CATEGORY: In the media

In the media: Week of April 15

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

New facility will let UCSD, biotech scientists team up, San Diego Union-Tribune

The already tight relations between UC San Diego and the biotechnology industry will soon get even closer. The UC Board of Regents is expected to vote next month to approve the Center for Innovative Therapeutics, or CIT, a $110 million research complex that would house UCSD scientists and researchers from biotech companies. Regents are hoping to get companies to more quickly develop products and treatments invented by university scientists, a branch of research known as “bench-to-bedside.” The U-T discussed the proposed building with Thomas Kipps, who has been serving as interim director of UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center in La Jolla.

The 100 most influential people in the world, Time

UCSF professor of medicine Robert Grant makes Time magazine’s list of the top 100 most influential people in the world. Through one landmark study in November 2010, Dr. Grant, 52, changed the way AIDS researchers think about preventing HIV transmission. He and his team showed that gay, HIV-negative men could radically lower their risk of contracting HIV from their sexual partners by taking a combination antiretroviral drug already used to treat people living with the virus.

California to test HIV-prevention pill, Los Angeles Times

California will test an HIV-prevention pill in an attempt to slow the spread of the disease in the state, researchers announced Tuesday. The pill, which is already used to treat HIV patients, will be prescribed to 700 gay and bisexual men and transgender women in Los Angeles, San Diego and Long Beach who are high-risk but not infected. “With this new prevention pill, we have another intervention to put in the arsenal to try and impact this epidemic,” said George Lemp, director of the California HIV/AIDS Research Program with the UC president’s office. The program awarded $11.8 million in state grants for the prevention pill studies and efforts to get about 3,000 HIV-infected people in Southern California into treatment and keep them there. The grants will go to a group of UC schools, local governments and AIDS organizations.

See additional coverage: San Diego Union-Tribune, KPBS (audio), San Francisco Business Times

Working toward a new social contract for health care, The Wall Street Journal

UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann discusses her vision of a “new social contract” for patients participating in the health care system. The intent of this contract would be to advance the goals of precision medicine — treatment based on an understanding of the molecular and environmental factors contributing to disease.  Desmond-Hellmann published an editorial on her call-to-arms to patient advocates last week in Science Translational Medicine.

Medical students face grueling, expensive road to practice, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis Medical School received a record high of about 5,000 applications last year, and only 105 were accepted, according to Dr. Fred Meyers, executive associate dean of the UC Davis Health System. However, the number of residency spots has not kept pace with the growing number of medical students, making it difficult for students to find immediate employment and settle debts.

It’s called play, Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine

This feature on the importance of play highlights the work of UCLA professor Toni Yancey, who found that 10-minute bursts of physical activity boosted workers’ performance, “psychosocial factors,” and health. Yancey came up with an “Instant Recess” program that encourages several short play breaks each day. After writing a book with the same title, she teamed with Keen to bring recess to the workaday world. Among the early adopters: the health care companies Kaiser Permanente and the Henry Ford Health System. Check out the Instant Recess toolkit.

Two local hospitals named among Top 100, San Diego Union-Tribune

Scripps Green Hospital and UC San Diego Medical Center have been named among the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by Thomson Reuters.

UCR recognized for environmental efforts, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

Just in time for Earthy Day on Sunday, UC Riverside has received two awards for its environmental efforts. The new School of Medicine Research Building has received LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. One of the primary energy-saving features of the three-story, 58,000-square-foot building are automatic solar shades that measure the amount of light coming into a room and deploy for shade as necessary.

Local hospitals win millions in Medicare reimbursement, Sacramento Business Journal

Health systems that do business in the Sacramento area will get nearly $119 million from a settlement that ended a long-running dispute over Medicare payments. The UC Davis Medical Center, along with other University of California hospitals, is still negotiating with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services but expects a settlement soon in the 13-year dispute.

Report: State prison health care needs independent oversight, California Healthline

California should create an independent board to monitor prison health care after federal oversight ends, according to a report released Thursday by the Legislative Analyst’s Office. The University of California is mentioned in the report.

UC San Diego to stimulate huge earthquakes, San Diego Union-Tribune

One of the biggest efforts ever made to understand how earthquakes affect buildings begins Tuesday at UC San Diego, where engineers will violently shake a five-story structure fitted with 500 sensors and 70 cameras. The test is the first in a series meant to help scientists improve building codes and prevent fires, a common aftereffect of quakes. Scientists have shaken the skeleton of buildings before, but this is a complete mid-rise with state-of-the art ceilings, electrical systems, furniture and a working elevator. The top two floors have been designed as a mock hospital, complete with a surgical suite and an intensive care unit. It is the most elaborately detailed quake test building ever created.

See additional coverage: The Associated Press

Crowd-sourcing expands power of brain research, The New York Times

In the largest collaborative study of the brain to date, scientists using imaging technology at more than 100 centers worldwide have for the first time zeroed in on genes that they agree play a role in intelligence and memory. Scientists working to understand the biology of brain function — and especially those using brain imaging, a blunt tool — have been badly stalled. But the new work, involving more than 200 scientists, lays out a strategy for breaking the logjam. The findings appear in a series of papers published online Sunday in the journal Nature Genetics. The article quotes Paul Thompson, a professor of neurology at UCLA and senior author of one of the papers.

UCSF researchers decipher ‘selective hearing’, San Francisco Chronicle

Anyone who’s ever tried to hear someone speaking in a roomful of jabbering voices and clinking glasses knows the “cocktail party effect” – the ability to tune out all the noise and tune in only to the one whose conversation is important in the moment. A neurosurgeon and an electrical engineer, both at UCSF, say they now understand how the cocktail party effect works, a finding that resolves a mystery that has plagued psychologists for more than a century.

Everyday activities might lower Alzheimer’s risk, HealthDay News

UC Berkeley neuroscience professor William Jagust, of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, comments on a new study linking physical activity and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s,  saying confirmation would require a study assigning some people to be more active and others to be less active, then following them for a long time. The article also quotes Gary Small, a brain researcher and director of the Longevity Center at UCLA.

Why women suffer more migraines than men (audio), NPR Morning Edition

Andrew Charles, professor of neurology and director of the UCLA Headache Research and Treatment Program, is featured in this segment about why women suffer more migraines than men, and his ongoing efforts to find a cure.

Epilepsy study: Surgery more effective than medications (video), KABC 7

This story reports on a study by Jerome Engel, professor of neurology, neurobiology and psychiatry and director of the UCLA Seizure Disorder Center, finding that early surgical intervention can help prevent seizures and improve quality of life in people with drug-resistant epilepsy. Engel is interviewed.

J&J funds promising QB3 research, San Francisco Business Times

The UC-affiliated California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, or QB3, project developing an artificial pancreas that would spare diabetes patients their daily injections has received funding of up to $250,000 over two years from Johnson & Johnson.

UCLA doctor sues regents, alleging racial bias, Los Angeles Times

UCLA Dr. Christian Head says the university failed to prevent harassment. He says he was humiliated by a graduation night faculty roast and has suffered retaliation for filing complaints.

The doctor will see you — if you’re quick, Newsweek

As primary physicians continue to take on more patients while spending less time with each one, most of the blame goes to the system that encourages quantity over quality. Richard Kravitz, primary care physician and co-vice chair of research in internal medicine at UC Davis, says even small gestures like calling a patient at home can make a difference in how they feel. The article also quotes UC San Francisco professor Thomas Bodenheimer and UC Davis professor Michael Wilkes.

101-year-old S.F. doctor gets a house call from Itzhak Perlman, Jewish News Weekly

This article describes a visit between violinst Itzhak Perlman and UCSF Dr. Ephraim Engleman, who, at 101 years and 2 weeks old, has been working in the field of arthritis research for longer than some of the other doctors there had been alive.

Warren Buffett says he has early prostate cancer, The Associated Press

Warren Buffett, the 81-year-old chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has announced that he has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. Dr. Ralph deVere White, director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC Davis, said Buffett has a “great prognosis” and only a 2 or 3 percent chance of death due to the cancer in the next 10 years.

Hospitals try voice recognition for health records, USA Today

UC Irvine Medical Center is testing M-Modal’s software that allows doctors to use voice to locate and dictate information to files in its electronic record system. The hospital will use a desktop version when it launches in October, but plans to deploy it on iPads in the next generation, says Jim Murry, the hospital’s CIO.

From a Berkeley garage, a solar initiative that saves lives, Berkeleyside

The week before last, the city of Berkeley took time to honor two of its citizens. Laura Stachel and her husband Hal Aronson were issued with a proclamation and words of praise from Mayor Tom Bates and Councilmember Linda Maio, among others, at the April 3 meeting of the City Council. Stachel and Aronson’s brainchild was to create a portable “solar suitcase” which is able to provide light to hospitals that face chronic power shortages — a situation many healthcare clinics in developing countries face on a daily basis. Having the lights go off during surgery can mean the difference between life and death. The situation can also be critical if you have to wait for daylight to break in order to begin an urgent operation. Stachel, who practiced as an obstetrician before a back injury led her to change course and pursue a doctorate of public health at UC Berkeley, saw this first-hand when she traveled to Nigeria in 2008.

The guide to beating a heart attack, The Wall Street Journal

While heart disease and its consequences are largely preventable, nearly one million Americans will suffer a heart attack this year. Amparo Villablanca, cardiologist at UC Davis, advises consumers to take charge of their health by shopping around the perimeter aisles of the grocery store, where fresh produce and other unprocessed foods are typically found.

The have and have-nots of health on display in east Sacramento, Oak Park, The Sacramento Bee

This article about health disparities quotes Jonathan London, director of the Center for Regional Change at UC Davis, and Paula Braveman, director of the Center on Social Disparities in Health at UC San Francisco.

You must remember this, Sacramento Magazine

“Nobody really escapes the age-related changes that occur with the mind,” said Michael McCloud, geriatrician and healthy-aging expert at UC Davis. He has outlined six things to keep in mind for those worried about age-related cognitive changes.

Editorial: Region’s hospitals need to collaborate to advance cancer screening, treatment, The Sacramento Bee

We are privileged in the Greater Sacramento region, a health care hub for much of Northern California, to have one of the nation’s 44 comprehensive cancer centers. With that prestigious designation comes great opportunity – and great responsibility. The entire medical community in our region should capitalize on the status of the newly renamed UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, now in the top tier of cancer centers nationwide – as the Boston area did in the late 1990s.

Commentary: UC housing developers should consider Fair Oaks’ interests, Fair Oaks Patch

UC Davis wants to build a housing development in the center of one of Fair Oaks’ oldest properties. The hope is the development will provide financial resources to fund scholarships for the university’s school of medicine. However, this doesn’t necessarily make it the right decision, writes Fair Oaks Patch editor Joshua Staab.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of April 8

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UCSD goal: world-class health care, San Diego Union-Tribune

UC San Diego officials brought out the champagne and ceremonial shovels Monday for a groundbreaking on the $664 million Jacobs Medical Center, but they really were celebrating something far bigger than the start of construction on a 10-story building. University officials said they’re taking the next step on the way to their goal of being a world-class academic medical institution combining research, a school of medicine and advanced clinical care.

Riverside County to give $10 million to University of California, Riverside medical school, The Palm Springs Desert Sun

Riverside County will invest an additional $10 million in the University of California, Riverside’s medical school, the Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday.School leaders hope the extra funding, which doubles the county’s investment, will give the school enough of a financial boost to be able to open in fall 2013. Read a related editorial.

See additional coverage: The Riverside Press-Enterprise, KPCC (audio)

Family doctors try to recruit Sacramento teens to profession, The Sacramento Bee

It’s hard to say which of the things transpiring in a Sacramento Charter High School classroom last week was more unusual: teenagers taking a sonogram of Dr. Charlene Hauser’s unborn child or family medicine doctors getting a chance to be the stars of the medical profession. The session was part of Future Faces of Family Medicine, a program started last school year by family medicine residents at UC Davis and Sutter Health, along with the California Academy of Family Physicians, to recruit more youths – especially those from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds – into their often-unsung profession.

Mom’s weight may be risk factor for autism (video), CNN

A mother’s weight and diabetic condition may increase the risk of her unborn child developing a neurodevelopmental disorder, such as autism, according to a new study published in this week’s journal Pediatrics. Researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute in California found that mothers-to-be who were obese were 67% more likely to have a child with autism as opposed to normal-weight mothers without diabetes or hypertension.

See additional coverage: The Sacramento Bee

Telehealth Network gets $700K donation from UnitedHealthcare, Sacramento Business Journal

UnitedHealthcare has donated $700,000 to the Sacramento-based California Telehealth Network to expand telemedicine training and provide technical support for rural and underserved hospitals and clinics in California.

See additional coverage: California Healthline

UC Berkeley tests text message placebo effect, and it works!, San Francisco Business Times

A social welfare researcher at UC Berkeley found that getting a text message, even an automated one, can help a patient who feels stressed or lonely.

What studies have shown about sugar, Los Angeles Times

In 2011, researchers at UC Davis found that subjects who received 25 percent of their calories from either fructose or high-fructose corn syrup saw a jump in their cholesterol levels. The experiment is one of many providing evidence of sugar’s correlation with risks for heart disease.

As tuition rose, so did university holiday parties, San Diego Union-Tribune

As San Diego’s public universities scaled back enrollment, cut classes and hiked tuition in recent years, the institutions increased spending on end-of-year and holiday parties for staff, public records show. The University of California San Diego spent $247,996 on such celebrations in 2011, up from $179,552 in 2010, according to reimbursement records. Much of it was for the medical center staff, which receives little in taxpayer funds but remains a public facility.

Dr. Lester Breslow dies at 97; UCLA dean was ‘Mr. Public Health’, Los Angeles Times

Dr. Lester Breslow, the UCLA researcher who became known at “Mr. Public Health” because of his research emphasizing the beneficial effects of avoiding certain behaviors, such as smoking, overeating and failing to exercise regularly, has died. He was 97.


CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of April 1

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Riverside County looks to get medical school running by 2013, The Palm Springs Desert Sun

An extra $10 million in funding from Riverside County supervisors could help the University of California, Riverside’s proposed medical school gain the accreditation it needs to start classes for its first 50 students in fall 2013.The Board of Supervisors is set to vote Tuesday on the increased funding, which along with a previous commitment of $10 million would give the school $1.5 million a year in county funds for the next nine years.

Inside UCSF’s Mission Bay hospital, San Francisco Business Times

UC San Francisco Medical Center is making rapid progress on its new 289-bed, $1.52 billion women’s, children’s and cancer specialty hospital at Mission Bay, which will include the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

Is sugar toxic? (video), CBS 60 Minutes

If you are what you eat, then what does it mean that the average American consumes 130 pounds of sugar a year? Sanjay Gupta reports on new research showing that beyond weight gain, sugar can take a serious toll on your health, worsening conditions ranging from heart disease to cancer. Some physicians go so far as to call sugar a toxin. Those interviewed include UCSF’s Robert Lustig and UC Davis’ Kimber Stanhope.

Health Care 911 (video), San Diego Union-Tribune

This five-part series examines the problem of frequent users of emergency services. The frequent 911 users in this series are the most chronic users of the emergency room and can defy institutional, government-based, solutions. They will remain a challenge no matter what becomes of the health reform law currently under U.S. Supreme Court review. UC San Diego is highlighted in this series.

DIEP flap surgical alternative to breast implants, San Francisco Chronicle

When Lori MacKenzie was diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2010, her immediate impulse was to schedule a double mastectomy with implants because that offered her the quickest resolution. But after doing some research, she realized she had other options. She needed a mastectomy because of the type and location of her cancer. That was done at UCSF last year. But for her reconstruction, the mother of three from Napa chose a relatively new type of breast surgery. The highly specialized technique uses fat tissue and tiny blood vessels taken from the patient’s abdomen to form a new breast, while preserving the abdominal muscle. MacKenzie waited a year until UCSF could bring in a microsurgeon to perform the surgery – called a free DIEP flap, for deep inferior epigastric perforator flap. The surgeon, Dr. Hani Sbitany, was recruited from the University of Pennsylvania in August to head up UCSF’s Breast Cancer Center’s reconstruction program.

Infectious disease: Blowing in the wind, Nature

A feature on Kawasaki disease and how it may be impacted by climate highlights UC San Diego research.

Son’s leukemia sends mom on search for donor, San Francisco Chronicle

It started with a nosebleed that lasted too long. After three hours, Heather Banaszek decided to take her 11-year-old son, C.J., to the emergency room at Petaluma Valley Hospital. C.J., who loves basketball, soccer and baseball, had been pale and dragging for several days. In the early hours of Feb. 21, the fifth-grader was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. The Banaszeks, who spent two weeks after diagnosis in the hospital at UCSF, are back home and focused on finding a bone marrow match for their son. A bone marrow transplant is the only thing that will cure C.J., Heather Banaszek said. At the same time, they are on a mission to raise awareness about the importance of and relative ease of donating bone marrow.

UCSF chancellor honored by Commonwealth Club (video), ABC 7

A woman who helped revolutionize cancer treatment is being honored this month for her new role: leading the massive UCSF medical school and research centers. Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann is one of four people chosen by San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club as leaders who are moving the Bay Area forward.

‘Solar Suitcase’ sheds light on darkened delivery rooms (video), PBS NewsHour

After witnessing the consequences of power outages in Nigeria’s health facilities, obstetrician Dr. Laura Stachel came up with a solution: a suitcase containing elements to produce and store solar energy. Spencer Michels reports on the life-saving device that aims to reduce maternal mortality rates in the developing world. Stachel is associate director of West African Emergency Obstetric Research for UC Berkeley’s Bixby Center. She has an M.D. from UC San Francisco and an M.P.H. from UC Berkeley.

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center makes changes after series of failed inspections, patient death, The Torrance Daily Breeze/CHCF Center for Health Reporting

This article investigates patient care issues at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Harbor-UCLA is a cornerstone of emergency care in the South Bay and Long Beach area and the only Level I trauma center south of the Santa Monica Freeway. It is also a key safety-net hospital for low-income and uninsured residents and a major teaching facility for the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Read a follow-up article: Official defends County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center after incidents.

UC-owned Fair Oaks property plan calls for development, broad tree removal, The Sacramento Bee

The University of California is planning on removing 400 trees and a historic ranch in order to build a housing development in Fair Oaks. Allan Meacham, university assistant director of real estate services, says the 7-acre property on Fair Oaks Boulevard was donated to the university with the intention of funding scholarships at UC Davis School of Medicine.

Aetna mistakenly tells 8,000 customers their doctors were dropped from coverage, The Sacramento Bee

Thousands of Aetna customers across the state, including many in the Sacramento region, were mistakenly sent letters this week telling them that their health care provider is no longer covered in the network and that they need to find new doctors. More than 8,000 Aetna customers were sent the form letters from the Hartford, Conn.-based health insurance company and have been receiving them in the mail over the past few days. Since then, patients have been calling their doctors and the insurance company to find out if they are still covered. “Patients were concerned about not being able to see their UC Davis physician. Patients with appointments in the near future were especially worried,” said Karen Finney, UC Davis health system spokesperson. “We told them they should continue to see their physicians as planned.”

Counterfeit drugs show need for tracking, San Francisco Chronicle

The discovery of a second batch of a phony cancer drug in the United States this week has frustrated regulators in California, where the nation’s most stringent law to track and trace pharmaceuticals was passed in 2004 but has yet to be implemented. At UCSF, pharmacists use sophisticated scanning methods to help ensure that the product is legitimate. Bret Brodowy, UCSF’s director of pharmacy, is quoted.

Humans a major source of indoor bacteria, UC researchers find, California Watch

You are a big bag of germs. And just by walking into a room, you add 37 million bacteria to the air for every hour you remain there. At least, that’s what researchers at UC Berkeley and Yale University have discovered about the presence of a person in a room.

The 2012 Time 100 Poll: Karen Pierce, Time

Karen Pierce, assistant director of the UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence, has been nominated by Time magazine writers and editors to be included in the 2012 Time 100 List for her work to help identify children at risk of autism at an early age. Cast your vote for Pierce, assistant professor in the UC San Diego department of neurosciences, to be included among the leaders, artists, innovators, icons and heroes that you think are the most influential people in the world. Official voting ends Friday. The poll winner will be included in the Time 100 issue and revealed on April 17.

Researchers hunt for causes of autism, USA Today

Recently, scientists have discovered a number of risk factors for autism. These include genes, as evidenced in a study by David Amaral, research director at the UC Davis MIND Institute who found that 15 percent to 20 percent of autistic children have a genetic mutation. And if parents have one child with autism, the risk of having a second child is nearly 20 percent, according to Sally Ozonoff, vice chair for research at the UC Davis MIND Institute.

See additional coverage: San Diego Union-Tribune

Scientists identify genetic changes that may increase risk of PTSD, Time

This story highlights research by Dr. Armen Goenjian, a UCLA research professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute, and Julia Bailey, adjunct assistant professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, linking two genes involved in serotonin production to a higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.

Robot bladder cancer surgery, fewer deaths, UPI

Robotic surgery resulted in fewer deaths and in-patient complications than open surgery for bladder cancer, but it was costlier, U.S. researchers say. Dr. Jim Hu of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA said previous research involving robotic-assisted surgery has come from single medical centers and did not include direct comparisons with traditional surgery.

Partnering with disease: 9 doctors studying an illness close to home, The Atlantic

UCLA Dr. Stanley Nelson, vice chair of human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine and a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute, and his wife, Carrie Miceli, a UCLA professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, are featured in this story profiling scientists who study diseases that affect them personally. Nelson and Miceli aim to unravel a genetic disorder that affects their young son.

Public invited to hear health care panel, San Diego Union-Tribune

The UC San Diego alumni organization has scheduled a forum on the future of health care in this country. The event, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Healthiness,” is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday in the newly opened Telemedicine Building at the university’s School of Medicine. It is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required.

Outbreak, the game, ScienceNow

You’re sitting at lunch when your friend hands you a note with some bad news: You’ve been infected with Muizenberg Mathematical Fever (MMF). Are you going to get sick? Will you die? To find out, you visit a website that reveals the severity of your infection and how many people you’ll infect. As the outbreak spreads among your colleagues, some report to the health clinic. Others go untreated. Fortunately for you, this is all a simulation. It’s part of a new game designed to teach students the complexity of data generated by outbreaks. MMF is the brainchild of Steve Bellan, an ecologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in the epidemiology of wildlife diseases like anthrax, and Juliet Pulliam of the University of Florida, Gainesville.

Op-ed: Supreme Court needn’t fear healthcare law’s individual mandate provision, Los Angeles Times

Vikram Amar, professor and associate dean at the UC Davis School of Law, and Alan Brownstein, constitutional law professor at UC Davis, wrote this op-ed discussing the Affordable Care Act that was debated in the Supreme Court last week.

Op-ed: NFL penalty for bounties didn’t go far enough, San Francisco Chronicle

The long suspensions handed down by the National Football League to the coaches who orchestrated the New Orleans Saints’ injury bounty program may cause some to wonder whether the NFL went too far. I wonder if the NFL went far enough, writes Geoffrey T. Manley, M.D., Ph.D., is the chief of neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital and professor and vice chairman of neurosurgery at UCSF.

Commentary: Stay the course toward better health care quality, NAPH Safety Net Matters

The politics, business and delivery of health care underwent a permanent, seismic shift in 2010. Whether or not you are a supporter of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is little debate that it was a game changer, writes Aaron Byzak, UC San Diego Health System’s director of government and community affairs, in a blog post.

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In the media: Week of March 25

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UCR medical school gets funding boost, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

University of California officials say they have secured enough funding to try again to seek accreditation for UC Riverside’s School of Medicine in time to open in fall 2013. UCR Chancellor Timothy P. White said Wednesday that the UC state financing office has established a $30 million line of credit for the medical school, and the UC Office of the President has committed $2 million annually for the next 10 years.

See additional coverage: The San Bernardino Sun

U.S. Supreme Court health care law review to start, San Francisco Chronicle

The Supreme Court today (March 26) embarks on a three-day examination of the Affordable Care Act – “Obamacare” to Republicans – with supporters arguing it is a constitutional way to insure the uninsured while opponents counter that if Congress can require Americans to buy health insurance, it can make them eat broccoli. The article quotes Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Irvine’s School of Law.

See additional coverage: KQED Forum (audio)

Weight loss secret: Chocolate!, San Diego Union-Tribune

Chocolate: melts in your mouth and melts off your waistline. Science fiction? Science fact, insists Dr. Beatrice Golomb, an associate professor of medicine at UC San Diego. “The surprise is,” Golomb said, “eating chocolate frequently is linked to lower weight.”

See additional coverage: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, NPR All Things Considered (audio)

CEO David Feinberg: Prescription for Excellence, Becker’s Hospital Review

A profile of Dr. David Feinberg, president of the UCLA Health System, CEO of the UCLA Hospital System and associate vice chancellor for health sciences, highlighting his organizational strategies and unique patient-centered approach. Feinberg is quoted.

Telemedicine brings pediatric specialists to rural California,

A feature on UC Davis’ pediatric telemedicine program.

Autism: UCSF zeroes in on rare chromosome defect, San Francisco Chronicle

When her son was diagnosed with a rare chromosome defect three years ago, it was something of a relief for Theresa Mahar. Finally, she had an explanation. Christopher, now 14, had obvious developmental delays and intellectual disabilities. He had behavior problems and struggled in school. He’d been assigned so many diagnoses over the years – almost all of them related to autism – that it was sometimes hard to keep up. Then a genetic test revealed the defect to chromosome 16 – one of the 23 chromosomes that make up every person’s DNA – and it explained, perhaps, the cause of Christopher’s autism. “It’s something to hold on to,” Theresa Mahar said. “It’s something to blame.” Mahar and her family came to San Francisco from Hillsboro, Ore., this week to participate in an unusual study at UCSF – to map in great detail the brains of people who have a defect to chromosome 16.

UC Berkeley, lab get $35M to study Big Data, San Francisco Business Times

On Thursday, the Obama administration announced that UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Washington, D.C., will receive a total of $35 million in federal funding to participate in a national initiative to harness large amounts of information — including health care data — for research purposes. The funding is part of $200 million that six federal agencies have committed to the “Big Data Research and Development Initiative.”

See additional coverage: The New York Times

UC Berkeley releases ACO readiness survey, Modern Healthcare

The University of California at Berkeley has released an accountable care organization readiness survey for safety net providers.

Neuroscientists battle furiously over Jennifer Aniston, NPR

This story highlights research by Dr. Itzhak Fried, professor-in-residence of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, showing that the same single brain cell in the hippocampus fires when an individual views images of, hears about or reads about a particular famous person.

Agoura Hills woman forms online group of expectant mothers confined to bed rest, Ventura County Star

Jeanne Fisher, 30, pregnant with twins, was diagnosed with incompetent cervix, a condition that can cause the cervix to open before the baby is ready to be born. She is more than three months into more than 120 days of ordered bed rest at The BirthPlace at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital.

This is your 8-year-old brain on violin and karate, Voice of San Diego

Does learning music or karate boost your language skills or help you pay closer attention? What actually physically happens to the brain’s structure over the first few years you learn to play an instrument? This story mentions UC San Diego research on this subject.

Pioneer in epilepsy treatment dies at 89, The Associated Press

Dr. Paul Crandall, a co-founder of UCLA’s neurosurgery department who pioneered widely used surgical treatments for epilepsy, has died. He was 89.



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In the media: Week of March 18

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Blue Shield, UCLA break impasse over pay, Los Angeles Times

After months of impasse, Blue Shield of California and UCLA finally have a proposal on the table to settle a contract dispute that’s caused worry and confusion for thousands of patients seeking treatment at one of the state’s premier medical facilities. But don’t expect a breakthrough any time soon. The two sides remain far apart over how much Blue Shield should pay for members’ visits to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood and the nearby Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital.

U. of California agrees to formally promote ‘global access’ to its inventions, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The University of California system has adopted new guidelines that could help ensure that new medicines and other inventions based on university research are more accessible and affordable in the developing world. Officials said the change, which would be carried out through university licensing, was partly a response to a years-long campaign by student activists, who have been urging universities to adopt such “global access” licensing policies.

UC Davis to offer new alternative to open-chest surgery, The Sacramento Bee

For many heart patients, doctors at UC Davis Medical Center have begun treating patients with a new, minimally invasive procedure. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement aims to help patients suffering from aortic valve stenosis, replacing open-chest surgery.

Tobacco plants turning into living vaccine factories, Innovation News Daily/

Lucas Arzola, a Ph.D. candidate in chemical engineering at UC Davis, has started a new company that has transformed tobacco plants into living factories for making new vaccines and medical treatments. Arzola originally founded Inserogen alongside fellow Ph.D. candidates Oscar Ortega-Rivera and Michelle Lozada-Contreras, as well as Karen McDonald, a professor at UC Davis.

UCSD finds genes possibly linked to autism, San Diego Union-Tribune

UC San Diego has inched closer to the root causes of autism, identifying genes that appear to go haywire before a child is born, preventing the brain from developing normally. Neuroscientist Eric Courchesne says he and his collaborators found evidence that many genes basically misfire, producing an overabundance of brain cells in the pre-frontal cortex that affect a child’s social, language and communications skills.

Medical innovations can come at a cost (audio), NPR All Things Considered

This story about the use and cost of medical technology features UCSF urologist Kristen Greene.

Watchdog Response: UC says construction story showed lack of understanding, San Diego Union-Tribune

UC Office of the President Media Relations Director Steve Montiel writes in response to a California Watch story, which he says betrayed a lack of understanding about budget fundamentals at the University of California, and about the nature of debt financing.

2 California researchers win prestigious Tyler Prize, Los Angeles Times

Two California researchers whose groundbreaking work has documented the dangers of air pollution have been awarded the 2012 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. John H. Seinfeld, a professor of chemical engineering at Caltech, was recognized for research leading to a greater understanding of the origin, chemistry and evolution of particles in the atmosphere. Kirk R. Smith, a professor of global environmental health at UC Berkeley, was recognized for research demonstrating the debilitating risk of air pollution in developing nations.

Berkeley doctors, practices help offer free medical clinics, Berkeleyside

Several Berkeley medical practices, including UC Berkeley Optometry, are taking part in a phenomenal initiative this week called RAM (Remote Area Medical) that provides free medical, dental and optometry to underserved communities. Thousands of patients are expected to turn up to the Oakland Coliseum today through Sunday for full screenings and exams, as well as treatments such as facial surgery. When the program was in Oakland last year, some 3,000 pairs of glasses were produced on the spot and dispensed over four 12-hour days, says UC Berkeley’s Edward Revelli.

Rugby player doesn’t let paralysis slow her down, San Francisco Chronicle

A feature on rugby wheelchair player Angelica Galang, who has been in a wheelchair since June 15, 2009, when UCSF surgeons removed a 5-inch tumor from the top of her spinal cord. Galang attended UCLA as an undergraduate and will start law school at UC Berkeley in the fall.

Studies see link between HIV and abuse among women, San Francisco Chronicle

Diagnosed with HIV in the late 1980s, Cassandra Steptoe didn’t tell anyone for years, and she didn’t get any treatment. She was depressed and hopeless after a lifetime of physical and sexual abuse. She assumed the infection would kill her. But, somehow, she survived – not just the HIV infection, but far more. During the past decade, she’s received help overcoming the trauma from the years of abuse, and in turn, she’s finally faced her HIV diagnosis. And she is far healthier for it, she says. “I’m a stronger person, a better person, than I was before,” said Steptoe, who started treatment in 2003 at the Women’s HIV Program at UCSF. “Now when I look at my pills, it’s like another day of life.”

Today in research: Yoga’s benefits, The Atlantic

This item highlights research by Eileen Luders, assistant professor of neurology and member of the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, suggesting that long-term meditation improves information processing, memory formation and decision making.

Zen therapy helps patients battle cancer (video), CBS Los Angeles

A story on fashion designer Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Integrative Therapy program, which uses Eastern healing techniques to enhance the care of hospital patients at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Suzanne Travis, a nurse at UCLA Medical Center–Santa Monica, and Ellen Wilson, director of therapy services at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, are interviewed.

Teen builds apps to help pediatric patients (audio), The California Report

This story is on a 13-year-old boy who is donating the sales proceeds from two iPhone applications he designed to support the research of Dr. Noah Federman, assistant professor of pediatric hematology-oncology and director of the pediatric bone and soft-tissue sarcoma program at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.  Federman is interviewed.

Ancient creature focus of UC Merced cancer research, Merced Sun-Star

A 550-million-year-old species may help in the race to cure cancer. UC Merced researchers made a discovery that could lead to a strategy to help prevent the growth of cancer cells, university officials said Tuesday. Part of that strategy involves using flatworms, which have lived in shallow water worldwide for eons and are able to regenerate their cells.

Editorial: No easy solution in pay fight, The Stockton Record

It’s unrealistic to ask some state workers to take drastic pay cuts, according to this editorial, which is critical of a bill by state Sen. Joel Anderson to cap state salaries at the governor’s pay, $173,987 a year. “Does Anderson really think the state can find someone to run, say, the UC San Francisco medical school for less than $173,000 a year? Does he believe we’ll get a Nobel Prize winner for chump change?” states the editorial.

The brain on love, The New York Times

This column about neurobiology and social relationships quotes UCLA Dr. Daniel Siegel, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute, and cites research by UCLA Dr. Allan Schore, associate clinical professor of psychatry, and Naomi Eisenberger, UCLA assistant professor of psychology.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of March 11

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UCR medical school closing on funding milestone, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

UC Riverside officials say the university is close to achieving a funding goal they believe might allow them to open a medical school in 2013. Last July, accreditation for the school was denied, largely due to the loss of direct state funding from the state of California. Since then, officials have been working to raise the money through other means.

UC Davis Cancer Center gains elite ‘comprehensive’ status in Sacramento, The Sacramento Bee

Cancer care has reached a new level in the Sacramento region. Today UC Davis Cancer Center officials, surrounded by long-term survivors and elected leaders, will announce the Sacramento facility has joined an elite group of cancer centers across the country, becoming the first in the region designated “comprehensive” by the federal National Cancer Institute.

David Vlahov is new UCSF nursing school dean, San Francisco Chronicle

A profile of UCSF School of Nursing Dean David Vlahov.

Match Day celebration for UCI med students, The Orange County Register

One by one, students dropped a dollar bill into a 61-year-old physician’s bag and stepped up to the podium, fumbling with the letters that will dictate their next several years – and possibly their lives. One-hundred-and-two students in UC Irvine’s School of Medicine class of 2012 discovered which residency program they will attend in July, along with medical students across the country Friday. Read more about Match Day.

Robotic pharmacy delivers right meds to patients at UCSF (video), ABC 7

A combination of high-technology and robotics is now making sure patients at UCSF get the medicines they need. The new system tracks thousands of doses of medications even as nurses are administering them.

NQF, Joint Commission honor safety efforts, Modern Healthcare

A New York hospital and a Detroit hospital system were among the healthcare providers recognized recently for their patient-safety efforts by the National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission. New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City and Henry Ford Health System in Detroit were named this week as 2011 recipients of the annual John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Awards for improving patient safety and quality at the local level. Other awardees included Dr. Kenneth Shine, executive vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of Texas System, Austin; the Society of Hospital Medicine in Philadelphia; and Jerod Loeb, executive vice president of the division of healthcare quality evaluation at the Joint Commission. UC San Diego clinical professor of medicine Gregory Maynard, senior vice president of the Society of Hospital Medicine, and others throughout the UC system played a major role in the society’s award-winning work.

Is California ready for millions of newly insured?, California Healthline

Three million to four million Californians will become eligible for health insurance in 2014 thanks to the Affordable Care Act, but will the state’s health care workforce be able to handle the new demand? “Because persons who have health insurance tend to use more primary care than persons who are uninsured, there is concern that the current supply of primary care providers (physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants) may not be adequate to meet demand,” said Janet Coffman at UC-San Francisco’s Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. UC’s PRIME medical education program also is mentioned.

40 years of change at VA Medical Center, San Diego Union-Tribune

When San Diego’s VA hospital opened March 15, 1972, it revolutionized how local veterans received care. “We have some of the best people providing care here, primarily because it’s a university-affiliated place,” said Dr. Joshua Fierer, referring to the hospital’s relationship with UC San Diego. “You have people here at this VA who are world experts in their field.” The groundbreaking for the 400,000-square-foot hospital was held May 30, 1969, on 17 acres deeded by UC San Diego to the federal government.

Million-dollar hospital bills rise sharply in Northern California, The Sacramento Bee

A million dollars can buy a mansion in one of Sacramento’s nicest neighborhoods, near its best schools and parks. Or it can buy an ever-dwindling number of weeks in the intensive care unit of a local hospital. This article highlights examples from UC Davis Medical Center and quotes Robert Pretzlaff, chief of pediatric critical care medicine, and hospital spokeswoman Carole Gan. It also quotes Adams Dudley, UCSF professor of medicine and health policy.

Program helps advance hearing testing; experts in Sacramento check ears in Redding, Redding Record Searchlight

Gracie Lee recently slept through most of what Mercy Medical Center officials consider one of the newest methods to treat hearing problems. While 5-week-old Gracie rested on her mother’s lap in the Redding hospital last week, the audiologist testing the infant was at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

San Diego gets telemedicine for its tiniest patients, San Diego Business Journal

Oceanside-based Tri-City Medical Center is teaming with UC San Diego Medical Center to offer telemedicine services for premature babies in greater San Diego.

Buildings go up as universities’ budgets go down, California Watch/San Francisco Chronicle

California has slashed public university budgets, yet construction is booming at campuses statewide. The UC system has $8.9 billion in building projects under way at its 10 campuses and five medical centers, including about $2 billion at UCSF, which is near the top of the spending list. With less money to operate the new buildings once they’re finished, universities are straining maintenance and energy budgets. At least one new UC campus building is sitting empty because the university can’t afford to operate it. The most glaring example of what happens when universities put up buildings they can’t afford to operate is at UC Riverside, which finished a $36 million building last year for a planned medical school. But it had to push back the medical school’s opening to next year at the earliest because it doesn’t have the money to run it.

Steep climb for vets with brain injuries, The Sacramento Bee

Researchers at the Martinez campus of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have been collaborating with colleagues at UC campuses in Berkeley, Davis and San Francisco to determine how to best diagnose and treat brain injuries. David Woods, adjunct neurology professor at UC Davis, is focusing on the diagnostic area and studying a more accurate method of spotting traumatic brain injury abnormalities in brain tissue.

Pfizer agrees to new deal with QB3, San Francisco Business Times

Pfizer is reupping a three-year, $9.5 million research collaboration with the University of California’s QB3 institute, but this time it is bringing money for startup life sciences companies to the table.

Shaved heads at Sacramento pub add up for children’s cancer research, The Sacramento Bee

Henry, Simon, and Mark de Vere White are the sons of Ralph de Vere White, director of the UC Davis Cancer Center. The brothers own de Vere’s Irish Pub in downtown Sacramento, where about 250 people shaved their heads as part of the St. Baldrick’s Day fundraising event for pediatric cancer research. Also on hand was Robyn Raphael, founder of the Keaton Raphael Memorial that raises money for cancer research at UC Davis.

College students’ No. 1 routine health concern? Contraception, The Sacramento Bee

At UC Davis, student health officials regularly haul out “The Love Lab,” a roving cart filled with contraceptives. Twice a week, they place this array of free condoms, lubricants and other safe-sex products in high traffic areas around campus. After two hours, everything is usually gone. “It is one of the most popular student services on campus,” said Jason Spitzer, health educator for University of California, Davis, Student Health and Counseling Services. UC Davis has “The Love Lab.” Sacramento State has condom bowls. And Sacramento City College has Planned Parenthood on campus once a week to provide birth control prescriptions, condoms and information about reproduction, among other services. Contraception, a topic that has embroiled Congress and talk radio in heated debate the past few weeks, routinely intersects campus life here for college students.

Stress shown to have modest effect on pregnant women, San Diego Union-Tribune

The effect of stress upon a pregnant woman and her unborn child is neither well nor fully understood. When a 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit Chile in 2005, researchers saw a novel opportunity to investigate the question. A Q&A with Dr. Yvette Lacoursiere, an assistant adjunct professor of reproductive medicine in the UC San Diego School of Medicine, who talks further about stress and pregnancy.

Debate grows over colorectal cancer screenings, San Francisco Chronicle

A colonoscopy, a dreaded medical procedure for people 50 and older, is the best, one-shot way to screen and detect colon cancer for now, most health professionals agree. But an increasing number of experts are beginning to voice support for alternative methods, which they say could be used more widely to prevent colorectal cancer, which occurs in the colon or rectum. The article quotes James Allison, professor emeritus of medicine at UCSF and an adjunct investigator at the Kaiser Division of Research.

Ninad Athale: Deciding to be a family doctor, Napa Valley Register

A feature on Ninad Athale, a UC San Diego School of Medicine graduate who volunteers at one or more of the UC Davis School of Medicine’s seven student-run clinics in Sacramento. Athale, 31, joined Napa County-based Clinic Ole’s full-time staff in September, shortly after wrapping up his residency in Sacramento with the Sutter Health Family Residency Program.

New UCSD website is all about the brain (audio, video), KPBS

The myth that classical music makes you smarter is not true, according to Nick Spitzer, co-director of UC San Diego’s Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind. Also false: drinking alcohol kills brain cells, he said. While chronic drinking does damage the brain, a glass of wine with dinner actually has “salutary effects,” Spitzer said. Spitzer is editor in chief of a new website launching in May, The site will debunk myths like these and provide layers of information for anyone interested in the brain.

Honoring San Diego’s health heroes, San Diego Union-Tribune

Heroes come in many forms. Twenty-two of them were honored Thursday at the Combined Health Agencies’ 2012 Health Hero Awards breakfast in Balboa Park. Recipients included UC San Diego’s Rohit Loomba, William Mobley, Howard Taras and David Barba.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of March 4

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Innovator tracks everything his body does (video), San Diego Union-Tribune

Larry Smarr stops a visitor and says, “Before you go, let me show you my stool sample.” The UC San Diego physicist-futurist reaches into his kitchen refrigerator, past the milk, and pulls out a small white box. He marvels over its contents. Feeling squeamish? Smarr can have that effect on people. Virtually nothing is out-of-bounds these days when he promotes the “Quantified Self,” an emerging movement in which people use biosensors and other gadgets to closely monitor their bodies in the name of wellness. At 63, Smarr thinks he’s found the future of personal health care. Time will tell. But colleagues note that he’s one of the most original thinkers in the country, with an almost eerie gift for sensing and shaping where society and technology are going.

Editorial: Med-school Rx?, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

UC Riverside’s plans for a new medical school need to rest on a more reliable foundation than the uncertain promise of state funding. The university should look at other options to fund this crucial project, instead of counting on a recurring state contribution. Waiting for money from a cash-strapped state risks indefinite postponement of the new school.

California mandates 48 specific areas of coverage, California Healthline

An analysis released yesterday by the California Health Benefits Review Program shows that a large cross-section of Californians  – about 32 million people –  will be covered by health care mandates passed by the Legislature. There are now 48 of those mandates that either require coverage or require an offer of coverage, and another five mandates that deal with more general terms and conditions of coverage. That is not the final word on the number of mandates. CHBRP was asked to evaluate three more legislative bills recently that deal with mandated coverage of tobacco cessation, prescription drugs and children’s immunizations. In addition, some of the 16 bills the agency analyzed last year are up for approval this year. They include mandates ranging from mental health coverage to oral chemotherapy treatment.

Hospitalists on the move, The Hospitalist

This item notes that Wendy Anderson, assistant professor of medicine and clinician-investigator with the UCSF Division of Hospital Medicine and Palliative Care Program, has been selected for a fellowship to improve health quality by the UC Center for Health Quality and Innovation. The center awarded 13 fellowships.

Sen. Sharon Runner goes home early after lung transplant, Los Angeles Times

State Sen. Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster) left Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Tuesday, 10 days after receiving a double lung transplant. Runner was diagnosed in 2008 with limited scleroderma, an autoimmune condition that damages healthy tissue, and several lung infections had kept her from attending legislative sessions since January while she waited for a transplant. Her physicians said Runner should be able to return to work in the Legislature in late spring.

To stay fiscally healthy, state’s hospitals want fewer patients, Los Angeles Times

Health care reforms will mandate more treatment in doctors’ offices and clinics. The changes take effect in 2014, but some California institutions are trying to get an early start. The article quotes Richard Scheffler, a UC Berkeley health economics professor.

Study linking abortion and mental health problems is called false, The New York Times

The Journal of Psychiatric Research, which in 2009 published a research article purporting to show a a link between abortions and long-term mental health problems, this month offered a critique of the research, saying that the authors’ analysis “does not support their assertions that abortions led to psychopathology.” In adetailed re-analysis of the (publicly available) data used in the study, Julia Steinberg of the University of California at San Francisco and Lawrence Finer of the Guttmacher Institute found what they called, in a letter to the journal’s editors, “untrue statements about the nature of the dependent variables and associated false claims about the nature of the findings.”

Study: Plateau seen in state childhood obesity rate, San Jose Mercury News

The first comprehensive assessment of a statewide campaign found that between 2003 and 2008, the rate of obesity among children in grades five, seven and nine grew by 0.33 percent. UC Davis researchers reviewed the results of Fitnessgrams and found that despite the weight gain, more students achieved perfect fitness scores.

UC Davis professor on panel to assess physician pay, Sacramento Business Journal

A UC Davis professor of internal medicine has been named to a newly formed independent commission that will assess how physicians are paid, university officials announced Tuesday.

Hydrogels heal themselves — and maybe your ulcers and stomach perforations, Scientific American/The Huffington Post

They’re called hydogels: Jell-O-like materials made of networks of long-chain molecules in water. And they’re as flexible as living tissue. But hydrogels could not recover from a cut—until now. Bioengineers at UC San Diego have made hydrogels that are self-healing in acidic conditions.


CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Feb. 26

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Governor says he won’t back UCR medical school, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

California Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday he’s not prepared to support funding the UC Riverside medical school at a time when the state still faces a $9 billion deficit. Brown asserted that position during a talk at The Press-Enterprise that ranged from his tax proposal to high-speed rail, pension reform and driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. “I’m not ruling it out, but I’m not ruling it in right now,” Brown said of funding for the medical school. “We’ve got to get our house in order before we expand.”

Op-ed: University’s far-reaching impact, The Vacaville Reporter

UC President Mark Yudof writes in an op-ed about UC’s impact in Vacaville and throughout the state, including UC’s five medical centers, which he notes offer not only world-class medical care but a crucial safety net for underserved populations.

Op-ed: California Western, UC San Diego partner to address community health needs, San Diego Daily Transcript

This op-ed highlights how California Western School of Law’s Community Law Project works with the UC San Diego School of Medicine and other partners to address community health needs in downtown San Diego.

Record kidney transplant chain has SF links, San Francisco Chronicle

After her son-in-law was diagnosed with a progressive and potentially deadly kidney disease, Yvonne Gordon desperately wanted to give him one of her kidneys, but she wasn’t a match. Good thing, too. Gordon couldn’t give her kidney to Gabriel Baty, the Albany man married to her daughter, but she could give it to a stranger, and, in return, her son-in-law would get a kidney from another stranger. In fact, Gordon and Baty were just two links of a record-breaking 60-person chain of kidney donations that ended late last year. Today, both Gordon and Baty are almost fully recovered. Both Gordon and Baty underwent surgery at UCSF.

The healing power of music (audio and video), PBS NewsHour

UCSF’s efforts to harness and understand the impact of music therapy on the brain are featured in this story. The segment highlights efforts by music therapists at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, such as Meagan Hughes, who work with children with muscular dystrophy and other neurological diseases, as well as cancer. Pediatric oncologist Robert Goldsby said music “can soothe the soul and help [young patients] get through the process of cancer therapy.” The story also included an interview with cognitive neuroscientist Julene Johnson and the UCSF Memory and Aging Center’s own artist in residence, bluegrass fiddler-dancer Heidi Clare Lambert.

SD County hospitals expand facilities, innovate, San Diego Business Journal

UC San Diego Health System, No. 3 on the list, is expecting to break ground on the Jacobs Medical Center in April. “We estimate this will bring more than 750 new hospital jobs to San Diego,” said Jacqueline Carr, director of press and media relations — clinical.

Special Reports: New California law seeks to expand telehealth services for Medicaid beneficiaries (audio), California Healthline

A new California law (AB 415) is expanding access to health care services in rural areas through the use of telehealth. In this Special Report by Deirdre Kennedy, telehealth experts discuss how the new law is working. The Special Report includes comments from April Armstrong, director of the Clinical Research Unit and Teledermatology Program at UC Davis Health System’s Department of Dermatology, and Thomas Nesbitt, director of UC Davis’ Center for Health and Technology.

Execs say health care reform inevitable, Sacramento Business Journal

Health care reform will happen in California regardless of whether the federal Affordable Care Act is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, Sacramento-area health care leaders said Friday. Panelists included Michael Taylor, senior vice president of operations for Dignity Health’s Greater Sacramento-San Joaquin Area; Pat Brady, CEO of Sutter Roseville Medical Center; Garry Maisel, president and CEO of Western Health Advantage; Ann Madden Rice, CEO of UC Davis Medical Center; Darryl Cardoza, COO of Hill Physicians Medical Group; and Trish Rodriguez, senior vice president and hospital CEO for Kaiser Permanente in South Sacramento and Elk Grove.

Political Empire: Feinstein to Brown: ‘I was here first’, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

This political notebook column mentions that in speaking before the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein urged Gov. Jerry Brown to fund the UC Riverside Medical School with $15 million a year.

Study looks at language barriers to exchange coverage, California Healthline

Communities of color are expected to make up a large portion of the California Health Benefit Exchange population. Many potential enrollees have limited English skills, which could get in the way of obtaining coverage. That’s according to a report due to be released today as a joint project of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network and the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.

UCI Care-a-thon, six-hour dance marathon (video), The Orange County Register

UC Irvine’s Care-a-thon fundraiser kept participants dancing for six hours and raised over $15,000 for the UC Irvine Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit.

Tri-City NICU to collaborate with UCSD Medical Center using video link, North County Times

Tri-City Medical Center will use video conferencing technology to collaborate with UC San Diego neonatologists to diagnose and treat difficult cases in the public hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, officials said this week.

UCSF’s burst of discovery (audio), KQED Forum

In the 1970s, UCSF’s medical school made a series of notable advances in biological research, including the discovery of DNA cloning and the identification of the first cancer genes. Dr. Henry Bourne chronicles what he calls this “burst of discovery” in his new book, “Paths to Innovation.”

UCSD Medical Center overbills Medicare, San Diego Union-Tribune

UC San Diego Medical Center made billing errors resulting in Medicare overpayments of $350,897 for 99 of 210 claims selected for review by federal auditors, according to a draft report made public this week.

Omega-3s may guard against brain decline, Time

Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids — healthy fats found in abundance in oily fish such as salmon — may protect against premature aging of the brain and memory problems in late middle age, according to a study published today in the journal Neurology. “The lower the omega-3s, the poorer the performance,” says lead author Dr. Zaldy Tan, an Alzheimer’s researcher at UCLA.

To screen or not to screen, San Diego Union-Tribune

Late last year, an expert panel convened by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommended that all children be screened for high cholesterol before the age of 11.  We asked Dr. Jeffrey Schwimmer, an associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and childhood obesity researcher, for his assessment.

Getting the right care after surgery, The Orange County Register

Columnist Jane Glenn Haas describes her shoulder replacement surgery at UC Irvine Medical Center.

California schoolchildren growing fatter, but fitter too (video), Los Angeles Times

The first comprehensive assessment of a pioneering statewide campaign to fight childhood obesity found that between 2003 and 2008, the rate of obesity among children in grades five, seven and nine grew by 0.33 percent, a slower rate than prior decades. UC Davis researchers have reviewed the results of Fitnessgrams and found that despite the weight gain, more students achieved perfect fitness scores in 2008 than 2003.

Light-controlled pain relief could banish Novocaine face syndrome, Gizmodo

UC Berkeley researchers, along with colleagues in Munich and Bordeaux, have co-authored a study that could lead to an innovative local anesthetic, which involves implanting a newly created molecule that acts like lidocaine into nerves and then manipulating it with a specific wavelength of light.

Claims over virtues of vitamin D spark debates, The Sacramento Bee

Vitamin D is at the center of a medical debate as researchers argue over its supposed benefits and possible deficiencies among the American public. Ishwarlal Jialal, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the UC Davis Health System, discussed a UC Davis study last year that found a 30% of patients with metabolic syndrome in Northern California also had vitamin D deficiency.

Scientists seek traits for bovine respiratory disease, Capital Press

Scientists from more than a half-dozen universities across the country have been examining thousands of cows to determine the genetic traits for resistance to bovine respiratory disease. The researchers – which include scientists at the University of California and Washington State University – are about halfway through their five-year study, having tested about 3,000 dairy cows. The scientists are about to begin studying beef cattle at a large feedlot in Texas, said Alison Van Eenennaam, a biotechnology specialist for the UC Cooperative Extension.

Commentary: School health clinics face obstacles — and how Arne Duncan could help, The Washington Post

Richard Rothsetin, senior fellow of the UC Berkeley law school’s Warren Institute, says the Obama administration could help close the achievement gap by promoting school-based health centers in disadvantaged neighborhoods.


CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Feb. 19

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Putting the care back into health care (audio, video), KPBS

Whether it’s transplanting an organ or saving a premature baby, doctors can do things that would have been considered miracles 100 years ago. But while medical science has evolved, the need for doctors to be caring and compassionate hasn’t changed. UC San Diego Medical School is trying to make sure aspiring doctors get that message. KPBS Health Reporter Kenny Goldberg tells us about one medical student that’s seen the light.

A push to train more primary-care doctors, Los Angeles Times

The U.S. is failing to produce enough family doctors to meet current and future needs. To address the shortage, new medical schools are opening with an emphasis on primary care and others are changing their curricula to boost the number of graduates interested in the field. The key to getting more graduates to pursue community medicine is recruiting the right students, said G. Richard Olds, dean of UC Riverside Medical School, which is waiting for accreditation and expects to focus in part on primary care. The article also mentions that Christina Thabit is among the first students in a new medical school program run by UC Davis and UC Merced that aims to increase the number of doctors in the San Joaquin Valley.

UC Davis volunteers give tiny Knights Landing its first health clinic since 2008, The Sacramento Bee

Medical students and undergraduates in white coats and blue scrubs swarmed around patients at the new Knights Landing health clinic Sunday, sometimes as many as three to one. The attention was a welcome flood after the medical drought that the tiny farming community has suffered since its only clinic closed more than three years ago. Sunday was the official opening of the free clinic, the product of several years’ planning by students and faculty at UC Davis School of Medicine and residents of Knights Landing. Housed in the office of the nonprofit Yolo Family Resource Center and staffed entirely by volunteers, the clinic gives free medical care. The new site is a satellite of Sacramento’s Clinica Tepati, one of seven free health clinics where UC Davis medical students train under supervising physicians. It is the first site run entirely by students in Rural-PRIME.

The patient of the future, MIT Technology Review

Back in 2000, when Larry Smarr left his job as head of a celebrated supercomputer center in Illinois to start a new institute at the University of California, San Diego, and the University of California, Irvine, he rarely paid attention to his bathroom scale. He regularly drank Coke, added sugar to his coffee, and enjoyed Big Mac Combo Meals with his kids at McDonald’s. Exercise consisted of an occasional hike or a ride on a stationary bike. “In Illinois they said, ‘We know what’s going to happen when you go out to California. You’re going to start eating organic food and get a blonde trainer and get a hot tub,’ ” recalls Smarr, who laughed off the predictions. “Of course, I did all three.”Smarr, who directs the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology in La Jolla, dropped from 205 to 184 pounds and is now a fit 63-year-old. But his transformation transcends his regular exercise program and carefully managed diet: he has become a poster man for the medical strategy of the future.

Father, son develop drug to fight brain diseases, San Francisco Chronicle

Joseph and Paul Muchowski are working at the Gladstone Institutes, an independent research group affiliated with UCSF. Paul Muchowski, 40, is a full-time investigator at Gladstone. His father, now retired from the Swiss drug maker Roche, splits his time between a lab at Gladstone and his current home just east of Vancouver in British Columbia.

60 lives, 30 kidneys, all linked, The New York Times

The world’s longest chain of organ donations has been completed in the U.S., with 30 patients receiving a kidney from 30 living donors. The chain included UCLA.

See additional coverage: BBC News

Nobel laureate Renato Dulbecco dies, San Diego Union-Tribune

Salk Institute virologist Renato Dulbecco, the Italian immigrant who earned a Nobel Prize for helping explain how viruses can cause cancer and who helped create the Human Genome Project, died on Sunday at his home in La Jolla. He was 97, and would have turned 98 on Wednesday. “Renato Dulbecco moved to La Jolla when Jonas Salk enticed the M.D. and scientist to help launch the Salk Institute. UC San Diego was in its infancy then, but in 1977 the Nobel laureate began serving on the UC San Diego School of Medicine faculty,” UC San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox said. “Renato will be missed – he was one of our region’s brilliant minds, laying groundwork in the sciences and technology fields.”

California health insurers to raise average rates 8% to 14%, Los Angeles Times

The proposed premium hikes for hundreds of thousands of California consumers with individual coverage would outpace the cost of overall medical care, which has risen just 3.6 percent in the last year. The article quotes Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Brain Series 2: Generalized defects in cognition: Alzheimer’s disease (video), Charlie Rose Show

Bruce Miller, director of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, participated in a roundtable discussion on Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia on the Charlie Rose Show. The episode, the fourth in Rose’s Brain Series 2, included Nobel laureate Eric Kandel of Columbia University, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, formerly of UCSF and now of Rockefeller University, and Alison Goate and David Holtzman of Washington University in St. Louis.

Q&A: Why your doctor may be wearing a mask, The Sacramento Bee

Don’t be surprised if, the next time you see your doctor, her medical advice to you sounds a little muffled. The health officers of Sacramento and Yolo counties last summer issued a new rule that health care workers who don’t receive a flu vaccine must wear a protective mask at work, all flu season long. All four major health care systems in the region – Sutter, Kaiser Permanente, Mercy and the UC Davis Medical Center – are enforcing the rule. Nationwide, 64 percent of health care workers got the shot last flu season. The rates are much higher at hospitals, such as UC Davis, that require vaccination for their employees (except individuals who opt out for medical reasons). Dr. Christian Sandrock, health officer of Yolo County and associate professor of medicine at UC Davis, explains the change.

Chinese firm, UC Davis sign genomics lab deal, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis signed a “master agreement” Friday with a Chinese firm to establish a major genomics lab on the university’s Sacramento medical campus. The agreement further cements the relationship between the university and BGI, a world-renowned genomics firm from Shenzhen, China. The two organizations signed interim agreements last summer in China and October in Sacramento.

Colic may be migraine precursor, UCSF team says, San Francisco Chronicle

Colic, it turns out, may be closely connected to migraines, say researchers at UCSF. A study released this week found that moms who suffer migraines are 2 1/2 times more likely to have colicky infants than those who don’t.

S.F. elementary schools falling short on exercise, San Francisco Chronicle

Many of San Francisco’s public elementary schools aren’t scheduling as much time as they should for student exercise, according to a new UCSF study to be announced today.

Skin cancer drug hopes raised by study, BBC News

This article reports on a UCLA study finding that a newly approved drug for metastatic melanoma nearly doubles the median survival time for patients with a common genetic mutation. UCLA Dr. Antoni Ribas, professor of hematology–oncology and a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher, was co-principal investigator.

Brain ‘hyperconnectivity’ linked to depression, USA Today

People with depression appear to have hyperactive brain activity, says a UCLA study published online Tuesday that offers new insights into the brain dysfunction that causes depression.

UCD researchers close to developing vaccine for salmonella (video), CBS 5

Researchers at UC Davis are getting close to a vaccine to prevent a food borne illness that can sometimes kill.  Scientists at the UC Davis Center for Comparative Medicine are developing a vaccine against salmonella, the increasingly antibiotic-resistant bacteria that kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide each year.

Tammerlin Drummond: UC Berkeley institute studies science of gratitude, The Oakland Tribune

The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley has just launched an intriguing $5.9 million project to advance the scientific study of gratitude. In the first phase, the institute is awarding $3 million in grants for research into the science and practice of gratitude. It’s a collaboration with UC Davis and funded in part by the John Templeton Foundation. Fellows will be selected in July.

Editorial: The dynamo who leads UC Merced, Merced Sun-Star

This editorial, which praises UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland, references the UC Merced San Joaquin Valley PRIME medical education program.

Op-ed: A contraception game-changer, Los Angeles Times

Malcolm Potts, an obstetrician and reproductive scientist and a professor at UC Berkeley, writes that in the battle over contraception, it’s time for the Roman Catholic Church to acknowledge the pill’s benefits. He calls for the U.S. to allow over-the-counter sales of the pill.



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In the media: Week of Feb. 12

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Commentary: Medical research funding threatened, San Francisco Chronicle

Claire Pomeroy, UC Davis vice chancellor for human health sciences and medical school dean, writes that legislative paralysis within Congress threatens the work of UC Davis and other research centers across the country.

Commentary: Medical research is key to our nation’s health, San Diego Union-Tribune

David Brenner, UC San Diego vice chancellor for health sciences and medical school dean, and Bess Marcus, UC San Diego professor and chair of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, write about the importance of National Institutes of Health funding.

Editorial: UCLA Medical Center loses its Blue Shield, Los Angeles Times

An editorial on the contract dispute between Blue Shield and UCLA/UC Health. UC health officials say they’ve gotten the message; that’s why they created the Center for Health Quality and Innovation in October 2010 to find ways to deliver more effective healthcare services and to control costs. The university system and Blue Shield also have agreed on a new approach at UC San Francisco Medical Center that shares the financial risk of providing care for certain policyholders, holding cost increases at or below the rate of inflation. The question is how to bring that focus on efficiency and value to UCLA and the rest of the UC system. Here’s hoping the two sides find an answer soon.

UCLA School of Public Health gets $50-million gift, Los Angeles Times

Jonathan Fielding works 70-hour weeks in a relatively obscure and overwhelming job: He is Los Angeles County’s top public health doctor. Friends and colleagues have long praised his professional contributions to the field. But to their surprise, Fielding and his wife are now making another huge contribution: $50 million to the UCLA School of Public Health.

UCLA program brings Latino doctors to underserved areas (audio), KPCC

As California’s Latino population grows, so too does the need for doctors who speak fluent Spanish and who understand the Latino culture. Yet proportionately, few Latinos graduate from medical schools in California, and that’s created a void that threatens care to Spanish-speaking populations. But UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine has a solution in its novel International Medical Graduate’s (IMG) program.

Afghan war vet speaks out (video), CNN

This segment reports on Joey Paulk, a soldier who was treated by UCLA’s Operation Mend, which offers free reconstructive surgery to military personnel who are disfigured during service. Paulk and Dr. Timothy Miller, professor of plastic surgery and surgical director of Operation Mend, are interviewed.

UC Davis Cancer Center pinpoints cancer therapies, The Sacramento Bee

Oncologist David Gandara is providing specialized treatment at UC Davis Cancer Center, which is at the forefront of what many consider the future of cancer care, with treatment designed specifically for each patient. It is the lead institution in a pioneering program that works with genetically designed mice to test drugs individually for each patient.

At UCSF, chancellor isn’t worried about industry ties, The Wall Street Journal

Many universities are wringing their hands over the increasing coziness of medical schools and their corporate partners. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, chancellor at the University of California, San Francisco, has no such qualms. As head of the only UC campus dedicated exclusively to graduate programs in health and biomedical sciences, Desmond-Hellmann has advocated getting closer with the industry in order to spark new ideas, fund research, access high-tech equipment and speed medical advances to patients.

UCSF boss blows up the boxes, San Francisco Business Times

When UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann started her Twitter account last month, she had two goals: do her own micro-blogging and never tweet about eating a tuna fish sandwich for lunch.

Retiring UCSF pharmacy dean leaves legacy of innovation, San Francisco Business Times

A feature on the retiring UCSF pharmacy dean, Mary Anne Koda-Kimble.

UC Merced plans to grow, Merced Sun-Star

Well past the need to boost enrollment, the campus faces expansion challenges. The article mentions that UC Merced will admit five or six more students in its San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education for this fall. The pioneers of PRIME — five students from Modesto, Fresno, Fowler, Salinas and Bakersfield — started the program last fall. The increase in enrollment for the PRIME will be made possible with a grant by United Health, Leland said. Officials will be able to increase enrollment for the next five years.

Keyota Cole, mother, risks life to have baby while battling heart disease (video), The Huffington Post

This piece reports on how UCLA Health System cardiac specialists guided a mother with a congenital heart defect through a high-risk birth and performed lifesaving open-heart surgery on her newborn.

Speaking of sweethearts, San Diego Union-Tribune

As you munch your way through yesterday’s goodies (it was Valentine’s Day, in case you somehow didn’t notice), keep in mind that dark chocolate is not just for sweethearts. It’s also pretty sweet for good hearts. In recent years, a number of studies have found that moderate consumption of dark chocolate can confer measurable cardiovascular benefits. More specifically, researchers at UC San Diego Health System report that a daily dose of dark chocolate appears to help protect the heart during a heart attack. We asked Dr. Francisco Villarreal, a physician-researcher in the division of cardiology at UC San Diego, to explain.

Lance Armstrong campaigns for California cigarette tax measure, Los Angeles Times

Proposition 29, if passed, would increase taxes on a pack of cigarettes by $1, and the money would be distributed for the benefit of cancer research and anti-smoking programs by a panel that would include the chancellors of UC campuses at Berkeley, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz.

Tony Gwynn having mouth surgery (video), ESPN

Tony Gwynn, the Hall of Fame outfielder who 18 months ago blamed smokeless tobacco for a malignant growth inside his right cheek, was in his 13th h During the operation, which is being performed at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California San Diego, doctors will conduct further biopsies of Gywnn’s parotid gland, Alicia Gwynn said. She said if the cancer is localized, Gwynn should be able to return as San Diego State’s baseball coach in about a month.our of surgery Tuesday evening to remove a new cancerous tumor in the same spot.

Oxytocin makes the romantic heart tick, San Diego Union-Tribune

In recent years, much research has focused upon how oxytocin affects matters of the heart. Dr. Kai MacDonald, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, is looking at how oxytocin might apply to the heartsick. A Q&A with MacDonald.

A reality check on the benefits of chocolate, KOMO News

For weeks now, I’ve been hearing news stories about the wonders of chocolate. Now that Valentine’s Day is over, it’s time for a little reality check. The UC Berkeley Wellness Letter examined the research. Yes, there are studies that show chocolate is good for you. But as Dr. John Swartzberg explains, those are only “observational” studies.

Is adding fiber to food really good for your health? (audio), NPR Morning Edition

I’m standing in the cereal aisle with three items in my basket: a box of sugary kids’ cereal, some yogurt and a bottle of apple juice. According to their labels, all three of these foods are good sources of fiber, which, if you think about it, may say as much about us (the shoppers) as it does about the food we buy. “We’re looking for elements within things,” says John Swartzberg, a professor of public health at University of California, Berkeley. “Almost a mystical kind of thinking.”

Patient satisfaction is costly but maybe not so healthy (video), Los Angeles Times

Four family medicine doctors at UC Davis have found that a satisfied patient is not necessarily a healthier patient. Following 51,946 Americans between 2000 and 2007, the findings showed that those who were most satisfied with their healthcare were on more medication, made more doctor’s office visits and more likely to have stayed in the hospital despite overall better physical and mental health. And the highly satisfied were still more likely to die in a few years after taking the survey than those who were least satisfied.

Cash payments help cut HIV infection rate in young women, study finds, The Guardian

A team of researchers from the World Bank, UC San Diego and George Washington University in the U.S. carried out a randomised controlled trial in Malawi to find out whether monthly payments to schoolgirls and their families would help change the girls’ behaviour and safeguard their health. UC Berkeley adjunct public health professor Nancy Padian co-authored a commentary in the Lancet about research that found cash payments can help young women avoid HIV infection.

Using mobile phones & social networks to fight noncommunicable diseases, Internet Evolution

With a pharmacy-based program for low- to middle-income pregnant women suffering diabetes in Mexico, a team of business students from UC Berkeley and the Universidad Ramon Llull in Barcelona won a global competition for innovative ways of managing the toll of noncommunicable diseases.

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In the media: Week of Feb. 5

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Medical center commits to giving Oakland father a kidney transplant, Contra Costa Times

UC San Francisco Medical Center said Thursday that it is committed to providing an illegal immigrant from Oakland the kidney transplant he needs to live. The announcement followed the nationwide response to a story in this newspaper last week about the man’s plight.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Chronicle

Study: Uninsured face similar debt as Medi-Cal beneficiaries, California Healthline

More Californians are borrowing money to pay for health care services — and two-thirds of them have medical insurance, according to a new study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

UCSF study: Boosting cigarette tax could bolster California economy by $2 billion, San Francisco Business Times

A June 5 ballot initiative designed to boost the tax on cigarettes by $1 a pack could create 12,000 new permanent jobs right away and add nearly $2 billion in economic activity in the Golden State annually, according to a new study by UC San Francisco.

The Athena Breast Health Network (audio), KQED Forum

The Athena Breast Health Network is launching a series of face-to-face forums where patients, breast cancer experts and community members can exchange direct experience and research in breast health care. The first forum will examine breast cancer risk assessment and prevention – and the results will be fed back into the UC-based Athena Network of 150,000 women to improve survival and reduce suffering from breast cancer. Guests include UCLA’s Arash Naeim and UCSF’s Laura Esserman.

Expert: Calif. needs state trauma system, UPI

The chief of trauma for the University of California, San Diego, Health System says the state needs a statewide trauma system. Dr. Raul Coimbra said during a statewide trauma and resuscitation conference in San Diego that cutting-edge technology and the latest trends in trauma care could be incorporated into a statewide system.

Nurses flex their political muscle in Sacramento and across California, The Sacramento Bee

This article about nursing quotes Ken Jacobs, chairman of the UC Berkeley Labor Center, and Joanne Spetz, a professor at the Center for the Health Professions at UCSF.

Study finds jolt to the brain boosts memory, Los Angeles Times

This story reports on a UCLA study that was the first to improve human memory by electrically stimulating a key area in the brain as it learns to navigate a new environment.

My Turn: Patti Davis on the chains that break, the links that form in Alzheimer’s, Los Angeles Times

An op-ed by Patti Davis, daughter of former President Ronald Reagan, highlighting a new support group she founded for patients and families at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Kaweah Delta District Hospital to get UC residency program, Visalia Times-Delta

Tulare County’s first graduate medical program is a sure thing now that Kaweah Delta Healthcare Center has been given initial three-year accreditation for one of its five proposed programs, the family residency medicine program. The district has been working for more than two years to get a program started in affiliation with UC Irvine.

Liver tumor removal (video), The Doctors

Transplant surgeon at UC San Diego Dr. Alan Hemming performed ex-vivo liver resection surgery, an extensive procedure that involves removing the liver from the body, on Clerisa, who had a tumor on her liver. While she is still recovering, Clerisa joins the show by phone from her hospital bed in San Diego to share an update, and Hemming explains how the risky procedure is performed.

Op-ed: New beach water rules: Enough to make you sick, Los Angeles Times

Mark Gold, associate director of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, write about beach water rules.

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In the media: Week of Jan. 29

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

For soldier disfigured in war, a way to return to the world (video), The New York Times

A page one feature on a program at UCLA Medical Center called Operation Mend that provides cosmetic surgery for severely burned veterans at no cost.

UCSD finalizes Nevada cancer center purchase, San Diego Union-Tribune

Sale of the bankrupt Nevada Cancer Institute to UC San Diego was finalized Tuesday, university officials announced. The $18 million purchase creates a first for the University of California. UC San Diego is alone among the system’s five academic medical centers in buying clinical property outside California. But the deal does not represent a trend, “not as far as purchasing out-of-state real estate,” said Dr. John D. Stobo, senior vice president for health sciences for the University of California. “This is a one-off.”

UCSF scientists declare war on sugar in food, San Francisco Chronicle

Like alcohol and tobacco, sugar is a toxic, addictive substance that should be highly regulated with taxes, laws on where and to whom it can be advertised, and even age-restricted sales, says a team of UCSF scientists.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, Time, ABC News

UCD stem cell research battles Huntington’s disease, The Sacramento Bee

A team of researchers at UC Davis has pioneered a technique to use stem cells to smother the genetic problem that causes Huntington’s disease. The findings, due in the journal Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, could pave the way for a treatment that stops the disease’s devastating progression.

Dr. Richard Olney dies: expert on, victim of ALS, San Francisco Chronicle

In 1939, when Lou Gehrig had to say farewell to baseball at Yankee Stadium because of a mysterious neurological disease, he called it nothing more than “a bad break.” On Friday, Dr. Richard K. Olney and his family shared some pizza for lunch at home in Marin. Then he had to say farewell. Another case of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Another “bad break.” Dr. Olney, 64, founder of a UCSF clinic devoted to the study of Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, died later that day of the same disease that afflicted his patients.

See additional coverage: The New York Times

Intellectual pursuits may help prevent Alzheimer’s, Boston Globe

Reading, playing a variety of games, and engaging in other intellectual pursuits on a daily basis over the course of a lifetime could help prevent the formation of amyloid plaques that gunk up the brain and are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. But we may need to get our brains engaged early in life – years or decades before we start to forget things – to reap the most benefits. “It was fascinating to see that no one who engaged in high levels of cognitive activity had high levels of these plaques,’’ said study leader Susan Landau, a research scientist at the University of California-Berkeley’s Neuroscience Institute.

UC Merced students tap telehealth tools to treat diabetes, California Healthline

Business students at UC Merced are launching an ambitious telehealth project to help underserved women in the Central Valley manage their gestational diabetes without having to make multiple doctor visits. Through the project, patients will be able to send results of their blood sugar tests electronically to their health care providers.

Would ‘mission-focused medicine’ make an impact in the Valley?, Vida en el Valle

Could San Joaquín Valley health clinics and hospitals lure more doctors to the region if they focused more on “mission-based medicine?” I suspect that pipeline programs like the high school Doctors Academy, medical school programs — like the new UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education — that train doctors to address the region’s unique medical needs, and the proposed medical school at UC Merced, will more effectively fill the critical doctor and specialist shortage in the region, over the long term.

Gaining on prostate cancer, The Wall Street Journal

This article reports on two new drugs anticipating FDA approval. One compound, MDV3100, was developed at UCLA by Dr. Charles Sawyers, now at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and Michael Jung, a researcher at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center.

Genentech drug to fight common skin cancer gets OK, San Francisco Chronicle

Federal regulators Monday approved the first drug for people with advanced forms of basal cell carcinoma, the most common kind of skin cancer, as well as the most common cancer in general in the United States. The drug, made by South San Francisco’s Genentech, a subsidiary of the Swiss drug giant Roche, is designed for patients whose basal cell cancer has spread either locally or to other parts of the body. More than 100 patients worldwide were involved in the trial, which was conducted at about 40 centers around the world including UCSF Medical Center and Stanford University Medical Center.

Berkeley scientists reveal promising speech gains, San Francisco Chronicle

In experiments whose results may one day provide synthetic speech to people who have lost the ability to speak, UC Berkeley scientists have taught computers to read and reproduce the electrical signals in the brain produced by the sound of the human voice.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times

Heart transplant teen thanks blood donors, The Orange County Register

Donovan Ho, 17, felt his heart beat a little faster as he stood at a microphone in front of a room full of strangers, wearing black skinny jeans and an untucked shirt and tie. Two years ago, Donovan was lying in a UCLA hospital bed waiting for a heart to become available for transplant. What sustained him were a series of smaller donations – in all, 72 units of blood, plasma and platelets – that he received during his four-month stay. Usually, the process is anonymous. Donors give and have no idea who receives. Recipients, if they are conscious, see nothing but a bag of blood dripping from an IV pole. But Friday, Donovan and his family, who live in Orange, were given the opportunity to meet and thank 11 of his donors.

Baby boomer brain power (video), ABC News

Dr. Gary Small, UCLA’s Parlow–Solomon Professor on Aging, professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute and director of the UCLA Longevity Center, is interviewed about brain function during middle age and how to keep our cognitive skills sharp as we get older.

Some call healthy L.A. school lunches inedible (video), CBS News

New federal guidelines aimed at making school lunches more nutritious were announced this past week. It may seem like a welcome trend, but in the Los Angeles school district, many students are calling healthier inedible. CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports that everything inside one L.A. school cafeteria may be nutritious, but few students have anything good to say about L.A.’s health lunch menus. UCLA nutritionist Wendy Slusser is interviewed.

No kidney transplant for dying dad who is illegal immigrant, Contra Costa Times

Without a new kidney, Jesus Navarro will die. The Oakland man has a willing donor and private insurance to pay for the transplant. But he faces what may be an insurmountable hurdle in the race to save his life: He is an illegal immigrant. Administrators at UC San Francisco Medical Center are refusing to transplant a kidney from Navarro’s wife, saying there is no guarantee he will receive adequate follow-up care, given his uncertain status. Their decision is a stark illustration of the tension between health care and immigration policies in the state and underscores the difficult role medical professionals play in trying to save the lives of undocumented residents. Though no data are available, anecdotal evidence suggests clinics sometimes perform organ transplants on illegal immigrants, especially when the patients are young. In one high-profile case, UCLA Medical Center gave an undocumented woman three liver transplants before she turned 21. See follow-up story.

Lifelens malaria app wins Microsoft ‘Imagine Cup’ grant, CNet News

UC Davis student Wilson To is part of Team Lifelens, one of four teams around the world to win a $75,000 Imagine Cup grant.


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