BRIEFLY

The Student Health Association, as part of the American Cancer Society’s 25th Annual Great American Smokeout, is sponsoring information, games, resources and support Nov. 15 in the Price Center for people trying to quit smoking.

Several local businesses are also joining the fight to help smokers quit. The Brigantine Restaurant Corp. is offering smokers a cold turkey sandwich and a coupon for a free appetizer in exchange for a pack of cigarettes and a pledge not to smoke for the day. The offer is good at Brigantine Seafood Restaurants in Del Mar and Point Loma and at Azul La Jolla.

LifeScore, a San Diego health care company that uses electron beam scanning to detect life-altering or life-threatening diseases, will donate $50 to the American Heart Association for each scan it performs on patients who mention the Smokeout promotion throughout November. Patients will also receive a 5 percent discount on their scan.

UCLA scientists link genes, brain structure

The first images that show how people’s genes influence their brain structure and intelligence have been created by UCLA brain-mapping researchers.

The findings demonstrate how parents pass on personality traits and cognitive abilities. Tight structural similarities in the brains of family members also explain why brain diseases such as schizophrenia and certain forms of dementia run in families.

The team found that the size of the frontal lobe of the brain is determined by the genetic make-up of an individual’s parents and strongly correlates with that individual’s cognitive ability, as measured by intelligence test scores.

The scientists used magnetic resonance imaging technology to scan a group of 20 identical twins and 20 same-sex fraternal twins. The research, which was corroborated by the National Public Health Institute of Finland and two Finnish universities, showed which parts of the brain are determined by genes and which parts are environmentally adaptable to factors such as learning and stress.

The UCLA scientists were led by Paul Thompson, assistant professor of neurology at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging.

UK will use software developed by SDSC

The San Diego Supercomputer Center Storage Resource Broker, a scientific data-management tool, is now being distributed to the United Kingdom’s academic community and will become a key part of the UK data grid.

The SRB software is designed to efficiently manage vast amounts of raw data that, in modern computer-driven scientific research projects, is transmitted to and from many locations for processing on many computers. The SRB includes powerful metadata capabilities, support for security, and flexible access control for sharing data. It is distributed via CD-ROM.

According to SDSC researcher Arcot Rajasekar, the use of the SRB in the UK Grid Starter Kit is the clearest indicator that the SRB is now an international production tool and no longer just a research prototype.

Because of the size and scope of the UK grid — it currently consists of more than 10 sites — the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils for the UK has established an e-Science Centre to offer support for both users and files, according to UK e-Science core technology director Tony Hey.

Sports Arena to host Xbox video game tour

Xbox Odyssey, a mobile tour exhibiting Microsoft’s new video game system, will be at the San Diego Sports Arena from Nov. 15 through Nov. 17 as part of its nationwide launch.

Xbox Odyssey is a massive, mobile gaming experience that allows nearly 100 people to play simultaneously in an arcade/rave environment. It is made possible by technology being used for the first time ever in the United States.

Xbox spokesman John Rodman and Xbox Odyssey Games Goddess Taylor Darnell will answer questions at the event. Admission is free. The event runs from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday and Saturday. On Friday, the event will start at 3 p.m. and end at 11 p.m.

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