Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Archive for August 2018

Elasmobranchs may hold clues for treating blood disorders

As you may already know, bone marrow contains cells that specialize in both bone as well as blood maintenance. Stem cells destined to become white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets are called hematopoietic stem cells (aka: HSCs). CXCL12 is a special ligand that helps keep HSCs in the bone marrow by acting as a chemical attractant for the chemokine receptor C-X-C (CXCR4) found on HSCs. Some researchers are […]

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Summer of Physiology

The Michigan Physiological Society, a chapter of the American Physiological Society, held their annual meeting this summer.  Here are some highlights from the meeting: The keynote address was given by Dr. Virginia Miller, Professor of Surgery and Physiology and Director of the Women’s Health Research Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Her talk was about “Sex-specific Differences in Risk for Cardiovascular Disease.” Specifically, how estrogen, menopause and pregnancy influence the risk […]

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Itty bitty new species of seahorse discovered

Newly discovered species of seahorse, Hippocampus japapigu, discovered in Japan. Credit: © Richard Smith – www.OceanRealmImages.com Scientists have named the well-camouflaged (and quite adorable) pygmy seahorse, Hippocampus japapigu, aka: the Japan pig. Considering it is about the size of a lentil bean, it is not hard to imagine how it may have been easily overlooked until now. Check out this Youtube video from National Geographic:    

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Cancer resistance in elephants explained

  Research has shown that <5% of elephants succumb to cancer. This is remarkable as elephants are massive, meaning they have more cells to replicate on a regular basis than humans. One would think having so many cells would increase the risk of these cells dividing improperly, especially considering that captive elephants can live for about 70 years. It has been known for several years that elephants have 20 copies […]

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Defining Physiology

Kudos to Mael Lemoine and Thomas Pradeu who recently published a paper in Physiology that attempted to define physiology’s place in modern science. Historically, physiology has held importance as a fundamental discipline on which other disciplines such as medicine and biological sciences were built. As such, the field of physiology has given birth to several modern disciplines including immunology, endocrinology, neuroscience and of course, the wave of “omics” research. Lemoine and […]

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My what big ears you have…

Jackrabbits have REALLY big ears. Their big ears are well-vascularized as you can see in the photo above. These blood vessels dilate (widen) when it is hot outside to help the animals give off heat to their environment by routing warm blood from their core to their ears. Having such an efficient cooling mechanism means they can conserve water by avoiding the need for evaporative cooling (sweating or panting). As […]

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