CATEGORY: In the media

In the media: Week of Oct. 26

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

How to make the biggest impact with your breast cancer donations, Money

If you want to give in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, don’t get “pinkwashed.” Instead, consider donating to one of these five worthy organizations. This list of organizations includes the California Breast Cancer Research Program. Run out of the University of California, this program is the largest state-funded breast cancer research effort in the nation. While it accepts donations, it also has a stable revenue stream from California’s tobacco tax.

A look inside San Diego’s Ebola isolation unit (video), KPBS

If anyone in San Diego were to be diagnosed with Ebola, they’d go to the UC San Diego Medical Center. Last week, the California public health department identified five hospitals in the state that were prepared to treat an Ebola patient, and this site in Hillcrest was the only one listed in San Diego. Dr. Jay Doucet, medical director for emergency preparedness, said volunteer nurses have received new in-person training on safely caring for one or two Ebola patients. “We’ve got a little over 50 people trained,” Doucet said. “We’d like to have all of our volunteers, close to 100, trained. But we could take (an Ebola patient) now if we had to.”

Practice paramount for UCSD Ebola unit (video), U-T San Diego

Wearing blue protective gowns over white biohazard suits and hoods with powered respirators, a doctor and nurse worked to take the blood sugar level of a dummy patient lying on a hospital bed at UC San Diego Medical Center Friday afternoon. The pair are among 50 selected to train for the hospital’s Ebola Response Taskforce, a new unit created to care for any patient who contracts the deadly disease in the region. UC San Diego is one of five university medical centers statewide designated for Ebola duty and just finished converting a former catheterization lab into a two-bed isolation unit separated from the rest of the hospital.

See additional coverage: ABC San Diego (video), CBS 8 (video), NBC San Diego

Ebola’s evolving threat studied in UCSF lab, San Jose Mercury News

Tiny vials of inactivated Ebola virus from Africa are coming into a San Francisco lab, carrying secrets that might reveal the killer’s past — and fateful future. So far, 30 samples have been genetically deciphered at UC San Francisco by Dr. Charles Chiu and his team, who are searching for any pattern of change that forebodes a worsening of an epidemic that has claimed at least 4,400 lives in its most recent outbreak in Africa. They have found no evidence of genetic changes — mutations — that could make the virus airborne or more deadly, said Chiu. Nor are there signs that it is weakening, which would make it less lethal but more burdensome. If Ebola killed more slowly, or just profoundly sickened people, victims would live longer and infect more people, and the disease would spread more widely. But it is critical to monitor its speedy evolution, he said.

Bay Area doctors join Ebola fight despite quarantine risks, San Francisco Chronicle

Doctors and other care providers from almost all major Bay Area health institutions are on the ground, or about to be, in West Africa to battle the Ebola epidemic at its source. But many potential volunteers may be held back by uncertainty over the long quarantine they may face upon their return, along with hurdles to traveling there in the first place, said doctors who are already in or on their way to West Africa. Those quoted include UCSF Dr. Phuoc Le leaves San Francisco next week for Liberia, where he’ll help shore up infection-control efforts and make sure patients get to new treatment centers in the Ebola-stricken West African nation. Also quoted are Dr. George Rutherford, director of the Institute for Global Health at UCSF who is heading the university’s Ebola task force; Dr. Dan Kelly, a UCSF infectious disease specialist who is in Sierra Leone now; and Sriram Shamasunder, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at UCSF who will follow Le to the clinic in Liberia later this year.

‘Scared’ but willing: Doctor heading to Africa to fight Ebola (video), NBC Nightly News

UCSF Dr. Phuoc Le is featured in this story about American doctors going abroad to treat Ebola patients. Some health care workers at UCSF are offering their vacation time to those going abroad to battle the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

State orders quarantine for workers who had contact with Ebola, Los Angeles Times

California’s top health officer has ordered a 21-day home quarantine for all returning medical workers or travelers who have had contact with a confirmed case of Ebola in West Africa, and invoked the possibility of imprisonment and fines if the restrictions are disobeyed. The order, issued Wednesday by California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ron Chapman, is the latest in a series of measures issued by state governments in response to widespread — and some say unwarranted — public fear. Epidemiologist Ralph Frerichs, a professor emeritus at the UCLA School of Public Health, is quoted.

See additional coverage: KPCC (audio)

UCI attempts to calm Ebola fears, even as two Orange County residents monitored for virus, Orange County Register

At UC Irvine, a panel of experts addressed a crowd of more than 700, discussing the science, politics, economics and, above all, the fear surrounding the Ebola virus. That was Monday night. The morning after, Orange County health officials said they are monitoring the health of two county residents who traveled recently to West Africa. The news marks the first time health workers in Orange County have looked for Ebola. Those quoted include Andrew Noymer, associate professor of UCI’s Public Health Program; Brandon Brown, assistant professor at UCI and director of the Global Health Initiative; UC Irvine hospital spokesman John Murray; and Joy Valdellon, a registered nurse at UCI Medical Center.

UCI Ebola meeting: Epidemic in U.S. is highly unlikely (video), CBS Los Angeles

Doctors from across California convened at UC Irvine on Monday night to discuss their plan to fight the spread of Ebola should the virus arrive in California. Doctors discussed their plan of attack at UCI’s medical center, one of five medical facilities prepared to treat patients, and spoke to an audience of concerned residents about the possibility of an outbreak in the United States. The expert panel also reassured audience members by claiming that the probability of an outbreak is slim to none. Those quoted include UCSF professor of epidemiology George Rutherfordand UCI professor of infectious diseases Michael Buchmeier.

See additional coverage: KTLA 5 (video)

Ebola concerns continue (video), Fox Los Angeles

One night after a public forum is held to talk about Ebola at UC Irvine another is held at UCLA. It comes at the same time Riverside County officials say they’re monitoring two county residents. They’re not sick. They haven’t displayed symptoms. They are believed to be “low risk,” but they just returned from West Africa. That’s what they monitoring. In Westwood, Ebola was the subject of a public forum where health officials and others talked about the virus and the concerns some have about it. Dr. Zachary Rubin with UCLA told the audience that “over the last couple of weeks there’s been a huge amount of fear and anxiety not only in the general public, but also among health care workers. He talked about the protocols in place at UCLA Medical Center and the precautions that would be taken if a patient were to talk in the door. And, he talked about how transmission is through bodily fluids.

UCR med school dean on Ebola (audio), KVCR

G. Richard Olds, head of UC Riverside School of Medicine, also happens to be a tropical disease specialist. Dean Olds talks about dealing with Ebola on a global scale and precautions we should take locally.

U.S. cases prove Ebola is ‘not a death sentence’, Los Angeles Times

When Amber Vinson walked out of Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Tuesday, she became the sixth person in the country to be successfully treated for a disease that kills 70% of its victims in Africa, but has so far killed only one in the United States.Long thought to be a death sentence, Ebola has proved vulnerable to a mix of standard and invasive medical techniques, readily available in the U.S. but often beyond the reach of the impoverished nations at the heart of the outbreak. Breathing tubes, large-bore intravenous lines, blood dialysis, electrolyte monitoring and around-the-clock attention are largely responsible for the survival of patients under advanced Western care, experts say. ”It’s not a death sentence,” said Michael Buchmeier, a virologist at UC Irvine. “It’s a beatable disease.” The challenge for healthcare workers is to keep a patient alive long enough for the immune system to vanquish the virus and return to normal, according to Dr. George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology and preventive medicine at UC San Francisco.

Union: California hospitals not ready for Ebola, Associated Press

Five California hospitals that say they are ready to treat the Ebola virus lack proper training and equipment, a nurses union said Tuesday. The contention was part of an effort by the California Nurses Association to call attention to what it said was inadequate preparation at University of California hospitals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Davis and Irvine. On Friday, the hospital system told the California Department of Public Health the facilities were ready for patients. About half of the 80 workers at UC San Diego Medical Center who volunteered to treat Ebola patients have completed intensive training, hospital spokeswoman Jacqueline Carr said. Anyone who cares for an Ebola patient would have gear with no exposed skin, she added. The hospitals welcome suggestions from nurses, doctors and other staff members on how to be more prepared, said Dr. John Stobo, the University of California system’s senior vice president for health sciences and services.

See additional coverage: ABC Los Angeles (video), CBS Los Angeles (video), CBS San Francisco (audio, video), City News Service, CW 6 San Diego (video), Fox 5, KABC, KPBS, KPCC, KUSI (video), NBC Southern California (video), NBC San Diego (video)San Diego 6 (video)San Francisco Examiner

UCSF adding isolation room, staff for possible Ebola cases, San Francisco Examiner

UC San Francisco is preparing a second Ebola-specific isolation room and seeking additional volunteers to treat potential patients following the designation Friday of UC medical centers as the state’s priority hospitals to treat Ebola cases. The second isolation room designed for a patient with the deadly disease is being constructed at UCSF’s Mount Zion facility, where one isolation room was already set up that can handle the extra precautions needed with an Ebola patient, said Dr. Josh Adler, chief medical officer at UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. There have been no suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola in San Francisco, but hospitals in the city and throughout the U.S. have been preparing for that scenario. In addition to San Francisco, the California Department of Public Health on Friday identified UC medical centers in Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles and San Diego as those positioned to accept patients with Ebola.

UC Davis designated for Ebola treatment (video), Fox 40

“The document is 20 some pages long and growing,” said Chief Nursing Officer Carol Robinson as she describes UC Davis Medical Center’s plan to keep its staff safe. Her facility is one of five designated by the state as treatment centers for any confirmed Ebola patients in California.

California hospitals prepare for possible Ebola cases (audio), Capital Public Radio

California state officials say University of California medical centers are positioned to treat Ebola patients should cases appear here.  But they say all hospitals are expected to be able to screen, identify and isolate potential Ebola patients.

Should returning workers be quarantined? (video), CNN

UCSF Dr. Phuoc Le, who is getting ready to treat Ebola patients in West Africa, discusses whether returning Ebola workers should be quarantined. Read more.

Fearing Ebola? Doctors say get a flu shot, Associated Press

Fever? Headache? Muscle aches? Forget about Ebola – chances are astronomically higher that you have the flu or some other common bug. Dr. Kristi Koenig, director of public health preparedness at UC Irvine, is quoted.

Ebola, an (un)ethical crisis, PRIM&R’s Amp&rsand

Brandon Brown, assistant professor and director of the Global Health Research, Education and Translation (GHREAT) Initiative at UC Irvine, will be chairing a panel on ethics and Ebola at the Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research’s Advancing Ethical Research Conference, Dec. 5-7, in Baltimore.

Op-ed: Rigid quarantines may harm, not help, the fight against Ebola, San Francisco Chronicle

The biggest challenge of the Ebola epidemic is staffing, not stuff or systems. As the epidemic grows, we will need more health care workers, and Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea cannot meet the Ebola-related needs — much less that region’s broader health systems’ staffing needs — without international support, writes Dr. Dan Kelly, an infectious disease specialist affiliated with UCSF who maintains the Wellbody Alliance clinic in Sierra Leone.

Op-ed: Ebola isn’t a crisis in U.S.; hysteria is, San Francisco Chronicle

Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, writes about Ebola.

New UC Riverside med school reaches out to minorities, San Bernardino Sun

Three African American surgeons will share their success stories in a program designed to increase minority representation at the UC Riverside School of Medicine. The event, “Imagine a Career in Medicine — Opening Doors: Contemporary African American Surgeons,” is a collaboration between the UCR School of Medicine and the San Bernardino-based Black Voice Foundation. For physicians to “change behaviors it is a huge advantage for them to look like the patient they are treating” and come from a similar community environment, said Dr. G. Richard Olds, founding dean of the medical school, which is in its second year. The UCR medical school is the first new public medical school in California in more than four decades. Olds stresses that despite its name, the UCR School of Medical school belongs to San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial counties. The school targets incoming students from those three counties, he said, because they are likely to stay in the area after graduation.

Can video games fend off mental decline?, The New York Times

“You just crashed a little bit,” Adam Gazzaley said. It was true: I’d slammed my rocket-powered surfboard into an icy riverbank. This was at Gazzaley’s San Francisco lab, in a nook cluttered with multicolored skullcaps and wires that hooked up to an E.E.G. machine. The video game I was playing wasn’t the sort typically pitched at kids or even middle-aged, Gen X gamers. Indeed, its intended users include people over 60 — because the game might just help fend off the mental decline that accompanies aging. Gazzaley is a UCSF neuroscientist who directs the Neuroscience Imaging Center.

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

This list of 100 physician leaders of hospitals and health systems for 2014, based on leaders’ health care experience, accolades and commitment to quality care, includes  Dr. David Feinberg, president of UCLA Health System and CEO of the UCLA Hospital System. 

Therapy treats lung cancer based on patients’ genetic markers, San Francisco Chronicle

A new type of clinical trial for lung cancer patients getting under way at hospitals in the Bay Area and around the country may change the way drugs are tested in the future. That’s a pretty bold expectation, but researchers say the study — called the Lung Cancer Master Protocol, or Lung-MAP — will do just that. It’s the first study to recruit large numbers of patients, profile their tumors for genetic markers, and then direct those patients to the experimental therapy that is most likely to help them. In standard trials, one drug is tested at a time and researchers have little advance knowledge about which patients are likely to benefit or why. The new trial involves testing five different drugs at the same time. Every patient will receive a test drug based on the genomic profile of his or her tumor. The approach is expected to save time, and possibly money, and offer patients a better chance of survival. “It’s not an overstatement to say the world is watching us,” said Dr. David Gandara, director of the UC Davis Thoracic Oncology Program and a lead researcher in the Lung-MAP trial.

UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations finds innovative ways to treat most common health problems (video), California Health Report

UC San Francisco’s Center for Vulnerable Populations puts many of the most common health conditions in the crosshairs, and uses research and outreach to improve the health of society’s most vulnerable-sometimes in unexpected ways.

Doctors learn to push back, gently, against anti-vaccination movement, Los Angeles Times

This story reports on a recent lecture at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA given to local pediatricians on how to discuss vaccinations with parents who feel they are dangerous to their children’s health.  The lecture’s organizer, Dr. E. Richard Stiehm, an emeritus professor of pediatric allergy and immunology at UCLA, and Dr. Lisa Stern, an attending staff pediatrician at UCLA, are quoted.

‘Wandering eye’ may raise risk of falls for older adults, Reuters

This story reports on a study led by Dr. Stacy Pineles, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Stein Eye Institute at UCLA, finding that strabismus, or a “wandering eye,” can increase the risk of falls in older adults. Pineles is quoted.

Sorry, your gut bacteria are not the answer to all your health problems, Mother Jones

We’re told that tweaks to the microbiome can cure everything from allergies to Ebola. Not exactly, say experts. Jonathan Eisen, a professor and biologist who studies the ecology of microbes at UC Davis, is quoted.

Berkeley’s autonomous surgical robotic system, MedGadget

While so-called surgical robots have been around for a few years now, they are really not robots at all, but rather remotely controlled machines that faithfully execute the commands of their masters. For robots to be real robots, they have to be autonomous and able to do tasks without much operator input. True surgical robots can help bring forth a future in which tele-surgery is possible and where physicians don’t have to deal with routine tasks such as suturing and debridement. Researchers at UC Berkeley have been working on getting a da Vinci surgical system to be smart enough to do some basic tasks on its own.

6 surprising reasons why gratitude is great for your health, Real Simple

“There is a magnetic appeal to gratitude,” says Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at UC Davis and a pioneer of gratitude research. Christine Carter, a sociologist at the Greater Good Science Center, at UC Berkeley, also is mentioned in this article.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Oct. 19

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UCLA, 4 other UC hospitals ready to treat California Ebola patients, Los Angeles Times

Officials announced Friday that all five University of California medical centers are positioned to provide care for Californians with confirmed Ebola — should any such cases arise. As of the announcement, there were no confirmed or suspected patients with Ebola in the state, the University of California Office of the President and the California Department of Public Health emphasized, in a press release announcing the hospitals’ readiness. But the UC facilities — in Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco — all said they would be ready to leap into action if that changed.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Sacramento Bee, Sacramento Business Journal, San Francisco Business Times, U-T San Diego, KCRA 3, KQED, KTVU 2, Los Angeles Daily News, MyNewsLA/City News Service, San Diego 6/City News Service

Congressional hearing on Ebola was ‘shameful,’ Janet Napolitano says, The World Post

UC President Janet Napolitano lambasted Congress for politicizing concerns about the Ebola virus, and drew parallels to the response to 2009′s H1N1 flu pandemic, which she oversaw as Homeland Security Secretary.

Bay Area’s Vaxart seeks to test experimental Ebola vaccine, San Francisco Chronicle

A South San Francisco company is reviving an experimental Ebola vaccine that it previously shelved, joining other companies and health agencies in the rush to contain the deadly disease in West Africa. The potential vaccine from Vaxart and promising treatments and tools from scientists in the Bay Area and beyond form a growing response to an international public health emergency that has escalated since March. More than 4,800 people have died in the biggest outbreak of Ebola, which has no approved treatments or vaccines. The article quotes Charles Chiu, an associate professor of laboratory medicine and infectious diseases at UCSF, who is examining Ebola patients’ blood samples for biomarkers that can help diagnose patients before they show the telltale symptoms of fever, diarrhea and weakness. Also mentioned is Dan Kelly of UCSF, who has trained health workers to treat patients in Sierra Leone.

New research center aims to develop second generation of surgical robots, The New York Times

With funding from the National Science Foundation and two private donors, scientists at UC Berkeley will establish a research center intended to help develop medical robots that can perform low-level and repetitive surgical tasks, freeing doctors to concentrate on the most challenging and complex aspects of the operations they perform. Ken Goldberg, a professor of engineering at the university and a founder of the new Center for Automation and Learning for Medical Robotics, is quoted. The center’s other founders are Pieter Abbeel, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and Sachin Patil, a postdoctoral researcher. In May, in collaboration with surgeons at UC Davis and the Center for Robotic Surgery in Singapore, the researchers presented a paper detailing what they described as the first example of a robot automating surgical tasks involving soft tissue. Dr. W. Douglas Boyd, a professor of surgery at the UCDavis Health System, is quoted. Read a related Q&A with Goldberg.

Study: Sugary sodas linked to accelerated aging, The Washington Post

You knew that drinking sugary sodas could lead to obesity, diabetes and heart attacks — but, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, it may also speed up your body’s aging process. As you age, caps on the end your chromosomes called telomeres shrink. In the past several years, researchers at the University of California at San Francisco, have analyzed stored DNA from more than 5,300 healthy Americans in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from some 14 years ago. And they discovered that those who drank more pop tended to have shorter telomeres.

Medical costs up to 20% higher at hospital-owned physician groups, study finds, Los Angeles Times

Raising fresh questions about healthcare consolidation, a new study shows hospital ownership of physician groups in California led to 10% to 20% higher costs overall for patient care. The UC Berkeley research, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., illustrates the financial risks for employers, consumers and taxpayers as hospital systems nationwide acquire more physician practices.

Whole-gene scan analyzes mystery illnesses in kids, NBC News

This story reports on a UCLA study finding that a new genetic test helps doctors identify a diagnosis in 40 percent of children with mystery genetic diseases—a quantum leap over the field’s 5 percent success rate 20 years ago.

Did a son’s autism drive a woman to murder?, Newsweek

This story about autism and a mother’s struggles with her son, who had severe autism, highlights the work of UC Davis’ Judy van de Water, Irva Hertz-Picciotto and Sally Rogers and UC San Francisco’s Robert Hendren. The Koegel Autism Center at UC Santa Barbara also is mentioned.

Study: Half of California’s children are Latino, 94% of whom are U.S. citizens, California Healthline

A study released Tuesday on Latino children’s health in California found that 94% of Latino children in the state were born in the U.S., which may have policy implications in the next legislative session when the issue of health coverage for the undocumented will be debated. Claire Brindis, director of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the UC-San Francisco School of Medicine, is quoted.

Berkeley team to transform MRI, ABC 7

At a busy imaging lab at UC Berkeley, researchers are preparing for a journey to unmapped corners of the human brain. To get there, the team led by neuroscience professor David Feinberg is pushing the boundaries of magnetic resonance imaging, also known as MRI. Instead of imaging the entire brain, they’re focusing on the surface, where the neural pathways are clustered.

Genetic variant linked to lower breast cancer rates in Latinas, KQED

Researchers have long known that Latina women have lower rates of breast cancer compared to African-American and white women. They have mainly pointed to lifestyle and environmental factors to explain why –- Latinas tend to have more children, breast feed longer, and drink less alcohol, all factors that are associated with lower disease rates. Now, an international study led by scientists at UC San Francisco shows that a genetic variant unique to Latina women with indigenous ancestry plays a significant role, too.

UCLA Health System fined by federal officials over banned doctor, Los Angeles Times

Federal officials fined UCLA Health System $470,000 for allowing an anesthesiologist who was banned from Medicare and other federal programs to treat patients and bill the government for their care.The university attributed the problem to human error and software problems. “Once the errors were unearthed, UCLA took prompt action, reported the matter to the Department of Health and Human Services and conducted a thorough audit to confirm that no other members of the UCLA medical staff are or were on the exclusion list,” the university said.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Oct. 12

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Hospitals rethinking precautions in wake of nurse’s Ebola infection, San Francisco Chronicle

At the urging of federal health officials, U.S. hospitals, including some in the Bay Area, are rethinking the protocols they have in place even while assuring the public they are prepared to deal with an Ebola patient. News that a 26-year-old nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital had contracted Ebola after treating a patient has unsettled hospital administrators and health care workers because it seemingly contradicts assurances from federal health officials that U.S. hospitals are well equipped to treat and contain the disease, which has killed more than 4,000 people, primarily in West Africa. “Unnerving” is how Dr. Josh Adler, chief medical officer of UCSF Medical Center, described the transmission of the disease to the nurse, “who presumably was doing her best to protect herself and yet was still infected.” “It tells us this is a fairly contagious virus and really requires every bit of infection control and training that we can muster,” Adler said. Read UC coverage.

Ebola safeguards are being taken, Southland health officials say, Los Angeles Times

Amid news of the first Ebola death in the U.S. — that of Thomas Eric Duncan, who died in a Dallas hospital that initially misdiagnosed him and sent him away — local officials say they are working to get medical providers ready, should an Ebola case emerge in Southern California. So far, there have been no confirmed or suspected Ebola cases in Los Angeles County, and officials say they do not expect a major outbreak. Infection control experts at UCLA medical centers in Westwood and Santa Monica have provided emergency departments with Ebola kits containing recommended protective gear such as suits, masks, gloves and booties. UCLA has an Ebola response team that will take the lead should a case arise and designated areas that are equipped to handle waste disposal, said infectious disease specialist Dr. Daniel Uslan, who is part of the effort. The hospital is also drilling medical workers on procedures.

UCLA Medical Center preparing for Ebola (video), ABC 7

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is taking steps to prepare in the event that an Ebola patient is admitted. Dr. Zachary Rubin, head of the medical center’s Infection Prevention, says personnel are equipped what they call an “Ebola kit.” Every step in using the kit must be followed exactly to the letter, but Rubin says it can be tricky if a member of the staff has never done it before.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Daily News; CBS Los Angeles: Oct. 17 (video), Oct. 13 (video); Fox Los Angeles (video); NBC Los Angeles: Oct. 17 (video), Oct. 14 (video)

Ebola scare prompts two Sacramento hospitals to ramp up preparedness, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis Medical Center’s chief medical officer briefed the public on the hospital’s preparedness Thursday, after an Ebola scare earlier in the week tested the response of its emergency department workers and revealed some areas in need of improvement. “This is a very fluid process,” Dr. J. Douglas Kirk said of the Sacramento hospital’s protocols for treating infectious diseases such as the notorious Ebola virus. “We’ve stepped up education and training for our staff and set new guidelines for front-line staff.”

See additional coverage: Fox 40 (video)KCRA 3 (video)KFBK

California health officials seek to assure public amid Ebola scare, The Sacramento Bee

California’s top health officials tried to assure an increasingly nervous public on Wednesday that they are ramping up readiness to fight the deadly Ebola virus, including seeking screening at all of the state’s international airports. UC Davis Health System spokeswoman Karen Finney is quoted.

Editorial: Hospitals need to give facts, not spin on Ebola, The Sacramento Bee

Even as the messy facts from Dallas were emerging, hospital systems here were stonewalling this week when asked for their strategies on Ebola. Only after Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, explicitly demanded their plans for informing the public did a couple of local hospital chiefs step up and start sharing information. And the news, unsurprisingly, was that preparedness is evolving. Or, as the chief medical officer at UC Davis Medical Center termed it after a false Ebola alarm there, “a good learning experience.” Learning is good. Even the CDC has done some. At Kaiser, a video on proper use of protective equipment has been issued, and training sessions for hospital workers were ramped up this week. We hope hospital systems will continue to learn – and keep us posted. Good information will be so reassuring if, as in Dallas, the emergency isn’t a drill someday.

Bay Area scientists work on test to find Ebola virus early (video), CBS San Francisco

It will take a monumental effort to stop the Ebola outbreak in its tracks, but scientists in the Bay Area are working on a new way to detect the virus before it can spread. Imagine, at any port of entry into the U.S., being able to quickly identify travelers infected with Ebola before they show any symptoms. “This is actually an area that we’re currently working on in my laboratory,” said Dr. Charles Chiu, an expert in infectious diseases at UCSF. His team is currently analyzing samples from Ebola patients. “The goal is eventually to use this information, if we can, to establish and make available a rapid diagnostic test for diagnoses of the Ebola virus,” Chiu said.

Ebola nurse in Dallas: Why one Texas hospital couldn’t contain Ebola, International Business Times

The United States has the most expensive health care system in the world, its gleaming hospitals outfitted with the latest technologies and equipment, and yet health care professionals couldn’t prevent a Texas nurse treating an Ebola patient from contracting the disease last week. The spread of Ebola at the Dallas hospital has raised questions about the U.S. health care system’s ability to contain the contagious virus and protect medical workers amid a growing outbreak poised to soon claim 4,500 lives worldwide. Art Reingold, head of epidemiology at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, is quoted.

Op-ed: Nurses shouldn’t be guinea pigs, Slate

John Villasenor, professor of public policy in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and a professor of electrical engineering in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, as well as a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, recommends more rigorous training protocols to protect those charged with treating people who are sick. He suggests using big data to help protect health workers from Ebola exposure.

California investments could reap 5-to-1 return, HealthData Management

A University of California center that fosters health care innovation at UC’s five medical centers is proving to be a boon to both patient health and the bottom line. Grants made by UC’s Center for Health Quality and Innovation to fund projects that improve patient care and satisfaction at UC hospitals are paying off with positive results, including fewer blood clots and better post-surgical care at UC hospitals.

See additional coverage: California Healthline

Study: Tobacco use toll drops in California, but smoking still more deadly than AIDS, San Francisco Examiner

Smoking is more fatal and its associated health care costs are likely much more expensive in California than AIDS, Alzheimer’s or diabetes, according to a study published today by UC San Francisco researchers. However, the toll of smoking in the state actually decreased between 1999 and 2009 after rising the previous decade, from 1989 to 1999, said Wendy Max, the study’s principal investigator and a professor of health economics at the UCSF School of Nursing and director of the UCSF Institute for Health and Aging. The study is the third in a series of reports published every 10 years on costs attributed to smoking in California. It was conducted over three years at the Institute for Health and Aging thanks to a grant from the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program of the University of California’s Office of the President.

In hopes of fixing faulty genes, one scientist starts with the basics (audio), NPR

Whether they admit it or not, many (if not most) scientists secretly hope to get a call in October informing them they’ve won a Nobel Prize. But I’ve talked to a lot of Nobel laureates, and they are unanimous on one point: None of them pursued a research topic with the intention of winning the prize. That’s certainly true for Jennifer Doudna. She hasn’t won a Nobel Prize yet, but many are whispering that she’s in line to win one for her work on something called CRISPR/Cas9 — a tool for editing genes. The idea came when she and her colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, were in essence trying to figure out how bacteria fight the flu. The goal was really more of a basic science question, Doudna says.

East Bay woman sparks debate on aid in dying, San Francisco Chronicle

Brittany Maynard doesn’t want to die. But more than anything, she doesn’t want to die a horrendous death — like the kind that comes with the type of brain cancer she was diagnosed with nine months ago. So if all goes as planned in the coming weeks, Maynardwill dissolve a deadly dose of prescribed medicine into a cup of water and drink it. Within minutes, she will slip into a coma-like state. And an hour or two later, the 29-year-old newlywed will be dead. The East Bay resident moved to Oregon to take advantage of that state’s Death with Dignity law, and a video in which she talks poignantly about her fate has gone viral — with nearly 6 million views in a mere five days — making the onetime teacher one of the most compelling spokespersons for advocates of assisted dying. Maynard is a UC Berkeley graduate.

Soda may age you as much as smoking, study says, Time

Nobody would mistake sugary soda for a health food, but a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health just found that a daily soda habit can age your immune cells almost two years. Senior study author Elissa Epel, professor of psychiatry at UC San Francisco, wanted to look at the mechanisms behind soda’s storied link to conditions like diabetes, heart attack, obesity, and even higher rates of death. She studied telomeres, the caps at the end of chromosomes in every cell in our body, from white blood cells. Shorter telomeres have been linked to health detriments like shorter lifespans and more stress, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, the study notes.

See additional coverage: CBS San Francisco (video), The Guardian

UCLA plans behavioral health center, California Healthline

A ceremony Oct. 14 at UCLA officially unveiled plans for a research center devoted to behavioral health, a $7.5 million investment that mirrors a sister effort at UC Davis in Sacramento. Together, they are called the Centers for Excellence in Behavioral Health, funded by $15 million over three years from the Mental Health Services Act, created in 2004 when California voters passed Proposition 63. “The idea is to take what we do here at the UC [system] and … translate the science into policy and bring it to evidence-based practice in the community,” said Peter Whybrow, director of UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, where the behavioral health center will be.

New UCLA telehealth program part of national trend, California Healthline

A new consumer service launched by UCLA is part of a growing national trend of using telehealth technology to let patients and physicians connect using mobile phones, tablets and computers. LiveHealthOnline, launched last month by UCLA Health System, is one of about 200 telemedicine networks in the U.S., according to the American Telemedicine Association. Like many remote physician services, the goal is to provide convenience to busy patients with minor ailments who don’t have time to get into a doctor’s office. “For population health, it gives us the ability to expand our reach but in a convenient way,” said Peter Kung, director of strategic technologies for the UCLA Health System. “People don’t have to drive in Los Angeles traffic for a cold and cough and we can uphold quality.”

Study backs use of stem cells in retinas, The New York Times

Since they were first isolated 16 years ago, human embryonic stem cells have been thought to have the potential to replace the body’s worn-out tissues and treat a wide variety of diseases. The progress has been slow. But now researchers are reporting an encouraging step. A therapy for eye diseases that was derived from stem cells appeared to be safe and might have improved the vision of some patients, according to a new study. The results, published on Tuesday evening by the journal The Lancet, represent the most extensive human data yet on any treatment derived from such embryonic stem cells. The 18 patients in the study were followed for a median of 22 months, two of them for more than three years.  Dr. Steven D. Schwartz, a retina specialist at UCLA and the lead author of the paper, is quoted.

UCLA study shows why one of the biggest Obamacare fears may not come to pass, California Healthline

Something like 10 million Americans — give or take a few million — have gained health coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act. And here’s one way to put that in perspective: In just six months between late 2013 and early 2014, the nation’s persistently high uninsured rate fell by a staggering 25%. So does this mean that the nation’s already busy emergency departments are about to bust at the seams, as some Obamacare critics suggest? That states still nixing the Medicaid expansion are right to worry it would overcrowd their hospitals? Not necessarily, says UCLA’s Gerald Kominski. Kominski, director of UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research, and colleagues looked at what happened when hundreds of thousands of Californians signed up for a proto-version of Obamacare: the Low Income Health Plan, better known as the LIHP. And UCLA’s new study — released on Wednesday — tracks nearly 200,000 enrollees in the LIHP between 2011 and 2013.

See additional coverage: NPR

Dance medicine workshop at Davis conference engages younger crowds, The Sacramento Bee

Dozens cycled in and out of a UC Davis classroom this weekend to hear the story of Isha Loyd, a seven-year cast member of the Sacramento Ballet who was forced to leave the stage earlier this year because of a ganglion cyst in her right foot. Raising the next crop of physicians was the main focus of the 12th annual UC Davis Pre-medical and Pre-health Professions National Conference held Saturday and Sunday for high school, college and post-graduate students interested in the medical field.

Email hacking source of UC Davis breach, Clinical Innovation+Technology

The University of California Davis Health System has notified 1,326 patients that their protected health information was compromised when a physician’s email account was hacked.

See additional coverage: Healthcare IT News

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Oct. 5

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Why some shocking Ebola fears are likely unfounded, CBS News

Dr. Carl Schultz, director of disaster medical services at UC Irvine Medical Center, says fear that the Ebola virus could be spread by terrorists is unwarranted. Schultz, a professor of emergency medicine and director of research for the UC Irvine Center for Disaster Medical Services, says that small pox would be a better example of a deadly virus that could be weaponized.

Biotechs work to spread Ebola treatments, U-T San Diego

While a local biotech company works to scale up production of its anti-Ebola drug ZMapp, a second experimental medication also developed by San Diego researchers has been enlisted in the fight against the deadly virus. Brincidofovir was given to Thomas Eric Duncan, who died Wednesday at a hospital in Dallas. He was the first person to die of Ebola in the United States. Brincidofovir was discovered by Dr. Karl Hostetler, a professor of medicine emeritus at UCSD School of Medicine. The drug is being tested for two viral infections by Chimerix, which Hostetler founded in 2002. In addition, the federal government is helping to develop the drug as a measure against smallpox.

UCSF Ebola preparedness harkens back to early days of AIDS (audio), CBS San Francisco

Officials at UCSF say its hospitals have prepared should someone at any of its facilities show signs of the Ebola virus, despite the very low risk of anyone contracting the disease locally.

Local health experts prep for Ebola, U-T San Diego

A few weeks back, a man who had just returned from West Africa came to Thornton Hospital in La Jolla complaining of a fever. The patient found himself quickly isolated in a private room while the hospital’s infectious-disease team and the county health department were notified. All this for a fever that probably wouldn’t have made it past Thornton’s triage station last year. But last year, the Ebola virus hadn’t killed more than 3,300 people in a handful of African countries and was not on pace to pass the 1.4 million case mark by Jan. 20, 2015. Today no hospital, no matter how many oceans away from the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak, can afford to miss the common warning signs that the deadly virus is incubating in a patient’s bloodstream. Dr. Robert Schooley, head of the Division of Infection Control at UC San Diego, is quoted.

High fever alone not reason to be admitted to hospital, experts say, Los Angeles Times

When Thomas Eric Duncan first appeared at a Dallas hospital, his temperature reportedly soared to 103 degrees, but he was sent home, prompting complaints from his fiancee’s family that he should have been admitted.But such a high fever by itself is not enough to have forced him to be kept in the hospital, according to several experts in emergency room practices. Dr. Kristi L. Koenig, professor of emergency medicine and director of the Center of Disaster Medical Services at UC Irvine, is quoted.

Rare illness in California afflicts children with polio-like symptoms (video), National Geographic

At least 20 confirmed cases of polio-like illness have been reported in the past two years scattered throughout California, leaving victims, mostly children, with paralyzed limbs. Doctors suspect a virus, but officials have yet to identify a clear cause. The article quotes Emmanuelle Waubant, a neurologist at UC San Francisco Medical Center, who is working with Stanford’s Keith Van Haren to identify the cases.

Big data, meet big money: NIH funds centers to crunch health data, Los Angeles Times

Calling the world’s wealth of health data a formidable “engine of discovery,” the National Institutes of Health on Thursday awarded $32 million in grants in a bid to make huge biomedical data sets accessible to researchers the world over. Of the 12 “centers of excellence” to be established under the BD2K initiative, four California institutions — UCLA, USC, UC Santa Cruz and Stanford University — will be tapped to play a major role. Collectively, the four universities are to be awarded $7 million in 2014 and are slated to receive close to $38 million over the next four years.

UCSC genomics center awarded $11 million NIH grant, Santa Cruz Sentinel

The National Institutes of Health has awarded an $11 million grant to UC Santa Cruz for a new center facilitating the sharing of large amounts of genetic data. The Center for Big Data in Translational Genomics will be a multi-institutional partnership headquartered at UCSC’s Genomics Institute, led by professor David Haussler.

UCI awarded $8 million for creation of brain cell database, Los Angeles Times

UC Irvine announced Wednesday that it had been awarded an $8-million grant to establish one of six centers around the country tasked with creating a database of brain cell activity, expected to help develop treatment for a number of diseases. The grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow researchers to study brain cell activity in motor neuron disorders like Lou Gehrig’s disease and build a detailed collection of these diseases’ signatures.

UCSF opens $100 million+ global health complex, also houses chancellor’s office, San Francisco Business Times

UC San Francisco, which boasts of its emergence as a global health powerhouse, has opened a new 264,000-square-foot complex at Mission Bay to house its decade-old Global Health program as well as the biomedical university’s office of the chancellor. The new seven-story Mission Hall complex, which cost $99.5 million to build, is also known as the Global Health and Clinical Sciences Building. It’s located at 500 16th Street, across the street from the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, slated to open in February. Along with housing UCSF’s Global Health Services program, the complex is the new home for the university’s Office of the Chancellor, and thus will be home base for Chancellor Sam Hawgood.

After hospitals unite, labor divide deepens, East Bay Express

Since Children’s Hospital Oakland became affiliated with UC San Francisco, resident physicians in the East Bay have questioned why they can’t get the same support as doctors across the bay.

Terminally ill 29-year-old woman: Why I’m choosing to die on my own terms, People

For the past 29 years, Brittany Maynard has lived a fearless life – running half marathons, traveling through Southeast Asia for a year and even climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. So, it’s no surprise she is facing her death the same way. On Monday, Maynard will launch an online video campaign with the nonprofit Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life choice advocacy organization, to fight for expanding Death with Dignity laws nationwide. And on Nov. 1, Maynard, who in April was given six months to live, intends to end her own life with medication prescribed to her by her doctor – and she wants to make it clear it is NOT suicide.  Maynard is a UC Berkeley graduate.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month (audio), KFI

UC Irvine Health surgical oncologist Dr. Alice Police discusses breast cancer decisions.

Patients with diseases leg arteries who quit smoking live longer, Reuters

People with clogged arteries in their legs can extend their lives – and save their limbs – if they quit smoking cigarettes, new research shows.In so-called “peripheral artery disease,” blood from the heart can’t reach the legs because the arteries are clogged. The result can be painful cramps while walking or climbing stairs, leg numbness or weakness, coldness in the lower leg or foot – and in the worst cases, amputation. The authors of the new study expected that people with peripheral artery disease, or PAD, who stopped smoking would do better in the long run – but they didn’t expect the benefit to be as large as it was. Senior author Dr. John Laird,  a cardiologist who is the medical director of the UC Davis Vascular Center, is quoted.

Mixed bag so far for duals program: Some glad, some livid, most confused (audio), California Healthline

Experts discuss the promise and pitfalls of the state’s rollout of Cal MediConnect, which offers 456,000 Californians who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medi-Cal a new pilot program of coordinated care through a Medi-Cal managed care plan. The state is about halfway through the passive enrollment process and, so far, about a third of participants have opted out of the program. The report includes comments from Kathryn Kietzman, research scientist at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

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In the media: Week of Sept. 28

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Anthem’s new partnership with seven hospitals builds on an old idea in California, California Healthline

A new payer-provider partnership in Southern California called Vivity has been billed as a first-of-its-kind in the nation. The new partnership, announced by Anthem Blue Cross two weeks ago, will operate in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Vivity members there will be able to access some 6,000 physicians, 14 hospitals and clinics, laboratories and surgery centers affiliated with seven health systems, including UCLA Health System. “This seems to be a very encouraging step in the maturing and evolution of the health care system in California,” said Stephen Shortell, former dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. Shortell is now the school’s Blue Cross of California Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Management. Vivity was inspired in part by the Berkeley Forum, a collaboration of health care CEOs, insurers, public policymakers and health care researchers based at Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

BRAIN initiative is underway, funding new ways to map cells, circuits, Los Angeles Times

Dr. Kelsey Martin, professor and chair of biological chemistry and a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute, and the director of UCLA Neuroscience, a campuswide effort to encourage collaboration among scientists, is cited in this article about the first grants made for President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative, short for Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies. The article also detailed the research of the two UCLA awardees, Dr. X. William Yang, a professor of psychiatry, and Dr. Daniel Geschwind, a professor of psychiatry, neurology, and genetics. Of the 58 NIH grants, 14 are led by UC researchers. Read UC story.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Business Times

Experts discuss Ebola virus at conference in SF (video), ABC 7

Some of the world’s top epidemiologists are in San Francisco talking about the Ebola virus and how to stop it from spreading. The virus has killed more than 3,300 people in West Africa. “First of all, it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said Dan Kelly, M.D., with the UCSF School of Medicine. Kelly has worked in Sierra Leone for eight years. He says the delay in action has been devastating. That’s what this panel was discussing Thursday at a conference at UCSF.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Examiner

UCSF Ebola expert: Ebola is not as infectious as influenza, tuberculosis, measles and other airborne diseases (video), CBS San Francisco

Amid questions and concerns over the recent cases of the deadly Ebola virus in the United States, KPIX 5′s interview with Dr. Charles Chiu, an expert on infectious diseases at UCSF may provide answers.

Op-ed: Brandon Brown: Don’t let Ebola obfuscate the big picture, Orange County Register

Brandon Brown, director of the Global Health, Research, Education and Translation Program at UC Irvine, writes about Ebola preparations.

First U.S. Ebola case exposes weakness in hospital procedure, The Huffington Post

As luck would have it, the hospital currently treating the first Ebola patient to be diagnosed in the U.S. had actually held a meeting a week prior on what to do if a case ever presented itself. The article quotes Brandon Brown, an assistant professor of public health at UC Irvine and the leader of the campus’ global health research program.

Why did it take 2 days to get Texas Ebola patient into a hospital?, Reuters

The first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in a U.S. hospital was evaluated initially and turned away, a critical missed opportunity that could result in others being exposed to the deadly virus, infectious disease experts said. UCLA epidemiologist Ann Rimoin is quoted.

UCI public lecture on fighting diseases like Ebola can’t come soon enough, OC Weekly

With the first reported case of Ebola in the United States now a cause for alarm (at least among the teevee news anchors), the only thing one wishes about the first presentation of UC Irvine Physical Sciences’ annual Breakfast Lecture Series is that it was sooner. Dr. Aaron Esser-Kahn is scheduled to discuss innovative vaccine approaches to combat diseases like Ebola on Oct. 7.

Are Sacramento hospitals prepared for an Ebola outbreak? (audio), KFBK

Here in Sacramento, hospitals say they’re prepared to admit and manage any possible Ebola patients. Dr. Stuart Cohen, the chief of infectious diseases at UC Davis Medical Center, says their team has been preparing — and continue to prepare — for the possibility of a patient with Ebola symptoms.

Ebola outbreak: Feds squash calls for travel restrictions, San Francisco Chronicle

Federal officials on Thursday rejected calls for mandatory travel restrictions to contain the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, despite public fears about a man who traveled from Liberia to Dallas before being diagnosed with the virus. Dr. Art Reingold, head of epidemiology at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. is quoted.

See additional coverage: Fox LA (video), KABC (video)

A groundbreaking treatment at UCLA improves failing memories of some patients (video), KTLA 5

An Alzheimer`s treatment study at UCLA has, for the first time, improved failing memories of people with the disease. In some cases, patients experienced so much improvement they could return to their jobs, according to the study.

See additional coverage: ABC 7 (video), Marin Independent Journal

New UC Davis mental health research center will pursue mysteries of the brain, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis Health System’s Sacramento campus launched a $7.5 million behavioral health center. The facility, which is part of a $15 million research effort funded by Proposition 63 to support mental health services, will focus on neuroscience. UCLA is launching a similar center.

See additional coverage: Capital Public Radio, Sacramento Business Journal

Health 2.0: The customer is king, California Healthline

Placing more care decisions in the hands of consumers and personalizing that experience is a major theme in health application and product development today, as evidenced at the Health 2.0 conference, held last week in Santa Clara. However, providers, payers and government regulators may tap the brakes on this trend, as they continue to worry about patient safety and privacy in the new digital realm. A survey by Medscape and WebMD released at the conference indicated that while the majority of physicians and patients (63% and 64%, respectively) agree that the smartphone can be a useful diagnostic tool in regards to blood tests, just one-third of physicians said they would use a smartphone to perform an ear or eye exam and about a half of patients would do so. The article mentions that San Francisco-based CellScope created Oto, an optical attachment to the smartphone for diagnosis of ear infections in children. CellScope co-founders Erik Douglas and Amy Sheng met at the Fletcher lab at UC Berkeley, from which they both have degrees.

Doctors find barriers to sharing digital medical records, The New York Times

Doctors and hospital executives across the country say they are distressed that the expensive electronic health record systems they installed in the hopes of reducing costs and improving the coordination of patient care — a major goal of the Affordable Care Act — simply do not share information with competing systems.The issue is especially critical now as many hospitals and doctors scramble to install the latest versions of their digital record systems to demonstrate to regulators starting Wednesday that they can share some patient data. Those who cannot will face reductions in Medicare reimbursements down the road. Michael Minear, the chief information officer at the UC Davis Health System, is quoted.

Some California community colleges will offer bachelor’s degrees for first time, San Francisco Chronicle

For the first time in California, up to 15 community colleges will be able to offer bachelor’s degrees in fields where skilled workers are especially needed — health, science and technology— under a pilot program signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. Duplicating courses offered at the University of California or California State University would not be allowed under the bill authored by Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, which shakes up the California Master Plan for Higher Education. For 54 years, the Master Plan has defined separate roles for the state’s three higher education systems, with community colleges able to offer only two-year associate’s degrees or vocational certificates. But the idea of expanding college offerings has broad support, and dozens of colleges are already lining up with proposals they hope will win the competition, including Skyline College in San Bruno (respiratory therapy); Cañada College in Redwood City (radiologic technology, or medical imaging); and the College of San Mateo (dental hygiene).

UCSF, GE, agencies team up to define, attack traumatic brain injuries, San Francisco Business Times

UCSF will collaborate with General Electric, other universities, the Defense Department and other government agencies, and patient advocacy groups through a $17 million, five-year project to devise better ways to run clinical trials aimed at new drugs and medical devices for traumatic brain injuries. The project will look at data from thousands of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, patients to find effective measures of brain injury and recovery. It will use blood biomarkers, new imaging equipment and software and other tools. TBI includes not only military injuries but falls, car accidents, assaults and more. “TBI is really a multifaceted condition, not a single event,” University of California, San Francisco, neurosurgeon Dr. Geoffrey Manley said in a statement from UCSF.

To counter gun violence, researchers seek deeper data (audio), National Public Radio

For the first time in nearly two decades, federal money is beginning to flow into gun violence research. And there’s growing momentum behind creating a reliable national reporting database for firearm injuries and deaths. Garen Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis, is interviewed.

Antioxidant found in wine may help fight acne-causing bacteria, researchers say, Fox News

Wine drinkers, rejoice! Researchers at UCLA have found that an antioxidant derived from grapes — and also found in wine — inhibits the growth of acne-causing bacteria. The study, published in the journal Dermatology and Therapy, found that combining the antioxidant resveratrol with benzoyl peroxide, a common acne medication, may enhance the drug’s ability to kill the bacteria, possibly leading to new acne treatments.

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In the media: Week of Sept. 21

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC Riverside Med School seeks out, fast-tracks local med students to keep doctors in the region, KPCC

There’s nothing unusual about a medical student, such as Crystal Deedas, doing supervised work on real- life patients. That’s all part of the clinical rotation experience required by medical schools. But what is unique is that Deedas is seeing patients in her first year of medical school. Typically, med students wait until their third year before getting such clinical experience. Deedas, of Riverside, is part of the second class to enroll at the new UC Riverside School of Medicine. The school opened last summer,  in large part, to address the growing doctor shortage in the Inland Empire. “We need physicians,” says Dr. Ravi Berry, a pediatrician at the Riverside Medical Clinic who mentors Deedas. “If we grow our own they stay in the area.” To combat that dearth of doctors, administrators at UCR’s School of Medicine have created a novel program aimed at attracting home-grown med students, training them and then keeping the newly-minted doctors in the region.

Editorial: Anthem Blue Cross’ welcome new HMO idea, Los Angeles Times

UCLA Health System and six other top hospital systems in Los Angeles and Orange counties have partnered with Anthem Blue Cross to offer Anthem Blue Cross Vivity, an integrated managed health plan that will be offered to local employers. An editorial on this partnership — the first in the nation between an insurer and competing hospital systems.

Two from UC Davis working on front line of Ebola fight in Sierra Leone, The Sacramento Bee

Two graduates of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine are battling the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone,which recently initiated a three-day nationwide shutdown to slow the deadly disease.

Letter: Education about Ebola an imperative, Orange County Register

The current outbreak of Ebola is the worst outbreak since 1976, and is present in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone, writes Brandon Brown, director of UC Irvine’s Global Health Research, Education and Translation program.

Wearable artificial kidney hopes to gain FDA approval soon, Endgadget

As neat as your smartwatch is, there are other existing wearables which, you know, can actually make the world a world a better place — though that’s not to say whatever you have on your wrist now is useless and for pure vanity purposes. Aptly named the Wearable Artificial Kidney, a projected started back in 2008, this medical gadget hopes to make the dialysis process better for patients, thanks in particular to its portability features. As opposed to the more traditional, stationary machines found at hospitals or in homes, which tend to be extremely heavy, the current version of WAK weighs a mere 10 lbs (around 4.5 kg.) and can be attached around a person’s waist. The real advantage of the Wearable Artificial Kidney, according to the people behind it, is that it would allow patients to mobilize while still being treated, giving them chance to go to places such as work or school. After multiple tests overseas, Dr. Victor Gura and researchers from UCLA are set to run their first clinical trial here in the U.S. later this year.

UC Davis study links autism to low iron intake in some mothers, California Healthline

A new study by UC Davis researchers found a fivefold increase in autism spectrum disorder in children born to mothers with low iron intake and some metabolic conditions.

See additional coverage: CBS News

Study finds ER waiting times vary significantly, Lafayette Journal & Courier

When it comes to emergency room waiting times, patients seeking care at larger urban hospitals are likely to spend more time staring down the clock than those seen at smaller or more rural facilities, new research suggests. “The experience of crowding and our ability to provide timely emergency care varies dramatically across hospitals in the United States,” said one of the authors of the new research, Dr. Renee Hsia, an associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco.

UCI neonatal ICU team honored for saving baby girl born with intestines outside her body (video), KCAL 9/CBS Los Angeles

Watching 2-year-old Irelynn Gossett walk through the doors of UCI Medical Center’s neonatal ICU is something of a miracle.When Irelynn was born, surgeon Mustafa Kabeer wasn’t sure if the girl would ever make it outside the hospital’s walls.

Which flu shot is right for you and your loved ones? (audio), KPCC

Southern California broke records last week during a late summer heat wave. But, while it may not feel like it, don’t be fooled: flu season is almost upon us. “I would get the flu shot earlier rather than later,” said Dr. Shruti Gohil, associate medical director at the University of California, Irvine. The reason: “it affords you protection throughout the flu season,” she said.

Feeling bummed? How disappointment works in the brain, LiveScience

In a new study, a team of scientists led by Dr. Roberto Malinow, a professor of neurobiology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, found that two well-known neurotransmitters — glutamate and GABA, which is short for gamma-aminobutyric acid — are released simultaneously by neurons in a small region of the brain called the lateral habenula to signal the emotion of disappointment.

‘Time-outs’ are hurting your child, Time

UCLA Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute and the founding co-director of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, co-wrote this article making the argument that using “time-outs” to discipline a child for behavior doesn’t work, and that a better solution might be a “time-in” where a parent might sit with the child, talking or comforting.

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In the media: Week of Sept. 14

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Hospitals and insurer join forces in California, The New York Times

In a partnership that appears to be the first of its kind, Anthem Blue Cross, a large California health insurance company, is teaming up with seven fiercely competitive hospital groups to create a new health system in the Los Angeles area. The partnership includes such well-known medical centers as UCLA Health and Cedars-Sinai. Anthem and the hospital groups plan to announce on Wednesday the formation of a joint venture whose aim is to provide the level of coordinated, high-quality and efficient care that is now associated with only a handful of integrated health systems like Kaiser Permanente in California, Intermountain Healthcare in Utah and Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania. Read UC story.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, Torrance Daily Breeze, KPCC (audio), California Healthline

UC to create $250 million venture capital fund, San Francisco Chronicle

Seeking to boost entrepreneurship, the University of California will create a $250 million venture capital fund to invest in inventions developed by students and faculty. The UC Board of Regents voted Wednesday to start the fund, which will support work at the system’s 10 campuses, five medical centers, three national laboratories and more than 20 incubators and accelerators. “We really need to find a way just to be an active participant in this engine of innovation that’s going on here in this part of the country,” said Jagdeep Singh Bachher, chief investment officer of the UC Office of the President, at the Regents’ meeting at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus. UC Ventures will receive seed funding from the UC endowment and will operate without tuition or state funds.

See additional coverage: Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Business Times, San Jose Mercury News

Students struggle to access mental health services on UC campuses, KQED

Students throughout the University of California system are having trouble accessing mental health care, and health services directors are raising alarms that increased staffing and funding could be warranted to meet demand. “The increased need for mental health services on our campuses is outstripping our ability to provide those services,” said Dr. John Stobo, senior vice president for health sciences and services for the University of California. “It is a major problem. It’s not only a problem for UC, this is a national issue.” In the last six years, the number of students seeking help at university counseling centers has increased 37 percent, according to data presented at UC Regents board meeting on Thursday. “This is real. Students are having difficulty accessing mental health services on campus,” said Dr. Gina Fleming, medical director for the UC Self-Insured Health Plans. The UC Regents asked the health services committee to bring a list of potential solutions to the next board meeting in November. (Link to audio.)

Ebola outbreak hits home with Bay Area health specialists, San Francisco Chronicle

Dr. Dan Kelly had been in Sierra Leone only a few days last month when four patients showed up at the Wellbody health clinic he co-founded there, complaining of fevers, diarrhea, weakness and terrible headaches – all symptoms of Ebola. Wellbody had closed its doors when Ebola cases spiked in Sierra Leone, one of five West African countries at the center of the world’s worst outbreak of the deadly disease. But Kelly, a UCSF infectious disease specialist, made an impulsive decision to travel there to help. He reopened his clinic, and trained his staff and others to identify and treat possible Ebola patients and protect themselves. Bay Area medical institutions have relationships on the continent that span years or even decades, especially in parts of Africa burdened by the AIDS epidemic. They’ve built clinics and research facilities and slowly strengthened community-based health care systems. In places like Sierra Leone and Liberia, those health care systems are still fragile, said Dr. Gavin Yamey, a UCSF global health expert.

UCSF researcher forms alliance to better fund Ebola education in Africa (video), ABC 7

A UC San Francisco researcher has just returned from Africa and he said a new alliance has been formed in the fight against the spread of Ebola, which means more money and resources to help save lives. In Sierra Leone, Dr. Dan Kelly is a teacher. He’s taught 1,000 healthcare workers how to protect themselves from the Ebola virus. “I think what was more scary was to see the nurses just wearing gloves only in the wards taking care of these patients who were positive with Ebola,” Kelly said. Kelly is getting some backup. His group, Wellbody Alliance, is joining with Partners in Health, the leader in the health and human rights movement funded by Harvard’s Paul Farmer. The partnership means more resources and better connections.

Rare respiratory virus confirmed in California, Orange County Register

A rare respiratory virus that has sent at least 153 people to the hospital in 18 states has moved into California, and health officials are warning parents to be on the lookout for symptoms. The California Department of Health reported Thursday that four cases of enterovirus-68 have been confirmed in the state – three in San Diego County and one in Ventura County – and health officials are expecting that number to climb. Symptoms that should raise concern include difficulty breathing, wheezing and a prolonged dry cough that causes the abdomen to heave, said Dr. Shruti Gohil, an infectious-disease specialist with UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange.

Infectious disease preparedness (audio), Capital Public Radio

Enterovirus D68 begins with symptoms of a common cold, but quickly increases in severity. Infants, children, and teenagers are at highest risk of becoming infected. Pediatrician and infectious disease expert Dean Blumberg of UC Davis discusses what steps we can take to prevent the spread of infection in young people.

Groundbreaking study on Alzheimer’s taking place at UC Irvine (video), KCAL 9/CBS Los Angeles

UC Irvine researcher and doctor Aimee Pierce is involved in a clinical study to attempt to one day, slow memory loss. … “This is the first step toward developing a prevention for Alzheimer’s disease, and that’s critically important,” Pierce said.

Duchess Kate’s pregnancy puts focus on ills of severe morning sickness, Los Angeles Times

This story cites the research of Marlena Fejzo in an article on the extreme morning sickness condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum. Fejzo, an associate researcher in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is quoted.

Top scientists suggest a few fixes for medical funding crisis (audio), NPR

Many U.S. scientists had hoped to ride out the steady decline in federal funding for biomedical research, but it’s continuing on a downward trend with no end in sight. So leaders of the science establishment are now trying to figure out how to fix this broken system. It’s a familiar problem. Biomedical science has a long history of funding ups and downs, and, in the past, the system has always righted itself with the passage of time and plumper budgets. “You know I lived through those [cycles]; I know what they were like,” says cancer biologist Dr. Harold Varmus, whose long research career includes a Nobel Prize while at UC San Francisco. However, he says, the funding challenges “were never, in my experience, anywhere as dramatic as they are now.” Varmus knows the problem well — now head of the National Cancer Institute, he directed the entire National Institutes of Health in 1998, when President Clinton started an ambitious push to double the NIH budget.

No time to see the doctor? Try a virtual visit, Kaiser Health News/Washington Post

Patients looking for convenient medical appointments can now see UCLA Health System doctors using their cell phones, computers or tablets. It’s part of an ongoing effort at UCLA and elsewhere to extend alternatives to the in-person doctor visit to busy consumers outside rural areas. The doctors are available through LiveHealth Online, an already-existing service designed for business travelers and parents who may not have the time to show up for an appointment.

SF scientist tells you how to ‘hack your brain’ on Science Channel, San Francisco Chronicle

Dr. Michael Merzenich is close to the last person you’d expect to find on a reality show. The neuroscientist has contributed to more than 225 publications, led one of the teams that developed the first commercial cochlear implants and spent nearly 40 years as a respected faculty member at UCSF. But his passion for the concept of brain plasticity — the idea that the brain can rewire itself long after formative years are done — includes a willingness to be a bit of a proselytizer. Merzenich will appear Friday night on “Hack My Brain,” a three-part documentary airing Friday on the Science Channel.

San Diego neuroscientists find unexpected pathway to depression (audio), KPBS

We might tend to think of depression arising from a lack of stimulation in the brain. But in at least one part of the brain — the lateral habenula — negative emotions might actually be caused by overstimulation. “This part of the brain seems to be hyperactive in animal models of depression,” said UC San Diego postdoctoral researcher Steven Shabel, first author on a study published Thursday in Science. He and his colleagues in Roberto Malinow’s lab have discovered an unusual connection leading to the lateral habenula, which is associated with feelings of disappointment.

UC Davis startup gets National Science Foundation grant to make high-tech surgical blades, Sacramento Business Journal

A startup company at UC Davis has won a $200,000 award from the National Science Foundation to move its silicon blades to commercial development. Atocera Inc. is working to fine-tune the manufacturing and packaging of its silicon blades for the surgical market and shaving uses, said Saif Islam, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Davis.

Measuring bone strength at University of California, Santa Barbara (video), KEYT 3

Revolutionary work in measuring bone strength is happening in Santa Barbara. A new invention with roots at the University of California, Santa Barbara, could help change lives in the not-so-distant future. UCSB physics professor Dr. Paul Hansma uses two small bones he bought at a supermarket to make his point: The darker one was baked, the white one wasn’t. Hansma says baking degrades organics in the bone, similar to what happens naturally to our bones through aging, disease and lifestyle choices such as smoking or excessive drinking. Hansma and his colleagues at Santa Barbara-based Active Life Scientific, Inc. say current bone density tests measure the amount of bone and minerals but not the quality of a person’s bones or overall strength.

The five-second rule and other things your mom said: Mythbusting 25 health and medical tales, Orange County Register

Can your little one get unsightly warts if she touches a toad? Should you wait at least 30 minutes after eating before jumping in the pool? Dr. Shalini Shah, the director of pain management at UC Irvine Health’s Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Care, is often peppered with a fascinating – and odd – assortment of questions posed by curious kids and their parents. Shah, a mother of two, takes on the role of myth buster.

Report: 57 percent of kids given antibiotics they don’t need (video), Fox News

Tanya Altmann, assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, is interviewed about why many kids are still prescribed antibiotics they do not need despite warnings of overuse. 

Think Sacramento is all about state workers? Health care sector is surging, The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento has long been known as a state worker town. These days, it’s just as accurate to call it a health worker town. The health care sector in the four-county Sacramento region has grown steadily and significantly for more than a decade, according to the California Employment Development Department. While most other sectors shed jobs during the recession, hospitals, doctor’s offices and nursing homes held strong, adding 10,000 workers between 2008 and 2014. As a result, roughly 83,000 health care workers live in the region, up nearly 60 percent since 2000. The Sacramento region now has about as many health workers as it does state civil-service employees. UC Davis Health System is mentioned, and its CFO, Tim Maurice, is quoted.

California broadens autism coverage for kids through Medicaid, Kaiser Health News/Los Angeles Daily News

Starting Monday, thousands of children from low-income families who are on the autism spectrum will be eligible for behavioral therapy under Medi-Cal, the state’s health plan for the poor. The state will most likely cover any new expenses with money from the general fund, said Dylan Roby, a health care economist at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

Expert: Only a matter of time before enterovirus hits California (audio), Capital Public Radio

A UC Davis health expert says it’s probably a matter of time before cases of the enterovirus strain that’s been hospitalizing patients in the Midwest appears in California. Some children at a San Diego hospital are now being tested for the virus. The Centers for Disease Control says enterovirus 68 has rarely been reported in the country since it was first recognized in 1962. Enteroviruses can cause rashes or neurologic illness. This one causes breathing problems. UC Davis chief of pediatric infectious diseases Dr. Dean Blumberg says enteroviruses circulate around this time of year.

China’s polluted air may be affecting Fresno, The Fresno Bee

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has contributed about $200,000 to help study whether polluted air from China may be affecting Fresno. The research is led by federal agencies, such as NOAA and NASA, as well as the University of California at Davis.  “We’re trying to quantify this source,” said atmospheric researcher Ian Faloona of UC Davis. “There is pollution coming from beyond the U.S., and it is affecting the western edge of North America.”  UC Berkeley professor Ronald C. Cohen, director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Science Center, also is quoted.

Op-ed: This is your child’s brain on alcohol, Zocalo Public Square

Each year, 40,000 American children are born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. The costs of caring for them are staggering, write Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus, a professor of psychology and the director of the UCLA Global Center for Children and Families, and Mark Tomlinson, a professor of psychology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Sept. 7

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UCSF researcher wins Lasker Award, known as the ‘American Nobel’, San Francisco Chronicle

A UCSF professor won this year’s coveted Lasker Award for basic medical research with a Japanese scientist for discovering a cellular quality-control system in the human body that protects against harmful misshapen proteins that can lead to disease. Peter Walter, UCSF professor of biochemistry and biophysics, was honored for his work into how the nuclei of cells make sure proteins, which are folded into three-dimensional shapes, are able to detect those that are misshapen or misfolded. Lasker announced five award winners, who also included former Bay Area researcher Mary-Claire King, who won the special achievement award for her work in discovering BRCA1, a gene that when mutated greatly increases the chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer. King, now at the University of Washington in Seattle, started her work at UC Berkeley and continued it at UCSF. Read UC coverage.

Lasker winner calls for more genetic testing for cancer, The New York Times

The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation awards — often called the “American Nobels” in medical science — were announced Monday morning, and one of the winners used the spotlight to call for dramatically widening the use of genetic screening for breast and ovarian cancer. The recipient, Mary-Claire King, 68, of the University of Washington in Seattle, is one of five scientists being honored; she won the special achievement award for “bold, imaginative” scientific and human rights accomplishments. Dr. King became interested in genetics while doing graduate work in statistics at the University of California, Berkeley, in the late 1960s, She took a genetics course and realized that mathematics held a key to solving a number of biological puzzles. Other Lasker recipients included Peter Walter, 59, of UC San Francisco, for discoveries concerning a cellular quality-control system that protects the body against potentially harmful proteins.

100 hospitals and health systems with great heart programs, Becker’s Hospital Review

Becker’s Hospital Review’s list of “100 hospitals and health systems with great heart programs” includes three from the University of California: UC Davis, UCLA and UC San Diego.

Treating infants for autism may eliminate symptoms, NBC News

Here’s how you might be able to turn autism around in a baby: Carefully watch her cues, and push just a little harder with that game of peek-a-boo or “This little piggy.” But don’t push too hard — kids with autism are super-sensitive.That’s what Sally Rogers of UC Davis has found in an intense experiment with the parents of infants who showed clear signs of autism. It’s one of the most hopeful signs yet that if you diagnose autism very early, you can help children rewire their brains and reverse the symptoms. It was a small study, and it’s very hard to find infants who are likely to have autism, which is usually diagnosed in the toddler years. But the findings, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, offer some hope to parents worried about their babies.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Washington Post, California Healthline, CBS News (video), Fox News, Huffington Post, KCRA 3 (video), Newsweek, Sacramento Bee, Time

Editing DNA could be genetic medicine breakthrough, San Francisco Chronicle

A new way to make powerful changes at will to the DNA of humans, other animals and plants, much like how a writer changes words in a story, could usher in a transformation in genetic medicine. Scientists are not just excited about this recently discovered technique because it can snip and edit DNA with precision. It can also do the job more easily and cheaply than other gene-editing methods, making possible research that has historically been difficult, experts say. Now some of the biologists who unlocked this tool, derived from the immune system of bacteria, are forming companies around it. Although this molecular system, known as Crispr, is not fully understood, researchers believe it can be harnessed to create therapies for intractable genetic diseases. One of those scientists, UC Berkeley professor Jennifer Doudna, was part of the team that in 2012 first demonstrated the technique. It is now employed by two companies she has co-founded: Caribou Biosciences in Berkeley, and Editas Medicine in Cambridge, Mass.

UCSF harnesses Google Earth Engine for new malaria fight, San Francisco Chronicle

In the summer of 1854, a deadly strain of cholera struck London. Within two weeks, the outbreak claimed 500 lives. Residents fled. No one knew what caused cholera or how to stop it. The answers came when a local physician, Dr. John Snow, acted on a hunch that cholera somehow spread through water. Mapping the deaths and interviewing neighbors led Snow to suspect that the culprit was water from a single pump. It was the first time a map was used to determine how geography enables the spread of disease. Now, researchers at UCSF hope Snow’s logic and Google’s powerful mapping technology can be used to combat one of the world’s biggest health problems: malaria outbreaks in Africa. The team behind the project, along with dozens of other scientists and nonprofits, are turning to Google’s detailed maps to highlight worrisome patterns: shrinking rain forests, drying seas, melting glaciers.

ViaCyte starts diabetes trial, U-T San Diego

ViaCyte has started a clinical trial of its diabetes treatment derived from stem cells, the first such treatment ever tested in people. UC San Diego said Tuesday it is hosting the phase one trial in partnership with San Diego-based ViaCyte. The biotech company grows islet cells from human embryonic stem cells. The cells are placed into a semi-permeable envelope and implanted into the patient. In animals, the stem cells mature into islet cells, successfully controlling blood sugar. The treatment could provide what the company calls a virtual cure for Type 1 diabetes, which is caused by a lack of insulin-producing “islet” cells in the pancreas.

Can memories be implanted and then removed?, The New Yorker

Is memory formation now understood well enough that memories can be implanted and then removed absent the environmental stimulus?At the forefront of this project is the University of California, San Diego, neuroscientist Roberto Malinow. Ever since he was a medical student at N.Y.U., Malinow has been fascinated by the synapse, the small space between nerve cells that controls their communication. How, he wondered, could something so tiny control such complex, precise processes, with hundreds of molecules coming together to determine whether and how a memory will form? After finishing medical school, Malinow went on to complete a Ph.D. in neurobiology at the University of California, Berkeley, to better understand the nature of the neural process that had so captured his mind.

Berkeley’s talking about sugar — and the conversation isn’t sweet, KQED

In Berkeley, a place where politics is rarely sweet, sugar is an especially bitter topic. Right now it’s the talk of the town – in the form of six conversations leading up to the vote on Measure D, a tax on sugary drinks on the November ballot. “Soda: the Series” is taking a look at the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on people’s health and the environment. The first conversation, which occurred on the evening of Sept. 4, featured four Bay Area health professionals who brought passion, anger and plenty of science to the Hillside Club in North Berkeley. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF, started off his presentation by saying he had no opinion on Measure D because university policy doesn’t allow it. “But you can’t understand the referendum unless you understand the science,” Lustig said. “And that’s my job.” UC Berkeley John Swartzberg and Pat Crawford also are quoted.

Vaccines — Calling the Shots (video), PBS NOVA

Diseases that were largely eradicated in the United States a generation ago—whooping cough, measles, mumps—are returning, in part because nervous parents are skipping their children’s shots. This program takes viewers around the world to track epidemics, explore the science behind vaccinations, hear from parents wrestling with vaccine-related questions, and shed light on the risks of opting out. Participants include UCLA autism geneticist Dan Geschwind.

Peurvian doctor saves the lives of children with heart problems (video), Univision Primer Impacto

This story is on a UCLA-led organization called “Hearts with Hope” that recently took a team of pediatric cardiology specialists to Arequipa, Peru, to offer medical services to young heart patients.  The organization’s founder, Juan Alejos, clinical professor of pediatric cardiology at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA; Brian Reemtsen, associate clinical professor of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery at UCLA; and Christian Eisenring, nurse practitioner with cardiothoracic surgery at UCLA, are interviewed.

Hollywood’s top doctors revealed: Exclusive survey, The Hollywood Reporter

This publication highlights Los Angeles’ best doctors, based on Castle Connolly ratings and peer reviews in the entertainment industry. More than 100 UCLA physicians made the list, and several were highlighted in feature stories.

Google buys Lift Labs in further biotech push, The New York Times

A person could be forgiven for thinking that Google is a biotech company. Google plans to announce on Wednesday that it has bought Lift Labs, a San Francisco company that makes a high-tech spoon designed to make it easier for people with neurodegenerative tremors to eat, the latest in a growing list of moves the search giant has made into biotech. Anupam Pathak, Lift Labs’ founder, is quoted. Pathak has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UC Berkeley.

See additional coverage: Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Slate, Business InsiderCNet, Re/code

150 hospital and health system CFOs to know, Becker’s Hospital Review

Becker’s Hospital Review’s list of “150 hospital and health system CFOs to know” includes three UC medical center CFOs:  Lori Donaldson, UC San Diego Health System; Tim Maurice, UC Davis Health System; and Paul Staton, UCLA Health System.

Grades don’t matter much if you’re using your MBA to advance neurosurgery, BloombergBusinessWeek

An increasing number of young professionals see the MBA as a path to an entrepreneurial career. It’s important, however, to look outside the confines of a business school to what its parent university can offer. As schools look to commercialize their research and patents, natural opportunities emerge for MBAs to collaborate with students in other disciplines. That was the thinking for Leo Petrossian, a Ph.D. in biomolecular nanotechnology from Arizona State, whose engineering and science background took him to a biotech startup in Silicon Valley before he pursued an MBA at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. He co-founded Neural Analytics, which licenses a technology developed by the department of neurosurgery at UCLA that makes it possible to diagnose conditions stemming from traumatic brain injury — without brain surgery.

UCSF’s first undocumented medical student begins training (audio), KQED

Jirayut “New” Latthivongskor, an undocumented immigrant who attended UC Berkeley as an undergraduate, has been admitted to medical school at UC San Francisco. UCSF says he is its first undocumented immigrant student. A Q&A with Latthivongskor.

Finding the next Ebola before it breaks out (audio), KQED

As African countries struggle to fight the worst outbreak of Ebola in history, a team at UC Davis is working to identify the next disease like Ebola, before it becomes a pandemic. Jonna Mazet runs the early warning project, called Predict, based at the School of Veterinary Medicine. Many of today’s emerging diseases come from animals. Scientists believe Ebola, for example, is transmitted when people eat fruit bats that carry the virus. So Mazet is searching around the globe for new viruses carried by animals that humans may not have had much contact with before.

Breast cancer inhibitor found, U-T San Diego

Breast cancer spread less effectively to the lungs when an enzyme regulating cell growth is blocked, according to a study performed in female mice given human breast cancer cells. The results support testing drugs that inhibit this pathway, said UC San Diego-led scientists who published the study Sept. 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

New ACA rules, forms complicate and confus Medi-Cal renewal effort (audio), California Healthline

Experts discuss the low return rate of Medi-Cal renewal forms, and the more-complicated requirements and sometimes-confusing language of the forms. Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program. The report includes comments from Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Fish oil might ease tough-to-treat epilepsy: Study, HealthDay

Low doses of fish oil may help reduce the number of seizures experienced by people with a form of tough-to-treat epilepsy that no longer responds to drugs, a small new study suggests. The research was led by Dr. Christopher DeGiorgio of UCLA and included 24 people with epilepsy that could no longer be controlled using medications.

George Bartzokis dies at 58; studied Alzheimer’s origin at UCLA, Los Angeles Times

An obituary of Dr. George Bartzokis, professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute. The article highlights his research that focused on myelin, the fatty sheath that covers the brain’s nerve fibers, and his argument that the breakdown of myelin plays a major role in the development of disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. Bartzokis was 58.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Aug. 31

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC president encourages Fresno students in health careers, The Fresno Bee

University of California President Janet Napolitano made a rare visit to the central San Joaquin Valley on Friday to meet with UCSF Fresno Doctors Academy students who aspire to be doctors, nurses, dentists and other health professionals. Napolitano encouraged the high school students to pursue health careers — and assured them that they can afford a higher education. Read UC story.

See additional coverage: ABC 30 (video)

UC student looks to fill medical gap in Central Valley, New America Media

When Benny Escobedo moved with his family from Long Beach to Merced, located in the heart of California’s Central Valley, six years ago, their financial fortunes took a turn for the better. Now a sophomore at the University of California at Merced, Escobedo is working to give something back to his adopted home. “People generally want to get out of the Central Valley to improve their financial situation. For us it was the opposite,” said the 19-year-old biology major. Escobedo plans to go into medicine, and says he’d like to remain in Merced to help fill what he sees as a widening gap between demand for health services and what’s now available.

Flurry of bills approved as session ends, California Healthline

California’s Legislature last week approved a laundry list of legislation at the end of its session — including a number of health-related laws. A last-minute bill extends the sunset date of the California Health Benefit Review Program. AB 1578 by Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) would extend the life of CHBRP till Jan. 1, 2016. It also would expand the role of CHBRP, which uses university researchers to analyze proposed health care legislation in California.

FDA OKs Merck drug, 1st in new cancer drug class, The Associated Press

Merck & Co. on Thursday won the first U.S. approval for a new kind of cancer drug with big advantages over chemotherapy and other older cancer treatments. The Food and Drug Administration said it has granted accelerated approval to Merck’s Keytruda, for treating melanoma that’s spread or can’t be surgically removed, in patients previously treated with another melanoma drug called Yervoy. Experts called the news “game-changing” for patients with the deadly skin cancer, which is becoming more common and kills nearly 10,000 Americans each year. Keytruda, a genetically engineered drug known chemically as pembrolizumab, is part of a hot, promising new class of antibody-based drugs. They work by taking a brake off the immune system so it can better recognize and attack cancer cells. Dr. Antoni Ribas, a researcher and professor at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center who was the lead investigator of a crucial study of Keytruda, is quoted.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal

With no cure, little hope, a family struggles with Huntington’s disease, The Sacramento Bee

This feature on Huntington’s disease highlights a family that is being treated at UC Davis Medical Center. The story notes that the UC Davis Huntington’s clinic has received a $19 million grant for the first FDA-approved stem-cell therapy for Huntington’s patients, hoping to restore brain health early in the disease process. The phase one clinical trial, which begins in 2015, will implant customized stem cells into the brains of people who are in the earliest stages of Huntington’s, using a therapy that’s proved effective in trials on animals. Vicki Wheelock, the neurologist who directs the Huntington’s disease clinic at UC Davis Medical Center, is quoted.

UC Davis researchers develop nanoparticle cancer-fighting treatment (video), CBS Sacramento

UC Davis biochemist Yuanpei Li says the nanoparticles are multitasking geniuses in the fight against cancer. They are drawn to tumor and help doctors, helping them show up better on scans. They can also be heated with a laser and can kill tumors.

Setting you straight on vaccines, Orange County Register

Shruti Gohil, associate medical director of hospital epidemiology at UC Irvine Medical Center and an assistant clinical professor of infectious diseases, answers questions to help clear up confusion about vaccines.

UC Davis to study autism in girls (audio), Capital Public Radio

There’s a reason a lot of the autism research centers on boys, they’re diagnosed with the condition more often. UC Davis researcher Christine Wu Nordahl says for every one girl diagnosed, there are four to five boys. And she says the lack of research on girls can be frustrating for parents.

Shriners Hospital in Sacramento launches new program in pediatric surgery, Sacramento Business Journal

Shriners Hospital in Sacramento has launched a new program in pediatric surgery — its first major expansion since the hospital opened in 1997. The program builds on a partnership with the UC Davis Medical Center across the street, a relationship first established when Shriners began looking for a place to build a new hospital. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California is a flagship in the 21-hospital system and the only one that offers all four Shriners specialties in one location.

Rideout Health chooses former UC Davis chief as interim CEO, Sacramento Business Journal

Former UC Davis Medical Center CEO Bob Chason is back at the helm again — only this time, it’s as interim CEO at Rideout Health. The board at the nonprofit community-based health system headquartered in Yuba City announced the appointment Wednesday. UC Davis trauma surgeon David Wisner was appointed chief medical officer at Rideout the same day.

Student-led health-tech incubator to launch at UC Berkeley, VentureBeat

Not to be outdone by StartX, the accelerator loosely affiliated with Stanford University that officially opened the doors to its biotech lab last week, a group of UC Berkeley students are launching a new program to help health-tech entrepreneurship flourish on their own campus. Catalyst@Berkeley, a student-led incubator program focusing on health tech, is kicking off Sept. 4 with its first informational session aimed at recruiting applicants for its first batch of health-enthusiastic entrepreneurs. In other words, the program wants to attract undergraduate students seeking to take the plunge into health tech.

Surveys show unbalanced supply, demand in California nurse labor market, California Healthline

Prospective nurses in California are facing a classic enigma: how to find a job requiring experience if you can’t get hired to gain the experience. As a result, an excess of nursing graduates in California cannot find jobs, even though employers are declaring a shortage of recruits. According to UC-San Francisco’s “Survey of Nurse Employers in California, Fall 2013,” approximately 41% of responding hospitals reported moderate to high demand for registered nurses relative to supply. In the 2012 survey of employers, 51% said the same thing.

We might have autism backwards, Salon

Gregory Hickok, a professor of cognitive science at UC Irvine, where he directs the Center for Language Science and the Auditory and Language Neuroscience Lab, writes about autism. His piece is excerpted from his book, “The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuroscience of Communication and Cognition.”

UC Davis and the Flying Eye Hospital (audio), Capital Public Radio

On Sept. 5, a team of doctors from UC Davis including eye surgeons, anesthesiologists and a recovery room nurse will fly to Trujillo, Peru, to perform special eye care for Peruvian citizens. The team will travel via the Flying Eye Hospital, a DC10 cargo jet that transformed from within into a state-of-the-art operating room and classroom. They plan to test the vision of both adults and children in addition to perform sight restoration surgeries. UC Davis’s new dean of Health Systems will attend the trip as well in order to explore further medical partnership with a local university hospital in Trujillo.

Is cancer lurking in your toothpaste? (And your soap? And you lipstick?), Newsweek

This story about the impact of triclosan notes that a review by scientists at UC Davis concluded that when it comes to triclosan and triclocarban, a chemically related antibacterial agent, “the benefits may not be worth the risks.” The researchers wrote that triclosan and triclocarban could cause neural and cardiac ailments, though they also conceded that “the research is in its early stages.”

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Aug. 24

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Op-ed: Public universities need to be nurtured, protected as an investment for all, Washington Monthly

UC President Janet Napolitano writes about the value of public higher education in Washington Monthly, noting UC’s role in health sciences training and in serving California’s safety net needs. Her piece coincided with the magazine’s rankings of how well colleges and universities serve the public interest. UC had the top three ranked campuses in the nation, four of the top five and eight in the top 100. Read UC release.

100 Most Influential People in Healthcare, Modern Healthcare

UC San Francisco’s Robert Wachter has been named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” by Modern Healthcare. Wachter is chief of the medical service and chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine at UCSF Medical Center. Former UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, now CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also made the list, as did Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, who completed his residency at UCSF.

UCLA’s DNA detectives in action, U.S. News & World Report

Calvin Lapidus, 3, sits on an exam table at UCLA Medical Center and points correctly when asked to identify different animals on an iPad. His mom, Audrey Davidow Lapidus, lowers him to the floor and holds him as he moves his legs in “purposeful steps” as UCLA geneticist Stanley Nelson observes. Calvin can’t walk, but his movements are far beyond what they were at 10 months old, when he still wasn’t rolling over or sitting up and first came to UCLA. Medical tests had not turned up anything, though one doctor had wondered about possible genetic implications of some “interesting” facial features. Indeed, a cutting-edge analysis of Calvin’s DNA revealed a mutation resulting in ultrarare Pitt Hopkins syndrome. UCLA is one of a number of institutions now regularly charting patients’ exomes, the protein-coding portions of genes that account for only about 1 percent of DNA but close to 85 percent of known disease-causing DNA errors, and putting that information to clinical use.

UC Davis clinic serves the uninsured in Sacramento for free, The Sacramento Bee

Daniel Heidelburg normally heads to the emergency room when his breath gets short and his heart starts racing. But on one of his recent visits to the ER at UC Davis Medical Center, his doctor told him about a different option for follow-up care: the school’s free TEACH clinic. Earlier this month, Heidelburg, 51, a former Paratransit driver from Oak Park, paid his first visit to the UC Davis clinic. Heidelburg was examined by third-year medical student Kevin Dias and Dr. George Gallardo, a third-year resident. Dias and Gallardo are part of a core group of 25 medical students and nine residents who work at the TEACH clinic, which treats about 2,000 patients a year. Started in 2005 with a $3 million federal grant, the TEACH clinic has likely saved taxpayers millions of dollars in emergency room visits, said Mark Henderson, UC Davis Medical School dean of admissions. At the same time, Henderson said, the clinic has helped UC Davis attract a more ethnically diverse crop of medical students, many of whom intend to remain in primary care.

Teen crushed by bricks in Napa earthquake recounts pain, fear, San Francisco Chronicle

Nicholas Dillon felt the weight of the bricks fall on his back. Panic set in. His screams filled his pitch-black house in Napa as his mother struggled to reach him. The 13-year-old yelled. He couldn’t move. “I thought I was paralyzed. I couldn’t feel my legs. I couldn’t feel my back,” said Nicholas, who was crushed by a falling chimney in Sunday’s magnitude 6.0 earthquake, which injured more than 250 people in Napa and surrounding areas. Nicholas spoke to reporters Tuesday for the first time from his hospital bed at UC Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento. He said he was tired and in pain, but his eyes were alert and he’s listed in fair condition. He’s still taking inventory of his injuries, the worst of which was a badly fractured pelvis that required nearly 10 hours of surgery. A large scar stretches across his lower belly, he said. “I do consider myself lucky to be alive,” Nicholas said. “If I hadn’t moved, I’m telling you, I shouldn’t be here right now. I should be dead. … I didn’t black out. I remember the whole thing.”

Healing burns at Shriners Hospitals for Children Northern California, The Sacramento Bee

For someone who spends his days around severe burns, Dr. David Greenhalgh is exceptionally cool. Greenhalgh, chief of burns at Shriners Hospitals for Children Northern California, built the facility’s burn program almost singlehandedly at its start in 1997. Now, thanks to his cutting-edge medical research, it has grown into the busiest pediatric burn center on the West Coast and one of the nation’s leading facilities for this specialization. In a peach-and-mint building nestled next to the UC Davis medical campus on Stockton Boulevard, Greenhalgh treats dozens of burned and scalded children from 13 Western states, plus Mexico and Canada. He also runs the adult burn program at the UC Davis Medical Center across X Street.

Janet Napolitano hopes UC can cash in on companies, not just research, KQED

When Google went public, Stanford University made millions. The windfall came because Stanford had equity: not only Google’s intellectual property but also the company itself. This kind of direct investment in a startup was not allowed at the University of California — that is, until now. UC President Janet Napolitano made the change possible by removing guidelines for industry-academic relations. Her action is raising questions about ethics, funding and the future of basic research. This piece cites the example of a company called Caribou Biosciences, co-founded by UC Berkeley grad Rachel Haurwitz and UC Berkeley professor Jennifer Doudna, which grew out of their basic research on RNA at UC Berkeley.

Napolitano delivers clever message at Nexenta OpenSDx Summit, San Francisco Chronicle

Out of the hundreds of technology executives and venture capitalists that filled the St. Regis Hotel Thursday, Janet Napolitano must have felt like the lone wolf. Not because, as Napolitano humorously noted, she was perhaps the only speaker at the Nexenta OpenSDx Summit who did not bring a book to peddle. Nor because she was one of the few whose salary did not depend on a stock price. Instead, the president of the University of California system was bearing a message that might seem contrary to the startup factory ethos that dominates Silicon Valley; that not all innovation leads to profit. In fact, there’s plenty of research that might not lead to anything at all. Basic research, the study of something for pure scientific and intellectual inquiry, is just as critical to the long-term economic health of the United States as the latest tech craze.

StartX, QB3 partnership targets biotech startups in Palo Alto accelerator, San Francisco Business Times

Two powerhouses for biotech startups — StartX and QB3 — are joining forces to open lab space in Palo Alto for as many as 20 life sciences companies. StartX-QB3 Labs already has a handful of companies that pay $1,500 a month for a five-foot lab bench in the facility’s 2,000 square feet, or less for only a desk — and a startup ecosystem three blocks away from Stanford University, access to vital core lab facilities and two organizations with big-name connections and enviable track records for translating fresh ideas into standalone companies. The labs are part of a boom in accelerators and incubators in the Bay Area aimed at moving ideas into the marketplace or helping large companies more quickly identify up-and-coming drugs and technologies. QB3 has focused on turning ideas from researchers at UC Berkeley, UCSF and UC Santa Cruz into companies. Within its two on-campus incubators and three other affiliated incubators in Berkeley and San Francisco, it has helped spawn more than 100 companies.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Chronicle

Cedars-Sinai didn’t make the list in year 1. What will year 2 of narrow networks hold?, California Healthline

Not a single health plan available through Covered California’s Region 15 and Region 16 — the Los Angeles County — initially offered access to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center last year. (Health Net ended up contracting with Cedars for the ACA’s first enrollment period.) Earlier this year, Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic  detailed how insurers’ decision to leave out Cedars-Sinai (and generally avoid UCLA, ranked the top hospital in California by U.S. News) was driven by a focus to control costs and offer low-price plans in the insurance exchange. All told, about half of the plans sold on and state health insurance exchanges in 2014 had “narrow networks,” a McKinsey report found. The limited networks sparked a political and media outcry — especially among patients who had a specific preference for hospitals like Cedars and UCLA, which are known for their top-tier health services. In California, Anthem and Cedars struck a deal this spring that will allow the hospital to be offered through Anthem’s plans in Covered California’s next enrollment period.

World struggles to stop Ebola, Nature

Dan Kelly felt as if he were entering a war zone when he arrived at Connaught Hospital on Aug. 19. His friend Modupeh Cole, the physician in charge of the Ebola isolation ward at the hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, had died six days earlier. Marta Lado, a doctor from Spain, was caring for the ward’s 10 patients. “She was mopping the floors herself,” says Kelly, an infectious-disease physician and co-founder of the Wellbody Alliance, a nonprofit health care organization in Sierra Leone. The international aid group Médecins Sans Frontières has called the world’s response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa “dangerously inadequate.” As Kelly traveled around Freetown, noticing closed clinics and health care workers without adequate protective training and equipment, he had to agree. Kelly is raising money through UC San Francisco to teach infection-control practices to health care workers fighting the outbreak.

Research program opens doors to careers, EdSource

A summer internship program at one of the nation’s premier biomedical research labs puts high school and college students on the front lines of cutting-edge medical research. It’s a unique internship opportunity with a twofold purpose: increase diversity in medical research and give students a real-life introduction to the work world, a goal under state and national efforts to better prepare students to succeed in college and jobs. “It used to be, several years back, that if you were an intern you did the dishes,” said Vasanthy Narayanaswami, co-director of the Summer Student Research Program at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI). “But I think at a certain point it became clear that is not what research is about. You have to be involved in a research project so students get an idea of what a career in research is like.” CHORI is the research arm of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.

New ‘biochips’ that mimic our bodies could speed development of drugs, Kaiser Health News/Wired

Imagine if scientists could recreate you — or at least part of you — on a chip. That might help doctors identify drugs that would help you heal faster, bypassing the sometimes painful trial-and-error process and the hefty costs that burden our healthcare system. Right now, inside a lab at the University of California, Berkeley, researchers are working to make that happen. They’re trying to grow human organ tissue, like heart and liver, on tiny chips. These aren’t your standard computer chips. They’re miniature networks, derived from adult skin cells coerced into becoming the type of tissue scientists want to study, that grow on miniscule pipe-like plastic chambers glued atop a microscope slide.

People with Down syndrome are pioneers in Alzheimer’s research (audio), NPR

When researchers at UC San Diego wanted to an experimental Alzheimer’s drug last year, they sought help from an unlikely group: people with Down syndrome.

How less sleep increases your risk of disease (audio), KQED Forum

More and more Americans are sleeping less and less. That’s according to data from the Centers for Disease Control that show a growing number of people sleep less than six hours a night. And research shows people who sleep less are at greater risk for heart disease, obesity and diabetes. We talk with experts about all things sleep. Guests include Matthew Walker, professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley, where he runs the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory.

Percentage of newborns breastfed in hospital on the rise, California Health Report

More infants are exclusively consuming breast milk immediately after being born in California hospitals than before, according to a new report from the California Women, Infants, Children Association and the UC Davis Human Lactation Center. Nicole Casalenuovo, the interim unit director at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center’s perinatal unit, is quoted.

Does ‘futile’ care needlessly clog the ICU?, KPCC

If a patient in the intensive care unit is receiving futile care, can that hurt another patient’s chances of getting needed treatment? In the journal Critical Care Medicine, researchers from UCLA and RAND Health conclude: Yes.

Shared decision-making in high gear at UCLA, HealthData Management

Using a combination of technological tools, videos, and surveys, clinicians and patients at UCLA are undertaking shared decision-making in several treatment areas.

Junk food rats ditch balanced diet to eat just like obese people, Science 2.0

Aaron Blaisdell, a professor of psychology in the UCLA College and a member of UCLA’s Brain Research Institute who is an expert in animal cognition, conducts research that addressed the relationship between a junk food diet and cognitive impairments that can result. 

Oakland physicians take no-confidence vote in Children’s Hospital negotiator, Bay City News

Union-represented resident physicians at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland are taking a no-confidence vote on hospital management’s negotiator in the slow-moving contract talks between the two sides, which have been going on for 16 months.

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In the media: Week of Aug. 17

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC program aims to increase number of health care professionals in Central Valley, California Healthline

A feature on UC’s San Joaquin Valley PRIME program. PRIME — Programs in Medical Education — is a training program at six UC campuses focused on preparing students for health care jobs as clinicians, administrators and policymakers in underserved parts of California. SJV PRIME is a collaborative effort. UC Merced and UC Davis fund the program, and special consideration is given to UC Merced students. UC Davis Medical School partners with UC San Francisco, which has been training medical students in Fresno since the 1970s. The hope is that UC Merced will eventually open its own medical school.

35 Innovators Under 35, MIT Technology Review

Two UC Berkeley alumni and one current postdoc have been named to MIT Technology Review’s “35 Innovators Under 35″ list. All three are recognized in the humanitarian category. George Ban-Weiss, who earned his Berkeley Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 2008, is a USC professor developing reflective roof technology to help keep urban areas cool. Kuang Chen, who earned his Berkeley Ph.D. in computer science in 2011, founded Captricity, a company that digitizes paper records faster and more efficiently than the previous standard manual-entry methods. Kurtis Heimerl is an electrical engineering and computer science post-doc who developed the Village Base Station, which brings cellular telecommunications to remote places of the world. The list also includes UC Santa Barbara alum Kathryn Whitehead, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, whose systematic search discovered nanoparticles that could improve drug delivery.

The cancer drug that almost wasn’t, Science Magazine

This article highlights Dennis Slamon, UCLA professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology; and Richard Finn, UCLA associate professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology; and their 10-year journey to bring to market the revolutionary drug palbociclib, shown to double progression-free survival in women with advanced breast cancer. Slamon and Finn, both members of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, are quoted. Frank McCormick, a veteran cancer researcher at UC San Francisco, who played an early role in the drug’s discovery, also is quoted.

‘Bubble boy’ disorder more common that thought, San Francisco Chronicle

A potentially fatal but treatable immune disorder known as “bubble boy” disease is rare but twice as common as previously believed, according to a UCSF-led study published Tuesday. Researchers, in what’s considered the first look at the national impact of the disease, found that severe combined immunodeficiency, called SCID, affects 1 in 58,000 newborns instead of 1 in 100,000 as previously estimated on much more limited data. The discovery that SCID is more prevalent than believed highlights the importance of screening newborns for conditions that can be treated.

California patient being tested for Ebola had been in West Africa, San Francisco Chronicle

This story about Ebola quotes Dr. Charles Chiu, head of the viral diagnostics laboratory at UCSF.

Op-ed: Protective gear a must for those fighting Ebola, San Francisco Chronicle

This piece about Ebola is written by Dr. Dan Kelly is an infectious disease specialist and global health researcher at UCSF, a student at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, as well as co-founder of Wellbody Alliance, the largest primary care clinic in eastern Sierra Leone. He is training health workers there to protect themselves from infection.

UC Davis Ebola research (audio), Capital Public Radio

UC Davis veterinarian Jonna Mazet explains how a virus like Ebola can transfer from animals to humans, and how small changes can prevent the spread of disease.

Why access to screens is lowering kids’ social skills, Time

People have long suspected that there’s a cost to all this digital data all the time, right at our fingertips. Now there’s a study out of UCLA that might prove those digital skeptics right. In the study, kids who were deprived of screens for five days got much better at reading people’s emotions than kids who continued their normal screen-filled lives.

UCSF study: Hand-wringing over hospital handwashing, San Francisco Business Times

Handwashing using antibacterial soap may expose doctors, nurses and other hospital staffers to “significant and potentially unsafe levels of triclosan,” a commonly used chemical that’s under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to a clinical study led by researchers at UC San Francisco.

Can we make people with severe schizophrenia happier?, New York Magazine

Schizophrenia, especially in its more severe forms, robs people of their personality in a fundamental way by inflicting delusions, hallucinations, and crushing paranoia, often putting severe strain on both sufferers and their loved ones. The results of a new study, though, suggest that it doesn’t always have to rob patients of their happiness, and that there may be ways to better help those with schizophrenia manage their mood, regardless of the severity of their symptoms. The study was led by Dr. Dilip V. Jeste, a professor of psychiatry and neurosciences at UCSD, and published online in Schizophrenia Research.

Goodbye glasses: Future smartphone screens could correct vision, Live Science

A team led by UC Berkeley researchers has developed a device that uses algorithms to compensate for computer users’ visual impairments. Lead author Fu-Chung Huang, who conducted this study for his dissertation, says: “The significance of this project is that, instead of relying on optics to correct your vision, we use computation. This is a very different class of correction, and it is nonintrusive.”

5 ways successful people avoid freaking out, Time/Inc.

Research conducted at UC Davis found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy, and physical well-being.”

Low-income households hit hardest by water restrictions (audio), KPCC

Brian Cole, an adjunct assistant professor of environmental sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, is interviewed about a health impact assessment report he wrote that offered short- and long-term recommendations for urban water conservation to protect and promote public health.

Dr. Joseph K. Perloff dies at 89; head of UCLA cardiology, Los Angeles Times

This story is about the recent passing of UCLA cardiologist Dr. Joseph Perloff, who founded the Ahmanson/UCLA Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center in 1980, one of the first comprehensive centers in the nation to address education, research and clinical care for this patient population. Perloff was a pioneer in helping educate and train doctors in transitioning patients from pediatric to adult care. He served as the center’s first director and wrote several medical textbooks on adult congenital heart disease and the clinical recognition of heart disease. He retired from UCLA as the Streisand/American Heart Association professor of medicine and pediatrics.

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In the media: Week of Aug. 10

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Does medical school take too long? (audio), KQED Forum

Like the rest of the United States, California is currently experiencing a deficit in primary care physicians. This shortage is expected to worsen with the influx of new patients covered by the Affordable Care Act. In response, some universities like UC Davis are offering accelerated three-year medical school options instead of the traditional four. Guests are Dr. Tonya Fancher, associate professor at UC Davis School of Medicine, director of Accelerated Competency-based Education in Primary Care (ACE-PC), and Mark Henderson, associate dean for admissions and outreach and vice chair and residency program director at UC Davis Health System.

Residencies a shot in the arm for Inland doctor shortage, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

Local health officials say that if they can get young doctors to come to the Inland Empire as medical residents, there is a good chance they will stay here and set up practice. Adding more residencies has long been seen as a strategy to increase the chronically low numbers of physicians in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. But it’s only been in the past decade that there has been a solid push to add resident positions. The opening of a medical school at UC Riverside has energized the effort. In the past two years, at least 170 new residencies have been established in the two-county area, an increase of about 15 percent. More are expected in the coming years. G. Richard Olds, dean of the UCR medical school, is quoted.

UC Davis medical school dean opens specialty surgery clinic, Sacramento Business Journal

Six months after Dr. Julie Freischlag became dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine and vice chancellor for human health sciences, she has opened a clinic on campus to continue her own specialty surgery and research. The clinic treats thoracic outlet syndrome, which occurs when blood vessels or nerves running from the upper body through the arm become compressed, causing problems that range from reduced mobility and pain to life- and limb-threatening blood clots. Freischlag performs a rare surgical procedure that involves removing a muscle in the neck and the first rib through an incision in the armpit. She also hopes to launch clinical trials to help refine treatments for the condition.

New procedure helps restore vision in kids with serious condition (video), NBC Los Angeles

Dr. Robert Lingua and 7-year old Grace Nassar talk about the operations that restored her vision. Lingua, a pediatric ophthalmologist at the UC Irvine Health Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, is perfecting a surgery to treat nystagmus, a condition marked by uncontrollable eye movements.

UCSF doctor on personal mission to stop Ebola (video), ABC 7

Ebola has now claimed more than a 1,000 lives and another doctor leading the fight against the disease has died in Sierra Leone. Two Americans who are currently being treated for Ebola were given an experimental drug in the United States and are improving. Dr. Dan Kelly of UCSF recently returned from Sierra Leone and is talking about the friends he’s lost. “I’ve had too many friends die and it’s disheartening,” said Kelly. For Kelly, the fight to end the spread of the deadly virus is personal. He co-founded Well Body Alliance for the sole purpose of combating the disease.

Depression itself can be a symptom of Parkinson’s disease, experts say, Los Angeles Times

Patients with Parkinson’s disease often suffer from depression, medical experts said Thursday, after Robin Williams’ widow revealed that the comedian was in “early stages” of the neurological disease at the time of his apparent suicide.The same biochemical changes in the brain that cause the hallmark physical symptoms of Parkinson’s — tremors, slowed movement, rigidity, balance loss — can also affect mood, said Dr. Jeff Bronstein, a neurologist in the Movement Disorder Program at UCLA.

Low-income diabetics more likely to lose a limb, UCLA researchers say, Los Angeles Daily News

This story reports on a UCLA study finding that poor people with diabetes are up to 10 times likelier to lose a limb than patients living in wealthier neighborhoods.

Our microbiome may be looking out for itself, The New York Times

Your body is home to about 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes, collectively known as your microbiome. Naturalists first became aware of our invisible lodgers in the 1600s, but it wasn’t until the past few years that we’ve become really familiar with them. This recent research has given the microbiome a cuddly kind of fame. We’ve come to appreciate how beneficial our microbes are — breaking down our food, fighting off infections and nurturing our immune system. It’s a lovely, invisible garden we should be tending for our own well-being. But in the journal Bioessays, a team of scientists has raised a creepier possibility. Perhaps our menagerie of germs is also influencing our behavior in order to advance its own evolutionary success — giving us cravings for certain foods, for example. Maybe the microbiome is our puppet master. Carlo C. Maley, an evolutionary biologist at UC San Francisco, and a co-author of the new paper, is quoted.

Is this the next big leap for organ transplants?, The Boston Globe

For decades, an ordinary picnic cooler has been the best way to transport donated organs. One entrepreneur thinks we can do much better — and save more lives. This feature on Waleed Hassanein and his company TransMedics mentions a lung transplant using its Organ Care System that took place at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. UCLA surgeon Abbas Ardehali is quoted.

Valley fever research moves forward at UC Merced, Merced Sun-Star

Researchers at UC Merced are moving forward with two research projects that aim to better understand Valley fever in the San Joaquin Valley. The university’s Health Sciences Research Institute recently received approval and funding to conduct patient studies at Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera. Researchers will study the blood of 30 pediatric patients with Valley fever to understand the immune system’s response to the disease. Another UC Merced research project looks at the psycho-social issues faced by Valley fever patients and their families.

Study finds $10 to $10,000 price range for same blood test at different California hospitals (video), CBS San Francisco

A study of prices for common blood tests in California has discovered patients are subjected to an extreme range of price differences, some charged as little as $10 all the way up to more than $10,000 for the same test.Researchers at UC San Francisco looked at charges at more than 150 California hospitals and their prices for ten common blood tests that are often required of patients.

The obesity paradox, Easy Reader News

Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, the world’s foremost expert on end-stage kidney disease, has followed his research to the controversial proposition that obesity might be a patient’s best friend in the hour of greatest need. Recent findings by Kalantar-Zadeh and some of his colleagues have landed him square in the middle of an “obesity paradox,” which is the subject of sometimes heated debate among physicians, researchers and public health officials. The controversial paradox concept, cheerfully defended by Kalantar-Zadeh, goes like this: while obesity is a clear cause of many serious illnesses, once people becomes seriously ill, obesity might be just the thing to save them from death. And on top of that, the paradox defenders say, obesity might be helping healthy people live longer than their “normal-weight” counterparts. Kalantar-Zadeh is a physician-researcher who divides his time between seeing patients, teaching medicine and public health at UC Irvine, and conducting research through the  Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute.

Calling on cancer’s A-team, U.S. News & World Report

When Gary Hinze began coughing up blood after working out, his doctor sent him to an oncologist near his home in Grass Valley, California. The diagnosis: Stage IIIA lung cancer. “He pretty much told me I was a goner,” says Hinze, then 62. A recommendation from another local doctor sent Hinze and his wife, Sandie, to the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center in Sacramento, a couple hours away. “The team at UC-Davis didn’t give up,” says Hinze. An unusual combination of chemotherapy and radiation shrank the tumor to the point that “the doctors had trouble finding it on an x-ray,” and the diseased part of his lung could be removed. Today, the part-time musician and local TV variety show host has been cancer-free for three years. “Those doctors saved my life,” he says.

National effort to find new cancer-fighting drugs takes root at UC Davis, The Sacramento Bee

A national lung cancer trial launched earlier this summer with the help of a UC Davis oncologist has the potential to dramatically affect the way cancer drugs will be developed in the future. The trial, called Lung-MAP, puts a cancer-fighting approach into action that uses genomic profiling. This involves testing a patient’s tumors for “bio markers,” or genetic identifiers, that can help physicians determine which genetically targeted drugs will work for them.

Most insurance exchanges just got bigger. Covered California is getting smaller, California Healthline

Kynect. Maryland Health Connection. The Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Every one of those state insurance exchanges added new carriers in preparation for Obamacare’s second open enrollment period this fall. Covered California did not. Instead, the Golden State took a different approach: Its exchange is getting smaller. UCLA’s Dylan Roby is quoted.

Op-ed: Our internal sleep clocals are out of sync, The Wall Street Journal

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, a distinguished professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, write about “circadian disruption” and its impact on health.

Readmission rates high in lupus, MedPage Today

One in six patients with lupus discharged from the hospital was readmitted within a month, with underserved minority populations being most vulnerable, researchers found.In a study of admissions in five states during 2008 and 2009, there were 55,936 hospitalizations among 31,903 patients with lupus. Of these, 16.5% required readmission within 30 days, according to Jinoos Yazdani of UC San Francisco, and colleagues.

100 accountable care organizations to know, Becker’s Hospital Review

UCLA Health System is noted in this annual list of “100 Accountable Care Organizations to Know.”

Study shows amputation rates higher in low-income areas, Voice of OC

Diabetics from low-income neighborhoods in Orange County are up to five times more likely to have a limb amputated than those in wealthier areas, according to a new study by researchers from UCLA and USC that maps amputations throughout California according to ZIP code. David Schriger, professor of emergency medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is quoted.

4 healthcare organizations tell us how they’re using social media, Healthcare Exchange

This story spotlights the live-tweet of the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery 500th deep brain stimulation procedure involving a musician who had tremors.  Linda Ho, director of digital marketing, and Ashely Dinielli, program promotional manager, UCLA Health System, are quoted in the article on how they used this unique patient story to capture the public’s interest through social media.

UC Davis ‘whistleblower’ wins $730,000 verdict, The Sacramento Bee

A Sacramento Superior Court jury has awarded a $730,000 verdict to a former UC Davis administrative nurse who claimed in a lawsuit that her career was ruined when she blew the whistle on an unethical pain management research project on prison inmates. The jury’s decision came down late Monday in favor of Janet Keyzer, who had worked as an administrative nurse researcher for the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research for more than nine years at the time of her termination in November 2007. Keyzer, 59, is a 30-year nurse with a Ph.D. in human and community development, according to her lawsuit. She said she was subject to a series of retaliatory actions after she began work on the university’s Community Oriented Pain-Management Exchange Program in December 2006 and raised questions about whether a research project on physically and mentally disabled inmates at San Quentin Prison had obtained the consent from its “human subjects.”

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