Brown widow spiders aggressively populating Southern California – pushing aside black widows

A poisonous spider is aggressively colonizing Southern California.

Panic.

Now, take a deep breath: The spread of brown widows could actually be good thing.

Newly released research suggests nonnative brown widows are pushing out more dangerous (and native) western black widows. Most of the time, brown widows have a bite similar to that of common household spiders, producing only a red mark and slight pain, according to the Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside.

“The most common thing, anecdotally, that homeowners are saying is, ‘I used to have 3 or 4 black widows and now I have 10 to 15 brown widows,’” said Richard Vetter, a retired researcher at UC Riverside and lead author of a recent study about the interaction between the arachnids.

 

Learn more: U-T San Diego – Brown widows crawl across SoCal sprawl

 

 

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Hybrid surgery, a major new medical trend, reduces need for cutting open

This reminds me of Star Trek as we discover new ways to heal patients without cutting them open. This method involves half-surgery and half-minimally-invasive techniques that also take much less time:

They performed a unique, high-risk hybrid procedure that combined minimally-invasive method with traditional surgical techniques. They stopped the massive balloon-like aneurysm, replaced a failed heart valve, repaired another valve and also closed a hole in Patricia Crawford’s heart.

Now, just a few weeks since the successful Feb. 7 procedure, Crawford is much more active and energetic, and only taking medications for her heart. Most importantly, she no longer needs a heart-lung transplant.

Such hybrid surgeries are the start of a major medical trend, said Dr. Jamil Aboulhosn, director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center.

“We’re able to do more for high-risk patients like Patti than ever before. We’re performing more creative procedures that blend traditional surgery and minimally-invasive techniques to help patients who previously had few or no options.”

Dr. Hillel Laks and the operating room team started with traditional surgical methods, placing her on the heart-lung machine and opening the aneurysm by her heart.

Aboulhosn then employed the hybrid intervention by using a new balloon-mounted “melody valve” to replace her failing pulmonary valve and to close the hole in her heart. These two procedures, which normally would take more than an hour to complete surgically, only took 10 minutes thanks to the less-invasive valve-replacement technique.

learn moreUCLA Today

Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy

In 1985 a small group of concerned citizens set off on a mission to protect the last remaining wetlands in Huntington Beach, some 147 acres out of what used to be over 3,000.

Today, their dream is coming true as the Huntington Beach Wetland Conservancy owns and has restored a majority of the land, some 100 acres from the Santa Ana River to the AES Power Plant.

The remaining pieces are a 44-acre parcel located between Newland and Beach Blvd, and a tiny triangle, some 7/10 an acre, sandwiched between the Huntington Waterfront Hilton and a new residential neighborhood. These, too, will soon be owned by the Conservancy.

Here is how that Newland Marsh looks now:

Dry, full of trash and non-native invasive plants

And, the restored marshes:

That's a Grey Heron in the center drinking some water (click pic to view large size).

The difference is clearly the water.

Why Wetlands?

A wetland is “the link between land and water and are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world. Some common names for different types of wetlands are swamp, marsh and bog.

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