Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Drosophila help researchers understand rare genetic disorder

Barth Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that affects mainly males. It is characterized by impaired lipid metabolism, muscle weakness, growth delays, cardiomyopathy, and low numbers of neutrophils in the blood, which renders patients with the condition more susceptible to infections. There is no known cure for Barth Syndrome. In the past, patients with Barth syndrome often died by the age of three from infections or heart failure (Barth Syndrome […]

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Monogamy is good for the heart

In honor of Valentine’s Day, let’s talk about prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). These animals are often used to study pair bonding because they are one of only a handful of mammalian species that form lifelong socially monogamous pair bonds after mating and cohabitating for at least 6 hours. According to a study published several years ago in Nature Neuroscience, this pair bonding behavior is regulated by specific genes in their […]

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Could research on fruit flies improve human sleep?

A new study conducted by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s in collaboration with Kyoto University has provided evidence that drosophila and mammals have similar proteins in their brain that help regulate the rhythm of body temperatures that are important in normal metabolism as well as sleep. According to a quote from Dr. Fumika Hamada, a lead study author, “We’re looking for a mechanistic understanding of how body temperature rhythms are regulated. […]

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Study shows warm-blooded animals adapt better to climate changes

A new study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution looked at fossil records, current distributions and the phylogenetic relationships for over 11,000 terrestrial vertebrates. Using historical records to reconstruct climate and geographical ranges they found that birds and mammals were more successful and faster than cold-blooded animals at adapting to climate changes as well as expanding or changing the location or range of their habitats. In a quote from Scientific American, […]

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Chronic stress causes muscle loss

Researchers have known that chronic stress has many negative health effects that can impair normal growth. The impact of stress on skeletal muscle specifically is less understood. For this reason, researchers at Universidad Andres Bello in Chile explored the effects of stress induced by overcrowding in fine flounders (Paralichthys adspersus). Their results were published this month in American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.  After just four weeks of […]

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