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October 23, 1998 | JEFF GOTTLIEB, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Olympic sprint champion Florence Griffith Joyner died after suffering an epileptic seizure, according to autopsy results released Thursday, and her family and friends say they hope the findings will put to rest rumors that drug use contributed to her death. Griffith Joyner died last month in her sleep at age 38. Her husband, Al Joyner, bitterly criticized those who suggested that she took performance-enhancing drugs.
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SCIENCE
April 26, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
Want to get creative? Get up and go for a walk. People generate more creative ideas when they walk than when they sit, according to a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition. "Everyone always says going on a walk gives you new ideas, but nobody had ever proved it before," said Marily Oppezzo, a psychology professor at Santa Clara University and the lead author of the study . To test for creativity, Oppezzo asked volunteers (mostly college students)
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 14, 2013 | By Alan Zarembo, Los Angeles Times
As a young boy, Paul Christiano loved the world of girls - the way they danced, how their spindly bodies tumbled in gymnastics. In adolescence, as other boys ogled classmates, he was troubled to find himself fantasizing about 7- to 11-year-olds. His desires remained stuck in time as he neared adulthood. Despite a stable home life in suburban Chicago, he was tortured by urges he knew could land him in prison. "For having these feelings, I was destined to become a monster," he said.
SPORTS
April 26, 2014 | By Kevin Baxter
Like most kids growing up in Brazil, Roberto Gurgel dreamed of being on the field for a World Cup. That never happened. So this summer, Gurgel is settling for the next-best thing by helping to build five of the fields that will be used for the first World Cup in his native country in 64 years. Gurgel is executive director of research for Sod Solutions, a South Carolina-based company that develops and licenses varieties of grass. One of those varieties, a deep blue-green Bermuda called Celebration, will be used in five of the 12 World Cup venues this summer.
SCIENCE
December 12, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Scientists know that the best way to make a vodka martini is to mix the ingredients with a thin wooden spoon -- it combines the ingredients effectively without raising the drink's temperature the way a metal stirrer would. So why would James Bond, the world's most sophisticated martini drinker, routinely order his cocktail “shaken, not stirred”? A trio of British medical researchers believe they have the answer: The heavy-drinking 007 most likely suffered from an alcohol-induced tremor that forced him to shake his martinis.
NEWS
January 9, 2011 | By Eryn Brown
You know that feeling you get when you listen to a favorite part of a favorite song?  Some scientists have a refreshingly unscientific word for it: They call it the "chills. " In the lab they can measure the chills, which correspond with a specific pattern of brain arousal and often are accompanied by increases in heart and breathing rates and other physical responses.   Now neurologists report that this human response to music -- which has existed for thousands of years, across cultures around the world -- involves dopamine, the same chemical in the brain that is associated with the intense pleasure people get from more tangible rewards such as food or addictive drugs.
SCIENCE
April 18, 2014 | By Karen Kaplan
Victims of bullies suffer the psychological consequences all the way until middle age, with higher levels of depression, anxiety and suicide, new research shows. The immediate ill effects of bullying have been well documented, with experts increasingly seeing it as a form of child abuse . Influential studies from Finland have made the case that people who were bullied as kids continued to suffer as young adults - girls who were bullied grew up to attempt and commit suicide more frequently by the age of 25, for instance, and boys were more likely to develop anxiety disorders.
NEWS
September 14, 2012 | By Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times
British researchers have determined that a little-studied chemical in the cannabis plant could lead to effective treatments for epilepsy, with few to no side effects. The team at Britain's University of Reading, working with GW Pharmaceuticals and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, tested cannabidivarin, or CBDV, in rats and mice afflicted with six types of epilepsy and found it “strongly suppressed seizures” without causing the uncontrollable shaking and other side effects of existing anti-epilepsy drugs.
NEWS
November 8, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
A significant portion of suicidal people can be identified and referred to mental health specialists in order to help prevent suicide attempts, researchers reported Tuesday. Mental health experts have focused intently on how to lower the nation's suicide rate in all age groups. However, a major obstacle to the efforts has been the lack of a scientifically validated tool to assess suicidal behavior and suicide risk. In a paper published online in the American Journal of Psychiatr y, Columbia University researchers said their tool -- the Columbia Suicide Rating Scale -- can help predict suicidal behavior and suicide attempts.
NEWS
January 17, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
Most kids don't become addicted to playing video games, though it may seem that way to parents. But a new study identifies risk factors for "pathological," or obsessive, gamers and says that such children become more depressed and anxious the more they play. The study released Monday in the journal Pediatrics looked at more than 3,000 elementary- and middle-school children in Singapore over a two-year period. The report says in part: "Greater amounts of gaming, lower social competence, and greater impulsivity seemed to act as risk factors for becoming pathological gamers, whereas depression, anxiety, social phobias, and lower school performance seemed to act as outcomes of pathological gaming.
SCIENCE
April 22, 2014 | By Karen Kaplan
Humans and other primates aren't the only members of the animal kingdom who can watch total strangers interact and figure out who's in charge. Ravens can do it too, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications. Researchers at the University of Vienna said they had several reasons to suspect that ravens had the chops to understand the social hierarchy of unknown birds just by looking at them. For starters, ravens “are renowned for their relatively big brains,” they wrote.
SCIENCE
April 22, 2014 | By Mary MacVean
African American high school students and boys in low- to middle-income families reported short, fragmented sleep, and that could play a role in their health risks, researchers reported Monday. Anyone who's ever lived with a teenager knows they often don't get the eight to nine hours of sleep the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. Researchers writing in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics looked at one group of young people - those in a lower socioeconomic community.
SCIENCE
April 18, 2014 | By Karen Kaplan
Victims of bullies suffer the psychological consequences all the way until middle age, with higher levels of depression, anxiety and suicide, new research shows. The immediate ill effects of bullying have been well documented, with experts increasingly seeing it as a form of child abuse . Influential studies from Finland have made the case that people who were bullied as kids continued to suffer as young adults - girls who were bullied grew up to attempt and commit suicide more frequently by the age of 25, for instance, and boys were more likely to develop anxiety disorders.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 16, 2014 | By Martha Groves
The mountain lion known as P-22 looked majestic just a few months ago, in a trail-camera photo shot against the backdrop of the Hollywood sign. But when a remote camera in Griffith Park captured an image of the puma more recently, it showed a thinner and mangy animal. Scientists sedated him and drew blood samples. They found evidence of exposure to rat poisons. Now, researchers say they suspect a link between the poisons and the mange, a parasitic skin disease that causes crusting and skin lesions and has contributed to the deaths of scores of bobcats and coyotes.
SCIENCE
April 14, 2014 | By Mary MacVean
A 15% reduction in salt consumption was likely “an important contributor” to a 40% reduction in stroke and heart disease deaths in the last decade in England, researchers said Monday. The “single largest” contribution to the decline in deaths was a decrease in blood pressure, they said. Smoking and blood cholesterol also declined over the period, 2003-11; produce consumption and body mass index rose. At the same time, there were improvements in treatment for high blood pressure and heart disease, they said in the online British Medical Journal Open.
SCIENCE
April 14, 2014 | By Amina Khan
Fruit flies seem to have a preternatural ability to evade annoyed swatters. Now, laser-wielding scientists have discovered the secret of these winged escape artists: They execute speedy hairpin turns by banking in the same way that fighter jets do. The aerial skills of Drosophila hydei , described this month in the journal Science, could provide insight into the complex neural circuitry that makes such impressive maneuvers possible - and perhaps...
SCIENCE
April 2, 2014 | By Mary MacVean
Only the prom king and queen are safe. Researchers say that the more popular teens are - except for those at the very apex of the fragile high school hierarchy - the more likely they are to be bullied, perhaps a surprise to people who presumed outcasts were the exclusive targets. Researchers Robert Faris of UC Davis and Diane Felmlee of Penn State University write that traditional, everyday views of bullying - reported by nearly a fifth of teens - tell less than the whole story.
NEWS
July 20, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
If you see groups of people walking around San Diego next weekend - July 29-31 - encouraging each other to reach into trash cans, it's all good. The exercise is part of the annual International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Meeting. Manifestations of obsessive-compulsive disorder include fears of contamination, hoarding disorder and Tourette syndrome. Just over 1% of people have some form of OCD The conference is unusual because it combines presentations of new research data from scientists as well as educational forums for therapists, people with OCD and their family members.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 11, 2014 | By Louis Sahagun
Federal wildlife officials on Friday said Devil's Hole pupfish have laid eggs in captivity for the first time, a biological breakthrough that could save the nearly extinct species. "We're thrilled - we've passed a major milestone," said Olin Feuerbacher, an aquaculturist at the Ash Meadows Fish Conservation Facility in Amargosa Valley, Nev., which is home to all 29 of the federally endangered Devil's Hole pupfish now in captivity. "We now have a good chance of establishing a captive lifeboat population.
SCIENCE
April 9, 2014 | By Amina Khan
Scientists have uncovered the oldest cardiovascular system they've ever found in a fossil, in the form of a shrimp-like animal that once roamed the turbulent ancient seas. The finding, described in the journal Nature Communications, shows that the internal systems in the ancestors of modern crustaceans may have been much more complicated than scientists might have thought. The 520-million-year-old fossil of an ancient arthropod (the group that today includes crustaceans, insects and arachnids)
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