Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Comparative Physiology

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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Maternal obesity resistance may protect fetus

      Research has shown that high fat diets ingested during pregnancy can impair development of the fetus as well as the placenta. The problem is that these perturbations to normal development can have life-long consequences. A new study published in Physiological Reports was interested in whether the volume of amniotic fluid can change with a high fat diet even when the mother does not develop obesity. To examine this, […]

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New study shows mussels are “hot and bothered”

Freshwater organisms are especially vulnerable to environmental changes as they are exposed to both atmospheric changes as well as run-off from nearby cities; in particular, rising temperatures and increasing carbon dioxide levels from both natural factors (rainfall, geology, etc) as well as human influence (deforestatin, agriculture, urbanization). For example, studies of rivers around the world have found that carbon dioxide levels vary from 647 – 38,000 µatm. Higher levels are […]

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What your pets really like to eat

Although dogs and cats are both carnivores, they have surprisingly different appetites for food. In a study published last month, researchers at Oregon State University examined what our beloved pets really like to eat. Their results, published last month in the Journal of Experimental Biology, were rather surprising: dogs showed preference towards foods high in fats (41% fat, 36% carbohydrates) whereas cats preferred foods high in carbohydrates (43% carbohydrates, 30% proteins). […]

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Extreme fasting

  Northern Elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) are pretty extreme animals, at least when it comes to fasting. Pups nurse for about 1 month, during which time they greatly increase their body fat. After nursing, they typically fast for up to 3 months. A new study was designed to explore how their adipose (fat) tissue changes after this prolonged fast. Researchers at the University of California at Merced were able to […]

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