News In Brief

Animal Trials by UCI Scientist May Herald New Drug for Cerebral Palsy
New research by Thomas Poulos of UC Irvine and Richard Silverman of Northwestern University shows potential for creating a new drug for individuals with cerebral palsy (CP).
According to the “Encyclopedia of Childhood and Adolescence,” CP is a non-contagious disease that is caused by damage to motor areas of the developing brain. CP is present in around 750,000 children and adults throughout the United States.
There is a 75 percent chance of the onset of CP during pregnancy, a 5 percent chance during childbirth and a 15 percent chance from birth until age 3.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports that though it is a non-progressive disease, CP victims still run the chance of suffering from an earlier onset of arthritis and osteoporosis.
There is no cure for CP, but two compounds developed by Poulos and Silverman have prevented CP in recent preclinical animal trials. The compounds function by inhibiting the enzyme that produces nitric oxide. Although nitric oxide is important in neural functioning, excessive amounts of it can damage brain tissue and it is thought to play a role in the development of CP.
Results have shown that 83 percent of animals treated with one of the compounds were born with no CP characteristics, as were 69 percent of those treated with the second compound.
The study was published Feb. 20 in the online journal, “Annals of Neurology.”

UCI Medical Center Opens Doors of Its University Hospital
The UC Irvine Medical Center will open its brand new state-of-the-art University Hospital this week. The $556 million hospital was completed four months ahead of schedule and is intended to replace the existing main hospital built in 1960.
The first phase of the hospital will add 236 patient beds, more than doubling the previous count to total 427 beds in the entire medical center. It will also add 19 operating rooms and expand the neonatal care unit by 45 beds in addition to enhancing the burn treatment center.
The 482,428 square foot, seven-story structure will also contain 15 operating rooms with advanced robotics and 3-D imagery technology and collaborative workspaces for residents, all in a structure designed to survive a 9.0 magnitude earthquake.

Journalist Speaks About Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
In an event sponsored by Anteaters for Israel (AFI), Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh shared his experiences regarding freedom of the press in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Wednesday Feb. 25. The event was co-sponsored by Hasbara Fellowships and Stand With Us.
According to an AFI press release, Abu Toameh is one of the first Palestinian speakers in many years to come to the UC Irvine campus.
Once a writer for the Palestinian Liberation Organization newspaper, Abu Toameh now writes for the Jerusalem Post and is known for speaking out about the lack of free speech and press within the territories controlled by the then Palestinian National Authority.
Abu Toameh’s visit to UCI was one of many during his Feb. 25 to Mar. 5 tour of the West Coast, Chicago and Washington D.C. areas.