CATEGORY: In the media

In the media: Week of Jan. 19

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

2 leading Bay Area children’s hospitals unite for efficiency, San Francisco Chronicle

Improved health care for Bay Area children is the promise of the latest alliance in the hospital industry. UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Oakland announced Wednesday a joining of forces that “brings together two leading Bay Area children’s hospitals, strengthening their abilities to meet marketplace expectations, including the Affordable Care Act.”

UCSF’s School of Medicine dean named interim chancellor, San Francisco Chronicle

The UC regents on Thursday appointed an interim chancellor for UC San Francisco. Dr. Sam Hawgood, dean of the UCSF School of Medicine, will take over from outgoing Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann on April 1. Desmond-Hellmann announced last month that she was leaving the campus to become chief executive of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

A deadly outbreak, a vaccine — and why you can’t get it, CNN

When doctors had to remove Aaron Loy’s lower legs in November after he contracted meningococcal disease, his parents hoped students at his university would receive protection against it. So far, they’re still waiting. Loy, a promising lacrosse and soccer player at UC Santa Barbara, was the victim of an outbreak of meningococcal disease, a bacterial infection that causes bloodstream infections and meningitis. Meanwhile, across the country at Princeton, eight cases of meningitis B were reported last year. Princeton was given special permission to use a new vaccine. Four meningococcal disease cases were reported at UCSB, but the vaccine is not being used there. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent a team of scientists to study the outbreak in California in December. It recently amended a letter it wrote to the FDA to get special permission to use the unlicensed vaccine to include UCSB students, but permission has not yet been granted.

Big University of California union plans strike vote next month, San Francisco Business Times

AFSCME 3299, which represents nearly 21,000 workers at the University of California, plans a strike vote in mid-February. The union, led by Kathryn Lybarger, will ask 8,300 people in service units to vote on a strike, and will also ask 13,000 other employees it represents to vote on a sympathy strike. The votes will be taken Feb. 11 to 13.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times

University of Texas names Clay Johnston as first dean of Dell Medical School (video), Austin American-Statesman

The University of Texas announced Tuesday that a senior official of the University of California, San Francisco, one of the nation’s leading health science centers, has been appointed the first dean of the Dell Medical School. Clay Johnston, 49, associate vice chancellor of research at UCSF, starts in Austin on March 1. His duties include overseeing construction, hiring, curriculum development, admissions and myriad other matters that must be addressed if the school is to enroll its first students in fall 2016 as planned.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Business Times

Patients’ costs skyrocket; specialists’ incomes soar, The New York Times

The incomes of specialists in dermatology, gastroenterology and oncology increased by at least 50 percent between 1995 and 2012. Observers say that some practices, such as performing more services that are particularly lucrative, have led to increases in patients’ medical bills. Dr. Steven Schroeder, a professor at UC San Francisco and the chairman of the National Commission on Physician Payment Reform, is quoted.

Brown highlights ACA, medical research in State of State speech, California Healthline

In his State of the State address on Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown discussed California’s future health care costs and the state’s booming medical research industry. Brown noted that four of the world’s leading academic bioscience centers are located in California at: UCSF and Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford, and UC San Diego.

This program was bigger than Covered California. Why did we ignore it?, California Healthline

More than 625,000 people have enrolled in Covered California, state officials announced on Tuesday. “Milestone enrollment numbers,” blared a press release for the insurance exchange. No other state comes close. So it’s all the more puzzling that nearly no one fussed over another huge figure: the 680,000-plus residents who signed up for the state’s Low Income Health Plan — perhaps the biggest element of Obamacare that got the smallest share of attention. UCLA’s Gerald Kominski and Dylan Roby are quoted.

How are health plans’ ‘narrow networks’ affecting your medical care? (audio), KPCC

Dylan Roby, assistant professor of health policy and management at the UCLA School of Public Health, discusses “narrow networks”—the trend by insurance companies to only offer a few health care providers to people enrolling in the Affordable Care Act.

Report: PCMH model leads to reduced cost of care, improved population health, FierceHealthcare

This story about patient-centered medical homes mentions that a study from UCLA and the University of Southern California in 2013 showed success of PCMHs even in an urban, safety-net setting.

UC Berkeley hires Tang Eye Center boss to lead optometry school clinic, San Francisco Business Times

The School of Optometry at UC Berkely chose Christine Wilmer, who runs the Tang Eye Center on campus, to become clinic director and associate dean for clinical affairs starting July 1. To help her get up to speed while current boss Edward Revelli is still on the job, Wilmer will become assistant clinic director March 10 and will step into the top job when Revelli retires at the end of the fiscal year.

Study takes new look at gun access and risk of homicide, suicide, Los Angeles Times

A UC San Francisco analysis of previous studies finds that those with a firearm at hand are almost twice as likely to be killed and three times as likely to kill themselves.

David Lazarus: Doctors and hospitals posing as charity cases? It’s nauseating, Los Angeles Times

Because of Obamacare, some medical providers are soliciting donations, switching to concierge practices or imposing annual fees, writes columnist David Lazarus. UCLA is mentioned. Read letters to the editor in response to this column.

Feel a little guilty after that doctor’s visit? You’re not alone, The Huffington Post

Half of people feel some level of shame or guilt after visiting the doctor, according to a new study. The most common subjects people feel shame about? Weight and sex, noted researchers from the University of California, San Diego.

Mayer: The voice is delicate, People Magazine

John Mayer acknowledged his throat surgeons while accepting a UCLA Luminary Award on Wednesday night.

Diabetes, cost of care top health concerns for U.S. Latinos (audio), NPR

Dr. Alex Ortega, a professor of public health at the UCLA  Fielding School of Public Health, and director of the UCLA–USC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities, is featured in this report about the high rates of diabetes in the Latino population, and the center’s efforts to convert local markets in Latino neighborhoods to offer healthy food choices.

The ways our bodies age will surprise you! (audio), KPCC

This piece reports on a discovery by Dr. Steve Horvath, professor of human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and professor of biostatistics at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, of a “biological clock” embedded in our genomes that allows scientists to accurately gauge the age of diverse organs, tissues and cell types.

Acetaminophen limits recommended by FDA (video), ABC 7

This story reports on the FDA limiting acetaminophen dosages in prescription drugs. Dr. Ronald Busuttil, executive chair of the surgery department and chief of UCLA’s division of liver and pancreas transplantation, is interviewed.

Dr. Donald Morton dies at 79; melanoma expert pioneered a cancer technique, The New York Times

An obituary remembering the life of Dr. Donald Morton, a renowned cancer surgeon and researcher who in the 1970s, while working as chief of surgical oncology and UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, helped develop the sentinel lymph node evaluation, which saves the U.S. health care system more than $3.8 billion per year in the treatment of melanoma and breast cancer, as well as preventing countless unnecessary surgeries. Morton completed his undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley and received his medical degree from UC San Francisco.

Inside Medicine: Accuracy is elusive when it comes to providing a prognosis, The Sacramento Bee

Michael Wilkes, a professor of medicine at UC Davis, writes in his column that despite medical advancements in understanding the mechanisms of many diseases and in understanding disease patterns, doctors still do poorly when providing patients with an accurate prognosis.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments (1)

In the media: Week of Jan. 12

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Memory wizards (video), CBS 60 Minutes

Imagine being able to remember virtually every day of your life. As 60Minutes’ Lesley Stahl reports, it’s a kind of memory that is brand new to science. A follow-up story on memory wizards, who are being studied by Dr. James McGaugh at UC Irvine. McGaugh is interviewed.

Bill would boost training of doctors, launch medical school, Sacramento Business Journal

A bipartisan bill introduced last week seeks to train more doctors for the San Joaquin Valley and speed the launch of new medical school at UC Merced to address a physician shortage in rural areas and statewide.

Mike Dunbar: Merced med school a priority … for some, The Modesto Bee

Mike Dunbar writes about the possibility of a medical school at UC Merced.

UC Irvine reversing course on e-cigarette use, The Orange County Register

Just two weeks after taking effect, a UC Irvine campuswide ban on smoking is being revised to include a prohibition on electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products, the university said Monday. The ban is being expanded to bring the Irvine campus into alignment with a University of California systemwide directive that prohibits the use of all nicotine products in indoor and outdoor areas, university spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon said.

UC Davis Medical Center wins back magnet nursing designation, Sacramento Business Journal

The UC Davis Medical Center has won back a prestigious ”magnet” nursing designation, a national benchmark for nursing excellence and quality of patient care.

Stem cell drug may halt cancer spread (video), NBC Los Angeles

Southern California scientists may have found a potential cancer breakthrough thanks to new stem cell research at UCLA. Stem cells — usually studied for their disease-curing potential by stimulating growth or replacing diseased cells — are being examined in a different way by researchers. This time, scientists are looking at how they can block bad stem cells that may lead to fatal cancers. At UCLA’s special stem cell laboratory in West Los Angeles, scientists have received a grant to see if different types of stem cells can be blocked so that a cancer may be controlled, or even cured. Drs. Zev Wainberg and Dennis Slamon of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center are interviewed.

How much does it cost to have a baby in California?, KQED News

The most common reason for hospitalization in the United States is childbirth. A new study published Thursday adds to thedepth of researchon cost variation in the American medical system. In the study, researchers at UC San Francisco looked at 110,000 uncomplicated births across California and found that hospital charges for a vaginal delivery ranged from $3,296 to $37,227 and for a caesarian section the range was $8,312 to $70,908. For health policy researchers, this is not a big surprise, said lead author Dr. Renee Hsia, an associate professor of emergency medicine at UCSF, but “most people that aren’t familiar with health care variation would be surprised and distressed.”

Asthma study seeks answers on severe form of disease, San Francisco Chronicle

Teddi Chann, 54, has severe asthma. She says she feels OK most of the time, and she hasn’t had an asthma attack that resulted in a trip to the emergency room in a few years. But she needs daily high-dose drugs to keep her asthma even remotely under control. And even then, it doesn’t always work. Last summer, Chann, who lives in Sacramento, joined a new study at UC San Francisco to identify what sets patients like her apart from the bulk of asthma sufferers, who usually have mild symptoms they can keep under control with medication. “You have this one group that’s doing well,” said Dr. John Fahy, director of the UCSF Airway Clinical Research Center who is leading the UCSF study. “But it’s also pretty easy to see that a lot of patients aren’t responding well. You have this elephant in the room. There’s this severe asthma that has not been well studied.”

Banned chemicals replaced by worrisome ones, UCSF study shows, San Francisco Chronicle

A federal ban on chemicals that soften plastic in products is showing signs of success as decreased levels of the substances are being detected in people, but similar and potentially toxic compounds seem to be emerging in their place, a new UCSF study says. The article quotes Tracey Woodruff, the study’s senior author and director of UCSF’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment.

Rebuilding our badly broken pets, The New York Times

This piece highlights work by UC Davis veterinarians who are using reconstructive surgery to treat badly injured pets.

UC Santa Cruz’s Cancer Genomics Hub adds childhood cancer data, Santa Cruz Sentinel

Researchers studying the genetics of childhood cancers now have access to a large and growing set of genomic data through the Cancer Genomics Hub operated by UC Santa Cruz.

One health care reformer’s plan to fix Obamacare ‘diaster’, The Huffington Post

As Obamacare’s growing pains continue, hospitals and clinics are racing to upgrade their paper files to electronic ones to reach a government deadline which specifies that providers must show “meaningful” implementation of electronic health records by 2015 or face monetary penalties. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong offered up his solution to the “disaster” with the launch of health IT company NantHealth, a subsidiary of his medical technology company NantWorks. He also unveiled NantHealth’s intelligent Clinical Operating System (iCOS), which patients and caregivers can use to pull data from dozens of competing electronic medical record systems in order to create a single, easy-to-access profile of individual patients’ medical history and current health regimen. Soon-Shiong, a Los Angeles-based surgeon and drug inventor-turned-entrepreneur, also is executive director of the UCLA Wireless Health Institute. Stephen Shortell, professor of health policy and management at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, is quoted in this article.

California immigrant advocates see health care, professional licenses as next battle (audio), KPBS

This story about efforts to expand Affordable Care Act health coverage to California’s undocumented residents cites a study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health estimating that 1.2 million undocumented individuals in the state will be left without health insurance when the legislation is fully implemented.

Study: Dual eligibles worried about April transition to managed care, California Healthline

UCLA researchers yesterday released a study that shows heightened concern and confusion among California seniors and the disabled over the state’s plan to move dual eligibles — Californians eligible for both Medi-Cal and Medicare — into managed care plans. Kathryn Kietzman, principal author of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research study, is quoted.

Health officials warn flu is striking early this season, Los Angeles Times

Dr. Greg Moran, UCLA clinical professor of infectious diseases, and Dr. Soniya Gandhi, assistant clinical professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases, are quoted in this story about flu season.

Will taking a probiotic pill make you feel less anxious? Scientists suggest that the bacteria in our guts may affect our brains and mood, Daily Mail

This article about how stomach bacteria may affect brain function cited studies on the subject by Dr. Emeran Mayer, professor of digestive diseases, physiology and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and executive director of UCLA’s Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress, and Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, associate professor of medicine in the division of digestive diseases at the Geffen School of Medicine.  Mayer and Tillisch are quoted.

Larry Smarr says quantified self is awakening, despite Zeo’s failure, Xconomy

It’s been over six years since Wired editors Kevin Kelly and Gary Wolf asked, “What is the Quantified Self?” and nearly four years since computer guru Larry Smarr called attention to the concept of keeping track of your own personal health data. Smarr, who is founding director of UC’s Calit2 (and a San Diego Xconomist), was among the first scientific leaders to demonstrate just how useful such data could be when he basically self-diagnosed the onset of inflammatory bowel disease before showing any symptoms. That was in 2011. Now the Quantified Self movement is a global phenomenon, with 156 groups and nearly 28,000 active members. And as Smarr put it last night during a presentation at a regular meeting of the San Diego MIT Enterprise Forum, “I think we can basically say we’ve reached takeoff.” Smarr drew a standing-room crowd of more than 360 people to the event, held at the UC San Diego Medical Education and Telemedicine Center.

Ethnic, socioeconomic disparities evident in thyroid cancer, Reuters Health

This story reports on a study led by Dr. Avital Harari, assistant professor of general surgery, that found that non-white and poor individuals with thyroid cancer were much more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage metastatic disease than other patients. Harari is quoted.

Teen brains really are wired to seek rewards, LiveScience

Dr. Adriana Galván, assistant professor of developmental psychology, is featured on a study she co-authored with Tara Peris, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute,  demonstrating that the brains of adolescents tend to show more excitability and responsiveness to rewards, such as money, than the brains of adults and younger children. Galván is quoted.

No safe combo of drinking and driving, study finds, Fox San Diego

Motorists who have consumed adult beverages but not reached the legal drunken driving mark — a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level — are still more likely to cause traffic collisions than those who are sober, according to a UC San Diego study released Thursday.

Caffeine may help you forget less, study finds, Los Angeles Times

If you have trouble remembering where you parked the car, you might consider making a double shot espresso part of your daily routine. A new study in the journal Nature Neuroscience suggests that the same amount of caffeine you’d find in a grande latte can enhance long-term memory in humans. “We report for the first time a specific effect of caffeine on reducing forgetting over 24 hours,” Michael Yassa, a professor of brain science who recently moved his lab from Johns Hopkins University to UC Irvine, said in a statement.

Complementary and alternative medicine use common in children with autism, study says, The Huffington Post

A new study from the UC Davis MIND Institute finds that families often turn to complementary and alternative medicine for young children with autism and other developmental delays.

Doctor ‘subscriptions’ on the rise as more turn to concierge medicine (audio), KPCC

Dr. Dylan Roby, director of the health economics and evaluation research program at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and an assistant professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, is interviewed about the growth of concierge medicine, an alternative to health insurance in which individuals pay a “subscription” fee for regular, direct access to a doctor.

Bean the dog inspires groundbreaking collaboration at UC Davis (video), KCRA 3

A local dog named Bean received a lifesaving canine laryngectomy operation at UC Davis’ Veterinary Hospital. The reconstructive surgery was the first of its kind to be performed on a dog.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Jan. 5

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC schools stamp out cigarettes and other tobacco products on campus, Los Angeles Times

Starting this year, UC Riverside and all other University of California campuses will be tobacco-free, part of a nationwide trend. The campuses are following the lead of UCLA, which barred cigarettes and other tobacco products from campus last year. Former UC system President Mark G. Yudolf called for all campuses to be free of tobacco by 2014.

Calif. college students to get imported meningitis vaccine, NBC News

Health officials say they’ll soon offer an imported vaccine to prevent more cases of potentially deadly bacterial meningitis at the University of California, Santa Barbara, after last month’s vaccination of more than5,200 students at Princeton University. Enough shots to cover about 20,000 students could be available at UCSB within several weeks, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. They’re aimed at halting an outbreak of meningitis strain B that sickened four California students in November, including one young man who had to have both feet amputated. No new cases have been reported on campus since Nov. 21.

Legislation to speed launch of UC Merced medical school introduced, Central Valley Business Times

A two-year planning effort to establish a new medical school located on the University of California, Merced, campus would be funded under a bill introduced by state Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, and co-authored by Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, and Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced. Currently, UC operates the San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education, which is designed to attract and retain physicians in the Valley. Cannella’s bill (SB 841) also would provide SJV PRIME increased ongoing funding to allow the program to double current enrollment.

See additional coverage: ABC 30 (video)

UC Merced medical school a ways off, but still training doctors, Merced Sun Star

While a medical school at UC Merced is years away, the university is three years deep into a program training doctors with hopes that they’ll stick around after they graduate. UC Merced’s San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education, also called PRIME, is a joint program among UC Merced; UC Davis School of Medicine; and the University of California, San Francisco, Fresno Medical Education Program. It enrolled its first UC Merced students in 2011.

UCI retaliated when they reported wrongdoing, doctors say, The Orange County Register

Ex-UC Irvine medical school employees say they were punished illegally after filing separate whistleblower complaints.

If you can’t go to Cedars-Sinai anymore, is it Obamacare’s fault?, New Republic

At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, originals by Picasso and Warhol hang in the hallways. The deluxe maternity rooms—three-bedroom, two-bath suites with views of the city—rent out at nearly $4,000 a day. It’s the place where Madonna got hernia surgery and Jodie Foster had her baby. The Hollywood Reporter once called it “the medical world’s most glam facility.” But a group of Angelenos is about to lose access to Cedars, because, starting January 1, their insurance companies will no longer cover treatment at the hospital. Infuriated, some of these people insist that Obamacare is to blame. And the truth is: They’re not exactly wrong. Still, Cedars isn’t just more expensive than the community hospitals that deal primarily with more routine cases. Based on available information, it appears to be more expensive than other hospitals that handle transplants and complex procedures with good outcomes, such as St. Vincent’s or teaching hospitals like UCLA and USC.

Do newly insured Mediciad recipients make more use of costly ER services? (audio), KPCC

Dylan Roby, director of the health economics and evaluation research program at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and an assistant professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, is interviewed about whether individuals enrolled in Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act are more or less likely to use hospital emergency rooms.

New California physician group ratings unveiled by Consumer Reports, Los Angeles Times

This story reports that Californians searching for a doctor have new ratings from Consumer Reports on 170 physician groups statewide. Physician groups affiliated with UCLA Health System are near the top of the rankings. The scores are intended to help consumers see how different medical offices measure up on providing care and dealing with patients.

Another university gets into the health care MBA boom, Bloomberg Businessweek

UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business is one of a growing number of schools offering health care MBAs. UC Berkeley’s degree is a joint M.B.A.-M.P.H. The rise of the health-care MBA is usually traced to the late 1990s, when UC Irvine  and other medical schools began offering joint M.D.-M.B.A. programs.

A killer phone, The New Yorker

This story about ways to reduce microbes found on mobile phones quotes UC San Francisco biochemist Michael Fischbach and UC Davis professor Jonathan Eisen, who says that wiping out bacteria might have unforeseen consequences on the microbiome — the entire universe of bacteria in, on, and around our bodies.

As season worsens, doctors urge people to get flu shots (video), KTVU 2

Large Bay Area institutions, including UC Berkeley, are preparing for a potentially severe flu season. The Tang Center is currently seeing seven to 10 flu patients a day, but Pam Cameron, of University Health Services, says: “When flu actually hits that will probably double, and if it’s a really bad year it could triple. … We are seeing some flu cases, you know, it’s still a relatively low volume compared to when the masses of students come back, but clearly the trend is on the up.” She recommends frequent hand washing and other flu avoidance methods, but says a vaccine is the best bet. The spring semester begins January 21st.

UCSF, Quest Diagnostics target autism, brain cancer in early ‘precision med’ projects, San Francisco Business Times

UC San Francisco scientists will work with Quest Diagnostics to jointly research, develop and validate diagnostics aimed at building tools that can give doctors and patients a more-precise path for therapy for autism, cancer, neurology and women’s health.

UCSD chasing huge donation, U-T San Diego

The University of California San Diego’s ongoing quest to raise money for research and scholarships may soon result in another mega-gift. School officials have been quietly negotiating with a donor for a contribution that could be as much as $75 million. Faculty said the money would be devoted to medicine and the health sciences, and would involve a partnership with Rady Children’s Hospital, which has an affiliation with the UC San Diego School of Medicine.

UCSD faring poorly at crowdfunding, U-T San Diego

UC San Diego is faring poorly in its first attempt at crowdfunding, a stumble that appears to be partly due to the confusing message it is using to raise money to develop small sensors that could measure pollution and help identify disease. The university’s Distributed Health Labs set a goal of raising $50,000 through the crowdfunding website Indiegogo between December 12th and January 21st. Through late Monday, the campaign had received $4,605, less than 10 percent of the school’s target.

Rising stars: Jennifer Doudna, CRISPR code killer, Ozy

UC Berkeley molecular and cell biology professor Jennifer Doudna is profiled. She developed a genetic engineering technique that many scientists are now confirming is a tremendous breakthrough in the fight against hereditary diseases. “It’s been very exciting to see work that started very much as a backwater kind of project, very much basic science, come to such fruition,” she says.

Bay Area’s people to watch in 2014, San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle’s list of some of the newsmakers who will shape the region this year and for years to come include UC President Janet Napolitano, UC Berkeley Athletic Director Sandy Barbour, UC Berkeley professor emeritus Janet Yellen, UC San Francisco epidemiologist Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo and UC San Francisco surgeon and breast cancer oncologist Laura Esserman.

Study ties diabetic crises to dip in food budgets, The New York Times

Poor people with diabetes are significantly more likely to go to the hospital for dangerously low blood sugar at the end of the month when food budgets are tight than at the beginning of the month, a new study has found. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, matched hospital discharge records from 2000 to 2008 on more than two million people in California with those patients’ ZIP codes. Dr. Hilary Seligman, assistant professor of medicine at UCSF, and the study’s lead author, is quoted.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes, California Health Report

How much does a new hip cost? Even the surgeon doesn’t know, Kaiser Health News

What will a gallon of milk set you back? How about a new car? You probably have a rough idea. But what about a medical device — the kind that gets implanted during a knee or hip replacement? Chances are you have no clue. And you are not alone: The surgeons who implant those devices probably don’t know either, a just-published survey shows. The article quotes Dr. Kevin J. Bozic, an orthopedic surgeon at UC San Francisco who studies the cost of medical devices.

Inside a beating silicon heart, Forbes

Dr. Julius Guccione, a 50-year-old cardiac researcher at UC San Francisco, was mesmerized the first time he saw a virtual image of a beating heart. He’d been using math models to research the heart his entire career, but now Dassault Systemes, a French design and simulation software company, had created a complete, three-dimensional view of the electrical impulses and muscle-fiber contractions that enable the human heart to perform its magic.

Feeling under the weather? You’re not alone (video), CBS Los Angeles

Doctors offices have been inundated the past few days with patients suffering from upper respiratory illnesses. Dr. Carl Shultz, an attending physician at UC Irvine Medical Center, is interviewed.

Ultrarunners aren’t always ultrahealthy, NBC News

A study co-authored by Martin Hoffman, a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at UC Davis, shows that ultrarunners are more likely to suffer from more allergies and asthma.

Smoke from wildfires adversely affects immune system, UC Davis study says, The Sacramento Bee

A novel UC Davis study with possible implications for human health has found that exposure to wildfire smoke makes young rhesus monkeys more vulnerable to disease.

Active MRI used to visualize internal motion of wrist joints, MedGadget

UC Davis researchers have developed a new MRI imaging technique that produces videos of wrists in motion.

Inside Medicine: Should families be allowed to witness loved ones’ care in the ER?, The Sacramento Bee

In his Sacramento Bee column, Michael Wilkes, a professor of medicine at UC Davis, addresses the question of whether family members should be present during a loved one’s emergency room treatment.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Dec. 29

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

California universities move to ban campus smoking, The Associated Press

Schools in California’s public university systems are stamping out smoking in hopes that it will help improve the health of students, faculty and employees. Both the University of California system and schools within the California State system have taken measures to ensure smoking will no longer be allowed on campuses. Some schools already enforce no-tobacco policies, while others plan to do so beginning next year, joining more than 1,100 colleges and universities around the nation that have gone smoke-free.

See additional coverage: CBS Los Angeles (audio), Palm Springs Desert Sun

UC Irvine looks to close nursing demand gap, The Orange County Register

Locally and across the country thousands of aspiring nurses are being turned away from educational institutions due to a lack of space and resources. This story focuses on UC Irvine, which last fall received more than 1,800 freshman applications for the bachelor’s degree in nursing science. The university only accepted 77 freshman students into the program, about 4 percent of its total freshman applicants – leaving many aspiring nurses to seek out nursing programs at other schools or to remain at UCI with hopes of transferring into the program at a later time. UCI associate professor of nursing Lorraine Evangelista said the limited acceptance rates for the nursing program correlate to available clinical placements. But beyond the limited spaces available in clinical placements, many universities are struggling to find qualified candidates for faculty positions. To tend to this shortage, UCI launched its doctorate in nursing science program this fall.

Los Angeles, Orange counties grapple with shortage of nursing instructors, California Healthline

In addition to the same general shortage of health care workers most of California is experiencing, Los Angeles and Orange counties are grappling with a shortage of instructors to train new nurses, according to some stakeholders. The article quotes Dylan Roby of UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health and Center for Health Policy Research, and Suzette Cardin, assistant dean of student affairs at the UCLA School of Nursing.

The doctor can see you now: Google Glass tried out in UCI program, The Orange County Register

Dr. Leslie Garson pulls a Google tablet from his blue scrubs and taps on an app icon. On the 7-inch tablet screen, green dots indicate two doctors are online. The supervising anesthesiologist at UCI Medical Center taps on the dot for Dr. Warren Davis, a resident doctor in the operating room of a patient having a knee surgery. A second later Garson sees what Davis sees: an operating room full of physicians in masks, gowns, equipment and a patient on the operating table. Davis is wearing Google Glass and the app making this possible is Eyesight, made by 8-month-old Austin startup Pristine.

Is it a cold or something more? Livermore lab researchers seek snappy answers, San Jose Mercury News

Your head aches, you’re congested and simply getting out of bed is a chore. You pay a visit to your doctor, and within minutes — using a simple cheek swab placed in a tiny box — he knows precisely which virus or bacteria is causing the symptoms and prescribes the right treatment. While this scene would be right at home in the “Star Trek” sick bay, it may become a staple in real-world clinics within the decade, according to Lawrence Livermore Laboratory chemical engineer Elizabeth Wheeler. Wheeler’s team of engineers, biologists and chemists, headed by principal investigator Reginald Beer, is developing a method to recognize disease-causing pathogens quicker than ever before. The key: obtaining the bacteria or virus DNA and rapidly copying it so there’s enough to identify what’s causing your illness.

Scientists discover new way of overcoming human stem cell rejection, Fox News

Human embryonic stem cells have the capacity to differentiate into a variety of cell types, making them a valuable source of transplantable tissue for the treatment of numerous diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. But there’s one major issue: Embryonic stem cells are often rejected by the human immune system. Now, researchers from UC San Diego may have found an effective way to prevent this rejection in humans. Yang Xu, a professor of biology at UC San Diego and lead author of the study, is quoted.

Hospitals’ child life specialists help scared kids, San Francisco Chronicle

For more than 40 years, child life specialists have played a key role in pediatric wards across the country, but over the past decade, their jobs have expanded and their training has become more specialized and rigorous. They’re now found in almost every ward in many major hospitals, where child life teams may have a dozen or more specialists. “Our main goal is to minimize trauma for a child. We’re making sure that the child is going to experience health care in a positive way,” said Michael Towne, manager of child life services at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. “But there are secondary gains,” Towne said. “Hospitals are changing how they think about child life. They’re not just thinking about us as a pleasant addition for a positive experience. If the child copes better, it’s less of a struggle to treat them, it takes less time and it takes less medicine. It’s more efficient care.”

With a-fib rhythms, higher odds of stroke, The New York Times

Researchers at UC San Francisco reported in December in Annals of Internal Medicine that people with a high rate of premature atrial contractions, which can be detected by a Holter monitor worn for 24 hours, face a significantly increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation. Dr. Gregory M. Marcus, the senior author and director of clinical research at UCSF’s cardiology division, theorized that eradicating these premature contractions with drugs or a procedure that destroys the malfunctioning area of the heart may reduce the risk of the rhythm disorder. Previously, Dr. Sanjiv Narayan, an electrophysiologist at UC San Diego, and co-authors described a way to more accurately identify the electrical “hot spots” in the heart responsible for an abnormal rhythm. Ablating those regions was nearly twice as effective as the standard approach to eliminating atrial fibrillation with ablation, the team reported in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease link strengthens in study, Los Angeles Times

A study co-authored by UC Berkeley and UC Davis researchers has confirmed links between high cholesterol levels and risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Study shows soda tax would save millions in health care costs, Santa Cruz Sentinel

A statewide penny-an-ounce tax on sugary drinks could save hundreds of millions in health care costs and reduce the number of new diabetes cases by thousands, a new UC San Francisco study shows.

Your guide to running at any level, CNN/

Running just might be the most convenient workout going. You don’t need to be a skilled athlete, and there’s no fancy equipment involved; just lace up your sneaks and go.It’s also one of the most efficient ways to blast fat and burn calories — about 600 an hour. Sure, walking has its benefits, but research shows that running kicks its butt when it comes to shedding pounds. One recent study of 47,000 runners and walkers, from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, found that the runners burned more calories and had a far greater decrease in BMI over a six-year period.

QB3′s Reg Kelly awarded OBE by Queen Elizabeth II, San Francisco Business Times

QB3 director and UCSF professor Reg Kelly has been awarded the OBE — the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire — by Queen Elizabeth II.

Room for Debate: Government needs to aid industry research, The New York Times

How we can avoid a future where antibiotics are no longer useful? Brad Spellberg, a professor of medicine at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, provides a response. He is the co-author of “Rising Plague: The Global Threat from Deadly Bacteria and Our Dwindling Arsenal to Fight Them.”

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In the media: Week of Dec. 22

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Year in review: Change at the top for UC Davis Health System, Sacramento Business Journal

UC Davis Health System chose a new medical school dean and vice chancellor for human health services in September to replace Dr. Claire Pomeroy. Dr. Julie Freischlag, a professor and surgeon-in-chief at Johns Hopkins University, will replace Pomeroy on Feb. 10, 2014.

100 hospitals with great women’s health programs — 2013, Becker’s Hospital Review

Becker’s Hospital Review’s list of “100 Hospitals With Great Women’s Health Programs” includes medical centers at UCLA, UC San Diego and UC San Francisco. Hospitals were selected based on clinical excellence, quality care and women’s health awards and were also recognized for offering outstanding programs such as gynecology, obstetrics, reproductive medicine and other women’s health needs.

San Diego’s top science stories of 2013, U-T San Diego

UC San Diego is mentioned in several of San Diego’s top science stories of 2013.

California family celebrates 3 heart transplants, The Associated Press

This story is about a family in which the mother and her two sons have all had heart transplants due to a genetic heart condition. The brothers received their new hearts at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.  Dr. Greg Perens, assistant clinical professor of pediatric cardiology at Mattel Children’s Hospital, is quoted.

Silk Road procedure opens blocked carotid arteries (video), ABC Los Angeles

This story reports on a new procedure being performed at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center that is part of a clinical trial to help clear plaque-filled carotid arteries. Dr. Wesley Moore, UCLA study investigator and professor emeritus of vascular surgery, is interviewed.

New lungs breathe life (video), Ventura County Star

A Thousand Oaks woman who suffers from a rare lung condition called alpha-1 can breathe now thanks to a double lung transplant performed at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

10-year-old brings Christmas to Mattel Children’s Hospital (video), KTLA 5

Ten-year-old Casey Abram discusses his fourth annual toy drive benefitting the Chase Child Life program at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. Abram, who suffers from a rare intestinal disease and is a frequent patient at the hospital, decided that he wanted to help other kids hospitalized during the holidays by collecting and donating toys.

New video-chatting program lets family see newborns from a distance, Santa Monica Daily Press

A feature on UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica’s new iPad video project, “I See U Baby,” which enables parents and extended families to remotely bond with newborns being cared for in the NICU. The pilot program, now expanding to the Westwood campus, is one of the newest ways UCLA is using technology to make patients and families more comfortable during hospital stays. Leticia Dahlke, NICU assistant director, is quoted.

Stem-cell pioneer exits UCI for private cancer fight, The Orange County Register

A star among UC Irvine stem-cell researchers, Hans Keirstead, has decided to take a leave of absence from the university to conduct advanced tests of new cancer treatments in the private sector. Keirstead, 46, joins California Stem Cell, Inc., in Irvine as its president and chief executive officer.

Experimental tool uses light to tweak the living brain (audio), NPR

UC Berkeley assistant neurobiology professor Hillel Adesnik discusses optogenetics techniques that allow researchers to control brain activity using light. Optogenetics could help explain diseases like epilepsy, Parkinson’s, depression, and possibly schizophrenia, as well as offer potential treatments.

4 ways to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, ABC News

This holiday-focused story about gratitude cites UC Davis research about the benefits of gratitude journaling.

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In the media: Week of Dec. 15

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC San Francisco chancellor resigns to head Gates Foundation, Los Angeles Times

Susan Desmond-Hellmann, chancellor of the medically oriented UC San Francisco since 2009, is resigning to become chief executive of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the extremely well-funded charity that is active worldwide on health and poverty issues. Desmond-Hellmann, 56, will leave the university in March, and a search committee for her replacement is expected to begin work in January, according to an announcement Tuesday by UC system President Janet Napolitano. The dean of UCSF’s medical school, Sam Hawgood, will serve as interim chancellor until a permanent one is hired.

See additional coverage: New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, Associated Press

UC reaches tentative accord with healthcare workers, Los Angeles Times

After more than two years of sometimes tense negotiations, the University of California and its healthcare workers and researchers reached a tentative agreement on pension and wage issues. About 15,000 members of the University Professional & Technical Employees union will vote next week to ratify the proposed contract, which calls for an 11.5% to 13% cost-of-living increase over four years, according to union President Jelger Kalmijn.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Chronicle, Reuters, Associated Press

Meningitis vaccine being considered for UC Santa Barbara students, Los Angeles Times

State and federal officials are evaluating whether to give students at UC Santa Barbara an unlicensed vaccine to prevent further spread of a bacterial meningitis outbreak on campus. The California state and Santa Barbara County departments of public health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the university confirmed Friday that they are working together to determine if Bexsero, a vaccine against type B meningococcal disease that is not yet approved for use in the U.S., would be effective against the particular type of meningitis that sickened four students in November. The move comes after Princeton University got special permission from the Food and Drug Administration to give Bexsero to students and others deemed to be at risk on its campus. Officials at UC Riverside, which reported Monday that a staff member who worked with students had developed suspected bacterial meningitis, said Friday they had not yet confirmed whether the illness was bacterial or viral. UCLA’s T. Warner Hudson and James Cherry are quoted.

See additional coverage: NBC News

Covered California reports 10k enrollments in San Diego region, U-T San Diego

An estimated 10,231 San Diego County residents bought policies from Covered California in October and November, a number that represents 9 percent of the 109,296 enrollments statewide and roughly tracks with the region’s percentage of the state’s overall population. For the first time, the exchange released enrollment data broken out by region Monday, providing more depth on what kind of policies it’s selling in specific parts of California. In San Diego County, Anthem Blue Cross is affiliated with UC San Diego Health System for exchange plans, while Blue Shield is working directly with Scripps Health.

Global push seeks greater spending to improve health, San Francisco Chronicle

Lawrence Summers has a new mission. The former U.S. Treasury secretary and chief economic adviser to President Obama is looking to improve the world’s health dramatically over the next 20 years. Part of his job is to persuade governments – mostly in low- and lower-middle-income countries – to spend tens of billions of dollars a year to get there. Summers was at UCSF Tuesday evening to present a report, “Global Health 2035,” that recommends “a grand convergence” of the international health community “around infectious, child and maternal mortality; major reductions in the incidence and consequences of non-communicable diseases and injuries; and the promise of ‘pro-poor’ universal health coverage.” This piece quotes Gavin Yamey, the report’s lead writer and a senior member of UCSF’s Global Health Group, and mentions UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann.

UC Davis study: PSA testing for prostate cancer plays important role, The Sacramento Bee

UC Davis researchers say that a widely used test for prostate cancer likely plays an important role in catching the disease early, when it is most treatable.

How dogs might protect kids against asthma: gut bacteria, The Wall Street Journal

Scientists studying why pets appear to protect kids against asthma and allergies say the answer might lie in the world of bacteria that live in the gut. A new study published Monday found that exposing mice to dust from households where dogs were allowed outdoors significantly changed the composition of gut microbes in the mice. The article quotes Susan Lynch, an associate professor in the division of gastroenterology at UC San Francisco and senior author of the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

At the University of California Irvine, a big-data revolution, Healthcare Informatics

Change is in the air at the 350-bed University of California Irvine Medical Center (UCI Medical Center) in Irvine, California. There, Charles Boicey, information solutions architect at UCI Medical Center and the University of California Irvine School of Medicine, is helping to lead a broad data strategy that is applying big data analytics strategies to clinical operations and care delivery, and in the process, is leveraging open-source Hadoop technology to create for complete clinical data searchability and availability.

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In the media: Week of Dec. 8

A sampling of news stories involving UC Health:

Napolitano: U.S. doesn’t thrive if UC doesn’t thrive, Los Angeles Times

After two months as UC president, Janet Napolitano talks about tuition freezes, executive compensation and future growth in the university system.

Johns Hopkins again tops in university research spending, The Washington Post

It is customary in higher education to dismiss rankings as misleading and arbitrary, quantifying things that don’t much matter about colleges and universities. But one list of undisputed significance is compiled each year by the National Science Foundation: the top institutions ranked by total research spending. Such money supports laboratories, attracts top faculty and graduate students and gives many undergraduates a chance to learn through experimentation. On this list, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is the perennial and unchallenged national leader. New data from NSF show that Hopkins spent $2.1 billion on research and development in the fiscal year that ended in 2012. The University of Michigan ranked second, spending $1.3 billion. Six others joined Hopkins and Michigan in fiscal 2012 in the billion-dollar club. They were, in order, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Washington, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, Duke University and UCLA.

Narrow networks in Covered California plans causing confusion in San Diego, California Healthline

As the conversation around the implementation of the Affordable Care Act moves beyond the troubled federal website, attention is turning to the details of the insurance products being sold through the federal and state exchanges.Like other regions throughout the country and California, most of the insurance companies selling individual policies in San Diego through Covered California have limited their provider networks to try to hold down premiums. Consumers who already have individually purchased policies are likely to face limited access to doctors and hospitals throughout the region, and some could face marked changes in access to the health care providers they’ve become accustomed to using. UC San Diego is mentioned.

Nobel winner declares boycott of top science journals, The Guardian

Leading academic journals are distorting the scientific process and represent a “tyranny” that must be broken, according to a Nobel prize winner who has declared a boycott on the publications. Randy Schekman, a UC Berkeley biologist who won the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine this year and receives his prize in Stockholm on Tuesday, said his lab would no longer send research papers to the top-tier journals, Nature, Cell and Science. Schekman is the editor of eLife, an online journal set up by the Wellcome Trust. Articles submitted to the journal – a competitor to Nature, Cell and Science – are discussed by reviewers who are working scientists and accepted if all agree. The papers are free for anyone to read. Read Schekman’s op-ed: How journals like Nature, Cell and Science are damaging science.

UC Davis gets $4.4M grant for stem cell research, Sacramento Business Journal

A team at UC Davis got a $4.4 million grant to develop an airway transplant made of stem cells to cure a life-threatening narrowing of the upper windpipe and lower voice box — known as severe airway stenosis. The grant is part of $61 million in funding that the California stem cell agency approved Thursday for research that targets diseases that have not responded to conventional treatment. Other recipients include researchers at UCLA and UC San Diego. Read UC coverage.

UCSF wins $9.45M grant to rethink prostate cancer treatment, San Francisco Business Times

UC San Francisco won a $9.45 million federal grant aimed at revolutionizing the treatment of prostate cancer. The three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Defense is intended to move treatment of the cancer — the second most common form of the disease for U.S. men — more toward “clinical management” and precision medicine, and away from often unnecessary surgery or chemotherapy, while also helping to identify patients who need more aggressive treatments.

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

Becker’s Hospital Review’s list of 100 hospitals with great heart programs includes UCLA and UC San Diego.

Previewing UCSF’s new state of the art children’s hospital (audio), KCBS

In just over a year, the most state of the art Children’s Hospital on the west coast will open in San Francisco, according the UCSF officials. The UCSF facility will replace an old, cramped out-dated space in Parnassus Heights. Now, off Third Street in Mission Bay, rises the new USCF Benioff Children’s Hospital and the adjacent Women’s Cancer Center.

Can an app improve vision?, The Wall Street Journal

An iPhone “Glasses Off” app that claims to reduce or eliminate the need for reading glasses is critiqued. According to Dennis M. Levi, dean of UC Berkeley’s optometry school, the app isn’t a cure for presbyopia, but it makes the brain “better able to interpret” the poor information it gets from aging eyes. He is co-author of a study that evaluated the app, as well as a scientific adviser to GlassesOff.

California asks to use non-approved meningitis vaccine for college outbreak, Reuters

Public health officials in California said on Thursday they had sought permission from the federal government to use a vaccine not approved for use in the United States against an outbreak of meningococcal disease among students in a public university. The outbreak, which resulted in a student at UC Santa Barbara having his feet amputated, is similar to one that has stricken eight students at Princeton University in New Jersey, where students began receiving the European and Australian vaccine this week. This week, a staff member at UC Riverside, east of Los Angeles, was hospitalized with a suspected case of bacterial meningitis, prompting officials there to consider implementing a requirement that all students be vaccinated against it. On Thursday, the dean of the UC Riverside medical school called on the broader UC system to insist on vaccinations at all of its 10 campuses.

UC Riverside staffer has bacterial meningitis, NBC Southern California

A staff member at UC Riverside has an active case of bacterial meningitis, the school announced Monday. “Although the risk of transmission is low, it is best to take precautions,” UCR said in a statement. The diagnosed employee is off campus and anyone who may have come into contact with them will be contacted individually, the school said. Further details about the sickened staffer were not immediately available and it isn’t clear whether they came down with a similar strain of meningitis that has sickened students at UC Santa Barbara and Princeton University.

Obama’s unlocking of federal funding ban on gun research yields little upshot in first year, NBC News

Nearly a year after President Barack Obama ended a 17-year-long virtual freeze on the federal funding of gun-violence research, that thaw has not yet produced scientific breakthroughs because America still lacks the money and minds to churn out pivotal studies on the topic, medical experts contend. Meanwhile, leaders at NIH — acting “in response” to Obama’s push — asked researchers to submit proposals this January for three long-term studies “with particular focus on firearm violence,” the agency announced in September. “This is really good news,” said Dr. Garen Wintemute, director of the UC Davis Violence Research Program and an expert on firearms violence. “I’m sure all around the country people are writing research proposals. We’re certainly doing one here.”

New approach to Alzheimer’s treatment offers hope, The Huffington Post

A group of researchers in San Francisco are exploring a new approach to Alzheimer’s treatment that will tackle an unexplored protein that is closely linked to the disease. Health research backer Wellcome Trust awarded Dr. Robert Mahley of the Gladstone Institutes — an affiliate of UC San Francisco — its Seeding Drug Discovery Award on Monday. The $2.5 million grant gives Mahley’s team three years to develop its novel approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Bridging the gap at UCSD, U-T San Diego

Academic research furnishes the nursery that originates most drugs. But to mature into products, discoveries must be translated from research into products. At UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, this translational role is headed by Ida Deichaite, the center’s director of industry relations. Deichaite holds a doctorate in molecular biology from Princeton, and was associate director of business development at Avanir Pharmaceuticals in San Diego. Deichaite’s academic and business credentials enable her to help these worlds to understand each other. A Q&A with her.

Surgery brings 500-pound woman hope, The Orange County Register

Jennifer Garcia’s doctors told the 29-year-old Moreno Valley mother that she needed to lose the bulk of her 500 pounds if she wanted to live to see her young children become adults. When a local surgeon said she was too heavy for a gastric bypass, Garcia turned to the bariatric surgery team at UC Irvine Medical Center, which offers a two-pronged approach to help such severely obese patients.

Family sues over son’s legionnaire’s disease death at UCSF Medical Center; UC Regents deny allegations, Lake County News

The University of California Regents are denying allegations that UC San Francisco Medical Center failed to take precautions against a deadly bacteria and that a Lake County child died of legionnaire’s disease as a result.

Stressed UC Davis students get mobile mental health help, CNet

UC Davis launches a mobile-friendly website to help students find appropriate mental health resources when they need them, part of a larger mental health initiative. Developer eReadia of Huntingtown, Md., says that the site — called Just in Case — is specifically tailored to the UC Davis community, though the company also maintains sister sites for about a dozen other campuses, four of which are part of the University of California system.

Forum examines price transparency, California Healthline

Experts discussed the thorny issue of price transparency in health care — including the possibility of seeking legislation to align hospital prices in California — at a forum in Sacramento. One suggestion is to establish one central location for all claims data, said Adams Dudley, professor of medicine and health policy at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at UC San Francisco.

Epilepsy patients help decode the brain’s hidden signals (audio), NPR

This story about epilepsy interviews Edward Chang, a neurologist and neurosurgeon at UC San Francisco, whose work with epilepsy patients has led to key findings about how humans .

The secret pleasure of keeping a gratitude journal, The Wall Street Journal

A senior vice president at the nonprofit Healthwise Inc. is asked, “What gift would you give a soon-to-be retiree?” She recommends a gratitude journal – “anything that keeps you aware of, and looking for, the pleasures and gifts of being alive.” She talks about the pleasures of keeping and sharing the journal, adding: “There are health benefits to practicing gratitude, too. The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley has confirmed that practicing gratitude, ‘brings you more positive emotions, better health, stronger relationships, and greater life satisfaction.’ Those are gifts aplenty.”

UC Davis Medical Center honors Nelson Mandela, The Sacramento Bee

Health care professionals from South Africa, Ghana, Cameroon, Sacramento and Oakland gathered at UC Davis Medical Center Thursday to honor former South African President Nelson Mandela. Heather M. Young, dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, who was born in South Africa, said that Mandela represented a person of clarity, passion and commitment who never waivered from his course.

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In the media: Week of Dec. 1

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Faced with too few physicians, California offers free medical school (video), CBS Evening News

California’s shortage of primary-care doctors has left Jennifer Han in the unique position of starting medical school and not having to worry about the cost. She could be racking up $36,000 a year in medical-school debt — just for tuition. But she won’t have to pay that. “I think it is an amazing deal,” she said. Han is the first student at the new University of California Riverside Medical School to get this rather unique deal. “Basically you get medical school for free,” said the school’s dean, Dr. Richard Olds. With money donated to the school, he’s planning to offer five full-ride scholarships to students who agree to stay in the area for five years after they graduate and choose primary care rather than more lucrative specialty fields such as radiology and anesthesiology.

UC nurses ratify four-year contract, Sacramento Business Journal

Members of the California Nurses Association have ratified a new contract that gives nurses a 16 percent wage increase over the next four years. Longtime nurses may qualify for up to 8 percent more. The pact covers almost 12,000 registered nurses at five UC student health centers and five UC medical centers.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Business Times

Cedars-Sinai and UCLA Health teaming up to open rehab hospital, Los Angeles Times

Two longtime rivals, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA Health System, are teaming up to open a 138-bed rehabilitation hospital in Century City, reflecting both the growing need for this specialty care and the pressure on hospitals to control costs. The two health care giants in West Los Angeles will jointly own the new hospital along with Select Medical Holdings Corp., a Pennsylvania health care company that runs rehabilitation facilities across the country. The three partners say they plan to renovate the former Century City Hospital that has been closed for about four years and reopen it in late 2015.

Op-ed: Public universities could spawn more Nobelists, San Francisco Chronicle

UC Berkeley professor Randy Schekman, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Medicine, writes about the importance of investing in public universities. Schekman, who will receive the award in a ceremony Dec. 10, notes how he was a beneficiary of that investment as an undergraduate student at UCLA and has remained a faculty member at UC Berkeley for more than 37 years.

As hospital prices soar, a stitch tops $500, The New York Times

This article about hospital costs highlights California Pacific Medical Center. The article mentions UCSF and quotes UC Berkeley public health professor James Robinson.

See additional coverage: KQED

Leapfrog Group names 23 California hospitals as top performers, California Healthline/Sacramento Bee

The Leapfrog Group has named nearly two dozen California hospitals to its 2013 list of top U.S. hospitals that deliver high-quality care, including UC Davis Medical Center and UC San Francisco Medical Center at Mount Zion.

Students at UC Santa Barbara unsettled by meningitis outbreak, Los Angeles Times

As health officials announced the fourth case of meningitis at UC Santa Barbara, many students say they’re taking precautions ahead of exams next week. The Santa Barbara campus previously announced that it was providing preventive antibiotics to more than 500 students identified as close contacts of the first students to become ill. The university also is cleansing and disinfecting residence halls, recreation centers and sports facilities.

See additional coverage: New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post

UCSD scientists invent MRSA ‘nanosponge’ vaccine, U-T San Diego

UCSD scientists have created a vaccine for the deadly MRSA infection, using ‘nanosponge’ technology they previously used to soak up MRSA toxins and other poisons and venoms. The vaccine is effective in mice, they showed in a study; and their goal is to get it into human clinical trials. The study was published Sunday in Nature Nanotechnology. Liangfang Zhang, a nanoengineering professor at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, was senior author on the paper.

UCI implementing new model for patient-centered senior care, Physicians News Network: Orange County

With an eye toward health care reform, University of California, Irvine, has spent the last year creating a new patient-centered medical home focusing on the elderly. The new health care delivery model is expected to be fully implemented in early 2014. Dr. Lisa Gibbs, the medical director for UCI’s senior health center and chief of division of geriatric medicine and gerontology, said while UCI has always been innovative, the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) seeks to improve patient outcomes and lower overall health care costs.

A surgeon’s review of Google Glass in the operating room, Fast Company

For a little over three months now, Dr. Pierre Theodore, a UC San Francisco cartdiothoracic surgeon, has been using Google Glass in the operating room. Although he’s tapped the functionality during procedures on just 10 patients, for various cancer mass removals, fluid removal and a lung restoration, Theodore may have more experience using Glass in a serious medical setting than any other doctor in the world. His conclusion so far: the technology is indeed useful in the operating room as an adjunct device in delivering necessary information, but it still has miles to go as a product.

Calif. health insurers restrict doctor choices to lower costs (audio), Capital Public Radio

Jerry Kominski with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research says the trend of narrowing provider networks to keep costs down is not new. But it’s been accelerating under the Affordable Care Act. It happens in group health plans too.

Study: Having health insurance doesn’t make people reckless, Yahoo Health

Some economists argue that universal healthcare coverage could actually make people less healthy by causing them to become more reckless with their health. However, a study conducted by researchers at UC Davis and the University of Rochester showed that health insurance coverage had no significant effect on a person’s behavior, except for a close link to use of preventative care, which increased when individuals had insurance coverage.

Nursing students being turned away amid faculty shortage in Cal State system, Los Angeles Daily News

A need for more nurses across the state has been compounded by the lack of faculty to train students looking to enter the field, according to officials in the Cal State University system. The story cites a 2012 UC San Francisco survey of more than 5,500 registered nurses in the state, conducted for the California Board of Registered Nursing.

Anthem Blue Cross: ACOs make progress on quality, San Francisco Business Times

Anthem Blue Cross, one of California’s largest health plans, said Thursday that four medical groups in its affordable care organization network have made major quality gains since joining the ACO. The groups include the Santa Clara IPA, best known as SCCIPA, Torrance-based HealthCare Partners, and Sharp Community Medical Group and Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, both based in San Diego. The article notes that the 800-doctor Santa Clara County IPA, led by President J. Kersten Kraft, has been engaged in affiliation talks with UCSF Medical Center since last spring.

Health information exchange taking root in Northern California, California Healthline

Northern California health information organizations are helping lay the groundwork for the next steps in expanding health information exchange throughout the state. Their participation in pilot programs for secure messaging, rural health information exchange and personal health records puts Northern California communities in the forefront of the campaign to increase the use of health information technology. Three Northern California HIOs — the venerable Santa Cruz HIE, the one-year-old North Coast Health Information Network and the UC Davis Health System — are participating in California Health eQuality’s California Trust Framework pilot. The effort started in June and runs for six months.

Soft robots could improve medicine (video), Inside Science

A team led by UC Berkeley associate bioengineering professor Seung-Wuk Lee is developing a new type of “soft” nanotech robot that could operate in extremely small spaces, including inside the body. “Our hair is 100 microns, so therefore we can make our materials smaller than our hairs,” professor Lee says. Activated by near-infrared laser light, the robots offer medical promise for new ways of delivering medicine, tissue engineering, or taking tissue samples without surgery.

CRISPR for cures?, The Scientist

UC Berkeley molecular and cell biology professor Jennifer Doudna, a pioneer in the development of a genetic engineering technique, comments on two studies published today. Both show that the technique, called CRISPR, can be used to rewrite genetic defects to effectively cure diseases in mice and human stem cells. Professor Doudna says the studies “show the potential for using the technology to correct disease-causing mutations, and that’s what very exciting here. … I think each time an advance like this is made, people are more sure that this is a technique that is likely to be useful in treating humans.”


Oxytocin found to stimulate social brain regions in children with autism, The New York Times

Scientists are investigating whether oxytocin, which plays a role in emotional bonding, trust and many biological processes, can improve social behavior in people with autism. Karen Bales, a psychologist at UC Davis who conducted research on oxytocin, cautioned that repeated use might tell the brain to make less oxytocin than it would produce naturally.

Immune system may play crucial role in mental health, USA Today

Growing research suggests a link between the body’s immune system and mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and autism. Judy Van de Water, an immunologist at the UC Davis MIND Institute, said that researchers are still working out the connection between the immune system and autism.

Think Tank: How to get California kids physically fit, California Healthline

Last year, about one third of California’s fifth, seventh and ninth graders passed all six sections of the annual state physical fitness test, according to a state Department of Education report released last month. James Sallis, UC San Diego professor of family and preventive medicine, is among those who respond in this piece about what should be done to increase California youngsters’ physical fitness.

Op-ed: Democrats should push back on health care law, San Francisco Chronicle

UC Berkeley public policy professor Robert Reich writes about the Republican campaign to destroy the Affordable Care Act in popular opinion by making it, as he says, “so detestable it becomes the fearsome centerpiece of the midterm elections of 2014.” He concludes: “Republicans have created a tempest out of trivialities.  It is incumbent on Democrats — from the president on down — to show Americans the larger picture.”

Stefano Bertozzi: Winning the war aginst AIDS, TB and malaria, National Post

In an op-ed, UC Berkeley School of Public Health Dean Stefano Bertozzi writes that because of investments made by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and others, the world is achieving tremendous progress against these diseases.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Nov. 24

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Government budget cuts and the crisis in scientific research, Los Angeles Times

A couple of reminders of America’s seeming determination to turn its scientific pastures into wastelands arrived this week, and the picture is scary. One came courtesy of the embassy of Sweden, which earlier this week hosted nine new American Nobel laureates for a symposium about their work. Prompted by questions from the audience, the discussion turned to the sorry state of government funding for basic research in the U.S. As Yale’s James E. Rothman, one of three laureates in medicine, observed, the purchasing power of grants from the National Institutes of Health has declined by 28% over the last seven or eight years. UC Berkeley’s Randy W. Schekman, a co-winner in medicine, said that the drying up of funding in the U.S. is reversing the trend of researchers coming to the U.S. from abroad to make their discoveries.

California hospital officials not impressed by research on ‘out-of-control costs’, California Healthline

California hospital officials are not impressed with recently published research suggesting a handful of hospitals are charging patients and the government too much for certain procedures. The story mentions UC Davis, UCLA and UC San Francisco and quotes UC Davis Health System CFO Tim Maurice and UCLA Health spokeswoman Dale Tate and Chief Medical Officer Tom Rosenthal,

Covered California unplugs most top hospitals from patients, CalWatchDog

A survey of the state’s top hospitals, including UC medical centers, has revealed that most contract with only one or two insurance companies under Obamacare, even though the Covered California exchange has 11 companies to choose from.

Confused by California’s health insurance exchange? Here is help, Los Angeles Times

UC Berkeley’s Labor Center has a helpful guide to the online health insurance process of California’s health insurance exchange.

When health plans drop your doctor: Are narrow networks a bad idea?, California Healthline

UCLA is mentioned in this story about narrow networks and health care reform.

As U.S. government ponders future of e-cigarettes, UC Merced joins growing movement to ban them, Merced Sun-Star

While the federal government decides how to regulate electronic cigarettes, many university officials across the country are moving ahead with their own rules about e-cigs on campus.As of Jan. 1, the University of California at Merced will be “smoke and tobacco free,” said Kristin Hlubik, UC Merced’s health promotion coordinator. All 10 campuses in the University of California system are following a mandate made last year by then-Board of Regents President Mark Yudof.

Trial model could fast track cancer drugs (video), ABC 7

For decades most women diagnosed with breast cancer could expect to have their tumor removed as the first step in their treatment, with chemotherapy to follow. But a twist on that timetable is helping researchers to test drugs much more quickly, and in the case of a Bay Area company, to get a new treatment to patients faster. employed an emerging clinical trial method known as neoadjuvant. It calls for starting breast cancer patients on a drug therapy before surgery rather than after. That allows researchers to gauge the drug’s effectiveness at shrinking the tumor. The model has been championed by UCSF breast cancer researcher Laura Esserman. “Those of us who are trying to push the envelope and shorten the time it takes to get effective drugs to patients are cheering this,” says Esserman. “The whole idea is as soon as you know something is really effective, we want to get it to patients as quickly as possible.”

Even California’s preschool age kids eating fast food regularly, KQED

Two-thirds of children between the ages of 2 to 5 years old eat fast-food at least once a week in California, according to a study released Monday by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

See additional coverage: KPCC, California Healthline

Study sees spike in cost of long-term care, Sacramento Business Journal

An unprecedented rise in the number of seniors in California over the next decade could nearly double Medi-Cal long-term-care costs to $12.4 billion annually, a UC Berkeley study concludes.

Social impacts on health tended to in new program, San Francisco Chronicle

UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco are mentioned in this story about patient navigators.

Experts back ‘nanny state’ health efforts, San Francisco Chronicle

Claire Brindis, Robert Lustig and Laura Schmidt of UCSF, who have studied the impact of sugar, have advised the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on a ballot measure planned for November 2014 that would levy a 2-cent-per-ounce tax on sodas and other sugary drinks.

Miss Bigelow: Code Green, San Francisco Chronicle

Even before Green Day ratcheted up the volume and Blondie belted out its last note last week at AT&T Park, Salesforce founder-CEO Marc Benioff and his wife, philanthropist Lynne Benioff, had already raised a record $6.5 million for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and its new partner, Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. The Concert for Kids, produced by Salesforce Foundation and organized by UCSF Director of Special Events & Communications Kelley O’Brien, attracted 3,000 Salesforce employees and vendors, who were in town to attend Benioff’s annual Dreamforce conference. The Benioffs and UCSF hospital CEO Mark Laret are quoted.

Telemedicine consults may reduce errors at rural ERs, Reuters

Emergency rooms in rural areas don’t see many very sick or badly injured children each year. When they do, bringing in a pediatric critical care specialist by videoconference to help with treatment could prevent errors, a new UC Davis study suggests. The article quotes Dr. James Marcin, the study’s senior author, who is on the telemedicine team at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Madan Dharmar, the new study’s lead author, who is also from the UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

Study involving Bay Area firefighters confirms cancer risk (video), CBS San Francisco

A new report by researchers with the National Institutes of Safety and Health shows that cancer is a serious threat to firefighters. “It’s a significant risk,” said UC Davis professor Jay Beaumont, one of the study’s researchers. “You can imagine the smoldering rubble of a building, all the different chemicals that are given off.”

UCLA partners with startup to build smart, connected cane, Mobihealthnews

The UCLAWireless Health Institute has teamed up with smart cane startup Isowalk to create a sensor-laden cane that could be used to predict falls or help speed up recovery for injured athletes.

How to start a year-round family gratitude ritual, The New York Times

Sociologist Christine Carter, director of the parenting program at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center (here described as the “epicenter for research on happiness and gratitude”), is mentioned in a story about giving thanks year-round. Every day, she asks her daughters about a few things that made them happy that day. She says that once children are in the habit of talking about these things, gratitude follows naturally.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Nov. 17

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

UC labor walkout affects medical centers, dining operations, Los Angeles Times

Some elective surgeries were postponed, some student dining halls were closed and some classes were canceled Wednesday as a one-day labor strike had a noticeable yet uneven impact at UC’s medical centers and campuses Wednesday. The walkout by thousands of service workers, patient care employees, student tutors and others was reported to be peaceful with no arrests at nine campuses and five medical centers from Davis to San Diego. Tom Rosenthal, chief medical officer for the UCLA hospital system, said the day turned out to be “an easier proposition” than originally feared and that some replacement workers were sent home early. Still, he said as many as 15 surgeries were postponed and $2.5 million incurred from replacement workers’ wages and lost revenues. UC Irvine reported 40 postponed surgeries. UC system spokeswoman Shelly Meron said the strike was pointless. “Patients and students suffered and it got us no closer to the contract, which is really the end goal here,” she said.

See additional coverage: Salon, Sacramento Bee, U-T San Diego, Orange County Register, Riverside Press-Enterprise (video), Associated Press, Bay City News, CBS Los Angeles (video), CBS Sacramento (video), CW 6/City News Service (video)Fox San Diego (video), KCOY (video), KGO (audio), KION, KPBS (audio), KTLA (video), KTVU, NBC San Diego (video), Reuters

Hospital workers, custodians and tutors plan UC strike Wednesday, Los Angeles Times

UC campuses and medical centers are preparing for a one-day strike Wednesday by service workers, patient care employees and student tutors. Some elective surgeries and treatments have been postponed at the system’s hospitals and replacement workers are being hired, officials said. The main strike is by the union that represents 22,000 custodians, gardeners, food workers, respiratory therapists, radiology technicians and others at UC’s five medical centers and nine of its campuses. AFSCME 3299 conducted a two-day strike at the hospitals in May and now its leaders contend that UC administrators are seeking to enforce unfair labor practices and dangerously low staffing levels. UC administrators are urging the union to call off its strike and resume talks. They deny the labor allegations of harassment and contend that the main sticking points in contract negotiations include the union’s resistance to higher employee contributions for pensions that other workers already pay.

See additional coverage: San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, U-T San Diego, ABC 10, CBS Los Angeles (video), NBC Bay Area, Sacramento Business Journal, Orange County Register

UC medical centers bracing for employee strike, employee relations board to seek court intervention, The Sacramento Bee

With front-line patient-care workers set to go on strike Wednesday, University of California officials said today that a walkout would postpone surgeries, upend cancer treatments and delay everything from emergency care to simple lab-test results. Meanwhile, the Public Employment Relations Board has said it will seek a temporary restraining order on the union planning the one-day strike, AFSCME Local 3299, to limit the number of workers who can participate.

See additional coverage: U-T San Diego, Sacramento Business Journal, San Francisco Business Times

UC reaches tentative contract with nurses, averting walkout, Los Angeles Times

The University of California reached a tentative contract agreement with unionized nurses at its medical and student-health facilities, averting a one-day walkout that had been scheduled for Wednesday. The four-year agreement still needs to be voted on by the 11,700 UC nurses who belong to the California Nurses Assn., or CNA. Contract highlights released by UC call for annual 4% pay increases through 2017. The nurses have agreed not to join in a one-day strike on Wednesday in sympathy with a walkout still scheduled by the AFSCME local 3299, which represents 22,000 patient-care workers, custodians and food workers at UC’s five medical centers and 10 campuses.

See additional coverage: KCBS (audio), Sacramento Business Journal

UCSF Medical Center to move 300 financial staffers to Emeryville, San Francisco Business Times

UCSF Medical Center is moving 300 finance and patient registration workers to Emeryville, according to an informed source and internal UCSF emails.The move was originally scheduled for early December but has been pushed back to Jan. 10, according to a source familiar with the hospital’s plans. The staffers, who now work at 2300 Harrison Street in San Francisco, are moving to 6425 Christie Street in Emeryville, a building that has a Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland site on the first floor.

UC Davis Health System profits double, Sacramento Business Journal

Net income at the UC Davis Health System increased last year, as core business remained steady, revenue climbed and admissions rose almost 2 percent.

UCLA Medical Center, military hospital form partnership to help veterans, Los Angeles Daily News

This story reports on the new Ronald A. Katz Center for Collaborative Military Medicine at UCLA, where faculty will partner with the armed forces to address the unique challenges of healing and caring for the nation’s most critically wounded warriors.

Salesforce summit reinforces message: Share it, San Francisco Chronicle

As Salesforce grew into one of the largest employers in San Francisco, CEO Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne, have emerged among the city’s top philanthropists. In 2011, they donated $100 million toward building the new children’s hospital at UCSF, which is slated to open in 2015. Mark Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center, is quoted.

Science budget issues lead to scientific exodus, Science Magazine

Even if you’re a Nobel laureate, getting your science funded can be difficult, especially in the current, post-sequester fiscal climate. UC Berkeley professor Randy Schekman, who shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine with James Rothman and Thomas Südhof, is quoted.

Innovation, policy outlook for autism, California Healthline

A Senate select committee last week held a hearing in Santa Ana to examine a successful public-private autism research and treatment partnership in Orange County, and to see what legislation might be needed for autism care in the next year. One part of the solution is the autism work that’s been done within the public Children and Families Commission of Orange County and the private not-for-profit Thompson Center for Autism. Ralph Clayman, dean of the UC Irvine School of Medicine, is quoted. “I would envision something in Southern California similar to the MIND Institute that you have in Northern California,” he said. The MIND Institute — for Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders — is a research facility based at UC Davis.

More changes coming for California’s disparate county health systems, California Healthline

California’s 58 counties, each operating its own health system under an established set of rules over the past several decades, are undergoing fundamental shifts in how they provide health care for low-income residents. The rules are changing. The two biggest vehicles of change are the Affordable Care Act and its Medicaid expansion. In addition, the relationship between state and county governments in California is being realigned, shifting responsibility and funding for physical and mental health care. Dylan Roby, a researcher at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, is quoted. Roby co-wrote a UCLA safety-net study released last week that examined California’s experiment with low-income health programs.

How to sort through new health plans, Los Angeles Times

Ken Jacobs, chair of UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education, offers a tip to people hunting for health insurance, saying: “People should be conservative in their [income] estimates,” to avoid having to repay subsidies. “If your income changes, that should be reported right away. … Doing so makes a very big difference in what people can owe at tax time.”

Researchers dig deeper for Alzheimer’s cure, San Francisco Chronicle

This story about research into Alzheimer’s disease quotes Dr. Gil Rabinovici, a neurologist in UCSF’s Memory and Aging Center, and Dr. Lennart Mucke, director of the UCSF-affiliated Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease.

Anal cancer study offers hope of treatment, San Francisco Chronicle

It affects the part of the body no one wants to discuss and remains one of the most stigmatized of diseases: anal cancer.  In the general population, the disease strikes more women than men. But in HIV-infected men, the risk is much greater. Dr. Joel Palefsky, an infectious disease expert at UCSF, saw the connection between anal cancer, HPV and HIV when he founded the Anal Neoplasia Clinic at UCSF’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, the world’s first clinic devoted to researching, screening and preventing the disease. Palefsky is also the president of the International Anal Neoplasia Society, which will hold its first international conference this weekend in San Francisco.  As part of a projected $89 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, Palefsky will be the lead investigator for a national study to screen about 17,000 people for high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions, the abnormal cellular changes that put someone at high risk of developing anal cancer.

UCLA study: Low-fat diet, fish oil supplements could help prevent growth of prostate cancer, CBS Los Angeles

This story reports on a study by Dr. William Aronson that found that men on a low-fat fish oil diet were able to change their prostate cancer tissue. Aronson is a clinical professor of urology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and chief of urologic oncology at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Gut bacteria might guide the workings of our minds (audio), NPR

A feature on research, including work at UCLA, studying the connections between the brain and gut and in particular, the impact of the bacteria that lives in the intestines.  Dr. Emeran Mayer, UCLA professor of medicine in the division of digestive diseases and director of the Oppenheimer Family Center for the Neurobiology of Stress, is interviewed.

New pediatric oncology clinic opens (video), KGET

A joint program between the division of pediatric hematology and oncology at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA and the Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center (CBCC) in Bakersfield officially opened its clinic this week.  The local clinic will provide access to renowned UCLA pediatric oncologists and reduce the need for children and their families to travel outside of Kern County for their care.  Dr. Noah Federman, assistant professor of pediatric hematology/oncology at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, is interviewed.

Growing our cures cell by cell in the lab, The Columbus Dispatch

Recently in the U.S., centers for regenerative medicine — the science of growing cells, tissue and organs to replace or repair damaged ones — have been growing in number. The National Center for Regenerative Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland listed UC Davis as one of the biggest researchers in this field.

Insight: ADHD grows up (audio), Capital Public Radio

Julie Schweitzer and Faye Dixon from the UC Davis MIND Institute are interviewed about attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adults.

Stop juicing: It’s not healthy, and the mentality is dangerous, Business Insider

Health and food experts warn against juice cleanse programs. Elizabeth Applegate, a senior lecturer in the nutrition department at UC Davis, said juice cleanses are not effective for weight loss, and described some of the other perceived benefits as “placebo effect.”

Mystery man comes forward in Lynne Spalding case, San Francisco Chronicle

The mystery man who reported seeing a person in a locked stairwell at San Francisco General Hospital four days before a missing patient’s body was found there has come forward, a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday. The man is a researcher at UCSF who works at San Francisco General, said spokeswoman Rachael Kagan. He contacted authorities last week after learning that police, sheriff’s deputies and hospital officials were eager to talk to whoever had reported to a nursing supervisor Oct. 4 that he had seen a prone person on a stairwell landing.

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In the media: Week of Nov. 10

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Sequester woes for research, Inside Higher Ed

The automatic federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, that took effect in March have forced universities to lay off research-related personnel, delay projects and admit fewer graduate students, according to a new survey released Monday. Eighty-one percent of responding institutions said that sequestration was directly affecting their research activities. More than half of universities said that the decrease in new federal grant opportunities — and the shrinking value of some existing grants — had prompted them to reduce research-related positions, and nearly a quarter of institutions said they had already laid off research employees. The chancellor of tUCLA, Gene Block, estimated that his institution had lost $50 million in federal funding because of sequestration. He said that further reductions, coupled with declining state support, would severely cripple research projects.

Providers link with Covered California plans, U-T San Diego

Health coverage is only as good as the doctors who accept it, an important truth for anyone buying a policy from Covered California, the state’s new medical marketplace. The doctor networks supporting plans in the new health exchange, which is the main place for uninsured Californians to purchase subsidized policies, are getting more attention as residents compare and contrast offerings from different insurance companies. In some cases, the doctor decision is straightforward. Big providers like Sharp HealthCare and Kaiser Permanente each offer their own plans backed by their own doctor networks. In other cases, the connection between insurance companies and providers is not as obvious. For example, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California have worked their own deals with local providers to back the plans they offer in the exchange. Blue Cross has partnered with UC San Diego as its top-tier provider, while Blue Shield has selected Scripps Health. Paul Viviano, chief executive of UC San Diego Health System, is quoted.

See additional coverage: Orange County Register

‘Endless path of misery:’ Typhoon aid workers rush to restore vital water supplies (video), NBC Nightly News

The quest for clean water has become a life-or-death ordeal in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan’s massive storm surge and high winds devastated the country, emergency aid workers said, and quick action needs to be taken to prevent further disease and dehydration.  Dr. Kristi Koenig, a disaster medicine expert at UC Irvine and a spokeswoman for the American College of Emergency Physicians, is interviewed.

UCSF testing new ways to treat uterine fibroids, San Francisco Chronicle

This story reports on a clinical trial being conducted through UCSF’s Comprehensive Fibroid Center on an approved but not widely used nonsurgical technique that relies on a magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, with a specially designed ultrasound device that sends targeted waves to kill the fibroids. The waves heat the fibroids, which cause the cells inside to die, without affecting surrounding tissue or organs. The procedure, called MR guided focused ultrasound, is one of two relatively new techniques being studied in clinical trials at UCSF as alternatives to traditional fibroid surgery.

Unlocking brain’s mysteries, U-T San Diego

A list of 10 San Diego neuroscience researchers whose work has proven to be especially influential includes UC San Diego’s Ralph Greenspan, Nick Spitzer and Larry Squire.

UCSD to take part in major Alzheimer’s trial, U-T San Diego

Alzheimer’s disease has thwarted the best of modern medicine. No treatment can halt the brain-destroying illness. It’s the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and third in San Diego, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. In January, researchers will start the most ambitious effort yet to find the causes of Alzheimer’s, stop the disease, and ultimately prevent it. About 6,000 volunteers will be studied at 60 locations across the United States, including UC San Diego, one of the study’s main centers. For the first time, an Alzheimer’s drug will be tested exclusively on people who show no symptoms, said UC San Diego Alzheimer’s researcher Dr. Paul Aisen, a leader in the trial.

Stem cell agency reaching patients, U-T San Diego

UC San Diego is highlighted in this story about the state’s stem cell agency.

Building a medical school like no other, UC Riverside School of Medicine Dean G. Richard Olds (video), Successful Physicians Monthly

UC Riverside’s new school of medicine is a bit radical and outside the box. Yet, the medical school’s founding dean, G. Richard Olds, says the fledgling program is uniquely designed around what the Inland Empire needs.

Study: Morning people win, The Atlantic

A new study by UC Berkeley psychologists Lauren Asarnow, Eleanor McGlinchey, and Allison Harvey correlated grade point averages and self-reported emotional status with bedtime data during the school year for 2,700 students aged 13 to 18, with three check-ins in 1995, 1996, and one between 2001 and 2002. The key findings were that those with later bedtimes had the worst overall academic performance during the third check-in, and that those who got to bed latest in the first check-in had higher levels of emotional distress later.

See additional coverage: Time

Former Cal basketball player earns college degree, The Associated Press

There were moments Tierra Rogers questioned whether she would stay in college, let alone do enough to earn her degree.The former California basketball player, who never played a single minute because of a rare heart condition that could have killed her, has that diploma in hand at last — four years after a frightening collapse that derailed her college career before it began.  On Sept. 21, 2009, Rogers collapsed at Haas Pavilion after she had trouble breathing during a workout. She was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she spent a week for testing and observation. Once doctors determined she had a cardiac condition, she was transferred to UC San Francisco Medical Center. There, doctors discovered her condition — Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia — and implanted a defibrillator. Most with her rare heart condition never know, until it’s too late, because it is often fatal. Last year, Rogers even began taking part in a clinical trial at UC San Francisco in an effort to help others with her condition.

Wearing your smartphone — not too smart?, Public News Service

Epidemiologist Joel Moskowitz, director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Family and Community Health, is concerned about the increasing incidence of people wearing smartphones or computers. He says he hopes information about the risks of electromagnetic fields will eventually emerge from technology companies the way the truth about smoking did from the tobacco industry. “I’ve been waiting for a whistle-blower for the last five years since I’ve been involved in this issue, but haven’t had any forthcoming, unfortunately,” he says. “But if you know of any whistle-blowers and they want to send me documents, I can assure that they will be protected.”

Should Dr. Robot replace Dr. Mom in providing primary health care?, The Washington Post

UC Berkeley economics professor Brad DeLong is quoted on a story about the proposition that some doctors’ services be replaced by robots. He has noted that robots can now do lots of things that only humans could do, such as manipulating fine objects and interacting with humans, but humans maintain an advantage when it comes to “thinking of new things to do, and thinking of better ways to do things.” In the medical profession, this means that robots should be hired to do the routine stuff, like analyzing blood tests, while humans should use their skill in research devising new medical treatments or using patient interaction to think of better ways to treat the patient.

Forum explores valley fever, The Stockton Record

UC Merced, UC San Francisco Fresno Medical Education Program and California State University, Fresno, hosted Valley Fever Research Day to come up with specifics on how the three institutions could work together to combat valley fever.

Radiation issues prompt shutdown of UCI research center, Voice of OC

A cutting-edge brain research center at UC Irvine quietly ceased human experiments in 2012 when government inspectors uncovered multiple quality problems, including poor sanitation practices and tainted drugs, according to officials and records. A UC Irvine spokesman said the Brain Imaging Center’s “radio-chemistry lab was shut down in February 2012” because of “irregularities.” An investigation occurred, and the program has remained closed since. He added that some equipment is available for regular clinical testing of patients.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

In the media: Week of Nov. 3

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Sanford donates $100 million to UCSD, U-T San Diego

Philanthropist Denny Sanford is donating $100 million to UC San Diego to speed up attempts to turn discoveries about human stem cells into drugs and therapies to treat everything from cancer and Alzheimer’s disease to spinal-cord injuries and weak hearts. The gift from the South Dakota businessman, who has a home in La Jolla, is the second largest in campus history — exceeded only by the $110 million donation that Qualcomm cofounder Irwin Jacobs contributed to help the University of California San Diego become a power in engineering. Sanford’s donation is also among the 15 largest gifts nationwide this year, and it pushes him past $1 billion in lifetime giving.

See additional coverage: Los Angeles Times

UCR Med Year One: A special report, The Riverside Press-Enterprise

What is it like to be a first-year medical student in the first year of a brand new medical school? This story begins an occasional series exploring that question with the help of five members of the UC Riverside School of Medicine inaugural class who have agreed to share their experiences — first encounters with patients, exploring the human body in the anatomy lab and more.

UC patient care workers announce a strike, The Associated Press

Thousands of University of California patient care workers have voted to go on strike for the second time in five months. The 21,000 members of AFSCME Local 3299 voted Friday to strike for 24 hours on Nov. 20. AFSCME says management has attempted to illegally threaten members — who include nurses, X-ray and surgical technicians and others. The union also accuses managers of dangerous cost-cutting and staffing practices that put patients at risk. Workers previously went on strike in May. Dwaine Duckett, UC’s vice president for human resources, said in a statement that the university has been flexible on wages, pensions and benefits. He also said UC had absorbed millions in state cuts and must be fiscally prudent.

A medical lab in the palm of your hand, Slate

Not everyone can visit a medical clinic — but almost everyone can use a cellphone. Learn how UCLA professor Aydogan Ozcan is changing the field of medical testing by turning smartphones into portable laboratories.

U.S. biologist Randy Schekman on being a Nobel Prize winner, Financial Times

UC Berkeley molecular and cell biology professor Randy Schekman is interviewed two weeks after winning the Nobel Prize.

Dorsett, others show signs of CTE (video), ESPN Outside the Lines

Pro Football Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Joe DeLamielleure, and former NFL All-Pro Leonard Marshall have been diagnosed as having signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative condition many scientists say is caused by head trauma and linked to depression and dementia, doctors have told “Outside the Lines.” The three former stars underwent brain scans and clinical evaluations during the past three months at UCLA, as did an unidentified ex-player whose test results are not yet available. Last year, UCLA tested five other former players and diagnosed all five as having signs of CTE, marking the first time doctors found signs of the crippling disease in living former players. The research team, in affiliation with a company named TauMark, includes: UC Davis forensic pathologist Bennet Omalu, who discovered CTE in football players; UCLA psychiatrist Gary Small and pharmacologist Jorge Barrio; and neurosurgeon Julian Bailes, co-director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute in Evanston, Ill.

Doctors see Google Glass as useful diagnostic tool, San Francisco Chronicle

At UCSF, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Pierre Theodore has begun a pilot program using Google Glass to assist in surgery.

‘The more we looked into the mystery of Crispr, the more interesting it seemed’, The Independent

Scientists have known about the technique for years, but always assumed it was junk. Then Jennifer Doudna of UC Berkeley began to study it. Her findings could transform medicine.

Deborah Cohan, UCSF doctor, shakes booty on YouTube before mastectomy (video), NBC Bay Area

A YouTube video of a Bay Area doctor dancing with the surgery in an operating room has officially gone viral. That’s because this doctor is also a patient. And it’s moments before she is about to go into surger for a bilateral mastectomy. It’s literally uplifting, the kind of video to bring a smile to your lips and tears to your eyes, all at the same time. Clad in a baggy blue gown and colorful cap, Dr. Deborah Cohan,an OB/GYN at the University of California at San Francisco, dances with her pals in scrubs to Beyonce’s “Get Me Bodied.”

See additional coverage: CBS San Francisco, CNN, New York Daily News, The Huffington Post, Today

Berkeley clinic offers help for nearsighted kids (video), ABC San Francisco

The explosion of mobile devices and tablet computers is impacting the lives of a generation of children, but it could also be taking a serious toll on their eyesight as well. The myopia problem has become so prevalent that the University of California has opened a dedicated Myopia Control Clinic at the School of Optometry. Assistant Professor Maria Liu, O.D., Ph.D., says one of the goals is to spot and treat near sightedness in some of the youngest patients.

UC pulls plug on electronic cigarettes in systemwide smoking ban, The Oakland Tribune

A systemwide smoking ban at University of California campuses includes the controversial electronic cigarette, a tobacco smoking device whose backers claim is safer than traditional smokes. The ban takes effect Jan. 2 and includes smokeless tobacco, or chew.

Universities seek public input during Valley Fever Research Day, Valley Public Radio

This Saturday, community members are invited to attend Valley Fever Research Day at the UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education and Research. The event is an opportunity for researchers from UCSF Fresno, UC Merced, and Fresno State to connect with community members who have been impacted by the disease. “The goal is to help us as researchers understand more about valley fever, and about the impact on people’s lives, and to form partnerships to make changes, and address issues to improve people’s lives,” says Paul Brown, director of the Health Sciences Research Institute at UC Merced.

UCSC robot stars in blockbuster ‘Ender’s Game’, Santa Cruz Sentinel

A bionic robot built by UC Santa Cruz scientists joins Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield on the big screen for the release of the blockbuster film “Ender’s Game.” With its pumping pistons and two steely probing arms, the robot — dubbed Raven II — looks like it was built for the futuristic dystopian film based on the 1980 Orson Scott Card novel. The dream role, however, for this machine is in a doctor’s surgical suite. Designed by UCSC physicist Jacob Rosen and colleagues at the University of Washington, Raven II was designed to both simplify and reduce the invasiveness of prostate and other surgeries.

New map shows health technology reach, California Healthline

On Monday, California Health eQuality released a map of health information organizations across the state. It shows a marked increase from last year’s tally of counties that have some kind of health information exchange network. “It shows progress,” said Rayna Caplan, senior program officer at the UC-Davis Institute for Population and Health Improvement, which oversees the CHeQ program. “Communities of providers around the state have been working tirelessly for years on this, and [this map] shows they’re succeeding.”

Primary care doctors don’t have the best tools for treating depression, Time

Patients who used an interactive computer program about depression while waiting to see a primary-care doctor were nearly twice as likely to ask about the condition and significantly more likely to receive a recommendation for antidepressant drugs or a mental-health referral, according to a new study by researchers at UC Davis.

Chemical in antibacterial hand soaps poses health risks, scientists say, The Sacramento Bee

A recent UC Davis study showed that triclosan, found in many soap products, impairs the electronic function of both cardiac and skeletal muscle of mice. This study was co-authored by Isaac Pessah, professor of molecular biosciences at UC Davis, and one of the lead researchers on the study.

Why should I be grateful?, The Huffington Post

The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, in collaboration with UC  Davis, is in the process of launching a three year, scientific project called, “Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude.” Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis, is spearheading the work which is financed with a $5.6 million grant from the Templeton Foundation.

Code Green (Day), San Francisco Chronicle

Though the recent gathering at Tosca Cafe was leisurely, UCSF Medical Center supporters raised $65K, stat, in support of UCSF’s future Mission Bay Campus and Benioff Children’s Hospital.The festive fete, held in this gorgeously revamped North Beach boite, was hosted by Tosca investor Ron Conway and his wife, Gayle; philanthropists Lynne and Marc Benioff; and a hospitality crew which included (in absentia) tech titans Jack Dorsey and Sean Parker.

CATEGORY: In the media, NewsComments Off

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