Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Comparative Physiology

Keeping arteries healthy, lessons from seals?

Heart rate decreases during diving in seals and other animals. Thus the ascending aorta becomes very important during diving as it helps to maintain blood pressure during prolonged dives. A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology was designed to examine the ascending aorta of hooded seals (Cystophora cristata) and the tiny blood vessels that supply nutrients to it, called the vasa vasorum. The […]

Continue Reading →

Big-brained birds

Birds get such a bad rap when it comes to intelligence. Sure they have relatively small brains, but scientists have known they are similar to primates with respect to their cognitive abilities. New research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences presents data showing how this apparent dichotomy is possible. They found that the brains of songbirds and parrots pack two times the number of neurons as a primate […]

Continue Reading →

Protecting the Great Lakes

In a prior post summarizing the annual Michigan Physiological Society Meeting, I briefly mentioned the work from Adrian Vasquez, Milad Qazazi, Andrew Failla, Sanjay Rama, Samuel Randall, and Jeffrey Ram from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI). They were exploring the diversity of water mites, a type of arachnid, in Western Lake Erie and they found a mixture of both native and invasive species. Dr. Jeffrey Ram, Professor at the School of Medicine at […]

Continue Reading →

Cartilaginous fish need to regulate sulfate too

Seawater contains sulfate concentrations that are nearly 40 times those measured in plasma. Therefore, it is easy to see why fish would need to develop mechanisms to keep sulfate within a physiologically normal range. The kidneys of teleost fish have been known to excrete excess sulfate in the urine. However until now, it was not known whether the kidneys of cartilaginous fish do the same thing as their kidneys are rather complex. In a new […]

Continue Reading →

What does nitric oxide have to do with a fever?

New research published in the American Journal of Physiology Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology shows that bacterial infections increase the production of nitric oxide in chicks, which is similar to what happens in rodents. The increase in nitric oxide is thought to be related to the development of fever. In fact, when nitric oxide production was blocked, thermogenesis was inhibited and infected chicks began to huddle more to increase body temperature. Source: […]

Continue Reading →

Recap of 2016 Michigan Physiological Society

The Michigan Physiological Society, a chapter of the American Physiological Society, held their 3rd annual meeting last week. As mentioned in a prior post, the keynote address was given by Comparative Physiologist Dr. Hannah Carey (University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine). You can read about her research in the prior post. Here are other highlights from the meeting: Seminars: or as I prefer to view them… Kelsy Kusch (Undergraduate Student, […]

Continue Reading →

2016 Michigan Physiological Society Meeting

I am very excited about the upcoming 3rd annual Michigan Physiological Society Meeting on May 12-13 in Detroit. This society is a local chapter of the American Physiological Society. I am most excited by their choice of a Comparative Physiologist for the keynote address: Dr. Hannah V. Carey from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Carey is a Past-President of the American Physiological Society. She will be presenting […]

Continue Reading →