Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Archive for January 2018

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, […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

Sheep can recognize human faces

New research published in Royal Society: Open Science shows that it is possible to train sheep to distinguish between different human faces shown in photos.  In fact, 8 out of 10 times, the sheep were able to choose the image they had been trained to recognize. According to study author Dr. Jenny Morton, “…sheep have advanced face-recognition abilities, comparable with those of humans and monkeys.” Because these animals are rather […]

Continue Reading →

Centipede Analgesics

In the face of the current opioid crisis, scientists are searching for new and safer painkillers (analgesics). Venomous animals may be useful in the search as their venom can contain peptides with analgesic properties. In fact, researchers recently discovered and characterized an analgesic peptide, dubbed SsmTX-I, that was isolated from the venomous centipede, Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans. This peptide was shown to block a type of potassium channel (Kv2.1) in the body that is involved in sensing […]

Continue Reading →

How Ossabaw Island swine are helping us understand obesity and diabetes

         Ossabaw Island off the coast of Georgia (United States) is home to feral swine brought over by early Spanish explorers. In relative isolation on the island, with the exception of the introduction of a Hampshire pig, the Ossabaw pigs have become genetically distinct from those living on the mainland. Ossabaw pigs are prone to obesity and are the only miniature pigs known to develop type 2 […]

Continue Reading →