A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:
$100 million to S.F. hospitals for premature birth research, San Francisco Chronicle
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals is receiving $100 million to fund research into premature birth over the next 10 years from a pair of prominent tech donors: Marc and Lynne Benioff and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The money will go toward studying the biological causes of preterm birth and, perhaps to an even larger degree, improving access to treatments that can prevent or delay early delivery. The financing, announced Thursday, is the third hefty donation from the Benioffs, who have given two $100 million checks – including one announced earlier this month – to UCSF. The Gates Foundation and the Benioffs are each donating $50 million in the effort to deal with the problem of preterm birth on both a national and global scale.
See additional coverage: San Francisco Business Times
Senator: Hospitals reducing treatment errors, but problems remain, Los Angeles Times
Calling hospital errors “heartbreaking,” U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on Friday released a report detailing how some California hospitals are reducing medical mistakes that can cause infections, incorrect administration of drugs, falls and other complications. Many medical centers are preventing errors, she said, but others still need to demonstrate they are serious about addressing the problem. According to some researchers, Boxer said, between 210,000 and 440,000 Americans die as a result of medical errors each year — making medical errors the third leading cause of death in the nation, behind heart disease and cancer. “My hope is this report will drive improvements,” Boxer told reporters during a morning press conference at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. During a tour, UCLA nurses showed Boxer a computer system that helps them track medications. In a nearby ICU room, doctors demonstrated a machine that emits pulses of ultraviolet light to help kill bacteria that cause life-threatening, hospital-acquired infections.
10 Breakthrough Technologies: Genome editing, MIT Technology Review
Last November, female monkey twins Mingming and Lingling were born om Kunming, China, on the sprawling research campus of Kunming Biomedical International and its affiliated Yunnan Key Laboratory of Primate Biomedical Research. The macaques had been conceived via in vitro fertilization. Then scientists used a new method of DNA engineering known as CRISPR to modify the fertilized eggs by editing three different genes, and they were implanted into a surrogate macaque mother. The twins’ healthy birth marked the first time that CRISPR has been used to make targeted genetic modifications in primates — potentially heralding a new era of biomedicine in which complex diseases can be modeled and studied in monkeys. CRISPR, which was developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, and elsewhere over the last several years, is already transforming how scientists think about genetic engineering, because it allows them to make changes to the genome precisely and relatively easily.
Health care apps offer patients an active role, The New York Times
If you have young children, you’ve most likely endured caring for an ear infection or two. Or perhaps you’ve experienced a mysterious rash. Those situations generally mean a trip to the doctor’s office and time away from your job, if you work outside the home.But what if you could snap a photo of your rash, or your child’s ear canal, and send it to your doctor? That’s the idea behind a new breed of apps and devices that increasingly put medical tools in the hands of consumers. CellScope Oto, for instance, combines an app with an attachment that lets you turn your iPhone into an otoscope — the tool physicians often use to examine the inside of your ear. Erik Douglas, co-founder and chief executive of CellScope, said ear infections were a top reason for visits to pediatricians, so the Oto device might help eliminate unnecessary trips. Douglas has a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco.
Rebuilding limbs with ingenuity and a 3-D printer, Los Angeles Times
UC Santa Barbara graduate Mick Ebeling, a film producer with no engineering background, finds himself the unlikely leader of a team dedicated to tackling the physical limitations that arise from conditions such as blindness and paralysis. The group, which calls itself Not Impossible, helps people overcome physical limitations through technology, including making protheses with 3-D printers. Matthew Garibaldi, director of orthotics and prosthetics at UC San Francisco, is quoted.
UCSF neurologist’s mad cow discovery improves understanding of degenerative brain diseases (audio), KQED Forum
In 1997, UCSF neurologist Stanley Prusiner won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of infectious proteins called “prions” that cause mad cow disease. That revelation has led to an increased understanding of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS. Stanley Prusiner talks about the future of brain disease research and his new book, “Madness and Memory: The Discovery of Prions — A New Biological Principle of Disease.”
UCSF seeks to bridge gap between tech and health, San Francisco Business Times
UCSF wants to get a little more like Silicon Valley. Noting a recent deal with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Sam Hawgood, the interim chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, said the graduate-level, health care-centric university is increasingly reaching out to high-tech companies and entrepreneurs.
Garen Wintemute, a professor of emergency medicine who runs the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis, is profiled.
UC Davis medical encourages Asians to get hep B test (audio), Capital Public Radio
About half of Sacramento’s Asian community are immunized against hepatitis B, compared to only 20% six years ago, according to the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Moon Chen is a hemotologist and oncologist at UC Davis. He says the hepatitis B virus is a major cause of liver cancer. UC Davis runs public service announcements in Hmong, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese encouraging people to request a hep B test. Doctors of Asian patients in the UC Davis Health System are also reminded to order hepatitis screenings for their patients.
UC Berkeley public health building’s fate awaits state funds, San Francisco Business Times
Plans for a new building to house UC Berkeley’s public health department won “conditional approval” last month from the UC Board of Regents, according to new dean Stefano Bertozzi, M.D, who took office last September. Pointing in the direction of a nearby parking lot from his corner office in University Hall on Oxford Street, Bertozzi said, “We hope a new building will be sprouting there soon.”
Geneticist Cynthia Kenyon is heading to Google, San Francisco Chronicle
Google’s mysterious health venture dedicated to extending human life has quietly lured a prominent scientist away from UCSF, The Chronicle has learned. The university confirmed that Cynthia Kenyon, a biochemistry and biophysics professor acclaimed for her discoveries about the genetics of aging, left UCSF this month to join Calico, Google’s nascent biotechnology company. She had served as a part-time adviser to Calico since November.
A new study out of UCSF is suggesting that the potent painkiller codeine is being prescribed for too many children, despite warnings that the drug can cause an accidental overdose.
A commonly used prescription drug for high blood pressure has been found to prevent epileptic attacks after concussion. The findings are according to a new study on rats by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the University of California at Berkeley and Charité-University Medicine in Germany.
Anxiety from a false-positive mammogram is real but temporary, study says, Los Angeles Times
A recent study by a team of researchers including scientists from UC Davis looked into the emotional consequences of false positive results from mammograms.
People taking statins eat more calories than a decade ago, study says, Los Angeles Times
This article reports on a study co-authored by UCLA Dr. Martin Shapiro, chief of the division of general internal medicine and health services research, finding that people who take statins now are consuming more fat and calories, and weigh more, than statin users did 10 years prior — suggesting that people who take the cholesterol-lowering drug have a false sense of security about what they can eat.
UC OKs paying surgeon $10 million in whistleblower-retaliation case, Los Angeles Times
University of California regents agreed to pay $10 million to the former chairman of UCLA’s orthopedic surgery department, who had alleged that the well-known medical school allowed doctors to take industry payments that may have compromised patient care. The settlement reached Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court came just before closing arguments were due to begin in a whistleblower-retaliation case brought by Dr. Robert Pedowitz, 54, a surgeon who was recruited to UCLA in 2009 to run the orthopedic surgery department. UCLA denied the allegations and said they found no wrongdoing by faculty and no evidence that patient care was jeopardized. Multiple investigations by university officials and independent investigators concluded that conduct by faculty members was lawful and patient care was not compromised.
More scrutiny for UCLA’s School of Medicine, Los Angeles Times
In the wake of a $10-million payout to a whistleblower, UCLA’s School of Medicine is drawing more scrutiny over its financial ties to industry and the possibility that they compromised patient care. A new study in this month’s Journal of the American Medical Assn. raised a red flag generally about university officials such as Eugene Washington, the dean of UCLA’s medical school who also serves on the board of healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson. In a statement Friday, UCLA said Washington’s work as a J&J director did not compromise the “integrity of operations” at UCLA, and that his outside activities complied with university policies.
Chin Long Chiang, biostatistics pioneer at UC Berkeley dies, San Francisco Chronicle
Services will be held in May for Chin Long Chiang, a UC Berkeley professor emeritus and one of the world’s leading biostatisticians, whose innovative use of statistics helped transform the health care field. Professor Chiang was 99 and had pancreatic cancer when he died at his home in Berkeley on April 1, less than six months after his wife of 68 years, Fu Chen “Jane” Chiang, died of pneumonia.