The Center for Community-based Research in Older People With Psychoses, a new program designed to develop effective new therapies for middle-aged and elderly people with schizophrenia and other chronic psychotic disorders, is being conducted by the UCSD School of Medicine in collaboration with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency’s Adult and Older Adult Mental Health Services.

The program, which addresses an impending crisis with the growing number of middle-aged and elderly individuals with psychotic disorders, is funded by a $7.5 million, five-year grant to UCSD from the National Institute of Mental Health. UCSD was chosen for the award based on its expertise in older-adult mental health, especially in the area of psychotic disorders. For the past 10 years, UCSD’s Dilip Jeste, who is the program’s principle investigator, has had the only NIMH-funded center specifically devoted to studying middle-aged and older adults with psychotic disorders.

In the first year of the program, UCSD and AMHS will gather detailed information about the prevalence of psychiatric and medical problems, use and cost of services and quality of care in middle-aged and older persons with schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders in San Diego County. For the next four years, the program will focus on the development and refinement of interventions to improve access to medical and psychiatric services and quality of care.

As the baby-boomer generation ages, the number of people in the United States over 65 is projected to double from about 35 million today to nearly 70 million by 2030. Schizophrenia currently affects about 1 percent of the population. One area of interest for the program is the possibility of remission of schizophrenia in old age, as illustrated in the recent Oscar-winning movie “”A Beautiful Mind,”” which was based on the true life story of Nobel laureate John Nash.

Salk professor publishes book on cultural biology

Terrence J. Sejnowski, director of the computational neurobiology laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif. and Steven R. Quartz, a professor at the California Institute of Technology, recently published a book titled “”Liars, Lovers, and Heroes: What the New Brain Science Reveals About How We Become Who We Are.””

The book, which was published by Morrow Press at Harper-Collins, introduces the science of cultural biology, which explains the complex relationship between genes and environment that shapes the human brain and affects — for better or for worse — human behavior.

The book details how human interaction can result in extremely complex behavior. Among the chapters of the book is an examination of the Columbine High School massacre, which takes into consideration the effects of violent video games and high school social hierarchy. The authors also contrast the uncommon violence shown by the terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001, with the uncommon compassion shown by strangers in the aftermath.

NOAA establishes marine tech center at UCSC

A Center for Marine Technologies will be established by UC Santa Cruz with a $2 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The center will use new technological approaches to study the processes driving the highly productive coastal upwelling ecosystems along the California coast.

The aim of the center, which brings together an interdisciplinary group of researchers from five partner institutions around Monterey Bay, is to establish the scientific basis for effective monitoring and management of these ecosystems, as well as the fisheries and other resources associated with them.

The other partners are the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and the National Marine Fisheries Service Laboratory in Santa Cruz, Calif. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is also participating.

The California coast is one of just five major coastal upwelling regions in the world, all of which account for 95 percent of the global marine biomass and more than 21 percent of the world’s fisheries.

The co-directors of the center will be Margaret McManus, assistant professor of ocean sciences at UCSC, and Jeffrey Paduan, associate professor of oceanography at the Naval Postgraduate School and an associate adjunct professor of ocean sciences at UCSC.