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

Volume 14 • No 1 • Summer 2017

Body of knowledge

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

photo of a woman

Hormonal contraception is safer than expected for women with diabetes, according to a recent UC Davis-led study published in Diabetes Care that sought to clarify to what extent the risks of cardiovascular events for diabetic women differed with various types of hormonal birth control. The study, one of the first to evaluate hormonal contraception and health outcomes in women with a chronic condition, should encourage physicians to include implants and IUDs in birth control discussions with diabetic patients, authors said.

3d illustration of lungs

A large trial led by UC Davis researchers found that the immunotherapy atezolizumab was superior to chemotherapy for patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. The research, published in The Lancet, found that patients survived longer with fewer side effects on atezolizumab compared to chemotherapy, the standard treatment. Atezolizumab also showed benefit in all categories of patients.

3dillustration of a brain

For the first time, researchers have found higher levels of Gram-negative bacteria antigens in brain samples from late-onset Alzheimer’s disease patients, according to a UC Davis-led study published in the journal Neurology. Researchers have not yet determined if the bacteria are causing Alzheimer’s disease or are a consequence of it, and the findings highlight the need to further investigate how infectious agents impact Alzheimer’s. A proven link could offer new opportunities to prevent and treat the disease.

sleeping newborn

Researchers from the UC Davis MIND Institute, University of North Carolina and other institutions found that altered distribution of cerebrospinal fluid in high-risk infants can predict whether they will develop autism spectrum disorder, according to a study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry. While the biomarker is not sensitive enough to say with certainty that a child will develop ASD, the apparent link between increased CSF and autism could serve as an alert for radiologists and neurologists and have significant clinical impact.

sharpened pencils

Marijuana use significantly increased and its perceived harm decreased among eighth- and 10th-graders in Washington state following enactment of recreational marijuana laws, according to a study published online in JAMA Pediatrics by UC Davis and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. There was no change in use or perceived harm among 12th graders or similar grades. While more targeted research is needed, the authors believe that states considering legalized recreational use may want to consider investing in evidence- based substance abuse prevention programs for adolescents.

pills in shape of heart

UC Davis and University of Iowa researchers discovered the mechanism by which insulin damages the heart in diabetics, who face higher risks of heart failure. The mouse model study published in the journal Circulation suggests that two different drugs — a beta blocker and an antidepressant — might have potential for preventing or treating heart failure associated with type 2 diabetes. The researchers also found a specific protein that could also be involved in diabetic heart failure and serve as another possible drug target.