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.

Aug 1, 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.

Jun 1, 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
Residents of the Chateau at River's Edge participate in a Tai Chi class.

Selling the Boom

The slogans behind senior living

Terri Bacon participates in line dancing, water aerobics and a book club in her community, Glenbrooke by Del Webb, which targets active adults older than 55. She recently started a club that attends theater performances. “I’m busier here than I’ve ever been, and I’m doing things that are worthwhile,” says Bacon, who turns 62 this month.

Aug 1, 2009 Ingrid Ahlgren
(Photo: istockphoto.com)

Dancing with Deception

Making sense of cognitive impairment

Uncle Bert seemed normal to me, so I wondered what was going on when a phone call ripped into an otherwise peaceful Monday. It was Dave, a trusted family friend. “Honey, your uncle has dementia, and all his friends are very concerned about it,” he said. “You need to do something.”

Aug 1, 2009
Ken Skoonberg, 97, likes the PACE program and says he doesn't miss a day.

Choices, Choices

Health care makes adjustments for the boom

Boomers are booming, and skilled-nursing and long-term care facilities are struggling to keep up. But the focus isn’t on beds and population numbers alone. Baby boomers are a picky bunch, and they’re not likely to rest easy with the status quo, say caretakers, many of whom are seniors themselves. That’s part of the reason rehab care has taken on a new face in the past few years, one that’s focused on a philosophy change about senior care.

Jul 1, 2009 Christine Calvin