Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Archive for January 2023

New cancer diagnostic tool

Scientists have come up with a truly unique tool to try to detect cancer – ants. Yes, ants. Ants are known for their strong sense of smell, which helps them locate food pretty well. Interestingly, some forms of cancer can alter the smell of urine and ants may be able to detect those changes. Their findings on the potential use of ants as “bio-detectors” of cancer were published in the […]

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The complex interplay between pathogens and our immune system

I read an interesting review article explaining how cells evolved the ability to kill off pathogens and, in turn, how pathogens evade death. It is kind of like a perpetual game of ‘cat and mouse’ in which the interaction between animals and pathogens drives the evolution of host defenses against infections while at the same time driving the evolution of pathogen strategies to avoid detection. According to the review article, […]

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Hummingbirds can choose how deep to sleep

Could you imagine drinking a can of soda every minute just to support your high metabolism? Amazingly, that is the equivalent to how much sugar a hummingbird needs to support their rapid wingbeats during flight. In fact, hummingbird flight muscles are the fastest on record, allowing the birds to flap their wings at a rate of up to 200 beats per second! That explains why they are always at my […]

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