- California Healthline Original Stories 1
- Boom in Proton Therapy Is A Bust For Some. Blame A Shortage of Patients.
- Courts 1
- University of California's Oral Arguments Over CRISPR Fail To Move Needle Much, Legal Experts Say
- Public Health and Education 2
- Will DNA Sleuthing Help Unlock Another California Murder Mystery: The Identity Of The Zodiac Killer?
- These Healthy Habits Help People Boost Longevity By A Dozen Or More Years
- Around California 2
- Patients End Up Cycling Through Unlicensed, Unsupervised Sober Homes That Do Little To Help Them
- Major Gaps In Care For Children With Chronic And Terminal Illnesses Plagues Coachella Valley
Latest From California Healthline:
Hospitals and private investors have pumped vast sums of money into an advanced type of radiology that mostly spares healthy tissue while attacking tumors. The spending hasn’t always paid off — leading some facilities to close or, as in the case of a San Diego center last year, file for bankruptcy. (Jay Hancock, 5/1)
Sign up to get the daily edition in your inbox
More News From Across The State
The arguments are part of a patent war between the University of California and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Patents for the gene-editing technology could be worth billions.
U.S. Appellate Judges Seem Divided On Gene Editing Patents Decision
U.S. appeals court judges appear divided over whether to allow a research center affiliated with MIT and Harvard to keep patents potentially worth billions of dollars on a groundbreaking gene editing technology known as CRISPR. Patents on the technology that could revolutionize treatment of genetic diseases and crop engineering are held by the Broad Institute, which was challenged in court by a rival team associated with the University of California at Berkeley and University of Vienna in Austria. Their lawyers argued at a hearing on Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington that the Broad Institute’s contributions were obvious and that an administrative court decision allowing Broad’s patents to stand should be reversed. (Wolfe, 4/30)
UC Berkeley Struggles To Find Sympathetic Court In CRISPR Patent Appeal
The university clearly failed to win over at least one of the three judges and, at best, did not lose too much ground with a second (while the third asked almost no questions and so did not tip his hand). “UC came into this argument from a tough spot, and I doubt that oral arguments from either side moved the needle much,” said patent attorney Michael Stramiello of Paul Hastings, who attended the arguments at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, where attorneys for the University of California fought to get a patent win by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard reversed. (Begley, 4/30)
But one of the biggest hurdles to using DNA to track the Zodiac Killer will be getting a clean genetic sample.
Can DNA Identify The Zodiac Killer Now That It Has Revealed The East Area Rapist Suspect?
DNA sleuthing helped crack a decades-old cold case, leading to the arrest of a man suspected of being the East Area Rapist, also known as the Golden State Killer. Now could the same type of detective work on genealogy websites be used to catch another of California's most infamous and elusive criminals — the Zodiac Killer? (Chabria and Sabalow, 5/1)
Capital Public Radio:
Woman Says Golden State Killer Suspect Raped Her Two Years Before First East Area Rapist Crimes
As Joseph James DeAngelo sat in a wheelchair during his first appearance in court, Elizabeth Silva stood outside the Sacramento County Jail with a sign that read, "Victim." Silva says the man who has been charged with being the Golden State Killer and East Area Rapist sexually assaulted her while living in Visalia. (Moffitt, 4/30)
The lifestyle factors themselves are not surprising — eating right and exercising among them — but just how much they can pay off surprised some.
Los Angeles Times:
These Five Healthy Habits Could Extend Your Life By A Dozen Years Or More, Study Says
You know that getting exercise, eating vegetables and quitting smoking are good for you. A new study shows just how good they are, in terms of the number of years they can add to your life. American women who followed five "healthy lifestyle factors" lived about 14 years longer than women who followed none of them, according to a report published Monday in the journal Circulation. For men, the difference was about 12 years. The five healthy lifestyle factors identified in the study should come as no surprise to anyone: eating a nutritious diet, exercising at least 30 minutes a day, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and drinking in moderation. (Kaplan, 4/30)
In other public health news —
Los Angeles Times:
Does Exposure To Animals During Childhood Buffer The Body's Response To Stress As Adults?
New research offers evidence for a claim made regularly by country music singers: Growing up with a little dirt under his nails may make a country boy a little shy. But compared to a born-and-bred city slicker, that country boy will grow up to be a stronger, healthier and more laid-back man. In ways large and small, farm kids and city kids grow up worlds apart from each other. A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explores the possible consequences of that divergence for the health of modern men. (Healy, 5/1)
California lawmakers are in the process of figuring out ways to monitor the sober homes, with five proposals that would establish new guidelines for how they are run and impose fines on some practices.
The Costs Of Sober Living On The Orange County Coast
Many of the homes in question, privately owned and in nice residential areas, are unlicensed, unsupervised and nearly impossible to regulate. When residents’ or their parents’ cash or insurance money dries up, they’re dropped off in town and join the ranks of the homeless. (Gorn, 4/30)
While there are pediatricians and emergency room care for common childhood diseases and injuries, most patients 17 and under who require a subspecialist must travel at least an hour away.
The Desert Sun:
Parents, Healthcare Providers Agree: Pediatric Care In The Coachella Valley Is Lacking. What Is The Remedy?
Even with three hospitals and numerous urgent and specialty care facilities to serve the growing Coachella Valley population, there are major gaps in care for children with chronic and terminal illnesses. While there are pediatricians and emergency room care for common childhood diseases and injuries, most patients 17 and under who require a subspecialist – such as an oncologist, endocrinologist, pulmonologist or cardiologist – must travel at least an hour away to one of Southern California’s children’s hospitals. The trips are costly, often requiring a full day off work for parents and missed school time for the kids. Transportation can be a problem, as well. (Barkas, 4/30)
In other health care news from around the state —
Ventura County Star:
Ventura Restaurant Killing Puts Attention On Gaps In Mental Health Care
Under state law, law enforcement officers and mental health professionals can commit someone against their will for up to 72 hours if they are considered to be a danger to themselves or others or are unable to provide for their basic health or safety needs. Ventura County has 30 psychiatric beds available to such patients in a county of over 850,000 people. The rest are privately run, [John Schipper, adult division chief for Ventura County's Behavioral Health Department] said. ... Even if they do get admitted, 72 hours is not long enough to stabilize someone, said Mary Haffner, a member of the Ventura County Behavioral Health Advisory Board who pushed to get Laura’s Law adopted by the county in February 2017. (Martinez, 4/30)
Enjoy Lauryn Hill, Because Sacramento's Marijuana Music Festival May Not Have Marijuana
A music and marijuana festival planned for this weekend at Cal Expo may be missing the marijuana. After weeks of disagreement, officials with the city of Sacramento and organizers of the planned Cannabis Cup Central Valley still lack an agreement over whether marijuana consumption will be allowed. (Lillis, 5/1)
"Dr. [Robert] Redfield has expressed to Secretary [Alex] Azar that he does not wish to have his compensation become a distraction for the important work of the CDC,” an HHS spokeswoman said.
The New York Times:
C.D.C. Director’s $375,000 Salary Will Be Cut
The government will lower the $375,000 salary of the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, after reports that he was being paid considerably more than previous directors, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed on Monday, though it declined to say what his new pay will be. Dr. Redfield, who became the C.D.C. director in March, had been given the higher salary under a provision called Title 42. It was created by Congress to allow federal agencies to offer compensation that is competitive with the private sector in order to attract top-notch scientists with expertise that the departments would not otherwise have. News reports of his earnings sparked complaints from Senate Democrats and watchdog groups. (Belluck, 4/30)
The Associated Press:
CDC Chief Asks For, And Gets, Cut To His Record $375K Pay
On Monday, HHS officials said Redfield has asked for a pay reduction because the topic had become a distraction. They said his compensation will be adjusted accordingly, but did not answer questions about what the new sum is or when it will be announced. Redfield has not been doing media interviews since taking the CDC job, and he didn't immediately comment on the pay cut. A top HIV researcher, Redfield had no experience working in public health or managing a public health agency. (4/30)
The Washington Post:
CDC Director Asks That His $375,000 Salary Be Cut After Questions Raised
In a letter Friday to Azar, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) asked for the justification for offering Redfield “a salary significantly higher” than that of his predecessors and other leaders at HHS. Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, noted news reports last week that Redfield was being hired under a special salary program. Title 42, as it is known, was established by Congress to attract health scientists with rare and critical skills to government work. It grants federal agencies authority to offer salary and benefit packages that are competitive with those offered in the private sector and academia. (Sun, 4/30)
The proposal is part of an opioids legislative package that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says lawmakers are crafting.
The Associated Press:
McConnell: Senate Likely To Consider Anti-Opioid Package
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the U.S. Senate is working on crafting a comprehensive package to combat the nation's opioid addiction problems and ease the transition from treatment to the workforce. The Kentucky Republican attended discussions Monday in Louisville that included business representatives and executives on the front lines of treating people battling drug addiction. McConnell emerged to promote his recently introduced measure aimed at helping people make the successful journey from treatment to the workplace. (4/30)
In other national health care news —
Survey: Percentage Of Adults Without Health Coverage Creeps Up
The coverage gains made under the 2010 health care law appear to be slowly eroding, a study released Tuesday by the Commonwealth Fund shows. The number of uninsured adults between ages 19 and 64 grew by 2.8 percentage points from 2016 to March of this year, the study shows. That represents an additional 4 million uninsured American adults in that time period. (McIntire, 5/1)
The Washington Post:
Viral Photos Of Utah VA Clinic Leads To Apology And Investigation
When American soldiers bathe in Iraq, where a grimy film coats every surface, they are reminded by bathroom signs not to ingest anything that comes from the tap. So when Christopher Wilson left the Army after two tours in Iraq and sought medical care for his service-related injury at the Department of Veterans Affairs, he expected a cleaner environment than what he encountered April 5 at a VA clinic in Salt Lake City. Wilson was shocked by what he found inside a clinic room during his appointment, he told local media: an overflowing trash can, medical instruments strewn about on the counter and a filthy sink. He snapped photos of what he saw. (Horton, 4/30)
The Washington Post:
Ocular Melanoma: Three Friends Among At Least 18 Diagnosed With Rare Eye Cancer
At least a dozen and a half people have been diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer in two locations in North Carolina and Alabama, leaving medical experts mystified about the cause. Ocular melanoma occurs in about 6 out of every 1 million people, according to CBS News, and at least 18 people who have been diagnosed with the eye cancer have connections to Huntersville, N.C., Auburn, Ala., or both locations. Marlana Orloff, an oncologist at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, is studying the cases with her colleagues, according to CBS. (Rosenberg, 4/30)
Young People Are Lonelier Than Their Elders
Loneliness isn't just a fleeting feeling, leaving us sad for a few hours to a few days. Research in recent years suggests that for many people loneliness is more like a chronic ache, affecting their daily lives and sense of well-being. Now a nationwide survey by the health insurer Cigna underscores that. It finds that loneliness is widespread in America, with nearly 50 percent of respondents reporting that they feel alone or left out always or sometimes. (Chatterjee, 5/1)
Alcohol Risk: Study Finds Higher Cancer, Bad Bacteria, Bugs Risk
Nights of hard drinking can lead to much more than just bad hangovers. In fact, new research suggests that heavy drinkers may actually experience higher levels of "bad" bacteria in their mouths, including bugs linked to gum disease, heart disease and cancer compared to moderate or non-drinkers. (Lemon, 4/30)