Crossing that proposed bridge again
The next La Jolla Traffic & Transportation (LJT&T) board meeting will revisit the proposal to build a bridge over La Jolla Parkway, spanning La Jolla Scenic Drives North and South.
“We all have suffered quite much, when going through the traffic jam at La Jolla Parkway and North Torrey Pines Road,” La Jolla resident Kenneth Wang wrote in an e-mail to the Light. “A few La Jolla residents are proposing to finish this overpass in order to relieve the traffic jam. The traffic will get worse and it may take as long as five years to finally build the overpass. We need people to attend the LJT&T meeting — 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18 at the Rec Center — to show support for this endeavor.”
Bandied about since the 1950s, the proposed overpass would allow more direct access to the I-5 and to UTC, since it would let motorists bypass Torrey Pines Road entirely. In the ’70s, the City even graded the hill and built ramps and landing pads for the bridge. However, it has long been opposed by residents at both ends who don’t want their driveways intersecting a major thoroughfare.
Back in 2012, former District 1 City Council member Sherri Lightner noted the residential opposition and also stated that building such a bridge was “not possible with today’s environmental concerns.” In addition, part of the Rose Canyon fault — the most active earthquake zone in San Diego — lies directly under La Jolla Parkway.
At the Oct. 16 LJT&T meeting, board chair Dave Abrams added: “It’s a topic that comes up periodically, and if you like, we can look at it again. But I’m of the general opinion that it just isn’t an item that’s going to fly — for cost reasons, for environmental reasons and for political reasons.”
LJT&T board will meet to vote on whether to recommend the bridge 4 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect. St.
Weight for it: UCSD, Salk reveal benefits of time-restricted diets
In a recent collaborative pilot study, researchers from UC San Diego School of Medicine and the Salk Institute reported that a form of intermittent fasting, called time-restricted eating, improved the health of study participants who had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
Published in the journal Cell Metabolism, the study found that when participants restricted their eating to 10 hours or less over a period of 12 weeks, they lost weight, reduced abdominal fat, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, and enjoyed more stable blood sugar and insulin levels.
“As a cardiologist, I find it is very hard to get patients with prediabetes or metabolic syndrome to make lasting and meaningful lifestyle changes,” said Pam Taub, co-corresponding author, associate professor UCSD School of Medicine and cardiologist at the Cardiovascular Institute at UC San Diego Health. “There is a critical window for intervention with metabolic syndrome. Once people become diabetic or are on multiple medications, such as insulin, it’s very hard to reverse the disease process.”
Time-restricted eating (eating all calories within a consistent 10-hour window without reducing overall calories) allows individuals to eat in a manner that supports their circadian rhythms and their health. Circadian rhythms are the 24-hour cycles of biological processes that affect nearly every cell in the body. Erratic eating patterns can disrupt this system and induce symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including increased abdominal fat and abnormal cholesterol or triglycerides.
“Time-restricted eating is a simple dietary intervention to incorporate, and we found that participants were able to keep the eating schedule,” said Satchin Panda, co-corresponding author and professor in Salk’s Regulatory Biology Laboratory. “Eating and drinking everything (except water) during a 10-hour window allows your body to rest and restore for 14 hours at night. Your body can also anticipate when you will eat, so it can prepare the body to optimize metabolism.”
La Jolla drug company Synthorx sells for $2.5 billion
In the largest local biotech deal of the year, French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi agreed to acquire La Jolla cancer drug startup Synthorx for $2.5 billion.
The 5-year-old startup works in the field of synthetic biology, expanding the genetic code to give its researchers more building blocks to create novel drugs. Synthorx went public in late 2018, raising $131 million in its initial public offering.
The drug at the center of this new deal is Synthorx’s investigational medicine code-named THOR-707. Meant to treat solid tumors, the drug is designed to boost the number of cancer-fighting cells in the body, potentially overwhelming the disease with effector T-cells and natural killer cells.
Holocaust had a deaf toll, too
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum presented “Crying Hands: The Deaf Experience Under Nazi Oppression” on Dec. 5 at Congregation Beth El in La Jolla.
Nazi policy targeted deaf Germans, according to the museum, subjecting an unknown number of hereditarily deaf individuals to sterilization. Societal prejudice about the intelligence of persons with hearing disabilities led many individuals to be institutionalized. In those facilities, a small number of deaf people were murdered.
“The fate of deaf people in Nazi Europe must be heard and talked about because many people simply don’t know about this dark and sad chapter of Holocaust history,” said Marla Eglash Abraham, regional director for the Washington, D.C.-based museum.
8 Salk profs make the grade
Eight Salk Institute professors were recently added to the prestigious list of Highly Cited Researchers by Clarivate Analytics: Joanne Chory, Joseph Ecker, Ronald Evans, Rusty Gage, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, Terrence Sejnowski, Reuben Shaw and Kay Tye.
The list selects researchers for demonstrating “significant and broad influence” reflected by the production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1 percent by citations for field and year.
“The Highly Cited Researchers list contributes to the identification of that small fraction of the researcher population that significantly extends the frontiers of knowledge,” said David Pendlebury, senior citation analyst at the Institute for Scientific Information. “These researchers create gains for society, innovation and knowledge that make the world healthier, richer, more sustainable and more secure.”
Chory, Ecker and Gage have been named to the list every year since 2014, when the regular annual rankings began.
The Salk faculty is all listed in the category of Molecular Biology and Genetics, while Ecker is also listed in Plant and Animal Science and Gage is also listed in Neuroscience and Behavior.
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