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August 8, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Forget mosquito netting and bug spray. Researchers are focusing on another way to reduce the numbers of the malaria-spreading blood-suckers: introduce spermless males into the population. In a study released Monday, researchers from Britain and Italy genetically altered male mosquitoes so that they did not produce sperm -- although they could still deliver seminal fluid while mating. Female mosquitoes who mated with these genetically altered males produced sterile eggs that didn't hatch, according to the paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
August 5, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times
If you know just one thing about embryonic stem cells, it's probably that they have the potential to grow into any type of cell in the body. That, of course, is why scientists find them so valuable. But having the potential to become any type of cell is not the end game -- research groups around the world are trying to figure out the precise recipe for turning those stem cells into specific types of cells that would be useful for studying or treating various diseases. This week, a group of Japanese researchers from Kyoto University  said they had figured out a way to turn embryonic stem cells into the more specific type of stem cell that makes sperm.
May 16, 2011 | Marc Siegel, The Unreal World
"Donor Unknown" Met Film and Redbird Tribeca Film Festival, April 23 premiere The premise In this documentary, JoEllen Marsh is a 20-year-old woman who has never met her father. For most of her life, he was known only as sperm donor 150 from the California Cryobank, a large sperm bank based in Los Angeles. Marsh turns to a website called the Donor Sibling Registry and eventually discovers she has more than a dozen half-siblings with the same anonymous father.
March 24, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Scientists have grown sperm cells in a dish from the testicular tissue of mice, the journal Nature reported Wednesday. The team, led by Takuya Sato of the Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine in Yokohama, Japan, grew healthy sperm in the laboratory and used them to produce fertile offspring, according to the study.   The discovery is a nifty technical feat.  For decades, scientists had tried without success to maintain spermatogenesis (the multistage process by which spermatogonial stem cells grow to become sperm)
March 14, 2011 | Marc Siegel, The Unreal World
The Premise Dr. Nicole Allgood (Annette Bening) and her partner, Jules (Julianne Moore), have taken a non-traditional route to family life. The couple met in the ER when Nic, who is now an attending gynecologist, was a resident at UCLA and Jules was a patient with facial numbness. They became lovers, and when they decided to have children they went to a sperm bank, and each gave birth to a child using the same sperm donor. Flash forward several years, and their son, Laser (Josh Hutcherson)
February 14, 2011 | By Chris Woolston, Special to the Los Angeles Times
The average man produces hundreds of billions of sperm cells in his lifetime. Only a minuscule fraction of those little guys ever manage to swim far enough and fast enough to fertilize an egg. Successful sperm must be strong. It stands to reason then that they also must be well-nourished. Several nutritional supplements purport to help men take a big step closer to fatherhood. FertilAid for Men, manufactured by Fairhaven Health, contains megadoses of antioxidant vitamins and B vitamins.
November 18, 2010 | By Michael Ordoña, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Into the seemingly idyllic, if nontraditional, two-mom family world of "The Kids Are All Right" saunters trouble in the form of Mark Ruffalo. His rakish Paul, the family's heretofore anonymous sperm donor of the now teen children, brings the swaggering fun you'd expect from any motorcycle-riding, organic-fare restaurateur. Costar Julianne Moore said after all this female energy on the set, when you showed up, you were "über-male" and "all hairy and beardy," and all this male stuff came through.
September 5, 2010 | By Lawrence Krauss
Question: What do Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" extravaganza, held on the Washington Mall on Aug. 28, and a test for male infertility have in common? Answer: If you do your counting wrong for either of them, you can come to wildly inappropriate conclusions. When asked how large the crowd at his rally was, Beck offered a range of 300,000 to 650,000 and, after the fact, has reportedly settled on 500,000. These are quite impressive numbers, and they've been widely quoted. One might, however, be forgiven for suspecting that Beck had reason to guess high, in order to magnify the significance of his attempt to "restore" God to the American political arena, and the wide range of Beck's estimate might make one wonder where it comes from.
August 20, 2010 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
"The Switch," the very dry romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, is what you might call a Bate-and-switch affair. More his journey than hers, more satire than slapstick, the film is that rare example of rom-com about men, which turns out to be a nice switch indeed. Bateman is Wally, one of those smart neurotics forever bemoaning his half-empty glass. He's a Wall Street whiz, which in this day and age is reason enough for pessimism and paranoia, except that Wally's business is booming and his best friend is Aniston's Kassie, a beautiful network exec/girl next-door type (it's a very good neighborhood)
July 31, 2010
In a marriage of modern science and the culture of celebrity, a Los Angeles-based sperm bank is grouping donors according to which famous people they resemble. On its website, the California Cryobank asks: "Have you ever wondered if your favorite donor looks like anyone famous? You know how tall he is and his hair and eye color, but wouldn't it be great to have an idea of what he really LOOKS like? Now you can find out with a CLICK of your mouse!" Browsers are typically directed to pictures of two or three celebrity lookalikes.
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