Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Chocolate: Bad for Fido, good for us?

Many animals, especially dogs and cats, cannot tolerate theobromine which is an alkaloid from the cacao plant. Studies of humans, however, have found many beneficial health effects of theobromine, caffeine as well as flavonoids found in cocoa (Martinez-Pinilla et al., 2015). A new study published in Journal of Applied Physiology examined whether cocoa extract can improve heart health in individuals exercising in hypoxic conditions. Hypoxia (i.e. low atmospheric oxygen) reduces the […]

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Special diet improves feline chronic kidney disease

Some good news for cats (and their owners)! Like people, cats can develop chronic kidney disease. In fact, about 10% of felines over the age of 9 years develop it. Common symptoms in cats include weight loss, reduced muscle mass, and often excessive urination and thirst. Other symptoms include metabolic acidosis and more advanced stages may include protein loss in the urine In a new study published in Physiological Reports, researchers […]

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Intelligence: Dogs vs Cats

A new study seems to have provided an answer to the age-old question of who is smarter: dogs or cats? The speculation before the study was conducted was that hunting may require extra brain cells (neurons). If true, that would mean that cats would have more neurons than dogs. My apologies to all of the cat lovers out there. The findings from the study suggest that dogs may actually be […]

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Could circadian rhythms negatively impact research?

Our lives are regulated by a complex biological clock that controls our circadian rhythms. The master clock is located in our hypothalamus and functions to ensure that specific proteins are turned on or off at the right times. These functions are important not only for cell function, but also for proliferation and survival of species. Of concern to our health is the notion that changes in our exposure to environmental […]

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The ultimate fathers

On this Father’s Day, I would like to pay tribute to a few of nature’s most ‘devoted’ fathers. Take the emperor penguin for example. If you have ever watched the movie March of the Penguins, or even Happy Feet, then you know these avian fathers are rock stars of parenting. Males are responsible for keeping the eggs warm for two months while the females go away to feed. They do […]

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