatment, according to Geron Corp., which is conducting the trials, although a few “mild” adverse reactions were reported from a drug used to suppress the patients’ immune responses. “I’m pretty happy that the treatment appears to be safe at this point,” said UCI stem-cell researcher Hans Keirstead, who is not involved in the patient trials but developed the treatment with his colleague, Gabriel Nistor.

UC Davis, Chinese company form major genetics research partnership, The Sacramento Bee

In a potentially huge boost for Sacramento’s technology industry, UC Davis is embarking on a major partnership with one of the world’s leading genetics researchers. The university’s partnership with BGI, a research institute from Shenzhen, China, could help turn the Sacramento area into a hub for pharmaceutical and agricultural biotech companies – a status community leaders have been craving for years.

UC Merced students develop avatar medical care technology, The Fresno Bee

In a dark room lit only by the razor-thin beams of infrared cameras, University of California at Merced graduate student Carlo Camporesi spends most days — and many nights — in the company of avatars. This isn’t the next big sci-fi movie in the making or the latest Nintendo Wii video game. Camporesi is part of a research team working to solve a very real problem — how to overcome an expected shortage of physical therapists who will work with aging baby boomers. UC Merced received a $75,000 grant through the UC system for five graduate students to begin creating a software program this year that uses avatars to provide physical therapy to the elderly. UC Davis Medical School is partnering on the program, and doctors there will help develop therapy exercises over the next couple years. Students hope to renew the grant, which is through the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, a collaboration between four UC campuses, to pay for a few more years of work on the avatars.

New law on telehealth may mean better care, easy access, California Healthline

AB 415 is a bill by Assembly member Dan Logue (R-Linda) that Gov. Jerry Brown (D) recently signed. The new law, effective Jan. 1, is designed to streamline the practice of telehealth in a number of ways. The article quotes Thomas Nesbitt, associate vice chancellor for strategic technologies and alliances at UC Davis Medical Center and includes a link to the UC telehealth fact sheet.

Telehealth may be led by telederm, California Healthline

April Armstrong thinks the medical specialty that’s perfect for California’s nascent telehealth system is dermatology. “Dermatology is visual,” according to Armstrong, director of the teledermatology program at UC-Davis Medical Center. “That’s the great thing about it, why it’s so suitable for telehealth, is that it’s a visual field. If the image quality is clear, you can tell a lot.” Today, the Center for Connected Health Policy is scheduled to release an issue brief Armstrong authored on teledermatology. The brief was funded by the California HealthCare Foundation, which publishes California Healthline. About 1,200 patients a year, mostly in rural areas, currently use the telehealth program at UC-Davis Med Center, she said. Dermatology is the most often-used telehealth specialty consult there.

Despite health care cutbacks, many nonprofit hospital executives reap million-dollar salaries, perks, Contra Costa Times

Amid rising medical costs that challenge families and health care organizations, East Bay hospital executives enjoy seven-figure salaries and an array of perks. Eight hospital leaders in Alameda and Contra Costa counties reaped more than $1 million each in 2009, and many had benefits such as car allowances, gym memberships, financial planning services and housing loans. View a nonprofit hospital employee pay database here. A previous story examined charity care at East Bay nonprofit hospitals. UC Health is not mentioned.

California hospitals cite issues with CMS data on blood infection rates, California Healthline

The California Hospital Association is challenging the validity of CMS data that show some California hospitals have blood infection rates that are considerably higher than the national average, Payers & Providers reports. The Payers & Providers article mentions UCLA and UC San Francisco.

Bay Area Science Festival features fun, discovery, San Francisco Chronicle

Science is breaking out all over the Bay Area this week as hundreds of scientists at research institutions, laboratories, universities and high-tech companies go public to show adults and kids alike that the scientific world is exciting, fun and well worth exploring. The events begin today and run through next weekend; most are free, but some will take place at institutions like the California Academy of Sciences, the Chabot Science and Space Center, the Exploratorium, Tech Museum in San Jose and the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, where normal admission fees will apply. The festival is intended to celebrate how science, engineering and math touch everyone. It is the brainchild of researchers at UC San Francisco, whose Science & Health Education Partnership has been bringing scientists directly into Bay Area elementary school classrooms for years.

Mammogram’s role as savior is tested, The New York Times

Has the power of the mammogram been oversold? At a time when medical experts are rethinking screening guidelines for prostate and cervical cancer, many doctors say it’s also time to set the record straight about mammography screening for breast cancer. While most agree that mammograms have a place in women’s health care, many doctors say widespread “Pink Ribbon” campaigns and patient testimonials have imbued the mammogram with a kind of magic it doesn’t have. Some patients are so committed to annual screenings they even begin to believe that regular mammograms actually prevent breast cancer, said UCLA Dr. Susan Love, a prominent women’s health advocate. And women who skip a mammogram often beat themselves up for it. “You can’t expect from mammography what it cannot do,” said Dr. Laura Esserman, director of the breast care center at UCSF. “Screening is not prevention. We’re not going to screen our way to a cure.”

Halloween candy myth an urban legend, expert says, NBC San Diego

You know the story: poor trick-or-treaters around the country return home Halloween night with razors in their licorice and poison in their Pixy Stix. If it wasn’t for their parents’ careful inspection, they could have been sick – or worse, they could have died. Or so we thought. It turns out that the old poison-in-the-candy story is nothing more than a myth. “Fortunately, it’s an urban legend,” said Lee Cantrell, director of the California Poison Control System – San Diego Division at UC San Diego Medical Center.

T.O. high school senior researching cause for debilitating inner-ear disorder, Ventura County Star

A profile of a high school student who is conducting independent research on the inner-ear disorder known as Meniere’s disease at the UCLA Department of Head and Neck Surgery. Dr.  Ivan Lopez, an adjunct professor of head and neck surgery in whose lab the teenager works, is quoted.

To ACO or not to ACO, that is the Bay Area question, San Francisco Business Times

Bay Area health care organizations that have been sitting on the fence may be more likely to explore starting an ACO, now that the feds have loosened rules and time lines, and enhanced financial incentives. Accountable care organizations, a key part of President Barack Obama’s health reform package, are in effect an experimental Medicare pilot designed to control costs while improving quality, although other forms of ACOs are being explored outside that government framework. Many Bay Area health care players, notably Blue Shield of California, Hill Physicians Medical Group, Catholic Healthcare West, Sutter Health’s California Pacific Medical Center, Brown & Toland Physicians and UCSF Medical Center have already launched pilot ACOs, but many others — locally and nationally — have been hesitant to start the process.

Johnson & Johnson to fund awards for University of California bio startups, San Francisco Business Times

An arm of Johnson & Johnson will fund University of California projects with a high potential to get to market. The amount of money from J&J’s Corporate Office of Science and Technology was not disclosed by the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, or QB3.

Cal health research benefits from a spry 83-year-old, San Francisco Business Times

Li Ka Shing spent his first 80 years amassing a huge fortune in ventures from plastics to real estate. He’s devoting the time he has left to fulfilling a 2006 pledge to give away more than a third of it. As Li is one of the world’s richest men, with a net worth somewhere north of $25 billion, that’s $8 billion or more to be aimed at educational and medical causes around the world by the Li Ka Shing Foundation and other charitable operations he’s spawned. So while Li may be less known in the United States than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, he’s in their league wealth-wise — and is considered just as much a rock star in the world of Asian philanthropy. That status was clear when he turned up this week at UC Berkeley to dedicate the Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences, a $267 million project to which he contributed $40 million.

UCSF nabs $6 million for seven-state AIDS prevention project, San Francisco Business Times

UC San Francisco’s Center for AIDS Prevention Studies has won $6 million in federal funding over four years to lead a seven-state effort to help HIV-AIDS patients get diagnosed and receive continuing care. The funds come from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and its Special Projects of National Significance Program, UCSF said Tuesday. The grant is for $1.5 annually for four years.

Hospital projects hit milestones, San Francisco Business Times

The region’s two major academic medical centers — UCSF Medical Center and Stanford Hospital & Clinics/Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital — have hit milestones on $5 billion worth of construction work. Last week, UCSF and DPR Construction “topped out” its $1.5 billion new women’s, children’s and cancer specialty hospital at Mission Bay by placing a 1,600-pound steel beam at the structure’s apex.

UC Davis study questions link of fast food to lower-income obesity, The Sacramento Bee

Fast food alone cannot be blamed for high obesity rates among people with low incomes, according to a new UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research study. The research calls into question stereotypes that have led some cities in Southern California to cite obesity when passing laws limiting or banning new fast-food restaurants in poorer communities.

Number of children with autism rising quickly in Modesto area, The Modesto Bee

The number of children with autism has skyrocketed. Modesto City Schools serves nearly seven times as many children today as the district did eight years ago. Stanislaus County as a whole has had slightly less than a fivefold increase. No one knows what causes autism. Also unknown is if its phenomenal growth is because of better and broader diagnosis of autism, or a growing risk. The article quotes autism expert Irva Hertz-Picciotto, deputy director of the Children’s Center for Environmental Health at UC Davis and lead author of a study published in 2010 that found a cluster of autism cases born in north and east Modesto.

Recovery for bomb survivor involves family, helping others, Camp Pendleton Patch

This article highlights UCLA’s Operation Mend, a program established to provide surgery for U.S. military personnel severely wounded and disfigured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Timothy Miller, plastic and reconstructive surgeon and executive director of Operation Mend, is quoted.

Fish oil supplements slow growth of prostate cancer cells, UCLA study finds, City News Service/Los Angeles Daily News

This article reports on a study by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center that found that a low-fat diet with fish oil supplements helped slow the growth of cancer cells in prostate tissue. Dr. William Aronson, clinical professor of urology and a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher, is quoted.

Lab fight raises U.S. security issues, The Bay Citizen/New York Times

Synthetic biology — which includes the development of fuels, organ tissue and tumor-destroying bacteria — became a focus of government and law enforcement agencies after 9/11 and the anthrax attacks that quickly followed it. The field’s “extraordinary promise,” a presidential commission concluded in December, is accompanied by “potential risks” to humans and the environment. A dispute at the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center, a prominent coalition of biology labs that is led by UC Berkeley, illustrates the potentially dangerous consequences of the research. At the heart of the controversy is a biosafety expert who resigned last summer amid complaints that the coalition was not doing enough to prevent a biological disaster.

Can you see what I see?, The Atlantic

How much better it would be, though, if we could actually get inside another person’s head, to see what they see, and feel what they feel, from the inside. To judge by recent reports, something like this may now be possible for the first time. It’s old news that what you see affects your brain. In principle, then, it ought to be possible to figure out what you are seeing — or thinking or feeling or desiring — by looking at what is going on in your head. And this is exactly what Jack Gallant and his neuroscience group at UC Berkeley seem to have managed to do. They have been able to reconstruct what you are seeing — they literally make a film clip — just on the basis of looking at what is going on your brain.

See additional coverage: The Economist

Study asks who’s funnier, men or women?, Time

If men are funnier than women, then it’s not by much — and mostly just to other men. Such is the conclusion of a new study by psychologists at the University of California, San Diego, who judged comic wit by asking students to write original captions for New Yorker cartoons.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times editorial


CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Oct. 16

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UCR redoubles efforts to open medical school, North County Times

UC Riverside refuses to give up. Rebuffed by Sacramento last summer in its quest to secure the necessary money to open a top-flight medical school, the university has turned elsewhere for the cash. Richard Olds, founding dean of UCR’s planned School of Medicine, said that if the university can obtain enough pledges by next spring to ensure a steady stream of revenue totaling $10 million a year for several years, the school’s will open its doors in 2013.

Gladstone to announce new stem cell center, San Francisco Chronicle

For nearly three decades, the Gladstone Institutes has played a largely behind-the-scenes role in studying some of the world’s most pressing health crises: Alzheimer’s, heart disease and AIDS, just for starters. But stem cells, increasingly part of the institute’s studies, are putting Gladstone in the spotlight. Today, it is announcing a new stem cell center, funded with a $5 million donation from the Roddenberry Foundation. Creating the new Roddenberry Center for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine – named after the man who created “Star Trek” – underscores Gladstone’s new emphasis on shepherding potential treatments beyond the labs and into patient hands, researchers there say. Gladstone is affiliated with UCSF.

Obama to honor UCSD’s Chien for improving human health, San Diego Union-Tribune

Walk down certain hallways at UC San Diego and you may overhear someone say, “Be like Shu.” The phrase is catching on at the Jacobs School of Engineering, where faculty member Shu Chien is being held up not only as an example of how to succeed in research, but in life. Friends and colleagues call the bioengineer a gentle genius. On Friday, President Barack Obama may say something similar at the White House. He will award Chien the National Medal of Science for bringing together the worlds of biology, engineering and medicine to improve human health, notably the “river of life” that is the cardiovascular system.

See additional coverage: The Associated Press

OB/GYN’s solar suitcase saves lives in poor nations, San Francisco Chronicle

In March 2008, Dr. Laura Stachel arrived in the obstetrics ward of a state hospital in Zaria, Nigeria, determined to find out why so many women were dying in childbirth. Stachel, an obstetrician-gynecologist then pursuing a doctorate of public health at UC Berkeley, expected to provide clinical advice on ways to improve procedures. But she learned something far more basic was going wrong: The hospitals and health clinics simply didn’t have electricity for large and unpredictable parts of the day. So instead of giving medical advice, she decided to get them more reliable power. As it happened, she knew whom to ask. Her husband, Hal Aronson, has spent more than a decade teaching about renewable energy systems throughout California. When Stachel returned from Nigeria, they set to work designing a solar system for the hospital. The project would eventually lead them to form WE CARE Solar, a Berkeley nonprofit that’s now delivered 80 compact solar systems to health clinics around the world.

Mini-medical schools helping people age in better health, The Sacramento Bee

Dr. Michael McCloud started off thinking small. He expected only a handful of people to show up in early 2002 for what he thought would be a one-time series of classes on healthy aging, his spin on the growing “mini-medical school” concept. In general, mini-medical schools – a public outreach program with a catchy name – provide classroom sessions on the health sciences for laypeople. Universities across the country have used them primarily to showcase their institutional research. McCloud, a UC Davis Medical Center geriatrician, liked the mini-medical school idea, but wanted to finesse it for older adults. Classes would be free, taught by medical school faculty members. At the end of the series, participants would receive diplomas. He just hoped enough people would sign up for classes on aging that he could fill the 150-seat Maidu Community Center meeting room in Roseville.

Two at UC Davis named to Institute of Medicine, The Sacramento Bee

The dean of UC Davis’ medical school and a veterinary medicine expert at the university were named to the prestigious Institute of Medicine. Claire Pomeroy, dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine, and Patricia Conrad, veterinary parasitologist in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, were elected to the institute, considered one of the top honors in health and medicine in the country. (A total of 14 UC members were elected to the IOM: See story.)

See additional coverage: North County Times

Slideshow: UCSF’s Mission Bay hospital takes shape, San Francisco Business Times

Earlier this week, UCSF Medical Center celebrated a milestone in the construction of its $1.5 billion new women’s, children’s and cancer specialty hospital at Mission Bay, “topping out” the new structure with a 1,600-pound steel beam.

UC Berkeley dedicates Li Ka Shing biomedical center (video), San Francisco Business Times

Billionaire philanthropist Li Ka Shing, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and a standing-room-only crowd on Friday dedicated the campus’ new Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences. The $80 million, six-level, 200,000-square-foot facility, which will feature UC Berkeley’s stem cell program on the third and fourth floors, was funded in large part with a $40 million gift in 2005 from Hong Kong businessman Li. It also received $20 million from California’s taxpayer-supported stem cell research funding agency.

Free clinic puts emphasis on prevention, Los Angeles Times

Health professionals meeting with patients at the CareNow event at L.A.’s Sports Arena aim to promote diet, exercise, smoking cessation and screenings. Jose Alexander Chavez, a scholar with UCLA’s International Medical Graduate program, is quoted.

Stricken Italian tourist leaves San Diego with new liver (video), NBC San Diego

An Italian woman who arrived in California on vacation two months ago is leaving San Diego for home Saturday with a new liver, thanks to UCSD Medical Center. Monica Rossi was stricken with a critical case of Hepatitis B, and wound up comatose for almost two weeks.

The collaboration of cancer, The Atlantic

If someone asked you to name the most recent and promising advancement in cancer research, would you guess that it had nothing to do with an FDA-approved drug?  Would you believe that the process by which a discovery is made, is just as important as the discovery itself? At the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Research Center, they revolutionized the research process by bringing patients, physicians, scientists and the bio-depository under one architectural-award winning roof.  Instead of operating in their separate silos of academia and medicine, the essential elements to cancer therapy are integrated in a strategic collaboration that ensures success on all sides.

UCSF study suggests annual mammograms unnecessary, San Francisco Chronicle

More than half of women who are screened annually for breast cancer will get a false positive result within 10 years of their first mammogram, according to a UCSF study that throws more fuel on the controversy over when, and how often, women should be tested.

See additional coverage: KQED Forum (audio)

Treating TB, HIV at same time found to save lives, San Francisco Chronicle

Treating tuberculosis and HIV infections at the same time can be a challenge for patients and their doctors, but attacking both diseases early and aggressively isn’t harmful and could save the lives of those who are sickest, according to a global study led by UCSF researchers.

UC Irvine professor donating $10 million to school, Los Angeles Times

The gift to UC Irvine’s School of Biological Sciences by Francisco J. Ayala, one of the world’s top molecular biologists and owner of more than 2,000 acres of Central Valley vineyards, follows recent budget cuts in response to state funding reductions.

Telehealth grant will put remote docs in touch with local patients, Redwood Times

The Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District is one step closer to acquiring a telehealth program that will allow local patients to be seen by specialists at UC Davis and other hospitals without leaving Garberville. The Northern California Health Care Authority announced that SHCHD will receive a grant of $65,000 to be used for telehealth equipment, as part of a larger grant NCHCA obtained from the UC Davis Health System and the California Telehealth Network.

Hip surgery option loses key backer, The New York Times

In another controversy involving all-metal hips, an influential group has found that there is insufficient evidence to show that an alternative technique known as hip resurfacing is as safe and effective as a traditional replacement. The author of the report, Dr. Judith Walsh of the University of California, San Francisco, noted that the group’s previous assessments of hip resurfacing indicated the lack of clinical trials directly comparing the outcomes of patients who got a hip resurfacing with similar patients who got a standard replacement.

Medicare releases patient safety ratings for hospitals, Kaiser Health News/MSNBC

Medicare has begun publishing patient safety ratings for thousands of hospitals as the first step toward paying less to institutions with high rates of surgical complications, infections, mishaps and potentially avoidable deaths. The new data, available starting last week on Medicare’s Hospital Compare website, evaluate hospitals on how often their patients suffer complications such as a collapsed lung, a blood clot after surgery or an accidental cut or tear during treatment. The article quotes Dr. Patrick Romano, a professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine who helped the government design the measures.

Vitamin E no panacea for prostate cancer, San Diego Union-Tribune

Last week, the NIH published the results of a major study investigating whether taking vitamin E or selenium supplements reduced the risk of developing cancer, as earlier research had suggested. The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) discovered just the opposite to be true: Men who took significant daily doses of vitamin E had a greater prostate cancer risk. A Q&A follows with Dr. J. Kellogg Parsons, a urologic oncologist at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and one of the SELECT study co-authors, and Dr. Christopher Kane, chief of the division of urology at Moores.

Healthcare reform helps bring docs to Central Valley, HealthyCal

A severe physician shortage in rural California is just one reason that many farm workers don’t get health care. But in Stanislaus County, the Valley Consortium for Medical Education is taking on the shortfall with a boost from the federal health reform law. Now, a $2.5 million dollar annual grant to the Valley Consortium under the Affordable Care Act will help the residency program chip away at the Central Valley’s yawning physician gap. The article mentions that one of the participants, Gilberto Cota, grew up in the border city of Mexicali, and landed a spot in a UCLA program designed to train Spanish-speaking doctors to practice in the United States.

Hmong get ally in fight to prevent hepatitis B, Merced Sun-Star

Many first- and second-generation Hmong immigrants to America fought their way through wars, jungles, starvation and thirst to get to their adopted land from Indochina. Now some of them and their children are facing another serious threat. hepatitis B is highly prevalent among the Hmong people, including those living in Merced and throughout the Central Valley, but nothing is being done to combat the issue, a Merced group said. Project Prevention — an organization of young professionals, a community researcher and UC Merced students — decided it was time to take action to address the problem, at least on a small scale, targeting the Hmong community in Merced.

Doctor sees collaboration with UC Merced, Vida en el Valle

A Mexican doctor sees great opportunities for collaboration with UC Merced on binational health initiatives intended to decrease the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases among Mexicans and migrants. “Binational efforts are amazingly important,” Dr. Carlos Cabrera, of the Mexican non-profit organization Brazos Abiertos (Open Arms), said last Thursday evening, following a presentation at UC Merced.

Obesity ‘worse for teen girls’ blood pressure’, BBC News

Obesity has a greater impact on the blood pressure of teenage girls than on teenage boys, a U.S. study has suggested. The researchers from the University of California say the link may be counteracting the known protective effect of the hormone oestrogen on the heart. The article quotes UC Merced associate professor Rudy Ortiz, who led the study.

Frustrated Central Valley congressman retiring, The Associated Press

Five-term Rep. Dennis Cardoza of California announced Thursday he will not seek re-election next year, expressing frustration with a political process that rewards “screamers” and criticizing the Obama administration for what he characterized as a failure to solve the housing crisis. He was instrumental in locating the University of California’s newest campus in Merced, and said he will continue to work for the creation of a medical school there.

Steroids given to preemies may harm brain growth: study, HealthDay News

Giving premature babies even low doses of steroids after birth interferes with development of the brain’s cerebellum, which is important to motor skills, learning and behavior, new research finds. For the study, researchers analyzed MRIs of 172 babies born very early (under 32 weeks’ gestation) at two medical centers, the University of British Columbia and the University of California, San Francisco.

Carl Steward: Monte Vista High football player making most of abbreviated prep career, Contra Costa Times

This column about Monte Vista High School football player Ryan Neil notes that he successfully had a brain tumor removed at UCSF Medical Center. Neurosurgeon Mitchel Berger is mentioned.

County designates Kaiser’s Vacaville hospital as trauma center, Fairfield Daily Republic

Kaiser Permanente will begin offering trauma center services at the Vacaville Medical Center Monday. The center’s Level III status will allow Kaiser to accept and treat accident and violence victims, saving travel time and possibly lives. Previously, severely injured victims were airlifted to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek and UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

Dr. Byron Demorest was ophthalmologist, one of UC Davis medical school founders, The Sacramento Bee

Dr. Byron H. Demorest, a longtime medical and community leader who was a founding father of the UC Davis School of Medicine, died Friday of multiple myeloma, his family said. He was 86. Dr. Demorest was a widely respected ophthalmologist for more than 50 years. He was active in efforts to start a medical school at UC Davis and co-founded the ophthalmology program in 1965. As the first department chairman, he helped organize the faculty and created the medical school’s first accredited residency program.

John Baxter, UCSF cloner of growth hormone, dies, San Francisco Chronicle

Dr. John D. Baxter, 71, a longtime UCSF faculty member who with his colleagues first cloned the key genes for human and bovine growth hormone, died Oct. 5 after surgery for cancer. As a endocrinologist, Dr. Baxter founded the UCSF Diabetes Center, and as a scientist he entered deeply into the early days of research on recombinant DNA and genetic engineering that led to major advances in medical therapies, major new gene cloning technologies, and the booming biotech industry. His lab’s success in cloning the key genes for human growth hormone led Genentech, then a new biotech company, to develop a synthetic form of the hormone that has been widely used in the treatment of children and adults with growth hormone deficiencies.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Oct. 9

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

An innovator shapes an empire (video), The New York Times

A profile of UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann. UCSF also has reprinted the article on its website.

Supervisors to weigh plans for new MLK hospital, The Torrance Daily Breeze

County leaders this week will consider an environmental review and construction bids for the much-anticipated work at Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center, which is expected to relieve pressure on surrounding hospitals. The new 120-bed inpatient hospital in Willowbrook is slated for completion in the spring of 2013, and open for patients in September of that year. Work includes a $237 million renovation of the existing inpatient tower and construction of a new, four-story Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center expected to cost $150 million. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider a detailed environmental review for these two projects, along with conceptual work to develop another 1.4 million square feet of space for medical offices, general offices and possibly commercial and retail businesses. The new MLK hospital will be run by the University of California system, what leaders described as a “historic” partnership when the agreement was reached in 2009.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Wave

New high-tech UCSD training facility puts doctors to the test (audio/video), KPBS

The practice of medicine is constantly evolving, and medical schools have to stay on the cutting edge. That’s not a problem at UC San Diego. The school just opened a four-story state-of-the-art medical training center.

Mouth swab could detect pancreatic cancer, Sky News

A new study has linked mouth bacteria to the development of pancreatic cancer. Researchers say they cannot be sure whether the bacteria cause the deadly cancer or are a consequence of the disease. Scientists from UCLA are now investigating whether a simple mouth swab could be used to screen for pancreatic cancer.

HealthWatch: Doctors warming to caveman diet trend (video), CBS 5

UC San Francisco researchers are showing how a modern-day Paleo diet works just as well as statin drugs when it comes to dropping cholesterol levels. CBS 5 medical reporter Dr. Kim Mulvihill was so intrigued by the UCSF research that she became a guinea pig for the scientists. She was told that she could not lose any weight and was given a Paleo plan to follow. Within 10 days, her cholesterol dropped dramatically, as did her blood pressure. She then asked if she could lose weight, and modified the diet to eat less. Dr. Mulvihill then shed 30 pounds and two dress sizes.

Op-ed: One road out of ‘the Valley of Death, San Diego Union-Tribune

This op-ed highlights the role of the UC San Diego William J. von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurism and Technology Advancement, whose mission is to accelerate innovation and facilitate interaction between academia and industry. In particular, it mentions the breakthrough discovery of a sepsis treatment by Geert Schmid-Schonbein, director of the Microcirculation Lab at UC San Diego.

Experimental treatment for scoliosis: stapling, San Francisco Chronicle

Grace Rego’s spine is curved so sharply that the “S” shape of it is obvious under the skin of her back. But you’d never know it to watch the 4-year-old clamber over a sofa or chase her little brother around the family’s home in Piedmont. Until very recently, Grace’s only option for treatment would have been wearing a heavy plastic brace around the clock. Eventually, she’d likely need metal rods implanted in her back to further protect her spine. Instead her doctor performed surgery to staple together several vertebrae in her spine, hopefully correcting the curve and preventing it from getting worse. The surgery was designed and refined at a children’s hospital in Philadelphia and is now being used by a UCSF orthopedic surgeon for childhood scoliosis cases like Grace’s. “I don’t want people lining up for this. I’m inherently cautious, and it’s not for everyone,” said Dr. Mohammad Diab, the UCSF surgeon who’s performing the stapling procedure. “But I want people to pay attention, because there may be alternatives” to the traditional treatments.

Dorothy Leland: UC Merced critical to rebirth of Valley, The Fresno Bee

UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland highlights the importance of UC Merced to the San Joaquin Valley, including the impact of its health sciences.

Berkeley Bionics changes its name to Ekso Bionics, San Francisco Busines Times

Berkeley Bionics, which makes technology to help paraplegics walk again, changed its name to Ekso Bionics this week. The Berkeley business rebranded its line of “exoskeletons,” as it calls the wearable robots that let paralyzed people stand and walk. A year ago, the company, which former CEO Homayoon Kazerooni helped start, made a splash as it unveiled its first set of mechanical legs. Kazerooni is a UC Berkeley professor of mechanical engineering.

UC reaches labor deal with its largest union, Los Angeles Times

The labor union representing the largest organized group of University of California employees has ratified its new contract overwhelmingly, raising hopes for a period of labor peace at the university system and its hospitals, officials said Monday. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, which represents more than 20,000 UC employees, including hospital assistants, custodians, gardeners and cafeteria workers, approved the contract by voting margins of at least 98% in its two units, union representatives said.

Closing time in California, Inside Higher Ed

The 38-year-old California Postsecondary Education Commission will not be getting a funeral when it is laid to rest next month. When the state coordinating board closes its doors for the last time on Nov. 18, few will be there to pay respects to the once-touted agency that served as a check on the governor and on institutions of higher learning. A year and a half ago, CPEC produced a study identifying whether the University of California at Riverside needed a proposed medical school. CPEC concluded there was a need for the medical school, but advised delaying the opening until adequate funding was secured. However, the university opted against the recommendation and went ahead with the construction of the school.

Telehealth services to reach more rural Californians, Healthcare IT News

A bill signed last week in California aims to greatly increase access to healthcare in rural areas by providing more telehealth services, through more providers, in more care settings.Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 415, the Telehealth Advancement Act of 2011, on Oct. 7. Authored by Assembly Member Dan Logue (R-Chico), the bill was also supported by the state’s telehealth stakeholders and leaders and passed with no opposing votes in the legislature. The article quotes Eric Brown, CEO of the California Telehealth Network. (UC has played a key role in the CTN and supported AB 415).

See additional coverage: Modern Healthcare

L.A. County expands no-cost healthcare, Los Angeles Times

Hoping to establish new programs before Medi-Cal takes over in 2014, Los Angeles County plans to register as many as 550,000 patients and assign them to medical clinics for free services. This article mentions that the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research is evaluating Healthy Way L.A. and quotes the center’s associate director, Gerald Kominski.

Memo shows how state caved to industry pressure on pesticide, environmentalists say, HealthyCal

Environmentalists say a newly uncovered memo shows how the California Department of Pesticide Regulation gave in to industry pressure when it approved the controversial soil fumigant methyl iodide for use in California agriculture at levels more than 100 times higher than those its own scientists recommended. The Feb. 16, 2010 memo by an executive of methyl iodide manufacturer Arysta Lifesciences said that maximum exposure levels the state’s scientists had recommended for workers and people who live near agricultural fields were unacceptable to the company because they were too low. The article quotes UCSF’s Paul Blanc and UC Berkeley’s Tom McKone, who served on the scientific review committee. 

A night of shining stars,

California nurses took one night off from their hectic lives to attend an event that pays tribute to the heart and soul of nursing for which many don’t expect to be recognized. The 2011 Nursing Excellence Awards, held Aug. 26 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank, honored 30 finalists in six categories. After finalists were called to the stage to be recognized,’s Judith G. Berg unveiled six regional winners and one Diane F. Cooper Lifetime Achievement Award honoree. The honorees included Ellen Lewis of UC Irvine.

State: Cal student picked up mumps overseas, Contra Costa Times

A UC Berkeley student contracted mumps on a trip to Europe and infected others upon returning to campus, where up to 44 people have been now been diagnosed with the disease, state public-health officials said Monday.

David Lazarus: Autism treatment law again shows insurers’ need for therapy, Los Angeles Times

Cost is at the forefront of why health insurers had balked at including coverage for treatments associated with autism, which requires not just medical care but also extensive educational, behavioral and vocational support. This column mentions that a study for the state Legislature by the California Health Benefits Review Program estimated that the cost to insurers of implementing the law would be closer to $93 million. (CHBRP is a UC-administered program whose faculty and staff analysts provide independent analysis to the Legislature.)

Prognosis: Slight rise in blood pressure carries risk, The New York Times

A review of studies suggests that young and middle-aged people with slightly elevated blood pressure, or prehypertension, are nonetheless at much greater risk for stroke than those in the normal range. Scientists at the University of California, San Diego, reviewed 12 prospective cohort studies of prehypertension and stroke incidence covering more than 500,000 participants with follow-up periods as long as 32 years.

Scientists turn iPhone into microscope with $30 mod, Wired

Researchers from UC Davis have developed a tiny, inexpensive lens that transforms an iPhone into a medical-quality imaging and chemical detection device. The lens gives the iPhone an extra 5x magnification, which is enough to spot diseased blood cells. The low cost — along with ease of use and startlingly good results — means that doctors on the ground in developing countries could soon have an important new tool to fight disease.

Five things industry can do to support true FDA reform, and restore public confidence, Xconomy

In this column about five things industry can do to support the FDA, the suggestions include financing strong “regulatory science” programs at U.S. business schools and medical schools, noting that UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann has advocated for this discipline.

Why the ‘Moneyball’ approach isn’t a home run for health care, California Healthline

This analysis of applying the “Moneyball” approach used by the Oakland Athletics in baseball to health care quotes Erich Loewy of UC Davis.


CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Oct. 2

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UCSD biologist helps produce second Nobel laureate, San Diego Union-Tribune

In Bruce Beutler‘s path to this year’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was partly shaped by Dan Lindsley, a UC San Diego biologist who has helped not one, but two, of the university’s students win the highest prize in science. Beutler is a graduate of UC San Diego.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times

UC Riverside, UC Merced turn to new models for med schools, California Healthline

For decades, training for medical students has revolved around a large academic institution and a central university hospital, but that model might give way to different ways of doing things in California, as new medical schools look to trim costs and diversify student experiences.  Two University of California schools — UC Merced and UC Riverside — already are working toward a new vision for medical schools. Both universities have turned to partnerships and new teaching models to circumvent a daunting economic climate.

Doctor shortage looms amid hospital funding gap, Bloomberg

With a shortage of doctors looming that may damage patient care in the U.S., teaching hospitals say President Barack Obama’s deficit-reduction plan could make things worse. After doctors graduate from medical school they must train at teaching hospitals, which get some of their funding through Medicare, the health program for the elderly and disabled. Obama’s proposal to cut $248 billion from Medicare over 10 years includes $1 billion in trims to teaching hospitals, which could lead to fewer residency slots for doctor training programs. The article quotes Sam Hawgood, UCSF medical school dean.

Why universities are key to the future of biotech, and how UCSF’s chief is showing the way, Xconomy

These are hard times at universities in America. State support is dwindling, tuition is booming, and federal research dollars are in jeopardy. Morale has taken a beating. But U.S. academic research centers are still the driving force for innovative new medicines, like always. And anyone who cares about U.S. universities should pay attention to what’s happening at UC San Francisco under the leadership of chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann.

The microbe maverick, San Diego Union-Tribune

No one accuses J. Craig Venter of thinking small.The biologist gained international fame in the 1990s when his research team nearly outraced the federal government’s effort to map the human genome. Next, he created the world’s first synthetic organism, setting off a global debate over the ethical boundaries of research. Now, the La Jolla scientist is planting a $35 million anchor in the heart of this region’s cluster of scientific centers to push his most passionate professional interests — turning microbes into powerful factories capable of cleaning up the environment and producing biofuels, drugs and food. The new home being built for the J. Craig Venter Institute is on the southwestern corner of the UCSD campus. Collaborative projects will allow scientists from Sanford-Burnham, The Scripps Research Institute, the Salk Institute, UCSD and other research centers in and around the Torrey Pines mesa to tap into what Venter says is the defining science of the time. The project also will serve as a monument to one of UCSD’s most famous graduates.

Amid budget crisis, UC debates management bloat, The Bay Citizen

Over the past decade, the number of managers and senior staff at the University of California grew at a much faster rate than that of faculty and students, leading some professors and legislators to question the university’s priorities as it looks to close a $2.5 billion budget gap. University officials say the growing complexity of running a system that includes 10 campuses and five medical centers has required the university to hire more personnel with managerial expertise and specialized skills. Steve Montiel, a UC spokesman, said teaching hospitals, research initiatives and auxiliary services such as residence halls and parking, accounted for roughly 70 percent of UC’s personnel growth since 1998.

Ribbon cutting today for new MLK Center for Public Health in South LA (audio), KPCC

A well-known name in public health resurfaces Friday in South Los Angeles. The ribbon cutting for the first section of the new Martin Luther King hospital complex is scheduled for 9 a.m. The opening of the Martin Luther King Center for Public Health marks a milestone. It’s the first phase of a $400 million health care campus in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles County. The center will focus on preventive care. L.A. County closed the original Martin Luther King hospital four years ago after reports of chronic mismanagement and subpar conditions and allegations of negligent patient care. The new 120-bed hospital and outpatient clinic are scheduled to open a couple of years from now. University of California medical staff will deliver services at that facility.

Report: UCR’s economic impact tops $1.4 billion, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

New campus buildings, bigger research projects and more students are the main reasons UC Riverside’s economic impact has expanded to $1.4 billion, a study released this week by the school found. That’s a figure based on direct spending by the state university campus, as well as the dollars that circulate in the community due to spending by faculty and staff members, students, visitors to the campus and retirees. The study is based on the 2009-2010 fiscal year, according to a statement. The school and local leaders are working to find funding for a medical school at UCR, but even at an embryonic stage, the UCR School of Medicine generated $28 million. Currently a program has more than 50 students studying medicine in a partnership with UCLA, but that impact could be more than five times that by 2021, according to the study.

OSHPD hands out $2.6M for residency programs in family practice care, California Healthline

The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development has awarded $2.6 million in grants to 26 hospitals to support residency programs that train family practice physicians. Grant recipients include UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego and UCSF.

Hospitals adjust to shorter resident shifts, Sacramento Business Journal

UC Davis Associate Dean James Nuovo is quoted in this story on the new rules that recently went into effect at hospitals in the Sacramento region restricting the number of hours worked by medical residents.

Scientists take key step in stem cell therapy, Los Angeles Times

For the first time, scientists have used cloning techniques — inserting genetic material from adult cells into unfertilized human eggs — to create embryonic stem cells. The stem cells created by the team at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Laboratory in New York City and collaborators at Columbia University and UC San Diego were genetically abnormal, containing a mixture of DNA from the adult skin cells that were cloned and from the egg used in the procedure.

Herceptin boosts breast cancer survival, study says, Los Angeles Times

Breast cancer that is highly aggressive but caught early appears to be best treated with a combination of Herceptin and chemotherapy, according to a study released Wednesday. UCLA researchers conducted a three-armed study looking at women with early-stage breast cancer that is an aggressive type known as HER-2 positive.

Operation Mend, The Private Journey

This feature from an in-flight magazine for private jets profiles UCLA’s Operation Mend, a program that provides reconstructive surgery to wounded soldiers.  The piece highlights Dr. Timothy Miller, executive director of Operation Mend and professor of plastic surgery; and Ron Katz, founder of Operation Mend and member of the hospital’s board of advisers.

Prostate cancer test advice creates confusion, San Francisco Chronicle

Recommendations by an influential U.S. task force advising healthy men not to get prostate cancer blood tests has created confusion and set off debate about the risks and benefits of routine screenings. The article interviews former prostate cancer patient Art Wagner, who was treated at UCSF, and his doctor, Peter Carroll, associate dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and head of the urology department.

See additional coverage: CBS 5

Mumps hitting UC Berkeley — 7 cases confirmed, San Francisco Chronicle

Mumps – an illness typically associated with little kids – is roaring through UC Berkeley, with seven confirmed cases and 13 more suspected.

SF General’s brain injury treatment certified, San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco General Hospital has become the first hospital in the country to gain certification for the treatment of traumatic brain injury, a recognition that is expected to set the standard for other hospitals around the country. San Francisco’s public hospital, which received national attention for caring for Giants fan Bryan Stow after he was brutally beaten, received the certification after an intensive on-site visit by the Joint Commission, a national independent organization that accredits hospitals and offers disease-specific certifications. The certification for traumatic brain injury was based on the hospital’s medical skills, neuro-monitoring capabilities, imaging technologies and research, said Dr. Geoff Manley, San Francisco General’s chief of neurosurgery. Manley is also a professor of neurosurgery at UCSF.

Study: 69M must travel longer to a trauma center, The Associated Press

One hour can spell the difference between life and death for victims of severe injury, but about a quarter of Americans now have to travel farther to reach the nearest hospital trauma center, a study published Wednesday concludes. Lead researcher Renee Hsia, an emergency room doctor at San Francisco General Hospital who also teaches emergency medicine at UCSF, is quoted.

UC Davis to study poverty’s causes, effects with grant, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis will join a select group of institutions studying a topic that is a dreadful reality to millions of Americans. UC Davis has received a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish a Center for Poverty Research. It will be one of three U.S. centers designated to study the causes and effects of policies aimed at addressing poverty in the United States. The other centers are at Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

IPhone transformed into microscope and spectrometer, MedGadget

Researchers from UC Davis have tweaked iPhones in such a way that they can be used as high-quality medical imaging and chemical detection devices. By adding some hardware and maxing out the capability of the iPhone, they were able to transform it into a microscopy and spectroscopy tool. The research team will present their findings at the Optical Society’s Annual Meeting in San Jose,  Oct. 16-20.

See additional coverage: CNET News

Editorial: Covering maternity care in California, Los Angeles Times

This editorial urges Gov. Jerry Brown to sign two bills state lawmakers passed that would require maternity coverage to be included in comprehensive health insurance policies. The editorial mentioned that the UC-administered California Health Benefits Review Program (whose faculty and staff analysts provide independent analysis to the Legislature) estimates that premiums would go up by a little less than $7 a month per policy, for a statewide total of $110 million a year. On the other hand, taxpayers are already covering some of the costs rung up by women with no maternity coverage; nearly 10% of the women in the state’s Access for Infants and Mothers program have private health policies that don’t cover pregnancy. And providing prenatal care to more women will reduce the incidence of premature births, which cost Californians an estimated $2 billion each year. (The governor signed the maternity care bills into law on Thursday, Oct. 6.)

See additional coverage: Capitol Weekly

Many Southern California hospitals not prepared for massive quake, Center for Health Reporting/The San Bernardino County Sun

Within a few dozen miles of California’s most dangerous earthquake fault, scores of hospitals have failed to install safeguards to assure they can keep their doors open after a major quake. This story quotes UC San Diego structural engineering professor Tara Hutchinson and cites a UCLA analysis.

Cal State to offer doctor of nursing practice degree, Los Angeles Times

California State University will begin offering a doctorate in nursing practice in the fall of 2012, a move expected to boost the number of practitioners qualified to serve as faculty in the state’s understaffed nursing programs. Two programs will be offered jointly by several campuses — Fresno and San Jose in one grouping and Fullerton, Long Beach and Los Angeles in another — which will develop curriculum and share resources and faculty. Cal State San Diego will offer a stand-alone program. Cal State will be the first public university in the state to offer the doctor of nursing practice degree, designed to enhance scholarship in clinical practice, officials said. The University of California offers a doctorate in nursing that is research-based.

Nurses union, Alta Bates divide widens, San Francisco Chronicle

The death of an Oakland cancer patient at the hands of a replacement nurse has further divided unionized nurses and the hospital that locked them out after a one-day strike, raising questions about the interplay of labor politics and patient care. The article quotes Joanne Spetz, health economist and nursing professor at UCSF, and UCSF nursing professor Jean Ann Seago.

UCI: Dietary supplement can halt progress of M.S., The Orange County Register

A dietary supplement sold over the counter appears to halt the  progress of multiple sclerosis, fending off paralysis in laboratory mice, a new study by UC Irvine researchers shows.

Conference explores Alzheimer’s fears, The Orange County Register

“When Does It Become Dementia? Transitioning from Healthy Aging to MCI and Dementia” was the theme of the recent 19th annual Southern California Disease Research Conference sponsored by UC Irvine’s Institute for Memory Impairment and Neurological Disorders, the UCI School of Medicine, the Orange County Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Family Services Center.

UCD vet school wins FDA food safety grant, The Sacramento Bee

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has been awarded a $1.3 million U.S. Food and Drug Administration grant to develop a food-safety training program for government and industry. UCD said the grant funds the first year of a five-year agreement and is renewable for $6.5 million. The grant is aimed at ways to prevent food-borne illnesses, which each year sicken 48 million people in the United States and cause 3,000 deaths.

Vet delivers Eastern, Western medicine to horses, San Francisco Chronicle

A feature on Alana Alpern, a veterinarian specializing in horses. Alpern did her Western training at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, then studied Eastern medicine at the Chi Institute in Reddick, Fla.

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In the media: Week of Sept. 25

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

$5M boost for UCR medical school plan, The Palm Springs Desert Sun

The Desert Healthcare District board on Tuesday approved a $5million, five-year grant for the University of California, Riverside’s proposed medical school and an additional $4.9 million for a health and wellness center in Desert Hot Springs.

Judge rules Sacramento County must pay hospital care for indigent residents, The Sacramento Bee

A judge has ruled that Sacramento County must pay for medical care that UC Davis Medical Center provided to indigent county residents since mid-2008, costs estimated so far at tens of millions of dollars.

See additional coverage: California Healthline, Sacramento Business Journal

UCSD engineer wins nation’s top science award, San Diego Union-Tribune

A UC San Diego researcher who made major discoveries about blood flow, advancing everything from the treatment of sickle cell anemia to atherosclerosis, will receive the National Medal of Science, the highest honor of its kind given in this country. Shu Chien, who also helped UCSD build the country’s top-ranked bioengineering department, is one of seven researchers and innovators who will be awarded the medal by President Obama at a White House ceremony likely to be held in November. See related editorial.

University cuts could wound San Diego economy, KPBS

When Anton Monk and three colleagues came up with a solution for fast multimedia networking in homes in 2001, they started to build a business around their invention. Entropic Communications now employs about 320 people, more than 200 of them work in the company’s offices in Sorrento Valley. A strong connection to UC San Diego played a role in the company’s beginnings and has remained key over a decade. Supplying skilled workers for the hundreds of biotech and telecommunications companies started in San Diego by UCSD alumni and others is important for those industries’ growth. And while those jobs make up just about 15 percent of San Diego County employment, they are part of a group of industries whose jobs supply the building blocks for most other employment in the county.

Bay Area at forefront of new global health field, San Francisco Chronicle

Dr. Jaime Sepulveda’s first lesson in global health was a tough one: As head of epidemiology in Mexico in the early 1980s, he had to tackle the AIDS epidemic that was rapidly cutting across international borders. It was a huge undertaking that would send him around the globe seeking advice from the world’s top public health experts. And it was an experience that, three decades later, would land him in San Francisco, where he took over the Global Health Sciences division at UCSF earlier this month. Now, he hopes to make the Bay Area a powerhouse in research and development of global health policies worldwide. And he won’t be alone: In the past five years, global health has taken off at the Bay Area’s top research institutions.

Patt Morrison Asks: The brain, Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, Los Angeles Times

Here’s a Hollywood pitch for you: Leading U.S. neurosurgeon started life as a struggling Mexican boy who made it from illegal-immigrant California farmworker to Harvard Med. Not buying it? You should. Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa was that kid and is that man — associate prof, surgeon and head of the brain tumor stem cell lab at Johns Hopkins. His work puts him, passionately, on the cutting-edge of brain cancer research, and his life wedges him, reluctantly, into the immigration quarrel. He tells his story — his traumas and triumphs, and his patients’ — in an autobiography, “Becoming Dr. Q,” and here, now. Quiñones-Hinojosa has a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and completed his residency at UCSF. UC Press is publishing his book.

Tobacco companies knew of radiation in cigarettes, covered it up, ABC World News

Tobacco companies knew that cigarettes contained a radioactive substance called polonium-210, but hid that knowledge from the public for over four decades, a new study of historical documents revealed. Scientists from UCLA reviewed 27 previously unanalyzed documents and found that tobacco companies knew about the radioactive content of cigarettes as early as 1959.

Reconstructing the mind’s eye (audio), KQED Forum

UC Berkeley scientists are figuring out how to decode and reconstruct our dynamic visual experiences — in one instance through subjects watching Hollywood movie trailers. We meet a lead scientist looking at how one day we may be able to go inside the mind of a coma patient, or even to watch a dream.

Blood pressure only slightly high? You may still be at risk of stroke, Time

Even people whose blood pressure is slightly higher than normal may have a significantly increased risk of stroke, finds a new review of past research. The new meta-analysis led by Dr. Bruce Ovbiagele of the University of California, San Diego, included 12 previous studies involving more than 518,000 people in the U.S. and Asia.

See additional coverage: ABC World News, HealthDay News

Clinics offer Santa Ana hope, but challenges remain, Voice of OC

In July the federal government provided a $1.5-million grant to open Santa Ana’s first free clinic, which will be staffed by nurse practitioners from UC Irvine. This article highlights UC Irvine clinic efforts.

Diabetes again linked to colon cancer risk: study, Reuters

People with diabetes have a somewhat increased risk of colon cancer, an international study said — but the reasons for the connection, and what should be done about it, remain unclear. Researchers headed by Hiroki Yuhara at UC Berkeley combined the results of 14 international studies and found that, overall, people with diabetes were 38 percent more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer than those who were diabetes-free.

Being easily embarrassed could make you more trustworthy, The Huffington Post

Easily embarrassed? That could make you more trustworthy, a new study suggests. People who are easily embarrassed — not to be confused with people with social anxiety or constant feelings of shame — were shown in several experiments to be more generous, trustworthy and desirable in social situations, according to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “Moderate levels of embarrassment are signs of virtue,” study researcher Matthew Feinberg, a doctoral student in psychology at UC Berkeley, said in a statement.

200 women and five men: How Women in Bio opened my eyes to a big opportunity, Xconomy

After attending the kickoff meeting for the Seattle chapter of Women in Bio, BioBeat columnist Luke Timmerman interviewed Susan Desmond-Hellmann. He wrote: She’s the chancellor of UC San Francisco, one of the nation’s top biomedical research centers. She’s a biotech industry legend from her experience as president of product development at Genentech, during its impressive run in the 2000s, when it became the world’s biggest cancer drug maker. I prepared a lot of questions for my exclusive interview with Desmond-Hellmann, not thinking of gender at all. But she brought it up, and not in a way that I expected.

Services for aging need better coordination, experts say, HealthyCal

Aging Californians depend on a wide range of connected services – health, housing, transportation and access for the disabled – that must be better coordinated to maximize the quality of their care, according to a panel of experts at a Tuesday conference on long term services and supports. Steven Wallace, associate director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, is quoted.

Findings on BRAF inhibitor resistance translate to clinical trials, Dermatology Times/Modern Medicine

Research by Dr. Roger Lo that tested combination drug therapy to combat drug resistance in melanoma patients is featured in this story. Lo is a member of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and an assistant professor of dermatology and molecular and medical pharmacology.

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