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UCLA Campus Report: A Test For Heart Transplant Patients, More

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A look at some of the non-sports stories making headlines around campus

Ackerman Union
Ackerman Union

An occasional report from around campus that recognizes that UCLA is a school with a world-class reputation for research and innovation and whose people make real impact on the real world:

This week’s news includes a blood test that serves as a "crystal ball" for heart transplant patients, a silver lining for a stroke treatment that didn't work out as planned and a study that looks at the effects of ovulation on a woman's libido.

UCLA Headines

Blood test serves as 'crystal ball' for heart transplant patients, UCLA-led study finds

A new UCLA-led study shows that a blood test commonly used to determine whether heart transplant recipients are rejecting their new organ can also predict potential rejection-related problems in the future.

Reporting in the online edition of the peer-reviewed journal Transplantation, researchers demonstrate how the AlloMap test, which uses a blood sample to measure changes in the expression of roughly a dozen genes, can be used over a period of time to assess the risk of dysfunction or rejection of a transplanted heart — months before such an event may occur.

"For the first time, we can use genomic testing over multiple patient visits to go beyond intuition to understand not just how patients are doing now but how they are likely to be a few months from now," said Dr. Mario Deng, medical director of UCLA's Integrated Advanced Heart Failure–Mechanical Support–Heart Transplant Program and the study's principal investigator. "It's another step toward personalized medicine."

Quick magnesium treatment fails to improve stroke outcomes, but study has silver lining

In the first study of its kind, a consortium led by UCLA physicians found that giving stroke patients intravenous magnesium within an hour of the onset of symptoms does not improve stroke outcomes.

However, the 8-year trial did find that with the help of paramedics in the field, intravenous medications can frequently be administered to stroke victims within that so-called "golden hour," during which they have the best chance to survive and avoid debilitating, long-term neurological damage.

The latter finding is a "game-changer," said Dr. Jeffrey Saver, director of the UCLA Stroke Center and a professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Saver served as co-principal investigator on the research, which was presented Feb. 13 at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference.

"Stroke is a true emergency condition. For every minute that goes by without restoration of blood flow, 2 million nerve cells are lost," Saver said. "Since time lost is brain lost, we wanted to develop a method that let us get potentially brain-saving drugs to the patient in the earliest moments of onset of the stroke. If these patients don't get protective drugs until two, three or four hours later, irreversible brain damage has already occurred."

What do women want? It depends on the time of the month

UCLA researchers publish landmark meta-analysis of sexual preferences at ovulation

If she loves you and then she loves you not, don’t blame the petals of that daisy. Blame evolution.

UCLA researchers analyzed dozens of published and unpublished studies on how women’s preferences for mates change throughout the menstrual cycle. Their findings suggest that ovulating women have evolved to prefer mates who display sexy traits – such as a masculine body type and facial features, dominant behavior and certain scents – but not traits typically desired in long-term mates.

So, desires for those masculine characteristics, which are thought to have been markers of high genetic quality in our male ancestors, don’t last all month – just the few days in a woman’s cycle when she is most likely to pass on genes that, eons ago, might have increased the odds of her offspring surviving and reproducing.

"Women sometimes get a bad rap for being fickle, but the changes they experience are not arbitrary," said Martie Haselton, a professor of psychology and communication studies at UCLA and the paper’s senior author. "Women experience intricately patterned preference shifts even though they might not serve any function in the present."

The findings will appear online this month in Psychological Bulletin, which is published by the American Psychological Association.

UCLA in the News

William Yu

Yu, an economist with the UCLA Anderson Forecast, was quoted Tuesday in a Los Angeles Daily News article about Los Angeles city workers receiving pay raises.

UCLA Crowdfunding Platform Launched

An article in the Los Angeles Times about the growing use of online crowdfunding to support scientific research highlighted the newly launched UCLA Spark, a university website that aims to attract critical fundraising support for innovative projects by UCLA faculty and official student organizations. Edward Miracco, a UCLA postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry, was quoted.

Actress Is a Poet, Maybe

Brian Kim Stefans, UCLA assistant professor of English, was interviewed Thursday on KPCC-89.3 FM's "Take Two" about a poem written by actress Kristen Stewart that was recently panned by many as perhaps the worst poem ever written.

Protests Against Animal Research

Thursday’s Huffington Post reported on anti–animal research activists protesting outside the homes of UCLA scientists and highlighted a UCLA fact sheet illustrating how the use of laboratory animals in research has improved our understanding of the human body and has resulted in the development of lifesaving procedures and medicines.