CATEGORY: In the media

In the media: Week of July 10

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Regents approve UC tuition hike, Los Angeles Times

The University of California regents on Thursday raised tuition 9.6% for the fall, a controversial second increase that students decried as too large and too late for a school year that is just weeks away. Still, the regents granted a very large pay increase to Mark Laret, chief executive officer of UC San Francisco’s medical center, to counter an out-of-state recruitment offer.

See additional coverage: The Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle

UC allots $3.4M in grants for patient care, Sacramento Business Journal

The University of California’s new Center for Health Quality and Innovation has awarded nine grants totaling $3.4 million to UC faculty and staff to improve patient care throughout California. Read UC press release.

See additional coverage: California Healthline

Training doctors as a shortage looms, San Diego Union-Tribune

Experts say the country faces a looming shortage as baby boomer doctors age, with nearly a third of physicians expected to retire in the next decade. Federal health-care reforms will hasten the shortage as millions of people get health insurance and regular medical care for the first time. At the same time, too few are being trained as doctors. While medical schools are slowly expanding, residency training programs face limited expansion because their revenue comes in large part from Medicare, which capped much of its funding at 1996 levels. The shortage is expected to be acute for doctors in primary care. All of that served as a backdrop in San Diego this summer, as 127 students graduated from the UCSD School of Medicine as doctors last month and scattered to join residency programs across the country. Meanwhile, dozens of newly minted M.D.s started residency programs at UCSD Medical Center and other San Diego hospitals.

The Think Tank: How can California solve family physician shortage?, California Healthline

With a shortage of primary care physicians, lack of resources to educate new ones and low Medi-Cal reimbursement rates discouraging physicians from treating low-income patients, California’s health care system is facing a scarcity of physicians on the eve of a major expansion. California has nine medical schools, with a 10th and 11th in the planning stages. A proposed medical school at UC Riverside is caught in a predicament: The school did not receive preliminary accreditation partly because the national accreditation panel had concerns the school would not get state funding. Another medical school — still early in the planning stages — is proposed at UC Merced. Think Tank contributors include Catherine Dower of UC San Francisco and G. Richard Olds, dean of the UC Riverside School of Medicine.

Medical program at UC Merced right on track, Merced Sun-Star

Even though the opening for UC Riverside’s Medical School was pushed back a year, UC Merced’s medical program is on schedule. The UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (PRIME) will start this fall, and its first cohort of students will be on campus and throughout the community next week. The plan was to select six students. They will be introduced Monday through Wednesday to the community and the media in Merced and Fresno, said Fred Meyers, executive associate dean of UC Davis School of Medicine and executive director of Medical Education and Academic Planning for UC Merced.

Charles R. Drew University removed from academic probation, Los Angeles Times

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science was removed from academic probation by its accrediting agency this week, the latest indication the South Los Angeles medical school is recovering from recent financial woes. University leaders cite improvements made during the last year, including a new governing board, new strategic plan for growth and $10 million in funding from the University of California.

When fatty feasts are driven by automatic pilot, The New York Times

“Bet you can’t eat just one” (as the old potato-chip commercials had it) is, of course, a bet most of us end up losing. But why? Is it simple lack of willpower that makes fatty snacks irresistible, or are deeper biological forces at work? Some intriguing new research suggests the latter. Scientists in California and Italy reported last week that in rats given fatty foods, the body immediately began to release natural marijuanalike chemicals in the gut that kept them craving more. UC Irvine study author Daniele Piomelli is quoted.

Risks: Perhaps July’s reputation is justified, The New York Times

Until recently there was little proof that medical errors spike in the summer when new medical trainees start working at teaching hospitals — a phenomenon known as the “July effect.” But a new review has found evidence that death rates do increase in July, and that many patients stay in the hospital longer than in other months. The paper, published Tuesday in Annals of Internal Medicine, is believed to be the first systematic review of the data from previous studies. The article quotes UC San Francisco’s John Q. Young, the paper’s lead author.

See additional coverage: The Boston Globe, Time, The Wall Street Journal

New for aspiring doctors, the people skills test, The New York Times

Doctors save lives, but they can sometimes be insufferable know-it-alls who bully nurses and do not listen to patients. Medical schools have traditionally done little to screen out such flawed applicants or to train them to behave better, but that is changing. At least eight medical schools in the United States — including those at Stanford, UCLA and the University of Cincinnati — and 13 in Canada are using the multiple mini interview, or M.M.I.

Telome Health of Menlo Park tests age of DNA, San Francisco Chronicle

A feature on Telome Health Inc., founded by Cal Harley and UCSF Nobel laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, along with CEO Dan Hunt, UCSF social psychologist Elissa Epel and UCSF biologist Jue Lin. The Menlo Park company provides telomere analyses for $199, making it the first to offer affordable, accessible telomere testing for the public. Telomeres, which Blackburn discovered, are the tiny protective caps on the ends of DNA.

Gates invests more money in innovative medicine, The Associated Press

Using microwaves to kill malaria parasites and developing a way to give fetuses immunity to HIV are among the dozen ideas the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation thinks are worth more research dollars, after giving more than 500 scientists seed money to take an initial look at some far-out concepts. A dozen scientists or teams of researchers will each get an additional $1 million over five years to take their ideas to the next level and see if they have the potential to save lives, the foundation announced Wednesday. Those funded feature two UCSF researchers, including Mike McCune, who is quoted in the article.

QB3 spotlights University of California science, ‘American Idol’-style, San Francisco Business Times

They aren’t exactly Simon Cowell or Randy Jackson, but a team of biotech pioneers is helping QB3 raise its scientific profile with an “American Idol”-like approach.

Big NIH grants show Bay Area still at center of HIV fight, San Francisco Business Times

The Bay Area continues to innovate at the center of the fight against HIV, winning a couple of major National Institutes of Health grants aimed at HIV reservoirs. Dr. Steven Deeks and Dr. Mike McCune of UC San Francisco will work with Rafick-Pierre Sekaly of the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida to define the nature and location of reservoirs — cells where HIV may be undetectable for years — and how those reservoirs are created and maintained. What’s more, researchers will develop and test targeted treatments that eliminate HIV reservoirs without broadly activating the immune system, which could activate the virus. The project, which includes Merck Research Labs and teams from UC Davis and other sites, could receive more than $20 million, including $4.2 million in the first year.

Drug makers refill parched pipelines, The Wall Street Journal

The pharmaceutical industry, after years of research flops that led some to write its obituary, shows signs it is coming back to life. Hopes of spurring immune-system attacks on cancer had frustrated researchers. But in the 1990s, a scientist then at UC Berkeley, made a discovery: A certain molecule was serving as a kind of traffic cop, telling the immune system’s attack cells when they should launch an assault and when they should hold off. The scientist, James Allison, couldn’t interest big pharmaceutical companies in exploring this. At that time, they saw themselves as competing against academic scientists. Only small biotechs were interested. Eventually, Dr. Allison joined with one called Medarex Inc. in Princeton, N.J., to see if they could release the molecular brakes on the immune system and let it attack a tumor. Their work caught the attention of Bristol-Myers. In 2004, Bristol-Myers formed a partnership with Medarex.

Clue to what makes Lyme bacteria tick, The Wall Street Journal

A UC Davis research study shows that the Lyme bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, migrates to the lymph nodes where it triggers an immune response that is strong, but not strong enough to clear the infection. By letting the organism evade an effective immune response, it can cause repeat infections. Lyme disease is a growing public health concern.

Small physician practices not using all features of EHRs, survey finds, IHealthBeat

Few surveyed small and midsize physician practices use electronic health record system functions that are seen as essential components of the patient-centered medical home model of care, according to a Health Affairs study, InformationWeek reports. Steven Shortell — a co-author of the study, and dean of the School of Public Health and professor of health policy and management at UC Berkeley — said that small practices may have fewer resources than larger groups, so it could take them longer to use the full range of EHR functions.

An affliction of the cornea gets a closer look (audio), NPR Morning Edition

Kaley Jones didn’t know what hit her. She was just 17, sitting in her history class, when she realized she suddenly couldn’t read what was written on the white board. Nor could she make out the faces of her classmates. Jones’ doctor referred her to a specialist, Anthony J. Aldave, a corneal transplant surgeon at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute. Just seven months after her initial diagnosis, Jones received a cornea transplant, and eventually got one in the other eye, too. The improvement in her vision was immediate.

Technology might give elders independence, HealthyCal

When the UC Davis Medical Center opens its Telehealth Resource Center next summer, the four-story, $36 million building will be used to train “the next generation of clinicians how to use home telehealth technologies (which) expand the reach of healthcare and can help address important needs in a rapidly increasing population,” said Thomas Nesbitt, associate vice chancellor for Strategic Technologies and Alliances at UC Davis.

Sweet revenge, chefs pour on the sugar, The Wall Street Journal

Peter Havel, professor and researcher on the metabolic effects of dietary sugars at UC Davis, says that a diet high in fructose has been shown to raise lipids and reduce insulin sensitivity. These negative effects do not occur with glucose.

Fewer Californians than ever call themselves smokers, San Diego Union-Tribune

State health officials hailed a new study Wednesday showing fewer Californians than ever say they smoke. The article quotes UCSD cancer researcher Dr. John Pierce, a nationally recognized leader in tobacco smoking and cessation studies who led a UCSD study published last year in the Journal of Pediatrics that found teenagers who had a favorite cigarette ad were 50 percent more likely to start smoking.

California state fair to continue live farm-animal birth exhibit, The Sacramento Bee

Joan Dean Rowe, a UC Davis veterinarian, will be supervising the care of farm animals at the California State Fair this year. Rowe says that officials are committed to giving the animals the best possible care and ensuring their safety at these events.

 

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of July 3

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC Davis to create state cord blood registry (video), ABC 10

When legislation was first passed in 2007 to allow for the creation of a state-funded cord blood registry, the stipulation was to determine how to pay for it and who would run it. On Wednesday, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino said it all finally became a reality. During a legislative briefing in the Capitol, Dr. Suzanne Ponto said UC Davis’ Institute for Regenerative Cures would administer the state program.

See additional coverage: Sacramento Business Journal

New study implicates environmental factors in autism, The New York Times

A new study of twins suggests that environmental factors, including conditions in the womb, may be at least as important as genes in causing autism. Senior author of the study, Neil Risch, a geneticist and epidemiologist at UC San Francisco, is quoted.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, KQED Forum (audio), The Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Show support for UCR School of Medicine, The Palm Springs Desert Sun

Desert Healthcare District should make the $12 million commitment to the UC Riverside School of Medicine requested by Dean G. Richard Olds.

See additional coverage: The New York Times, The Sacramento Bee

UCLA pays $865,500 to settle celebrity medical record snooping case, Los Angeles Times

UCLA Health System has agreed to pay $865,500 as part of a settlement with federal regulators Wednesday after two celebrity patients alleged hospital employees broke the law and reviewed their medical records without authorization. Federal and hospital officials declined to identify the celebrities involved. The complaints cover 2005 to 2009, a time during which hospital employees were repeatedly caught and fired for peeping at the medical records of dozens of celebrities, including Britney Spears, Farrah Fawcett and former California First Lady Maria Shriver. UCLA Health System released a statement Thursday noting that, “Over the past three years, we have worked diligently to strengthen our staff training, implement enhanced data security systems and increase our auditing capabilities.”

See additional coverage: ProPublica, Modern Healthcare, Associated Press, California Healthline, KTLA

UCLA Medical Center gets ready for 405 closure (video), NBC Los Angeles

UCLA Health System’s steps to ensure medical personnel are available to work on site during the 405 freeway closure July 15-17.

Doctors: The next generation, Sacramento Magazine

With droves of physicians poised to retire—nearly one-third are expected to wave goodbye to their patients in the next decade, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges—it’s time to say hello to the next generation of doctors. We recently sat down with three residents from UC Davis Medical Center to ask their thoughts on the future of health care and what they hope to bring to the table.

DNA study has details from 100,000 Kaiser patients, The Sacramento Bee

By itself, a glob of spit at the bottom of a cup doesn’t sound remarkable. But when you have globs from 100,000 people, combined with medical records and DNA-processing robots, you have a resource that geneticists see as an unprecedented opportunity to study human health. At least, that’s what scientists at Kaiser Permanente and UC San Francisco are anticipating. Funded by a $24.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, scientists from the two institutions recently finished analyzing more than 100,000 DNA samples voluntarily sent to them by Northern California Kaiser members.

Study: Hospitals differ on response to Medicare cuts, Kaiser Health News

A new study in Health Affairs provides more reason for concern that the trend of hospital consolidation, which may have been accelerated by the health care law, will lead to higher prices for the privately insured in places where hospitals have lots of market power. In the study, James Robinson, a professor of health economics at UC Berkeley, compared the profit margins of 61 hospitals on seven types of common operations, including knee replacements, spine fusions and hip replacements.

Officials map the future at Harbor-UCLA, The Torrance Daily Breeze

The wooden barracks built by the Army in 1943 as part of a military hospital and embarkation station were never intended to last long. But nearly 70 years later, the same structures, some now termite-infested, dot the campus of County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and are still used as clinics, research labs and medical offices. Officials are now in the beginning planning stages of creating a master plan for Harbor-UCLA, which sits on 72 acres along Carson Avenue in an unincorporated area known as West Carson. The blueprint will guide development and planning for the next 20 years or so.

On display at UC Davis Medical Center: Latest technology to treat heart problems, The Sacramento Bee

The latest advancements in medical equipment for diagnosing and treating several heart ailments were demonstrated at an open house Saturday at the UC Davis Medical Center’s cardiovascular services wing.

Sutter project shapes up, The Sacramento Bee

The $724 million expansion of Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, is moving forward at an indomitable clip – despite some early setbacks and a price tag that has ballooned by 60 percent since work began on the massive midtown project five years ago. Two miles south, UC Davis Medical Center opened its state-of-the-art Surgery and Emergency Services Pavilion last fall, a $424 million endeavor. A number of smaller projects are in various stages of completion on the Stockton Boulevard campus. They include a 46,000-square-foot addition to the cancer center, which will centralize the treatment of pediatric oncology patients, and the new California Telehealth Resource Center.

Why ‘you can’t eat just one’ potato chip, UPI

The body’s natural marijuana-like chemicals may be the reason why people find it hard to eat only one potato chip or one french fry, U.S. researchers say. Daniele Piomelli and Nicholas DiPatrizio of UC Irvine and colleagues found the fat in these foods trigger a biological mechanism that likely drives gluttonous behavior.

Operation Mend helps aid wounded warriors (video), CBS 42

This July 4th, many will take time to remember the men and women of our military, especially those hurt in the line of duty. For those who gave so much, one program is working to give back. Operation Mend is a program at UCLA that provides reconstructive surgery to service members at no cost.  It’s allowing injured service members to look and feel better about themselves, and begin a new life. To date, 48 service members from all branches of the military have been helped by Operation Mend.

The future brain (video), Big Think

UCLA Dr. Gary Small says in the future you will wear a headband that will read your thoughts, so when you think a thought it will be translated wirelessly.

UC Davis researchers’ lab tests safety, potency of medical marijuana, The Sacramento Bee

Two UC Davis researchers are on a mission to make sure pot is pure. Chemistry professor Donald Land and university lab manager Kymron deCesare are running a startup medical marijuana testing facility in West Sacramento called Halent Laboratories.

UC Davis gets $3.3M grant to train emergency medicine researchers, Sacramento Business Journal

Emergency medicine research leaders at UC Davis will train the next generation of investigators in their field, thanks to a $3.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Hooha over CIRM salaries: Cheap shot or legitimate news?, California Stem Cell Report

High government salaries are a tender, tender subject. But are they legitimate news? An anonymous reader on Wednesday raised the question in a comment on the “public salary outrage” item on the California Stem Cell Report. The article dealt with a news story about the $400,000, part-time salary for new CIRM Chairman Jonathan Thomas. A case can be made that Thomas and CIRM President Alan Trounson ($490,000 annual salary) are paid at roughly the same level as a University of California medical school dean. Sam Hawgood, dean of the UC San Francisco medical school and a member of the CIRM board, for example was paid $572,896 in 2009, according to a Sacramento Bee database. However, CIRM’s Thomas and Trounson preside over a staff of about 50 with a budget of about $18 million. Contrast that to Hawgood’s staff of about 10,000 employees and budget of $1.52 billion.

Adverse reactions to stem cell therapy, The Horse

Larry Galuppo, professor and chief of equine surgery at UC Davis, and his colleagues found that there were more adverse reactions to stem cell therapy among horses treated with “banked” cells donated by other horses than were among those horses treated with their own re-injected stem cells.

UC Davis Vascular Center spotlight with professor David L. Dawson, M.D., Vascular Disease Management

A Q&A with UC Davis professor David Dawson.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of June 26

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UCR medical school postponed, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

UC Riverside officials announced Wednesday that the opening of their proposed medical school will be postponed a year because they did not secure the ongoing state funding needed to gain accreditation.

See additional coverage: Riverside Press-Enterprise July 1 story, Los Angeles Times

UC fears talent loss to deeper pockets, Los Angeles Times

The departure of three star scientists from UC San Diego has officials worried about a possible brain drain tied to budget cuts.

Anti-oxidants ease Gulf War Syndrome, study finds,  USA Today

Anti-oxidant supplements can significantly reduce the symptoms of  Gulf War Syndrome, suffered by tens of thousands of veterans, according to research to be presented Monday to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The study by Beatrice Golomb of the medical school at the University of California-San Diego tested the value of giving doses of the coenzyme Q10 to veterans of the Persian Gulf War.

The doctor is … out, The San Bernardino County Sun

Local officials say Riverside and San Bernardino counties face a serious physician shortage that could become more pronounced as residents gain health insurance coverage under the federal health reform law in 2014. G. Richard Olds, dean of the UC Riverside’s planned School of Medicine, said the region could face a shortage of 5,000 doctors by 2021. Olds added that accreditation of UC Riverside’s medical school could help ease the physician shortage.

Researchers estimate 220,000 to go without coverage, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

As many as 220,000 California children could be excluded from affordable health care coverage because of restrictions on programs created as a result of federal health care legislation passed last year, according to a study released today. Researchers at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research say health care legislation restrictions will exclude many uninsured children — up to 20 percent — who are immigrants or have immigrant parents.

A scientist’s life: 20 things Douglas Chang has done, San Diego Union-Tribune

Meet Douglas Chang, a clinical professor at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, Chang, 45, specializes in the treatment and research of back and neck pain. Most of his patients live and work on Earth. But he recently became involved in a research study that will explore why astronauts develop so much back pain in space. The study could benefit crew on the International Space Station, and astronauts who fly this country’s next generation space vehicle. Chang’s life is about more than medicine. So we asked him to list 20 things that he’s done or experienced — things that help define what kind of person he is, and how his life is unfolding.

UC Davis teledermatology program improves diagnosis, outcomes, ModernMedicine

A teledermatology program based at UC Davis frequently alters referring physicians’ diagnoses and management plans, thereby improving patient outcomes, its director says.

3 S.F. hospitals, Kaiser lauded for LGBT care, San Francisco Chronicle

Three San Francisco hospitals and the Kaiser Permanente system earned top marks in caring for patients who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to an annual report released Thursday by a national advocacy group. UCSF Medical Center received perfect scores, the only hospital in the country to do so over the past five years in the ranking system created by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

Editorial: A new era for stem cell institute, San Diego Union-Tribune

In handily approving Proposition 71 in 2004, California voters sent a strong message that stem cell research was important enough and promising enough that they would provide $3 billion in new state money to bypass President George W. Bush’s controversial federal restrictions on such research and to put California on the cutting edge of this growing scientific field. This editorial page was among the many newspapers, medical, scientific, business and other groups to endorse the proposition and its new California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Nearly seven years later, there is plenty of evidence that CIRM’s research has indeed been important, though there has not been a blockbuster breakthrough of the kind that proponents in 2004 seemed to imply was just around the corner in terms of converting research into applied medical treatments and cures. San Diego County has much at stake. UCSD alone has received 43 grants totaling $93.7 million.

Op-ed: America can’t wait for innovation reform, San Diego Union-Tribune

Dr. Michael Heller of UC San Diego is a brilliant scientist who discovered a new way of synthesizing molecular structures. Eager to exploit the commercial applications of his discovery, he founded a medical technology firm and filed for a patent. He got it – 10 years later. By then, it was too late: In June 2009, Heller’s company, which had employed 89 people, filed for bankruptcy and shut its doors.

Op-ed: Creaky education system needs some oil (revenue), San Diego Union-Tribune

Paul Garver, a San Diego physician who served on the faculty of the UC San Diego School of Medicine, writes in favor of an oil severance tax for California.

Takeda venture arm invests in Redwood Bioscience, San Francisco Business Times

The venture arm of Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. will fund further development of a protein-modification technology from Redwood Bioscience Inc. Redwood, of Burlingame, said the undisclosed amount from Takeda Ventures Inc. will be used to forward the company’s protein-chemical engineering technology, which could be used to better deliver drugs with better potency. The technology, which could be used to better deliver drugs with better potency, was developed by UC Berkeley professor Carolyn Bertozzi.

UC Davis Alzheimer’s center gets $6.9M grant, Sacramento Business Journal

The UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center has received a five-year, $6.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue work on the causes and risk of dementia late in life.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of June 19

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Editorial: Amid urgent call for doctors, denial of accreditation an unfair blow to UC Riverside School of Medicine, The Palm Springs Desert Sun

An editorial in The Palm Springs Desert Sun states that the UC Riverside School of Medicine must not fall victim to the California budget crisis. UCR School of Medicine Dean G. Richard Olds also makes the case for the school in op-eds in the Desert Sun and Riverside Press-Enterprise.

See additional coverage: Riverside Press-Enterprise story

UCI burn center director found dead in pool, The Orange County Register

Trauma surgeon and UC Irvine Regional Burn Center Medical Director Dr. Marianne E. Cinat was found dead in her backyard swimming pool Saturday, authorities confirmed Sunday. Cinat’s death is being investigated by the coroner’s office, a division of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and an autopsy is scheduled for Monday, spokesman Jim Amormino said.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times

Bridging a cultural divide: Questions for Dr. Charles Vega, Voice of OC

Among the newly minted doctors who graduated from the UC Irvine School of Medicine this spring were eleven with special training in Latino health issues. They were trained through the school’s PRIME-LC program. And by the end of this month, a new class of UCI medical students will enter PRIME-LC and train in Latin America and Santa Ana. A Q&Awith Dr. Charles Vega, the director of PRIME-LC, about the program and its goal of training doctors to better serve the underserved.

Stem-cell gamble, MIT Technology Review

Hans Keirstead wakes up every morning at his home near Los Angeles and checks CNN. He’s looking for news about the first-ever human test of embryonic stem cells, launched in October by the biotechnology firm Geron. Mostly, he’s looking for bad news. “If someone dies, or is in pain, then it’s over,” he says, pushing a hand through his tawny hair. Keirstead, dressed in a loose linen shirt and wearing a thumb ring, is a biologist at the University of California, Irvine, who has variously been called the “rock star,” “miracle worker,” and “Pied Piper” of stem-cell science. Today he has a corner office in a new $67 million research center paid for in part by California voters, whom he helped persuade to vote for a $3 billion stem-cell spending plan in 2004 with a video of partially paralyzed rats walking again after stem-cell transplants performed in his laboratory. That same treatment is now being tested in human beings. No wonder Keirstead is anxious.

San Diego leads UC system in royalties from top inventions, San Diego Union-Tribune

The University of California system’s top five inventions brought in $43.3 million in royalties and fees last year, one-third of which went to its San Diego campus. UCSD earned $14.3 million for two basic discoveries, one involving cancer, the other involving bladder pain. The figures appear in a new report that says the UC’s 10 campuses collectively got $104.4 million in royalties and fees during fiscal 2010, or almost $6 million than the year before.

The tiniest transplant, Time

Dr. Steven Schwartz had been waiting 14 years to make the phone call. As an eye doctor at UCLA, Schwartz sees his share of patients with serious diseases that slowly rob them of their sight. Yet when a 12-year-old girl went to him complaining of vision problems, he had the difficult job of diagnosing her with Stargardt’s, one of the more common forms of macular degeneration, in which the photoreceptor cells start to deteriorate. He had to tell her that the world she knew would gradually, pixel by pixel, fade into darkness and that there was nothing he could do to treat her impending blindness. She and her family were interested in participating in research trials, however, so he promised that he would call if any new opportunities arose. Nearly a decade and a half later, Schwartz kept that promise and phoned the patient he couldn’t forget with some exciting news. He was getting ready to test the first embryonic-stem-cell therapy for Stargardt’s and dry macular degeneration. Would she, he wondered, be interested in learning more?

Dot.Commentary: Medical photo sharing app could change the world, San Francisco Chronicle

Silicon Valley can’t get enough of mobile apps that allow users to share photos, as venture capitalists compete to jam tens of millions of dollars into the space. Instagram, Daily Booth, Color, Path and other copycats have raised close to $100 million in recent months, clearly heralding a paradigm shift in the distribution of drunken evening and dinner entree pics. Meanwhile, a photo sharing service of an altogether different sort is emerging from the labs at UC Berkeley. A team led by bioengineering professor Daniel Fletcher has developed a small, inexpensive microscope called CellScope that attaches to mobile phone cameras to snap magnified pictures of blood and phlegm slides. The images can then be “shared” as texts or e-mails with modern medical facilities miles or continents away, which can accurately identify diseases and even spot early warning signs of pandemics.

Brains of vets with PTSD can change as they age, San Francisco Chronicle

Combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder are more likely to have dementia, cardiac problems and structural changes in the brain as they get older than veterans without PTSD, according to new research. The findings, which for the most part resulted from research at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, raise concerns about the overall health of aging veterans, but hold promise for the potential of helping to treat these diseases. The article quotes Dr. Michael Weiner, director of the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and professor of medicine, radiology, psychiatry and neurology at UCSF.

Dr. Laura Esserman, UCSF breast cancer researcher, San Francisco Chronicle

Surgeon Laura Esserman, head of breast cancer research and treatment at UCSF, has favorite songs she sings to patients as they’re about to go under a general anesthetic. There’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” and her all-time favorite, “For Good.” One of her greatest areas of impact may come through a statewide research project called Athena, which she has spearheaded and will involve the early screening and follow-up for breast cancer of 150,000 women statewide at five UC cancer centers. The University of California initiative has just begun to enroll patients at UCSF.

Research committee may be stacked against chimps, Wired

An influential panel evaluating the scientific value of invasive medical research on chimpanzees may be stacked in favor of the controversial practice, say animal advocates. Although the Institutes of Medicine’s research review panel no longer has vocal supporters of medical research on chimpanzees, the Humane Society says remaining members won’t likely challenge the status quo. Late in May, after criticism from the Humane Society, two members of the IOM panel stepped down. One was Leticia Medina, a veterinarian at Abbott Laboratories, which has used chimpanzees in hepatitis C research. Another was Alan Leshner, the executive director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which officially supports medical research on chimpanzees. Another member, University of California health science overseer John Stobo, also recused himself, though the reasons are not known.

California hospitals sue over reporting infections, CBS 5

Hospital acquired infections are among the leading causes of death in the U.S. You would think patients could shop around and pick a hospital with a low infection rate. But that’s not happening yet in California. UCSF is mentioned.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Chronicle, Becker’s Hospital Review, California Healthline, California Watch

UC’s QB3 bioscience and cleantech incubator arrives at old Twinkies bakery site in Berkeley, The Oakland Tribune

An incubator backed by a trio of University of California campuses is getting ready to open its doors in a former Twinkies bakery in Berkeley. The Berkeley incubator will be the fourth launched by the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences. QB3, as it is known, is a consortium of more than 200 laboratories located at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and UC Santa Cruz. The other incubators are located at UC Berkeley’s Stanley Hall, the UCSF campus at Mission Bay in San Francisco and on the UC Santa Cruz campus.

Saliva test used as an age detector, Vancouver Sun

Geneticists say they’ve come up with a new way of using saliva to tell how old you are. Researchers at UCLA say crime-scene investigators could use the technique to pinpoint a culprit’s age, helping to narrow the police search for crime suspects. By analyzing the traces of saliva left in a tooth bite or on a coffee cup, it’s believed lab experts could narrow the age of a criminal suspect to a five-year range.

See additional coverage: Time

Surfboard event brings cancer survivors together, San Diego Union-Tribune

The line of surfboards, long ones and short ones, stretched more than a quarter mile along the shore just south of Scripps Pier early Sunday morning. As a show of support for cancer survivors and those who care for them, Survivor Beach was thriving along La Jolla Shores. Hundreds of boards stretched 1,674 feet from the pier south along the beach. “Today we are celebrating all the survivors and all the caregivers, all the tough fights against cancer, and encouraging a cure,” said Terry Ash, a co-chair of the fifth annual Survivors Beach hosted by the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Designer genes: Craig Venter negotiates with UCSD, San Diego Reader

Genomic-engineering pioneer Craig Venter appears to be on the verge of officially breaking ground on flashy new offices on state land at the UCSD campus, but university officials are reluctant to tell the public the terms of the deal.

Biotech startups use contests as springborads, San Diego Union-Tribune

Creating a company is never easy, especially during a down economy. But that hasn’t stopped a trio of nascent biotechnology firms with San Diego ties from trying. Each of the companies in recent weeks has won fans and thousands of dollars in prize money as they’ve moved through the annual circuit of business-plan competitions sponsored by universities and venture capital firms. “We’ve received a lot of recognition from people in the San Diego entrepreneurial community,” said Daniel Norton, vice president of business development and commercialization of NeuroMap. The medical testing company on June 1 won the fifth annual Entrepreneur Challenge put on by UC San Diego students. NeuroMap is working on a way to test the effectiveness of antidepressant medications in a patient. Norton is working on a master’s of business management degree at UCSD’s Rady School of Management.

States may be driving up health care costs and failing to provide patients with the safest and most effective medicines available, according to a new study from UCSF that examined which drugs are covered under Medicaid.

San Francisco General Hospital appoints two new senior medical staff officers, San Francisco Business Times

San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, the city’s primary safety net hospital and only Level I trauma center, said Monday it’s made two top level medical staff appointments: Todd May, M.D., as chief medical officer and Shannon Thyne, M.D., as chief of the medical staff. May is outgoing chief of its medical staff, former director of its Family Medicine Inpatient Service, and a professor of family and community medicine at UCSF, which partners with San Francisco General on research, staffing and teaching young physicians, nurses and other staffers. Thyne had been medical director of the city-owned hospital’s Children’s Health Center, San Francisco’s largest pediatric public health practice. She’s also an associate professor of pediatrics at UCSF, although her clinical, educational, and research efforts are based at SFGH.

Design new, easy-to-read food label, Epicurious

Calling all frustrated food label readers and creative types. UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism’s News21 program and Good Magazine have teamed up in an effort to “Rethink the Food Label,” and they want your help. “We are asking the public, food thinkers, nutritionists, and designers to redesign the Nutrition Facts Label to make it easier to read and more useful to people who want to consume healthier, more nutritious and wholesome food,” explain the organizers.

 

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of June 12

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Rabies: Humboldt girl beats virus against odds, San Francisco Chronicle

Three weeks ago, 8-year-old Precious Reynolds had rabies. She was comatose in the UC Davis Children’s Hospital – as sick as a little girl can get, her body fighting off a vicious infection that almost no one survives. Today, Precious is one of only three people in the United States, and the first in California, known to have survived rabies. The virus is rare in humans – there are only three or four cases a year in the United States, and there have been eight cases in California in the past 11 years – and until very recently, a rabies diagnosis was considered a death sentence.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, The Sacramento Bee, The Associated Press, ABC Good Morning America, ABC 10

UCR officials step up effort to save med school, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

UC Riverside officials Tuesday urged community leaders to help gain accreditation for the university’s proposed medical school and push state lawmakers to commit ongoing funding that accreditors require. Jeff Kraus, the university’s director of local government and community relations, said the decision last week not to accredit UCR’s new medical school is a crisis. In addressing about 35 members of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, Kraus said the medical school needs a commitment of about $15 million a year from the state.

See additional coverage: The Riverside Press-Enterprise: June 12 column; The Palm Springs Desert Sun; Palm Desert Patch

First patients picked for stem cell vision trials, Reuters

Two patients with two different forms of vision loss will soon start treatments made from embryonic stem cells as Advanced Cell Technology  kicks off two early-stage clinical trials using the controversial and powerful cells. The patients were enrolled at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA, Advanced Cell said on Thursday.

Heart attack death rates linked to ambulance diversion, HealthDay News/USA Today

Heart attack patients whose ambulances are diverted from the nearest ER to another one further away are at greater risk of dying — not just soon after the heart attack, but for up to a year after the intervention, a new study finds. Study researcher Renee Hsia of UC San Francisco is mentioned.

Chimp committee shakeup follows Humane Society complaints, ScienceInsider

The chair of a committee set up to help the U.S. National Institutes of Health decide whether to continue biomedical and behavioral research with chimpanzees has stepped down. The organizers of the committee–the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council—revealed in an oblique note on June 8 that Chair John Stobo, who oversees health sciences and services for the University of California (UC) system, “will not be serving on the committee.” Stobo did not reply to an inquiry about his departure.

See additional coverage: Nature News

Two UCD professors win $1 million awards, The Sacramento Bee

Two UC and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Davis professors have won million-dollar awards to continue research aimed at boosting food production. The awards come from a new $75 million program established by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The UC Davis recipients are Simon Chan, an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Biology, and Jorge Dubcovsky, a professor in the Department of Plant Scientists. Recipients also included UC Berkeley’s Krishna Niyogi, UC Riverside’s Xuemei Chen and UC San Diego’s Mark Estelle (see UC story).

Changing the way hospitals do business, California Healthline

One of the tenets of health care reform is to provide incentives to raise quality, improve outcomes and lower costs. That idea is what’s behind about $3.3 billion in federal incentives dangled in front of public hospitals in California as part of the Medicaid waiver deal completed late last year. A new policy brief from the California Association of Public Hospitals details some of those changes. The deal in the waiver agreement — the Delivery System Reform Incentive Program — is a pay-for-performance initiative for 21 public hospitals in California. That change in performance is measured by meeting a myriad of different milestones. A summary of CAPH’s policy brief is here. The full brief is here.

UC Irvine medical students wrap up year of learning from senior mentors (audio), KPCC

The first year of a program that teams up first-year UC Irvine medical school students with senior citizens has wrapped up. The students and seniors celebrated the end with a recent luncheon in Santa Ana, where they talked about what they learned together.

At patient’s side — for entire journal; Ronald Reagan UCLA nurse coordinates team’s pioneering hand transplant, NurseWeek

A profile of nurse Erin Core, who supervised the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center’s first hand-transplant surgery on March 5.  As UCLA’s hand-transplant program coordinator, Core was responsible for organizing the 17-member operating-room team and preparing the patient for the life-altering operation.

Rural California seniors face health challenges, report says, Capital Public Radio

A UCLA analysis says California seniors in rural areas have more health challenges than their suburban counterparts.

The top six risk factors for weight-loss surgery, Los Angeles Times

Weight-loss surgery is safe and effective for most people, but complications do occur. Researchers reported Wednesday that they had devised a list of the top six risk factors. One or more of these risk factors may increase the risk of dying before leaving the hospital, said the authors of the study, from UC Irvine.

UC Davis study: Gun ownership linked to heavy drinking, CBS 13

A new study from UC Davis finds a disturbing link between people who own guns and heavy alcohol use.

What babies can teach us about being happy, The Huffington Post

Babies laugh more than 300 times a day. We adults, in contrast, laugh less than 20 times a day. According to Alison Gopnik, a UC Berkeley psychologist, we adults use a pruning process of sorts to look at the world with our adult brains.

 

 

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of June 5

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Opening of medical school at UC Riverside may be delayed, Los Angeles Times

The school, scheduled to open next year, was denied initial accreditation because of concerns about the state’s ability to provide funding. UC officials need a state commitment of about $10 million a year to secure accreditation.

See additional coverage: The Chronicle of Higher Education; The Riverside Press-Enterprise: June 9 story, June 10 story, June 10 editorial, June 11 story; The Palm Springs Desert Sun

Telehealth: ‘The doctor is in … another city’, HealthyCal

This story about telehealth efforts in California features several initiatives involving the University of California, including PRIME, the Specialty Care Safety Net Initiative and the California Telehealth Network.

Drugs show promise slowing advanced melanoma, The New York Times

Two new drugs have been found to prolong the lives of people with advanced melanoma, representing what researchers say is notable progress against the deadly skin cancer after decades of futility. The article quotes UCLA Dr. Antoni Ribas, who was an investigator in the trial for vemurafenib and has been a consultant to the developer of the drug.

Infection Files: Acknowledging champions of global health, Los Angeles Daily News

In this column, UCLA professor Claire Panosian Dunavan highlights UC’s contributions to global health, from students serving overseas to establishing a UC Global Health Institute.

Mending wounded warriors (video), MSNBC Jansing & Co.

This segment spotlights UCLA’s “Operation Mend,” which treats U.S. military personnel who have been severely injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. The program’s executive director, Dr. Timothy Miller, who is division chief of plastic surgery, and U.S. Marine Corporal Aaron Mankin, an Operation Mend patient, are interviewed.

UC San Francisco moving to electronic medical records, San Francisco Examiner

Switching from paper to electronic medical records is costing UC San Francisco Medical Center $150 million, but university officials say the change will improve efficiency and patient safety in the long run.

BJ Miller, pain doctor at the Zen Hospice Project, San Francisco Chronicle

Dr. BJ Miller is only 40 but he thinks about death a lot. He is the new executive director of the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco and a palliative care specialist at UCSF Medical Center. He is also a triple amputee, co-founder of a tea company, owner of a farm in Utah and a newlywed who still looks like the Ivy Leaguer he once was.

Forget the pink ribbons, local doctors go bald for cancer, The Bay Citizen

Not to knock the breast cancer awareness ribbons but a group of eight doctors at UCSF’s Benioff Children’s Hospital took it a big step further, they shaved their heads to raise awareness and money for kids with cancer. On Wednesday night, Dr. Kate Matthay, chief of pediatric oncology at UCSF, was one of eight doctors from Benoiff Children’s Hospital who took part in a fundraiser put on by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Paraplegic’s post-college gig: Testing bionic legs, CNet

Austin Whitney graduated from UC Berkeley just last month, and he already has a full-time job. Whitney works as a human lab rat. The 22-year-old paraplegic, who captured headlines recently when he walked across the stage at his commencement wearing bionic legs, now spends long days with the engineers who developed the customized robotic suit.

Michael Hiltzik: Missed opportunities at California stem cell research agency, Los Angeles Times

Columnist Michael Hiltzik takes a critical look at the state agency that funds stem cell research. The column mentions that Stanford, a private university, has received more stem cell agency funding than UCLA and UC Berkeley combined. It also mentions budget cuts facing UC and the impact on the university.

UCSD-led team finds genetic key to blood stem cells, San Diego Union-Tribune

Researchers at UC San Diego and the University of Massachusetts believe they have discovered the genetic mechanism that controls the production of hematopoietic stem cells that continuously replenish all types of blood cells in the body, including red and white cells.

Sacramento joins study on environment’s impact on kids’ health, The Sacramento Bee

In this article about one of the largest and most comprehensive studies on how the environment is affecting U.S. children’s health, lead researcher Irva Hertz-Picciotto, chief of the UC Davis School of Medicine’s Division of Environmental and Occupational Health, says: “There s been a rapid increase in a number of conditions in childhood that we didn’t used to have — obesity, diabetes, autism, asthma. We are interested in the factors that could be in food, in the water, in our household products, in our neighborhoods that are affecting children.”

A clinical drug trial via phone, computer, The Wall Street Journal

Pfizer Inc. is conducting a drug trial in which patients participate from their homes using computers and smartphones rather than visiting a clinic. The company plans to compare the results to those obtained from a previous, traditional trial of the same drug. The study involves the company’s overactive-bladder drug Detrol. The study is also being overseen by a single group of doctors and nurses at the University of California, San Francisco, rather than at the numerous sites employed in most clinical trials.

UC engineering students take on project in Peru, San Francisco Chronicle

Engineering students at UC Berkeley are getting a jump start on their professional careers by helping to solve environmental problems in developing countries where the skills they’re learning in the classroom are in short supply. They will leave today on their first international project – to rid drinking water of arsenic in two mountain communities of southeast Peru. The naturally occurring arsenic in well water poses long-term risks of cancer and skin problems and, like all projects taken on by Engineers Without Borders, the request for help came directly from the communities.

In heart of Amazon, a natural lab to study diseases (audio), NPR Morning Edition

This story on mosquito research features Amy Morrison, field director for the UC Davis Mosquito Research Laboratory, who is conducting research in Iquitos, Peru. Morrison and her co-workers hope their work in the city will help them understand the spread of mosquito-borne disease anywhere in the world.

U.S. facing dramatic decline in number of emergency departments, according to study (audio), California Healthline

A study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that about one-third of U.S. emergency departments closed during a 20-year period ending in 2009. According to UC San Francisco researchers who conducted the study, the ED closures predominately affected safety-net hospitals that see a large proportion of low-income patients. This special report includes comments from Renee Hsia, assistant professor of emergency medicine at UCSF.

Judge rules against Livermore Lab retirees on UC medical benefits, California Watch

A judge has ruled that the University of California does not have to provide university-sponsored medical benefits to retirees of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, whose health benefits were altered after the lab’s management changed in 2007.

Premature aging seen as issue for AIDS survivors, The Associated Press

In San Francisco, where already more than half of the 9,734 AIDS cases are in people 50 and over, University of California, San Francisco AIDS specialists are collaborating with geriatricians, pharmacists and nutritionists to develop treatment guidelines designed to help veterans of the disease cope with getting frail a decade or two ahead of schedule and to remain independent for as long as possible.

UCSD program offers free HIV tests in Hillcrest, San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diegans looking to get tested for HIV can now do it for free and get the results in just 10 minutes, thanks to a UCSD School of Medicine pilot program. And if residents of Hillcrest, South Park, University Heights and Mission Hills don’t want to visit the “Lead the Way” campaign’s new storefront center at the intersection of University Avenue and Park Boulevard, volunteers will come to them.

Essay: Treating the earliest cases of AIDS, PBS NewsHour

AIDS researcher Dr. Paul Volberding was one of the first doctors to study the disease in the early 1980s. He worked at San Francisco General Hospital, the first facility to dedicate a ward to the disease . He is now the vice chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and co-director of the university’s Center of AIDS Research. He reflects on the 30th anniversary.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Daily News

New virus found in bees may aid in hunt to explain mysterious deaths, Bloomberg

Researchers have identified four new viruses that infect healthy honeybees, potential clues that may help them better understand why colonies are dying. The article quotes Joseph DeRisi, the paper’s senior study author and a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UC San Francisco, and lead study co-author Michelle Flenniken, a postdoctoral scientist at UCSF.

UC San Diego hospital uses cloud for trauma-related file transfer, Campus Technology

A university hospital in Southern California has begun using cloud computing to receive imaging work from a remote hospital to expedite the treatment of trauma patients. The University of California, San Diego, Health System has adopted eMix, the Electronic Medical Information Exchange, to speed the diagnosis and treatment of patients sent to UC San Diego Medical Center-Hillcrest from El Centro Regional Medical Center, about 112 miles away.

Two nights, two honorees: Jane Fonda and Wallis Annenberg, Los Angeles Times

Before she could present Jane Fonda with a UCLA Longevity Center Icon Award, Jennifer Lopez had to pause midway in her recitation of Fonda’s lofty achievements — actress; fitness guru; author; and activist for environmental, human rights, health, women’s empowerment and other issues. “You’re busy like crazy,” Lopez said. “I thought I was busy.” Awards also went to philanthropist and entrepreneur James Collins and the Jules Stein Eye Institute’s founding director, Dr. Bradley Straatsma. Also in attendance were Dr. Gene Washington, dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine, center director Dr. Gary Small and actors Peter Fonda; George Segal; Iqbal Theba and Josh Sussman of “Glee”; and Joan Van Ark. Louise Horvitz and Timothy Noonan co-chaired the event, which raised funds for the center’s mission to enhance and extend productive and healthy lives. Kimberly Locke and the UCLA Gospel Choir performed.

‘Cowboys’ give breast cancer the boot at UCSF gala, San Francisco Chronicle

UCSF’s Give Breast Cancer the Boot event helped raise $265,000 in support of UCSF’s Breast Cancer Programs.

Lynn Ponton: First novel, ‘Metis,’ mines ancestry, San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco author Lynn Ponton knows that teenagers are prone to risky behavior. An adolescent psychiatrist and professor at UCSF, she has written two books on the subject: “The Romance of Risk: Why Teenagers Do the Things They Do” and “The Sex Lives of Teenagers: Revealing the Secret World of Adolescent Boys and Girls.” But when Ponton wrote her first novel, “Métis: Mixed Blood Stories,” she focused on adolescents in her own family, digging into her roots among the Métis – descendants of Cree and Assiniboine Indian women who married French and Scottish men in Canada, formed a hybrid French Catholic and Indian culture and later fled Canada and intermarried with people in Wisconsin.

Obituary: Edward G. ‘Ted’ Jones led UC Davis Center for Neuroscience, The Sacramento Bee

Dr. Edward G. “Ted” Jones, an internationally renowned neuroscientist who was former head of the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience, died Monday at age 72.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of May 29

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UCD Med Center fights infections; VA facility finds success, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis is mentioned in this story about efforts to reduce preventable infections at hospitals. The Bee also wrote a related editorial.

Doctors study benefit of remotely monitoring patients to reduce health care costs, Pasadena Star-News

“We know anytime someone gets hospitalized it’s very costly overall to society,” said Dr. Michael Ong, general internist and assistant professor at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. “If we’re trying to save money in the system one way would be to try to prevent hospitalizations.” A group of five medical schools led by UCLA, and one hospital, were awarded $9.9 million from the federal government in October for a three-year study on the benefits of remote monitoring. The grant recipients were UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Smelly chemicals confuse mosquitoes, BBC

Chemicals that interfere with a mosquito’s ability to sniff out humans have been developed by UC Riverside researchers, according to research in Nature.

See additional coverage: NPR (audio)

UCSF pharmacy lets robots prepare the meds, San Francisco Chronicle

Lynn Paulsen smiles like a proud parent as she watches tablets of anti-constipation medication slide by on a conveyor belt in UCSF’s new pharmacy headquarters. The tablets have just been sucked by a straw out of a sealed container and deposited into plastic envelopes. When the envelopes reach the end of the belt, they’ll be plucked up by a robotic arm and attached to plastic rings – one for every patient in a UCSF hospital bed who needs that medication for the day.

Scientists looking into stem cell teeth (video), ABC 7

For centuries, adult tooth loss has been handled by dentures and, more recently, dental implants. Now, researchers at UCSF are working on a technique that might someday make replacement teeth a reality.

Turn your Zzz’s into A’s, Inside Higher Ed

Did you get a complete and restful night’s sleep last night? If not, and if right now you’re reading this article rather than focusing on work, your time might be better spent on a short nap to boost your focus and productivity. That’s what the National Sleep Foundation says, and it’s a message that health education professionals at the University of California at Davis have been spreading to their students over the course of a four-year campaign, encouraging napping to boost academic performance. They shared their strategies here Thursday at the annual meeting of the American College Health Association.

The science of pain (audio), KQED QUEST

This story on the science of pain features Diana Bautista, UC Berkeley assistant professor of biology.

UCLA neuroscientist to be honored for efforts to save troops, others from harm, Los Angeles Daily News

For centuries, American warriors rattled by a shell or bomb charged back into battle – risking permanent brain damage from another concussion. No more, thanks to a Woodland Hills neuroscientist at UCLA, whose research on traumatic brain injury has saved the minds of legions of athletes and military service members. For his dedication, David Hovda this month will receive the Strength of the Nation Award, the Army’s highest civilian honor.

Red-hot California Nurses Association wins tentative 3-year contract at USC hospitals, San Francisco Business Times

Registered nurses at two University of Southern California medical centers — USC University Hospital and USC Norris Cancer Hospital — have reached a tentative three-year contract deal with the California Nurses Association, which represents about 600 RNs at the hospitals. USC hospitals’ CEO Mitch Creem called the agreement the beginning of a new era of “collaboration” with the feisty union, which also last week signed a new 26-month contract with the University of California system and won the right to represent nurses at a Santa Monica hospital.

New ACOs emerging in Northern California, California Healthline

Two new accountable care organizations taking shape in Northern California may help determine what works and what doesn’t in the new world of health care reform. After a successful launch of a two-year ACO pilot with 41,000 CalPERS members in Sacramento, Blue Shield of California, Catholic Healthcare West and Hill Physicians Medical Group will parlay their experience into a new ACO targeting 5,000 members of the San Francisco Health Service System. This time around, UCSF Medical Center will join the ranks. Another ACO – partnering Brown & Toland Physicians, Blue Shield and California Pacific Medical Center – will offer integrated care to 21,000 members of the S.F. Health Service system. Both ACOs are due to launch in July.

Op-ed: AIDS: Bay Area leadership brings hope to epidemic, San Francisco Chronicle

It is shocking that next Sunday marks the 30th anniversary of the disease we now know as AIDS. It was on that date that the Centers for Disease Control reported the strange case of five gay men in Los Angeles who had contracted a rare form of pneumonia. Today, Bay Area leadership once again is bringing new hope about the disease. Some of the most important medical research is being done here, both at UCSF and in local biotech firms.

UCSD’s HIV privacy gap, San Diego Reader

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has determined that a research project conducted by UCSD’s Antiviral Research Center violated the privacy and confidentiality rights of an unspecified number of human research subjects taking part in an HIV infection study. The project leader was Dr. Susan Little, an associate professor of medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, at the university. Little and the Antiviral Research Center are currently promoting Lead the Way, an effort to test all residents in the city’s 92103 and 92104 zip codes for HIV.

See additional coverage: Fox 5 (video)

UCLA report: Public schools don’t meet physical education standards, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

More than one-third of all California public school students ages 12 to 17 do not participate in physical education classes despite state requirements, according to new research. A study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research found that about 1.3 million public middle and high school students aren’t getting school-based exercise, even though California law mandates they get 400 minutes of physical education every 10 days.

Shortage in primary care doctors looming? (video), Fox News

Dr. Peter Galier, an associate clinical professor of internal medicine at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, and Dr. Rajan Kulkarni, a dermatology resident at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, are featured in this story on the declining number of U.S. medical students choosing careers in primary care.

Multiple sclerosis mechanism uncovered, USA Today

Multiple sclerosis springs from environment, metabolism and genes interacting with Vitamin D, suggests a genetic pathway study. In the Nature Communications study headed by neurologist Michael Demetriou of the University of California, Irvine, researchers tackle the mystery of multiple sclerosis.

UC Davis appoints AIDS researcher to executive post, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis has hired an experienced AIDS researcher as the new dean of its College of Biological Sciences. James E.K. Hildreth comes to UC Davis from Meharry Medical College in Tennessee, where he is the director of the Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research.

Death of 91-year-old spotlights line between care and killing, Los Angeles Times

Dr. Laura Mosqueda, director of the Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse and Neglect at UC Irvine, has begun studying elder deaths in California to figure out what coroners view as normal and what they consider “older adults being neglected to death.”

Scientists now doubt studies linking chronic fatigue syndrome to mouse virus, CBS/AP

Doctors who continue to believe that chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by a mysterious mouse virus may need to wake up and smell the coffee.  New studies suggest that previous research purporting such a link was a false alarm. Lead researcher Dr. Jay Levy of UC San Francisco, is quoted.

See additional coverage: The Wall Street Journal

‘Budget dust’ councils may get second life, California Healthline

Three health care advisory committees were on the May revise chopping block, but now an Assembly subcommittee has voted to keep them. The state’s Healthcare Workforce Policy Commission has an annual budget of $27,000 — but none of that money comes directly out of the general fund. It is financed by a fee on hospitals, and the University of California system kicks in some funding, as well.

Educators aware of prescription drug use, turn to prevention, USA Today

Prescription drugs occupy something of a gray area in the minds of students, research has shown. Their perceived level of danger — medically and legally — lies somewhere between that of the most risky, cocaine, and least risky, marijuana, and because they’re generally used academically rather than socially, to focus in and buckle down on schoolwork, many students think of them more as “study aids” than as substances that can be abused. There’s a perception that “these are not drugs, this is medicine,” said Ross Aikins, a co-presenter with Andes and graduating doctoral student at the UCLA education school, who is studying prescription stimulant use among college students.

 

A UC Berkeley study published last month in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides, which are known to be toxic to the nervous system, is related to lower IQs in children.

Live chat: Why certain carbs may be making you fat, Los Angeles Times

Wondering if your diet is on the right track? Join a live Web chat Monday, June 6, at 11 a.m. PT and get the lowdown from author Gary Taubes on why certain carbs may be making you fat. Taubes wrote “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It” and is a contributing correspondent for the journal Science. He’s also a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Independent Investigator in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health.

 

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments (1)

In the media: Week of May 22

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

CNA nurses ratify new 26-month University of California contract, San Francisco Business Times

Registered nurses represented by the California Nurses Association have ratified a new 26-month contract with the University of California system. Along with other concessions by management, the nurses won pay increases averaging “at least” 11 percent over the next 26 months, the union said.

See additional coverage: San Diego Union-Tribune; The Sacramento Bee: May 24, May 28; Sacramento Business Journal; San Francisco Business Times; The Associated Press; California Healthline

Hinsons’ journey is tough; with help, they’re working toward a hopeful destination, The Sacramento Bee

On average, a child is diagnosed with autism every 20 minutes in the United States. Many families move to be near research centers where children can benefit from the latest findings. At the UC Davis MIND Institute in Sacramento, scientists are studying causes and contributing factors for autism, plus cures, therapies and intervention strategies. Read part two of this series.

UCSF Medical Center’s chief information officer to retire, with IT project $100M over budget, San Francisco Business Times

Larry Lotenero, chief information officer at UCSF Medical Center, is stepping down in late June after a decade on the job, according to UC San Francisco officials.

U.S., Japanese, German scientists win Israeli prize, The Associated Press

American, German and Japanese scientists have been named this year’s winners of Israel’s prestigious Wolf Prize. The Wolf Foundation said Monday Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka, a UCSF professor of anatomy, and German researcher Rudolf Jaenisch have been recognized for finding that induced stem cells can potentially be used to cure genetic disease.

Spit test offers guide to health, Nature News

A Q&A with UCSF’s Elizabeth Blackburn about telomeres.

Could ‘extreme’ low-cal diets bring longer, healthier life?, HealthDay News

Science has shown that diets that veer close to starvation can make everything from mice to monkeys live longer. But can such a strict eating regimen prolong human lives, and if so, would those extra years be healthy, happy ones? Janet Tomiyama, a psychologist who is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at UCSF, is quoted. She is principal investigator on a study funded by the Appleby Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program and the UC Berkeley Population Center.

Gene expression in the brain offers clues to autism’s roots, Time

Increasingly, scientists are studying the brain in people with autism, seeking a molecular signature that might help identify the complex disorder as it develops or some structural clue to its causes. Now an intriguing new study on patterns of gene expression in the autistic brain offers fresh insight. Led by Dr. Dan Geschwind, director of the Center for Autism Research and Treatment at UCLA, researchers measured levels of gene expression — which determines the synthesis of various of proteins, each with a specific task in the cell — in the brain tissue of 19 autistic people and 17 healthy ones. The scientists report Wednesday in Nature that they have discovered certain patterns of expression common to the autistic brain.

Ex-UC Davis worker accused of reselling pet meds, Sacramento Business Journal

A former UC Davis employee gave herself up at the Yolo County Jail Thursday on charges of embezzlement. Emily Ramos of Woodland is accused of 38 counts of embezzlement connected to her work as a pharmacy technician at the UC Davis William M. Pritchard Veterinary Teaching Hospital, according to a statement from campus police. View UC Davis news release.

 

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of May 15

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Small steps for paralyzed man, giant leaps for treating spinal cord injuries, Los Angeles Times

A device helps a man paralyzed from the waist down make an “unprecedented” recovery, taking steps on a treadmill and regaining other key functions. The treatment could potentially allow 10 percent to 15 percent of people with spinal cord injuries to regain some use of their legs. UCLA helped develop the experimental treatment.

See additional coverage: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, ABC World News, CBS News (video), BBC News, USA Today

Exoskeleton lets UC Berkeley grad take a huge step, San Francisco Chronicle

Austin Whitney walked on Saturday. No faith healers were involved. Yet when the paralyzed 22-year-old rose from his wheelchair and stepped across the UC Berkeley commencement stage to shake Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s hand, the crowd of 15,000 at Edwards Stadium went wild with cheers, as if witnessing a miracle. In a way, they were.

See additional coverage: CNN (video), Oakland Tribune

Fewer emergency rooms available as need rises, The New York Times

Hospital emergency rooms, particularly those serving the urban poor, are closing at an alarming rate even as emergency visits are rising, according to a report published on Tuesday. Urban and suburban areas have lost a quarter of their hospital emergency departments over the last 20 years, according to the study in The Journal of the American Medical Association. The article quotes Dr. Renee Y. Hsia, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and the lead author of the study.

New chancellor named at UC Merced, The Merced Sun-Star

The UC Board of Regents on Wednesday appointed Georgia College and State University President Dorothy Leland as the new chancellor of UC Merced, succeeding Steve Kang to lead the research institution, which opened in 2005. The appointment was made during the regents’ regular meeting at UC San Francisco Mission Bay. In an interview with the Sun-Star, Leland said she plans to expand the university’s infrastructure, reach out to people beyond the campus and use her experience to keep a medical school on track at UC Merced.

2011-12 Best Children’s Hospitals, U.S. News & World Report

In this year’s Best Children’s Hospitals, 76 different hospitals ranked among the top 50 in at least one of 10 specialties: cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology. Those ranked include UC’s three children’s hospitals at Davis, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

UCLA opens world’s first infectious disease lab (audio), KPCC

UCLA today (May 20) opened a new Global Bio Lab that will train researchers how to test and analyze infectious diseases and respond to pandemics.

Opening of UCSD’s cardiovascular center still stalled, San Diego Union-Tribune

The opening of the $227 million UCSD Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center remains stalled while state and federal health officials wrap up their investigation of problems in the emergency departments at the university’s two hospitals.

Stanford doctors censured for giving drug pitches, ProPublica/San Francisco Chronicle

Stanford University has taken disciplinary action against five faculty members at its medical school after determining they violated school policy by giving paid promotional speeches for drug companies, a spokesman said. The move followed a ProPublica investigation in December that found Stanford and other teaching hospitals weren’t enforcing their own conflict-of-interest rules. UCSF also made the ProPublica report. Since then, the university’s compliance office has looked into about 15 possible policy violations, but spokeswoman Amy Pyle said she could not discuss the outcome of the reviews, even in general. In a statement, Pyle said the school is beefing up its conflict-of-interest office and is in the process of creating a central system to track faculty and employee conflict-of-interest disclosures.

See additional coverage: San Jose Mercury News

Revenge of the patent holders, Thomson Reuters

Patent holders may have found a new way to level the playing field when it comes to suing state universities for patent infringement. Until now, public universities have reveled in the sovereign immunity they enjoy under the Eleventh Amendment. As state entities, they’re shielded from federal court suits by private citizens—a particularly useful protection in the IP context, since so many research universities have robust patent portfolios. At the same time, they’re free to bring patent infringement suits in federal court, so they’ve been able make the most of their own IP. Those halcyon days may be over, though. Last Friday, the University of California agreed to waive its immunity and answer patent infringement claims brought by NeuroGrafix, a medical imaging company. Why, you may ask, did the UC regents give up their precious sovereign immunity?

California hospital seismic retrofitting projects overcome obstacles, Emergency Management

UC Davis is mentioned in this story about California hospital seismic retrofitting.

Sacramento State graduates first 8 students in stem cell master’s degree program, The Sacramento Bee

Of the more than 4,500 California State University, Sacramento, students set to graduate today and Saturday, eight can claim a unique distinction: They’re the first graduates of a new master’s degree program in stem cell science. California’s stem cell agency gave Sacramento State a $1.3 million grant for the master’s program. Much of the grant-funded work in this region is being done at the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures, a cutting-edge facility on Stockton Boulevard that has received more than $61 million in Prop. 71 funding.

Patients cut loose at 1st Children’s Hospital prom, San Francisco Chronicle

One year ago, UCSF’s Benioff Children’s Hospital did something unusual: It formed a prom committee. On a recent night in April, about 90 past and present adolescent patients gathered in a glow-stick-filled cafeteria, where they passed through high school’s greatest spring rite much like any other teenagers – dancing, flirting and lamenting the lack of alcohol.

50 most influential physician executives – 2011, Modern Healthcare

Modern Healthcare’s list of the 50 most influential physician executives includes UC San Francisco’s Robert Wachter.

A blood test offers clues to longevity, The New York Times

Blood tests that seek to tell people their biological age — possibly offering a clue to their longevity or how healthy they will remain — are now going on sale. But contrary to various recent media reports, the tests cannot specify how many months or years someone can expect to live. The tests measure telomeres, which are structures on the tips of chromosomes that shorten as people age. Telome Health of Menlo Park plans to begin offering a test later this year for about $200. It was co-founded by Elizabeth H. Blackburn of UC San Francisco, who shared a Nobel Prize in 2009 for discoveries related to telomeres. Dr. Sei Lee, an assistant professor at UCSF who developed a test that estimates the probability of dying within four years, said he was not sure how much telomere length testing would add.

Egyptian princess was first to have heart disease, The Associated Press

An Egyptian princess who lived more than 3,500 years ago is the oldest known person to have had clogged arteries, dispelling the myth that heart disease is a product of modern society, a new study says. To determine how common heart disease was in ancient Egypt, scientists performed computer scans on 52 mummies in Cairo and the United States. Among those that still had heart tissue, 44 had chunks of calcium stuck to their arteries — indicating clogging. “Atherosclerosis clearly existed more than 3,000 years ago,” said Adel Allam, a cardiology professor at Al Azhar University in Cairo, who led the study with Gregory Thomas, director of nuclear cardiology education at the University of California in Irvine.

Abbas Ardehali: L.A. Transplant, LA Weekly

LA Weekly profiles Dr. Abbas Ardehali, professor of cardiothoracic surgery and director of the UCLA Heart and Lung Transplant program, in its annual “Best People of L.A.” issue.  The article described Ardehali’s pioneering work in new technology that transports donor hearts in a warm and beating state.

UCLA researchers developing more accurate PSA test (video), KABC 7

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers are close to perfecting a prostate cancer screening test that could save lives, time and worry.

GoodGuide rates products on ingredients’ safety, San Francisco Chronicle

Dara O’Rourke was slathering sunscreen onto his then-3-year-old daughter several years ago when he started studying its ingredients. It turned out that the popular tube of sunscreen contained traces of potentially toxic chemicals, including one restricted in sunscreens in Japan. O’Rourke, a UC Berkeley environmental science professor who studies global supply chains, then began to research the rest of his daughter’s belongings and found that her shampoo, favorite toys and furniture all included questionable ingredients. That realization inspired O’Rourke to start GoodGuide, a resource that examines more than 101,000 consumer products and rates them on a scale of 0 to 10.

Kids get insights from brain trickery at UC Davis, The Sacramento Bee

Academically talented teens and their parents learned Sunday at UC Davis how easy it is to fool the human brain and what that reveals about how the brain works.

Science Snapshot: Peril, promise in induced stem cells, USA Today

This column cites research from UC San Diego’s Yang Xu and mentions research by UC San Francisco’s Shinya Yamanaka.

Study on multi-day ultra-marathon injury rates offers up surprises, Los Angeles Times

Researchers from the UC Davis Sports Medicine program participated in this study that found ultra-marathoners may be subjecting their bodies to one of the world’s most daunting tests of endurance, but the races may not be as rough on the body as they sound.

Stem-cell agency reaching out in Valley, The Stockton Record

With $3 billion to spend, the state’s publicly funded stem-cell agency wants you to know what it’s about. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is coming to town Saturday. The stem cell institute will host a free, five-hour program from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Hilton Stockton. The event is titled “Inflammation: The Root of All Evil?” and it includes a complimentary continental breakfast and lunch. The program will include discussions led by researchers and professors from various University of California campuses.

Op-ed: Image could use a booster shot, Los Angeles Business Journal

An op-ed by Courtney Lyder, dean of the UCLA School of Nursing, about misleading portrayals of nurses and the nursing profession on TV and in film.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of May 8

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UCLA Hospital System CEO’s prescription for success: Put patients first, Los Angeles Times

David Feinberg has gone from an upstart psychiatrist to leader of a medical empire with more than 10,000 employees by embracing a simple philosophy: Patients deserve respect and compassion.

See additional coverage: LA Weekly

Cal student walks with exoskeleton to get diploma (video), ABC 7

On Saturday, thousands of college students took the graduation walk toward a new chapter in their lives. But for one UC Berkeley student, that walk opened up a new chapter for him and the technological world. The excitement was everywhere. Graduation day signifies many different things, like adulthood and a future, but for 22-year-old, Austin Whitney, it means so much more. On this day – Austin will walk again. He’s been wheelchair bound since a car crash in 2007. UC Berkeley’s own robotics and human engineering team built an exoskeleton – specifically for Austin to use Saturday. And as thousands of fellow graduates watched, he rose to the occasion. With the exoskeleton securely bound to his body, Austin walked the seven challenging steps across the stage and to his dream.

See additional coverage: CBS News (video)

A spoonful of sugar … is toxic?, Contra Costa Times

An academic lecture that lasts nearly 90 minutes usually will get about a million yawns and, if lucky, a hundred hits on YouTube. But a recently discovered talk by a Bay Area doctor with a fresh take on the obesity epidemic recently rocketed the YouTube video to viral status. Supporting the thesis that sugar is nothing short of “poison,” Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of clinical pediatrics in the division of endocrinology at UCSF, clearly has hit a nerve. And his no-nonsense message about health and sugar is spreading through media channels like wildfire.

UCSF program lets everyone go to med school, San Francisco Chronicle

Alongside the doctors, professors, medical students and researchers at UCSF’s Cole Hall, on select nights you’ll find real estate agents, retired lawyers and high school students. The lecture series was presented by UCSF’s Mini Medical School, a program run through the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. Open to the public and free for UCSF students, the program is in its eighth year and has drawn accolades from students and professors alike for helping knock down barriers between the sometimes cloistered medical community and the sometimes information-starved general public.

UCSD project to bring HIV testing to homes (video), KGTV

A unique University of California, San Diego project will bring HIV testing to local homes.

See additional coverage: San Diego Reader

UCSD to digitally image 1,000 donated brains, San Diego Union-Tribune

UC San Diego neuroanatomist Jacopo Annese plans to create highly-detailed digital images of 1,000 donated brains over a 10-year period.

Roderic Duncan: Dancing with Alzheimer’s disease, San Francisco Chronicle

For those of us over 70 who find ourselves becoming more forgetful, the fact that there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease is a bit scary. According to what one reads, the major cause of significant loss of memory is Alzheimer’s. But, as I have discovered, it is very difficult for a concerned elder to get a dependable diagnosis of whether one actually has Alzheimer’s. This can be very scary. Weeks passed with no word of a referral, so I called and asked where the doctor had referred me. I was told it was to the UCSF Memory and Aging Center.

GOP lawmakers issue plan to balance California budget, Los Angeles Times

The Republican proposal relies on deep cuts in spending on state workers, the mentally ill and the disabled, as well as an optimistic revenue projection, and no tax extensions. Democrats attack the plan, which includes transferring prisoner medical care to the University of California or the private sector ($400 million).

UC medical workers protest over labor talks, San Diego Union-Tribune

Approximately 50 employees of UCSD Medical Center demonstrated in front of the hospital Thursday, part of statewide protests over the pace of negotiations between the University of California and the labor union that represents service and technical workers on campuses and at UC medical centers.

High-speed telemedicine network gaining steam in California, Government Technology

300 rural sites will be on a secure, high-speed medical grade network by the end of 2011, as part of the California Telehealth Network’s Rural Health Care Pilot Program. Potentially more than 850 rural sites will be able to use the network. The network is being funded by approximately $39 million in grants from the FCC, the California Emerging Technology Fund, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the federal government’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. An additional $5 million in matching funds is also being provided by the National Coalition for Health Integration, United HealthCare, California HealthCare Foundation and University of California, bringing the total to $44 million, according to the network’s website.

In new study, ‘adult’ stem cells face new hurdle, AFP

Scientists on Friday raised questions about the safety of reprogramming adult cells, an experimental technique which supporters say could one day lead to the growing of replacement tissue in the lab. “The assumption that cells derived from iPSCs are totally immune-tolerant has to be re-evaluated before considering human trials,” warned lead investigator Yang Xu, a professor of biology at the University of California at San Diego.

S.F. General Hospital starts cancer help program, San Francisco Chronicle

A growing number of hospitals and public health groups have introduced “patient navigators,” or guides trained to walk patients through every step of cancer care to make sure they get the treatment they need and gain access to a wide net of resources available to them – from financial aid to transportation and food. San Francisco General began a new patient navigator program this year for all cancers. It’s similar to a program the hospital established more than a decade ago for breast cancer patients. The new program is the second in the state – the first was at UCLA – to be started by the American Cancer Society, which is building a network of patient navigator sites around the country. The goal is to improve long-term survival rates for low-income patients diagnosed with cancer.

Why trauma victims are sent to UC Davis Med Center instead of nearby Woodland hospital, Woodland Daily Democrat

Two cars collide on West Gibson Road. One victim goes to Woodland Memorial Hospital. Another is transported to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. It’s not a question of distance or free beds or cost — it’s all a question of injury and protocol.The UC Davis Medical Center is the closest trauma center to Yolo County, which sports Woodland Memorial Hospital and Sutter Davis Hospital but lacks a dedicated trauma center.

Doctors’ mentor: a brain and heart specialist, The Orange County Register

Dr. Richard Kammerman hung up his white medical coat years ago after almost a half-century of practice, yet every Monday afternoon he’s on call. Not for the patients, but for their young doctors at the UC Irvine Family Health Center. Kammerman waits in a back office to consult with the newly graduated doctors-in-training who are still mastering exams, medications and diagnostics as part of their family medicine residency.

Doctors loath to pay for unbiased education: survey, Reuters

While doctors believe industry funding may bias their continuing medical education, they are unwilling to pay for impartial information, a new survey finds. Continuing medical education, or CME, is a requirement for most U.S. physicians who want to keep their license and board certifications. It comes in a variety of forms, including online videos, journal articles and conferences. Drugmakers and medical device companies sponsor up to 60 percent of the billion-dollar CME industry, stoking widespread worries that financial interests might be warping the way doctors treat their patients. “It’s definitely a concern,” said Dr. Jeffrey Tabas, an emergency physician at UC San Francisco, who also helps oversee the university’s CME.

Watch and wait strategy reduces number of CT scans for kids, Los Angeles Times

A study led by Children’s Hospital Boston and UC Davis concluded that children who come to the emergency room for a bump to the head in many cases should be observed for awhile before being rushed to a CT scan, which can expose them to radiation.

See additional coverage: The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis professor resigns chairmanship after controversy over new mom’s grade, The Sacramento Bee

Edward Feldman, the UC Davis professor who allegedly polled students on the grade he should give one of their fellow students who missed class because she gave birth, is stepping down as chair of the veterinary school’s department of medicine and epidemiology. Chancellor Linda Katehi asked Feldman to step down after the university concluded its investigation of his actions, UC Davis announced in a brief email Monday.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times

Fever during pregnancy, diabetes and obesity may raise autism risk, HealthDay News

The mothers of children who were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder were nearly twice as likely to report having had a fever during pregnancy than mothers of kids without autism, according to UC Davis research presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research in San Diego. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, deputy director of the UC Davis MIND Institute, discussed the results at a press conference at the meeting.

State: Reform highlights those who will benefit from health reform, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

The majority of Californians likely to be eligible for federally mandated health coverage initiatives in 2014 are those who might be least likely to excessively use costly health services: men and single and working-age people, according to two studies. As a result of federal health care law passed last year, up to nearly 4.6 million previously uninsured or underinsured Californians might be eligible for coverage through expansion of the Medi-Cal program or new California Health Benefit Exchange, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research found.

UCSF hires Dr. Jaime Sepulveda to head global health effort, San Francisco Business Times

UC San Francisco has named Jaime Sepulveda as executive director of its global health program.

Desperate Americans buy kidneys from Peru poor in fatal trade, Bloomberg

This is an in-depth feature about a growing and illicit market for organ transplants that spans the globe. The story quotes UC Berkeley anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who specializes in organ trafficking, and Gabriel Danovitch, medical director of the kidney and pancreas transplant program at UCLA.

Philip Morris Int. CEO: Cigs not that hard to quit, The Associated Press

The head of cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc. told a cancer nurse Wednesday that while cigarettes are harmful and addictive, it is not that hard to quit. The nurse, later identified as Elisabeth Gundersen from UC San Francisco, cited statistics that tobacco use kills more than 400,000 Americans and 5 million people worldwide each year. She is a member of The Nightingales Nurses, an activist group that works to focus public attention on the tobacco industry.

UCSF launches automated pharmacy, Drug Topics

Pharmacists at UC San Francisco are in the process of bringing online one of the world’s largest and most advanced robotic pharmacies. An automated picking system opened in October, 2010, and a sterile preparation and fill operation comes online this fall.

Study links anti-flame chemicals to mental harm in Latino farm children, New America Media

A Q&A with Asa Bradman, co-author of a UC Berkeley study focusing on environmental exposures to children of farmworkers in the Salinas Valley.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments (1)

In the media: Week of May 1

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

State funds a stem cell clinical trial for the first time, San Diego Union-Tribune

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine made history Wednesday by awarding taxpayer funding for the first time to study an experimental stem cell treatment on humans. The $25 million grant went to Geron of Menlo Park, which last October began injecting immature versions of special neural cells derived from embryonic stem cells into patients paralyzed by spinal cord injuries. The therapy was developed at UC Irvine. The governing board of the institute also awarded $37.7 million Wednesday in basic research grants to UC San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla and seven other research centers in other parts of California, including UC Berkeley, UCLA and UCSF. Read a UC roundup.

See additional coverage: KPCC (audio), Los Angeles Times

Recapturing the joys of parenthood, San Jose Mercury News

Sometimes the joys of parenthood can be rudely knocked aside by the sharp elbows of drudgery, anxiety and resentment that often accompany caring for children. And apparently it’s so common for mothers, especially, to feel stressed out and annoyed with their lives and their kids that a whole slew of new books are promising to make them Happy Moms again. Among the books parents can pick up is “Raising Happiness” by UC Berkeley sociologist Christine Carter, published in 2010. Carter is quoted.

Figuring the odds, The New York Times

What if your doctor, making use of a Web site that collected a number of tested geriatric scales, could enter information about your history and your health, and then predict with reasonable accuracy your odds of living another year, or four, or nine? What if you, with a slight fib, could log onto that same site and find that information yourself? In a few months, this will no longer be a hypothetical question. Three San Francisco physicians and researchers, palliative care specialists teaching at UC San Francisco are developing a Web site that offers individual prognoses based on 18 to 20 different geriatric prognostic indexes.

UCI scientists search for baby killer, The Orange County Register

The mark of a champion isn’t about winning. It’s about never giving up. It’s been five years since the death of James Surber, at age 15 months, and just eight months since the death of his baby brother, Trevor, at just six months. Yet as I explore the laboratories at UC Irvine on a recent afternoon, scientists are hard at work trying to figure out what killed the boys. And when they succeed, they will start trying to find a cure.

Read it and weep, crybabies, The Wall Street Journal

Tears of men and women are different. Why it can be hard to avoid choking up. UCSF neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine is quoted.

UCSF doctor questions Taser studies (video), ABC 7

The debate about Tasers has intensified again. Two UCSF professors have published a paper that questions the validity of some studies done about the safety of Tasers and as ABC7 found out, it has to do with who pays the bill. It’s all about the research, or in some cases, research about the research. For that reason, UCSF cardiologist Byron Lee, M.D., made headlines on Friday.

Doctors’ use of telemedicine researched by UC Merced students, The Merced Sun-Star

A top concern for physicians about telemedicine is the risk of jeopardizing the quality of patients’ care, UC Merced students who conducted research on the topic said.

Medical technology firms in Sacramento grow 20 percent since 2008, The Sacramento Bee

Medical technology and biosciences are providing a much-needed transfusion of innovation and new companies to the hard-hit Sacramento region. Since 2008, the number of medical device makers, bioscience companies and pharmaceutical and diagnostic startups in the capital has grown 20 percent – to 104 companies, according to a new report by the Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance (SARTA). Local business advocates say Sacramento is well positioned to capitalize on the med tech boom given the region’s robust health care industry and the vast medical and biological sciences resources at UC Davis and CSU Sacramento.

Drew University gets new president-designate, Los Angeles Times

The struggling Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science has a new president-designate — David M. Carlisle, who now heads a California governmental agency. Carlisle, the outgoing director of the state Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, says he will focus on ensuring the school regains full accreditation. He also hopes to maintain good relationships with the University of California and foundations, while attracting new donors. A coalition of universities, hospitals and the California Endowment took over Drew’s board last year in a last-ditch effort to save the campus.

UC Davis veterinary medicine ceremony, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis celebrates the groundbreaking on the first phase of a $354 million building program for its School of Veterinary Medicine.

Physicians scarce for Latinos in California, California Healthline

There are two main hurdles to getting quality health care among the Latino population, according to David Hayes-Bautista, founding director of UCLA medical school’s Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture. Access is the No. 1 issue and linguistic competency is No. 2, Hayes-Bautista said. Hayes-Bautista was part of a forum convened last week in Sacramento by the Latino Community Development Foundation — a forum that included Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley and a number of state Senate and Assembly members.

UC Davis med student receives Fulbright Award, The Sacramento Bee

A fourth-year medical student at UC Davis has received a prestigious Fulbright Award to conduct research overseas. Annahita K. Sarcon will conduct cardiac stem cell research in Pamplona, Spain. The award supports full-time graduate study for nine months, beginning in September.

UCSF’s support group for parents of intersex kids, San Francisco Chronicle

UCSF is starting a parent support group for people with “disorder of sex differentiation,” or DSD, which is the medical term for hermaphrodite, a word that is no longer used by doctors and patients.

A life without food: Quest for a cure continues, Oroville Mercury Register

After a parade of hospital and doctor visits that led nowhere, Hayley Ennis, now 16, and her mother, Jill Ennis, were looking to a new hope. In March 2010, Hayley’s continuing search for a cure took her to the UC San Francisco Medical Center, and the first visit was probably the worst day of the whole ordeal.

Immigrants eat high-fat food to fit in, UPI

Immigrants and their U.S. born children eat high-calorie food to prove their American-ness and to fit in, researchers say. Corresponding author Sapna Cheryan of the University of Washington in Seattle and study co-author Maya Guendelman, a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley, whose parents immigrated from Chile, suspected immigrants might use food as a way to appear more American.

Letters: Cardiovascular center remains on hold, San Diego Union-Tribune

The story “State orders fixes at 2 UCSD emergency rooms” (SignOn San Diego, April 22) highlights a need for a better system of compassionate and coordinated care among all of our hospitals and nursing facilities to appropriately treat patients long before urgent care is needed, writes Duane Roth, CEO of CONNECT.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of April 24

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Kaiser, UC Davis rescue Sacramento student flu clinics, The Sacramento Bee

Kaiser Permanente and UC Davis Medical Center have stepped up to pay the cost of providing flu shots to Sacramento County’s neediest children.

Dr. Richard Olney in last stages, study of disease, San Francisco Chronicle

Dr. Richard Olney is racing to finish what is almost certain to be his last research paper. The 63-year-old UCSF neurologist is considered one of the country’s top clinical specialists for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, popularly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is also the reason Olney is in a hurry to finish his paper: He was diagnosed with ALS in 2004, and after a long period of relative stability, the disease appears to be rapidly winning out over the doctor.

Simple quiz speeds diagnosis of autism in infants, The Wall Street Journal

A brief screening in a pediatrician’s office can detect autism-like symptoms in children as young as 12 months old, giving them an important head start on treatment, according to a study published Thursday. “This does show that a respectable percentage of babies who eventually get a diagnosis [of autism-spectrum disorders] show subtle signs at one year,” said Karen Pierce, lead author of the study and assistant director of the UC San Diego’s Autism Center of Excellence. “The only chance we have right now in changing that path to having full-blown symptoms is early intervention, and there’s no reason not to try.”

See additional coverage: San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: Reducing infections in U.S. hospitals, Health.com

This op-ed by UC Regent Sherry Lansing highlights the Surgical Infections Quality Improvement Project, a pilot project at UCLA that aims to develop a set of guidelines and best practices that can help hospitals reduce costly and dangerous surgical site infections. Dr. Richard J. Shemin, Robert and Kelly Day professor and chief of cardiothoracic surgery, who will oversee this pilot project, and Dr. Daniel Z. Uslan, assistant professor of infectious diseases and the project’s principal investigator, are cited.

1st stem-cell patient reports feeling in legs, The Orange County Register

The first patient to receive a human embryonic stem-cell treatment for paralysis from a spinal-cord injury says he has regained some feeling in his legs. Timothy Atchison of Alabama, 21, partially paralyzed in a Sept. 25 car crash, told the Washington Post that he’s begun to feel slight sensation where there was no sensation before — for example, a sense of relief when a bowling ball is lifted from his lap, or discomfort when he pulls on hairs on his legs. While the report is anecdotal and is not scientifically verified, Hans Keirstead, the UC Irvine stem-cell researcher who invented the treatment used on Atchison, said he was nevertheless thrilled by the news.

UCSF study takes closer look at calorie restrictors, San Francisco Chronicle

Trent Arsenault has eaten the same breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every day for the past four or five years: a fruit smoothie in the morning, a spinach salad at noon and another fruit smoothie after work. Every now and then he’ll add a snack to his day. Maybe a spoonful of almond butter or a few walnuts. All in all, Arsenault consumes about 1,800 calories a day – or several hundred calories fewer than what a typical man his size would expect to eat. Now researchers at UCSF are looking at a group of 28 people – including Arsenault – who strictly control their calorie intake.

Doc with rural background is a champion for community medicine (audio), KPBS

It’s hard enough getting health care if you cant afford health insurance, but imagine living in a community where there is only one doctor for every 9 thousand people. Dr. Raul Ruiz comes from the Coachella Valley and he is passionate about turning that trend around. He himself broke out of his community’s stereotypes and forged a new path that took him to Harvard and back again. Earlier this year, Ruiz was appointed senior associate dean for community engagement and partnerships in the UC Riverside School of Medicine.

Kids with ADHD more likely to use drugs, analysis finds, USA Today

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are up to three times more likely than other kids to use, abuse or become dependent on substances such as nicotine, cocaine and marijuana in adolescence and as young adults, new research suggests. The study, by psychologists at UCLA and the University of South Carolina-Columbia, was funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

150 Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business named, San Francisco Business Times

One-hundred-fifty executives have been named the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business for 2011 by the San Francisco Business Times. The list includes Susan Marqusee of QB3 and UC Berkeley, UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, and UCSF Vice Chancellor Barbara French.

UC ex-doctor Kevess denies sex assault charges, San Francisco Chronicle

A doctor who worked for UC Berkeley’s health center for more than 20 years pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he sexually assaulted patients. Robert Martin Kevess, 52, of Oakland assaulted six male patients since 2006 while working at the University Health Services Tang Center at 2222 Bancroft Way just south of the campus, according to Alameda County prosecutors. Read UC Berkeley’s open letter to the campus community.

UC Davis professor wins $4.8 million grant to fight child obesity, The Sacramento Bee

A UC Davis professor and national expert on health issues won a $4.8 million grant Tuesday to combat child obesity in the Central Valley.

See additional coverage: Capital Public Radio (audio)

Hope builds for treating intellectual disabilities, Los Angeles Times

“People haven’t thought about what it would be like to reverse intellectual disability or mental retardation,” says Dr. Randi Hagerman, medical director of UC Davis’ MIND Institute, who ran the minocycline study in which Chase was enrolled. “We now think it may be possible.” It’s a goal as controversial as it is ambitious. For decades, activists and parents championed inclusion for those with what was until recently called “mental retardation” (the preferred term now is “intellectual disability” or “developmental disability”).

UC Davis lab mistreats monkeys, TV ad alleges, The Sacramento Bee

An animal rights group has produced a television commercial charging UC Davis and three other University of California campuses of mistreating monkeys during laboratory research. UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell characterized the ad as an attempt to discredit animal research that offers benefits in fighting disease and providing knowledge on conditions including malaria, HIV, allergies, Alzheimer’s and autism.

See related coverage: Role of chimps in research debated, McClatchy

UCSD to start five-year study of Parkinson’s disease, City News Service

The UC San Diego School of Medicine is embarking on a five-year study of Parkinson’s disease in partnership with a foundation created by actor Michael J. Fox, the school announced.

Oxygen’s medical channels, San Diego Union-Tribune

This article describes hyperbaric oxygen therapy at UC San Diego’s new wound care center in Encinitas.

UCSD grabbed $65 million for research in March, San Diego Union-Tribune

UC San Diego pulled in about $65.5 million in research funds in March for projects ranging from exploring the use of gene therapy to treat Alzheimer’s disease to monitoring elections in Africa. The figure is about $20 million less than the university obtained during the same month a year ago. The decline was primarily due to a major drop in the federal stimulus money that was being used to shore up the economy during the height of the recession.

Sleep-deprived rats take ‘brain naps’ (audio), NPR Talk of the Nation

Christopher Colwell, professor of psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute, is interviewed.

Live chat: Best exercises for people with multiple sclerosis, Los Angeles Times

Dr. Barbara Giesser, professor of neurology and medical director of the Marilyn Hilton MS Achievement Center at UCLA, was featured in a May 2 Los Angeles Times live webcast about the best exercises for people with multiple sclerosis. Giesser responded to questions submitted by readers.

UCSF doctors try out new laparoscopic equipment, San Francisco Chronicle

Dr. Jocelyn Chapman frowned and tossed down her tools as she failed again on the surgical simulator. “This would be a lot easier with a jelly bean,” she said, frustration edging into her voice. Chapman, a third-year gynecology resident at UCSF, was playing with a video-game-type machine that let her practice laparoscopic surgery techniques on slippery little beans – not the sugar-coated kind – instead of human beings. She’s done similar training in the past in UCSF’s simulator labs, but Friday’s practice had a new twist – aside from having rare access to more advanced equipment, her lessons were taking place on an 85-foot truck parked in front of UCSF’s Mount Zion Hospital.

S.F. supes take hard look at hospital costs, San Francisco Chronicle

Projected annual health care costs of nearly $500 million to cover San Francisco’s employees and retirees this year prompted a Board of Supervisors committee Thursday to take a hard look at hospital pricing and consolidation in the city. Sutter Health controls 44 percent of the hospital beds in San Francisco, followed by Catholic Healthcare West with 28 percent and UCSF with 26 percent, according to the Pacific Business Group on Health, a San Francisco coalition that represents large employers statewide.

State mental health outreach program stops in Salinas for advice on reaching Latinos, The Salinas Californian

A visit to Salinas may help address the state’s inability to reach out to Latinos with mental health services, officials hope.In a meeting Wednesday, researchers from the University California, Davis, and other mental health workers hope that the community can help them solve the puzzle of how best to provide services to the state’s growing Latino population.

Girls less likely than boys to be on kidney transplant list, HealthDay News

Girls are much less likely than boys to be placed on a kidney transplant waiting list, a new study finds. There were no obvious reasons, such as medical factors or family preference, to account for this gender difference, said the researchers at the UC Davis School of Medicine.

Students learn animal care at UC Davis Veterinary Medicine and Research Center, Visalia Times-Delta

Two undergraduate students helped perform what Terry Lehenbauer called the veterinary version of “CSI” on Monday. Six dead calves from a Tulare County calf ranch were being examined by students in a pathology lab south of Tulare to help determine the cause of their death. “In younger calves, it tends to be a widespread infection,” said Lehenbauer, the associate director for food systems at the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine and Research Center.

Pot shop pledges $50K for UC Davis cancer outreach, Sacramento Business Journal

A nonprofit pot shop called Fruitridge Health & Wellness Collective has made a five-year, $50,000 pledge to support breast and prostate cancer outreach, education and support programs at the UC Davis Health System.

Snail memory study offers hope to trauma victims, Reuters

Scientists have managed to erase memories in common marine snails, a finding that could lead to new treatments for human victims of post-traumatic stress disorder, the researchers said on Tuesday. In a study conducted at UCLA, neuroscientists demonstrated that blocking the activity of a key enzyme kept the Aplysia snails from cringing when touched in a once-painful spot.

Kaiser applies for trauma III status in Vacaville, Sacramento Business Journal

Kaiser Permanente has submitted a formal application to provide Level III trauma services at its Vacaville hospital in Solano County by the end of the year. Solano is one of the few counties of its size in California that does not have a designated trauma center within its boundaries. There are about 1,000 trauma cases annually in the county, and 42 percent are transferred to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento or John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, state figures show.

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Match Day at UC San Diego School of Medicine

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UC Davis: Investigating liver cancer disparities

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