November 5, 2011.
A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:
Tom Jackiewicz will leave UC San Diego Health System on Dec. 1 after serving as its chief executive for two years, presiding over major expansion plans for the university’s medical facilities and the opening of a $227 million cardiovascular center last summer. Jackiewicz, 53, is headed for the University of Southern California, where he will start on Jan. 1 as senior vice president and chief executive for USC Health.
Brenda Charett Jensen, a Modesto woman whose historic larynx transplant at UC Davis Medical Center grabbed headlines around the world earlier this year, is featured on this daytime television program. View an additional clip here.
The two original members of the British rock band The Who have launched a program for teens and young adults with cancer. Roger Daltrey and Peter Townshend pledged Friday to raise money to renovate part of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center pediatric floor into a separate space for patients ages 15 to 25.
See additional coverage: Fox News (video), CBS Los Angeles (video), KPCC
Medical Center has a big footprint in Sacramento. Yet in some corners of City Hall and the business community, there is a belief that it could be an even bigger force in creating jobs and serving the community. Two developments in recent days are reason for optimism. On Monday, UC Davis announced a significant partnership with one of the world’s leading genetic research labs. The university and BGI,a Chinese research institute, will build a 10,000-square-foot DNA sequencing facility at the School of Medicine. Two days after the BGI announcement, City Councilman Jay Schenirer announced a wide-ranging initiative that counts on volunteers and cooperation from UC Davis Medical Center and other hospitals. Focused on the nearby Oak Park neighborhood, it’s called WayUp Sacramento and includes education, medical screenings, community gardens, homebuying assistance and employment.
A synthetic biology breakthrough, achieved at laboratories in Northern California, could expand access to malaria treatment around the globe beginning in 2012. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and the biotech start-up Amyris developed a process to manufacture artemisinin, a crucial ingredient in first-line malaria drugs that until now had to be extracted from a natural crop called sweet wormwood.
A Q&A with UC Irvine stem-cell researcher Hans Keirstead, who is pushing ahead to develop new treatments.
A new report from the National Research Council is calling for a “new taxonomy” that would define diseases more precisely by their underlying molecular causes rather than their traditional physical signs and symptoms. Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, co-chair of the committee and chancellor of UC San Francisco, believes the new definitions and molecular-level view of disease will lead not only to more effective care but to new research, more collaboration and the development of innovative drugs.
The UCLA Health System is warning thousands of patients that their personal information was stolen and they are at risk of possible identity theft, officials said in a statement released Friday. Officials don’t believe the information has been accessed or misused but are referring patients to a data security company if their name and credit are affected. Information from 16,288 patients was taken from the home of a physician whose house was burglarized Sept. 6, according to the UCLA Health System.
A feature on UC Santa Barbara psychology professor Michael Gazzaniga, author of a new book, “Who’s in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain.”
The Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute has joined a collaboration with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and UC San Diego to move promising drug research through the toughest phase of preclinical development and into early human trials. The move, which will be announced today (Nov. 4), expands participation in the newly established Center for Therapeutic Innovation at Pfizer’s campus in La Jolla. Scientists from Sanford-Burnham and UCSD will work with university research physicians and Pfizer scientists on therapies to treat brain diseases, cancer, diabetes, inflammation, HIV and pain.
If you wanted to feel as smart as a university president, Lafayette Library was the place to be Tuesday night. That’s where UC President Mark Yudof addressed the Commonwealth Club, casting a forward look to “The Fate of Higher Education.” Yudof contends that a public research university system such as UC provides broad “benefits that flow to all.” It powers economic growth, new product lines, health care advances, scientific discoveries, more jobs and taxes.
A Sacramento Superior Court jury awarded $7.6 million to an Elk Grove woman on a finding that UC Davis Medical Center personnel misread an MRI exam and that ensuing complications left her paraplegic.
Harbor- UCLA Medical Center has failed to keep its operating rooms clean and safe and to protect its patients from possible infection, according to federal inspection reports recently released to The Times.
As nationwide drug shortages grow more acute, Bay Area hospitals and clinics are struggling to maintain supplies of medications needed to treat cancer and perform surgeries. Alameda County Medical Center, which includes Highland Hospital in Oakland, has seen shortages of seven or eight chemotherapy drugs this year. “We’ve had to borrow drugs from UCSF, from hospitals in Walnut Creek. We’ve even had to call UC Davis, San Jose, anyone who is willing to let us borrow drugs,” said Priya Patel, a clinical pharmacy specialist at Highland Hospital. In the first six months of 2011, UCSF Medical Center borrowed from or lent drugs to other Bay Area hospitals 136 times.
A UC Riverside student recently diagnosed with tuberculosis was in isolation Wednesday, with campus officials offering TB screenings for anyone concerned about exposure to the respiratory disease.
While legislators in Washington, D.C., haggle over the health care impacts of reducing the national debt and California health care providers absorb a 10% cut in Medi-Cal payments, physicians continue to be scarce — and so do ideas for solving the physician shortage. Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program. The article mentions that statewide budget cuts have made financial aid more difficult at the state’s nine medical schools and have put two new medical schools on hold. A proposed medical school at UC Riverside – in the heart of the Inland Empire, where primary care physicians are particularly scarce – is in limbo.
Amid construction at UCSF’s Medical Center at Mission Bay, UCSF CEO Mark Laret recalled that 10 years ago, his team possessed the vision to create a new hospital complex but weren’t certain they had the will. “I finally believed we’d achieve our goal when Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff told me, ‘People overestimate what they can accomplish in one year. But they underestimate what they can accomplish in 10 years.’ “
DPR Construction has found a cure for the lagging economy in UC San Francisco’s $1.5 billion Mission Bay Medical Center.
The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved construction of a temporary ground-level helipad in La Jolla that will service the new UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center. The helipad will be located on university-owned property near Regents Road and Eastgate Mall, receiving three or four transfers of patients per week from hospitals in Imperial County, with which UCSD has contracts, according to city staff. Trauma patients will still be flown to UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest.
A partnership between UCLA Health System, Brooke Army Medical Center and VA-Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System is helping servicemen and women wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus far, 52 combat veterans have been treated at UCLA.
The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has updated its report on secondhand smoke after a methodology error skewed researchers’ findings.
UC students — including some at UC Merced — are helping rebuild Haiti. UC Haiti Initiative is an organization formed of students, faculty, staff and alumni at all the UC campuses, said Ariana Ruiz, the UC Merced chapter director. The organization has a bilateral partnership with the Universite d’Etat d’Haiti, or State University of Haiti, she said. Students at each campus run their own projects in the areas of health, engineering, economy, law and social justice. “We develop projects that can potentially be developed and implemented in Haiti,” Ruiz said, who is a third-year biology major.
A new potential drug that’s being developed in Merced County could become another weapon in the global fight against HIV transmission. UC Merced professor Patricia “Patti” LiWang has created an inhibitor using a combination of two drugs to help prevent the virus from being transmitted. Linking the two drugs, LiWang says, makes the “entry inhibitor” extremely potent.
A UC Davis epidemiologist led an analysis of autism diagnoses in California that did not find autism clustered preferentially around areas rich in IT industry, but rather around older parents and higher education. The article quotes Irva Hertz-Picciotto of UC Davis and Bryna Siegel of UC San Francisco.
UC Davis professors Sanjay Joshi and Anthony Wexler have developed a new technology that enables paralyzed patients to connect facial-muscle signals via electrodes to a cell phone and converter, which allows them to run external devices. Joshi says that for some paralyzed individuals, the technology “could provide independence.”
Ekso Bionics is giving people with spinal cord injuries something that medical intervention and surgeries can’t — the ability to walk. Hikers, military pilots and spinal cord patients have all benefited from Ekso Bionics’ weight-bearing frame, which supplements a person’s bone structure. Engineers at the Robotics and Engineering Lab at UC Berkeley first built the mechanical exoskeleton in 2005.
Embarrassment is often experienced as a negative emotion, most often evoked after committing a social faux pas. But a new UC Berkeley study published online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finds that people who display embarrassment at life’s missteps have reason to appreciate their inherent bashfulness.
This piece on gratitude cites studies by Robert Emmons of UC Davis.
Patient 1 wanted to kill someone. Normally even-tempered, the 63-year-old man found himself awaking with an uncontrolled anger and the desire to smash things. His violent impulses started after he began taking the cholesterol-lowering statin Lipitor and they vanished within two days of quitting the drug. Patient 2 developed a short fuse after he started on Zocar, another popular statin. The 59-year-old felt an impulse to kill his wife, and once tried, unsuccessfully, to do so. His violent tendencies subsided within a few weeks of stopping Zocar. Physician Beatrice Golomb at the University of California-San Diego has collected thousands of anecdotes like these through her website, Statineffects.com, and she’s convinced that these drugs—taken by one in four Americans over the age of 45—can provoke sever irritability and violence among a tiny subset of users.
Organ transplant recipients are twice as likely as the average American to get cancer, in large part because they must suppress their immune system to avoid organ rejection and that leaves them more vulnerable to infections that can cause cancer, according to a large national study. The article quotes Dr. Ryutaro Hirose, an associate professor of surgery and transplantation at UCSF who was not involved in the study.
The state agency charged with regulating toxic substances has taken another crack at writing a “green chemistry” regulation intended to provide consumers with information about harmful chemicals in products, after its first draft was criticized as too weak. The new proposal includes a much larger list of so-called chemicals of concern, expands who would be responsible for complying with the new regulation, and sets a higher bar for products that include even traces of potentially harmful chemicals such as lead and bisphenol A. One of the most vocal critics of the previous proposal, UC Berkeley scientist Michael Wilson, said Monday that the new regulation appears sound and scientifically based.
A Q&A with UC Berkeley School of Public Health professor Malcolm Potts.
C. Cindy Fan, UCLA associate dean of social sciences and professor of geography, writes an op-ed on the subject of whether China is facing a health care crisis.
Upcoming holiday parties and dinners are a great time to catch up with friends and family. But for millions, it’s a time of frustration instead of celebration, because they can’t understand what’s being said. One of the first places people notice that there’s something wrong with their hearing is at social events. Background noises make it difficult for people to understand what’s being said even though they hear the words. “Primarily, it’s wear and tear and exposure to noise over a lifetime that makes people lose their hearing,” said Dr. Jeffery Harris, an otolaryngologist at the University of California San Diego.
This story about the risks and benefits of alcohol consumption highlights a study by UC Davis brewing scientist Charles Bamforth showing that beer might have nutritional properties that could strengthen bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other diseases.
A UC Davis study has found that the fast-food industry attracts the most customers from middle-income areas, locating restaurants in their neighborhoods and offering convenience to budget-conscious parents. Lead author J. Paul Leigh, professor of public health sciences at UC Davis, says there is a correlation between obesity and lower income, but these new results show that restaurant choice is not the sole cause.
New research from UC Berkeley sheds light on how our bodies respond to food, making room for more when it is available and shrinking the gut when food is scarce. Researchers investigated how stem cells in the gut of the fruit fly respond when different amounts of food are present. They found that when food is abundant, stem cells in the gut divide more rapidly, increasing the size of the gut as long as food continues to be available. When food is removed, the cells stop dividing and the gut shrinks down again.