Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Diet and Exercise

PUFAs change muscle characteristics in a migratory bird without improving flight performance

Migratory birds are undoubtedly endurance athletes. In fact, their flights last hours to days. Could you imagine? But, unlike mammals that fuel endurance exercise by burning carbohydrates, birds fuel their endurance flights with fat. In a new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, researchers were curious about whether the TYPE of dietary fat used to fuel endurance exercise was important. To examine this […]

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Carnivorous fish are glucose intolerant

Who would have thought that carnivorous fish, like the gilthead sea bream pictured above, and people with diabetes have a lot in common? These fish are glucose intolerant, meaning they are not able to use glucose for energy very well. When these fish are given carbohydrates, their blood sugar increases as does their ability to produce fats through lipogenesis. The purpose of this increase may be to store the excess […]

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Don’t let that cute little face fool you…

This is not your Grandmother’s cat. Despite its seemingly domesticated look, this cute feline is a fierce hunter. Black-footed cats are the smallest wild felines in Africa coming in at only 14-20 inches long, 8 inches in height and weighing only 2-6 pounds. They are also considered the deadliest feline on Earth. Say what??? Turns out this Napoleonic cat is known for killing more prey in one night (10-14 rodents […]

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Could zinc be involved in forming kidney stones?

Zinc is a micronutrient that is essential for normal protein production and for various enzymes to function properly in the body. Levels are important to regulate because too much can be toxic to the kidneys whereas too little can lead to problems with immune and metabolic function as well as infertility. In a new study published in American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology, researchers were interested in how zinc […]

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Taller horses are more prone to exercise intolerance

A common cause of exercise intolerance in horses is equine recurrent laryngeal neuropathy (RLN). This is a fancy way of saying that the animals are not able to open their larynx on the left side very well during strenuous exercise, which limits their oxygen intake and ability to exercise. Larger horses, like thoroughbreds, are more prone to developing this condition than smaller breeds. In a new study published in Physiological Genomics […]

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The physiology of bad taste

Ever wonder how humans and other animals evolved the ability to detect foods that can potentially harm us? A recent article published in Physiological Reviews, explains the physiology behind why certain foods taste bad. The act of tasting is very complex and includes receptors in our mouths that can detect specific chemicals in our food and prepare our digestive system to receive the food and, as anyone with a cold knows, […]

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Dangers of eating greens

Dr. Kevin Kohl (University of Pittsburgh) gave an interesting talk at the conference on the various dangers of eating plants. Aside from having low protein content and large quantities of indigestible fibers, plants are great sources of toxic chemicals. Remarkably, many animals have evolved to eat plants that may be toxic to other animals. Research by Dr. Kohl suggests that the gut microbiome of these animals may have evolved to […]

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Physiology in Nebraska

Continuing on our journey across the country…the University of Nebraska at Omaha hosted the Nebraska Physiological Society’s annual meeting on Saturday. This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Timothy Musch, University Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Kinesiology & Anatomy and Physiology at Kansas State University. Dr. Musch spoke about factors that regulate blood flow to skeletal muscle and how oxygen delivery to muscle changes with chronic heart failure. Dr. Xuejun […]

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Physiology in Iowa

The Iowa Physiological Society held their 23rd annual meeting today. It was a huge success! Seminars were on a diverse array of topics including epilepsy, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, hypertension caused by menopause, how heat exposure impacts insulin’s actions in skeletal muscle tissue, how exercise changes blood flow in muscles of individuals with obesity, factors that change the ability to grow new blood vessels, The Keynote Speaker was Dr. Mark […]

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