April 21, 2012.
A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:
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.
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 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
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.
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.
Scripps Green Hospital and UC San Diego Medical Center have been named among the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by Thomson Reuters.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.