CATEGORY: In the media

In the media: Week of July 15

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC Riverside makes rare second attempt to add medical school, Los Angeles Times

UC Riverside didn’t give up after being denied accreditation for a medical school, and officials hope that new funding will mean students can enroll next year. Those quoted include G. Richard Olds, a tropical-disease expert who is the founding dean of the UC Riverside medical school; student Regina Inchizu; and John Stobo, the UC system’s senior vice president for health sciences and services. A follow-up editorial says now is not the time for a new UC medical school.

California faces headwinds in easing doctor shortage, CHCF Center for Health Reporting/Ventura County Star

The Supreme Court’s validation of President Obama’s landmark health law sets off a scramble across California to find enough primary care doctors and other professionals to serve an estimated 3 million newly insured patients by 2014. The article mentions the UC Riverside School of Medicine and the PRIME program at UC Merced with ties to UC Davis and UCSF-Fresno and cites a UCLA study.  G. Richard Olds, founding dean of the UC Riverside School of Medicine, is quoted.

UCLA Medical Center earns high marks in U.S. News rankings, Los Angeles Times

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center nabbed top honors among California hospitals in the latest U.S. News & World Report annual rankings. The Los Angeles medical center ranked No. 5 nationally in the publisher’s annual honor roll of best hospitals. Only one other hospital in the state, UC San Francisco Medical Center, made the national honor roll of 17 hospitals. It ranked No. 13. All five UC medical centers were ranked by U.S. News — read UC Health story.

See additional coverage: San Diego Union-Tribune, The Orange County Register, California Healthline, U.S. News & World Report

UC to hike professional degree fees, San Francisco Chronicle

Over the objections of student protesters, the University of California regents hiked fees by up to 35 percent for dozens of professional degree programs – from nursing to business – even as the board agreed to freeze this year’s undergraduate tuition if voters approve a tax measure on the November ballot.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee

California university asks for its own board, Nature News

UC San Francisco released a series of proposals aimed at fixing finances at the biomedical powerhouse.

UCLA Mobile Clinic Project benefits both sides of the clipboards, Los Angeles Times

UCLA mobile clinic fosters students’ skills and compassion as they care for needy patients.

California health care exchange prepares for 2014 launch, The Sacramento Bee

Peter V. Lee wants to make buying health insurance “as easy as buying a book on Amazon.” He heads the nascent California Health Benefit Exchange, the cornerstone of the state’s effort to put in place the federal health care overhaul. Lee envisions that 15 months from now, uninsured California residents will log onto any computer to shop for health care the same way they purchase novels. All told, the exchange expects to connect about 2 million Californians with health insurers by 2019. Starting in 2014, it will be California’s vehicle to deliver subsidized care to people who earn income up to four times the federal poverty level, currently $92,200 for a family of four. The largest share will be people who lack insurance now, though hundreds of thousands who purchase health care on the open market or receive it through work will also use the exchange, according to a simulation conducted by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Safety-net hospitals stand to lose funding under reform law, California Healthline/Reuters

New payment procedures under the Affordable Care Act that will grant bonus payments to facilities that score higher on certain performance measures, such as patient satisfaction surveys, could have negative effects for safety-net hospitals, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Reuters reports. In an editorial accompanying the study, Katherine Neuhausen of UCLA and Mitchell Katz of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services agreed that funding cuts are not the most effective strategy.

Task force starts with population health, California Healthline

The state’s recently formed “Let’s Get Healthy California” task force convened Tuesday for the first of four scheduled webinars. The meetings are part of the task force’s plan to eventually organize the unruly health care system in California by creating a priority list and action plan for what needs to be done, according to Diana Dooley, Secretary of Health and Human Services. The article quotes Ken Kizer, director of the Institute for Population Health Improvement at UC Davis and the moderator of Tuesday’s webinar.

Donate your body to science, receive a free memorial (video), KABC 7

UCLA’s Donated Body Program is featured in this segment about options available for people who wish to reduce funeral costs by donating their bodies to medical research.  Program director Dean Fisher is quoted.

Job growth expected from stem cell grants, Sacramento Business Journal

Almost $80 million in grants for stem cell research and related technologies has flowed to the Sacramento region since voters approved a ballot measure in 2004 to jump start the industry with $3 billion in state bond financing. So far $1.4 billion has been awarded statewide by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine — and more is coming. Up to $240 million in new disease-specific grants will be announced July 26. Researchers at UC Davis, which already has received the lion’s share of local CIRM stem-cell funding, hope to nab an additional $54 million.

FDA approves Truvada as HIV preventive, San Francisco Chronicle

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the marketing of the first drug shown to curb the transmission of the HIV virus, a development heralded by AIDS advocates and physicians as a turning point in the battle against the decades-long epidemic. Truvada, made by Gilead Sciences in Foster City, was approved in 2004 to treat people already infected with HIV, but studies have shown the drug is also effective at reducing the risk of contracting the virus. The article quotes Robert Grant, a UCSF professor and a researcher with the Gladstone Institute for Virology and Immunology who led one of the two studies on which the FDA approval was based.

Cancer Support Community’s new service, San Francisco Chronicle

Open to Options, inspired by a similar program at UCSF, uses counselors to show patients how to express their concerns to their doctors and helps them formulate a list of questions that will be given to their doctors in advance of medical appointments.

Noose hung in UCSF warehouse (video), ABC 7

The ABC7 News I-Team has learned that UCSF Medical Center is dealing with a racially charged incident — a noose hung in an office out in the open. It happened July 10, deep inside the UCSF Medical Center building on Parnassus Avenue in the inventory warehouse for facilities management.

EPA hears public views of changes to soot standard, The Sacramento Bee

Several dozen people attended the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Sacramento Hearing on national air quality standards Thursday. Tony Wexler, director of the Air Quality Research Center at UC Davis, believes the financial cost of clean air is justified. “It’s cheaper to have stricter regulations, because health costs are much higher,” he said. “Industry groups only see the costs in front of them.”

New sheriff in town (audio), KPCC The Loh Down on Science

This piece reports on a new mouthwash developed by Wenyuan Shi, professor of oral biology at the UCLA School of Dentistry, that was shown in a study to effectively kill the bacteria responsible for causing tooth decay and cavities.

Tablets increase UCLA neurosurgery residents’ study time, FierceHealthIT

Students in a UCLA neurosurgery residency training program given tablets and access to a digital library of resources studied more outside the hospital, according to an article published in Neurosurgery. Last academic year, Harvard and Yale made iPads part of their medical school curriculum. Yale handed out 520 iPads to all of its medical students, while Harvard created a set of apps just for medical students. They joined medical schools including Stanford, Brown, the University of California Irvine and the University of Minnesota in adding a technology component.

Questioning surgery for early prostate cancer, The New York Times

A new study shows that prostate cancer surgery, which often leaves men impotent or incontinent, does not appear to save the lives of men with early-stage disease, who account for most cases, and many of these men would do just as well to choose no treatment at all. Leonard Marks, a professor of urology at UCLA, is quoted.

UCSD health clinic gets new landlord at Hillcrest, San Diego Business Journal

Coast Income Properties Inc. of San Diego has purchased a Hillcrest medical office building known as Lewis Medical for $9.7 million. The building is fully leased by UC San Diego Health System, which will continue to operate a primary care clinic there, according to a statement from brokerage firm Colliers International.

Expert paints bleak air pollution picture to children’s asthma group, Long Beach Press-Telegram

John Froines, professor emeritus of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, is featured in this article about a talk he gave concerning increasing levels of air pollution in California.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of July 8

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Program trains docs to treat underserved groups, HealthyCal.org

The San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (PRIME) might not be that well known by residents yet, but it could improve health care for those who live in the eight-county area for years to come. The program is training doctors, most of whom are from the San Joaquin Valley, who want to treat underserved populations in the area. Currently, the San Joaquin Valley has too few doctors, including both primary care physicians and specialists. The SJ PRIME is a collaboration between the University of California at Merced, the UC Davis School of Medicine and UCSF Fresno’s Medical Education Program. It is the sixth and latest addition to PRIMEs in place at UC medical schools.

The Measured Man, The Atlantic

Larry Smarr, an astrophysicist turned computer scientist, has a new project: charting his every bodily function in minute detail. What he’s discovering may be the future of health care. Smarr directs a world-class research center on two University of California campuses, San Diego and Irvine, called the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, or “Calit2.”

Cal doctor to lead London Olympic U.S. medical team (video), CBS San Francisco

At the UC Berkeley Tang Urgent Care Center, Dr. Cindy Chang takes care of the sick and injured. But soon, the Cal physician will be taking care of the health and well-being of a very elite group of athletes: the 525 Americans who will be competing in the upcoming London Olympics. Chang is the chief medical officer for Team USA. She’s the first woman, as well as the first Asian-American, to hold the position.

See additional coverage: Berkeleyside

Biomedical campus seeks freer rein, Nature News

It might seem that the University of California, San Francisco, has it all: dozens of scenic sites and a $1.5-billion state-of-the-art hospital under construction along the bay. A leading biomedical research center, the university won $533 million in funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health in 2011, more than any other institution except Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. But facing an uncertain health-care market, flat federal funding and a flagging state budget, UCSF is pursuing one thing it does not yet have: autonomy. University Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann is scheduled to discuss relaxing ties with the greater UC system at a meeting of the UC Regents at UCSF’s Mission Bay site on July 18.

San Francisco surgeon seeks partial recount of anti-tobacco Prop. 29, Los Angeles Times

Dr. John Maa, a member of the American Heart Association, files a request for a partial recount of the June 5 tobacco tax ballot initiative, which lost by less than 1 percentage point. Maa is a professor at UC San Francisco.

Truvada pill urged for AIDS prevention after promising studies, Los Angeles Times

As the U.S. Food and Drug Administrationweighs approval of a radical new method of AIDS prevention — a prescription pill taken once a day — advocates say the results of experimental trials in sub-Saharan Africa argue strongly for the drug’s adoption in the United States. The article quotes Robert M. Grant of UC San Francisco’s Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, who worked on one of the new studies.

Harnessing gene codes as sleuths of food ills, The New York Times

A new public database aims to catalog the genetic codes of 100,000 types of bacteria found in food, vastly increasing the amount of data that scientists can use to trace the causes of food-borne illness. The free database, being set up at the University of California, Davis, will enable scientists to pinpoint not only what food carries the bacteria responsible for a given outbreak — raw tuna in sushi, for example — but also what country it came from. And while responses to such outbreaks have typically taken weeks, the new database is expected to reduce that to days.

Lacy Westbrook has brain surgery, ESPN Los Angeles

UCLA incoming freshman offensive lineman Lacy Westbrook underwent surgery to repair a brain aneurysm and was in stable condition Thursday evening, according to a spokesperson at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Westbrook was admitted to the hospital after he collapsed while jogging earlier this week. He is expected to make a full recovery, the hospital spokesperson said.

Special Reports: California hospitals take issue with Leapfrog Group’s recent report card on patient safety (audio), California Healthline

In this special report, experts discuss a recent Leapfrog Group report card that gave more than 40% of California hospitals a grade of C or lower for patient safety. Some hospital officials criticized the way Leapfrog Group calculated the hospital patient safety scores, saying the data used were more than two years old. However, Leapfrog Group officials say the report card accurately reflects hospital performance and should encourage facilities to step up their patient safety efforts. UCLA is mentioned. The transcript of this report is available as a PDF.

University of California students reflect on proposed smoking bans, The Sacramento Bee

It’s hard to find people smoking on the UC Davis campus these days. On a recent visit during summer recess, nobody was smoking in the quads or social areas. According to a recent survey, more than 90 percent of students at UC Davis are nonsmokers. When asked their reaction to UC President Mark Yudof’s quest to make all UC campuses smoke-free by the end of 2013, the students shrugged.

California pot research backs therapeutic claims, The Sacramento Bee

UC medical researchers slipped an ingredient in chili peppers beneath the skin of marijuana smokers to see if pot could relieve acute pain. It could – at certain doses.

UCLA medical researchers study copper to help fight hospital staph infections (audio), KPCC

UCLA researchers are going to war against a common, sometimes-deadly hospital bacterial infection. Their weapon of choice? Copper.

What food issues mean to health care, California Healthline

A new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research found that 3.8 million Californians in 2009 had times during the year when they could not afford food.

Patients avoid disagreeing with doctor, may ignore advice, Reuters

This article reports on a study led by Dominick Frosch, associate adjunct professor of general internal medicine and health services research, showing that only one in seven patients will speak up if they disagree with a treatment plan from their doctors. Frosch is quoted.

UCSF RunSafe clinic boosts older runner, San Francisco Chronicle

Bruce Coury, 63, was a recreational jogger for most of his adult life, running about 10 miles a week just to stay healthy. Then he ran a 5K race and realized he was pretty fast for his age. When he ratcheted up his training he got to experience the joys – and the pitfalls, mostly in the form of aches and pains and minor injuries – of competitive running. Earlier this year, Coury and his wife, both residents of Nevada City, went to the UCSF RunSafe clinic, where sports medicine experts analyzed their running form and gave them tips for treating and preventing injuries. Coury’s 5K personal best time is 23:55. He’s signed up for his first 10K race in August. Dr. Anthony Luke, medical director of the San Francisco Marathon who heads the RunSafe clinic, is quoted in another San Francisco Chronicle story about extreme distance running.

New study: People prefer choices that come first, San Francisco Chronicle

In the complex process of making decisions, new UC Berkeley research shows one option trumps all: the first one. This health research roundup also mentions that a protein in humans has been found to weaken the effectiveness of a common lung-cancer drug, according to a team of UCSF researchers who say the discovery could lead to new, more powerful medicines.

A new look at the living habits of bacteria could help beat antibiotic resistance, Popular Science

In an effort to outfox antibiotic resistance, a team of researchers based out of UC Berkeley — and including none other than Nobel laureate Steven Chu — want to build a wrecking ball that tears down bacterial cities. It’s not quite there yet, but in a paper released today the research group announced that via a new imaging technique it has for the first time revealed the structure of these biofilms — and where they are vulnerable to attack.

Obesity a sentence to early death? Not so fast, says new study, Los Angeles Times

A new study by UC Davis has found that hypertension and type 2 diabetes, while common ailments among obese patients, cause greater risk of death than extra weight on its own. At any given age, an obese person who does not have these illnesses is no more likely to die in the next six years than is a person of the same age who is of normal weight.

Anti-venom for widow spider bites being tested locally (video), KGTV

Researchers at UCSD Medical Center are testing a new anti-venom for bites from black and brown widow spiders.

Why your sunburn hurts, NBC San Diego

It’s been said that pain is just weakness leaving the body — the same is true for sunburns, a new finding from UC San Diego researchers found.

Commentary: The battle over the ACA has only just begun, NAPH Safety Net Matters

The recent Supreme Court decision relative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went the way that exactly zero pundits predicted, writes Aaron Byzak, UC San Diego Health System’s director of government and community affairs, in a blog post.

Viewpoints: Calling the individual mandate a tax increase distorts its effect, The Sacramento Bee

Angelo DeSantis, professor at UC Davis School of Law, has written an op-ed piece regarding the health care reform and how opponents referring to it as a tax distort the individual mandate’s effect on most Americans.

See related coverage: The Washington Post

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of July 1

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Medical school: New bill says school should get $15 million, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

Newly amended legislation calls on lawmakers to put UC Riverside’s medical school at the top of the list for any money from the settlement of a federal lawsuit against the Senior Care Action Network health plan.

High Desert faces doctor shortage, Victorville Daily Press

President Barack Obama’s health-care reform is expected to add millions of newly insured patients in California, helping them stay healthy rather than waiting for them to get rushed into an emergency room. But the state needs to find enough primary care doctors to handle the influx of patients. And the irony is that inland communities such as the High Desert — which is already facing an acute shortage of doctors — will have more residents added to Medi-Cal compared to wealthier coastal areas. The article quotes Richard Olds, founding dean of the UC Riverside School of Medicine. The school, scheduled to open in 2013 pending accreditation approval, was created to tackle the shortage of primary care doctors in the Inland Empire.

In paradox, obesity a factor in heart failure, but may limit effects, Los Angeles Times

It’s a strange paradox: Obesity is one of the main contributing factors to heart failure but, once the problem develops, obesity mitigates its effects. “Heart failure may be one of the few health conditions where extra weight may prove to be protective,” said Dr. Tamara B. Horwich, a cardiologist at UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine. New research by Horwich and her colleagues quantifies the magnitude of the benefit from being overweight and for the first time shows that the effects are comparable for men and women.

Trauma closer to home, The Stockton Record

Trauma, defined in medical terms as serious injury caused by accident or violence, is the leading cause of death in San Joaquin County for younger residents. The delivery of trauma care in San Joaquin County has essentially remained unchanged since the late 1980s,” according to a new draft trauma plan being circulated for public review and comment. The county plan also calls for UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento to provide pediatric trauma services as well as treatment for adult major burn patients and trauma patients with acute spinal cord injury.

5 vet aid groups to benefit from new fundraising, The Associated Press

This article announced that UCLA’s Operation Mend program will be one of five military-related organizations to benefit from Veteran Support Fund, a fundraising campaign led by three families.

See additional coverage: The Orange County Register

UCSD researchers block pathway to cancer cell replication, City News Service

Inhibiting a pathway used by cells that cause pediatric leukemia might lead to treatments for the disease and other forms of cancer, according to results of a study released today by the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Stanford studies monks’ meditation, compassion, San Francisco Chronicle

This story about the emerging field of meditative science quotes Emiliana Simon-Thomas, science director for the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and Clifford Saron, a research neuroscientist at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain.

Shift to medical home may not increase patient satisfaction, American Medical News

This article about the “medical home” concept in health care covers research by Dr. Robin Clarke, a physician in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, suggesting that an assessment tool measuring whether a community health center functions as a “medical home” does not adequately evaluate diabetes care. Clarke is quoted.

Lesbian and bisexual women wanted for UCLA study, KPCC

This story reports that the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center is recruiting minorities, veterans and older women for focus groups on the healthcare needs of lesbian and bisexual women.

Inside Medcine: Top docs in airline magazines … says who?, The Sacramento Bee

Michael Wilkes, professor of medicine at UC Davis, has written an op-ed piece on “Top Doctors in America” and how these declarations are misleading journalism and medical promotion. “Health care is not a competition,” he said. “We can and should expect all licensed doctors to be excellent.”


CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of June 24

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Teaching hospitals, medical students applaud Supreme Court’s health-care ruling, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, in a 5-4 decision that caught many observers by surprise, upheld a sweeping health-care overhaul that provides insurance coverage to 32 million more people, allows students to stay on their parents’ insurance policies until age 26, and offers a mixed bag of incentives and potential challenges to teaching hospitals. This article quotes Catherine R. Lucey, vice dean for education at the UC San Francisco School of Medicine.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Daily News, The Orange County Register

UC Davis study: Hispanics shorted on mental health care, The Fresno Bee

Hispanics in the central San Joaquin Valley and the state are not getting the mental-health services they need, a UC Davis report released Monday said.

See additional coverage: The Sacramento Bee

Greater Good Science Center: On the fine art of gratitude, Berkeleyside

Emiliana Simon-Thomas, the new science director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, is interviewed.

U.S. paid extra $13 billion for some veterans’ care: study, Reuters

Kenneth Kizer, professor with the UC Davis Health System, is one of the authors of a study that has found the U.S. government paid billions of dollars for the medical care of some older veterans twice. “What we’re saying is that the government needs to find a way to fix these billing services,” he said.

Immigrants are crucial to innovation, study says, The New York Times

This article about major innovations by foreign-born researchers at the nation’s top research universities highlights Wenyuan Shi, professor of oral biology at the UCLA School of Dentistry, and his creation of a sugar-free lollipop that kills the bacterium that causes tooth decay.

Many migraines can be prevented with treatments, but few people use them (audio), NPR

This story interviews Dr. Charles Flippen, associate professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Dr. Andrew Charles, Luskin Chair in Migraine and Headache Studies and vice chair of neurology, for a story spotlighting treatments available for migraine.

10 things to know about University of California Irvine Medical Center, Becker’s Hospital Review

The UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange is a health care beacon in Orange County, boasting some of the most advanced diagnostic and treatment facilities in the state and country.

Koala chlamydia and Doberman OCD: the human-animal disease crossover (audio), KPCC The Madeleine Brand Show

This story reports on research by Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, director of imaging at the UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, comparing physical and mental disorders in animals and humans. Her book, “Zoobiquity,” looks at the species-spanning nature of illness. She is interviewed.

Nonprofit groups announce $30 million campaign to help veterans, MSNBC

This article covers a new support fund that will direct donations to UCLA’s Operation Mend.

UC Berkeley doctor sued over patient’s death, San Francisco Chronicle

A former UC Berkeley doctor charged with sexually assaulting patients has been named in a civil suit filed by the parents of an alumnus who say he committed suicide in Southern California because he had been molested by the physician.

Telemedicine tackles mental health treatment, InformationWeek

A new report from the California HealthCare Foundation says that technology may help break down some barriers in mental health treatment. UC Davis psychiatrist Peter Yellowlees said in the report that videoconferencing can make psychotherapy more appealing to some patients, helping to overcome any stigma associated with depression. “People are often more honest on computers than face-to-face,” he said.


CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of June 17

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

High-profile colloquium in California features the Effective Health Care Program’s comparative effectiveness resources, AHRQ Partners in Action

On April 27, the University of California Center for Health Quality and Innovation held a colloquium of experts focused on improving health care delivery. The center invited the Effective Health Care Program representatives to present and talk one-on-one with attendees about comparative effectiveness research and how to use research findings when making treatment decisions. The colloquium included more than 200 UC executives, clinicians, and research fellows, as well as representatives from California Health Care Safety Net Institute and Kaiser Permanente.

California to lose big if Supreme Court scraps U.S. healthcare law, Los Angeles Times

If the Supreme Court scraps the Affordable Care Act in the coming days, California will lose out on as much as $15 billion annually in new federal money slated to come its way, dealing what state officials say would be a critical blow to efforts to expand coverage to the poor and uninsured. The article cites a study by UC Berkeley and UCLA and quotes Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times column, Bloomberg News

Kaiser, S.F. General, Sutter, UCSF and other NorCal health centers lauded for LGBT equality, San Francisco Business Times

California Pacific Medical Center, a host of Kaiser Permanente facilities, San Francisco General Hospital, Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center in Santa Cruz, UCSF Medical Center, UC Davis Medical Center and San Francisco’s Lyon-Martin Health Services have been honored for protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and employees from discrimination by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit said Tuesday. The Bay Area and Northern California institutions were among 71 nationwide that had the highest levels of support for LGBT employees, according to the foundation’s annual Healthcare Equality Index. The others included UC San Diego Health System.

Hospital, UCR School of Medicine team up, Redlands Daily Facts

Arrowhead Regional Medical Center and the UC Riverside School of Medicine are joining in a program that will allow area high school and college students to shadow Arrowhead Regional doctors. The program is art of a student pipeline program designed to develop physician leaders and strengthen interest in the field of medicine.

UCSF links key dementia protein, brain traumas, San Francisco Chronicle

The mysterious proteins called prions, which build up in the human brain to cause Alzheimer’s and other dementias, are also linked to post-traumatic stress disorder in combat veterans and in the brain damage of athletes like football players who have suffered repeated concussions, UCSF researchers report.

Loneliness lethal for seniors, UCSF study says, San Francisco Chronicle

Feeling lonely always hurts, but when it comes to the elderly, it may actually contribute to failing health or an early death, UCSF researchers say.

See additional coverage: KQED Forum (audio)

Heart trouble early and often in H.I.V. patients, The New York Times

People infected with H.I.V. have more heart attacks and have them earlier in life. Even patients whose infection is well suppressed by AIDS drugs are at higher risk. The article quotes study co-authors Priscilla Hsue, a UCSF associate professor of medicine and a cardiologist at San Francisco General Hospital who treats many AIDS patients, and Zian Tseng, an electrophysiologist and UCSF associate professor of medicine. UCSF AIDS expert Steven Deeks also is quoted.

Statin drugs cause fatigue in some people, The New York Times

Many observational reports have suggested that statin drugs cause fatigue in some people, and now a randomized trial has found further evidence for the effect. The lead author, Dr. Beatrice Golomb, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, said that the side effect was not rare.

UCSD finds possible way to treat Huntington’s disease, San Diego Union-Tribune

In a possibly significant advance, UC San Diego researchers have found a way to turn off the mutated gene that causes Huntington’s disease, an inherited and degenerative brain disorder for which there is no cure.

Two big hospital projects make major progress, San Francisco Business Times

Two of San Francisco’s three giant hospital construction projects, the new UCSF Medical Center campus at Mission Bay and the new inpatient structure at San Francisco General Hospital & Trauma Center, are making tangible progress.

UCSF joins trend offering published research free, San Francisco Chronicle

UCSF has joined the growing ranks of academic institutions that are offering most, if not all, of their research free to the public, by requiring that all published scientific studies be added by their authors to a university repository accessible to everyone.

Social media in health care create risks, benefits, San Francisco Chronicle

UCSF and UCLA are mentioned in this story about social media and health care.

‘Zoobiquity’: What animals can teach us about our health (video), Fox News

This article reports on research by Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, director of imaging at the UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, comparing physical and mental disorders in animals and humans and her book “Zoobiquity,” which looks at the species-spanning nature of illness. Natterson-Horowitz is quoted.

UCLA recognizes need for nursing research, Nurse.com

This story focuses on the UCLA School of Nursing Young Scholars program, which encourages UCLA nursing students to concentrate their studies on research and gerontology.  Professor Jan Mentes and Young Scholar Maria Yefimova are quoted.

Manic nation: Dr. Peter Whybrow says we’re addicted to stress, Pacific Standard

Dr. Peter Whybrow, director of the Semel Institute, the Judson Braun Professor and executive chair of the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA, is featured in this Q&A about people’s stress and their addiction to technology.

Lack of sleep can lead to more than just fatigue, San Francisco Chronicle

Are you yawning as you read this? A lack of a good night’s sleep may make you not just cranky, but also prone to anxiety and unhealthy eating, according to two studies from UC Berkeley researchers.

Gratitude movement leader to speak in S.F., San Francisco Chronicle

Are we in the middle of a gratitude movement? Evidence suggests so. Publishers can’t seem to print enough books with the words “gratitude” or “gratefulness” in the title. Scientists rake in millions of dollars in grants to study how feelings of gratitude might improve physical health and psychological well-being. And this weekend, hundreds are expected to attend a Pathways to Gratefulness conference at the Palace of Fine Arts to talk about cultivating gratefulness in their lives. UC Berkeley and UC Davis gratitude efforts are mentioned.

University of Calif. faces mounting pension costs, The Associated Press

The cost of pensions and retiree health benefits are soaring at the University of California, increasing pressure to raise tuition and cut academic programs at one of the nation’s leading public college systems. The 10-campus system is confronting mounting bills for employee retirement benefits even as it grapples with unprecedented cuts in state funding that have led to sharp tuition hikes, staff reductions and angry student protests. The UC system, including medical centers and national laboratories, is scrambling to shore up its pension fund as it prepares for a wave of retirements and tackles a roughly $10 billion unfunded liability.

Faculty urge UC Davis to apologize to disciplined professor, The Sacramento Bee

Professors at UC Davis are calling for the reprimand of the School of Medicine’s top leadership and legal counsel who allegedly threatened to strip Professor Michael Wilkes of his title and resources for publicly criticizing a university-sponsored event. This issue was also the subject of an editorial in The Bee.

A master of the microbiome and his quest to re-publish his father’s papers, Forbes

Forbes writer Matthew Herper points readers to “the wonderful TedMed Talk” by UC Davis professor Jonathan Eisen on The Human Microbiome Project.

I Care: Brain injury victim helps patients and caregivers, The Sacramento Bee

Cathy Liu listened to the stories and struggles of traumatic brain injury patients at a UC Davis Medical Center seminar – a program that she has helped create. Five years ago Liu, a first-year internal medicine resident at UC Davis, got hit by a car while jogging and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

UCSD doctors refute studies condoning drinking during pregnancy, San Diego Union-Tribune

Just say “no” is the conclusion of some local physicians when it comes to drinking while pregnant. UC San Diego School of Medicine experts disagree with a series of new studies from Denmark that suggest consumption of up to eight alcoholic drinks a week or occasional binge drinking during pregnancy is generally safe for the developing baby.

UCSF: Old prisoners need better medical care, San Francisco Business Times

As the U.S. prison population has soared, the number of old prisoners has ballooned, and they need much better medical treatment than they’re getting now, according to a UCSF study.

Calif. physicians’ EHR systems fall short of meaningful use criteria, Modern Physician/California Healthline

Although most California physicians use electronic health record systems, only 30% of them use EHR systems that have the ability to meet the requirements of the meaningful use program, according to a report by UC-San Francisco researchers, Modern Physician reports.

Op-ed: Gender testing for athletes remains a tough call, The New York Times

An essay by Dr. Eric Vilain, professor of human genetics, pediatrics and urology and director of the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics, about the challenges of gender testing in competitive athletics.


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In the media: Week of June 10

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC Davis School of Nursing receives accreditation, The Sacramento Bee

Just in time for graduation, the UC Davis School of Nursing received its sought-after accreditation from the independent Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

UC Davis graduating its first class of nurses, The Sacramento Bee

Five years ago, philanthropist Betty Irene Moore donated $100 million to UC Davis, creating a new graduate School of Nursing. Thanks to her contribution, 25 nurses are part of a small elite cadre of students graduating Thursday with UC Davis’ first masters of science in nursing education and health care leadership.

UC Riverside medical school dean is changing the rules, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

If the UC Riverside School of Medicine opens in fall 2013, it won’t look like other medical schools. It will not have its own medical center — students will be farmed out to local hospitals — and the school’s dean, G. Richard Olds, says the way doctors will be trained is a 180-degree shift from the current medical school model.

Oakland, UCSF children’s hospitals may merge, San Francisco Chronicle

Children’s Hospital Oakland, which has had its share of financial and other troubles in recent years, may soon be joining forces with UCSF’s Benioff Children’s Hospital. In a letter to the medical staff of the 190-bed Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland last week, CEO Bertram Lubin said talks, initiated by UCSF, “have progressed with great enthusiasm and respect on both sides.”

See additional coverage: San Francisco Business Times

Radiation concerns rise with patients’ exposure, The New York Times

Even in health care systems in which doctors do not bill for each test they administer, the use of diagnostic imaging like CT and PET scans has soared, as has patients’ radiation exposure, a new study has found. The study, published online on Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, says that while advanced medical imaging has undoubted benefits, allowing problems to be diagnosed earlier and more accurately, its value needs to be weighed against potential harms, which include a small cancer risk from the radiation. The article quotes Dr. Rebecca Smith-Bindman, the study’s lead author and a radiologist and epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Time, ABC World News (video)

UC Davis Medical Center prepares for reform: 3 patient safety, quality initiatives, Becker’s Hospital Review

UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento participates in the Delivery System Reform Incentive Program, a five-year pay-for-performance initiative in which California public hospital systems aim to meet benchmarks related to healthcare access, quality and safety outcomes. The program is part of the Section 1115 Medicaid Waiver in California, an initiative that began in November 2010 to help the state’s public hospital systems prepare for and implement health reform in 2014. Allan D. Siefkin, CMO of UC Davis Medical Center, describes three of the 14 projects the hospital is implementing under DSRIP.

RunSafe database to speed SF Marathon medical care, San Francisco Chronicle

During the San Francisco Marathon next month, Sharon Wong-Lew will pound up and down the city’s verdant hills and steep streets. The 26.2-mile course’s inclines can intimidate even the fastest runners. What most frightens Wong-Lew, however, is a slipped disk in her lower back. The race will be her first since she was diagnosed in February, and if it acts up, the pain could incapacitate her. But if something does happen, medical aid could be at her side quickly. Under a program announced Wednesday, a UCSF-led team of physicians will use this year’s marathon to try a new way of swiftly and efficiently helping runners like Wong-Lew if they are injured. Before the July 29 race, runners will have the option of posting their medical information – like a history of seizures or a list of allergies – to an online database accessible only to the race’s emergency medical crew.

Sleep deprivation drives up anxiety, study shows, The Huffington Post

Not getting enough shuteye can amplify the brain’s anticipatory reactions, upping overall anxiety levels, according to new research. And the effect is particularly pronounced among people who are nervous to begin with. “What this study highlights is the importance of sleep for healthy emotional functioning,” said Andrea Goldstein, who did the research at the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times

Alzheimer’s gene found to affect women over men, San Francisco Chronicle

A gene that’s been known for two decades as the largest inheritable risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease mostly affects the brains of women, not men, according to a team of researchers from Stanford and UCSF.

Specialty hospital units for elderly could cut costs, San Francisco Chronicle

Hospital units specifically tailored to care for elderly patients could cut national health care costs by up to $6 billion annually, according to a new UCSF study.

UC Davis administrators are rebuked over treatment of critic of campus health event, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Academic Senate of the University of California at Davis has rebuked several administrators for threatening legal action and various administrative punishments against a medical professor who criticized the campus health system’s promotion of a controversial cancer-screening test.

See additional coverage: Sacramento Business Journal

As adult cancer cases drop, rates go up among children, California Watch

New cases of cancer among adults in California are declining, but rates of childhood cancers are increasing, according to a new study by a statewide health organization. The report, by the California HealthCare Foundation, also shows that cancer survival rates are improving for kids and adults. The article quotes UC Berkeley epidemiologist Catherine Metayer and UC Davis pediatric oncologist Jonathan Ducore.

Cancer sufferer gets her degree at UC Davis, The Sacramento Bee

Sweltering in the afternoon heat, Kourtney Lampedecchio stood waiting with hundreds of her fellow graduates in a big outdoor tent on the UC Davis campus Thursday. She didn’t ask for special accommodations, though a growing tumor in her neck made her back and arms ache, and she had undergone radiation therapy just hours before donning her cap and gown. Lampedecchio, 31, received her master of fine arts degree in theater design on Thursday, four years after she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that spread through her body, broke her spine and laced her brain with more than a dozen tumors. She hopes to break into movie and TV set design and has already been making connections in the industry and arranging to transfer her medical care from UC Davis to UCLA.

UCSF Mission Bay Med Center finally tops $400M fundraising mark, San Francisco Business Times

Fundraising efforts for the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay hit the $400 million milestone.

UC Merced health director eyes health center improvements, Merced Sun-Star

UC Merced senior Mony Chim has noticed a difference at the student health services center since its new medical director came on board. Chim said Dr. Brandon Boggs is approachable and a good people-person. “I’m glad he’s there,” the 23-year-old said. “He’s been really helpful.”

Study estimates high enrollment for exchange, California Healthline

As many as 2.1 million Californians will get subsidized health insurance coverage through the state’s new Health Benefit Exchange by 2019, according to a study released yesterday by the UC-Berkeley Labor Center and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Another 1.1 million from the unsubsidized individual health insurance market are expected to join the exchange as well, said UCLA researcher Dylan Roby. That would bring the estimated total to about 3.2 million.

A quarter of L.A. homeless have hepatitis C; nearly half don’t know it, Los Angeles Times

This article reports on research by Dr. Lillian Gelberg, professor of family medicine and public health, suggesting that more than 1 in 4 homeless people in downtown Los Angeles have hepatitis C; nearly half are unaware of it.

‘Zoobiquity’: Animal, human health links (video), ABC Nightline

This segment reports on research by Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, director of imaging at the UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, comparing physical and mental disorders in animals and humans and her book “Zoobiquity,” which looks at the species-spanning nature of illness.

Migraine headaches cost employers billions in lost productivity (video), KABC 7

Dr. Andrew Charles, director of UCLA’s Headache Research and Treatment Program and a professor of neurology who holds UCLA’s Luskin Chair in Migraine and Headache Studies, is interviewed about what happens in the brain during migraines and steps individuals can take to prevent them.

UCLA enters valley with plans for multiple offices, San Fernando Valley Business Journal

This article reports on the UCLA Health System’s plans to expand in the San Fernando and Conejo valleys by building several buildings for primary care and medical specialties, including imaging. Ann Sullivan, project director for the Department of Medicine, is quoted.

Pollution research sues UCLA to get his job back, Los Angeles Times

A controversial researcher on air pollution and second-hand cigarette smoke is suing UCLA to get his position back, claiming that his firing was an illegal effort to quash academic dissent and protect politically correct views. James Enstrom, a non-tenured researcher in the UCLA School of Public Health, has been involved in a series of administrative appeals in trying to keep the position he held for about 35 years. Now, with those UC avenues exhausted, he filed a lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles against the university and its administrators.

New documentary ‘Autism: Emerging from the Maze’ on KVIE, Sacramento Press

A new documentary produced by KVIE Public Television will examine the daily journeys of local families as they seek to understand autism. Experts from the UC Davis MIND Institute offer their insights into the growing research, including researcher David Amaral, director Leonard Abbeduto, and professors Sally Ozonoff and Sally Rogers.

How to prevent toddler drownings, The Sacramento Bee

Christy Adams, trauma prevention coordinator at the UC Davis Health System, says the weight of a toddler’s head makes the child susceptible to toppling over in water.

UC San Diego study links cholesterol-lowering statins to fatigue (audio), KPBS

A new study from UC San Diego has found that drugs used to lower cholesterol may make it harder to exercise, which is supposed to help lower cholesterol. This catch 22 involves fatigue, lower energy levels and popular statin drugs.

See additional coverage: San Diego Union-Tribune

Health care task force starts up, California Healthline

This is not your usual task force, according to Diana Dooley, secretary of the state Health and Human Services department. This one, she said, is less interested in the ideal and more focused on producing real-world results. The idea is to figure out which programs across the state improve health care and keep costs down and then encourage and support them. Dooley was in Los Angeles yesterday to co-chair the first meeting of the health care task force created last month by Gov. Jerry Brown. Dooley said the first gathering could not have gone much better. The task force and its advisory panel include 10 health policy experts from the UC system.

Op-ed: Mental illness and lessons from Kelly Thomas’ last cry for help, Los Angeles Times

An op-ed by Dr. Neal Halfon, professor of pediatrics, health services and public policy and director of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, about the need to improve public services for the mentally ill and to train parents to recognize signs of mental illness in their children.


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In the media: Week of June 3

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UCSF advances fight against cystic fibrosis, San Francisco Chronicle

At UCSF, aggressive treatment for cystic fibrosis has produced striking results over the past decade. The medical center was once below the national average when it came to patient reports on lung function and other tests for cystic fibrosis. Now, in most categories, UCSF is just as strong as the top 10 cystic fibrosis centers in the country, said Dr. Dennis Nielson, director of the Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis Center at UCSF.

41% of California hospitals graded C or lower on patient safety, Los Angeles Times

More than 40% of California hospitals received a grade of C or lower on patient safety in a new national report card aimed at prodding hospitals to do more to end thousands of preventable injuries and deaths. The Leapfrog Group, an employer-backed nonprofit group focused on healthcare quality, said it issued these first-ever scores Wednesday so consumers and employers can be aware of poorly performing hospitals before using them. The ratings are available online at http://www.hospitalsafetyscore.org. UCLA is mentioned.

See additional coverage: Kaiser Health News

Far from cities, children lack specialized care, HealthyCal.org

This is the first installment of two-part story on special needs children in rural California. For the second part of the story, an in-depth look at the lives of rural families with special needs children, click here. UC Davis is mentioned in both stories.

In El Salvador, tooth decay epidemic blamed on junk food, lack of information (video), PBS NewsHour

From El Salvador, graduates of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism — producer Roberto Daza and correspondent Carl Nasman — report on an epidemic of tooth decay across the countryside, blamed largely on junk food, soda and a lack of education about dental care. UC Berkeley professor Karen Sokal-Gutierrez, a pediatrician, is interviewed.

Herbert Pardes: University hospitals: Cost-efficient leaders in care and research, The Atlantic

This piece by the executive vice chairman of New York-Presbyterian Hospital about patient care costs and health care quality at academic medical centers references Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

UC Davis student wins coverage fight for ‘investigational’ cancer, The Sacramento Bee

On the day her doctor phoned to tell her she had cancer, Isabel Call scribbled notes through her tears, stunned by news of a monstrous illness that suddenly was threatening her life. Before long, the soft-spoken UC Davis graduate student would convert her notes into action.

Intimidation tactics?, Inside Higher Ed

This story reports on a committee of academic freedom investigation about allegations of intimidation and harassment against UC Davis professor of internal medicine Michael Wilkes.

S.F. VA Medical Center moving to Mission Bay, San Francisco Chronicle

Mission Bay will soon be welcoming a new tenant to its life science hub: the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The VA center is opening a 42,000-square-foot research center in Mission Bay once construction is complete in the late summer or early fall. Approximately 130 staff members will be relocated there from its campus on Clement Street in the Richmond District. With $83 million in expenditures last year, the center has the largest research program in the VA system. Last year, 37,000 patients passed through its doors, out of the 179,000 veterans the center serves in Northern California. Much of its work is focused on HIV/AIDS, dermatology and bone disease, areas in which it works in cooperation with UC San Francisco, which has a major center across the road from the new center in Mission Bay.

Amputees become athletes with prosthetic advances, San Francisco Chronicle

At UCSF this fall, physical therapists plan to hold the first clinic of what they hope will become an annual event intended to help amputees become athletes. The workshop will teach students to sprint, kick a soccer ball, shoot hoops, play flag football and climb rocks on a wall, among other activities.

See additional coverage: ABC 7 (video)

Type of stem cell may contribute to heart disease, San Francisco Chronicle

UC Berkeley scientists have discovered a type of stem cell that appears to lie dormant in blood vessel walls for decades before waking up and causing the arterial hardening and clogging that are associated with deadly strokes and heart attacks.

See additional coverage: NPR Science Friday (audio)

Pentagon push gives face transplants a major lift, Wired

This article reports on UCLA Health System’s launch of the West Coast’s first face-transplantation program.  Dr. Kodi Azari, chief of reconstructive transplantation and associate professor of surgery, is interviewed.

Sheryl Crow’s brain tumor: FAQ, WebMD

Dr. Marvin Bergsneider, professor of neurosurgery and director of the benign skull-based and pituitary tumor program and adult hydrocephalus program, is interviewed for a Q&A about Sheryl Crow’s diagnosis with benign meningioma, a cancer of the tissue lining the brain.

Scrutiny of health care training programs increasing, California Healthline

As California gears up to increase an understaffed health care workforce, private schools training health care workers of the future are coming under more scrutiny on several fronts. For example, the Center for the Health Professions at UC San Francisco is launching a research project examining health care training programs in California with special attention to private, for-profit programs.

UCSD graduates 123 doctors, City News Service

The UC San Diego School of Medicine graduated 123 doctors Sunday, eight of whom will also receive Ph.D.s and six who will also get master’s in clinical research, according to the university.

Pomeroy named to PRIDE Industries board, The Sacramento Bee

Claire Pomeroy, CEO of the UC Davis Health System and dean of UCD’s School of Medicine, has been named to the board of PRIDE Industries in Roseville.

UC Davis to lead effort to unite state medical records, Sacramento Business Journal

The UC Davis Health System is poised to take over the state’s troubled health information program after officials asked Dr. Ken Kizer of the Institute for Population Improvement to lead an effort to electronically link hospitals, doctors and emergency rooms statewide by 2014.

Geo-medicine new frontier in medical informatics, InformationWeek

Geo-medicine is a new field combining geographic information system (GIS) software with clinical databases to provide insights that might improve individual and population health. Estella Geraghty, assistant professor of clinical internal medicine at UC Davis, said that she sees growing interest in GIS healthcare and attributes this to the rise of mobile phone apps.

20 personalized medicine thought leaders to follow on Twitter, MedCity News

Dawei Lin, bioinformatics core director at the UC Davis Genome Center, has been listed as one of the tweeters to follow for the latest updates in personalized medicine.

New research from UCLA could explain the massive personality change of Phineas Gage (audio), KPCC The Madeline Brand Show

This show interviews Jack Van Horn, a UCLA assistant professor of neurology and a member of the laboratory of Neuro Imaging, on his research examining brain injuries suffered by Phineas Gage.  In 1848, Gage survived an accident in which a 43-inch iron rod was blasted through his left cheek and out of the top of his head.


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In the media: Week of May 27

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

California cuts threaten the status of universities, The New York Times

Class sizes have increased, courses have been cut and tuition has been raised — repeatedly. Fewer colleges are offering summer classes. Administrators rely increasingly on higher tuition from out-of-staters. And there are signs it could get worse: If a tax increase proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown is not approved this year, officials say they will be forced to consider draconian cuts like eliminating entire schools or programs. For generations, the University of California system — home to such globally renowned institutions as Berkeley and UCLA — has been widely recognized as perhaps the best example of what public universities could be. Along with the California State University systemand the state’s vast number of community colleges, higher education options here have long been the envy of other states. The article mentions that  last year, plans to open a medical school at UC Riverside campus were delayed after state budget cuts. (The school is projected to enroll its first class in 2013.)

After 2 years of Cal eConnect, what’s next for HIE in California?, California Healthline

A new agreemment is being forged between the state and the Institute for Population Health Improvement at UC Davis involving health information exchange. The institute is headed by Ken Kizer, a key figure in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ highly successful HIE effort. Kizer also was director of California’s Department of Health Services in the late ’80s and early ’90s (the agency later became the Department of Health Care Services). Cal e Connect board members hope the institute is small enough to make quick decisions and adapt and respond to needed changes.

UCLA debuts face transplantation program, MedGadget

The UCLA Health System has launched a face transplantation program for patients with devastating facial trauma, burns, or birth defects. It is the first such program in the western United States. The organizers of the program are currently looking to recruit potential patients with severe facial disfigurement who would be interested in enrolling as five-year study volunteers. Reza Jarrahy, co-surgical director of UCLA’s face transplantation program, is interviewed.

100 physician leaders of hospitals and health systems, Becker’s Hospital Review

The “100 Leaders of Great Hospitals” list recognizing the top executive at each facility in Becker’s “100 Great Hospitals” list includes UC Davis Health System’s’ Claire Pomeroy and UCLA Health System’s David Feinberg.

Prostate cancer drug so effective trial stopped, San Francisco Chronicle

A new drug for advanced prostate cancer patients has proved so effective that researchers stopped the clinical trial early to give all patients a chance to receive the life-extending medication, according to a UCSF-led study released Saturday.

Kaweah Delta launching new residency program, Fresno Business Journal

A Kaweah Delta Medical Center residency program beginning next year for University of California, Irvine medical school graduates is expected to attract new physicians who might later open permanent practices for Tulare-Visalia area patients. The article also mentions that a UCSF graduate medical education program with Fresno-based Community Medical Centers rotates some 250 students each year through eight specialty medical graduate programs.

Supervisors approve $35 million deal with Caribbean medical school, The Bakersfield Californian

Kern County supervisors unanimously approved a unique proposal to give Ross University in the Caribbean the vast majority of Kern Medical Center’s student rotation slots in exchange for $35 million over 10 years. The new arrangement will give Ross, which is located on the island of Dominica, about 100 medical school rotations. Medical students typically spend their first two years focusing on academics and their last two rotating through hospitals to learn clinical expertise under close supervision. The county hospital will still allow students from UCLA to rotate through, as well as students from other medical schools who have personal Kern County ties. But the new arrangement means the end of the road for non-Kern students at schools like St. George’s, which had also tried to woo KMC with a similar 10-year deal.

Geniuses: born or made?, The Washington Post

A Q & A about the nature of genius with Dean Keith Simonton, a psychology professor at UC Davis and an expert in genius, creativity, leadership and aesthetics.

Academia increasingly going beyond basic research by setting up translational med centers, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

This summer the Regents of the University of California can expect to be formally presented with plans by University of California, San Diego for a $110 million research center designed to speed up development of new treatments by the university and its industry partners. UC San Diego expects the Center for Novel Therapeutics (CNT) to promote interaction between private company researchers and their university counterparts based at nearby clinical facilities, namely UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and the UC San Diego Health Sciences campus.

UCR names new research vice chancellor, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

Michael Pazzani said he plans in the next five years to double the amount of federal research money UC Riverside receives. Pazzani, 54, was named Tuesday as UCR’s new vice chancellor for research and economic development. He has held a similar position for the past six years at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He replaces Charles Louis, who is retiring after eight years in the job. During the 2010-11 school year, UCR received $100 million in research funding. Pazzani said his goal is to bring that figure to $200 million by 2017 and $300 million by 2022. A key will be UCR’s medical school, currently undergoing evaluation for accreditation. It is expected to open with its first class of students in fall 2013. The school’s director, G. Richard Olds, headed the search committee that chose Pazzani.

Discovered: The magic word, The New York Times

The word “hospice” usually evokes a shift, a pivot from trying to cure to providing comfort and support at the end of life. Hospice workers help people through the final weeks and months of terminal illness, easing dying people’s pain and fear, bolstering their exhausted families. But in one case I heard about recently, the word served a different function: It became a kind of magic shield. Simply saying it could protect against unwanted medical treatments for a vulnerable old woman who possibly wasn’t dying at all. Dr. Sei Lee, a geriatrician and palliative care specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, who told me the story, described this use of hospice as “an amulet to ward off overly aggressive care.” He put that potent word to use a few weeks ago; the woman in question was his mother.

Why is memory so good and so bad?, Scientific American

UC Davis psychologists Weiwei Zhang and Steven Luck have shed some light on how memory retains and loses its information. Their experiment showed that instead of fading away over time, visual memory is often wiped out all at once or moved to long-term storage.

Devin Johnson, local MMA fighter, critically injured in training fall (video), ABC 10

A mixed martial arts fighter in Sacramento is trying to get back on his feet after he suffered a critical injury during training at Ultimate Fitness where Urijah Faber is a part-owner. Devin Johnson, 22, was sparring at the facility, located on the 1700 block of I Street on May 14 when he fell while in a headlock. When Devin arrived at UC Davis Medical Center he was paralyzed. The impact from the fall dislocated Devin’s spine. Dr. Kee Kim, chief of spinal neurosurgery at UC Davis Medical Center, is interviewed.

Study of the day: A diet loaded with sugar makes rats dumber, The Atlantic

This story reports on a UCLA rat study showing that fructose slows brain function, interfering with learning and memory.

Local hospitals fined for errors, San Diego Union-Tribune

UC San Diego Medical Center and Kaiser Foundation Hospital San Diego were among 13 California hospitals issued a total of $825,000 in fines for errors that resulted in serious injury or death to patients, state health officials announced Friday. It was the first penalty for Kaiser San Diego and the fourth for UC San Diego Medical Center since the state started issuing them in 2007 in an effort to reduce life-threatening medical errors at hospitals. Kaiser and UC San Diego officials issued statements Friday saying they have cooperated with investigators and taken steps to correct the problems.

Fire forces UCSD hospital to use reserve power, San Diego Union-Tribune

Thornton Hospital at the University of California San Diego had to utilize its backup emergency power Saturday after a transformer fire in the main power substation on the campus knocked out power to the facility as well as the university. Hospital spokeswoman Kim Edwards said the facility was switched right away to emergency power and patient care was not affected.

Michael Hiltzik: Tobacco taxes are great, but Proposition 29 stinks, Los Angeles Times

Columnist Michael Hiltzik takes a critical look at Proposition 29, which would raise the state tax on cigarettes by $1 a pack, generating some $800 million a year mostly for cancer research. UC is mentioned.

Dr. David L. Rimoin dies at 75, Los Angeles Times

This story reports on the passing of Dr. David Rimoin, professor of human genetics, medicine and pediatrics and director of the intercampus genetics training program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  He led groundbreaking research on skeletal disorders and dwarfism and played a pivotal role in developing mass screenings for Tay-Sachs and other hereditary disorders.

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In the media: Week of May 20

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

For hospitals and insurers, new fervor to cut costs, The New York Times

This article reports on the UCLA Health System’s efforts to reduce costs for patient care, in part by introducing innovative programs that emphasize healthy lifestyles, reduced ER visits and coordinated care for chronically ill patients. Dr. David Feinberg, president and CEO of the UCLA Health System, is quoted.

Inexpensive arthritis drug may treat dysentery, giardiasis, Los Angeles Times

An inexpensive arthritis drug called auranofin has been shown in lab and animal tests to kill the parasites that cause amoebic dysentery and giardiasis, and human trials are expected to start soon. A team headed  by Dr. James McKerrow, a pathologist at UC San Diego, and parasitologist Anjan Debnath of UC San Francisco, developed an anaerobic screening process to test potential drugs against the amoeba in the laboratory.

For medical students, dual degrees gain popularity, San Francisco Chronicle

Nationwide, dual programs in medicine and academic research, medicine and law, and medicine and business have seen their combined enrollment increase 36 percent, from 3,921 in 2002 to 5,349 in 2011, according to data released this spring by the Association of American Medical Colleges. That trend extends to the Bay Area. Over the past decade, the number of medical students at Stanford who earned dual degrees went from nine to 22 annually, out of classes of fewer than 90. UCSF has also seen a slight increase in students enrolled in joint-degree programs. UC Berkeley and UC Hastings also are mentioned.

CIRM awards $69M in stem cell research grants targeting ‘bubble boy’ syndrome, other diseases, San Francisco Business Times

Bay Area stem cell researchers looking to cure a “bubble boy” syndrome, fix damaged heart muscle and take on a host of other diseases grabbed more than $25 million in funding from California’s stem cell research funding agency. The San Francisco-based California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM, said it awarded a total of $69.4 million to California stem cell scientists. Those projects include the first CIRM-funded collaboration in China and the first project with the Australian federal government. Twelve UC scientists received a total of $36.7 million in stem cell grants.

See additional coverage: KPCC, Sacramento Business Journal

Special: Health Care Heroes 2012, Sacramento Business Journal

The Sacramento Business Journal includes six UC Davis faculty members for its special publication Health Care Heroes 2012: Thomas Balsbaugh, Irva Hertz-picciotto, Thomas Nesbitt, Ralph deVere White, Garen Wintemute andHeather Young.

UCLA study finds cycling might affect male reproductive health, CBS Los Angeles

A new study says male cyclists may experience hormonal imbalances that could affect their reproductive health. A study from the UCLA School of Nursing found that serious male cyclists had elevated levels of estradiol, which is associated with conditions like loss of male pubic hair and enlarged breast tissue.

What you can and cannot do to ward off dementia, San Diego Union-Tribune

Every 70 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive neurological affliction that, some experts suggest, will eventually swamp the health-care system if effective treatments are not found. Last week, the Obama administration announced a national plan to find solutions by 2025, among them expanded research and clinical trials. Toward that end, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have just launched three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials of new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and a related disorder called Mild Cognitive Impairment. A Q&A with Dilip Jeste, director of the Stein Institute for Research on Aging and a professor of psychiatry and neurosciences at UC San Diego.

Rady to offer pediatric heart transplants, San Diego Union-Tribune

Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego intends to raise its national profile by launching a heart transplant program this year after completing a nationwide search for a surgeon to oversee the effort and raising $1.5 million to cover startup costs. With the recruitment of Dr. Eric J. Devaney from the University of Michigan, Rady Children’s is poised to become the fifth California hospital and one of about 40 nationwide that perform pediatric heart transplants. Originally, Rady Children’s approached Sharp Memorial Hospital about partnering in pediatric transplantation because Sharp was handling all adult heart transplants in the county at the time. Since then, UC San Diego has resumed its smaller transplantation program, and both Sharp and UC San Diego said pediatrics doesn’t fit with their programs. The article mentions that UCLA performed the most pediatric heart transplants in California last year (17).

New growth industry: Bay Area biotech incubators, San Francisco Business Times

The number of biotech incubators in the Bay Area has doubled in the last two years. One of the most prominent — UC’s California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, or QB3 — has four sites in San Francisco and Berkeley, fielding up to four inquiries from new companies each day.

Two booze studies serve up sobering news, LA Weekly

We’re reminded that booze and artificially sweetened mixers sometimes can be a problematic combo. The study that figured this out has been around for a while, but it’s being given fresh attention thanks to the June edition of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, which offers news and expert advice from the School of Public Health.

UC Davis professor receives grant to study gratitude, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons has received a $5.6 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to advance the science of gratitude.

Are PSA screenings for prostate cancer bad for your health?, The Daily Beast

A government-selected panel of experts suggested that widespread PSA screening too easily leads to aggressive and unnecessary interventions by turning up false-positive results or alerting patients to non-life-threatening tumors. Dr. Paul Knoepfler, cancer biologist at UC Davis and survivor of prostate cancer, says he understands both sides of the argument. “PSA is best used if it is evaluated relative to a man’s age,” he said.

Fevers during pregnancy linked to autism, but medication helps, Los Angeles Times

Researchers at UC Davis’ MIND Institute have found that women who reported having a fever during pregnancy were more likely to give birth to a baby who would later be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or a development delay. But babies of women who treated their fevers with medication fared no worse than babies whose mothers reported no fevers at all.

More than half of autistic kids prescribed mood medicines, Bloomberg

The National Institute of Mental Health has just released the results of a survey that found 56 percent of autistic children age 6 to 17 were on one or more drugs normally given for disorders such as anxiety, depression, psychosis or hyperactivity. “This is very good that physicians are recognizing these additional problems that kids with autism can have,” said Randi Hagerman, medical director of UC Davis’ MIND Institute. Hagerman said these medicines can make other behavioral treatments more effective.

Can sugar make you stupid? ‘High concern’ in wake of rat study, National Geographic News

This article reports on a UCLA study showing that a steady high-fructose diet can slow the brain and hamper memory and learning in rats — and how omega-3 fatty acids can minimize the damage.

The curse of a diagnosis (video), The Wall Street Journal

Dr. John Ringman, UCLA associate professor of neurology and a member of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, is featured in this article about his use of a spinal tap to detect increases in the amyloid protein long associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The test can detect the existence of such plaques years before symptoms appear.

Strength training for your brain?, The Orange County Register

A Q&A with Dr. Gary Small, Parlow–Solomon Professor on Aging, professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute and director of the UCLA Longevity Center, about his book “The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program.”  The book offers tips for keeping your memory sharp during the aging process.

UCLA doctor accuses university of racism, harassment, KABC

This story reports that a UCLA associate professor-in-residence of head and neck surgery has filed a lawsuit against the UC Board of Regents for alleged harassment and discrimination.

UC Merced bone health research promising, Merced Sun Star

Osteoporosis patients are among those who could benefit from the findings of a new UC Merced study on bone health. UC Merced immunology professor Jennifer Manilay and her research team have discovered a new way bone health could affect a person’s immune system.

Campus clinic to offer free dental services to students, families, Lemon Grove Patch

A 2010 Pew Center on the States report showed that one of every five children under the age of 18 in America live without dental care every year. The statistic is even higher in California, where one in four children under age 11 have never seen a dentist. But that is about to change for students in the Lemon Grove School District with a free oral health clinic operated by UCSD on the campus of the new Lemon Grove Academy for the Sciences and Humanities.

Breathing smog while pregnant may worsen asthma in offspring, HealthDay News

A study led by UC Berkeley public health postdoctoral fellow Amy Padula has found a link between prenatal exposure to air pollution and poor lung-function development in children with asthma.

Kristof: Are you safe on that sofa?, The New York Times

This column about the risks of flame retardants cites UC Berkeley visiting chemistry scholar Arlene Blum, whose research led to the removal of chlorinated Tris from children’s pajamas. The chemical is still used in couches and nursing pillows, though, and without warning labels. “For pregnant women, they [flame retardants] can alter brain development in the fetus,” she warns.


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In the media: Week of May 13

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC San Diego Health System arrives with purposeful quiet, Las Vegas Review-Journal

A follow-up piece on the UC San Diego Health System’s purchase of that clinical operations and flagship building of the bankrupt Nevada Cancer Institute.

Will Obama’s plan to fight Alzheimer’s work?, San Diego Union-Tribune

President Barack Obama says he’ll include $100 million in his proposed 2013 budget that would be dedicated to finding better treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, a wasting disorder that afflicts 5.1 million people in the United States. Much of the money would be used to support two different clinical trials that are meant to identify the onset of the disease earlier, possibly making it easier to treat. U-T San Diego discussed the President’s plan with Michael Rafii, an assistant clinical professor of neurosciences at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Rafii also is co-director of the Memory Disorders Clinic at UCSD Perlman Ambulatory Care.

Bedside ultrasound for hospitalists: Our time has come, Wachter’s World

UCSF professor Bob Wachter writes about the increasing use of bedside ultrasound by hospitalists, including efforts by UCSF and at UC Irvine, where Elizabeth Turner is using a UC Center for Health Quality and Innovation grant to implement a bedside ultrasound educational program.

Summer camp helps kids cope with cancer (video), San Diego 6

Dealing with cancer can be extremely difficult, especially for a child. But one summer camp, run by UCSD students is making it a little easier for kids whose parents are sick. It’s called Camp Kesem.

How to better treat trauma injuries in the developing world (audio, video), PBS NewsHour

Rick Coughlin, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco, is on a crusade to improve the care of those who sustain traumatic injuries in the developing world. For the last four years, Coughlin has been spearheading a unique program which brings orthopedic surgeons from low-income countries around the world to San Francisco, to one of the country’s leading trauma hospitals, San Francisco General.

Capitol Journal: Cigarette tax is a lifesaver, Los Angeles Times

This column us about Proposition 29, the California ballot measure that would raise cigarette taxes $1 per pack to finance cancer research. It mentions that the nine-member oversight commission awarding the contracts would be all-Californian and mostly tied to research institutions here. Three would be directors of major cancer centers and three would be chancellors of UC campuses that do bioscience research. Dr. Judith Gasson, director of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, is quoted.

Sugar may make you stupid — talk about adding insult to injury, Los Angeles Times

A new UCLA study finds that a diet high in fructose slows the brain, disrupting its ability to learn. Omega-3 fatty acids, according to the study, can counteract the disruption.

Stargazing science used to see inside the human eye, Popular Mechanics

Astronomer Scot Olivier at California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has teamed up with UC Davis vision researcher John Werner and Indiana University scientist Donald Miller to use adaptive optics to provide clearer images into the human eye.

Rod through Phineas Gage’s brain caused more damage than thought, Los Angeles Times

The tamping rod that blew through Phineas Gage’s brain 163 years ago damaged only a small portion of his brain, but it disrupted a much larger proportion of his neural connections, UCLA researchers reported Wednesday. The finding, based on imaging of Gage’s skull, may help explain the behavioral changes he endured following the accident.

Cartel attack victim living in El Monte helped by plastic surgery, Los Angeles Times

This story reports on a young man disfigured in a violent attack in Mexico who underwent reconstructive surgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with Dr. Timothy Miller, professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Christian Head, black UCLA Medical School doctor, files lawsuit after alleged gorilla depiction, The Huffington Post

A faculty professor who filed a racial discrimination suit against UCLA, saying that the school ignored racial slights against him over his career, has taken to YouTube to air his grievances.

HealthWatch: Human behavioral change may be tied to cat parasite (video), CBS San Francisco

New research has found that tiny organisms carried by cats may be causing subtle and at times dramatic changes in human behavior if infected in the brain. “[Toxoplasma Gondi] is a very clever parasite,” said Patricia Conrad, an expert on the parasite at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

 


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In the media: Week of May 6

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC Davis CMO Dr. Allan Siefkin: Creating a culture of safety, quality, Becker’s Hospital Review

Health care reform’s emphasis on patient safety and quality has motivated many hospitals and health systems to create a culture that supports safety and quality. Embedding a patient safety and quality focus in a hospital’s culture is essential to improve in these areas because it illustrates to physicians and staff that quality and safety initiatives are not one-time events, but part of an overall, long-term commitment to quality and safety. Allan D. Siefkin, M.D., CMO of UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, explains how strong leadership and continuous improvement can help create a robust culture of patient safety and quality.

CEO Mark Laret: Strong financial, philanthropic leader at UCSF Medical Center, Becker’s Hospital Review

A feature on UCSF Medical Center CEO Mark Laret.

Study says hospital charges don’t add up, Ventura County Star

A person with acute appendicitis rushed to an emergency room in Ventura County could rack up hospital charges of anywhere from $6,782 to $84,554, according to a new study that says this gap is driven mostly by which hospital is used. In a project hospital officials say does not reflect what patients actually pay, researchers pored over charges reported by acute care hospitals throughout California for 19,368 appendicitis cases in 2009. They found charges varied dramatically from one hospital to the next. The smallest bill for one case in the state was $1,529. The biggest was $182,955. The median charge in the state was $33,611, according to the study involving UCSF researchers. Lead author Renee Hsia is quoted.

New University of Arizona Health Network board named, Arizona Daily Star

Southern Arizona’s largest nonprofit healthcare company has a brand new board of directors. The Arizona Board of Regents approved a 17-member board, which will hold its first meeting May 24. At that time, the new members will elect a chair. The members include UC Health Chief Strategy Officer Santiago Muñoz.

UCI: New device eases painful ringing in ears, The Orange County Register

The ringing can be loud, constant and debilitating, depriving sufferers of sleep and concentration, even triggering depression. It’s known to doctors as tinnitus, and a new, iPod-like device invented by UC Irvine scientists can temporarily blot it out.

UC Merced innovations all seen as a big win, Merced Sun-Star

Solar-powered farm equipment. Almond byproducts as biofuels. Reducing noise in neonatal intensive care units. New valves to improve blood flow for newborns. These were just some of the cutting-edge projects unveiled by UC Merced engineering and management students Wednesday at the Innovate to Grow competition.

Health Care Heroes: Robotic arms could help stroke patients relearn movements, Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal

The Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal has honored UC Santa Cruz medical robotics expert Jacob Rosen with the 2012 Health Care Heroes award in the research category.

Why your drug copay could change, NPR

UC Berkeley economic James Robinson is quoted in this piece about value-based insurance.

‘The Weight of the Nation’: Obesity crisis, San Francisco Chronicle

This review of the HBO documentary series “The Weight of the Nation” quotes Elissa Epel of UCSF, one of several institutions to have studied what is termed “mindful eating” – paying attention to what and when you eat, learning to make choices based on actual hunger and learning to value the quality of your food, not just how much of it you’re consuming while watching television.

Lenin’s stroke: Doctor has a theory (and a suspect), The New York Times

Research by Dr. Harry Vinters, chief of neuropathology at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and professor of pathology and neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, re-examining the cause of Vladimir Lenin’s death is highlighted in this article. Vinters is quoted.

In sitting still, a bench press for the brain, The New York Times

Eileen Luders, assistant professor of neurology at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, is featured in this article about her research showing that people who meditate have, on average, a greater amount of folds in the brain’s cerebral cortex, which improves information processing, memory formation and decision making.

Man sues UCSD, says he was given cancerous kidney (video), ABC 10

A Fallbrook man is suing UC after he says he was given a cancerous kidney in a kidney transplant at UC San Diego Medical Center. UC San Diego officials say they can’t comment on pending litigation.

Commentary: Why the campaign to stop America’s obesity crisis keeps failing, The Daily Beast/Newsweek

Gary Taubes of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health comments on the causes of America’s obesity crisis.

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In the media: Week of April 29

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UCSD names new health system CEO, San Diego Union-Tribune

UC San Diego announced Tuesday that it has chosen a new chief executive for its health system whose experience includes leadership positions both in medical academics and industry.Paul S. Viviano will start June 1 as CEO of UC San Diego Health System and associate vice chancellor for Health Sciences. He is leaving his job as chief executive of Alliance Healthcare Services, one of the nation’s largest providers of diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy services.

California chosen as home for computing institute, The New York Times

The Simons Foundation, which specializes in science and math research, has chosen UC Berkeley as host for an ambitious new center for computer science, the university plans to announce on Tuesday. The foundation’s $60 million grant to establish the center, to be called the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at UC Berkeley, underscores the growing influence of computer science on the physical and social sciences. An interdisciplinary array of scientists will explore the mathematical foundations of computer science and attack problems in fields as diverse as health care, astrophysics, genetics and economics.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle

UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann on how health care is changing, Forbes

An interview with UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann on how health care is changing.

Local scientists working to rebuild body parts (video), CBS Sacramento

Jan Nolta, stem cell program director at UC Davis, is embarking on groundbreaking research into stem cell therapy and has successfully used stem cells to regrow tendons in a horse’s leg as well as help a child with cerebral palsy regain control of his limbs. Both patients and Nolta are featured in this special report.

Wireless technology prevents medical errors (video), KTLA

A left behind medical sponge is a major issue that can happen during surgery. It can cause patient complications or infections down the road. But now, new wireless technology in the O-R is preventing that. There’s a new type of medical sponge with a tiny RFID chip inside. That means doctors can keep track of where it is at all times during surgery. UC Irvine Medical Center was one of the first in the nation to adopt the new system. Now they are relying on technology that really counts. UC Irvine Chief Medical Officer William Barron is interviewed.

When illness makes a spouse a stranger (video), The New York Times

Recently, researchers have been making important discoveries about the biochemical and genetic defects that cause some forms of frontotemporal dementia. And for the first time, they have identified drugs that may be able to treat one of those defects, the buildup of abnormal proteins in the brain. Tests in people, the first ever such drug trials in this disease, could begin as soon as early next year at the University of California, San Francisco. UCSF professor of neurology and psychiatry Bruce Miller is quoted.

Virtual reality sheds light on learning with autism (audio), Capital Public Radio

UC Davis is using virtual reality to learn how autistic adolescents manage to think, talk, and interact at the same time. They hope the study will help the estimated 740,000 autistic kids in public schools get more out of their classroom experience. Dr. Peter Mundy, director of educational research at UC Davis’ MIND Institute, says there is not a large body of knowledge about how to teach children with autism.

Cancer genome data center raises hope for cures, San Jose Mercury News

Researchers on Tuesday unveiled a major weapon in the war against cancer: the nation’s first catalog of cancer genomes, which hold the clues to the disease’s deadly secrets. The $10.5 million project, managed by UC Santa Cruz, shifts the battlefield from the microscope into cyberspace — accelerating the search for genes gone bad.

Darfur Stove nonprofit Potential Energy gets $1.5 million grant, San Francisco Business Times

The U.S. Agency for International Development has awarded $1.5 million for a project to distribute cleaner, safer cooking stoves in the Darfur region of Sudan. The Darfur Stove project was the brainchild of Berkeley Lab scientist and UC Berkeley civil and environmental engineering professor Ashok Gadgil, who started a nonprofit called Potential Energy to further promote the stove.

Was Junior Seau’s apparent suicide brain-injury related?, MSNBC.com

David Hovda, professor of neurosurgery and director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center, is interviewed in this story about the death of former NFL star Junior Seau, which is fueling debate over whether football’s big hits leave some players with lingering brain damage that can lead to depression and possibly even suicide.

Roger Daltrey (video), Jimmy Kimmel Live

Roger Daltrey is interviewed about the Daltrey/Townshend Teen & Young Adult Cancer Program at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the first such program launched in the U.S. by Daltrey and Pete Townshend of the Who.

Reagan’s daughter: ‘Not a fiber of my being that doesn’t believe he understood us’, NBC Los Angeles

This segment features an interview with President Ronald Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis on her personal story involving her father’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Davis has started an Alzheimer’s support group as part of UCLA’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program.

Why it’s vital for spine surgeons and specialists to unite: Q&A with Dr. Nick Shamie of UCLA Comprehensive Spine Center, Becker’s Spine Review

A Q & A with Dr. Nick Shamie, orthopaedic spine surgeon at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica and associate professor of orthopaedic surgery, about why spine surgeons should collaborate with other specialists.

Bottom line: Black surgeon’s claim details racism among UCLA doctors, Los Angeles Wave

A highly regarded African-American surgeon and UCLA associate professor recently filed a lawsuit against the University of California Board of Regents and the administrators of the UCLA Medical Center for implementing a decade-long campaign of discriminatory acts against him.

Mixed reviews at basic health program briefing, California Healthline

The state Legislature is considering a bill to create a Basic Health Program in California. If adopted, SB 703 by Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) would create low-cost health care insurance for as many as one million low-income Californians. The article quotes Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

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