HIV Infection Prematurely Ages People by an Average of Five Years

Epigenetic changes also associated with 19 percent increased risk of mortality —

Thanks to combination antiretroviral therapies, many people with HIV can expect to live decades after being infected. Yet doctors have observed these patients often show signs of premature aging. Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center have applied a highly accurate biomarker to measure just how much HIV infection ages people at the cellular level — an average of almost five years.

The study is published April 21 in Molecular Cell. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Trey Ideker, PhD

Trey Ideker, PhD

Trey Ideker, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Professor of Bioengineering, is co-corresponding author of the study report in Molecular Cell (article access for UC San Diego only).

Other Department of Medicine authors include Andrew M. Gross, Philipp A. Jaeger, Jason F. Kreisberg and Katherine Licon.

Remote Italian Village Could Harbor Secrets of Healthy Aging

Researchers will examine 300 Italian residents, all over 100 years old —

The average life expectancy in the United States is approximately 78 years old. Americans live longer, with better diets and improved health care, than ever before, but only 0.02 percent will hit the century mark.

To understand how people can live longer throughout the world, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have teamed up with colleagues at University of Rome La Sapienza to study a group of 300 citizens, all over 100 years old, living in a remote Italian village nestled between the ocean and mountains on the country’s coast.

“We are the first group of researchers to be given permission to study this population in Acciaroli, Italy,” said Alan Maisel, MD … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Complex Health Issues of Aging Patients Not Solved in a Senior Moment

Program teaches medical professionals how to address obstacles to care, such as isolation and homelessness —

Reams of medical books and guidelines exist on how to manage a patient’s diabetes, but much of that goes out the window when your patient is a 70-year-old homeless man eating out of a trashcan.

“There’s no point in simply giving this patient insulin and telling him to get on a restricted diet,” said Dr. Diane Chau, associate professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and a physician at Veteran Affairs San Diego Healthcare System. “We need to intervene in a broader, more comprehensive way.” … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Newly Evolved, Uniquely Human Gene Variants Protect Older Adults from Cognitive Decline

December 1, 2015

Humans evolved unique gene variants that protect older adults from neurodegenerative disease, thus preserving their valuable contributions and delaying dependency —

Many human gene variants have evolved specifically to protect older adults against neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, thus preserving their contributions to society, report University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers in the November 30 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Ajit Varki, MD, and Pascal Gagneux, PhD, led the study. Dr. Varki is Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, adjunct professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and co-director of the UC San Diego/Salk Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA).

Dr. Gagneux is associate professor of pathology and associate director of CARTA.

Dr. Tyler Woodell and Dr. Lawrence Ma Receive Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Resident Awards

Dr. Tyler Woodell

Tyler Woodell, MD

Tyler Woodell, MD, left, a senior categorical internal medicine resident, and Lawrence Ma, MD, a fourth-year medicine-pediatrics resident, will receive the Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Resident Award in a ceremony at the UC San Diego School of Medicine on May 15.

The award recognizes Dr. Woodell and Dr. Ma as role models for others in their compassion, dedication and humanism in their approach to patient care.

Dr. Lawrence Ma

Lawrence Ma, MD

“The Gold Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Resident Award is one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed upon a resident,” said internal medicine residency program director Dr. Simerjot Jassal. “Tyler is a beacon of professionalism. I think this is the most important quality a physician can possess.”

Simerjot K. Jassal, MD, MAS, FACP, is clinical professor in the Department of Medicine.

“This is a great honor that is given to only a handful of UC San Diego housestaff each year. Congratulations to both Lawrence and Tyler!” said Lori Wan, MD, director of the Combined Medicine/Pediatrics Residency Program. She is clinical professor of medicine and pediatrics.

Drs. Woodell and Ma were selected in a vote by third-year medical students and each is one of six recipients this year.

After graduating from the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Training Program in June, Dr. Woodell will begin fellowship training in nephrology at Oregon Health and Science University.

Dr. Ma will start a fellowship in geriatrics at Stanford University in July, with the ultimate goal of practicing primary care across the age spectrum.

As award recipients, Dr. Woodell and Dr. Ma become lifetime members of the UC San Diego Gold Humanism Honor Society. One of their first actions as awardees is to speak to the rising third-year medical students at UC San Diego during Clinical Transition Week.

Novel Approach Blocks Amyloid Production in Alzheimer’s Mouse Model

Promises potential early therapeutic intervention —

Offering a potential early intervention for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Cenna Biosciences, Inc. have identified compounds that block the production of beta amyloid peptides in mice. The study is reported April 29 in PLOS ONE.

If the results ultimately translate to human treatment, the most promising compound – a peptide dubbed P8 – could be administered to individuals at high risk of developing the disease, long before the tell-tale signs of dementia occur and perhaps with few side effects, due to the compound’s highly specific mode of action. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

UC San Diego Health System, Scripps Health Partner in Hospice Care, Training and Research

UC San Diego Health System and Scripps Health are partnering to provide improved continuity of patient care, fellowship training and research in hospice and palliative medicine. Under a new five-year agreement, Scripps will work with UC San Diego to provide outpatient and inpatient hospice care for UC San Diego patients, allowing UC San Diego physicians to better coordinate post-acute care for patients with chronic illness. The joint fellowship program is the only physician training program of its kind in San Diego County …

… The hospice and palliative medicine training program is an extension of a fellowship that was previously offered through San Diego Hospice. Gary Buckholz, MD, UC San Diego, and Holly Yang, MD, Scripps Health, co-direct the joint fellowship program, which will be housed at UC San Diego beginning in July 2015. The program will engage faculty from both organizations, exemplifying the teamwork required to meet the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of palliative care and hospice patients and their families. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


More Anti-inflammatory Genes Mean Longer Lifespans for Mammals

Mammal species with higher copy numbers of siglec receptor genes have longer maximum lifespans —

We age in part thanks to “friendly fire” from the immune system — inflammation and chemically active molecules called reactive oxygen species that help fight infection, but also wreak molecular havoc over time, contributing to frailty, disability and disease. The CD33rSiglec family of proteins are known to help protect our cells from becoming inflammatory collateral damage, prompting researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine to ask whether CD33rSiglecs might help mammals live longer, too. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom