Category Archives: Healthcare

Research points to MS relief

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Mark Muckenfuss and published in The Press Enterprise on December 2, 2014.) 

Seema Tiwari-Woodruff is an associate professor of biomedical sciences at the UC Riverside School of Medicine. Photo Credit: Pittalwala, UCR Today
Seema Tiwari-Woodruff is an associate professor of biomedical sciences at the UC Riverside School of Medicine. Photo Credit: Pittalwala, UCR Today

A UC Riverside researcher says she has tested a drug that may not only stop, but reverse the damage caused by multiple sclerosis.

Seema Tiwari-Woodruff is a biomedical science professor with UCR’s School of Medicine. She came to the campus in June from UCLA, where she had been researching multiple sclerosis therapies since 2007.

Tiwari-Woodruff said she and her team tested several ligands, chemicals that mimic estrogen. One particular ligand, Ind-Cl, was especially helpful for mice with multiple sclerotic symptoms.

The results were published Monday in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Photo Credit: UCR Today
Photo Credit: UCR Today

Multiple sclerosis affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide. The disease attacks the central nervous system, damaging or destroying the myelin sheath that surrounds the axons on nerve cells. The axons carry electrical impulses from nerve cell receptors to their synapses. The myelin acts as an insulator. Without it, the nerve cell can’t effectively send signals.

Mice that received the drug saw as much as a 60 percent improvement in their condition. Not only did the drug diminish the inflammation that accompanies flare-ups of the disease, but the degeneration of the myelin sheath on nerve cell axons, Tiwari-Woodruff said, actually began to be repaired.

Testing showed that the cells with regrown myelin were capable of transmitting nerve signals once more. So far, the drug seems to have few, if any side effects.

This medical discovery is an outstanding representation of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. The students and staff at UCR cultivate and support ideas, research, and products that accelerate the common good for all. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.

To read the full article, click here.

Riverside Recognized For Encouraging Healthy Workplace

(This article contains excerpts from an article Suzanne Hurt, published in the Press-Enterprise on October 9, 2014.)

The American Heart Association has recognized the city of Riverside’s continued effort to improve employees’ health.  The association gave the city a 2014 Platinum Fit-Friendly Award and Work site Innovation Award at a City Council meeting Aug. 12, according to city spokesman Phil Pitchford.  The city was also recognized with the health award in 2013.

Photo credit: Press-Enterprise
Photo credit: Press-Enterprise

The award is given to companies and organizations that meet criteria such as offering healthy food at the workplace, supporting workers’ fitness activities and taking other steps to encourage a healthy work site, according to the association.

The City’s Human Resources Department began its wellness programs in 2009. Workers lost 7,400 pounds in four years through an annual “Get Fit Challenge” weight-loss program.

The City of Riverside being recognized by the American Heart Association for two consecutive years, makes our beloved city a location of choice for individuals seeking a healthy lifestyle.  What really makes Riverside so unique are the intangible benefits and values that enhance the quality of life in the city.  Riverside is becoming a location of choice for people and organizations all over the world.

To read more, click here.

Riverside Bike-Sharing Program In The Works

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Alicia Robinson, published in the Press-Enterprise on September 16, 2014)

In Riverside’s continuing quest to expand public transit offerings and foster a “bicycle culture,” the city plans to launch what is likely the Inland area’s first public bike sharing program.  A city wide bike-share program would be a great opportunity for all Riversiders, providing one more reason why Riverside is a location of choice.  Not only would this provide Riversiders with more convenient public transportation options, it would be a fun opportunity for people to stay active and enjoy the great climate and environment that Riverside has to offer.  Our city is increasingly becoming the location of choice for people and organizations from all over the world.     

People check out bicycles from a Citi Bike station in New York City's Central Park. Riverside plans to test a bike share program, possibly starting in 2015.  Photo credit: Matthew Christensen
People check out bicycles from a Citi Bike station in New York City’s Central Park. Riverside plans to test a bike share program, possibly starting in 2015. Photo credit: Matthew Christensen

The bike share concept isn’t new. Community bikes were used in Amsterdam as early as the 1960s. The first organized programs in the U.S. date to the 1990s, said Susan Shaheen, co-director of UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center.  Esri, a Redlands geographic information systems company, offers free shared bicycles as an employee perk.

Riverside’s pilot project, which could start in 2015, will likely include four bike kiosks – one near City Hall, one at the downtown Metrolink station and spots near the UC Riverside and Riverside City College campuses, said Brandi Becker, a senior administrative analyst in the city’s public works department.  For most systems, pricing is set to encourage trips of a half-hour or less. Denver’s B-cycle, for example, starts at $8 for a 24-hour pass or $80 for a year, with weekly and monthly passes also offered. With all passes, trips up to 30 minutes are free; extra hourly charges apply for those who keep bikes out longer.

Many bike shares are still ironing out financial and logistical issues, but Riverside should be able to learn from others’ early mistakes, said Charlie Gandy, a bike consultant and vice president of the California Bicycle Coalition.    Gandy expects a bike share to fuel even more interest in cycling, whether for work, fun or fitness.   “Cities that take on this type of project see a major shift in people’s attitudes towards bicycling,” he said.

To read more, click here.

UCR Students Turn Diaper Into Medical Tool

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Janet Zimmerman, published in the Press-Enterprise on September 11, 2014. )

Five UC Riverside students and recent grads cleaned up in a national engineering contest by building a better diaper.  The group came up with an inexpensive liner that detects dehydration and bacterial infections in infants, an invention that could facilitate testing in poor countries and ease infants’ suffering. They call it the Diaper Detective.

Bioengineering students from UC Riverside developed a diaper insert for detecting bacterial infections and dehydration in infants. The team includes, from left, Stephanie Tehseldar, Veronica Boulos, Sara Said, Claire Tran and Melissa Cruz.  Photo credit: Harish Dixit
Bioengineering students from UC Riverside developed a diaper insert for detecting bacterial infections and dehydration in infants. The team includes, from left, Stephanie Tehseldar, Veronica Boulos, Sara Said, Claire Tran and Melissa Cruz. Photo credit: Harish Dixit

“We created this to fulfill a need for a versatile, inexpensive, non-invasive method of urine collection in developing countries and elsewhere,” co-inventor Veronica Boulos said. “The beauty of this is that it solves a huge problem with simplicity.”  The Diaper Detective was the result of a class that requires bioengineering students to design and develop a product. It took third place – and $10,000 – last month in the Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams Challenge sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

The Diaper Detective, created by UC Riverside students, uses chemicals that react with a baby's urine to detect illness and dehydration.  Photo credit: UC Riverside
The Diaper Detective, created by UC Riverside students, uses chemicals that react with a baby’s urine to detect illness and dehydration. Photo credit: UC Riverside

The idea was enough to attract interest from Procter & Gamble’s research department, which called the invention “novel, broadly relevant and affordable.” The group is in talks with the company for further development, possibly for adult incontinence products.

They hope their product eventually will be distributed to needy areas via relief organizations. If it qualifies for insurance coverage, it could be an inexpensive option for low-income parents, the scientists said.

The Diaper Detective is an outstanding model of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar.  The students and staff at UC Riverside cultivate and support ideas, research, and products that accelerate the common good for all.  Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do in Riveside, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.  

To read more, click here.

 

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Makes A Splash At City Hall

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Dana Straehley, published in the Press-Enterprise on August 21, 2014.)

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is flooding the nation, with everyone from former President George W. Bush to celebrities such as Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Justin Bieber getting soaked for charity.  The Riverside area is all wet as well.

Riverside Mayor William "Rusty" Bailey takes the Ice Bucket Challenge Thursday at the fountain in front of City Hall.  Phot credit: Kurt Miller
Riverside Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey takes the Ice Bucket Challenge Thursday at the fountain in front of City Hall. Photo credit: Kurt Miller

Friends challenge each other to donate $100 for ALS or take a soaking and post photos or video to social media. 

Riverside Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey was among the latest Thursday to have ice water poured over his head in the fundraising stunt that has gone viral. Drenched while sitting in the fountain in front of City Hall, he challenged his City Council colleagues to do the same or donate $100.  According to The ALS Association, Ice Bucket Challenge donations have surpassed $79 million as of 8/25/14.  For more information about ALS research in Riverside County, click here to connect with The ALS Golden West Chapter Support Group located here in Riverside.    

ALS, or Lou Gehrigs Disease, is a progressive disease that causes motor nerves to degenerate in the brain and spinal cord so the nerves can’t control muscles, leading patients to lose their ability to walk and talk and leading to eventual paralysis and death, according to the ALS Association.

Riverside Mayor William "Rusty" Bailey gets a double-bucket dunking from his daughters Julia, 8, left, and Elizabeth, 11, on Thursday at the fountain in front of City Hall.  Photo credit: Kurt Miller
Riverside Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey gets a double-bucket dunking from his daughters Julia, 8, left, and Elizabeth, 11, on Thursday at the fountain in front of City Hall. Photo credit: Kurt Miller

The people of Riverside are brought together around common interest and concerns, to engage with one another and accelerate the common good for all.  The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is just one example of Riverside coming together as a unified city.  Research and awareness for ALS is an important cause whether you are a professional, college student, or the Mayor.  It is refreshing to see all types of individuals from different backgrounds in the community doing there part to try and make a real difference.

To read the full article, click here.

 

 

Researchers At UCR Find Key Component Of Autistic Behavior

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Mark Muckenfuss, published in the Press-Enterprise on July 26, 2014)

Through constant commitment and dedication, UC Riverside is consistently raising the bar with their research and technological advancements.  One recent advancement, in regards to autism research, is a model of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar.  Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.

Iryna Ethell in her lab at UCR on Thursday, July 24, 2014. UCR researcher Iryna Ethell of Biomedical Sciences heads team that finds what may be a key to effective therapy for autism.  Photo credit: Kurt Miller
Iryna Ethell in her lab at UCR on Thursday, July 24, 2014. UCR researcher Iryna Ethell of Biomedical Sciences heads team that finds what may be a key to effective therapy for autism. Photo credit: Kurt Miller

A UC Riverside-led team of researchers says it has found conclusive evidence that a naturally produced enzyme in the body is responsible for autism and other neurological disorders in people with Fragile X syndrome.

Fragile X is a mutation of the X chromosome associated with obsessive-compulsive and repetitive behaviors as well as learning deficits. People affected by Fragile X have been shown to have structural differences in brain cells, such as underdeveloped neural receptors.

In 2007, Iryna Ethell, a UCR biochemist, found that overactivity of an enzyme called MMP-9 was connected with Fragile X. Her team recently identified MMP-9 as a major culprit in symptoms associated with Fragile X in mice.

Iryna Ethell holds a chart of her work in her office at UCR on Thursday, July 24, 2014. UCR researcher Iryna Ethell of Biomedical Sciences heads team that finds what may be a key to effective therapy for autism. Photo credit: Kurt Miller
Iryna Ethell holds a chart of her work in her office at UCR on Thursday, July 24, 2014. UCR researcher Iryna Ethell of Biomedical Sciences heads team that finds what may be a key to effective therapy for autism. Photo credit: Kurt Miller

By eliminating a gene that activates MMP-9, the researchers found that even with the presence of Fragile X syndrome, the mice showed no symptoms of autistic behavior. They measured sociability, anxiety and other behaviors, as well as examining individual brain cells.

Often, such discoveries are the first step in a long process. Just understanding a mechanism for a particular disease or disorder doesn’t  necessarily mean a treatment is imminent. Effective therapies or drugs can be many years away.

To read more, click here.