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New computer program detects cancer by blood sampling
FINDINGSUCLA researchers, working with colleagues at the University of Southern California, have developed a computer program to detect cancer based on chemical modification of DNA circulating in blood. The program belongs to the first diagnostics of this kind to predict what tissue the modified DNA came from. In a test to detect three cancer types, the computer program, known as CancerLocator, outperformed two common approaches and was superior in detecting cancer in blood samples containing low levels of target DNA, which reflect early-stage disease.BACKGROUNDRecent molecular advances have raised the possibility of detec...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 29, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Alcohol use in veterans with schizophrenia less common than thought
This study was supported by the U.S.  Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Health Services Research and Development Service Quality Enhancement Research Initiative, and VA Desert Pacific Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center. (Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences)
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 28, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Pioneering stem cell gene therapy cures infants with bubble baby disease
FINDINGSUCLA researchers have developed a stem cell gene therapy cure for babies born with adenosine deaminase-deficient severe combined immunodeficiency, a rare and life-threatening condition that can be fatal within the first year of life if left untreated.In a phase 2 clinical trial led by Dr. Donald Kohn of the  Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA, all nine babies were cured. A 10th trial participant was a teenager at the time of treatment and showed no signs of immune system recovery. Kohn’s treatment method, a stem cell gene therapy that safely restores immune syste...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 27, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Runner, 80, completes L.A. Marathon three months after major heart surgery
Claude Bruni has 98 marathon races under his belt, including every Los Angeles Marathon since 1986. Nothing can keep Bruni, who ’s 80, from running.Not even major surgery, as it turns out.Last December, the retired owner of auto repair shop from Century City needed open heart surgery. But the 2017 L.A. Marathon was right around  the corner, and there was no way Bruni would miss it. He told his doctor that his goal was to participate in the race that was only three months away — on March 19.“I told him that I couldn’t see how anyone could recover from major cardiac surgery and run a marathon in three months!” sa...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 25, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Heavy winter rains are nothing to sneeze at
California experienced record rainfall this year  and may have even made headway against the state’s historic drought. Now that lush landscapes abound and spring is upon us, what does this mean forallergy sufferers?  The wet weather can be a harbinger of intense allergy-relatedsymptoms such as nasal drainage, sinus congestion, headaches and shortness of breath, according toDr. Maria Garcia-Lloret, an allergist withUCLA Health. It ’s not the rain that causes the symptoms, according to Garcia-Lloret, but the rain’s effect on trees, grass and weed pollen.For one thing, the increased plant growth following years of lac...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 24, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Access to parks, open spaces in your community can be a health factor
What are the societal factors that influence health?WhenDr. Richard Jackson asks this question, the response often includes some combination of economics, education and culture. Rarely does he hear the one he is looking for: the physical environment of one ’s neighborhood.“If it’s not easy to walk to places, you’re surrounded by unhealthy food choices, and you spend hours each day driving to and from your job, that’s a powerful determinant of your health,” says Jackson, a pediatrician and professor in theDepartment of Environmental Health Sciences in UCLA ’s Fielding School of Public Health.A well-known autho...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 23, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Scientists identify brain cells involved in Pavlovian response
In his famous experiment, Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov rang a bell each time he fed his dogs. Soon, the dogs began drooling in anticipation when they heard the bell, even before food appeared.Now, a UCLA study has traced the Pavlovian response to a small cluster of brain cells — the same neurons that go awry during Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome. Published March 22 in the journal Neuron, the research could eventually help scientists identify new approaches to diagnosing and treating these neurological disorders.“Species survive because they’ve learned how to link sensory cue...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 22, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

UCLA surgeons use minimally invasive procedure to cure boy with rare form of seizures
​Justin Cho is an engaging 9-year-old. Although he’s somewhat shy, he is quick to smile and has an infectious laugh.“Justin has always been a happy child — very energetic and bubbly,” said his father, Robert Cho. “We assumed that giggling was just part of his personality.”What Robert and his wife, So, didn ’t know was that the laughing fits he often had before bedtime were actually seizures and signs of a serious medical problem. One morning as Justin was waking up, the couple saw him go into a full seizure.“We were terrified,” Robert Cho said. “Had we not witnessed it ourselves, who knows how long th...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 22, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Interviews effective predictors of postpartum depression among expectant women
FINDINGSFor non-depressed, pregnant women with histories of major depressive disorder, preventive treatment with antidepressants may not necessarily protect against postpartum depression, according to new UCLA-led research. In addition, asking questions about daily activities — especially work — appears to be an effective screening tool for helping doctors identify women at risk of depression after they have their babies.BACKGROUNDTwenty percent of adult women will experience an episode of major depressive disorder at some point in their lives. Women with a history of depression are particularly vulnerable to depressi...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 21, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Researchers identify potential treatment for type of muscle and brain degenerative disease
In fruit flies modeled with IBMPFD disease, mitochondria (red circles) are severely disrupted. Treatment of VCP inhibitors in these diseased flies reversed  mitochondrial damage (green circles). FINDINGSUCLA researchers have discovered the molecular basis of, and identified potential treatment for, an incurable disease known as inclusion body myopathy, Paget disease with frontotemporal dementia, or IBMPFD. Using both genetically engineered fruit flies that have the fly equivalent of the disease gene as well as cells from people with IBMPFD, the researchers discovered how mutations carried by those with IBMPFD cause cellu...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 21, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Medicaid expansion boosts access, reduces costs for poor
States that participated in Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, saw increased numbers of insured, better access to care and less worry about paying medical bills, but also longer wait times among low-income residents, according to new research.In a  study published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine, Laura Wherry, assistant professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Sarah Miller, assistant professor of business economics and public policy at the University of Michigan, analyzed s...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 20, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Researchers explore a new method to study cholesterol distribution on cells
Researchers from UCLA and the University of Western Australia have developed a new way of visualizing the distribution of cholesterol in cells and tissues. Their research provides insights into the movement of cholesterol into and out of cells and could eventually identify mechanisms linking cholesterol to coronary artery disease.  Using a new high-resolution imaging mass spectrometry approach called NanoSIMS imaging, the team was able to visualize and quantify a pool of cholesterol called “accessible cholesterol” on the surface of cells.Cholesterol is an essential lipid and is critical for maintaining the integrity o...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 20, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

UCLA medical students luck out on Match Day, and that's no blarney
There was a reason why many UCLA medical students and their families wore emerald green this St. Patrick ’s Day. Superstition aside, a little leprechaun luck could only help their circumstances. This year, the holiday coincided with Match Day, the day when 40,000 aspiring doctors nationwide find out simultaneously which hospitals have accepted them for 30,000 residency slots across the United States.Elaine Schmidt/UCLAMedical students Jasmin-Ann Reyes, Razmik Ghukasyan and Pooja Upadhyaya react to their matches.The annual Match Day ceremony, held for the first time in the newly opened Geffen Hall — part of the David G...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 17, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Debunking myths about colorectal cancer
Milo Mitchell/UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Dr. Zev Wainberg, a member of theUCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, debunks some common myths about colorectal cancer — starting with the misconception that the disease only affects people over the age of 50 — and shares a few prevention tips. March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. (Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences)
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 17, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

UCLA researchers ’ finding holds promise for treating children after brain injuries
UCLA Health A new biological marker may help doctors identify children at risk of poor outcomes after a traumatic brain injury, UCLA scientists report in a preliminary study.The discovery,published  in the online issue of the medical journalNeurology, will allow researchers to zero in on ways to prevent progressive cognitive decline seen in roughly half of children with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries.“It’s really very hopeful. It means there’s something we can do about this,” said Robert Asarnow, the study’s senior author and the Della Martin Professor of Psychiatry in the UCLA Department of Psychi...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 16, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Are cooling caps the solution to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy?
Hair loss — one of the most-feared side effects of cancer treatment — may have met its match. Scientists have known since the 80s that cooling a person’s scalp can prevent significant hair loss during chemotherapy.  A cooling device called DigniCap was approved for women with breast cancer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2015. This cap was tested in a clinical trial at UCLA led by Dr. Sara Hurvitz, director of hematology and oncology breast cancer program at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.Two studies published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the cap ...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 14, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

UCLA performed most heart and lung transplants in the United States in 2016
Amanda GriswoldUCLA heart and lung transplants teams. UCLA performed the highest combined number of heart and lung transplants among all U.S. medical centers in 2016, according to United Network for Organ Sharing data, a nonprofit that manages the nation ’s organ transplant system.UCLA ’s thoracic transplant program performed 170 transplants during the 12-month period: 103 adult lung transplants, 58 adult heart transplants and nine pediatric heart transplants, according to UNOS.“This accomplishment is a tribute to our dedicated surgeons, physicians, nurses and allied health care professionals who are open to new cha...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 14, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Natural compound protects against Zika virus infection and microcephaly
FINDINGSNew UCLA research could lead to the development of a drug that combats several mosquito-borne viruses, including Zika virus. The research reveals that an enzyme produced naturally by the immune system protects animals against Zika virus infection and the neurological damage linked to the virus. The enzyme, called 25-hydroxycholestrol or 25HC, can be manufactured to create a compound that works against a broad range of viruses. The research was led by senior author Genhong Cheng, professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics and a member of theEli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and S...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 14, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Mattel commits $50 million to UCLA Mattel Children ’s Hospital
Mattel, Inc. announced today a $50 million gift to UCLA Health that will fund an expansion of the UCLA Mattel Children ’s Hospital and help establish a world-class pediatric care center and research hub focused on improving children’s health. A committed partner for more than 20 years, Mattel has provided more than $80 million to UCLA in support of the university and health care system.This donation from Mattel — the largest ever made to UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital — enables the hospital to build a “kids-only” system of care, ensuring the child’s experience remains the No. 1 focus through facilities des...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 14, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Brain is 10 times more active than previously measured, UCLA researchers find
A new UCLA study could change scientists ’ understanding of how the brain works — and could lead to new approaches for treating neurological disorders and for developing computers that “think” more like humans.The research focused on the structure and function of dendrites, which are components of neurons, the nerve cells in the brain. Neurons are large, tree-like structures made up of a body, the soma, with numerous branches called dendrites extending outward. Somas generate brief electrical pulses called “spikes” in order to connect and communicate with each other. Scientists had generally believed that the s...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 9, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Targeting cancer stem cells improves treatment effectiveness and prevents metastasis
This study shows that for the first time, targeting the proliferating tumor mass and dormant cancer stem cells with combination therapy effectively inhibited tumor growth and prevented metastasis compared to monotherapy in mice,” said Wang, who is a member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Canc er Center and of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA. “Our discovery could be applied to other solid tumors such as breast and colon cancer, which also frequently metastasizes to lymph nodes or distant organs.”“With this new and exciting study, Dr. Wang and his team have pr...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 9, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Challenging tradition: Can appendicitis be treated solely with medication?
For 130 years, surgery has been the standard treatment for appendicitis — inflammation of the appendix, a short tube extending from the colon.After all, it ’s best to remove an infected body part that is not essential to survival rather than risk a rupture that spews bacteria into the abdomen. Right? Maybe not.UCLADr. David TalanDr. David Talan, professor in the department of emergency medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is helping to lead a $12-millionclinical trial to determine whether treating appendicitis solely with antibiotics can be a safe, effective and less expensive alternative to surgery...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 9, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

New funding allows UCLA Dentistry professor's work on tissue regeneration to continue
Dr. Ben WuDr. Ben Wu, a  professor of advanced prosthodontics and bioengineering at the UCLA School of Dentistry, has received second-phase funding that will help continue groundbreaking research on a project for the Center for Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Tissue and Organ Regeneration (C-DOCTOR). Wu is among nine princ ipal investigators receiving funding from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research."The institutions in the C-DOCTOR consortiums are pioneers in stem cells and regenerative medicine, and many projects at various stages of research and development at UCLA and other institutions and compa...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 8, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Online tools better for treating obesity in those who have serious mental illness
This study was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services, the National Institute of Mental Health, the VA Desert Pacific Mental Illness Research Education Clinic (MIRECC), the VA Capitol Healthcare Network MIRECC, and the VA Health Services Research and Development Service Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation and Policy. (Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences)
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 8, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

UCLA scientists show how to amplify or stifle signals for immune responses
T cells, the managers of our immune systems, spend their days shaking hands with another type of cell that presents small pieces of protein from pathogens or cancerous cells to the T cell. But each T cell is programmed to recognize just a few protein pieces, known as antigens, meaning years can go by without the T cell, or its descendants, recognizing an antigen.When the T cell does recognize an antigen, it gives the cell presenting the antigen a “hug,” so to speak, instead of a handshake. This initial interaction causes the T cell to search nearby to find other cells that are presenting the same antigen to give them ...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 7, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Head injuries can alter hundreds of genes and lead to serious brain diseases, UCLA biologists report
Head injuries can harm hundreds of genes in the brain in a way that increases people ’s risk for a wide range of neurological and psychiatric disorders, UCLA life scientists report.The researchers identified for the first time master genes that they believe control hundreds of other genes which are linked to Alzheimer ’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, stroke, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, depression, schizophrenia and other disorders.Knowing what the master genes are could give scientists targets for new pharmaceuticals to treat brain diseases. Eventually, scientists...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 6, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Hospital stays now less lonely for older adults
Hospitals can be lonely places for patients, especially elderly patients who may have few, if any, family members or friends living nearby to visit them.“Hospitalization is never fun, but for patients who don’t have visitors, it can be very lonely,” said Valerie Yeo, unit director of the inpatient geriatrics unit at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. Even patients with family members close by often discover  their relatives are unable to visi t frequently due to work or other commitments.  That ’s why the UCLA Geriatrics Program launched its Companion Care Program at the hospital last year. Funded by a gift from...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 3, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Hands-on internships help high school seniors explore health care careers
Twenty-three high school students are getting a unique opportunity to learn about careers in the health care field from inside UCLA's hospitals, thanks to a new hands-on internship program.This select group of seniors from Hamilton High School in Los Angeles are participating in a 40-hour paid internship for three months that will give them the chance to work at UCLA's two medical centers in such departments as rehabilitation services, child life services and respiratory care. The interns  will also attend several professional development and career readiness workshops.The internship program was created when Lauren and Ro...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 3, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Looking for relief, pregnant women turn to marijuana despite medical advice
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ’s National Vital Statistics Reports, more than one in five U.S. births now occur in states where marijuana is legal. That ’s triggered a concern among health professionals about the use of marijuana by pregnant women.Along with the broader availability of marijuana comes the perception that it is a harmless substance, health professionals say. But pregnant women, who may be seeking relief from a variety of ailments, should be aware of the potential health consequences of marijuana use.To understand how marijuana affects expectant mothers and infant...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - March 2, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Guidelines for treating brain metastases should be overhauled, UCLA study finds
FINDINGSA study by UCLA researchers has found that the National Comprehensive Cancer Network ’s guidelines for doctors treating people with three or more brain metastases — cancer cells that have spread from a primary tumor located in a different part of the body — are inconsistent and should be updated.They also found that there is not enough data to determine which of the two main approaches for treating people that have between three and 10 brain metastases — stereotactic radiosurgery and whole brain radiotherapy — is more effective, although more doctors in an international survey said that stereotactic radio...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 27, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

UCLA study suggests air pollution ’s risk to the heart may stem from the gut
New research from UCLA suggests air pollution, well known to have negative health effects on the lungs and heart, may also cause damage to other systems in the body.The team of researchers, led by Dr. Tzung Hsiai, professor of medicine and bioengineering at theDavid Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, found that exposure to air pollution caused mice to experience changes in the normal composition of gut bacteria. This produced a cascade of negative health effects. Changes in gut bacteria promoted the circulation of cholesterol in the bloodstream, and the increased presence of cholesterol in the bloodstream promoted the form...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 23, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Alzheimer ’s drug prescribed ‘off-label’ for mild cognitive impairment could pose risk for some
FINDINGSDonepezil, a medication that is approved to treat people with Alzheimer ’s disease, should not be prescribed for people with mild cognitive impairment without a genetic test. UCLA School of Nursing researchers discovered that for people who carry a specific genetic variation — the K-variant of butyrylcholinesterase, or BChE-K — donezpezil could accelerate cognitiv e decline.BACKGROUNDMild cognitive impairment is a transitional state between normal age-related changes in cognition and dementia.  Because many people with the condition display symptoms similar to those caused by Alzheimer’s disease, some phys...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 23, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Anthropologist psychiatrist sees global health through a cultural prism
As a pre-med major at UC San Diego studying biochemistry, Ippolytos Kalofonos discovered his future career while listening to a guest lecturer at an undergraduate seminar.Here was a field that wove together his interests in health, medicine and social context, he learned after listening to the medical anthropologist. Kalofonos was always interested in broader issues beyond the lab where he worked. He volunteered at a Red Cross emergency room in Tijuana, and was struck by the various forms of inequality “that were swirling around me” locally, nationally and globally.“I was really excited by the idea of medicine as a s...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 21, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Only a limited HIV subset moves from mother to child, study shows
This study highlights the need for different strategies to prevent transmission during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. It also provides information into which antibodies may be helpful.  AUTHORSThe authors were Grace Aldrovandi, Nicole Tobin and Nicholas Webb of UCLA Children ’s Discovery and Innovation Institute; Kyle Nakamura, Edwin Sobrera, Thomas Wilkinson of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; Katherine Semrau and Donald Thea of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Ariadne Labs; Chipepo Kankasa of the University of Zambia; Benhur Lee of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Louise Kuhn of...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 15, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Canine cupids bring Valentine cheer to hospitalized patients
A team of pettable cupids made a special delivery to hospitalized patients atMattel Children's Hospital UCLA andUCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, on Valentine ’s Day, bearing a love-and-kisses message that's sure to stay with the children and adults for a long time. Adorable dogs, dressed up in their Valentine ’s Day finest, dutifully delivered handmade Valentine cards throughout the morning today to patients of all ages in their hospital rooms and pediatric playrooms. The canine cupids and their volunteer owners are members ofUCLA's People –Animal Connection, an animal-assisted therapy program.Ella and her owner p...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 14, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Take Valentine's Day to heart: 10 tips to better heart health
While boxes of decadent chocolate  treats, celebratory champagne and romantic, high-calorie dinners may dance in your mind as a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, your heart may be pining for something else. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, it is a great time to look at the state of your heart.Despite recent progress, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States," said Dr. Sheila  Sahni, interventional cardiology fellow at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the UCLA Barbra Streisand Women ’s Heart Health Program.  “Making heart-healt...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 10, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Broader availability of opioid overdose drug is saving lives
America ’s opioid addiction epidemic was one of the biggest health stories of 2016, as reflected in the intense media coverage the topic received — and it is no wonder why. The number of deaths involving prescription opioid medications and heroin continues to rise, having quadrupled since 1999. Some 91 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.One key strategy in the battle to curb opioid overdose deaths has been the use of the drug naloxone, which emergency medical personnel and first responders have used for years to treat people suffering from an...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 9, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

UCLA researchers find new evidence that e-cigarettes may harm your heart
It ’s been more than 50 years since the U.S.  surgeon general warned the public about the lethal dangers of cigarette smoking.Last year, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued the first-everreport on electronic cigarettes, warning that their use posed a significant and avoidable risk to young people in the United States. E-cigarettes, or e-cigs, arrived on the U.S. market about 10 years ago. Since then, their popularity has exploded, especially among teenagers.E-cigs are not actually cigarettes. There is no combustion or tobacco. Instead, these electronic, handheld devices deliver nicotine with flavoring and other...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 9, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

UCLA researchers turn stem cells into somites, precursors to skeletal muscle, cartilage and bone
FINDINGSAdding just the right mixture of signaling molecules — proteins involved in development — to human stem cells can coax them to resemble somites, which are groups of cells that give rise to skeletal muscles, bones, and cartilage in developing embryos. The somites-in-a-dish then have the potential to generate these cell types in the lab, according t o new research led by senior author April Pyle at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA.BACKGROUNDPluripotent stem cells, by definition, can become any type of cell in the body, but researchers have struggled to guide...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 7, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

New study is an advance toward preventing a ‘post-antibiotic era’
A landmark report by the World Health Organization in 2014 observed that antibiotic resistance — long thought to be a health threat of the future — had finally become a serious threat to public health around the world. A top WHO official called for an immediate and aggressive response to prevent what he called a “post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which h ave been treatable for decades can once again kill.”A team of UCLA biologists has been responding to the challenge, exploring possible ways to defeat life-threatening antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In 2016, they reported that combin...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 7, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Two medical students tackle the task of changing the world
For some medical students, changing the world can't wait until after graduation. That's the case for Richard Morgan and Edgar Corona, students at UCLA's  David Geffen School of Medicine who started working on this mission even before adding M.D. to their names.A fourth-year medical student, Morgan is conducting research to develop a new gene therapy vector for the treatment ofsickle cell disease.  This approach uses a patient’s own blood-producing stem cells to create a lifelong supply of healthy red blood cells. “My goal is to be a world-class hematologist, capable of transforming the health of patients afflicted ...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 7, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Scientists discover why some cancers may not respond to immunotherapy
FINDINGSUCLA scientists have discovered that people with cancers containing genetic mutations JAK1 or JAK2, which are known to prevent tumors from recognizing or receiving signals from T cells to stop growing, will have little or no benefit from the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab. This early-stage research has allowed them to determine for the first time why some people with advanced melanoma or advanced colon cancer will not respond to pembrolizumab, an anti-PD-1 treatment.The study, led by Dr. Antoni Ribas, director of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Tumor Immunology Program, also found that JAK1 or JAK2 g...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 7, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Women with congenital heart disease can take heart in new recommendations for pregnancy
For generations, doctors told women who were born with complex congenital heart defects that the physical demands of pregnancy and delivery would be too difficult for them, and that they should not have babies.That mindset has shifted. Newrecommendations for health care providers, published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, offer a road map to helping women with congenital heart disease have successful pregnancies.“There is a burgeoning group of women born with complex congenital heart disease who are now of childbearing age and want to get pregnant,” saidMary Canobbio, a nurse at Ronald Reagan UCL...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 6, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

L.A. Lakers, UCLA hospital staff embrace new partnership
To showcase a  new long-term partnershipbetween UCLA Health and the Los Angeles Lakers, the entire team showed up Monday, Jan. 30, at Reagan UCLA Medical Center to meet with physicians and top hospital administrators and  trade team jerseys and white coats. Courtesy of the L.A. LakersLaker guard D'Angelo Russell mugs for the camera with Coogee, a member of the UCLA People-Animal Connection program.An entourage of players, coaches and Laker Girls showed up to tour the hospital and its state-of-the-art operating rooms, get a hands-on demonstration of how surgeons learn to do robotic surgical procedures and shoot mini-ho...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 3, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Political affiliation can predict how people will react to false information about threats
How liberal or conservative a person is predicts how likely they are to believe information about potential hazards, a new UCLA-led study has found.The study, which will be published in the journal Psychological Science, found that people who hold more socially conservative views were significantly more likely than people with liberal beliefs to find false information about threats credible.The researchers, led by UCLA anthropology professor Daniel Fessler, began their work long before revelations regarding the proliferation and possible impact of fake news, but their findings might help explain why profit-driven efforts t...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 2, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Hundreds of UCLA medical and dental staff, students volunteer at free clinic
Hundreds of health care workers from UCLA Health as well as students volunteered their time and expertise at the free, three-dayCare Harbor health clinic in Los Angeles.More than 300 physicians and nurses, dentists from the UCLA School of Dentistry, ophthalmologists from the UCLA Stein Eye Institute and members of student volunteer groups signed up to work at the clinic that brings together community partners to care for thousands of uninsured,underinsured and at-risk people from across Southern California.Reed Hutchinson/UCLADr. Laura Ann Vickers, an attending fellow at the UCLA Stein Eye Institute and a volunteer at the ...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 2, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Drug shows promise for treating alcoholism
UCLA researchers have found that an anti-inflammatory drug primarily used in Japan to treat asthma could help people overcome alcoholism.Their study is the first to evaluate the drug, ibudilast, as a treatment for alcoholism. Study participants were given either the drug (20 milligrams for two days and 50 milligrams for the next four) or a placebo for six consecutive days. After about a two-week break, those who took the drug were switched to a placebo for six days, and those who were taking the placebo were given ibudilast. The researchers found that the subjects ’ craving for alcohol was significantly lower when they w...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - February 1, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

UCLA will lead $21 million, grant-funded study of epilepsy after traumatic brain injuries
A UCLA-led international consortium of academic research institutions has been awarded a $21 million  grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop better ways to prevent epilepsy following traumatic brain injuries.Seven principal investigators will lead the grant at five institutions: the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, University of Southern California, University of Melbourne and University of Eastern Finland. The investigators will collaborate in the fields of bioinformatics, molecular biology, cellular pathology, therapy discovery and the health sciences.UCLA, w...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - January 30, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

Combination therapy for glioblastoma shows promising results in early-stage research
FINDINGS  UCLA researchers have discovered that combining a vaccine developed at UCLA with other experimental therapies and FDA-approved treatments shows promise for reducing the size of advanced brain tumors.  The immunotherapy, which is specifically intended to treat brain tumors, is called autologous tumor lysate-pulsed dendritic cell vaccination. It uses a portion of the patient’s own brain tumor and is currently being tested in humans.In tests in animals, the scientists found that a combination of the vaccine and two different drugs that modulate distinct aspects of the immune system was more effective at allowing...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - January 25, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

New tuberculosis therapy could be more potent than current treatments
Taking a new approach toward tuberculosis therapy, a UCLA-led research team has devised a potential drug regimen that could cut the treatment time by up to 75 percent, while simultaneously reducing the risk that patients could develop drug-resistant TB.To identify the regimen, the researchers launched a systematic search for an optimal drug treatment using the Parabolic Response Surface Platform, a data analysis method that identifies which drug combinations work synergistically — that is, with individual drugs working together in a way that is more potent than the sum of their individual potencies. The study, published...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - January 24, 2017 Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news