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January 15, 2014 | By Melissa Healy
Middle-aged men who consume an average of more than 2½ alcoholic drinks per day accelerate the rate at which their memories decline by almost six years over a 10-year span, says a new study. And while a higher consumption of spirits such as vodka, gin, whiskey or scotch was linked to the fastest rates of mental decline in men, researchers saw little difference between the cognitive loss seen in heavy beer drinkers (who drank more than 2½ 12-ounce beers per day) and that seen in men who quaffed a half-bottle of wine or more per day. Compared with men who drank no more than 1½ drinks per day on average (up to 19.9 grams of alcohol daily)
January 15, 2014 | By Mark Olsen
Could this year's Sundance "it" girl be a male, seventysomething physician from Kentucky? It could happen once audiences spend some time with Earl Lynn Nelson, one of the stars of the travelogue comedy “Land Ho!” The film premieres Sunday as part of the Next section at Sundance. It was written and directed by Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz, who have made a splash on the festival circuit with such individual efforts as “Passenger Pigeons” and “Cold Weather,” and both filmmakers are showing their work at Sundance for the first time . “Land Ho!
January 13, 2014 | By Yvonne Villarreal
If the last season of "American Idol" proved to be an eyeball ping-pong experience while watching the animosity between judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey percolate, then the forthcoming season might come as a relief to the optical nerves. The latest judging trio lineup - Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. - like to look at one another when speaking, as evident at the show's panel Monday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour, poking fun and having some laughs in the process.
January 13, 2014 | Sam Farmer
DENVER - After nearly five months of NFL games, it has come down to this: Four teams. Four possible matchups for Super Bowl XLVIII. For Denver, New England, Seattle and San Francisco, looking that far ahead could spell doom. But the options have been so whittled down, the permutations are simple. The big game will be Seahawks-Broncos, Seahawks-Patriots, 49ers-Patriots or 49ers-Broncos. No matter what happens, this much is guaranteed: It will be a new-age quarterback from the NFC, either Seattle's Russell Wilson or San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick, against a future first-ballot Hall of Famer from the AFC, Denver's Peyton Manning or New England's Tom Brady.
January 13, 2014
Sam Berns, a spunky teenager who was proud to call himself a "band geek" and was at the heart of a 2013 documentary about a genetic condition that accelerates aging, has died. He was 17. Berns, a Massachusetts high school junior and Eagle Scout who was bald, bespectacled and weighed only 50 pounds, died Friday from complications of progeria, the Progeria Research Foundation announced. An avid fan of Boston sports teams, Berns also was passionate about playing the snare drum and marching in full uniform with Foxborough High School's marching band.
January 10, 2014 | By Eryn Brown
It may be no surprise to snifflers stuck in doctor's office waiting rooms: The 2013-2014 influenza season appears to be picking up steam earlier than most flu seasons. On Friday, state and Los Angeles County health officials reported "sharp increases" in influenza activity, including illnesses and deaths. "The number of confirmed fatalities is rising rapidly and exceeds what is expected this time of year," said state epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chavez, of the California Department of Public Health in Sacramento.
January 9, 2014 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
A stage, a sound system, musicians and a crowd. That's all you really need to put on a concert. Everything else - $12 beer, nachos, jumbo video screens, light show, 3-D glasses, VIP meet-and-greets, merch, vapor pen for your "medical marijuana" - is gravy. Even the $75-million renovation of the Los Angeles Forum isn't going to guarantee a good show. As a rule in watching musicians at work, a smaller space is usually preferable. This is creative expression, and at its best it's the most intimate nonsexual exchange you can have with a stranger.
January 8, 2014 | By Laura J. Nelson
As part of a multi-year upgrade to the aging Metro Blue Line, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority will spend more than $850 million to purchase 78 train cars and renovate 52 more, officials said Wednesday.  The Blue Line, which connects Long Beach to downtown Los Angeles, has been plagued by maintenance-related delays  for years as Metro put off costly repairs. The $1.2-billion investment, including replacing train cars and worn overhead power lines, will erase a $391-million maintenance backlog over the next six years, spokesman Marc Littman said.
January 8, 2014 | By Chris O'Brien
LAS VEGAS - Tucked into the tiniest of corners of the gargantuan Consumer Electronics Show one night this week was Sonny Vu, the founder of Misfit. The Redwood City, Calif., company did not have an elaborately constructed trade booth with flashing lights or blaring dance music. It just had Vu, undeterred by his lack of props, standing next to a table displaying a few samples of Shine, the company's new activity monitor that's about the size and shape of a Nilla Wafer. Though the company and product are small, they are emblematic of the biggest trend on display this week at CES: This has become a golden age for consumer electronics start-ups.
January 7, 2014 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Debuting Tuesday as part of the PBS series "American Experience," "The Poisoner's Handbook" offers a fascinating look back at how the chemical age changed police work. Based on Deborah Blum's 2010 book "The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York," it is divided into toxin-specific "chapters," (cyanide, arsenic, carbon monoxide, lead, radium, denatured alcohol and so on), but there is nothing particularly instructional about it. A certain sort of viewer might get ideas, of course, but should he watch to the end he will learn that poisoning is a hard crime to get away with anymore.
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