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

UC San Diego Health System Retains #1 Ranking

US News & World Report Cites Region’s Only Academic Health System Among Nation’s Best 

UC San Diego Health System remains among the nation’s best, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-15 issue of “America’s Best Hospitals,” released this week. The magazine’s widely cited findings again placed UC San Diego Health System first in the San Diego metropolitan area and fifth in California, with national rankings in 11 specialties, up from 10 last year. This is comparable to the country’s most prestigious health care institutions.  Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Sulpizio Cardiovascular CenterUC San Diego Health System is nationally ranked in eleven medical specialties, including seven in the Department of Medicine:  Cancer, Cardiology, Endocrinology & Diabetes, Gastroenterology, Geriatrics, Nephrology, Pulmonology and Rheumatology.

UC San Diego Researcher to Lead First-of-Its-Kind NASA Identical Twins Study

Brinda Rana, a professor at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, has been awarded NASA funding to study fluid flows in the brains of identical twin astronauts—one of whom will spend a year in space, while the other is left on Earth. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center

UC San Diego-Human Longevity Inc. Agreement Seeks to Accelerate Medical Science

Thousands of patient genomes expected to fuel diverse medical research, beginning with cancer

The new collaborative research agreement between Human Longevity Inc. (HLI) and the University of California, San Diego, announced today, represents a significant and necessary step in efforts to research and translate the potential of the human genome into novel and real treatments and therapies able to change and improve the human condition.

“This agreement brings together the resources of two entities that, in combination, may ultimately help improve countless lives,” said David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor of health sciences at UC San Diego and dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “HLI aims to bring leading-edge thinking in genomics technologies. UC San Diego boasts some of the world’s finest researchers and physicians working at places like the Moores Cancer Center. Together, we will collaborate to marshal the people, the tools and the resources to really make a difference in human health.” … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center

$5.6 Million Grant Renewal Expands Research in Kidney Failure

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD) – part of the National Institutes of Health – has renewed a grant shared by the University of California, San Diego and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Schools of Medicine. The five-year, $5.64 million renewal will extend and expand research into acute kidney failure, or acute kidney injury, which kills 70 to 80 percent of patients in intensive care units who develop the disease.Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Ravindra MehtaRavindra L. Mehta, MD, FACP, UC San Diego professor of clinical medicine and vice chair for clinical research in the Department of Medicine, is associate director of the UC San Diego – University of Alabama at Birmingham O’Brien Center for Acute Kidney Injury Research.

He directs the O’Brien Center’s clinical studies core with co-director Daniel O’Connor, MD. O’Connor is professor of medicine and pharmacology and co-director, UCSD Center for Human Genetics and Genomics.

UC San Diego nephrology faculty members Roland Blantz, MD, and Volker Vallon, MD, are co-directors of the pre-clinical studies core of the O’Brien Center. Blantz is distinguished professor of medicine emeritus and former chief of the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension; Vallon is professor of medicine and pharmacology.

UC San Diego nephrologist Satish RamachandraRao, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, is a co-director of the Bioanalytical Resource Core.

Ravindra L. Mehta is Director of Dialysis Programs and Clinical Nephrology for UC San Diego Health System. In the UC San Diego School of Medicine, Mehta directs the Clinical Research Enhancement through Supplemental Training (CREST) and Master’s Degree in Clinical Research programs.

In 2011, Mehta received the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) Shire Bywaters Award for his lifetime achievements in acute kidney injury.

More Information:

High Rankings for Internal Medicine Specialties in 2013-2014 “America’s Best Hospitals” Report

Internal medicine subspecialties received high rankings and played a large part in UC San Diego Health System’s excellent showing in the U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Hospitals 2013-2014” guide released July 16.

Clinical efforts of Department of Medicine divisions are either partly or completely responsible for 7 of the 10 UC San Diego Health System adult specialties that ranked in the nation’s top 50 this year and 1 of the 4 ranked as high performing:

In addition, Rheumatology is ranked as high performing once again (Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology).

Last year, three Department of Medicine specialties ranked in the nation’s top 50 and five were rated high performing.

Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD“We can be very proud of achieving such a significant rise in our specialty rankings in one year,” said Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine.

In an announcement to the Department of Medicine faculty, he said, “Thank you for your hard work and your dedication in your patient care activities.

“Your efforts play a major part in distinguishing UC San Diego Health System as one of the finest hospitals in the country, and the top hospital in the San Diego metropolitan area.”

Details of the rankings for UC San Diego Health System are published online here. |  More about the methodology

Four Common Antipsychotic Drugs Found to Lack Safety and Effectiveness in Older Adults

In older adults, antipsychotic drugs are commonly prescribed off-label for a number of disorders outside of their Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved indications – schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The largest number of antipsychotic prescriptions in older adults is for behavioral disturbances associated with dementia, some of which carry FDA warnings on prescription information for these drugs.

In a new study – led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, Stanford University and the University of Iowa, and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health – four of the antipsychotics most commonly prescribed off label for use in patients over 40 were found to lack both safety and effectiveness. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Department of Medicine endocrinology and metabolism researchers Robert R. Henry, MD, and Sunder Mudaliar, MD, are coinvestigators in the study of the antipsychotic drugs.Dr. Robert R. Henry

Robert R. Henry, MD, is professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism at UC San Diego. At the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS), he is Chief of the Section of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Diabetes and Director of the Center for Metabolic Research.

Sunder Mudaliar, MD, is health sciences clinical professor in the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism at UCSD. He is extensively involved in medical teaching and clinical care at the VASDHS. As an investigator in the Center for Metabolic Research, he performs clinical research focused on the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

More information:

Citation for the study report: Jin H, Shih PB,Golshan S, Mudaliar S, Henry R, Glorioso DK, Arndt S, Kraemer HC, Jeste DV. Comparison of Longer-Term Safety and Effectiveness of 4 Atypical Antipsychotics in Patients Over Age 40: A Trial Using Equipoise-Stratified Randomization. E-pub ahead of print, November 27, 2012, The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Biomarking Time

Methylome modifications offer new measure of our “biological” age

Women live longer than men. Individuals can appear or feel years younger – or older – than their chronological age. Diseases can affect our aging process. When it comes to biology, our clocks clearly tick differently.

In a new study, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues elsewhere, describe markers and a model that quantify how aging occurs at the level of genes and molecules, providing not just a more precise way to determine how old someone is, but also perhaps anticipate or treat ailments and diseases that come with the passage of time. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Trey Ideker, PhDTrey Ideker, PhD, is co-senior author of the study report. He is professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Medical Genetics, professor of bioengineering and faculty investigator in the UCSD Institute for Genomic Medicine.The overall goal of Ideker’s work is to map and model molecular networks of cellular processes in health and disease, particularly in cancer and the response to genotoxic stress.

Coauthors of the study report include Rob DeConde, a graduate student in Ideker’s laboratory.

Read the abstract of the study report in PubMed

Citation: Hannum G, Guinney J, Zhao L, Zhang L, Hughes G, Sadda S, Klotzle B, Bibikova M, Fan J-B, Gao Y, Deconde R, Chen M, Rajapakse I, Friend S, Ideker T, Zhang K: Genome-wide Methylation Profiles Reveal Quantitative Views of Human Aging Rates. Molecular cell doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2012.10.016. PMID: 23177740

Ranked #1: UC San Diego Health System Ranks First in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals for Metro Areas

UC San Diego Health System has been ranked first in San Diego in U.S. News & World Report’s first-ever Best Hospitals metro area rankings, available online at www.usnews.com/hospitals. This prestigious ranking recognizes UC San Diego Health System as a leader in delivering groundbreaking health care to southern California…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

UCSD SignUC San Diego Health System is nationally ranked in five medical specialties, including three in the Department of Medicine: Pulmonology, Diabetes and Endocrinology and Geriatrics.

Division of Geriatrics Receives $2 Million Grant from Larry L. Hillblom Foundation for Research on Aging

A $2 million research grant from the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation will provide support for the Division of Geriatrics in its ongoing studies of aging.

HandsIn an April 23 press release, the UC San Diego Medical Center announced the grant and introduced the Division of Geriatrics, which is the newest of the subspecialty divisions in the Department of Medicine.

The studies to be supported by the grant are detailed in the UC San Diego Medical Center press release.

The Geriatrics division was established in July 2007 with Laura L. Dugan, M.D., as division chief and holder of the Larry L. Hillblom Chair in Geriatric Medicine.

The division’s clinical and research activities are profiled in a new Division of Geriatrics website at http://geriatricsmedicine.ucsd.edu.