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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.
April 14, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
A team of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston has engineered functional rat kidneys by stripping donor kidneys of their cells and then repopulating the remaining collagen substructures with new cells. The bioengineered kidneys produced urine in laboratory dishes and when implanted in living animals. The advance could be good news for the 100,000 Americans waiting for donor kidneys for transplant, because it suggests that someday scientists might be able to grow custom-made kidneys for people, using a patient's own cells to seed tissues, said Dr. Harald Ott, a researcher at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine and senior author of a paper describing the discovery published online Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine . “My goal was to show it's possible,” said Ott, who previously created bioengineered rat lungs and rat hearts using the same technique.
April 11, 2013 | By Lisa Boone
In my Spreecast with organic gardener Christy Wilhelmi, author of the new book "Gardening for Geeks," I learned a lot: that white mildew can be treated with lactic acid, that you should never buy tall vegetable seedlings at the nursery and that volunteer tomatoes -- the ones that sprout up unplanned, perhaps from last year's fallen fruit -- are better than anything you plant intentionally. In other words, she shared a few things not detailed in "Gardening for Geeks," which carries the breath-defying subtitle, "DIY Tests, Gadgets and Techniques That Utilize Microbiology, Mathematics and Ecology to Exponentially Maximize the Yield of Your Garden.
April 9, 2013
Re "Ban super rat poisons," Editorial, April 5 Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of d-CON pesticides, is challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's attempt to stop the sale of second-generation rodenticides because we believe it is the right thing to do for consumers. Rodent infestations are a threat to public health, and if the EPA's actions were to take effect, the alternatives for consumers would include products that contain a powerful neurotoxin with no known antidote (unlike d-CON products)
April 5, 2013
Poison-control centers receive about 15,000 calls a year from parents of children younger than 6 who have been exposed to poison that was intended to kill rats or mice, according to a January report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A disproportionate number of those children are black and Latino, and living in poverty. The EPA's concern about exposure extends to cats, dogs and wildlife as well. The so-called second-generation rodenticides that have been developed in recent years leave high concentrations of toxins in the bodies of rodents, which renders their carcasses poisonous to pets, birds of prey and other animals that eat them.
March 25, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
The romanticized image Los Angeles Opera is promoting for "Cinderella" shows a pretty princess, a pumpkin-shaped carriage and ample fairy dust. Opera, perhaps, for preteens? Fortunately not. The opera is in fact Rossini's "La Cenerentola," and it advances no fairy godmother, no glass slippers, no gold carriage, no pumpkin. There is no magic whatsoever, just satire and class warfare, which might actually be a better come-on for kids. And rats. Big ones. They are a special attraction in the production L.A. Opera unveiled at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Saturday night.
March 8, 2013 | By Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times
Complaining about "rats the size of small dogs," debris that falls like thick snow and a pervasive, rancid odor, neighbors at a public hearing Friday protested a plan to expand a Sun Valley recycling operation into one of the largest waste-transfer facilities in the state. "Vermin run rampant," said Gary Aggas, president of the Sun Valley Neighborhood Council and one of many residents to testify before a city planning officer about the matter. "Dust blows through the neighborhood constantly....
March 7, 2013 | By Steve Chawkins, Los Angeles Times
ANACAPA ISLAND - Just as factories brag about their accident-free days, Channel Islands National Park is showing off this rugged island's rat-free decade. To get rid of Rattus rattus , officials had a helicopter shower one-square-mile of Anacapa with poisonous green pellets in 2001 and 2002. On Wednesday, they ferried a boatload of reporters and scientists to the square-mile chain of three islets and declared victory. "The last thing we needed was a project that got only 99.9% of all the island's rats," said Kate Faulkner, a National Park Service biologist.
February 22, 2013 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
If you believe the trailers, "Snitch," the new crime drama starring Dwayne Johnson, is a jampacked action thriller. His weapon of choice: a giant snarling big rig, all the better to run the bad guys down. But what the movie is really about is a war-on-drugs tactic that offers early release to convicts willing to snitch on someone else. Though 18-wheelers and reckless driving are definitely involved, there is not nearly as much action as most fans of the increasingly polished Rock will be expecting.
February 5, 2013 | T.J. Simers
NEW YORK - The Lakers have won six of their last seven, but they leave here big losers. Pau Gasol has been dealing with a sore foot for some time, tweaked it in the first half, heard a pop in the fourth quarter and left the arena on crutches. Gasol would make no guesses, but his concern suggested he won't be back in a Lakers uniform any time soon. Kobe Bryant told everyone he's hurting, and he almost never does that unless he's really hurting. The last thing he did before taking the court against the Nets on Tuesday night was remove an ice bag from his elbow.
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