Category: Health and Medicine

Ethicists Confront Cancer: When the Professional Becomes Personal

25957In 2006, when Rebecca Dresser was diagnosed with oral cancer, her life was thrown off-balance.

As a professor of law and biomedical ethics, she had been teaching and writing for years about the complex ethical, moral, and medical challenges of dealing with life-threatening diseases such as cancer. Yet she found herself personally unprepared for the experience.

Professor Dresser, author of “Malignant: Medical Ethicists Confront Cancer,” describes her own bout with cancer and how it changed her views about medical ethics. This is the last of The “Exploring Ethics” public lecture series of 2014 focusing on cancer, as seen through the lens of Siddhartha Mukherjee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Emperor of All Maladies.”

Watch Rebecca Dresser in Ethicists Confront Cancer: When the Professional Becomes Personal.

Explore more programs from the Emperor of All Maladies: Moving Forward Against Cancer series.

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Global Health Day 2014

8121“Teach for California, Research for the World!”

UC President Janet Napolitano neatly summarized what was on display all day at the 2014 UC Global Health Day at UC Davis. With enlightening talks on how breakthroughs happen, new strategies for disease control, and inspiring student-produced videos, you’ll share in the excitement and enthusiasm for what the University of California is doing to address the most complex and serious global health issues facing our planet.

Watch episodes from UC Global Health Day 2014, presented by the UC Global Health Institute.

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The Pursuit of Happiness

25618Nearly all of us buy into what UC Riverside psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky calls the myths of happiness — beliefs that certain adult achievements (marriage, kids, jobs, wealth) will make us forever happy and that certain adult failures or adversities (health problems, divorce, having little money) will make us forever unhappy.

In this presentation for the Stein Institute for Research on Aging, she explains that it’s not so simple and that research shows that there is no magic formula for happiness and no sure course toward misery.

Similarly, we also tend to believe that happiness declines with age, falling more and more until we are old and miserable. Lyubomirsky shows that in fact older people are actually happier than younger people. Recent research shows that the well-being peak takes place in mid to late 60s.

No matter where you are in life, this talk is a fascinating look at happiness and what things affect that sought after feeling of well-being.

Watch The Science and Practice of Happiness Across the Lifespan.

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Health Reform at the Crossroads

779Democrats and Republicans have been working to create laws that reform the American health care system for decades. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, is the first successful major overhaul of health care since Medicare in 1965.

The Act affirms “the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care,” as Obama said at the signing. It’s impossible to have missed the drama of getting the law enacted, from the Supreme Court ruling upholding the law to the government shut down over its implementation.

The latest programs from UCSF’s Mini Medical School for the Public is coordinated by the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and looks at the cutting-edge issues concerning health reform and what the ACA actually does. Why was it necessary? What were the competing proposals? How will we know if it’s working?

If you want to learn more about health reform, and the challenges that lie ahead to advance the science of health care delivery and public health – these programs are for you!

Watch the latest videos on Health Reform, now, and stay tuned for more programs throughout the month.

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Telomeres: Tiny Keys to the Fountain of Youth?

telomeresOur time is limited. The clock is ticking. If we’re fortunate enough to escape disease, accidents, or war intact, then at some point our bodies eventually turn against us. What causes our bodies to age? Why don’t we simply live on (until that proverbial anvil lands atop our unsuspecting heads)?

Turns out, telomeres are one piece of the aging puzzle. They act like tiny timers – and once they run out, well, so do we. Chromosomes constantly replicate themselves through cell division, and telomeres are the protective end-parts of chromosomes. When chromosomes are copied, however, these telomeres shorten a little bit with each round of cell division.

The good news? This shortening is kept in check by the enzyme telomerase which elongates the telomeres. (Whew.)

The bad news? We have a limited supply of telomerase. (D’oh!)

What happens when our bodies cannot effectively elongate telomeres? The short answer is, we begin to age. People who cannot effectively elongate telomeres at a relatively youthful age may develop age-related diseases such as bone marrow failure, immune senescence and pulmonary fibrosis. This is known as Telomere Syndrome.

Carol Greider, 2009 Nobel Laureate and professor at Johns Hopkins University, discusses how this seemingly benign structure on the end of a chromosome – the telomere – can affect human disease and aging.

Watch this informative video to learn more: How can telomeres cause age-related disease?, part of the UC Berkeley Graduate Council Lecture series.

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