Southern California breaking news and trends

UCLA to add 800 whole-genome sequences to Alzheimer's data

Photo by mtsofan via Flickr Creative Commons

Researchers at UCLA's Laboratory of Neuro Imaging (LONI) have been receiving, sorting, storing and sharing data from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) -- a worldwide scientific effort to define the progression of Alzheimer's disease -- since 2004.

Now, a large scale public–private effort is underway to obtain the whole-genome sequencing of the more than 800 people enrolled in ADNI.

UCLA announced Tuesday that the new project, involving almost 60 sites around the country, is expected to generate, at minimum, 165 terabytes of new genetic data to put toward the goal of improving diagnosis and treatment.

All of the ADNI data continues to flow into UCLA's LONI, including detailed, long-term assessments of neuropsychological measures, standardized structural and functional imaging, and precise biomarker measures from blood and spinal fluid.

Now, added to this wealth of information will be the ADNI participants' entire genome sequences, which determine all 6 billion letters in an inpidual's DNA in one comprehensive analysis.

Once the sequences are completed — approximately 16 weeks after the sequencing project starts — the raw data will rapidly be made available to qualified scientists around the globe to mine for novel targets for risk-assessment, new therapies and much-needed insights into the causes of Alzheimer's.


New study predicts LA's future climate down to the neighborhood level

beach umbrella weather hot heat

Photo by Matt Niemi via Flickr Creative Commons

And now, with a look at the extended forecast for 2041 to 2060, is UCLA with a report that may have some Southland residents sweating... 

UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability released a study Thursday that takes a look at Southern California climate trends, and sees a mid-century future that could tap the thermometer up 4 to 5 degrees across the region.

The study, "Mid-Century Warming in the Los Angeles Region," shows impact on the Southland's varied landscapes with predictions down to the neighborhood level. In downtown L.A., where a record high was set in 2010 at 113 degrees, the number days to top 95 degrees could triple, for example.



Caltech professor who killed Pluto wins $1M Astrophysics prize

Farthest Object In Solar System Discovered

Getty Images/Getty Images

In this Caltech handout, a rendering of the farthest object in our solar system, Sedna, is seen. Sedna is a mysterious planet-like body three times farther from Earth than Pluto. NASA held a news conference March 15, 2004 to detail the findings by a team of astronomers at Caltech led by Dr. Mike Brown.

The prestigious, $1 million Kavli Prize in Astrophysics has been co-awarded to Mike Brown, the Caltech professor and astronomer known across the galaxy as the man who killed Pluto.

Brown discovered the Kuiper-belt body at the edge of the solar system more massive than Pluto, resulting in the former planet's demotion to "dwarf planet," and a "revised the definition of our solar system," notes the Pasadena Star-News

"The un-naming of Pluto got the the attention of the larger public and he's now a well-known person not only in this country but all over the world," said Caltech President Jean-Lou Chameau. "Pluto made his work very understandable beyond the scientific community," he told the newspaper.

Brown will share the prize with co-winners David Jewitt of UCLA and Jane Luu of MIT's Lincoln Laboratory. The three were recognized for advancing the understanding of our planetary system.


Lawsuit filed to block Japanese garden sale by UC Regents

UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden

Photo by Drew Wilder-Goodwin via Flickr Creative Commons

UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden

To block to the proposed sale of the Hannah Carter Japanese garden in Bel Air that was gifted to UCLA in 1964, heirs of the garden's namesake have filed suit against the UC Regents in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The 1.5-acre garden, viewed by the university as an opportunity to raise millions for endowments, programs and professorships, has been strongly opposed by conservationist groups like the LA Conservancy and Garden Conservancy.

The lawsuit asserts breach of contract by the UC Board of Regents for not upholding the donation documents specifying the garden, designed by landscape architect Nagao Sakurai, be maintained in perpetuity.

A spokesman for UCLA said the university "intends to contest the lawsuit," notes the L.A. Times, adding that all appropriate steps had been taken and there was "every legal right to proceed with the sale."


House of cards: Jury selection begins in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar / Upper Deck case

Celebrities Visit SiriusXM

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Former LA Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at the SiriusXM Studios in NYC in February 2012 (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar turned 65-years-old on Monday just in time for jury selection to begin in his Upper Deck trial.

The former LA Laker is suing the trading card company for allegedly using his image without permission, and in doing so, damaging the commercial value of his identity and compromising his standing among peers and fans.

Upper Deck contends that Abdul-Jabbar sustained no damages, claiming they had a two-decade-long relationship with the basketball star.

The suit, filed in August 2010, focuses on the "Greats of the Game" trading cards and the use of Abdul-Jabbar's  image from his UCLA days.

According to the prosecution, the 2008 contract in question expired after 18 months and was for the use of professional career images only.

Representing the six-time National Basketball Association champion is attorney John Gaule; David Skilling is representing defendants The Upper Deck Co. Inc.