Sept. 7, 2023
UCI Digest
Photo from 1974 shows canoeists relax during a trip led by UCI’s Cooperative Outdoor Program
Anteater Time Machine: In 1974, canoeists relax during a trip led by UCI’s Cooperative Outdoor Program. Scroll down for an unexpected response to last week’s archive photo.


When grief is unending

The sudden death of a loved one leaves some survivors stuck in grief. Can they get their lives back? A touching article in Aeon examines the phenomenon of prolonged grief and cites a 2022 UCI study that showed moms who lost children experienced changes in their brain activity. The authors also found that severe grieving permanently lowered the mothers’ ability to learn, use language and manage their thoughts. A similar theme appears in today’s New York Times, which interviewed UCI social psychologist Roxane Cohen Silver about the long-term effects of a tragic death. Decades later, she said, 71% of survivors still experienced mental images or memories of the loss, and 96% said they sometimes ruminated about it. Nearly 40% said they were still searching for meaning in it.

TikTok’s castor oil cure debunked

A new TikTok trend claims – falsely – that applying castor oil around your eyes fights dry eye, improves vision and reduces the risk of eye disease. Dr. Donny W. Suh, a pediatric ophthalmologist with UCI Health’s Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, debunked the idea in an interview with MDLinx, saying, “There is no scientific evidence to support claims made by TikTokers about [castor oil’s] benefits for vision including treatment of cataracts, glaucoma, floaters, presbyopia or other eye problems.” Rather, getting castor oil in the eye can cause irritation, reduced tear quality, blurred vision and allergic reactions, he noted. It also can block lubricating glands in the eyelid, resulting in dry eye.


SpeechMatters podcast: ‘Speaking up, medicine and music’

SpeechMatters podcast player featuring President Drake on Speaking Up, Medicine and Music
In addition to sharing a few favorite songs, UC President Michael V. Drake appears on the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement podcast to discuss a time when he spoke up in the face of racism and how the UC furthers its motto of Fiat Lux. In other free speech news:
  • According to national free speech rankings published by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, 59% of California colleges rated “below average” to “poor,” with only one of the 27 campuses surveyed —  Cal State Los Angeles — ranked “above average.”
  • On Oct. 5, UCI will kick off a Year of Free Speech series with a virtual event from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. More details will be announced soon.


Culinary Health: Understanding the Microbiome Series
Friday, noon (sponsored by Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute)

Down Syndrome Showcase
Saturday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (sponsored by UCI Brain)

People’s Tribunal on Pesticide Use and Civil Rights in California
Tuesday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (co-sponsored by Center for Land, Environment and Natural Resources)

Healthy Living Series: Heart Health
Tuesday, 3 p.m. (sponsored by UCI Health)

My vision is changing with age. What symptoms are important to check?
Tuesday, 7 p.m. (sponsored by Gavin Herbert Eye Institute)

Visit to see and submit event listings. Events of general interest will be shared in UCI Digest two days before they occur.


Old photo draws unexpected response

Image of left shows Dr. Jack Sills holding a baby in 1994; on right, a black and white portrait of Dr. Jack Sills.
On “Throwback Thursdays,” UCI Digest publishes archive photos from the university’s past. Until last week’s “Anteater Time Machine” snapshot of a physician holding a newborn at UCI Medical Center in 1994, we’d never heard from anyone in these photos. But this time, we got an email saying, “I am the doctor [in your] blast from the past.” The note was sent by Jack Sills, M.D., a clinical professor of pediatrics at UCI and a neonatologist at CHOC. At our request, he also sent a recent portrait of himself (above right) and some background on the 1994 photo. It appeared in a Milestones in Medicine series put out by UCIMC. At that time, Sills was medical director of the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, and the baby was a 4-day-old preemie recovering from acute cardiorespiratory disease.

More pictures from Staff Appreciation Picnic

staff holding water balloons
The (reusable) water balloon toss gets underway. (Photo: Steve Zylius/UCI)
Runners compete in a three-legged race
Runners compete in a three-legged race. (Photo: Steve Zylius/UCI)
Person wearing hat grilling sausages
Grilling galore at last week’s Staff Appreciation Picnic. (Photo: Steve Zylius/UCI)

Additional picnic photos can be found on UCI’s official Instagram page.

#UCIconnected spotlights student, alumni, faculty and staff photos, essays, shoutouts, hobbies, artwork, unusual office decorations, activities and more. Send submissions via email or post on social media with the #UCIconnected hashtag.


Note: Some news sites require subscriptions to read articles. The UCI Libraries offer free subscriptions to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Orange County Register and The Washington Post for students, faculty and staff.
Prevention logo

The New Middle Age: What Is Middle Age and Does It Really Mean What We Think?

Prevention, Sept. 6
Cited: Dr. Sonia Sehgal, clinical professor of internal medicine

National Institute of Aging logo

Specialized dementia care in nursing homes linked to better outcomes for residents

National Institute of Aging, Sept. 7
Cited: UCI research logo

Should You Exercise When You Have the Flu?, Sept. 6
Cited: a UCI Health article

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