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August 23, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
This post has been corrected. See note at bottom for details. Say it isn't so -- will unrepentant high-heel fashionista Victoria Beckham have to hang up her stilettos because of a possible slipped disc? Will her wearing flats in public represent the end of fashion as we know it? Probably not. The U.K.'s Daily Mail reports online that Beckham's friends are saying the sky-high heels she wore during her recent pregnancy may have caused a back injury. She was even photographed wearing towering Christian Louboutin heels at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton about 10 weeks before she gave birth to baby Harper Seven.
June 20, 2011 | Karen Voight, Good Form
This exercise challenges your core strength and provides a nice twist to your spine. Squeezing a soft ball with your inner thighs helps to keep your hips correctly positioned so that you can target the tightest part of your spine, which is usually the mid-back. Sit near the front edge of a sturdy chair with both feet flat on the floor. Place a soft 9-inch exercise ball between your knees. Inhale, sit up tall and raise your arms above your head. On an exhalation, rotate your torso to the right.
May 1, 2011 | By Darrell Satzman
A luxurious fortress of concrete, glass and steel presents an imposing profile near the end of a winding drive high above the Sunset Strip. Designed by Santa Monica architect David Lawrence Gray and completed in 1996, the three-level contemporary home sits along the spine of narrow promontory with unobstructed views that stretch from the San Gabriel Mountains to the Getty Center. Dramatic flourishes abound — nowhere more so than in a jutting backyard that feels as though it is suspended above the city.
April 4, 2011 | Karen Voight, Good Form
This seated spiral twist will strengthen and stretch your spine, but a common mistake is to round your back, which causes your chest to cave in. If this happens to you, try elevating your hips on a yoga block. You will find it easier to sit up straight and perform the exercise correctly. Sit cross-legged on a yoga block or on the edge of a thick blanket with your right leg in front. Rest your hands on your legs. Inhale and lift your chest, pull your abdominals toward your spine and relax your shoulders down and away from your ears.
March 10, 2011 | By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times
Why are we different from other creatures? After all, our genomes are 95% or more identical to that of chimps. For all the genome-busting that's gone on in recent years -- human genomes, chimp genomes, mouse genomes, platypus genomes -- scientists in large part don't know the answer to these kinds of questions.  This week in the journal Nature are clues about three human characteristics -- big brains, lack of sensory whiskers and penises without spines -- that appear to be caused by chunks of DNA that we lost but other mammals still have.
January 23, 2011 | By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
In 1984, when he was 51, novelist Reynolds Price learned that a pencil-shaped tumor, about 10 inches long and malignant, had invaded his spine. Several surgeries and dozens of radiation treatments followed, leaving him a paraplegic racked with pain and the uncertainty of his survival. His happy life of teaching Milton at Duke University and writing several hours a day was over, or so it seemed in his many dark moments. Then, after a year of this agony, something miraculous happened: He knocked out a commissioned play in two months and finished the last two-thirds of his seventh novel, "Kate Vaiden," which won the National Book Critics Circle Award as the best work of fiction in 1986.
November 18, 2010 | By Linda Burum, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Gamja-Gol on Olympic Boulevard is as legendary a fixture in Koreatown as Canter's, Langer's or the Apple Pan are in their neighborhoods. It's a place untouched by time, where the finish on the black lacquered tables is worn thin by years of use. Its crowded dining rooms, which span two connecting storefronts, are plain, save for slightly faded decorative photos of Korean dishes. In each room a huge menu dominates one wall, but no one, it seems, ever reads these. Regulars come only for the house specialty: gamjatang . One of the world's culinary marvels, the rustic, spice-laden soupy stew is based on slowly cooked pork back bones.
October 12, 2010 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Researchers announced Monday that they had injected stem cells into a patient with a spinal cord injury on Friday, kicking off the world's first clinical trial of a therapy derived from human embryonic stem cells. The patient was treated at Shepherd Center, a spinal cord and brain injury center in Atlanta. Though the trial, run by Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif., is in its earliest stages ? aimed primarily at testing the treatment for safety ? the event stands as a landmark one for embryonic stem cell researchers, who for years have studied the cells' potential to treat spinal cord injuries, diabetes and a variety of neurodegenerative diseases.
September 6, 2010 | Karen Voight, Good Form
Use this Pilates roll-down exercise to stretch and strengthen your core muscles. Leaning against a flat wall to perform the move helps you hold and maintain a C-curve shape to your spine. Grasp a light dumbbell in each hand and stand with your back against the wall. Your shoulders and hips should touch the wall. Walk your feet forward, bend your knees slightly and firmly press your back into the wall. Let your arms hang below your shoulders. Tuck your chin in toward your throat and begin to roll down until just your lower back and the back of your pelvis remain in contact with the wall.
August 16, 2010 | Karen Voight, Good Form
Develop a strong core with this simple yet challenging move. If you're new to exercise, do this move without dumbbells; as you become more comfortable with the move, hold a pair of dumbbells for added resistance. Lie on your back holding light dumbbells in each hand. Raise your legs so your knees are bent directly above your hips. Hold the dumbbells together over your chest with your elbows slightly bent, facing them toward your knees (this keeps the move safe for your shoulders)
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