Stem cell scare

Mar 16, 2017

Three women have allegedly fallen blind after receiving stem cell treatments, and now experts are expressing caution over unproven/risky treatments.


The Chronicle's ERIN ALLDAY: "Reports of three cases in which elderly women went blind after receiving an experimental stem cell therapy at a Florida clinic should raise concern about the proliferation of similar centers across the country, where patients often are promised safe and effective care using unproven and potentially risky treatments, experts said Wednesday."

"A paper describing the eye treatments, which were performed in 2015, was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. At least two of the women sought to collect damages from the clinic that treated them in lawsuits that have since been settled."

"Hundreds of clinics that market stem cell therapies directly to consumers have cropped up in the United States over the past few years, and California is a hot spot in the trend. The authors of the new paper said people seeking treatments at these clinics should consider what happened to the women in Florida a major red flag."


READ MORE related to HealthDoctors say unproven stem cell treatment blinded 3 women -- AP's MALCOM RITTER

UC regents say that the average cost of attending campuses in the UC system increased by 4%.


LA Times' TERESA WATANABE: "Amid rising public concern about college expenses, University of California regents were told Wednesday that the cost of attending UC campuses increased by about $1,100, or 4% last year."

"The public university system’s new cost survey found that food, housing and healthcare costs rose, but transportation and book expenses dropped. The survey, conducted last spring at every campus, will be used to set budgets for 2017-18."


"UC Berkeley recorded the biggest average cost increase, rising 7% to $34,217 annually. UC Santa Cruz — at $34,627 — was the most expensive campus. UC Riverside — at $30,802 — was the cheapest."


READ MORE related to Education: Family speaks after $8 million molestation settlement mandates Morgan Hill school district training to detect abusers -- East Bay Times' ROBERT SALONGA


Trump's first budget draft has been released: decreased government, increased defense.


LA Times' NOAH BIERMAN/MICHAEL A. MEMOLI: "President Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, asserted a bold goal recently, sounding as if he were pitching a plot of an action thriller: “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

Thursday, as Trump releases his first budget, Americans will get a wider glimpse of what exactly that means."

"This earliest version of Trump’s spending plan is far from final and will be short of many specifics, but it promises to lay out a vision for a stripped-down federal government that is heavy on defense and far lighter on employees assigned to protect the environment, regulate business, work with foreign governments and provide assistance on things like housing and heating oil that many at the state and local level have long taken for granted." 


READ MORE related to Beltway: Trump budget would reignite California's financial strains -- LA Times' EVAN HALPER/SARAH D. WIRE; Winners and losers in Trump's first budget plan -- AP's CALVIN WOODWARD; Tillerson says NKorea 'need not fear' United States -- AP's MATTHEW PENNINGTON


California's new  'California School Dashboard' is grading on a curve according to reports, giving a more inflated score to lower-performing schools.


LA Times' JOY RESMOVITS/SANDRA POINDEXTER: "When they unveiled the California School Dashboard on Wednesday, state officials described it as the most comprehensive way yet to assess the state of California public schools."

"Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson heralded the website as “a resource unlike anything we’ve ever had before” and “a high-tech report card for our schools.”


"But the new system, which is color coded, grades on a curve and paints a far rosier picture in academics than past measurements, a Times analysis found."


Former LA County Sheriff Lee Baca has been found guilty of obstruction of justice and other charges.


LA Times' JOEL RUBIN/VICTORIA KIM: "Lee Baca, the once powerful and popular sheriff of Los Angeles County, was found guilty Wednesday of obstructing a federal investigation into abuses in county jails and lying to cover up the interference."

"The verdict, which jurors reached on their second full day of deliberations, marked a devastating fall for a man who in his 15 years as sheriff built himself into a national law enforcement figure known for progressive ideas on criminal justice issues. Baca, who is 74 and suffers from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, now faces the likelihood of time in federal prison."


"Baca showed no emotion as the verdicts were read in a packed downtown courtroom."


READ MORE related to Public Safety: Fullerton police officer charged with filing false report -- LA Times' MATT HAMiLTON; Chico police to staff extra officers for St. Patrick's Day -- Chico ER's ANDRE BYIK; LAPD seeking woman with dementia who was last seen in Panorama City -- Daily News' STAFF; After stellar 50-year career, ex-LA County sheriff convicted -- AP's BRIAN MELLEY; Sacramento police to beef up patrols during St. Patrick's day festivities -- Sacramento Bee's NASHELLY CHAVEZ


What exactly is a 'sanctuary city'? Lawmakers don't even know.


LA Times' GEORGE SKELTON: "Sanctuary” is a fighting word in the state Legislature — whatever “sanctuary” means."

"And that’s one of the hang-ups. There’s not even bipartisan agreement on what it means to be a “sanctuary city.”


"It means different things to different folks,” says Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), a longtime advocate of immigrant rights who is trying to turn California into a sanctuary state."


READ MORE related to Immigration: LA immigrant says teenager duped him into giving a ride that got him busted along the Mexican border -- LA Times' ANDREA CASTILLO; ICE agents make arrests at courthouses, sparking backlash from prosecutors and attorneys -- LA Times' JAMES QUEALLY; Federal judge blocks Trump's second attempt at travel ban -- The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO; Fiance of women killed in crash with undocumented immigrant says President Trump called him -- Daily News' STAFF; Options remain for undocumented immigrants with prior crimes -- The Press-Enterprise's ALEJANDRA MOLINAl; US halts visas for Afghans who aided American forces -- Sacramento Bee's STEPHEN MAGAGNINI; Refugee family lands in US amid fight over travel ban -- AP's JULIE WATSON/MALAK HARB/ALLEN G. BREED; Trump blasts Hawaii judge's order blocking revised travel ban -- Sacramento Bee's FRANCO ORDONEZ/ANITA KUMAR


Former California AG and LA County DA John Van de Kamp has passed away at the age of 81.


LA Times' MATT STEVENS: "John and Andrea Van de Kamp had been married almost a decade when they went to the Kentucky Derby in 1986."

"By that point, Van de Kamp was already a career politician and had garnered a reputation for being cautious — friends and colleagues saw a measured but thoughtful leader who would routinely defend laws he personally opposed, because it was his job to do so."


"But at Churchill Downs, Van de Kamp and a friend split a $100 bet on a 17-to-1 longshot."


READ MORE related to Local:  CA120: High diversity, but low turnout looms in 2018 -- Capitol Weekly's PAUL MITCHELL; Father of Ghost Ship victim urges lawmakers to review building codes -- The Chronicle's MELODY GUTIERREZ; Father of Ghost Ship fire victim: Bay Area must do more to protect -- and keep -- its artists -- East Bay Times' KATY MURPHY; Sacramento mayor defies 'bully' Trump in DC visit -- Sacramento Bee's SEAN COCKERHAM; Housing agency backs Steinberg's plan to house homeless -- Sacramento Bee's ANITA CHABRIA/ELLEN GARRISON; Former Stockton mayor leaves jail after posting bail -- Sacramento Bee's CATHY LOCKE


California's bullet train board and the state's Republican delegation appear to be on thin ice with one another.


LA Times' RALPH VARTABEDIAN: "The state’s high-speed rail authority board verbally assaulted the state’s Republican House delegation Wednesday, blaming it for the delay of a grant that would have benefited California’s bullet train project."

"The commentary came at a rail authority board meeting, where members sharply criticized a letter by California’s 14 Republican congressmen that asked Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to withhold a $647-million grant until a financial audit of the bullet train project can be conducted."


"This was an unbelievable, irresponsible act on the part of these members of Congress,” said rail authority board Chairman Dan Richard."


READ MORE related to Transportation: Most agree freeway cameras can help prevent shootings, paying for them is another matter -- East Bay Times' KARINA IOFFEE; Trump moves to roll back pollution standards for cars, setting up conflict with California -- Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER/RYAN SABALOW; Sting snares 13 who misues disabled parking placards near state Capitol -- Sacramento Bee's NASHELLY CHAVEZ


Oroville is recovering swiftly from last month's spillway catastrophe, and residents are now showing 'cautious confidence' in the dam repairs.


Chico ER's RISA JOHNSON: "With water soon set to flow down the damaged spillway at Oroville Dam, some residents are cautiously confident in repairs and haven’t checked the newly minted evacuation plans yet."

"The Department of Water Resources announced Monday that spillway flows would resume “on or around March 17,” for the first time since being shut off Feb. 27."

"New evacuation plans are in place in case something goes wrong and residents in Oroville, Thermalito, Gridley, Biggs and other areas along the Feather River need to evacuate again. Residents can find the zone they belong to with an interactive map at"


READ MORE related to Environment: Water releases increased Wednesday through 'low flow' stretch of Feather River -- Chico ER's STAFF; Clouds interfere with the sun on Wednesday in the north valley -- Chico ER's STAFF; Sea lion leaves farmland canal in Vacaville, Calif., and appears headed for home -- AP; $3 million in penalties for petroleum companies' environmental violations -- The Chronicle's FILIPA A. IOANNOU; Can California repair damaged Delta reservoir within 45 days? -- Sacramento Bee's RYAN SABALOW/PHILLIP REESE







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