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Crucial bodily functions we depend on but don’t consciously think about — things like heart rate, blood flow, breathing and digestion — are regulated by the neurovascular unit. The neurovascular unit is made up of blood vessels and smooth muscles under the control of autonomic neurons. Yet how the nervous and vascular systems come together during development to coordinate these functions is not well understood. Using human embryonic stem cells, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute created a model that allows them to track cellular behavior during the earliest stages of human development in real-time. The model reveals, for the first time, how autonomic neurons and blood vessels come together to form the neurovascular unit. Read more here http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2015-05-21-autonomic-neurons-and-neurovasculature.aspx #stemcells #neuroscience #cellbiology #ucsdresearch  
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Youth Dance Classes Score Low in Physical Activity

For parents who send their kids to dance classes to get some exercise, a new study from researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine suggests most youth dance classes provide only limited amounts of physical activity.  

The study, published online May 18 in the journal Pediatrics, found that slightly more than one-third of class time, on average, was spent engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The remainder of class time was spent doing light activities such as standing, listening or stretching, according to researchers, who analyzed activity levels of girls ages five to 18 participating in a variety of dance class types.

“This is a very commonly used opportunity for young people, especially girls, to be physically active and we find that they are inactive most of the time during dance classes,” said senior author James Sallis, PhD, professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health. “We see this as a missed opportunity to get kids healthier.”  

Approximately half of American youth do not meet U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) physical activity guidelines. The guidelines call for children and adolescents (6-17 years) to engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Most of that time should be either moderate-or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, say the guidelines. The CDC also recommends that schools provide 30 minutes of that time and after-school activities supply the remaining 30 minutes. Read more here http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2015-05-17-dance-classes-low-on-activity.aspx #publichealth #pediatrics #obesity #ucsdresearch  
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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Linked to Accelerated Aging

In recent years, public health concerns about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have risen significantly, driven in part by affected military veterans returning from conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere. PTSD is associated with number of psychological maladies, among them chronic depression, anger, insomnia, eating disorders and substance abuse.

Writing in the May 7 online issue of American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System suggest that people with PTSD may also be at risk for accelerated aging or premature senescence.

“This is the first study of its type to link PTSD, a psychological disorder with no established genetic basis, which is caused by external, traumatic stress, with long-term, systemic effects on a basic biological process such as aging,” said Dilip V. Jeste, MD, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences and director of the Center on Healthy Aging and Senior Care at UC San Diego, who is the senior author of this study. Read more here http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2015-05-07-ptsd-accelerates-aging.aspx #ptsd #aging #psychiatry #ucsdresearch  
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Molecular Homing Beacon Redirects Human Antibodies to Fight Pathogenic Bacteria - Bacteria-specific molecules attract pre-existing antibodies to help immune system clear infection

With the threat of multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens growing, new ideas to treat infections are sorely needed. Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences report preliminary success testing an entirely novel approach — tagging bacteria with a molecular “homing beacon” that attracts pre-existing antibodies to attack the pathogens. The study is published by the Journal of Molecular Medicine.

The molecular homing beacon is the brainchild of study co-author and Nobel Laureate Kary Mullis, PhD, who invented polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a now-common lab technique used to replicate DNA. Read more here http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2015-05-06-homing-beacon-redirects-antibodies.aspx #infectiousdiseases #bacteriology #immunology #ucsdresearch  
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The Media is the Message: How Stem Cells Grow Depends On What They Grow Up In - Using mathematical model, UC San Diego researchers devise optimal human stem cell culture

Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) possess the ability to grow into almost any kind of cell, which has made them dynamic tools for studying early human development and disease, but much depends upon what they grow up in.

Writing in the May 4 online issue of the journal Scientific Reports, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine used a powerful statistical tool called “design of experiments” or DOE to determine the optimal cell culture formula to grow and produce hPSCs.

“Currently, there are different culture methods and media that are not optimized or even chemically defined. There are several factors that may affect the growth of stem cells based on batch-to-batch media variation,” said Alysson Muotri, PhD, associate professor in the UC San Diego departments of Pediatrics and Cellular and Molecular Medicine. “This affects science in many ways. For example, it slows down progress because conditions may not be pristine. It also makes it difficult for other labs to validate data because the media they use will likely not be the same as in the original experiments.” Read more here http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2015-05-05-media-affects-stem-cell-growth.aspx
#stemcells #molecularbiology #cellbiology #ucsdresearch  
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Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine conducted the first population-based study that characterizes the association and temporal relationship between gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) and other cancers. The results, published by Cancer on April 30, indicate that one in 5.8 patients with GIST will develop additional malignancies before and after their diagnosis.

Specifically, patients with GIST are more likely to develop other sarcomas, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, carcinoid tumors, melanoma, colorectal, esophageal, pancreatic, hepatobiliary, non-small cell lung, prostate and renal cell cancers.

“Only 5 percent of patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors have a hereditary disorder that predisposes them to develop multiple benign and malignant tumors,” said Jason K. Sicklick, MD, assistant professor of surgery and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center surgical oncologist. “The research indicates that these patients may develop cancers outside of these syndromes, but the exact mechanisms are not yet known.”

#cancer #gist #gastrointestinalcancer #NCMR15  
#ucsdresearch  
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Research consistently shows that policing practices, such as confiscating or breaking needles, are key factors in the HIV epidemic among persons who inject drugs. Police officers themselves are also at risk of acquiring HIV or viral hepatitis if they experience needle-stick injuries on the job — a significant source of anxiety and staff turn-over.  

A binational team from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission, Mexico Section has launched a new research project aimed at promoting prevention of HIV and other blood-borne infections. The effort is led by Steffanie Strathdee, PhD, professor and director of the UC San Diego Global Health Initiative, Leo Beletsky, JD, MPH, associate professor, and Gudelia Rangel, PhD, deputy general director for migrant health and executive secretary of the Mexico Section of the Mexico-United States Border Health Commission, in partnership with the Tijuana Police Department and Police Academy. The binational team will offer and evaluate Proyecto ESCUDO (Project SHIELD), a police education program designed to align law enforcement and HIV prevention in Tijuana.

“Our unprecedented partnership with the Tijuana police department enables us to evaluate ESCUDO as a binational effort,” said Strathdee, who is also associate dean of global health sciences and chief of the Division of Global Public Health at UC San Diego’s Department of Medicine.  Read more here http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2015-05-18-binational-HIV-reduction-program.aspx #HIV #globalpublichealth #infectiousdiseases #ucsdresearch  
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New Combination Treatment Strategy to “Checkmate” Glioblastoma
Three different classes of anti-cancer drugs work synergistically against brain tumors

Therapies that specifically target mutations in a person’s cancer have been much-heralded in recent years, yet cancer cells often find a way around them. To address this, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center identified a promising combinatorial approach to treating glioblastomas, the most common form of primary brain cancer.

The study, published May 5 by Oncotarget, demonstrates that a mouse model of glioblastoma and human glioblastoma tissue removed from patients and cultured in the lab can be effectively treated by combining three classes of anti-cancer drugs: a drug that targets a cancer mutation in the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) gene, a drug that increases stress in cancer cells and a drug that damages cancer cell DNA.

“Developing therapies against glioblastoma is like a chess game. For each therapy administered, or move, by the physician, the cancer makes a counter-move,” said senior author Clark Chen, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurosurgery and vice-chair of Research and Academic Development at UC San Diego. Read more here http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2015-05-08-new-combo-therapy-for-glioblastoma.aspx  #glioblastoma #braintumor #neurology #cancer #ucsdresearch  
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As Life Slips by: Why Eye Movement Doesn’t Blur the Picture - Two specific proteins bind during development to stabilize the brain cells that allow us to see things clearly, even as we move

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Shiley Eye Institute have identified the molecular “glue” that builds the brain connections that keep visual images clear and still, even as objects or your eyes move. Using mouse models, the researchers demonstrate that image stabilization depends upon two proteins, Contactin-4 and amyloid precursor protein, binding during embryonic development. The study is published May 7 by Neuron.

“In the visual system, precise connections between your eyes and brain help you see specific things and make sure those images are clear and crisp,” said senior author Andrew D. Huberman, PhD, assistant professor of neurosciences, neurobiology and ophthalmology. “Sensors in the eye also detect movement and connect to the brain in just the right way to tell your eyes to move in the right direction without blurring images, the way a camera does if you try to take a picture while moving. Until now, we didn’t really understand how the eye and brain control that on a molecular level.”
Read more here http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2015-05-07-eye-movement-and-blury-vision.aspx #ophthalmology #neuroscience #ucsdresearch  
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Each year, more than 10 million Americans seek medical attention, often in emergency situations, for symptoms of intestinal blockages. Researchers at the University California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified an abnormal form of small bowel twisting (or volvulus) that may cause these painful obstructions. In contrast to other causes of bowel obstruction that are treated with bowel rest, these require immediate surgical care.

#emergencymedicine #surgery #gastroenterology #ucsd  
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On May 5, 2015, UC San Diego Health System and the City of El Centro entered into a long-term management services agreement on behalf of El Centro Regional Medical Center (ECRMC), the city-owned hospital, with the goal of enhancing the delivery of high-quality health care to patients in the Imperial Valley.

“The Hospital Affiliation Task Force has dedicated significant resources to search for a strategic partner that would enhance the availability and quality of health care services for the entire Imperial Valley, and we have found that partner in UC San Diego Health System,” said Mayor Efrain Silva.  

“In addition to providing important operational and clinical support, our relationship with UC San Diego Health System will help local patients gain greater access to a comprehensive continuum of care in El Centro and San Diego, including an array of specialized medical and surgical services. Additionally, our employees will have direct access to best practices and expertise of the region’s top-ranked health system,” said Tomas Virgen, interim CEO, ECRMC.

“Through this collaboration, the two health systems will strive to deliver superior health outcomes, service experience and affordability to patients in Imperial Valley,” said Paul Viviano, CEO, UC San Diego Health System. “We are proud to have El Centro Regional Medical Center be part of our mission of delivering outstanding patient care through commitment to the community, groundbreaking research and inspired teaching.” Read more here http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2015-05-06-uc-san-deigo-health-system-enters-agreement-with-ECRMC.aspx #healthsystems #hospitals #ucsandiegohealthsystem #ecrmc  
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Today is #MelanomaMonday – read about Stacey’s experience with skin cancer and what our expert, Dr. Gregory Daniels with UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, has to say about staying safe in the sun here http://ucsdcancer.tumblr.com/post/118124487072/melanomamonday2015 Oh, and wear sunscreen!
#melanoma #skincancer #ucsd #awareness  
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Introduction

UC San Diego Health System is widely recognized as one of the premier health care systems in the United States. We’re the only academic health system in San Diego. It’s the one place that can offer you and your family medical treatments not available elsewhere in the region. And we don’t just treat disease – we treat you.

UC San Diego Health System was ranked among the nation’s best hospitals in the 2011-2012 issue of U.S. News & World Report, and number 1 in San Diego in the magazine’s first-ever metro rankings in 2011. We were honored as one of the top 15 teaching hospitals in the country by Thomson Reuters in 2010.

Our physicians – who number more than 850 – are acknowledged as leaders in their fields of medicine and surgery. In 2011, nearly 130 of our doctors were named by members of the San Diego County Medical Society as the best physicians in the region.

UC San Diego Health System is part of University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. In just over four decades, we have gained international recognition as the one place where discoveries are delivered – bringing breakthroughs from the research laboratory bench to our patients’ bedsides.