A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:
UC president highlights research to retrain brains of mentally ill, San Jose Mercury News
Six days after six UC Santa Barbara students were killed by a troubled 20-year-old man, UC President Janet Napolitano said the university will lead research to develop an implantable device that will retrain the brains of the mentally ill. Napolitano said a team of scientists and physicians at UC San Francisco this week received a $26 million federal grant to create a device that will retrain the brain as it recovers from certain illnesses related to mental health disorders. “Having spent part of this week down at UC Santa Barbara that pursuing mental health (problems) seems more pressing than ever,” Napolitano said Thursday in remarks to an audience attending a New York Times sponsored “Health For Tomorrow” conference at UCSF Mission Bay campus. The UCSF group will lead a team that will involve more than a dozen scientists, engineers and physicians from UC Berkeley, Cornell University and New York University, and also include work with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
It’s been eight months since Janet Napolitano took over as president of the University of California system, following her stint as U.S. secretary of Homeland Security. She addresses the recent killing rampage near UC Santa Barbara, and also to discuss issues including student debt, campus diversity and the differences between working in Washington, D.C., and in the UC system. Her participation in the New York Times Health for Tomorrow conference is mentioned.
The role of data and technological innovation in health care was front and center at a conference of top health experts from academia, industry and government, convened by the New York Times at the University of California, San Francisco yesterday. Voices of both optimism and caution were plentiful, but the discussion of technology was consistently grounded, no matter the speaker’s view, in the cost of health care.
UCSF team wins $26 million grant to build brain implant, San Francisco Chronicle
A team led by UCSF neuroscientists has won federal funding to build an implantable brain device that would record and analyze live electrical signals, then alter them to retrain the brain to recover from mental illnesses like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The funding, announced Monday night, comes from a U.S. Department of Defense agency that is focused on improving understanding of brain disorders and developing new engineering-based treatments. The UCSF team – which includes scientists from UC Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Cornell and New York universities – will receive up to $26 million for the project. The funding is part of $100 million set aside by President Obama for his national Brain Initiative announced in April 2013. The article quotes Dr. Edward Chang, a neurosurgeon who is leading the UCSF team; Dr. Vikaas Sohal, a UCSF psychiatrist who’s part of the brain device team; and Jose Carmena, co-director of the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses at UC Berkeley and UCSF.
UCSF, Nebraska win $10 million ‘innovation’ grant to personalize dementia care, San Francisco Business Times
UC San Francisco and the University of Nebraska Medical Center have nabbed a nearly $10 million federal grant to help personalize and better coordinate dementia care. The $9.99 million grant, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was part of a $110 million Health Innovation Awards distribution to 12 recipients announced May 22 that included UCSF and UNMC.
Supporting concussion research, The Wall Street Journal
Steven Tisch, co-owner of the New York Giants, on Thursday pledged $10 million to support a pediatric neurology program at UCLA for the research into and treatment of concussions in young athletes. The donation was announced during a White House summit on youth and sports concussions. Mr. Tisch’s gift, which he decided on in the last few days, will go to the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of Californa, Los Angeles, and its two-year-old BrainSPORT Program. The program will be renamed for Mr. Tisch.
Following your gut takes on a whole new meaning as scientists like UC San Francisco’s Michael Fischbach find relationships between the brain and gut bacteria.
Samsung smart watch will monitor vital signs, San Francisco Chronicle
Samsung Electronics took its biggest step yet into the rapidly growing field of wearable devices Wednesday, promising to someday allow customers to record and analyze their health in real time. At a presentation in San Francisco, the South Korean electronics giant unveiled a prototype for a smart watch that can track users’ key vital signs around the clock. The company also introduced a cloud software platform that will allow researchers to upload and study the massive amount of data generated by wearers of devices. Seeking an edge on the competition, Samsung teamed up in February with clinical research powerhouse UCSF to start the UCSF-Samsung Digital Health Innovation Lab. At the university’s Mission Bay campus, scientists and engineers from both groups have been testing digital health products intended for the market. Dr. Michael Blum, associate vice chancellor for informatics at UCSF, is quoted.
See additional coverage: The Atlantic
A feature on Nobel Prize-winning neurologist Stanley Prusiner of UC San Francisco.
UCSC freshman presents football experiment at White House, Santa Cruz Sentinel
Two years ago, Maria Hanes dropped her cell phone, setting off a chain of events that eventually took her to the White House. Then a football team manager for her Edwards Air Force Base high school, Hanes said when she saw her phone’s rubber case prevented it from cracking, she hatched an idea. Hanes, now a UC Santa Cruz freshman, developed a football helmet sleeve designed to help prevent concussions. Hanes, 19, was one of 61 people to present projects at the White House Science Fair on Tuesday. She had the opportunity to share her findings with President Obama in the Blue Room.
After attack near campus, California weighs gun bill, The New York Times
Just days after a 22-year-old killed six college students and himself near the campus of UC Santa Barbara, state lawmakers are championing legislation that would permit law enforcement officials and private individuals to seek a restraining order from a judge that would keep people with a potential propensity for violence from buying or owning a gun. Dr. Garen J. Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis, is quoted.
How the VA developed its culture of coverups, The Washington Post
This article about Veterans Affairs health care quotes Kenneth W. Kizer, distinguished professor and director of the UC Davis Institute for Population Health Improvement. Kizer previously served as under secretary for health in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where he led a turnaround of its health care system.
UCLA has a mission to mend wounds of war, Los Angeles Register
A feature on UCLA’s Operation Mend, which provides returning military personnel with cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries for injuries suffered in battle or training.
From food waste to gut health, Scientific American
When we eat a food product, we don’t typically think about the byproducts of its creation, such as the hazelnut skins left behind when creating a Nutella-like spread. But researchers at the University of California, Davis think these waste streams may actually be gold mines for our gut, providing new sources of prebiotics, nutrients that feed the “good” probiotic bacteria populating our intestines.
Tattoo removal goes high-tech with laser procedures, Los Angeles Times
A story on the UCLA Dermatological Surgery and Laser Center’s new laser, which removes tattoos more quickly and efficiently than traditional lasers. Dr. Gary Lask, director of the center and clinical professor of medical dermatology; Dr. H. Ray Jalian, clinical instructor of medicine in the division of dermatology, and a patient are quoted.
Rounds with a hospital chaplain, Reimagine
A profile of Lori Koutouratsas, palliative care chaplain at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, in its June issue. The article focuses on Koutouratsas’ background and highlights the ways she provides comfort and support to cancer and chronically ill patients. Koutouratsas is quoted, and the Rev. Tim Thorstenson, spiritual care manager at the medical center, is referenced.
Why do we get ‘sleep’ in our eyes?, The Huffington Post
Dr. Ivan Schwab, a professor of opthalmology at the UC Davis School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, explains why we get “sleep” in our eyes.
What’s wrong with giving patients what they want? It turns out that patient satisfaction is tied to higher costs and, even worse, a higher death rate. A large survey covering 52,000 patients, published by a team led by Joshua Fenton at UC Davis found that the most satisfied patients not only spent about 9% more than average, but had a 26% higher death rate.
UC system struggles with professors’ outside earnings, The Orange County Register
This story investigates disclosure of outside compensation among UC medical professors.
Soda warning bill passes committee; plan to insure undocumented does not, California Healthline
The Senate Committee on Appropriations last week passed a bill that would require consumer warning labels on all sweetened beverages sold in California. Another high-profile health bill seeking to provide health care coverage for the state’s undocumented population, SB 1005 by Sen. Ricardo Lara, was put on hold by the appropriations committee. A study released last week by University of California researchers concluded the plan would have high benefit to California and a relatively minor cost (roughly an additional 2% of the state’s current spending on Medi-Cal).
CalPERS’ ‘reference pricing’ initiative saves $5.5M over two years, California Healthline/Health Data Management
CalPERS saved more than $5 million through an initiative that set standard prices for knee and hip replacements and prompted beneficiaries to select higher-value hospitals for the procedures. For the program, CalPERS asked its PPO, Anthem Blue Cross, to research the average costs for hip and knee replacements among hospitals and develop a program that ensures sufficient coverage by those hospitals that meet a certain cost threshold. The program set a maximum of $30,000. Forty-six medical institutions – including Stanford and UC-San Francisco — initially were included in the plan.
Op-ed: California needs a gun violence restraining order, Los Angeles Times
Renée Binder, professor of psychiatry and director of the psychiatry and law program at UC San Francisco, writes an op-ed about California’s need for a gun violence restraining order.