Media Highlights 2011

UCLA gastroenterology ranked Best in the West and #6 in the nation, according to a U.S.News & World Report survey that reviewed patient-outcomes data, reputation among physicians and other care-related factors. 

Once again, making our GI-related services and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center "Best in the West."


New drug helps eradicate hepatitis C
Dr. Sammy Saab, associate professor of medicine and surgery, commented March 2 in a KCBS-Channel 2/KCAL-Channel 9 story about a new drug that helps eradicate hepatitis C. The report aired on CBS affiliates across the country.


Study says colon test can saves lives
Dr. Eric Esrailian, assistant clinical professor and vice-chief of digestive diseases, commented Feb. 23 in ABC News on a new study suggesting that removing non-cancerous polyps greatly reduces future risk of death from colorectal cancer. The story was picked up by the Wall Street Journal and KABC Channel 7.


Publication lauds super UCLA physicians
More than 250 UCLA physicians were rated among the top doctors in Los Angeles in the recently released 2102 Super Doctors publication, which recognizes doctors who have excelled professionally and are recognized as leaders within their fields of practice. The following digestive disease faculty were recognized: Dr. Peter Anton, Dr. Daniel Cole, Dr. Francisco Durazo, Dr. Steven-Huy Han, Dr. Dennis Jensen, Dr. Rome Jutabha, Dr. Bennett Roth, Dr. Thomas Kovacs, Dr. Sammy Saab, Dr. Brennan Spiegel, Dr. Wilfred Weinstein.


The real butterfly in your stomach
Dr. Emeran A. Mayer, professor of medicine, physiology and psychiatry and director of the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, commented Jan. 17 in a Daily Free Press article about the gut's enteric nervous system, which acts like a second brain.


Your backup brain
Dr. Emeran A. Mayer, professor of medicine, physiology and psychiatry and director of the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, commented Nov. 1 in a Psychology Today article about the gut's enteric nervous system, which acts like a second brain.


Angeleno showcases digestive diseases' "Red Violin" benefit
The November issue of Angeleno Magazine featured a special performance of the "Red Violin" to support the UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases. Dr. Gary Gitnick, division chief and Dr. Eric Esrailian, division vice-chief, presented at the event, which was held at the private residence of entrepreneur/philanthropist Paula Kent Meehan and co-hosted by philanthropists Barbara Davis and Candy Spelling.


LA Weekly scrutinizes anti-HIV microbicide gel
LA Weekly, MedicalXpress and Insciences.org reported Nov. 8 and QMI Agency reported Nov. 9 on research by Dr. Peter Anton, professor of digestive diseases and a member of the UCLA AIDS Institute, suggesting that a microbicide gel applied to rectal tissue could significantly reduce HIV transmission.


Saliva's link to cancer draws overseas interest
Medscape reported Oct. 14 and the Qatar News Agency and Scottish Daily Record reported Oct. 13 on a study by Dr. James Farrell, an associate clinical professor of digestive diseases and director of the Pancreatic Diseases Program at UCLA, and Dr. David Wong, Felix and Mildred Yip Professor of Dentistry and associate dean of research at the UCLA School of Dentistry, suggesting that increased or decreased levels of certain types of bacteria in saliva could be linked to the development of pancreatic cancer.


Media examine bacteria's link to pancreatic cancer
ABC News, WebMD, Irish Independent, HealthDay News, MSNBC, ABC News Radio, Yorkshire Post  and Science Daily reported Oct. 12 and New ScientistDaily MailDaily Mirror, French Tribune, Bahrain News Agency, Drug Discovery and Development, WHEC Channel 10 (New York), Sky News (U.K.),  Health 777, and LabMate reported Oct. 13 on a study identifying bacterial variations in the saliva of pancreatic-cancer patients compared to healthy subjects, suggesting a new biomarker to diagnose and track the disease. The research was led by Dr. James Farrell, associate clinical professor of digestive diseases and director of the Pancreatic Diseases Program at UCLA; and Dr. David Wong, Felix and Mildred Yip Professor of Dentistry, associate dean of research at the School of Dentistry and director of the UCLA Dental Research Institute. The journal Gut published the findings in its Oct. 13 online edition. The HealthDay report was syndicated by Yahoo News, NewsDay, Fox NewsU.S. News & World Reportand  iVillage Entertainment. The ABC News Radio story aired on WTMA-1250 AM (South Carolina) and KGO-810 AM and KNSS-1330 AM (Kansas).


Hollywood Today covers digestive diseases benefit
An Oct. 12 article and photo in Hollywood Today highlighted a special performance of the "Red Violin" to support the Division of Digestive Diseases. Dr. Gary Gitnick, division chief, and Dr. Eric Esrailian, division vice-chief, presented at the event, held at the home of entrepreneur and philanthropist Paula Kent Meehan and co-hosted by philanthropists Barbara Davis and Candy Spelling.


Study identifies new way to treat common hospital-acquired infection
Researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have discovered a molecular process by which the body can defend against the effects of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), pointing the way to a promising new approach for treating an intestinal disease that has become more common, more severe and harder to cure in recent years.  "We are treating a disease caused by antibiotics with yet another antibiotic, which creates the conditions for re-infection from the same bacteria," said study co-author Dr. Charalabos Pothoulakis, director of UCLA's Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center and a professor of medicine in the division of digestive diseases. "Identification of new treatment modalities to treat this infection would be a major advance." August 22, 2011 press release online


"Red Violin" special performance supports Division of Digestive Diseases
Sept. 20 coverage of a special performance of the "Red Violin" to support the Division of Digestive Diseases was picked up by Reuters, Examiner.com, the Sacramento Bee, Riverside Press-Enterprise, Yahoo News and websites for CNBC and other TV stations. Dr. Gary Gitnick, division chief, and Dr. Eric Esrailian, division vice-chief, presented at the event held at the home of entrepreneur-philanthropist Paula Kent Meehan and co-hosted by philanthropists Barbara Davis and Candy Spelling.  Tennis legends Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, and actress Sela Ward also attended.


Physician comments on man who smuggled bags of cocaine in stomach
Dr. Eric Esrailian, assistant clinical professor and vice-chief of the Division of Digestive Diseases, commented Sept. 16 in MSNBC about a man who attempted to smuggle 72 bags of cocaine in his stomach. 


Potential payer pushback on new hepatitis C drug
Dr. Sammy Saab, associate professor of medicine and surgery and assistant professor of nursing, commented in a Sept. 2 BioPharm Insight article on potential payer pushback on some newly approved Hepatitis C drugs. The Financial Times carried the article.


UCLA opens expanded center to study mind-brain-body links in chronic medical disorders - Press release June 15, 2011
Investigators at UCLA's G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience have been studying the links between the brain and digestive system in the development and treatment of common chronic digestive disorders in adults and children. 


Reuters Health covers timing of colonoscopy
An April 28, 2011 Reuters Health story included a 2009 UCLA/VA study that found early-morning colonoscopies yielded more polyps per patient than later cases.  Newer studies from other institutions have now shown similar findings.  Dr. Brennan Spiegel, associate professor of Digestive Diseases and director of the UCLA/VA Center for Outcomes Research and Education, was quoted.
1. Doctors Less Deft at Colonoscopy As Day Goes On
2. Related News Release


Trades cover new educational booklet on colonoscopy prep
BeckerASC, a trade publication for surgery centers, reported April 13, 2011 on an educational booklet developed by VA and UCLA researchers that can help patients better prepare for a colonoscopy.  Dr. Brennan Spiegel, associate professor of Digestive Diseases and director of the UCLA/VA Center for Outcomes Research and Education, is the study's first author. An April 13 Endo Nurse website article also covered the story.
1. Related news release 
2. Educational booklet promotes improved preparation for colonoscopy


Study linking HIV transmission risk to the level of virus in genital fluid
A commentary co-written by Dr. Peter Anton, professor of Digestive Diseases and director of the Center for Prevention Research, was cited April 6 by HealthDay News in a story about a study linking HIV transmission risk to the level of virus in genital fluid.


The Advocate profiles HIV researcher
Dr. Peter Anton, professor of Digestive Diseases and a member of the UCLA AIDS Institute, was interviewed in the April issue of The Advocate about the latest advances in AIDS treatments in The Last Days of HIV.


International wire, trade reports on liver fibrosis study
Asian News International and trade publication Becker ASC on March 31, 2011 reported on a study led by Dr. Simon Beaven, assistant professor of Medicine, Division of Digestive Diseases, that found that a key regulator of cholesterol and fat metabolism in the liver also plays an important role in the development of liver fibrosis, which can lead to cirrhosis. Beaven is quoted. The study ran in the March issue of Gastroenterology.  The research was done in the laboratory of senior author Dr. Peter Tontonoz, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. The story was picked up by AndraNews.net. The website Red Orbit also ran a story.
1. Related news release
2. Cholesterol regulator plays key role in development of liver fibrosis
3. UCLA: Cholesterol regulator associated wsith liver scarring, cirrhosis


Trade features colonoscopy expert
ASC Review, a trade magazine for ambulatory surgery centers, on March 2, 2011, reported on an article that appeared in the journal Gastroenterology by Dr. Brennan Spiegel, director of the UCLA-VA Center for Outcomes Research and Education and associate professor of digestive diseases.  Spiegel discussed that the accuracy of a colonoscopy depends on the technician's experience and skill, patient adherence to preparation and other provider and procedural variables. UCLA gastroenterologist: colonoscopy is an 'imperfect test'


HIV-fighting gel attracts national coverage
TIME, Reuters, HealthDay News, Agence France-Presse and other outlets reported Feb. 28, 2011 on research by Dr. Peter Anton, professor of Digestive Diseases and of UCLA's Center for Prevention Research.  His team's research found that a gel previously shown to reduce HIV transmission in vaginal use also reduces HIV risk when applied rectally. The findings were presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. Anton, a member of the UCLA AIDS Institute, was quoted in the coverage.
1. An anti-HIV gel shows some promise for prevention
2. AIDS gel shown to protect anal tissue from HIV
3. Rectal gel could help ward off HIV: Study
4. Related news release