A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:
For hospitals and insurers, new fervor to cut costs, The New York Times
This article reports on the UCLA Health System’s efforts to reduce costs for patient care, in part by introducing innovative programs that emphasize healthy lifestyles, reduced ER visits and coordinated care for chronically ill patients. Dr. David Feinberg, president and CEO of the UCLA Health System, is quoted.
Inexpensive arthritis drug may treat dysentery, giardiasis, Los Angeles Times
An inexpensive arthritis drug called auranofin has been shown in lab and animal tests to kill the parasites that cause amoebic dysentery and giardiasis, and human trials are expected to start soon. A team headed by Dr. James McKerrow, a pathologist at UC San Diego, and parasitologist Anjan Debnath of UC San Francisco, developed an anaerobic screening process to test potential drugs against the amoeba in the laboratory.
For medical students, dual degrees gain popularity, San Francisco Chronicle
Nationwide, dual programs in medicine and academic research, medicine and law, and medicine and business have seen their combined enrollment increase 36 percent, from 3,921 in 2002 to 5,349 in 2011, according to data released this spring by the Association of American Medical Colleges. That trend extends to the Bay Area. Over the past decade, the number of medical students at Stanford who earned dual degrees went from nine to 22 annually, out of classes of fewer than 90. UCSF has also seen a slight increase in students enrolled in joint-degree programs. UC Berkeley and UC Hastings also are mentioned.
CIRM awards $69M in stem cell research grants targeting ‘bubble boy’ syndrome, other diseases, San Francisco Business Times
Bay Area stem cell researchers looking to cure a “bubble boy” syndrome, fix damaged heart muscle and take on a host of other diseases grabbed more than $25 million in funding from California’s stem cell research funding agency. The San Francisco-based California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM, said it awarded a total of $69.4 million to California stem cell scientists. Those projects include the first CIRM-funded collaboration in China and the first project with the Australian federal government. Twelve UC scientists received a total of $36.7 million in stem cell grants.
Special: Health Care Heroes 2012, Sacramento Business Journal
The Sacramento Business Journal includes six UC Davis faculty members for its special publication Health Care Heroes 2012: Thomas Balsbaugh, Irva Hertz-picciotto, Thomas Nesbitt, Ralph deVere White, Garen Wintemute andHeather Young.
UCLA study finds cycling might affect male reproductive health, CBS Los Angeles
A new study says male cyclists may experience hormonal imbalances that could affect their reproductive health. A study from the UCLA School of Nursing found that serious male cyclists had elevated levels of estradiol, which is associated with conditions like loss of male pubic hair and enlarged breast tissue.
What you can and cannot do to ward off dementia, San Diego Union-Tribune
Every 70 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive neurological affliction that, some experts suggest, will eventually swamp the health-care system if effective treatments are not found. Last week, the Obama administration announced a national plan to find solutions by 2025, among them expanded research and clinical trials. Toward that end, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have just launched three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials of new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and a related disorder called Mild Cognitive Impairment. A Q&A with Dilip Jeste, director of the Stein Institute for Research on Aging and a professor of psychiatry and neurosciences at UC San Diego.
Rady to offer pediatric heart transplants, San Diego Union-Tribune
Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego intends to raise its national profile by launching a heart transplant program this year after completing a nationwide search for a surgeon to oversee the effort and raising $1.5 million to cover startup costs. With the recruitment of Dr. Eric J. Devaney from the University of Michigan, Rady Children’s is poised to become the fifth California hospital and one of about 40 nationwide that perform pediatric heart transplants. Originally, Rady Children’s approached Sharp Memorial Hospital about partnering in pediatric transplantation because Sharp was handling all adult heart transplants in the county at the time. Since then, UC San Diego has resumed its smaller transplantation program, and both Sharp and UC San Diego said pediatrics doesn’t fit with their programs. The article mentions that UCLA performed the most pediatric heart transplants in California last year (17).
New growth industry: Bay Area biotech incubators, San Francisco Business Times
The number of biotech incubators in the Bay Area has doubled in the last two years. One of the most prominent — UC’s California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, or QB3 — has four sites in San Francisco and Berkeley, fielding up to four inquiries from new companies each day.
Two booze studies serve up sobering news, LA Weekly
We’re reminded that booze and artificially sweetened mixers sometimes can be a problematic combo. The study that figured this out has been around for a while, but it’s being given fresh attention thanks to the June edition of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, which offers news and expert advice from the School of Public Health.
UC Davis professor receives grant to study gratitude, The Sacramento Bee
UC Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons has received a $5.6 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to advance the science of gratitude.
Are PSA screenings for prostate cancer bad for your health?, The Daily Beast
A government-selected panel of experts suggested that widespread PSA screening too easily leads to aggressive and unnecessary interventions by turning up false-positive results or alerting patients to non-life-threatening tumors. Dr. Paul Knoepfler, cancer biologist at UC Davis and survivor of prostate cancer, says he understands both sides of the argument. “PSA is best used if it is evaluated relative to a man’s age,” he said.
Fevers during pregnancy linked to autism, but medication helps, Los Angeles Times
Researchers at UC Davis’ MIND Institute have found that women who reported having a fever during pregnancy were more likely to give birth to a baby who would later be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or a development delay. But babies of women who treated their fevers with medication fared no worse than babies whose mothers reported no fevers at all.
The National Institute of Mental Health has just released the results of a survey that found 56 percent of autistic children age 6 to 17 were on one or more drugs normally given for disorders such as anxiety, depression, psychosis or hyperactivity. “This is very good that physicians are recognizing these additional problems that kids with autism can have,” said Randi Hagerman, medical director of UC Davis’ MIND Institute. Hagerman said these medicines can make other behavioral treatments more effective.
Can sugar make you stupid? ‘High concern’ in wake of rat study, National Geographic News
This article reports on a UCLA study showing that a steady high-fructose diet can slow the brain and hamper memory and learning in rats — and how omega-3 fatty acids can minimize the damage.
The curse of a diagnosis (video), The Wall Street Journal
Dr. John Ringman, UCLA associate professor of neurology and a member of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, is featured in this article about his use of a spinal tap to detect increases in the amyloid protein long associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The test can detect the existence of such plaques years before symptoms appear.
Strength training for your brain?, The Orange County Register
A Q&A with Dr. Gary Small, Parlow–Solomon Professor on Aging, professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute and director of the UCLA Longevity Center, about his book “The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program.” The book offers tips for keeping your memory sharp during the aging process.
This story reports that a UCLA associate professor-in-residence of head and neck surgery has filed a lawsuit against the UC Board of Regents for alleged harassment and discrimination.
UC Merced bone health research promising, Merced Sun Star
Osteoporosis patients are among those who could benefit from the findings of a new UC Merced study on bone health. UC Merced immunology professor Jennifer Manilay and her research team have discovered a new way bone health could affect a person’s immune system.
Campus clinic to offer free dental services to students, families, Lemon Grove Patch
A 2010 Pew Center on the States report showed that one of every five children under the age of 18 in America live without dental care every year. The statistic is even higher in California, where one in four children under age 11 have never seen a dentist. But that is about to change for students in the Lemon Grove School District with a free oral health clinic operated by UCSD on the campus of the new Lemon Grove Academy for the Sciences and Humanities.
Breathing smog while pregnant may worsen asthma in offspring, HealthDay News
A study led by UC Berkeley public health postdoctoral fellow Amy Padula has found a link between prenatal exposure to air pollution and poor lung-function development in children with asthma.
Kristof: Are you safe on that sofa?, The New York Times
This column about the risks of flame retardants cites UC Berkeley visiting chemistry scholar Arlene Blum, whose research led to the removal of chlorinated Tris from children’s pajamas. The chemical is still used in couches and nursing pillows, though, and without warning labels. “For pregnant women, they [flame retardants] can alter brain development in the fetus,” she warns.