Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Illnesses and Injuries

The Integrative Biology of Exercise VII – Day 1

The opening session was great! Eric Hoffman (Children’s National Medical Center) presented work on chronic inflammatory diseases in children. He mentioned that while diets high in fats and carbohydrates (i.e. Western diets), obesity and sedentary lifestyles are associated with inflammation and related diseases (ex: asthma, type 2 diabetes), another contributor could be hormones. Kids who stay indoors more often have reduced exposure to sunlight and exercise less. This may alter the normal biological clock of […]

Continue Reading →

Fevers impair brain activity

You probably already knew that fevers can cause some people to develop seizures. According to the National Institutes of Health, these so-called ‘febrile seizures’ can happen at temperatures of 102.2 degrees F and above and are most-often seen in children. The good news is that this type of seizure is usually short and does not often cause any long-term damage to the brain. In a new study published in Physiological Reports, […]

Continue Reading →

Genetically-modified virus stops Alzheimer’s disease

Check out this video from Reuters (via YouTube). It summarizes an exciting study from researchers at Imperial College London who were able to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in mice by administering a modified virus to the animals. The virus worked by preventing the formation of the characteristic amyloid plaques that are responsible for causing damage to neurons in the brain. Importantly, the virus did not result in loss […]

Continue Reading →

Using yeast to prevent outbreaks of C. difficile infections

As the name implies, Clostrodium difficile (C. diff.) bacterial infections are difficult to treat because of antibiotic resistance. The problem with C. diff is that these bacteria release toxins that cause inflammation and diarrhea. In fact, C. diff is the number one cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitals as well as long-term care facilities. Studies have shown that probiotic yeast may help prevent C. diff infections. While these studies are exciting, much of this prior […]

Continue Reading →

What do ‘peeps’ and ‘yo-yos’ have to do with diving?

Until now I had assumed that a “peep” was that squishy sugar-covered marshmallow treat that we enjoyed as kids and a “yo-yo” was a toy on a string. As it turns out, peep and yo-yo are also term used to described types of diving patterns. A square dive is one in which there are no excursions to the surface, known as a “peep”, except at the end of the dive, of course. This is in contrast […]

Continue Reading →

Cancer resistance developing in Tasmanian devils

Tasmanian devils are rather large carnivorous marsupials. By large, I mean the world’s largest. In only 2 decades, the population of Tasmanian devils have declined by about 85%, landing these animals on the endangered species list. The cause: an infectious cancer called devil facial tumor disease (DFTD). As the name implies, this cancer causes facial tumors that grow so large, the victims starve to death in as little as 6 […]

Continue Reading →

Drug increases blood flow to the brain – Implications for stroke?

Researchers from Friedrich Schiller University (Jena, Germany) and Heinrich-Heine-University (Düsseldorf, Germany) teamed up to test whether a heart failure medication that is currently being tested might also improve blood flow in the brain. Their findings were published last month in the American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology. According to the study authors, the small blood vessels in the brains of sheep closely resemble those in the human brain. Using imaging techniques, they […]

Continue Reading →

Frigatebirds and lambs

I was checking out the award-winning American Physiological Society’s I Spy Physiology blog and came across a couple of really interesting posts about animals: “If Only Birds Could Compete in the Summer Games” This post reported a study of how frigatebirds manage to sleep during flights out at sea that can last for weeks. By measuring brain activity, the research team found that the birds were capable of actual sleep, during which time both […]

Continue Reading →

Physiology 2016

I am very excited to report that the American Physiological Society in partnership with The Physiological Society held a joint meeting from July 29-31 in Dublin, Ireland. The keynote lectures were given by Dr. Jerry Friedman from Rockefeller University and Dr. W Jon Lederer from the University of Maryland.   Dr. Friedman spoke about his research on obesity and how genetic factors might play a role. In fact, his team was […]

Continue Reading →