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NEWS
March 18, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
Any devoted reader of the Rodent of the Week knows by now how much science depends on our furry friends. Without them, we would know next to nothing. That's why this week's news of a better way to study rats' brains deserves notice. Researchers reported they have developed a wearable, portable PET scanner that will measure the rodent brain function while the animals are awake and moving. The device was developed by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, Stony Brook University.
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NEWS
March 4, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
One of the high-profile areas of research for stem cells is in treatment of spinal cord injuries -- and there was progress to report this week. Researchers were able to transplant a type of human cell into rats with spinal cord injuries to help the animals regain some motor function. Previous studies have shown that certain types of rat cells are necessary to repair spinal cord injuries. But the new study "brings it up to a human level," said Chris Proschel, the lead author of the paper and an assistant professor of genetics at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
SCIENCE
April 26, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Nicholas Spitzer and Davide Dulcis felt for people in higher latitudes whose attitudes soured in the shorter daylight hours of winter. The neuroscientists, who work in balmy San Diego, wondered whether summer was a bummer for rats. They're nocturnal, after all. That thought experiment has led the researchers to discover that an adult mammal's brain can “rewire” itself in response to light by recruiting brain cells to change the signaling chemical they ordinarily produce. Their research, published Thursday in the journal Science, offers hints toward new avenues of research into Parkinson's disease, stroke, addiction and depression.
NEWS
May 23, 2011 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times/ For the Booster Shots Blog
Steady exposure to the electromagnetic radiation given off by cellphones during use may disrupt fetal development, disturb memory and weaken the barrier that protects the brain from environmental toxins, says a welter of new research being presented this week in Istanbul, Turkey. The authors of the studies, published in the past two years, highly preliminary and conducted on rabbits, mice and rats, suggested that the non-ionizing radiation emitted by cellphones and the base stations that broadcast cellphone signals may fundamentally damage cells by means other than the heat that they generate.
SCIENCE
March 12, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
High-speed MRI scans produce effects in rats similar to those of antidepressants, confirming observations made in humans, Harvard University researchers said Thursday in the journal Biological Psychiatry. When repeatedly stressed, rats develop helpless behavior, which may be their version of despair, the researchers said. But in the experiment, the rats that had been exposed to magnetic fields showed less helplessness. "They behaved as if they had received an antidepressant," said Dr.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 4, 2001 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Rats have eaten food, nested in cabinets and multiplied in about 50 of 197 apartments at UC Santa Cruz's family student housing complex. The cause is unclear, but a fox family has disappeared from the area, some killed by rat poison, said grounds supervisor Rich Berger.
SCIENCE
September 20, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Scientists plan to use satellite photos to count giant kangaroo rats, the first-ever monitoring of an endangered species from outer space. Biologists will examine the images to find the circular patches of earth denuded by the rats as they gather food around their burrows. From that they plan to get the first accurate population count of the rodents, a bellwether for the health of a parched plains environment.The Nature Conservancy study is focusing on the vast Carrizo Plain in California's Central Valley.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 13, 2002 | From a Times Staff Writer
Rats and their droppings continue to turn up at a Los Angeles County coroner's crypt, which one worker attributes to an ongoing problem but the county says are merely leftover signs of a past infestation. "To my knowledge, there have been no live rats found inside the crypt this week," said coroner's spokesman Craig Harvey. He acknowledged that dead rats have been found.
NEWS
April 21, 1998 | From Times Wire Reports
Rats wired to record brain activity raced around a twisted track aboard the space shuttle Columbia in an experiment that could help Alzheimer's patients. In the experiment by Bruce McNaughton, a psychologist from the University of Arizona, four male rats--their claws clinging to Velcro in the absence of gravity-- were to find their way around two tracks in Columbia's neurological laboratory.
SCIENCE
September 27, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Treatment with genetically modified stem cells helped rats with a paralyzing disease live significantly longer, U.S. researchers said this week. Rats with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, that were treated with the gene-engineered stem cells lived 28 days longer than untreated mice, the researchers told a conference. The injection contained adult nerve stem cells that were engineered to release a growth factor called glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor, or GDNF.
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