A sampling of news stories involving UC Health:
Napolitano: U.S. doesn’t thrive if UC doesn’t thrive, Los Angeles Times
After two months as UC president, Janet Napolitano talks about tuition freezes, executive compensation and future growth in the university system.
Johns Hopkins again tops in university research spending, The Washington Post
It is customary in higher education to dismiss rankings as misleading and arbitrary, quantifying things that don’t much matter about colleges and universities. But one list of undisputed significance is compiled each year by the National Science Foundation: the top institutions ranked by total research spending. Such money supports laboratories, attracts top faculty and graduate students and gives many undergraduates a chance to learn through experimentation. On this list, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is the perennial and unchallenged national leader. New data from NSF show that Hopkins spent $2.1 billion on research and development in the fiscal year that ended in 2012. The University of Michigan ranked second, spending $1.3 billion. Six others joined Hopkins and Michigan in fiscal 2012 in the billion-dollar club. They were, in order, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Washington, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, Duke University and UCLA.
Narrow networks in Covered California plans causing confusion in San Diego, California Healthline
As the conversation around the implementation of the Affordable Care Act moves beyond the troubled federal Healthcare.gov website, attention is turning to the details of the insurance products being sold through the federal and state exchanges.Like other regions throughout the country and California, most of the insurance companies selling individual policies in San Diego through Covered California have limited their provider networks to try to hold down premiums. Consumers who already have individually purchased policies are likely to face limited access to doctors and hospitals throughout the region, and some could face marked changes in access to the health care providers they’ve become accustomed to using. UC San Diego is mentioned.
Nobel winner declares boycott of top science journals, The Guardian
Leading academic journals are distorting the scientific process and represent a “tyranny” that must be broken, according to a Nobel prize winner who has declared a boycott on the publications. Randy Schekman, a UC Berkeley biologist who won the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine this year and receives his prize in Stockholm on Tuesday, said his lab would no longer send research papers to the top-tier journals, Nature, Cell and Science. Schekman is the editor of eLife, an online journal set up by the Wellcome Trust. Articles submitted to the journal – a competitor to Nature, Cell and Science – are discussed by reviewers who are working scientists and accepted if all agree. The papers are free for anyone to read. Read Schekman’s op-ed: How journals like Nature, Cell and Science are damaging science.
UC Davis gets $4.4M grant for stem cell research, Sacramento Business Journal
A team at UC Davis got a $4.4 million grant to develop an airway transplant made of stem cells to cure a life-threatening narrowing of the upper windpipe and lower voice box — known as severe airway stenosis. The grant is part of $61 million in funding that the California stem cell agency approved Thursday for research that targets diseases that have not responded to conventional treatment. Other recipients include researchers at UCLA and UC San Diego. Read UC coverage.
UCSF wins $9.45M grant to rethink prostate cancer treatment, San Francisco Business Times
UC San Francisco won a $9.45 million federal grant aimed at revolutionizing the treatment of prostate cancer. The three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Defense is intended to move treatment of the cancer — the second most common form of the disease for U.S. men — more toward “clinical management” and precision medicine, and away from often unnecessary surgery or chemotherapy, while also helping to identify patients who need more aggressive treatments.
100 hospitals with great heart programs, Becker’s Hospital Review
Becker’s Hospital Review’s list of 100 hospitals with great heart programs includes UCLA and UC San Diego.
In just over a year, the most state of the art Children’s Hospital on the west coast will open in San Francisco, according the UCSF officials. The UCSF facility will replace an old, cramped out-dated space in Parnassus Heights. Now, off Third Street in Mission Bay, rises the new USCF Benioff Children’s Hospital and the adjacent Women’s Cancer Center.
Can an app improve vision?, The Wall Street Journal
An iPhone “Glasses Off” app that claims to reduce or eliminate the need for reading glasses is critiqued. According to Dennis M. Levi, dean of UC Berkeley’s optometry school, the app isn’t a cure for presbyopia, but it makes the brain “better able to interpret” the poor information it gets from aging eyes. He is co-author of a study that evaluated the app, as well as a scientific adviser to GlassesOff.
Public health officials in California said on Thursday they had sought permission from the federal government to use a vaccine not approved for use in the United States against an outbreak of meningococcal disease among students in a public university. The outbreak, which resulted in a student at UC Santa Barbara having his feet amputated, is similar to one that has stricken eight students at Princeton University in New Jersey, where students began receiving the European and Australian vaccine this week. This week, a staff member at UC Riverside, east of Los Angeles, was hospitalized with a suspected case of bacterial meningitis, prompting officials there to consider implementing a requirement that all students be vaccinated against it. On Thursday, the dean of the UC Riverside medical school called on the broader UC system to insist on vaccinations at all of its 10 campuses.
UC Riverside staffer has bacterial meningitis, NBC Southern California
A staff member at UC Riverside has an active case of bacterial meningitis, the school announced Monday. “Although the risk of transmission is low, it is best to take precautions,” UCR said in a statement. The diagnosed employee is off campus and anyone who may have come into contact with them will be contacted individually, the school said. Further details about the sickened staffer were not immediately available and it isn’t clear whether they came down with a similar strain of meningitis that has sickened students at UC Santa Barbara and Princeton University.
Obama’s unlocking of federal funding ban on gun research yields little upshot in first year, NBC News
Nearly a year after President Barack Obama ended a 17-year-long virtual freeze on the federal funding of gun-violence research, that thaw has not yet produced scientific breakthroughs because America still lacks the money and minds to churn out pivotal studies on the topic, medical experts contend. Meanwhile, leaders at NIH — acting “in response” to Obama’s push — asked researchers to submit proposals this January for three long-term studies “with particular focus on firearm violence,” the agency announced in September. “This is really good news,” said Dr. Garen Wintemute, director of the UC Davis Violence Research Program and an expert on firearms violence. “I’m sure all around the country people are writing research proposals. We’re certainly doing one here.”
New approach to Alzheimer’s treatment offers hope, The Huffington Post
A group of researchers in San Francisco are exploring a new approach to Alzheimer’s treatment that will tackle an unexplored protein that is closely linked to the disease. Health research backer Wellcome Trust awarded Dr. Robert Mahley of the Gladstone Institutes — an affiliate of UC San Francisco — its Seeding Drug Discovery Award on Monday. The $2.5 million grant gives Mahley’s team three years to develop its novel approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Bridging the gap at UCSD, U-T San Diego
Academic research furnishes the nursery that originates most drugs. But to mature into products, discoveries must be translated from research into products. At UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, this translational role is headed by Ida Deichaite, the center’s director of industry relations. Deichaite holds a doctorate in molecular biology from Princeton, and was associate director of business development at Avanir Pharmaceuticals in San Diego. Deichaite’s academic and business credentials enable her to help these worlds to understand each other. A Q&A with her.
Surgery brings 500-pound woman hope, The Orange County Register
Jennifer Garcia’s doctors told the 29-year-old Moreno Valley mother that she needed to lose the bulk of her 500 pounds if she wanted to live to see her young children become adults. When a local surgeon said she was too heavy for a gastric bypass, Garcia turned to the bariatric surgery team at UC Irvine Medical Center, which offers a two-pronged approach to help such severely obese patients.
Family sues over son’s legionnaire’s disease death at UCSF Medical Center; UC Regents deny allegations, Lake County News
The University of California Regents are denying allegations that UC San Francisco Medical Center failed to take precautions against a deadly bacteria and that a Lake County child died of legionnaire’s disease as a result.
UC Davis launches a mobile-friendly website to help students find appropriate mental health resources when they need them, part of a larger mental health initiative. Developer eReadia of Huntingtown, Md., says that the site — called Just in Case — is specifically tailored to the UC Davis community, though the company also maintains sister sites for about a dozen other campuses, four of which are part of the University of California system.
Forum examines price transparency, California Healthline
Experts discussed the thorny issue of price transparency in health care — including the possibility of seeking legislation to align hospital prices in California — at a forum in Sacramento. One suggestion is to establish one central location for all claims data, said Adams Dudley, professor of medicine and health policy at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at UC San Francisco.
This story about epilepsy interviews Edward Chang, a neurologist and neurosurgeon at UC San Francisco, whose work with epilepsy patients has led to key findings about how humans .
The secret pleasure of keeping a gratitude journal, The Wall Street Journal
A senior vice president at the nonprofit Healthwise Inc. is asked, “What gift would you give a soon-to-be retiree?” She recommends a gratitude journal – “anything that keeps you aware of, and looking for, the pleasures and gifts of being alive.” She talks about the pleasures of keeping and sharing the journal, adding: “There are health benefits to practicing gratitude, too. The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley has confirmed that practicing gratitude, ‘brings you more positive emotions, better health, stronger relationships, and greater life satisfaction.’ Those are gifts aplenty.”
UC Davis Medical Center honors Nelson Mandela, The Sacramento Bee
Health care professionals from South Africa, Ghana, Cameroon, Sacramento and Oakland gathered at UC Davis Medical Center Thursday to honor former South African President Nelson Mandela. Heather M. Young, dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, who was born in South Africa, said that Mandela represented a person of clarity, passion and commitment who never waivered from his course.