CATEGORY: In the media

In the media: Week of June 22

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

California follows federal lead with its own brain-mapping initiative, Los Angeles Times

It took 40 scientists, tens of millions of dollars and several decades to create a comprehensive atlas of the brain of the lowly fruit fly. So Ralph Greenspan, whose neuroscience career started with fruit fly experiments, understands that $2 million from Sacramento won’t be enough to map the human brain, which has about 85 million times as many neurons. But in a state that only recently crawled out from years of budget deficits and recession, the decision to set aside money for brain research carries symbolic weight: It’s a wager on California’s ability to turn gray matter to green matter. The new California Blueprint for Research to Advance Innovations in Neuroscience, or Cal-BRAIN, is part of the state budget signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week. It complements President Obama’s $100-million BRAIN Initiative to decode the human brain the way a previous generation of scientists decoded the human genome. If they sound similar, there’s good reason. Greenspan, director of UC San Diego’s Center for Brain Activity Mapping and associate director of its Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, is among a small group of scientists who had their fingerprints on both.

See additional coverage: Nature

Rehabilitating hospital food: aiming for health, sustainable and savory, The Guardian

In reviews on Yelp, San Francisco’s Moffitt Café averages four-and-a-half out of five stars. “Unbelievable variety, farm to table fresh food, wide produce selection, and great prices!” enthuses one customer. “I’m really happy with eating here, they have SO many options,” gushes another. Not bad reviews … especially for a hospital cafeteria. Moffitt Café, also known as “the Moffitteria,” is the main dining hall of UCSF Medical Center. Since undertaking a $6.5m café renovation in 2010, the nutrition and food services department at UCSF has been working to renovate the menu as well, attempting to integrate eating choices that are tasty, healthy and good for the environment. Even though a short hospital stay is unlikely to change anyone’s bad eating habits, it’s “a big educational opportunity,” says food-service project manager Jack Henderson. “We need to lead by example, because we are a teaching institution.” The medical center has become a leader in a growing movement amongst hospitals countrywide to add more fresh, organic and sustainable foods.

For elderly patients, a sharper focus, The New York Times

The idea took shape as Dr. Shawn Barnes, a psychiatry resident at the University of California, San Diego, watched some hospitalized older patients struggling with consent forms. It wasn’t because they didn’t understand the forms, or questioned the treatments they were about to undergo. “They had difficulty signing the forms because they had trouble seeing,” Dr. Barnes said. People had donated books for recuperating patients to read in the hospital, but poor eyesight often put those off-limits, too. The geriatric psychiatry unit kept a few pairs of hand-me-down reading glasses in a drawer, but not enough. “I looked into it and found out they were incredibly cheap,” Dr. Barnes said. “You can buy them online for a buck a pair.” Hence his call, in an article published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, for facilities that treat older adults to maintain a stockpile of cheap standard reading glasses, the kind drugstores sell.

Two new autism studies point to pesticides, traumatic experiences as possible causes, Los Angeles Daily News

Women who live too close to farms where certain pesticides are used or who experience traumatic events could be at higher risk of having children in the autism spectrum, according to a pair of separate studies by California researchers released Monday in two journals. The two studies, one published in Environmental Health Perspectives by researchers at UC Davis and the other in Pediatrics from UCLA, both continue to examine how environmental conditions and experiences can play a role in raising the risk factor for autism.

UC Davis study links autism to pesticides, The Fresno Bee

A new study released Sunday suggests pregnant women who live near agricultural fields where pesticides are sprayed are at increased risk of having a child with autism. The study by the UC Davis MIND Institute found mothers exposed to organophosphates had a two-thirds increased risk of having a child with autism.

See additional coverage: Time, KQED (audio)

UCI Medical Center to make own power, Orange County Business Journal

The UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange will produce 30% of its own power and save up to $10 million in just under 20 years, by an agreement with a Danbury, Conn., company. The 1.4-megawatt fuel cell plant will also produce 200 tons of cooling for its center’s campus and help it meet California cap-and-trade requirements. The medical center said it expects to save between $4 million and $10 million over 19 years, after the power plant is ready.

UCLA Operation Mend treats wounded warriors (video), ABC Los Angeles

Treating war injuries requires special medical care, and one way America’s wounded warriors are getting the treatment they need is with UCLA’s Operation Mend.

A CRISPR way to fix faulty genes (audio), NPR

Scientists from many areas of biology are flocking to a technique that allows them to work inside cells, making changes in specific genes far faster — and for far less money — than ever before. This new genetic tool – known as CRISPR for clustered regularly interspersed short palindromic repeats. UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna is interviewed.

Deep brain stimulation offers hope for OCD patient, CNN

In a last-ditch effort to relieve his symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, Brett Larsen decided to undergo deep brain stimulation. Electrodes were implanted in his brain, nestled near the striatum, an area thought to be responsible for deep, primitive emotions such as anxiety and fear. The story quotes Gerald Maguire, chair of psychiatry and neuroscience at UC Riverside medical school, and part of the team evaluating whether Larsen was a good candidate for deep brain stimulation. The story also quotes Frank Hsu, professor and chair of the department of neurosurgery at UC Irvine.

Study links traumatic brain injury to increased dementia risk, Reuters

Older military veterans who have suffered a serious head injury are more likely to be diagnosed with dementia than uninjured veterans, according to a new study. The report looked at traumatic brain injury (TBI), which includes concussions, skull fractures and bleeding inside the skull. “There have been a fair number of previous studies that have looked at the relationship between TBI and risk of dementia, and some have found an association while others haven’t,” said lead author Deborah E. Barnes, from the University of California, San Francisco, and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times

Few doctors warn expectant mothers about environmental hazards, NPR

Doctors regularly counsel expectant mothers about the risks associated with smoking, drinking and poor nutrition during pregnancy. But many obstetricians are reluctant to speak with them about the potential dangers posed by toxic substances in the environment — things like heavy metals, solvents and pesticides. That is the conclusion reached by a recent survey of 2,500 obstetricians, the of which were published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE. The story quotes Naomi Stotland, a professor of obstetrics at UC San Francisco and lead author on the study, and Robert Gunier, a researcher at the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at UC Berkeley.

Herpes infected ‘since before we were human’, The New York Times

About two-thirds of people are infected with one of two herpes simplex viruses, oral (HSV-1) or genital (HSV-2). New research says both viruses have been infecting humans and our ancestors for longer than previously thought. HSV-1 has been infecting hominids since before they split from the chimpanzee lineage six million years ago, a new study says. HSV-2 was introduced more recently, the researchers said, making the jump from chimpanzees to human ancestors about 1.6 million years ago. “If you think of humans as Homo sapiens proper, then both viruses have been with us since before we were human,” said Joel O. Wertheim, a virologist at the University of California, San Diego, and lead author of the study.

Slowing down can increase productivity and happiness, Part 2, Psychology Today

UC  Davis professors Kimberly Elsbach and Andrew Hargadon have suggested that we find ways to balance our workday activities with a mix of “mindful” (cognitively demanding) and “mindless” (cognitively facile) activities.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of June 15

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Next-gen sequencing IDs rare infection, saves boy’s life, San Francisco Chronicle

When the sample of cerebral spinal fluid arrived in Dr. Charles Chiu’s UCSF lab on a Friday morning in August 2013, he knew time was already short. The sample came from a 14-year-old Wisconsin boy with dangerous swelling in his brain. His doctors, not sure that he’d survive the weekend, sent the sample with the thin hope that Chiu’s team might figure out what was making him sick, and solve a months-long mystery. In just two days, using experimental genomic sequencing technology, Chiu had an answer: leptospira. It’s a rare bacterial infectionthat fortunately for the boy was very treatable. By Sunday afternoon, doctors were pumping Joshua Osborn with high doses of penicillin. Within days, he was out of a coma, no longer suffering constant seizures. In a month, he was back home and almost fully recovered. To solve the mystery, Chiu’s team used a diagnostic tool known as “next-generation sequencing,” which allows scientists to very quickly read and analyze the genetic makeup of an organism.

UCLA’s Operation Mend brings back smile to Iraq war vet (video), ABC News

A feature on UCLA’s Operation Mend, which since 2007 has helped wounded soldiers with advanced facial and hand surgery, as well as comprehensive medical and mental-health support for the wounded and their families at no cost. The program is a collaborative effort between Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC), the V.A. Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and UCLA Health System. Veterans have access to the nation’s top plastic and reconstructive surgeons. They currently have served 107.

UCSD plans county’s first cancer hospital, U-T San Diego

The county’s first cancer hospital is hiding behind the growing blue-green facade of UC San Diego’s Jacobs Medical Center. When the 10-story, $839 million facility opens in 2016, the Pauline and Stanley Foster Hospital for Cancer Care will occupy floors four through six. While it will not be a standalone structure like City of Hope in the Los Angeles area or the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, the three-floor, 108-bed specialty hospital will nonetheless represent a shift in treatment options for local residents.

Calif. agency, UCSF to create health care pricing, quality database, California Healthline/Payers & Providers

On Wednesday, the California Department of Insurance announced an agreement with UC San Francisco to create a price and quality database that will provide consumers with information about common health care services. The health care prices and quality transparency project is funded by a $5.2 million grant from HHS. It was awarded to DOI as part of an initiative under the Affordable Care Act.

A faster way to find the origin of malaria, The New York Times

By using a DNA “bar code” of 23 short snips from the genes of parasites that cause malaria, scientists can now often quickly determine where they originated, British researchers report. The information could be useful in fighting local outbreaks, which may be caused by parasites from other parts of the world. And it should be possible to make a test kit that will get that information from a spot of dried blood in two hours — far less time than is needed to sequence a whole genome. Dr. Michelle Hsiang, a malaria researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, said that in central China, for example, there had been separate outbreaks among overseas laborers and others who had returned from Africa and Southeast Asia, and doctors feared those would seed local outbreaks.  Knowing a strain’s origins can indicate who should be tested first and can alert doctors to a possible drug-resistant strain; that problem is now widespread only in Southeast Asia.

Rain mouse, The Economist

What causes autism is a mystery. One theory is that a phenomenon called the cellular-danger response lies at the root of it. The CDR makes cells put their ordinary activities on hold and instead switch on their defence systems, in reaction to high levels in the bloodstream of chemicals called purines. These are important and widespread substances: ATP, a molecule that shuttles energy around cells, is a purine; so are half the “genetic letters” in DNA. Cells under viral attack tend to shed them. Too many of them in the blood can thus be a signal of viral infection. In that case activating the CDR makes perfect sense. But studies have shown that people with autism often seem to have chronic CDR. The purine signal has somehow got stuck in the “on” position. Why this happens is obscure. But it has occurred to Robert Naviaux of UC San Diego that once the signal is stuck in this way, chronic CDR might, by subverting the function of crucial brain cells, be the immediate cause of the symptoms of autism.

High-tech approach helps young athletes recover, San Francisco Chronicle

At the Sports Medicine Center for Young Athletes in Walnut Creek, 16-year-old Lauren Wong was surrounded by cameras and sensors as she hopped from one foot to the other. Each impact told Lauren’s physical therapist whether she was using the same amount of force with each leg. Doing so would indicate that the performance of her right leg was catching up to her left. Speed of information is one advantage of the motion lab, completed late last year inside UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland’s Walnut Creek Sports Medicine Center. The high-tech lab helps doctors and therapists put data behind their decisions toward treating and preventing injuries among young athletes, ages 8 to 18.

Doctor’s orders: More outdoor time for kids, KQED

On a recent summer day, local Bay Area families streamed off the bus, eager to explore the park and participate in the Crab Cove Visitor Center programs. It may not seem like your typical pharmacy, but these families are following doctor’s orders by participating in a new partnership between UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland (CHO) and the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD): Park Prescriptions. The goal is to reduce chronic obesity and promote physical activity among children.

Wikipedia pops up in bibliographies, and even in college curricula, Los Angeles Times

Once the bane of teachers, Wikipedia and entry-writing exercises are becoming more common on college campuses as academia and the online site drop mutual suspicions and seek to cooperate. In at least 150 courses at colleges in the U.S. and Canada, including UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco’s medical school, Boston College and Carnegie Mellon University, students were assigned to create or expand Wikipedia entries this year. Wikipedia “has essentially become too large to ignore,” said Berkeley’s Kevin Gorman, a former student who is the nation’s first “Wikipedian in Residence” at an undergraduate institution. Gorman also works with UC San Francisco’s medical school, where professor Amin Azzam runs a month-long elective class for students to improve Wikipedia’s medical information. In the first such class at an American medical school, students have started or revised pages about hepatitis, dementia and alcohol withdrawal syndrome, among others, Azzam said.

Booming e-cigarette market largely unregulated, studies say, The Washington Post

The electronic cigarette market is booming both online and in brick-and-mortar retail outlets in ways hardly imaginable half a decade ago, and the growth continues to be largely unregulated, according to a series of studies published Monday in the journal Tobacco Control. “It’s exploding,” said Shu-Hong Zhu, a professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California at San Diego, who co-authored one of nine studies funded by the National Cancer Institute. “There’s no sign of slowing down.”

See additional coverage: USA Today

Paddleboarders stand up to cancer at ‘Survivor Beach’, U-T San Diego

Cancer survivors and their families celebrated their stamina at a paddleboard festival Sunday on Mission Bay that sought to aid and inspire patients. The 8th annual Survivor Beach was held to benefit the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, one of 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the United States and the only one in the San Diego region.

Dean Ornish talks about cheeseburgers and yoga, and what they mean for heart health, The Washington Post

For years it was thought that bed rest was the best medicine for heart attacks. Then, in the 1950s, the idea of getting patients to move around — at least a little — after an attack became the norm. The 1970s featured highly monitored exercise programs. By the 1990s, the idea became more radical: Patients suffering from coronary artery disease could reverse the condition through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, without the aid of drugs. Dean Ornish led the 1990 study that found that a plant-based diet, mild exercise, stress reduction and social support could reduce coronary artery blockages. The study pointed toward a rethinking of the treatment of heart disease through what was called a “diet breakthrough.” Over the years, the evidence has mounted linking these lifestyle factors to improved heart health. Today, Ornish continues to do research at the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito  and is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.

Well-child visits need improvement, say UCLA pediatricians, Los Angeles Examiner

With the goal of delivering preventive pediatric care to low-income families, UCLA researchers conducted a study to determine more efficient methods for delivering preventive care. The findings were published online June 16 in the journal Pediatrics.

4 habits for a healthy gut, CNN

A story about the positive health effects of probiotics and “friendly” bacteria in the gut quotes Edmond Huang, a UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow in nutritional sciences and toxicology.

Chronic stress can hurt your memory, CNN

A discussion of research showing the effects of stress on memory mentions a UC Berkeley study finding that chronic stress can create long-term changes in the brain, increasing the development of white matter (which helps transmit messages across the brain), while decreasing the number of neurons (which aide information processing).

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of June 8

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Doctors Academy addresses lack of diversity among providers in Central Valley, California Healthline

A feature on UCSF Fresno’s Doctors Academy, a rigorous health education program aimed at under-represented students. It started at Sunnyside High School in 1999, then Caruthers and Selma high schools in 2007. This year, 81 students graduated from the three schools. Founder Katherine Flores is quoted, as are alumni Stephanie Huerta, Tia Vang and Nathan Singh.

New consortium promotes efficiency in working toward clinical trials, California Healthline

A new California consortium — the Partnership to Accelerate Clinical Trials, or PACT — hopes to break down the many barriers that academic research institutions face in their quest to develop clinical trials for new drugs. The new collaborative is the brainchild of Clay Johnston, former associate vice chancellor for research at the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at UC San Francisco. Johnston is now dean of the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas-Austin. PACT is comprised of 11 California health systems and medical research institutions, including five UC campuses, Stanford University, Children’s Hospital Oakland, Dignity Health and Sutter Health. A 2010 working agreement among five UC medical campuses — UC Biomedical Research Acceleration, Integration and Development — created a foundation for PACT. It identifies policy changes and areas for collaboration to accelerate biomedical research across the UC system.

UC Berkeley researchers build exoskeleton for paraplegics allowing them to walk again (video), CBS San Francisco

Researchers at UC Berkeley are working to build an affordable robotic exoskeleton to allow paraplegics to walk again. The team of mechanical engineers hope to seize on the interest generated by the ceremonial ‘first kick’ Thursday at the 2014 World Cup in Sau Paulo, Brazil, where a 29-year-old paralyzed man performed the kickoff at the opening ceremonies.

Inside the new UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital (video), CBS San Francisco

A tour inside UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital at Mission Bay, which is opening next year.

Resident physicians at Children’s Oakland rally over contract stalemate, KQED

Resident physicians at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland say their salaries aren’t keeping up with the cost of living in the Bay Area. Theirs is one of the latest health care union battles to heat up in California between workers and hospital administration, and is drawing a new generation of members to union organizing. “A lot of people think being a doctor is super glamorous and you make tons of money and everyone loves you,” said Alana Arnold, a second-year resident. “But in fact, residency is difficult. We’re here to learn and train. And we have to protect ourselves just like any other workforce.” She and other pediatric medicine residents in Oakland have joined with SEIU’s Committee of Interns and Residents to fight for higher compensation, and a special fund for patients to cover bus tokens and other costs to help them get to appointments and maintain care.

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland to open pediatric clinic in San Ramon’s Bishop Ranch, San Francisco Business Times

The UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland has extended its reach as far east as Bishop Ranch, the enormous office park in San Ramon. Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland recently affliated with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco. The Oakland hospital plans to open a 5,000 square foot pediatric clinic later this summer. The clinic, which will offer a variety of types of medical care for children, including surgery, orthopedics, cardiology, endocrinology and other specialities, will be part of the new UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland brand.

A remedy for the looming geriatrician shortage, The Wall Street Journal

As the population of older Americans surges, so does the demand for physicians skilled in treating elderly patients. The problem is, the supply of geriatric specialists isn’t keeping up. Not only do few medical residents choose the extra year of training required to become a geriatrician, those going into other specialties typically get little exposure to the special health needs of the elderly during the course of their training. To compensate for that gap, four academic medical centers that are leaders in geriatric care — the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, and UCLA School of Medicine — formed a consortium in 2004 to provide geriatric training to physicians who teach in medical schools and residency programs.

Scientists search for the best sleepers, The Wall Street Journal

In a lab at the University of California, San Francisco, a husband-and-wife team is working to unravel the secrets of sleep, gene by gene. Louis Ptáček is studying why some people are genetically wired to be morning larks — an estimated 3% of the population who go to bed unusually early and rise early—while others are night owls. His wife, Ying-Hui Fu, is researching another phenomenon: why some people require unusually short amounts of sleep, a group that is estimated to be less than 1% of the population. These hardy few, called short-sleepers, can biologically get by with less than six hours of sleep a night and feel fully refreshed.

Study traces Mexican ancestry to decode health problems, San Francisco Chronicle

An extensive study decoding the genes of modern Mexicans has revealed their genetic links to the pre-Columbian world of their forebears who lived in Mexico hundreds to thousands of years ago. Wherever they may live now – in Mexico or beyond – their genes trace back to their earliest homelands and may play a key role in understanding their lives in terms of health and illness today, the study reveals. Because so many diseases can be traced at least in part to genetic aspects, the new study led by researchers at Stanford University and UCSF could prove important to the diagnosis and medical care of everyone with even a hint of ancient Mexico in their family tree, the scientists say. Esteban Gonzalez Burchard, a UCSF physician who cares for children with asthma at clinics there and is one of the leading researchers, is quoted.

Obesity-related disease trigger found, says UCSD team, U-T San Diego

Obesity-related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome are triggered by a lack of oxygen in adipose cells, according to a study led by UC San Diego researchers.

UCSD awarded nearly $100 million in grants in April, San Diego Daily Transcript

April marked a monthly jump in grant money awarded to UC San Diego for its various initiatives. A university report detailing monthly grant activity shows that grants awarded to UCSD in April totaled more than $99.4 million, the closest the university has come to at least $100 million in a single month since it was given more than $164 million in December 2013. Among the largest grants awarded to UCSD in April were $2.71 million from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for the Department of Medicine’s program project on the role of innate immunity in atherosclerosis.

The secret ingredient in young blood: oxytocin?, National Geographic

A team of UC Berkeley researchers led by associate bioengineering professor Irina Conboy has found that oxytocin, a feel-good hormone produced in the brain, can help rejuvenate muscles, and is a promising target for anti-aging treatments.

Long telomeres may mean higher cancer risk, UCSF team says, San Francisco Chronicle

A team of UCSF researchers has produced some of the strongest evidence that having long telomeres, while certainly protective in many ways, may leave people vulnerable to certain types of cancer.

For cancer specialists, disease can make them better doctors, San Francisco Chronicle

Dr. Pamela Munster’s colleagues viewed the mammogram results and then played out a scene she knows well: the furrowed brow, the intense look of concern, followed by the composed, reassuring face for the patient’s benefit. They weren’t looking at her patient’s mammogram. These were Munster’s results. They were acting the same way she did when she was about to deliver bad news to her cancer patients. “I’ve done this all,” said Munster, a breast cancer specialist who now runs UCSF’s early-phase clinical trials program. “They were looking at it intently, and it started to sink in that it might be bad.” About 14.5 million people living in the United States have been told, in so many words, “You have cancer.” Some of those people are oncologists and other specialists in cancer. So when they learn that they have the disease they specialize in, the reaction can be transformative, doctors agree. It can change the way they look at disease, affect the way they interact with patients and raise the credibility they have with them.

Gun violence at U.S. schools continues to grow sharply, Los Angeles Times

A fatal shooting in Oregon on Tuesday was the 31st firearms attack at a U.S. school since the start of the year, marking a sharp acceleration in the rash of violence that has occurred on campuses across the nation.The incidents range from the 20 people shot near UC Santa Barbara less than three weeks ago to gunfire that resulted in no injuries at all. The frequency of attacks has picked up since the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., where 20 first-graders and six adults were gunned down. In the 18 months since that tragedy, 41 deaths have occurred in 62 documented incidents at U.S. schools. In the 18 months before that attack, there were 17 deaths in 17 incidents. Garen Wintemute, director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, is quoted.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of June 1

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

How a UCLA program is training foreign, immigrant doctors to work in the U.S., Los Angeles Daily News

Thousands of doctors born and trained in foreign countries who come to the United States hope to continue practicing medicine here. But instead of practicing medicine, many end up in low-paying jobs hoping to save enough money to take exams, compete for residencies and eventually, if they make it, become a doctor in the U.S. Some never achieve their dreams. The issue was troubling to doctors Michelle Bholat and Patrick Dowling from UCLA’s Department of Family Medicine. So in 2007, Bholat and Dowling developed the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program. The goal is to help bilingual, bicultural physicians from Latin American countries complete exams and residency in family medicine for free. In exchange, the doctors then practice in underserved communities. In California, 35 percent of the state’s 13 million Latinos reside in areas that not only need physicians, but need ones that understand them.

California health secretary on ‘disruptive innovation’ of the ACA, KQED

During the New York Times Health for Tomorrow conference at UC San Francisco Mission Bay Conference Center, Diana Dooley — secretary of California’s Department of Health and Human Services and chair of the Covered California board — discussed the challenges and successes of implementing health reform in the state.

In a first, test of DNA finds root of illness, The New York Times

Joshua Osborn, 14, lay in a coma at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wis. For weeks his brain had been swelling with fluid, and a battery of tests had failed to reveal the cause. The doctors told his parents, Clark and Julie, that they wanted to run one more test with an experimental new technology. Scientists would search Joshua’s cerebrospinal fluid for pieces of DNA. Some of them might belong to the pathogen causing his encephalitis. The Osborns agreed, although they were skeptical that the test would succeed where so many others had failed. But in the first procedure of its kind, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, managed to pinpoint the cause of Joshua’s problem — within 48 hours. He had been infected with an obscure species of bacteria. Once identified, it was eradicated within days. UCSF’s Michael Wilson, Joseph DeRisi and Charles Chiu are quoted, as is Livermore Lab’s Tom Slezak.

See additional coverage: NPR (audio)

Safety-net hospitals face $1.5 billion shortfall by 2019, UCLA study says, California Healthline

A UCLA study released yesterday made a dire prediction for the state’s public hospital system: The safety-net facilities will likely face a shortfall of between $1.38 billion to $1.54 billion by 2019, when federal funding cuts go into effect. The cuts will hit the poorest Californians hardest, according to the study. “Hospitals that can least afford a cut are the most at-risk,” said Dylan Roby, director of the Health Economics and Evaluation Research Program at UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research.

Three-year California medical school pilot program set to begin (audio), Capital Public Radio

A bill in the California legislature would allow students in a UC Davis School of Medicine accelerated pilot program to obtain licenses in less than four years. The program was set up to address a growing problem in California. “We have far more patients than we have doctors,” says Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla. She says her bill AB 1838 would ensure that students who complete medical school in the accelerated program would have the opportunity to start practicing.

Scale of medical decisions shifts to offer varied balances of power, Los Angeles Times

Dr. Clarence Braddock, vice dean of education at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is featured in this story about how the authority for making medical decisions has increasingly shifted from being the physician’s sole responsibility to that of a partnership with well-informed patients.

Children’s Hospital Oakland pediatric trauma center verified at top level, The Hayward Daily Review

The trauma center at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland has been verified as Level 1 by the American College of Surgeons.

ValleyCare Health System explores merger with Stanford Hospital, San Francisco Business Times

ValleyCare Health System, which operates two hospitals and other sites in Pleasanton and Livermore, is exploring a merger with Stanford Hospital & Clinics, the two parties said Thursday afternoon.ValleyCare has had financial difficulties recently, and former CEO Marcy Feit left the organization abruptly in early February. Officials at both organizations say ValleyCare and Stanford have signed a non-binding letter of intent to affiliate. Such a move could bolster ValleyCare, which could use the support of a larger, wealthier system, and Stanford Hospital, which has been engaged in a vigorous competition with academic medical center rival UCSF Medical Center in recent years to grab more doctors, patients and philanthropic support throughout the Bay Area. Some are calling that rivalry the “clash of the titans.”

Leviathan gets bigger: UCSF plans 2.4 million-square-foot growth spurt by 2035, San Francisco Business Times

UC San Francisco, already a giant economic force in San Francisco, plans to add a mammoth 2.4 million square feet of space by 2035 — a 26 percent increase over the total space that UCSF is now using or building. The new space would give UCSF, part of the University of California system, a total of 11.58 million square feet in San Francisco, including owned and leased buildings. It now has 8 million square feet in use, and an additional 1.14 million square feet under construction at its burgeoning Mission Bay campus. Much of the proposed growth would occur in Mission Bay, but UCSF also plans to tear down and replace its Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute on the Parnassus campus with a new 308,000-square-foot hospital complex to meet state seismic requirements.

UCSF program pushes innovation in medical devices, San Francisco Chronicle

At UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, as in all hospitals, patients who lie in bed for hours sometimes develop painful skin sores. To prevent these wounds, nurses must check and move patients every few hours. But Dr. Hanmin Lee wonders if a device would do a better job of predicting and alerting staff to nascent bedsores. “That’s an area ripe for disruption,” said the hospital’s surgeon in chief, stealing one of Silicon Valley’s favorite lines. On Wednesday, UCSF will open the Rosenman Institute, a program intended to give Lee and other faculty members the resources to turn their ideas for medical devices into real products. As a renowned scientific-research university and medical center, UCSF has long teamed with pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs and diagnostics. But even as the institution has ramped up its commercial partnerships, it has not paid as much attention to medical devices, an industry that has spawned life-saving inventions such as pacemakers, artificial joints, replacement heart valves and surgical robots.

See additional coverage: Xconomy

Artificial intelligence raises new hope for cancer patients, Re/code

A growing number of companies and researchers are applying smart algorithms and massive amounts of data to sift through gigantic stacks of medical research or the biology of the body itself for clues that could save the lives of cancer patients. The techniques in question cross the fuzzy boundaries of AI, machine learning, computational medicine, quantitative pharmacology and plain old big data (and any practitioner will happily argue at length about which is what and why their approach is superior). But institutions as big as IBM, Merck, Memorial Sloan Kettering, UC Berkeley and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are eager to explore the potential — and in most cases are investing millions to do so. The article quotes David Patterson, a professor of computer science at UC Berkeley developing machine learning tools for cancer research, and Michael Keiser, an instructor at the UC San Francisco School of Medicine and founder of SeaChange Pharmaceuticals.

Matthew Ouimet’s one-year anniversary of liver and kidney transplant at UCSF, San Jose Mercury News

Kelly and Kristi Ouimet’s son Matthew Ouimet, 3, still struggles with a few issues such as brittle bones from doing dialysis and not being able to eat much solid food yet, but is doing well as he comes up on the one-year anniversary of his transplant. Matthew suffered from primary hyperoxaluria Type 1 and received a liver and kidney transplant at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital on June 4-5, 2013. His sister Molly, 11, has a less serious form of the disease.

UCSC student honored for designing cancer drug, Santa Cruz Sentinel

A new treatment for skin cancer is just one possible outcome of the 15 undergraduate research projects highlighted at the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Awards ceremony Friday. Senior Beau Norgeot used computer analysis to create a drug designed to make cells more receptive to chemotherapy. The bioengineering major received the day’s top honor, the Steck Family Award. When melanoma, a type of skin cancer, spreads, only 20 percent of patients survive, said Glenn Millhauser, UCSC chemistry and biochemistry professor and Norgeot’s adviser. What’s novel about Norgeot’s seven-month project, said Millhauser, is the collaboration it represents. For the first time, Norgeot brought together David Bernick, UCSC biomolecular engineering professor, with Millhauser, to link their work on computer algorithms and chemistry.

Sacramento-area colleges reach out on mental health, The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento State and UC Davis over the past three years have boosted the mental health services offered to students. For example, they have added counselors and implemented programs that encourage students with mental health issues to seek help.Last week, thousands of UC Davis students, alumni, faculty and staff gathered in the evening twilight, burning candles in tribute to the six fellow University of California students slain by an emotionally disturbed young man on May 23. Elliot Rodger’s shooting rampage in Isla Vista that Friday night took the lives of six UC Santa Barbara students and left 13 others injured. The massacre, like others before it, has fueled discussion about what families, schools and society at large can do to identify and address mental health issues among young adults.

Being happy with sugar, The Atlantic

Popular media are full of dramatic claims that sugar is toxic. And there’s intense disagreement about recommendations to replace table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup with “natural” sweeteners like agave nectar or fruit juice. What to make of it all? UCSF’s Robert Lustig and UC Davis’ Kimber Stanhope are highlighted in this piece.

108 hospitals, health systems that are great places to work, Becker’s Hospital Review

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center was part of a select group of hospitals and health systems that were named in this edition of 150 Great Places to Work in Healthcare.

Bursts of light create memories, then take them away (audio), NPR

You can’t just open up a living brain and see the memories inside. So Roberto Malinow, a brain scientist at the University of California, San Diego, has spent years trying to find other ways to understand how memories are made and lost. The research — right now being done in rats – should lead to a better understanding of human memory problems ranging from Alzheimer’s to post-traumatic stress disorder.

See additional coverage: IB Times

Can food stamps help improve diets, fight obesity and save money?, Los Angeles Times

Prohibiting the use of federal food stamps to purchase sugar-sweetened beverages and subsidizing the purchase of fruits and vegetables with the coupons would improve nutrition, foster weight loss and drive down rates of Type 2 diabetes among the program’s 47.6 million recipients, according to a new study by a group of medical and health economics researchers from Stanford University and UC San Francisco.

Health providers slowly embrace drug Truvada to prevent HIV, San Francisco Chronicle

When Adam Zeboski started using the HIV drug Truvada in November 2012, he was HIV-free himself, but in a relationship with a man who had been infected. He was taking one Truvada pill a day for prevention, or PrEP – the breezy term for pre-exposure prophylaxis. Multiple international studies had shown that daily use of Truvada could nearly eliminate the risk of contracting HIV. But PrEP wasn’t something most of Zeboski’s friends talked about, and even fewer admitted taking. But that may be about to change. Last month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the first recommendations for who should consider the drug, focusing on groups of people at highest risk of contracting HIV. The recommendations would apply to roughly half a million people in the United States – a radical jump from the 2,000 or so currently taking PrEP. The article quotes Robert Grant, a UCSF professor and chief medical officer of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation who led the international clinical trials demonstrating that Truvada worked for prevention.

How an increase in minimum wage can improve health, KQED

Paul Leigh is a professor of economics at UC Davis Medical School. He and research partner DaeHwan Kim crunched numbersfrom a multistate health study that lasted from 1999-2007. In some of the states, the minimum wage went up during that time.In one case, they looked at the effect of the wage increase on rates of high blood pressure. “We found a higher minimum wage was associated with fewer cases of hypertension, especially at lower income levels,” Leigh said. The researchers used the same data set to look at weight. “We found low-wage workers had higher rates of obesity, and when wages went up there was a reduction in prevalence of obesity,” Leigh said.

Google Glass enters the operating room, The New York Times

Pierre Theodore, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco, calls wearable computers “a game changer.” “In surgery, Google Glass is incredibly illuminating,” said Theodore, who uses Glass to float X-rays and CT scans in his field of view at the operating table. “It helps you pinpoint what you’re looking for, so you don’t have to shift your attention away from the operation to look at a monitor somewhere else.”

FDA calculates cost of lost enjoyment if e-cigarette rules prevent smoking, The New York Times

As U.S. health regulators consider what rules to impose on electronic cigarettes, in their tally of costs and benefits they have placed a value on the lost pleasure consumers may suffer if they used the products less or not at all. The article quotes Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine and a tobacco control expert at the University of California, San Francisco, who favors tough regulation of e-cigarettes and cigars.

RWJF awards Calit2 project $1.9M to explore data sharing, MobiHealthNews

The Health Data Exploration project, developed at UC San Diego and UC Irvine, received a $1.9 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Funds from the grant will be used to build out the Health Data Exploration’s network of  researchers, scientists, companies that want to experiment with and analyze personal health data.

UCSD hospital took pains on helipad redo: Job done in a day, Times of San Diego

How long does it take to remodel a helicopter landing zone atop a hospital? When UCSD Hillcrest Trauma Center hired Pacific Building Group for its helipad renovation, the officials expected a two-week closure of the landing zone. Actual down time? Eight hours.

Depression, lack of education, physical inactivity, hypertension increase memory problems, UPI

Depression, lack of education, physical inactivity and high blood pressure all increase the likelihood of memory complaints in adults ages 18 to 99.However, senior author, Dr. Gary Small, director of the UCLA Longevity Center, said depression was the strongest single risk factor for memory complaints in all of the adults.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of May 25

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC president highlights research to retrain brains of mentally ill, San Jose Mercury News

Six days after six UC Santa Barbara students were killed by a troubled 20-year-old man, UC President Janet Napolitano said the university will lead research to develop an implantable device that will retrain the brains of the mentally ill. Napolitano said a team of scientists and physicians at UC San Francisco this week received a $26 million federal grant to create a device that will retrain the brain as it recovers from certain illnesses related to mental health disorders. “Having spent part of this week down at UC Santa Barbara that pursuing mental health (problems) seems more pressing than ever,” Napolitano said Thursday in remarks to an audience attending a New York Times sponsored “Health For Tomorrow” conference at UCSF Mission Bay campus. The UCSF group will lead a team that will involve more than a dozen scientists, engineers and physicians from UC Berkeley, Cornell University and New York University, and also include work with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

University of California President Janet Napolitano (audio), KQED Forum

It’s been eight months since Janet Napolitano took over as president of the University of California system, following her stint as U.S. secretary of Homeland Security. She addresses the recent killing rampage near UC Santa Barbara, and also to discuss issues including student debt, campus diversity and the differences between working in Washington, D.C., and in the UC system. Her participation in the New York Times Health for Tomorrow conference is mentioned.

What price technology? At NYT health confab, it’s a loaded question, Xconomy

The role of data and technological innovation in health care was front and center at a conference of top health experts from academia, industry and government, convened by the New York Times at the University of California, San Francisco yesterday. Voices of both optimism and caution were plentiful, but the discussion of technology was consistently grounded, no matter the speaker’s view, in the cost of health care.

UCSF team wins $26 million grant to build brain implant, San Francisco Chronicle

A team led by UCSF neuroscientists has won federal funding to build an implantable brain device that would record and analyze live electrical signals, then alter them to retrain the brain to recover from mental illnesses like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The funding, announced Monday night, comes from a U.S. Department of Defense agency that is focused on improving understanding of brain disorders and developing new engineering-based treatments. The UCSF team – which includes scientists from UC Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Cornell and New York universities – will receive up to $26 million for the project. The funding is part of $100 million set aside by President Obama for his national Brain Initiative announced in April 2013. The article quotes Dr. Edward Chang, a neurosurgeon who is leading the UCSF team;  Dr. Vikaas Sohal, a UCSF psychiatrist who’s part of the brain device team; and Jose Carmena, co-director of the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses at UC Berkeley and UCSF.

See additional coverage: NPR (audio), CBS News, San Francisco Business Times

UCSF, Nebraska win $10 million ‘innovation’ grant to personalize dementia care, San Francisco Business Times

UC San Francisco and the University of Nebraska Medical Center have nabbed a nearly $10 million federal grant to help personalize and better coordinate dementia care. The $9.99 million grant, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was part of a $110 million Health Innovation Awards distribution to 12 recipients announced May 22 that included UCSF and UNMC.

Supporting concussion research, The Wall Street Journal

Steven Tisch, co-owner of the New York Giants, on Thursday pledged $10 million to support a pediatric neurology program at UCLA for the research into and treatment of concussions in young athletes. The donation was announced during a White House summit on youth and sports concussions. Mr. Tisch’s gift, which he decided on in the last few days, will go to the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of Californa, Los Angeles, and its two-year-old BrainSPORT Program. The program will be renamed for Mr. Tisch.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post

The next frontier of medicine, Slate

Following your gut takes on a whole new meaning as scientists like UC San Francisco’s Michael Fischbach find relationships between the brain and gut bacteria.

Samsung smart watch will monitor vital signs, San Francisco Chronicle

Samsung Electronics took its biggest step yet into the rapidly growing field of wearable devices Wednesday, promising to someday allow customers to record and analyze their health in real time. At a presentation in San Francisco, the South Korean electronics giant unveiled a prototype for a smart watch that can track users’ key vital signs around the clock. The company also introduced a cloud software platform that will allow researchers to upload and study the massive amount of data generated by wearers of devices. Seeking an edge on the competition, Samsung teamed up in February with clinical research powerhouse UCSF to start the UCSF-Samsung Digital Health Innovation Lab. At the university’s Mission Bay campus, scientists and engineers from both groups have been testing digital health products intended for the market. Dr. Michael Blum, associate vice chancellor for informatics at UCSF, is quoted.

See additional coverage: The Atlantic

Stanley Prusiner: ‘A Nobel Prize doesn’t wipe the scepticism away’, The Guardian

A feature on Nobel Prize-winning neurologist Stanley Prusiner of UC San Francisco.

UCSC freshman presents football experiment at White House, Santa Cruz Sentinel

Two years ago, Maria Hanes dropped her cell phone, setting off a chain of events that eventually took her to the White House. Then a football team manager for her Edwards Air Force Base high school, Hanes said when she saw her phone’s rubber case prevented it from cracking, she hatched an idea. Hanes, now a UC Santa Cruz freshman, developed a football helmet sleeve designed to help prevent concussions. Hanes, 19, was one of 61 people to present projects at the White House Science Fair on Tuesday. She had the opportunity to share her findings with President Obama in the Blue Room.

After attack near campus, California weighs gun bill, The New York Times

Just days after a 22-year-old killed six college students and himself near the campus of UC Santa Barbara, state lawmakers are championing legislation that would permit law enforcement officials and private individuals to seek a restraining order from a judge that would keep people with a potential propensity for violence from buying or owning a gun. Dr. Garen J. Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis, is quoted.

How the VA developed its culture of coverups, The Washington Post

This article about Veterans Affairs health care quotes Kenneth W. Kizer, distinguished professor and director of the UC Davis Institute for Population Health Improvement. Kizer previously served as under secretary for health in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where he led a turnaround of its health care system.

UCLA has a mission to mend wounds of war, Los Angeles Register

A feature on UCLA’s Operation Mend, which provides returning military personnel with cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries for injuries suffered in battle or training.

From food waste to gut health, Scientific American

When we eat a food product, we don’t typically think about the byproducts of its creation, such as the hazelnut skins left behind when creating a Nutella-like spread. But researchers at the University of California, Davis think these waste streams may actually be gold mines for our gut, providing new sources of prebiotics, nutrients that feed the “good” probiotic bacteria populating our intestines.

Tattoo removal goes high-tech with laser procedures, Los Angeles Times

A story on the UCLA Dermatological Surgery and Laser Center’s new laser, which removes tattoos more quickly and efficiently than traditional lasers.  Dr. Gary Lask, director of the center and clinical professor of medical dermatology; Dr. H. Ray Jalian, clinical instructor of medicine in the division of dermatology, and a patient are quoted.

Rounds with a hospital chaplain, Reimagine

A profile of Lori Koutouratsas, palliative care chaplain at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, in its June issue.  The article focuses on Koutouratsas’ background and highlights the ways she provides comfort and support to cancer and chronically ill patients. Koutouratsas is quoted, and the Rev. Tim Thorstenson, spiritual care manager at the medical center, is referenced.

Why do we get ‘sleep’ in our eyes?, The Huffington Post

Dr. Ivan Schwab, a professor of opthalmology at the UC Davis School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, explains why we get “sleep” in our eyes.

Dr. House was right: Give patients what they need, not what they want, Forbes

What’s wrong with giving patients what they want? It turns out that patient satisfaction is tied to higher costs and, even worse, a higher death rate. A large survey covering 52,000 patients, published by a team led by Joshua Fenton at UC Davis found that the most satisfied patients not only spent about 9% more than average, but had a 26% higher death rate.

UC system struggles with professors’ outside earnings, The Orange County Register

This story investigates disclosure of outside compensation among UC medical professors.

Soda warning bill passes committee; plan to insure undocumented does not, California Healthline

The Senate Committee on Appropriations last week passed a bill that would require consumer warning labels on all sweetened beverages sold in California. Another high-profile health bill seeking to provide health care coverage for the state’s undocumented population,  SB 1005 by Sen. Ricardo Lara, was put on hold by the appropriations committee. A study released last week by University of California researchers concluded the plan would have high benefit to California and a relatively minor cost (roughly an additional 2% of the state’s current spending on Medi-Cal).

CalPERS’ ‘reference pricing’ initiative saves $5.5M over two years, California Healthline/Health Data Management

CalPERS saved more than $5 million through an initiative that set standard prices for knee and hip replacements and prompted beneficiaries to select higher-value hospitals for the procedures. For the program, CalPERS asked its PPO, Anthem Blue Cross, to research the average costs for hip and knee replacements among hospitals and develop a program that ensures sufficient coverage by those hospitals that meet a certain cost threshold. The program set a maximum of $30,000. Forty-six medical institutions – including Stanford and UC-San Francisco — initially were included in the plan.

Op-ed: California needs a gun violence restraining order, Los Angeles Times

Renée Binder, professor of psychiatry and director of the psychiatry and law program at UC San Francisco, writes an op-ed about California’s need for a gun violence restraining order.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of May 18

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

L.A.-area healthcare providers to issue guidelines for end-of-life-care, Los Angeles Times

On Thursday, a coalition of Los Angeles-area healthcare providers — caring for millions of Angelenos among them — will endorse some groundbreaking guidelines designed to help patients take more control over their final months, weeks and days. The hospitals will urge their doctors and nurses to help patients specify their hopes for the end of life through advance-care planning, and understand how to seek palliative care if a patient wants it. The participants include Cedars-Sinai, HealthCare Partners Medical Group and Affiliated Physicians, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Keck Medical Center of USC, Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, MemorialCare Health System, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance, Providence TrinityCare Hospice and the UCLA Health System. Neil Wenger, director of the UCLA Healthcare Ethics Center and a collaborator on the guidelines, is quoted.

See additional coverage: California Healthline, KPCC (audio)

Following iPad rollout, UC Irvine medical students get Google Glass, MobiHealthNews

More evidence that, at least where doctors at the point of care are concerned, Google Glass is the new iPad: UC Irvine, one of the first medical schools to issue iPads to its students, is now equipping them with Google Glass as well. The school won’t be equipping each freshman with a $1,500 Glass device like it did with iPads. Instead, the program will have a total of 30 to 40 Glass units on hand, 10 for third and fourth-year students to use in the operating room and emergency department and the rest for first and second-year students to use in the classroom.

Tom Perkins gives UCSF $2.5 million to create professorship, San Francisco Chronicle

Billionaire venture capitalist Tom Perkins is giving UCSF $2.5 million to create a distinguished professorship dedicated to cancer research, the university said Monday. The title will go to Dr. Charles Ryan, a professor of clinical medicine and urology who directs the Genitourinary Medical Oncology program in UCSF’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Perkins said he has been personally invested in the fight against cancer since his wife, Gerd, died of lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, in 1994. Prostate cancer is particularly important, the 82-year-old said, because it afflicts millions of older men in the country.

Kawasaki disease wafts to Japan on the wind, National Geographic

The agent of Kawasaki disease, a potentially fatal illness in children, floats into Japan on seasonal winds from northeastern China, according to a report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The article quotes study co-authors Jane Burns, director of the Kawasaki Disease Research Program at UC San Diego, and Daniel Cayan, a climate researcher at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

A victory lap for a heretical neurologist, The New York Times

A review of Nobel Prize-winning neurologist Stanley Prusiner’s book “Madness and Memory,” a memoir about discovering prions. Prusiner is a UC San Francisco professor of neurology and director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Blocking pain receptors may extend lifespan, boost metabolism, Fox News

By blocking a specific pain receptor in mice, researchers from The University of California, Berkeley, were able to both extend the animals’ lifespans and give them a more youthful metabolism – including an improved insulin response. The findings could spell out a new way to extend longevity, as well as point to a new drug target for developing novel diabetes and obesity treatments.

Inventors land ‘Big Bang’ prizes at UC Davis, The Sacramento Bee

From a ventilator device to prevent infection in chronically ill hospital patients to tools for helping African farmers, this year’s winners of the BigBang! competition at UC Davis were all over the map. Altogether, the competing teams of aspiring entrepreneurs were awarded $28,000 on Thursday night at the 14th annual competition, aimed at helping get ideas from academia into the real-world market. The top prize of $10,000 went to Benjamin Wang, a 2005 UCD graduate in biochemistry and molecular biology, who developed an improved ventilator device that he says can reduce the “risk of nasty infections.” Wang launched his startup company, Nevap Inc., shortly after graduating from medical school in 2011.

Woman delivers first baby while in a coma at UCSF (video), ABC 7

It was supposed to be the happiest time of her life — newlywed and newly pregnant. Then a diagnosis changed everything. Doctors discovered a brain tumor. Months later, Melissa Carleton suffered a massive seizure that left her unable to move, speak, or even open her eyes. On Thursday, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Doctors at UC San Francisco delivered West Nathanael Lande via cesarean section around 11 a.m., and the family is ecstatic. That’s because when Melissa left her home in Fresno and was admitted to the hospital about ten weeks ago for treatment, no one knew if either one would survive.

Racial diversity crucial to development of drugs, treatments, San Francisco Chronicle

This article about the importance of having diversity among enrollees in clinical trials mentions UC San Francisco and UC Davis. Moon Chen, associate director for cancer control at UC Davis’ Comprehensive Cancer Center, is quoted. Last month, UC Davis started a program that reaches out to every Asian patient diagnosed at the center with cancer to offer individual education in Asian languages including Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog and Hmong. The university is considering expanding it to other population groups.

Study sees modest costs in healthcare for immigrants here illegally, Los Angeles Times

Extending healthcare to people in the country illegally would cost the state a modest amount more but would significantly improve health while potentially saving money for taxpayers down the road, according to a study released Wednesday. The study by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research estimates that the net increase in state spending would be equivalent to 2% of state Medi-Cal spending, or between $353 million and $369 million next year, while the net increase in spending would be up to $436 million in 2019.

See additional coverage: California Report (audio), California Healthline

Poised for growth, commercial ACOs also face considerable challenges, California Healthline

The Affordable Care Act pushes the health care industry to find new and more innovative ways to deliver quality, cost-efficient care. Accountable care organizations — designed to reward health care providers for keeping their patients healthy — seem like the logical answer to such a mission. But are accountable care organizations formed between private insurers and health care delivery systems actually being held accountable? Stephen Shortell of UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health is quoted.

Only 2 in 5 L.A. health clinics are ready for Obamacare patients, Los Angeles Times

Just 2 in 5 Los Angeles community health clinics are ready for the impacts of Obamacare, a new study found. A May brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research examined approximately 40 clinics in the Los Angeles area to determine how prepared they were for an expected increase in new patients because of the Affordable Care Act, the national health care law that went into full effect this year.

Study: Doctors should not shake patients’ hands (video), Fox New York

Shaking hands is part of our culture. But a new report appearing in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, says doctors should stop shaking their patients’ hands because of the risk of spreading germs. Dr. Mark Sklansky at UCLA co-authored the report. He says doctors shaking patients’ hands may be just as dangerous as smoking in public.

History and context of an embattled department, The New York Times

The uproar over medical care for military veterans involves one of the nation’s biggest health care systems, a far-flung operation that treats 6.5 million people a year at 151 hospitals and 820 outpatient clinics, with more than 18,000 doctors and an annual budget of more than $57 billion. Dr. Kenneth W. Kizer, a professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine who was under secretary of veterans affairs from 1994 to 1999, is quoted.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of May 11

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

As memories fade: UC Davis researchers grapple for Alzheimer’s cure, The Sacramento Bee

What can stop the devastation of Alzheimer’s? Without better answers from researchers, the degenerative brain disease – already the nation’s sixth leading cause of death – will be diagnosed in as many as 16 million aging baby boomers by 2050. Unchecked, it could rob millions of their memories and lives, their past and future, even as it threatens to overwhelm the health care system. Against the setting of this looming public health crisis, scientists devote themselves to diagnosis and research along the third-floor hallways of the Lawrence J. Ellison Ambulatory Care Center on the leafy UC Davis Medical Center campus. They are unlikely warriors on the front lines: the neurologists and neuropsychologists, the project scientists and brain-imaging whiz kids and dedicated clinic staff who are fascinated by the science of the aging brain but frustrated by how little public recognition there seems to be that a crisis is at hand.

Why being rich might make you a jerk, Slate

A UC Berkeley study finds that people who are rich — or just consider themselves so — are more likely to cut people off in traffic, blow past pedestrians and even take candy from children.

Can happiness become the world’s most popular course?, Forbes

Since the Greater Good Science Center’s MOOC (massive open online course) “The Science of Happiness” was announced, nearly 40,000 registrations have been recorded. UC Berkeley psychology professor Dacher Keltner expects that 100,000 could be reached by the time the course begins in September. Each week, students will be offered “a new research-tested practice that fosters social and emotional well-being–and the course will help them track their progress along the way.”

Pilot program at Oakland hospital cuts HIV/AIDS readmissions almost in half, California Healthline

University of California researchers yesterday released initial results of a pilot project to launch a patient-centered medical home model of care for HIV/AIDS patients at a hospital and four community clinics in Alameda County. The early results were pretty striking, according to George Lemp, director of the California HIV/AIDS Research Program for the UC system. “It’s very encouraging,” Lemp said. “If we can reduce hospital readmission rates, we might be able to bring down some of the cost of medical care and improve outcomes.”

50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders, Modern Healthcare

This list of the 50 most influential physician executives and leaders includes Robert Wachter, professor and associate chairman of the UC San Francisco Department of Medicine, and David Feinberg, president of the UCLA Health System and CEO of the UCLA Hospital System. The list also includes former UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, who is now CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Google Glass handed out to all medical students at UC Irvine, CNet

Becoming the first medical school to fully incorporate Google Glass into its curriculum, the UC Irvine School of Medicine thinks the device will help students with anatomy, clinical skills and hospital rotations.

See additional coverage: KPCC

UCSF e-cigarette study stamps out public health benefits, San Francisco Chronicle

If all traditional cigarette smokers switched to electronic cigarettes, lives would be saved and overall public health would improve, scientists and doctors say. But UCSF researchers, in a paper published Monday, say a growing body of research shows that people who take up e-cigarettes aren’t necessarily giving up conventional cigarettes, and on top of that, the devices are being heavily marketed to young people, creating a potential new market for the nicotine and tobacco industry.

The weird link between e-cigarettes and mental health disorders, Time

A new study has found that people suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental disorders are more than twice as likely to spark up an e-cigarette and three times as likely to “vape” regularly than those without a history of mental issues. Researchers at UC San Diego drew their findings from an extensive survey of American smoking habits.

Near fatal accident helped man graduate from UCSF medical school (video), NBC Bay Area

He was almost killed at 19 in a freak accident at a tire factory–but Andres Anaya describes the event now as the best thing that’s ever happened to him. “I was literally being crushed to death, suffocated to death. My legs went numb,” said Anaya, describing how hydraulic doors on a machine malfunctioned. “If it wasn’t for that accident, I wouldn’t be here right now.” Now 40 years old, Anaya is referring to his graduation from UCSF’s School of Medicine. Friday afternoon, he and dozens of his classmates gathered at Davies Symphony Hall near San Francisco City Hall for their commencement.

Almost one-third of hospital patients in California have diabetes, study says, California Healhtline

UC researchers Thursday are releasing a study revealing the high cost of diabetes to California’s health care system. The joint study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the not-for-profit California Center for Public Health Advocacy, based in Davis, has some compelling findings.

Hazardous flame retardants ubiquitous in preschools, San Francisco Chronicle

Flame retardants are ubiquitous at preschools and day care centers, potentially exposing children to chemicals that are hazardous to their health, UC Berkeley researchers wrote in a study published Thursday.

Exercising the mind to treat attention deficits, The New York Times

An article about the growing body of research suggesting that mindfulness exercises could help children and adults cope with attention deficit disorders quotes UCLA behavioral geneticist Susan Smalley, UC Irvine psychologist James Swanson, UC San Francisco neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley and UC Berkeley psychology professor Stephen Hinshaw.

Steve Lopez: Sterlings serve up an opportunity to explore dementia, Los Angeles Times

Dr. Claudia Kawas of the UC Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders said it’s not always clear to people that they are passing into the early stages of dementia.

Farmworkers getting their Zumba on, The Salinas Californian

The future of farmworker health and fitness is being test-driven in Monterey County at Reiter Berry Farms, and the future is spelled Z-U-M-B-A. The beat-blasting, pulse-pounding fitness dance is part of a $3 million collaborative study evaluating worksite-based health programs to lower the risk of obesity and diabetes among immigrant Latino farmworkers. The study was announced Monday and is under the leadership of UC Davis. In addition to the Reiter Affiliated Cos., the study is partnering with the Health Initiative of the Americas at UC Berkeley.

Not all schools provide good drinking water, study says, Los Angeles Times

Access to free drinking water at school has improved, but California schools are not doing all they can, despite state and federal laws on the issue and evidence of the health benefits of drinking water, researchers said Thursday. One in four schools studied did not meet the legal requirements, they said. “Schools have made great strides in reducing availability of sugar-sweetened beverages, yet ensuring excellence in drinking water access in schools is still an area of significant need,” according to the researchers from UC San Francisco, the California Food Policy Advocates and ChangeLab Solutions in Oakland.

Acoustic-4-A-Cure review: Players’ stature barely fit in room, San Francisco Chronicle

When the lineup was announced for Sammy Hagar’s inaugural Acoustic-4-A-Cure benefit concert – Metallica’s James Hetfield, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Train’s Patrick Monahan, Heart’s Nancy Wilson and local guitar god Joe Satriani – it was hard to imagine how they were going to fit all that ego into one room. Even if that room happened to be the Fillmore. But from the moment the doors opened at the venue on Thursday for the sold-out show, proceeds from which will support cancer research at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, more than anything else it felt like a great big party among friends.

High-profile ballot measure hopes to curb health insurance rate hikes (audio), California Healthline

Experts, including Dylan Roby, director of health economics at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and R. Adams Dudley, professor of health policy of UC San Francisco, discuss an expensive and controversial November ballot measure that would give enforcement power to the state Insurance Commissioner to regulate health insurance rate hikes.

3-D printers help grow new jaws for dogs at UC Davis (video), CBS Sacramento

Previously, the doctors had to wait until they cut into the dog to form the titanium plate. But with UC Davis’ new 3-D printing facility, they can now print an exact replica of the dog’s skull ahead of time, allowing doctors to plan and cut down on anesthesia time in the operating room.

A non-diet diet: The case for eating whatever you want, New York Magazine

As evidence builds that conventional weight-loss methods simply don’t work in the long term, some nutritionists and psychologists are encouraging a kind of non-diet diet, in which you eat what you want when you want it. It’s called intuitive eating, or sometimes, mindful eating, and those who practice and preach this nutritional philosophy say your body instinctively knows what it needs. Your job is to shut up and learn to listen to it. Linda Bacon, a nutrition professor and researcher at City College of San Francisco and UC Davis, is quoted.

Some people are wired to want more sex, brain study shows, Time

Dr. Nicole Prause, a research scientist in the department of psychiatry in the UCLA Semel Institute, is featured in this story regarding her research that, for the first time, directly linked brain responses to real-world sexual behaviors. Specifically, how strongly the brain responded to viewing sexual images was related to the number of sex partners a person had in the last year.

Childbirth au naturel — new program matches midwives, doctors to reduce C-sections, San Jose Mercury News

This article about matching midwives and doctors mentions a program at UC San Francisco.

Op-ed: Health care coverage for undocumented immigrants, The Sacramento Bee

California could be a leader in providing health care coverage for undocumented immigrants, according to the authors of this op-ed, who include Steven Wallace, chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA School of Public Health.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of May 4

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Want to live to 90? (video), CBS 60 Minutes

Dr. Claudia Kawas of UC Irvine found the research equivalent of a gold mine when she discovered that 14,000 residents of a retirement community formerly know as “Leisure World” (now Laguna Woods) had filled out detailed questionnaires about their diet, activities, vitamin intake, etc.

See additional coverage: The Fiscal Times

Stanford, UCSF target better drug development in new FDA partnership, San Francisco Business Times

Stanford University and UCSF will work together in a first-on-the-West-Coast center aimed at streamlining drug development and regulatory approval, the institutions said Monday. The center, backed by an initial $3.3 million grant from the Food and Drug Administration, will work on three central areas: boosting preclinical safety and efficacy tests, improving clinical trials and evaluation, and pulling together various data sets to speed and better focus new drug development.

Athletes chased by technology in the sport of anti-doping (audio), NPR

This segment about performance-enhancing drugs spotlights the role of the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory in its efforts to detect and stop athletic doping. Dr. Anthony Butch, lab director and a professor of pathology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is interviewed.

Hospitals and union make deal to avoid ballot measure fight, Los Angeles Times

California hospitals have reached a deal with the state’s largest healthcare union to avoid an expensive and potentially nasty ballot measure fight this fall that would have cast a harsh spotlight on high medical costs and executive salaries.As part of Tuesday’s agreement, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West dropped proposed ballot initiatives to limit hospital charges and cap what nonprofit hospitals pay their executives. In return, the California Hospital Assn. and a majority of the state’s 430 hospitals approved a new “code of conduct” that may make it easier for the union to organize workers. The agreement seeks to eliminate the negative campaigning and bitter attacks between these longtime adversaries. Tuesday’s agreement also calls for a $100-million fund that will be used in lobbying for increased hospital reimbursements from Medi-Cal. Nelson Lichtenstein, director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at UC Santa Barbara, is quoted.

Did California just save 2,300 lives by expanding Obamacare? Let’s do the math, California Healthline

This story about the impact of expanding health insurance coverage cites Ken Jacobs of the UC Berkeley Labor Center and quotes Gerald Kominski, professor of health policy and management and director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

IBM partners with universities on Watson projects, The Associated Press

Watson is going to college. Students at seven of the country’s top computer science universities will get a chance to try out IBM’s famous cognitive computing system as part of new classes set for next fall. The partnership between Armonk, New York-based IBM and the universities, which was set to be announced Wednesday, will let students use the “Jeopardy!” champion to develop new cognitive computing applications for a variety of industries ranging from health care to finance. The schools currently signed up for the program include UC Berkeley.

Creating video games to improve mental health, San Francisco Chronicle

The game seems pretty simple. An alien-looking creature stands on a block of ice that’s flowing down a river. Here’s what sets the game apart: It was designed by scientists at UCSF looking for a new way to treat serious symptoms of depression. The article quotes Patricia Arean, a clinical psychologist at UCSF who is studying the potential mental health benefits of video game play in older adults. Scientists at UCSF’s new Neuroscape lab already are working with video game developers to help design games that are fun and engaging – and marketable. The lab, which opened in March at the Mission Bay campus, was created to encourage scientists to push brain discoveries into practical prevention and treatment tools for patients. The story quotes Dr. Adam Gazzaley, director of the UCSF Neuroscience Imaging Center and head of the Neuroscape lab. Joaquin Anguera, a UCSF neuroscientist who designs cognitive training games, also is quoted.

Self-assembly required: One scientist’s bid to build cancer-killing robots, Re/code

The term “cancer killing nanorobot” could conjure up all sorts of images, the best involving teeny tiny laser eyebeams. What you wouldn’t expect is the illustration that pops up in Shawn Douglas’ slide deck, which looks more like a colorful rope basket split in half. The fresh-faced assistant professor at the UC San Francisco School of Medicine is seated in his tidy office in Genentech Hall, the grand centerpiece of the university’s young Mission Bay campus, patiently walking me through the art and science of DNA design.

Smart seniors might have this gene variant, San Francisco Chronicle

A gene variant that scientists already knew to be associated with longer life also seems to make people smarter, and may help offset the effects of normal cognitive decline in old age, according to a team of San Francisco researchers. The findings, published Thursday in the journal Cell Reports, are encouraging news for the roughly 1 in 5 people who have the genetic trait, which is a variant of the klotho gene. ”What we’ve discovered is a cognitive enhancer,” said Dr. Dena Dubal, an assistant professor of neurology at UCSF and lead author of the study, which was done with researchers from the UCSF-affiliated Gladstone Institutes. “This may represent a new way to treat problems of cognition in the brain.”

Swapping young blood for old reverses aging, National Geographic

In what could have profound implications for understanding the process of aging, a trio of scientific papers published May 4 show that infusing elderly mice with the blood of young mice can reverse many of the mental and physical impairments of growing old. A study conducted by Saul Villeda at UC San Francisco, Tony Wyss-Coray at Stanford and their colleagues is highlighted.

Health care, and patients, go south — to Mexico, Kaiser Health News/USA Today

Xochitl Castaneda, director of the health initiative of the Americas at U.C. Berkeley’s School of Public Health, comments on why many legal immigrants from Mexico return to their home country for medical care. The story also quotes David Hayes-Bautista, director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the UCLA School of Medicine, and Steven Wallace, who is associate director the UCLA center and has studied why Mexican immigrants seek care in Mexico.

UC Davis opens clinic for kids with drug-resistant infections, Sacramento Business Journal

The UC Davis Children’s Hospital opened a clinic Tuesday for pediatric patients with antibiotic-resistant staph infections.

Baby Emlee being called ‘mom’s little lifesaver’ (video), KABC 7

Celebrating Mother’s Day will mean something extra special for a Pomona mom who has her newborn to thank for saving her life. Getting pregnant with a third child was a pleasant surprise for Karalayne and Dennis Maglinte — a little sister for their two sons. Baby Emlee was a blessing in many ways. After itchiness during pregnacy, Karalayne sought medical help. An endoscopic ultrasound revealed the unthinkable: Pancreatic cancer. Dennis and his wife felt heartbreaking uncertainty about their family’s future. Dr. Aram Demirjian and his colleagues at the UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange carefully weighed all of Karalayne’s options. Timing was crucial. They had to decide whether to remove the pancreatic tumor or wait until the baby is born.

Old path to a new destination (audio), KQED Radio

Jirayut Latthivongskorn will be the first undocumented UCSF medical student, but his path there is a familiar immigrant story.

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In the media: Week of April 27

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

University of California’s Napolitano to Senate: More cash means more innovation, San Francisco Business Times

As European and Asian nations make technology gains, U.S. cutbacks in research and education threaten the country’s economy and the underlying work of the world’s largest public research university system, University of California President Janet Napolitano said in testimony submitted ahead of a Senate’s appropriations committee hearing Tuesday. The 10-campus 240,000-student UC system, based in Oakland, won $4.2 billion last year in research funding from federal, state and private sources, but Napolitano told the Senate committee that federal budget sequestration and stalled appropriations bills “have forced promising science to be delayed or abandoned.”

UCLA cancels $3-million research gift from Sterling Foundation, Los Angeles Times

UCLA will return $425,000 recently donated by the Donald T. Sterling Charitable Foundation for kidney research and will cancel an agreement that would have brought Sterling’s gift to $3 million over seven years, the university announced Tuesday.The university also denied Sterling’s previous boasts that his donation and pledge were supposed to lead UCLA to name a lab after him and his wife.

See additional coverage: Associated Press, Chronicle of Higher Education

More hospitals tailor cancer care to teens and young adults, The Wall Street Journal

UCLA’s Daltrey/Townshend Teen & Young Adult Cancer Program is featured in this article on hospitals providing specialized care for teen and young adults with cancer. The article highlights UCLA’s leading role with the opening of a dedicated inpatient unit and lounge at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica.  Dr. David Feinberg, president, UCLA Health System and CEO, UCLA Hospital System, is referenced in the story, and Dr. Jacqueline Casillas, medical director of the program, is quoted along with a current UCLA patient.

UCSF to provide free dental screenings in SF’s Bayview District (video), ABC 7

Many low income children in San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area have little access to good dental care. This Sunday, UCSF will offer free adult and children dental screenings in San Francisco’s Bayview District as part of the city’s Sunday Street event.

Healthcare options for undocumented immigrants, Los Angeles Times

Undocumented immigrants have limited access to health insurance, a fact the Affordable Car Act does little to change. But there are some options. The article quotes UCLA student Arlette Lozano and Laurel Lucia, policy analyst at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.

UCSF secession from University of California system just ‘loose talk,’ Napolitano says, San Francisco Business Times

University of California President Janet Napolitano dismissed as “loose talk” a more than two-year-old plan for UCSF to break off from the larger UC system. “UCSF is firmly part of the system and will remain so,” Napolitano said in an interview for the San Francisco Business Times’ annual “Most Influential Women” special section, which is distributed Friday.

UCSF children’s hospital doctors turn 3-year-old boy radioactive to treat deadly neuroblastoma (video), CBS San Francisco

A San Jose boy named Noah is at his home with his family in San Jose, after doctors turned him radioactive. It sounds like science fiction, but this special treatment may be the only thing saving his life. This is taking place at only one hospital in California, and it happens to be in the Bay Area: UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco.

UC San Diego autism research described as ‘game changer’ (video), NBC San Diego

Autistic stem cells are starting respond to experimental drugs in what San Diego researchers are calling a breakthrough in the disorder affecting one in 68 children. UC San Diego scientists took stem cells from children with autism and reprogrammed them into brain cells.

UCSD surgest into wearable tech market, U-T San Diego

Wrist. Eye. Ear. Foot. There isn’t a spot on the body that isn’t being sized up for wearable sensors, a turbulent and soaring market that’s seen as a fresh vein of money by UC San Diego, which already reaps nearly $1 billion a year for research. The university’s Jacobs School of Engineering is creating a Center for Wearable Sensors in hopes of getting companies such as cellular chip maker Qualcomm and defense contractor Raytheon to spend more of their research dollars in La Jolla. The engineering school is responding to consumer interest in products such as the Fitbit activity tracker, Google Glass and smartwatches that handle email and text messaging.

Golden eagle set free in hopes of solving rare mite mystery, San Francisco Chronicle

On a hot, poppy-covered hilltop near San Ramon, Griffy the golden eagle bid farewell to her human saviors and – with a few quick, thunderous flaps – started a new life: as a flying medical researcher. The majestic 12.5-pound raptor was released in Las Trampas Regional Wilderness on Friday morning after spending nine months at UC Davis, where she was recovering from a near-fatal mite infestation that has mystified scientists. She is among three mite-infested golden eagles reported in the past year to the state Fish and Wildlife Department, the first ever such cases in California. All three birds suffered from severe feather loss and crusty skin caused by a rare mite last recorded in the 1970s in Europe on small songbirds called palm swifts.

What lies behind ‘The ADHD Explosion’ (audio), KQED Forum

More than 10 percent of school-aged children in the U.S. — 6.4 million kids — have been medically diagnosed with ADHD. That’s more than a 40 percent increase from a decade ago. UC Berkeley professors Stephen Hinshaw and Richard Scheffler wonder whether diagnosis can be traced to our country’s push for academic achievement and school accountability. At the same time, they say kids from families with little access or trust in the health care system are often under-diagnosed with ADHD, and missing out on helpful treatment. Hinshaw and Scheffler discuss their new book, “The ADHD Explosion.”

Learning more about pediatric pulmonary hypertension, San Francisco Chronicle

Nearly four years after the double-lung transplant that saved her life, Ally Jenkins is a self-proclaimed fitness junkie. You might say she’s making up for lost time. Growing up in Discovery Bay, Jenkins, 19, was an active kid, but she always fell behind her classmates, whether it was running a mile in gym or keeping up with her cheerleading squad. It took a stroke five years ago for doctors at UCSF to finally realize something was wrong – Jenkins had pediatric pulmonary hypertension, a rare condition that was killing her. UCSF is now part of the pediatric pulmonary hypertension network, which links several centers around the United States and Canada that specialize in treatment and research of the disease.

Knitting has proven therapeutic value, San Francisco Chronicle

Patients in hospitals and rehab centers are turning to needles for relaxation and mental health – knitting needles, that is. Kitting is included in some smoking-cessation programs and rehabilitation clinics, and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco offers a knitting class for young patients and parents.

Study: Many Korean-American women in Calif. forgo mammograms, California Healthline/Payers & Providers

Nearly half of Korean-American women in California do not obtain regular mammograms, possibly because of the high rate of uninsured individuals in that population, according to a new study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Treating Alzheimer’s: Where East meets West, California Health Report

Dr. Dale Bredesen, professor of neurology and director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, is featured in this article regarding his theory that Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a combination of complex chronic imbalances in the brain and that treating the disease requires a broad, integrative approach.

Op-ed: Doctors in the death chamber: Despite ethical rules, many doctors approve, The New York Times

Neil Farber, a professor of clinical medicine at UC San Diego, writes that his colleagues and he have found that despite their oaths to do no harm, many physicians believe executions are a shared social responsibility.

Op-ed: Is treating a sick child always the best course?, Los Angeles Times

Sarah Maufe, a resident physician in pediatrics at UCLA, writes that with very sick children, sometimes comfort should trump treatment.

Kaiser, other Sacramento-area hospitals get top safety ratings, The Sacramento Bee

Nineteen Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Northern California – including Kaiser hospitals in Sacramento, South Sacramento and Roseville – have received the top safety score of “A” from the Leapfrog Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits. Other area hospitals receiving “A” grades included the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael, Methodist Hospital of Sacramento, Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento, Sutter Memorial Hospital of Sacramento, Sutter Roseville Medical Center, Mercy Hospital of Folsom and Marshall Medical Center in Placerville.

See additional coverage: Forbes

Children’s Oakland residents unhappy about contract stalemate: “No change” since UCSF took over, San Francisco Business Times

Some 90 resident physicians at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland are upset about a year-long stalemate in contract talks — and the doctors in training say they’ve seen little or no change since the former Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland affiliated with UCSF early this year.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of April 20

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

$100 million to S.F. hospitals for premature birth research, San Francisco Chronicle

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals is receiving $100 million to fund research into premature birth over the next 10 years from a pair of prominent tech donors: Marc and Lynne Benioff and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The money will go toward studying the biological causes of preterm birth and, perhaps to an even larger degree, improving access to treatments that can prevent or delay early delivery. The financing, announced Thursday, is the third hefty donation from the Benioffs, who have given two $100 million checks – including one announced earlier this month – to UCSF. The Gates Foundation and the Benioffs are each donating $50 million in the effort to deal with the problem of preterm birth on both a national and global scale.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Business Times

Senator: Hospitals reducing treatment errors, but problems remain, Los Angeles Times

Calling hospital errors “heartbreaking,” U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on Friday released a report detailing how some California hospitals are reducing medical mistakes that can cause infections, incorrect administration of drugs, falls and other complications. Many medical centers are preventing errors, she said, but others still need to demonstrate they are serious about addressing the problem. According to some researchers, Boxer said, between 210,000 and 440,000 Americans die as a result of medical errors each year — making medical errors the third leading cause of death in the nation, behind heart disease and cancer. “My hope is this report will drive improvements,” Boxer told reporters during a morning press conference at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. During a tour, UCLA nurses showed Boxer a computer system that helps them track medications.  In a nearby ICU room, doctors demonstrated a machine that emits pulses of ultraviolet light to help kill bacteria that cause life-threatening, hospital-acquired infections.

See additional coverage: KPCC (audio), Los Angeles Daily News

10 Breakthrough Technologies: Genome editing, MIT Technology Review

Last November, female monkey twins Mingming and Lingling were born om Kunming, China, on the sprawling research campus of Kunming Biomedical International and its affiliated Yunnan Key Laboratory of Primate Biomedical Research. The macaques had been conceived via in vitro fertilization. Then scientists used a new method of DNA engineering known as CRISPR to modify the fertilized eggs by editing three different genes, and they were implanted into a surrogate macaque mother. The twins’ healthy birth marked the first time that CRISPR has been used to make targeted genetic modifications in primates — potentially heralding a new era of biomedicine in which complex diseases can be modeled and studied in monkeys. CRISPR, which was developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, and elsewhere over the last several years, is already transforming how scientists think about genetic engineering, because it allows them to make changes to the genome precisely and relatively easily.

Health care apps offer patients an active role, The New York Times

If you have young children, you’ve most likely endured caring for an ear infection or two. Or perhaps you’ve experienced a mysterious rash. Those situations generally mean a trip to the doctor’s office and time away from your job, if you work outside the home.But what if you could snap a photo of your rash, or your child’s ear canal, and send it to your doctor? That’s the idea behind a new breed of apps and devices that increasingly put medical tools in the hands of consumers. CellScope Oto, for instance, combines an app with an attachment that lets you turn your iPhone into an otoscope — the tool physicians often use to examine the inside of your ear. Erik Douglas, co-founder and chief executive of CellScope, said ear infections were a top reason for visits to pediatricians, so the Oto device might help eliminate unnecessary trips. Douglas has a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco.

Rebuilding limbs with ingenuity and a 3-D printer, Los Angeles Times

UC Santa Barbara graduate Mick Ebeling, a film producer with no engineering background, finds himself the unlikely leader of a team dedicated to tackling the physical limitations that arise from conditions such as blindness and paralysis. The group, which calls itself Not Impossible, helps people overcome physical limitations through technology, including making protheses with 3-D printers. Matthew Garibaldi, director of orthotics and prosthetics at UC San Francisco, is quoted.

UCSF neurologist’s mad cow discovery improves understanding of degenerative brain diseases (audio), KQED Forum

In 1997, UCSF neurologist Stanley Prusiner won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of infectious proteins called “prions” that cause mad cow disease. That revelation has led to an increased understanding of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS. Stanley Prusiner talks about the future of brain disease research and his new book, “Madness and Memory: The Discovery of Prions — A New Biological Principle of Disease.”

UCSF seeks to bridge gap between tech and health, San Francisco Business Times

UCSF wants to get a little more like Silicon Valley. Noting a recent deal with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Sam Hawgood, the interim chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, said the graduate-level, health care-centric university is increasingly reaching out to high-tech companies and entrepreneurs.

Meet the doctor who gave $1 million of his own money to keep his gun research going, ProPublica

Garen Wintemute, a professor of emergency medicine who runs the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis, is profiled.

UC Davis medical encourages Asians to get hep B test (audio), Capital Public Radio

About half of Sacramento’s Asian community are immunized against hepatitis B, compared to only 20% six years ago, according to the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Moon Chen is a hemotologist and oncologist at UC Davis. He says the hepatitis B virus is a major cause of liver cancer. UC Davis runs public service announcements in Hmong, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese encouraging people to request a hep B test. Doctors of Asian patients in the UC Davis Health System are also reminded to order hepatitis screenings for their patients. 

UC Berkeley public health building’s fate awaits state funds, San Francisco Business Times

Plans for a new building to house UC Berkeley’s public health department won “conditional approval” last month from the UC Board of Regents, according to new dean Stefano Bertozzi, M.D, who took office last September. Pointing in the direction of a nearby parking lot from his corner office in University Hall on Oxford Street, Bertozzi said, “We hope a new building will be sprouting there soon.”

Geneticist Cynthia Kenyon is heading to Google, San Francisco Chronicle

Google’s mysterious health venture dedicated to extending human life has quietly lured a prominent scientist away from UCSF, The Chronicle has learned. The university confirmed that Cynthia Kenyon, a biochemistry and biophysics professor acclaimed for her discoveries about the genetics of aging, left UCSF this month to join Calico, Google’s nascent biotechnology company. She had served as a part-time adviser to Calico since November.

Study: Codeine prescribed for kids despite risks, ABC 7

A new study out of UCSF is suggesting that the potent painkiller codeine is being prescribed for too many children, despite warnings that the drug can cause an accidental overdose.

Blood-pressure drug prevents epilepsy after brain injury, BGU research finds, Jerusalem Post

A commonly used prescription drug for high blood pressure has been found to prevent epileptic attacks after concussion. The findings are according to a new study on rats by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the University of California at Berkeley and Charité-University Medicine in Germany.

Anxiety from a false-positive mammogram is real but temporary, study says, Los Angeles Times

A recent study by a team of researchers including scientists from UC Davis looked into the emotional consequences of false positive results from mammograms.

People taking statins eat more calories than a decade ago, study says, Los Angeles Times

This article reports on a study co-authored by UCLA Dr. Martin Shapiro, chief of the division of general internal medicine and health services research, finding that people who take statins now are consuming more fat and calories, and weigh more, than statin users did 10 years prior — suggesting that people who take the cholesterol-lowering drug have a false sense of security about what they can eat.

UC OKs paying surgeon $10 million in whistleblower-retaliation case, Los Angeles Times

University of California regents agreed to pay $10 million to the former chairman of UCLA’s orthopedic surgery department, who had alleged that the well-known medical school allowed doctors to take industry payments that may have compromised patient care. The settlement reached Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court came just before closing arguments were due to begin in a whistleblower-retaliation case brought by Dr. Robert Pedowitz, 54, a surgeon who was recruited to UCLA in 2009 to run the orthopedic surgery department. UCLA denied the allegations and said they found no wrongdoing by faculty and no evidence that patient care was jeopardized. Multiple investigations by university officials and independent investigators concluded that conduct by faculty members was lawful and patient care was not compromised.

More scrutiny for UCLA’s School of Medicine, Los Angeles Times

In the wake of a $10-million payout to a whistleblower, UCLA’s School of Medicine is drawing more scrutiny over its financial ties to industry and the possibility that they compromised patient care. A new study in this month’s Journal of the American Medical Assn. raised a red flag generally about university officials such as Eugene Washington, the dean of UCLA’s medical school who also serves on the board of healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson. In a statement Friday, UCLA said Washington’s work as a J&J director did not compromise the “integrity of operations” at UCLA, and that his outside activities complied with university policies.

Chin Long Chiang, biostatistics pioneer at UC Berkeley dies, San Francisco Chronicle

Services will be held in May for Chin Long Chiang, a UC Berkeley professor emeritus and one of the world’s leading biostatisticians, whose innovative use of statistics helped transform the health care field. Professor Chiang was 99 and had pancreatic cancer when he died at his home in Berkeley on April 1, less than six months after his wife of 68 years, Fu Chen “Jane” Chiang, died of pneumonia.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of April 13

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

The cure to doctor shortage? Another med school, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

Plans were announced Monday for a new medical school in San Bernardino County to be funded by $40 million from a non-profit foundation headed by the owner of a nationwide hospital chain. The California University of Science and Medicine — Cal Med — would admit the first 50 students in 2016, said founder Dr. Dev GnanaDev, chief of surgery and former medical director at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. Cal Med would be the second new medical school to open in the Inland region recently. When UC Riverside’s long-awaited School of Medicine opened in August 2013, it was the first new public medical school in California in 40 years. UCR medical school Dean G. Richard Olds is quoted.

UC Davis public health school back on front burner, Sacramento Business Journal

Only weeks after taking charge, the new medical chief at UC Davis is spearheading a plan to create a school of public health in Sacramento. Along with other campus leaders, Dr. Julie Freischlag — vice chancellor and dean of the medical school at UC Davis — hopes to revive an idea that began almost a decade ago. The graduate school would study the health needs of the Central Valley and develop a new pipeline of badly needed public-health professionals.

Feds: Sacramento man tried to open door on Southwest flight (video), KCRA 3

A Sacramento man tried to open an exit door on a Southwest Airlines flight, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing Sunday, according to federal officials. Passengers said a man who wanted to jump out of the plane was trying to open an exit door. Hearing the commotion, a group of male passengers immediately headed toward the back of the plane. One of those men, Dr. Scott Porter, chief resident of orthopaedic surgery at UC Davis Medical Center, initially thought it was a medical emergency, but later realized it was more of a threat. He helped subdue the suspect.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times

Op-ed: The killers underfoot, The New York Times

Matthew Lewin, a doctor of emergency medicine and the director of the Center for Exploration and Travel Health at the California Academy of Sciences, writes about the need to address venomous snakebites. He has been testing a nasal spray that could help address the issue. Last April, in collaboration with researchers at UC San Francisco, and under the strict supervision of anesthesiologists and an emergency medicine doctor, he tested the nasal spray on himself.

Is Obamacare a success? We might not know for a while (audio), NPR

After months of focusing on how many people have or haven’t signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, we now have a rough total (7.5 million), and everyone’s keen to get to the bigger questions: How well is the law working? How many of those who signed up have paid their premiums and are actually getting coverage? How many were uninsured before they signed up? And just how big has the drop been in the number of uninsured people? Unfortunately, the answers to some of these questions simply aren’t knowable — or, at least, not knowable yet. Ken Jacobs, who heads the Center for Labor Research and Education at UC Berkeley, is interviewed . The labor center just published a of who’s signing up for coverage in California. The research predicts that fully half the people who enroll in a plan through the California health exchange won’t keep it for a full year.

Has confusion hampered the success of ACA subsidies?, California Healthline

Money to help pay for health insurance, no strings attached — sounds like a good deal, right? That’s exactly how proponents of the Affordable Care Act are touting the law’s federal subsidies and encouraging low-income consumers to sign up for health insurance. At the same time, opponents of the law and its provisions rail against the assistance. The idea of basing the health care system “on private insurance” and paying for it “with a combination of subsidies for low-income purchasers” is a Republican idea, according to Robert Reich, a professor at UC Berkeley and former U.S. Secretary of Labor under the Clinton administration. The article also quotes Dylan Roby, director of UCLA’s Health Economics and Evaluation Research Program, who mentions on CalSIM — a joint project between the UC Berkeley Labor Center and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Sichuan pepper’s buzz may reveal secrets of the nervous system (audio), NPR

The Sichuan peppercorn is known to give some Chinese dishes a pleasant tingling feeling. What’s not so pleasant is that pins-and-needles feeling we get when our foot falls asleep — or when people who suffer from paresthesia experience constant tingling in their limbs. Diana Bautista, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, wondered: Could these sensations be connected?

Early data in e-cigarette study may raise safety concerns, The New York Times

This article covers a little-known study on the potential of nicotine-laced vapor generated by an electronic cigarette to promote the development of cancer in certain types of human cells much in the same way that tobacco smoke does. Dr. Steven Dubinett, member of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, is quoted.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of April 6

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Benioffs donate another $100 million to children’s hospitals, San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco power couple Marc and Lynne Benioff have doubled down on their already sizable support of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, writing a second $100 million check to further fund new facilities as well as world-class doctors and researchers. The donation, to be announced Tuesday, will be split between UCSF and Children’s Hospital Oakland, which formed an alliance in January to jointly conduct research and offer comprehensive medical care. With the money comes a new name for the East Bay hospital: UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Chronicle editorial, San Francisco Business Times

Paraplegics show gains in study of spinal-cord stimulation, The Wall Street Journal

A new study gives the greatest indication yet that people paralyzed by spinal-cord injuries can regain voluntary movement in their legs and feet even years after their initial injuries, researchers said. A combination of electrical stimulation and intensive physical therapy helped three men with paraplegia wiggle their toes and ankles, flex their legs and stand independently for moments at a time, according to a paper published online Tuesday in the medical journal Brain. To the researchers’ surprise, the treatment worked in two patients with the most complete type of paraplegia, who were previously unable to move or feel their lower bodies. The finding suggests that the brain is still capable of sending signals to the spinal cord in cases where doctors assume all connection has been lost, the researchers said. The study was conducted by researchers from UCLA and the University of Louisville in Kentucky, who implanted spinal-cord stimulators made by Medtronic Inc. into the backs of three patients who had been paralyzed by spinal-cord injuries.

See additional coverage: NBC News (video), Los Angeles Times

Brain health registry aims to build test subject pool, San Francisco Chronicle

UCSF officials hope to solve one of the biggest hurdles to clinical research for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other brain diseases: finding people willing to be subjects in trials in a relatively short time. With the Brain Health Registry, an online project to be announced Tuesday, researchers hope to recruit as many as 100,000 people over the next three years to serve as a ready-made pool of participants for studies in a wide range of neurological diseases as well as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other brain-related ailments.

See additional coverage: San Jose Mercury News

Drug shows promise battling breast cancer, The Boston Globe

A new type of drug can help prevent advanced breast cancer from worsening, potentially providing an important new treatment option for women, researchers say. In a clinical trial, the drug cut in half the risk that cancer would worsen, or progress, researchers said here Sunday. The median time before the disease progressed or the woman died was 20.2 months for those who received the drug, compared with 10.2 months for the control group. “The magnitude of benefit we are seeing is not something commonly seen in cancer medicine studies,” said Dr. Richard S. Finn, a principal investigator in the study. Finn, an oncologist at UCLA, called the results “quite groundbreaking.”

See additional coverage: New York Times

Catching up with Dr. Laura Esserman, breast cancer expert, San Francisco Chronicle

A Q&A with Dr. Laura Esserman – the breast cancer researcher, surgeon and visionary who runs the breast cancer center at UCSF. Esserman recently received the Journal of Women’s Health Award for outstanding achievement. Esserman is three years into a large-scale research program called Athena, focused on expediting and improving treatment by better understanding risk factors and outcomes.

Grateful patient donates $6.5M to Shiley Eye Center, U-T San Diego

A $6.5 million donation from an unnamed patient will help the Shiley Eye Center at UC San Diego strengthen its focus on stem cells, which hold the promise of repairing damage done by diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. Dr. Robert Weinreb, the center’s director and a widely-published glaucoma researcher, said he’s conducting a worldwide search for stem cell scientists to come to Shiley, which last year ranked fourth in National Institutes of Health funding among ophthalmology research centers nationwide.

Part of early exchange success due to insuring the already insured, California Healthline

No one knows yet exactly how many of the 1.2 million people enrolled so far in Covered California were previously uninsured — but one person has a pretty good guess. Ken Jacobs, chair of the Labor Center at UC Berkeley, projects about 39% of enrollees were previously uninsured. That means it’s likely that 61% of Covered California enrollees already had health insurance.

After the big deadline, a push to sign up individuals who are still eligible (audio), California Healthline

Experts, including Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, discuss the state’s renewed enrollment efforts following the March 31 open enrollment deadline for the exchange.

UCI cancer center’s new director pushes for fast treatments, The Orange County Register

The future of cancer treatment is targeting specific disease cells with drugs, says Dr. Richard Van Etten, director of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC Irvine Medical Center.

Second measles case confirmed at UC Berkeley, Oakland Tribune

UC Berkeley opened an emergency measles clinic Saturday, a day after a second student was diagnosed with the disease. According to a notice posted on the University Health Services website, the unidentified student attended classes on campus over the past week while infected. Campus officials worked with the city’s Public Health Department to notify anyone who may have been exposed to the disease. The student is currently in isolation. This is the second reported case of measles at the university. The first case was reported in February when a student, recently back from a trip to Asia, contracted the disease yet still attended classes on campus.

The 30 Top Thinkers Under 30: The ‘brilliant’ researcher who wants to put an end to dementia, Pacific Standard

Molly Fox, a postdoctoral research fellow at UC Irvine, is featured. Her most recent work examines serotonin’s role in depression. She’s also looking into the connection between progesterone and Alzheimer’s, as well as how prenatal stress affects fetuses. In short, she likes to study babies and old people.

Idea of new attention disorder spurs research, and debate, The New York Times

With more than six million American children having received a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, concern has been rising that the condition is being significantly misdiagnosed and overtreated with prescription medications. Yet now some powerful figures in mental health are claiming to have identified a new disorder that could vastly expand the ranks of young people treated for attention problems. Called sluggish cognitive tempo, the condition is said to be characterized by lethargy, daydreaming and slow mental processing. By some researchers’ estimates, it is present in perhaps two million children. Experts pushing for more research into sluggish cognitive tempo say it is gaining momentum toward recognition as a legitimate disorder — and, as such, a candidate for pharmacological treatment. The article quotes Keith McBurnett, a professor of psychiatry at UC San Francisco, and Steve S. Lee, an associate professor of psychology at UCLA.

Hearst Foundations gives $1.3 million to state nonprofits, San Francisco Chronicle

The Hearst Foundations have awarded $1.3 million in grants to eight California nonprofit organizations, including four Bay Area groups that support health and social service programs. The largest award, $500,000, went to the California Missions Foundation in Santa Barbara as a matching-funds grant for mission preservation and restoration projects. UCSF got the next largest award, $250,000, for construction of the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital at Mission Bay.

Fort Irwin, UCLA Health Services partner to battle brain injuries, Desert Dispatch

Fort Irwin and the UCLA Health System have formed a partnership to help wounded warriors suffering from traumatic brain injuries. Shannon O’Kelley, chief operating officer of the UCLA Health System; Dr. David Hovda, director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center, and retired Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli, executive advisor for the Ronald A. Katz Center for Collaborative Military Medicine, are all noted in this article.

Local health organizations helping children fight obesity (video), NBC Southern California

This story reports on the UCLA Fit for Healthy Weight program’s new use of telehealth to make it easier on patients to meet with the program’s medical specialists.  The patients, who are based at the Venice Family Clinic, meet via telehealth with the Fit program’s pediatrician, nutritionist and psychologist who are based in Westwood.   Dr. Wendy Slusser, medical director of the Fit for Healthy Weight program at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, is interviewed and Dena Herman, adjunct assistant professor in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and a registered dietitian/nutritionist serving in the FIT clinic, are featured.

Dream comes true for musician with disease (video), KABC

Brad Carter, a musician who played guitar in the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center operating room during a brain surgery that was tweeted live across the world, is profiled.  The segment captures his dream to record his first album after Dr. Nader Pouratian, assistant professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, implanted a device that controlled his essential tremor condition, which made his hands shake during movement.

UCLA seeks clearance for pharmaceutical marijuana testing, Los Angeles Daily News

A British company developing a pharmaceutical version of a cannabis extract used to treat epilepsy could test its product at UCLA as part of the Food and Drug Administration approval process. United Kingdom-based GW Pharmaceuticals received the go-ahead to continue with clinical trials for their product Epidiolex in February and UCLA wants to be on the list of test sites, according to Dr. Raman Sankar, chief of pediatric neurology at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.

Fisher: Teens show off scars in cutting’s panedemic of pain, The Orange County Register

Many teens who cut, burn or repeatedly injure themselves are often trying to relieve stress or emotional pain, according to UC Irvine Health psychiatrist Atur Turakhia.

UC Davis research finds ag health issues undercounted, Sacramento Business Journal

More than three-fourths of all injuries and illnesses experienced by U.S. agriculture workers and farmers aren’t reported, according to research led by a UC Davis public health sciences professor. In the April issue of Annals of Epidemiology, a study led by professor J. Paul Leigh suggested federal agencies don’t report 77.6 percent of such incidents, making it unlikely safety and health risks for those in agriculture will be addressed or corrected accurately.

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