A publication for alumni, donors, faculty and friends of UC Davis Health

Volume 15 • No 1 • Spring 2018

Body of knowledge

A summary of recent findings in clinical, translational and basic science research at UC Davis

illustration of neurons

UC Davis MIND Institute researchers have found that typically-developing children gain more neurons in a region of the brain that governs social and emotional behavior, the amygdala, as they become adults. This phenomenon does not happen in people with autism spectrum disorder. Instead, children with ASD have too many neurons early on, and then appear to lose those neurons as they become adults. The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

adolescent girl

Researchers from UC Davis and Columbia University found the impact of medical marijuana laws on other substance use differs among early, middle and late adolescents, according to a study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The study presented trends in different types of drug use pre- and post-medical marijuana legalization for a nationally representative sample of more than one million. Researchers found decreased use of all substances among 8th graders, no change among 10th graders, and increased non-medical use of prescription opioids and cigarettes among 12th graders.

toothbrush with toothpaste

An international team of researchers has identified a cause for chronic bad breath, with the help of gene knockout mice from the UC Davis Mouse Biology Program. Published in the journal Nature Genetics, the study identified a human protein which coverts sulfur-based compounds when breathing. The mutations in the protein release these smelly compounds that are then exhaled in breath. The findings provide researchers with a better understanding of sulfur metabolism, and in turn might lead to future treatments.

close-up of dollar bill

Lower-wage workers who receive a $1 raise tend to call in sick less and consider themselves healthier than those who do not, according to new UC Davis research on minimum-wage policies. The study published in B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, found that a wage increase resulted in a 19 percent decrease in absences due to workers’ own illnesses, and a 2.1 percent increase in the probability that workers would report themselves to be in good or excellent health.

young african american man

A UC Davis-led study published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship found striking disparities in the risk of cardiovascular disease in cancer survivors depending on racial/ethnic and socioeconomic factors. The findings, from data provided by the California Cancer Registry involving 79,176 patients ages 15–39, showed adolescent and young adult cancer survivors who are African American, poor or have public or no health insurance are far more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease, heart failure or stroke later in life than non-Hispanic white cancer survivors.

illustration of bacteria cell

Researchers from UC Davis, Johns Hopkins, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have discovered how the immune system might protect from recurrent bacterial skin infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus (staph), according to findings published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. The study found that gamma delta T cells may be targeted for developing new therapies or even a vaccine against staph skin infections, which could significantly prevent invasive complications and reduce health care costs.