Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Researchers explore why fetuses that experienced intrauterine growth restriction have smaller muscles

We have talked several times about the long-lasting issues related to growth restriction of a fetus during pregnancy: Intrauterine growth restriction increases risk of cardiovascular disease as adults Intrauterine growth restriction increases risk of insulin resistance as adults It can also result in offspring that have smaller muscles. New research published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology suggests this may be due to adaptations to […]

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Warm hypoxic waters impair heart function in some fish

Events causing bodies of water to become hypoxic (low oxygen levels) are increasing with climate change. Water can become hypoxic when it warms up or there are changes in tidal flow, density, wind patterns as well as separation from the main source, such as occurs in a tidepool. While some fish are tolerant of hypoxia and even anoxia (oxygen depleted) environments others, such as Atlantic cod and steelhead trout, rely […]

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Final highlights from the 2019 Arizona Physiological Society conference

Here are some additional comparative physiology highlights from the 2019 Arizona Physiological Society poster session: Researchers at Arizona State University compared the physiology of Gambel’s quail (Callipepla gambelii) living in urbanized and less developed areas. They found that birds living in more urbanized areas were larger and had more circulating lipids than birds living in areas that were less developed. (A Funk, P Hutton, S Earl, P Deviche, and K Sweazea. […]

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Dogs may facilitate spread of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Alec Oliva, a graduate student at Midwestern University – Glendale campus, presented research examining the spread of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) at the 2019 Arizona Physiological Society conference this past weekend. With a mortality rate as much as 80% without treatment, the spread of this disease is quite concerning. Ticks are vectors for the Rickettsia rickettsii bacteria responsible for causing RMSF. Dogs are notoriously at risk for acquiring tick infestations […]

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Could fungicides be to blame for colony collapse disorder?

Colony collapse disorder happens when worker bees disappear from a hive and there are not enough adult bees to maintain the colony. This is concerning as bees are essential for pollinating crops. Adrian Fisher II, a postdoctoral fellow at Arizona State University, presented results from an interesting study conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Jon Harrison that explored the effects of fungicides on honey bee (Apis mellifera) populations. Pollinating insects like bees […]

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Ultrasonic rats

Dr. Charles Schaefer, a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Tobias Riede at Midwestern University presented research at the conference examining how rats use deep breaths to produce ultrasonic vocalizations. Similarly, researchers have studied a variety of vocalizations in rats that signify positive as well as negative emotions and how their brains process this information. Did you know rats enjoy being tickled?

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Comparative physiology is alive and well

Anthony Basile, a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Karen Sweazea at Arizona State University, presented an interesting talk at the 2019 Arizona Physiological Society conference. He presented data from an international study conducted to explore how physiologists define comparative physiology today. August Krogh was credited with the founding of comparative physiology. In 1929 he published a paper that included a profound statement, “For such a large number of […]

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