Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Illnesses and Injuries

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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Fish offer clues to fixing broken hearts

About a year ago we talked about how Mexican tetra (Astyanax mexicanus) may hold the clues to treating diabetes. New research shows that is not all these tiny fish can teach us. Researchers at the University College London and the University of Oxford now think these fish may hold clues to regenerating damaged heart tissue. Their findings were published in Cell Reports. Mexican tetra are freshwater fish. Over millions of years, […]

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Improving tissue integrity for transplants

Ground squirrels are known for their remarkable ability to tolerate hypothermic conditions. Humans are not. Dr. JingXing Ou (National Institutes of Health) presented an interesting talk that explored using induced pluripotent neuronal stem cells isolated from these mammalian hibernators to improve tissue integrity for organ transplants. By understanding which pathways protected ground squirrel cells from cold-damage, these pathways could be manipulated in human induced pluripotent neuronal stem cells and improve […]

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Parasite-induced metabolic disease

Dr. Rudolf Schilder (Penn State University) presented a poster yesterday reporting that male dragonflies (Libellula pulchella) are developing infection-induced metabolic disease that is similar to type 2 diabetes and obesity in vertebrates. The culprit? A protozoan parasite in the animal’s gut. It makes you wonder if parasites may be to blame for some metabolic disease cases in humans…

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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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Greater Washington Area Talks Physiology

It has been a great month for physiology. This week the Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland Chapter of the American Physiological Society (dvmCAPS) held their 5th annual meeting on October 8th on The George Washington University Campus. The first Distinguished Speaker was Dr. Robert S. Balaban (above), Laboratory of Cardiac Energetics at the National Institutes of Health, who spoke about the Structure and Function of Cardiac Mitochondria. Mitochondria are derived from bacterial ancestors […]

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Physiology in Arizona – Part 1

This past weekend the Arizona Physiological Society held their 11th annual conference on the Tempe campus of Arizona State University. There were so many oral and poster presentations on comparative physiology that I will spend this entry focusing on the oral sessions. The Keynote address was given by Dr. Michael Joyner (Mayo Clinic, Rochester) who spoke about the importance of not just focusing research efforts on reductionist approaches, including many […]

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Study examines link between sleep apnea and cancer

A recent review published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology explored the link between sleep apnea and cancer (4). More and more people are living with sleep apnea. In fact, current estimates indicate that up to 24% of men as well as up to 5% of women have obstructive sleep apnea (4). Individuals with sleep apnea experience repeated cycles of low oxygen (hypoxia) and reoxygenation throughout […]

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Ohio is talking about fixing broken hearts, the physiology of freezing, combating opioid addiction and more

The Ohio Physiological Society held their 33rd Annual Meeting at the University of Cincinnati this weekend. The keynote address was given by Dr. Mark Sussman from San Diego State University. He spoke about current research strategies that aim to improve the ability for the heart to repair itself after heart failure. Dr. Perwez Alam (University of Cincinnati) also spoke about using siRNA to try to repair heart tissue after heart attacks and […]

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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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