Nursing a Quandary

A worker shortage with no jobs?

California might be facing a long-term nursing shortage of epic proportions, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to find a job. Blame it on the Great Recession, but for new nurses it’s harder than ever to get a foot in the employment door.

Jan 1, 2011 Josh Brodesky
Joseph Murray, owner-manage, Truckee-Tahoe Mortuary in Truckee

Working to Death

What boomers mean for the 'death care' industry

Since they first began squirming in their bassinets in the late 1940s, baby boomers have created unprecedented demand for the industries that cater to their needs. The generation has moved from toys to blue jeans to cosmetic surgery. Now the oldest boomers are in their mid-60s and are purchasing life insurance and long-term care assistance.

Sep 30, 2010 Robert Celaschi
Doctor's are able to micromanage their patients' dosage of bioidentical hormones using compounding pharmacies such as Advantge Pharmaceuticals in Rocklin.

Fountain of Youth

The role of bioidentical hormones during menopause

Unless you get on the wrong airplane or harbor a relentless cancer, doctors say you can pretty much count on living to be 90. A hundred years ago, it was age 50. For many women, that would have meant dying before menopause. Now it means living half a lifetime with hormones on the fritz.

Sep 30, 2010 Christine Calvin
Heather Phillips has been in the hospital for nearly five years. She is visited regularly by Sherm and Sandy Waldman and their West Highland white terrier as a part of a palliative care program at Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

Balancing the Burdens

Helping patients and hospitals make difficult choices

A growing senior population is changing the way society approaches life and death. “People are dying differently now,” says Judy Citko, executive director of the Coalition for Compassionate Care. In the past, patients had to choose between giving up on treatment or forging ahead with sometimes drastic measures. In contrast to the traditional focus on treatment of individual episodes at any physical and financial cost, medical experts, patients and their families are demanding a new way of approaching their final months and years.

Aug 31, 2010 JT Long
Dr. Jan Nolta heads he stem cell program for the UC Davis Health System and directs the Institute for Regenerative Cures. 

(Photo courtesy of UC Davis Health System)

Stemming Out

UC Davis researchers deliver lab innovations

Dr. Jan Nolta is a whirlwind of energy, and this July morning she is blitzing through UC Davis’ brand-new Institute for Regenerative Cures, a state-of-the-art lab where scientists and researchers are working on breakthrough discoveries and stem cell therapies.

Jul 31, 2010 Josh Brodesky
Vikram Janardhan, CEO, Insera Therapeutics; and Cary Adams, founder of, Proximal Ventures.

Stayin’ a Life

Will the health care overhaul affect investment in medical technology?

After four quarters of increasing venture investment, 2010 is off to a slow start. Venture capitalists invested $4.7 billion in the year’s first quarter, down from $5.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The life sciences sector, including biotechnology and medical device industries, took the biggest hit with a 26 percent decline in venture investment over the previous quarter.

May 31, 2010 Christine Calvin

Equine Complex

Children find solace in horse-assisted therapy

Avery Benedict-Hall can’t talk, but when he slides onto a horse every Saturday morning at 11, his audience can hear the sound of his smile: clap, clap, clap. The 9-year-old has a host of neurological disorders, including cerebral palsy, autism and cortical visual impairment. Clapping is a soothing stimulant for many children with autism.

Dec 1, 2009 Stephanie Flores
Kaiser Permanente's Dr. Walter Kinney has been at the forefront of cervical cancer research and development.

Early Times

Can the medical community eradicate cervical cancer in your lifetime?

Cervical cancer in the U.S. has been declining for the past 50 years, and with recent advancements in prevention and screening, doctors imagine the cancer could be eradicated from America’s population within your lifetime. It’s a lofty ambition with a major caveat: It is almost entirely dependent upon the participation of the nation’s underserved women.

Oct 1, 2009 Christine Calvin
Researchers have found that decision making can exhaust the brain.

Brain Exam

A play-by-play of your body's most important organ

What’s your brain doing right now? What was it doing when you woke up, got hungry, went to work, danced, made love, got angry, got happy, fell asleep and dreamed? Judith Horstman is a local writer and frequent Comstock’s contributor. Her new book, “The Scientific American Day In the Life of Your Brain,” chronicles hour-by-hour what goes on in your brain through a typical day and night.

Sep 1, 2009 Judith Horstman

Reform

Making health care work

This summer we saw the debate over health care reform heat up. The result has been partisanship, too little dialogue and too much misinformation. As a small-business owner, I’m concerned about reform, reform that will protect the country’s millions of small companies against skyrocketing health care costs. My own research has led me to a few basic conclusions.

Sep 1, 2009 Winnie Comstock-Carlson