Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Archive for November 2016

Eating saturated fat is bad for the brain

I know this is not a comparative physiology topic, but this article caught my attention as I know I just ate a rather high fat meal last week for Thanksgiving and I plan to do the same throughout the holiday season. Insulin does more than just lowering blood sugar by increasing its uptake into tissues. It can also increase blood flow to the hippocampal region of the brain to help […]

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Cat-tongues inspire new technology?

If you have ever been licked by a cat, you have experienced just how scratchy their tongues are. If you have not had the pleasure, it is much like being licked by a piece of Velcro. In fact, Mechanical Engineer Alexis Noel (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta) recently described the tiny claw-like structures on a cat’s tongue after observing a cat getting its tongue stuck on a blanket. Her research team decided to create […]

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Restoring locomotion in primates with spinal cord injuries

Pioneering research being conducted by Dr. Gregoire Courtine (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology – Lausanne) may enable paralyzed humans to walk again someday. Through his collaborative research with a lab in Beijing China, he has developed a wireless brain implant that detects signals in the brain and then sends these signals to electrodes implanted in the lower spine (below the injured region) of the animals. This technology allows the brain signals to […]

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The Integrative Biology of Exercise VII – Day 3

Highlights from Day 3!   The costs of being a father? Jacob Andrew et al. from the University of California – Riverside presented a poster examining the long-term effects of fatherhood in California mice (Peromyscus californicus). California mice are monogamous and biparental, like humans. This means that both parents participate in taking care of offspring. In prior research they found that first-time fathers did not experience many changes in their physiology, […]

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The Integrative Biology of Exercise VII – Day 2

Mitochondria produce more than just ATP Pinchas Cohen from the University of California – Davis presented data showing that mitochondria produce more than just ATP. They also make several peptides that can each affect our physiology. Some help cells respond to insulin better, some help with weight, some regulate cell metabolism. What is even more impressive is that some of these peptides have been shown to slow down the development […]

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The Integrative Biology of Exercise VII – Day 1

The opening session was great! Eric Hoffman (Children’s National Medical Center) presented work on chronic inflammatory diseases in children. He mentioned that while diets high in fats and carbohydrates (i.e. Western diets), obesity and sedentary lifestyles are associated with inflammation and related diseases (ex: asthma, type 2 diabetes), another contributor could be hormones. Kids who stay indoors more often have reduced exposure to sunlight and exercise less. This may alter the normal biological clock of […]

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