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What’s DIY medicine?

 January 22, 2024 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Monday, January 22nd.


Technology and the information it gathers is empowering patients. More on what some people are calling D-I-Y medicine, next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


Privacy rights advocates say a proposal that goes before the San Diego City Council tomorrow (Tuesday) would water down the city’s ordinance for reviewing surveillance technology.

Mayor Todd Gloria is pushing for the changes… which would exempt entire categories of technology from review, including police databases and fixed security cameras.

In 2022, the city council established rules for reviewing the city’s surveillance technology.

Departments had one year to identify and approve equipment, but only a handful of items made it through the process.

The deadline has since been pushed back by three years.

Gloria has argued that the ordinance is too broad and ties up city departments with unnecessary review of benign technologies.


There are two final public forums this week, where officials hope to learn what San Diegans want in their next chief of police.

The current chief, David Nisleit, is stepping down in June.

Tomorrow’s meeting starts at 6 in the evening, at the Fourth District Seniors Resource Center in Southeastern San Diego.

The last public meeting will be on Wednesday.

There’s also an online survey where you can share your input.

You can find more info. on Wednesday's meeting, and the survey on our website, KPBS-dot-org.


Pre-enrollment starts today (Monday) for Universal Transitional Kindergarten – in the San Diego Unified School District.

U-T-K offers early learning to any child in the district who will turn four by September first.

Beginning today through February second, families can stop by their neighborhood elementary school to sign up.

“We want parents to feel welcome and not overwhelmed and we want them to feel that their school is part of their community and I think this enrollment process and shifting it to the school sites is really going to help with that.”

If a U-T-K spot is not available at their home school, parents will be offered enrollment at another nearby campus.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.


The practice of medicine is changing from the days when you followed doctor’s orders and waited for them to tell you why you’re sick.

Patients are taking a more assertive role in monitoring their health.

Sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge says the difference today, is technology in the hands of patients and the information that comes from it.

Dennis Thomas O’Conner, now 75 years old, talks about the health problems he’s had. They include heart disease, prostate cancer and being seriously overweight. But he was lucky to meet the right doctor and learn about the tools he could use to take control of his health. Dennis 1 “It gave me a sense of empowerment and gave me a sense of knowing what to do and think about my health. And getting this feedback on a constant basis, I’m no longer in denial. I no longer ignore symptoms. Just the opposite.” O’Conner’s tool kit includes a fitbit. An aura ring that monitors sleep and body temperature. An apple watch and a Kardia monitor, which can give his heart a EKG at home. He monitors his health daily and the graphed data, from his monitors, show up on the computer screen of his doctor, Michael Kurisu. Kuriso is founder of a virtual clinic called Measured Wellness, which he runs out of his Carlsbad home. He remembers when he started seeing patients. Mike 1 “So the typical patient from that small cohort that started were somewhat… The medical system had no answers for them. And they kinda had to go do it on their own. Whether they were dealing with different kinds of cancer or other chronic illnesses, they’re just meeting roadblocks in the traditional medical world and they wanted to learn more about themselves.” When he talks about patients, Kurisu says they have a partnership. It’s not a hierarchy with the doctor at the top. He says his patients share a strong motivation to take charge of their health and it’s not incorrect to call it do-it-yerself medicine. Mike 2 “You know, it’s like the Home Depot. I’m not going to get the plumber to come. I’m going to learn how to do this myself and there’s a lot of learning in that.” Here’s another way to look at it. Benjamin Smarr compares it to the protestant reformation and the Catholic Church, which only published the bible in Latin. SMARR 1 “You had to know Latin so you had to ask the priest what should I do. And Protestantism came out of this idea that if the Bible was translated into the vernacular,  locally everybody could read the bible and figure out what to do as a community. I think this is an interesting parallel to what we’re seeing in medicine these days.” Smarr is a professor at UCSD who splits his time between bioengineering and data science. Students in Smarr’s lab have analyzed some of the data, collected by Kurisu’s patients. They look for patterns and spikes that could indicate poor health. Smarr says medicine’s old priesthood, the doctors, are entering a new relationship with patients. And he hopes that relationship will be supportive and respectful. SMARR 2 “The expectation that a doctor just magically knows the right answer for everything is totally unfair. That’s not how we treat any other person. Expecting that they have an expertise, and they can contribute and together we can augment and make a better decision, I think that’s a much healthier relationship.” When you are monitoring your health hour by hour, Kurisu says the effects on your body can be known to people very quickly. MIKE 3  “You can see how certain foods affect you. Eat pizza and see what happens to your blood glucose.” Stress is often seen in patient graphs. Mike 4  “The third Tuesday of every month. One of my patients, all of his data was just crashing all the time. And it was like wow, yer heart rates going down. YOur glucose was all over the place. Yer sleep was terrible. It became a pattern and so… Well what happened Tuesday. Well that’s when my mother in law comes into the house to take care of the kids.” Patients who monitor themselves have to make the time to do it and they have to be motivated. Kurisu’s patient, Dennis O’Conner, says he wasn’t always motivated. But that changed after he had a heart surgery and had to get two stents in his arteries. “Motivationally, I was near dying. And two years before that I had prostate surgery. I’d been hit by the spear of death and that did wake me up. That’s when he started really looking at his health, using today’s technology. SOQ. 


The U-S Supreme Court will take up a major case about homeless encampments on the West Coast.

As Chula Vista debates its own next steps on homelessness, reporter Kori Suzuki says that case is taking center stage.

The question at the center of the case is whether it’s unconstitutional for a city to ban people from camping on public property if they have nowhere else to sleep.  In 2018, a federal appeals court said yes – bans like that are unconstitutional.  But the Supreme Court could overrule that decision later this year. The debate has taken center stage in Chula Vista. The county’s second-largest city is still deciding how to regulate homelessness. Community advocate Sebastian Martinez says bans should be unconstitutional. He says the 2018 ruling has forced cities to add more resources for unhoused people. “If you look at a city, for example, like Chula Vista, I don't know that you'd see any projects related to creating shelter for unhoused people were it not for rulings like that.” The debate in Chula Vista has also drawn in top law enforcement officials like District Attorney Summer Stephen. At a recent city council meeting, she argued the 2018 ruling should be overturned. “Somebody should not be on the street, and the person should also have opportunities to live decently in safe shelter and housing. But legally, the two should not be combined.” The Chula Vista City Council plans to continue discussion in the coming weeks. The Supreme Court is expected to start hearing its case in April. Kori Suzuki, KPBS News.


The San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness has its 20-24 "Point in Time count” this Thursday.

Joining me today is Task Force C-E-O Tamera Kohler.

Welcome to the podcast Tamera!

First, what is the  annual point in time count for our listeners who may not be familiar? And, what is the information collected during the count used for? The count is an imperfect way to measure how many people in San Diego County are homeless. Remind us why that is. Is the taskforce making any changes this year in an effort to address some of those drawbacks? And what were some things that stood out to you, in terms of last year’s count? 

TAG:  I’ve been speaking with Tamera Kohler

The C-E-O of the San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness.

Tamera, thank you for all this information and for joining me on the San Diego News Now podcast.

To sign up to volunteer for the count go to


The county is now offering a program to help first time home buyers.

Reporter Melissa Mae tells us about the program and who qualifies.

MM: The County of San Diego’s Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program or DCCA is helping some San Diegans buy their first home. MM: Felipe Murillo with Housing and Community Development Services says first time homebuyers can use this deferred loan, valued up to 22% of the sale price, for a downpayment and up to $10,000 for closing costs. FM “The benefits of this are that you don't have to make a monthly payment, it's a deferred payment. So you don't pay until you sell the home or if you want to refinance and pay the loan off early, you can do that as well.” MM: DCCA currently has about two million dollars available until the end of June. MM: The San Diego Housing Commission has more about the DCCA program and how to apply on its website… s-d-h-c dot org. Melissa Mae KPBS News.


The Old Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument is currently closed for repairs.

Reporter John Carroll tells us about the work taking place that should safeguard the historic structure, for years to come.

“We're currently working on the interior of the lighthouse. and then later this year, we'll be moving to do the exterior.” larry waldrop from the national park service’s historic preservation training center is talking about the work he and his team are doing at the iconic lighthouse at the end of point loma.  they’ve fixed plaster where water had seeped in around the spiral staircase and are repainting it with a kind of paint that is better suited to a lighthouse on a hill above the pacific ocean. “a more breathable vapor permeable coating that will be better for the marine environment here.” as waldrop said, a park service team will be back in late spring or early summer to paint the exterior with the vapor permeable paint… just one more action to preserve a landmark that warned ships away from the rocky shores of point loma from 1855 to 1891.  jc, kpbs news.

TAG:  The lighthouse should reopen to the public by Wednesday.


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join us again tomorrow for the day’s top stories. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Monday.

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The practice of medicine is changing as technology and the information it gathers is empowering patients. Now you can check in with your body anytime you want. In other news, the CEO of the San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness joins the podcast to talk about Thursday’s Point in Time Count. Plus, San Diego County is now offering a program to help first time home buyers.