Wisdom Combats Loneliness

Loneliness and social isolation have become silent killers and studies have shown that they’re as dangerous to our health as smoking and obesity. But what can be done? “Behavioral epidemics need behavioral medicines,” says Dilip Jeste, MD, a geriatric neuropsychiatrist who specializes in successful aging.

Jeste suggests harnessing wisdom as a vaccine – a trait that can be honed over the lifespan. Jeste’s research demonstrates a strong correlation between creating a balance of self-reflection, compassion, emotional regulation, accepting diversity, and spirituality with lowered feelings of loneliness and isolation. Hear more about the science of wisdom during this insightful talk from the Stein Institute for Research on Aging.

Please visit https://www.uctv.tv/stein for more programs on healthy aging.

Watch — The Modern Epidemic of Loneliness: Using Wisdom as Behavioral Vaccine with Dilip Jeste – Research on Aging

E-Cigarettes: What We Know, What We Need to Learn

In 2014 with vaping newly on the rise, Dr. Laura Crotty Alexander joined us to talk about the potential health risks https://uctv.tv/shows/E-Cigarettes-Vaping-and-MRSA-Health-Matters-28132.

Five years later, we revisit the topic to see how the research is bearing out how e-cigarettes and their usage has evolved. Dr. Alexander shares a physician’s view of the specific dangers of vaping.

For more programs bringing the public and scientists together to explore how science can best serve society, watch Exploring Ethics https://uctv.tv/exploring-ethics/

Watch — How Bad Are E-cigarettes? – Exploring Ethics

How Wrestling Led to a Career in Medicine

As the child of a single mother growing up in one of San Francisco’s poorest neighborhoods, Dr. Esteban Burchard’s background makes him particularly sensitive to issues surrounding health equity. He is a world leader in efforts to untangle the contributions of genes and environment in the expression of common diseases. Much of his work centers on childhood asthma, for which he runs the world’s largest cohort of diverse patients in an effort to better understand the risk factors for the disease and the predictors of outcomes and responses to therapy.

He has also made major contributions in the areas of health disparities, precision medicine, and the promotion of underrepresented populations in the health professions. He is a Professor of Pharmacy and Medicine at UCSF and director of the UCSF Center on Genes, Environment and Health. He is proud of being able to merge his personal passion with academic rigor.

His honors include membership on President Obama’s Precision Medicine task force, as well as election to the Alumni Hall of Fame at San Francisco State University and his selection as an Academic All-American for wrestling.

Watch — Dr. Esteban Burchard – A Life in Medicine: People Shaping Healthcare Today

Imaging Studies: A Revealing Look

Research imaging studies are crucial to finding effective treatments and therapies. Protocols are in place to protect both the study participant and the science, but what if the images reveal a previously unknown condition? Or a false positive or negative? Unraveling this question is more than a simple task and the consequences can range from unnecessary worry to wrong treatment decisions.

Kathryn Fowler, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Radiology, walks you through how studies are designed to avoid this scenario and the ethics of patients and physicians being made aware of research results if they are not verifiably accurate.

Watch — If Researchers Find a Tumor, Should They Tell You? – Exploring Ethics

Unlocking the Mysteries of the Brain Through Stem Cell Research

Inside a lab at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, researchers are doing something truly remarkable. They are growing tiny versions of developing human brains in order to study everything from Alzheimer’s disease to the Zika virus. Alysson Muotri is the co-director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program and leads the team researching brain organoids. He recently sat down with Dr. David Granet on Health Matters to discuss the endless possibilities of his research.

Muotri’s organoids are often referred to as “mini-brains,” but they are far from what that name might suggest. The organoids are grown from stem cells, which are harvested from living tissue, such as skin cells. Researchers give those stem cells instructions to become neural cells. Eventually they form tiny clusters of neural cells, about the size of a pea. Those clusters have been shown to exhibit some of the same characteristics of developing human brains, including firing electrical signals in specific patterns. But, the organoids do not contain every type of brain tissue, and have no vascularization.

Despite the differences with the human brain, organoids have proven useful in understanding and treating disease. One of the major successes of Muotri’s research was finding and testing an existing drug to treat mothers infected with Zika virus. The drug can prevent the disease from being passed to the baby and causing microcephaly. Muotri is hoping his lab will continue to have success using the organoids as an effective brain model to find more cures, and provide a deeper understanding of brain development and disease. And, his work isn’t limited to Earth. Muotri recently launched his organoids into space for a groundbreaking study.

Watch — Using Stem Cells to Research the Brain – Health Matters