News In Brief

Acupressure Superior to Sedatives Prior to Surgery
UC Irvine anesthesiologists recently discovered that acupressure could serve as a superior form of relaxation to sedatives. Acupressure treatment applied to children undergoing anesthesia was found to lower their anxiety levels and lower the stress of surgery for them and their families without the nausea and prolonged sedation associated with sedatives.
“Anxiety can lead to prolonged recovery and the increased use of analgesics for postoperative pain,” said Dr. Zeev Kain, anesthesiology and preoperative care chair.
During the study, Kain and his Yale colleagues applied adhesive beads to 52 children between the ages of 8 and 17 who were undergoing surgery. Half of the children had one bead affixed to the midpoint between their eyebrows called the Extra-1 acupoint. The other half had the extra bead attached above their left eyebrow.
Researchers found that children who had the Extra-1 bead attached had decreased levels of anxiety compared to the children who did not. In fact, the children in the other group suffered an increase in anxiety levels before surgery.
“We can’t assume that Western medical approaches are the only viable ones, and we have an obligation to look at integrative treatments like acupressure as a way to improve the surgery experience,” Kain said.

UC Irvine Researchers Study Social Networks
A $5.4 million grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research gives UC Irvine researchers a chance to analyze large-scale computer networks over the next five years.
The goal is to analyze networks of data such as Facebook on a larger scale than traditional research thus far. Prior research has studied nodes, a few hundred connected individuals in the network. This project will develop a method to study hundreds of nodes at once.
New techniques will be used to identify critical nodes that will help predict likely areas of network growth. The information will help create new links to foster collaboration on the Web.
The goal of the new project is to better understand the characteristics of large networks, how they are formed, how they expand and how to predict network evolution over time.

The Vice Presidential Debate Doesn’t Pay-lin Off
Jospeh Biden and Sarah Palin, the 2008 vice presidential candidates participated in their first and only debate during the campaign season at Washington University in St. Louis, MO last Thursday, Oct. 4. The debate pulled nearly 70 million viewers, ranking it as the second largest TV audience since the presidential and vice presidential debates originally aired.
The debate lasted 90 minutes and was moderated by Gwen Ifill, managing editor of PBS’ Washington Week and senior correspondent for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.”
Over 430 WU students were chosen by lottery to watch the debate inside the Field House while the rest of the campus formed watch parties. The university also hosted a debate-watch party for St. Louis community members.
Most political analysts agreed that Governor Palin exceeded their expectations, but felt her answers seemed rehearsed. Although the “winner” of the debate was uncertain, most grudgingly agreed that both candidates avoided any major on-screen train wrecks.

$14.5 Million Awarded to UCI for National Children’s Study
In addition to the $14.6 and $25.9 million in 2005, the National Institutes of Health are giving UC Irvine another $14.5 million to expand the National Children’s Study (NCS). This money will be put toward a new study location in Kern County, joining the other locations in the Orange, San Diego and San Bernardino counties.
NCS is the largest study of child development and health conducted in the U.S. Researchers are led by UCI pediatrics professor James Swanson and medicine professor Dean Baker.
The study is a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to identify genetic and environmental causes of health concerns such as premature birth, obesity, asthma, autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The study will use a sample of 105,000 children nationwide ranging from between birth to age 21 in 105 locations across the country.
NCS funding has thus far amounted to $55.2 million since its beginning in 2005.

UC Irvine Medical Center Voted Top in Nation
Based on results from the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, UC Irvine Medical Center has been selected as one of the top 2008 hospitals.
The survey looked at more than 1,200 hospitals for quality, safety, performance in high-risk procedures, intensive care unit staffing and automation of medical orders.
Hospitals that ranked high on the Leapfrog survey generally have lower mortality rates and a better quality of patient care. The UCI Medical Center was also listed in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals report for the eighth year in a row. The American Nurses Credentialing Center designated the center as a Magnet hospital for its commitment to nursing excellence in August. The center’s programs in gynecology, urology and geriatrics also rank among the top in the nation.