Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Illnesses and Injuries

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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Discovering new antibiotics in…saliva??

Scientists have discovered that they can quickly identify new antibiotics using bear saliva. This is because saliva from East Siberian brown bears is home to a diversity of bacteria. (Okay granted, this is true of many wild animals – the study referenced here focused on bears.) Although it does not sound very sophisticated, a team of scientists at Rutgers University thought that they may be able to identify novel antibiotics […]

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Elasmobranchs may hold clues for treating blood disorders

As you may already know, bone marrow contains cells that specialize in both bone as well as blood maintenance. Stem cells destined to become white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets are called hematopoietic stem cells (aka: HSCs). CXCL12 is a special ligand that helps keep HSCs in the bone marrow by acting as a chemical attractant for the chemokine receptor C-X-C (CXCR4) found on HSCs. Some researchers are […]

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Summer of Physiology

The Michigan Physiological Society, a chapter of the American Physiological Society, held their annual meeting this summer.  Here are some highlights from the meeting: The keynote address was given by Dr. Virginia Miller, Professor of Surgery and Physiology and Director of the Women’s Health Research Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Her talk was about “Sex-specific Differences in Risk for Cardiovascular Disease.” Specifically, how estrogen, menopause and pregnancy influence the risk […]

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Cancer resistance in elephants explained

  Research has shown that <5% of elephants succumb to cancer. This is remarkable as elephants are massive, meaning they have more cells to replicate on a regular basis than humans. One would think having so many cells would increase the risk of these cells dividing improperly, especially considering that captive elephants can live for about 70 years. It has been known for several years that elephants have 20 copies […]

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Ants ‘nurse’ their injured

A study conducted at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland shows that Matabele ants, Megaponera analis, lick wounds their comrades sustain while hunting termites. It is thought that this “nurse”-like behavior may help prevent infection as ants receiving such care are more likely to survive: Sources: Youtube / New Scientist Frank ET, Wehrhahn M, Linsenmair KE. Wound treatment and selective help in a termite-hunting ant. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2457  

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Sleep vs torpor

  I read an interesting review article published in Physiology comparing the low metabolic states of non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) and torpor. According to the article, all mammals experience NREM sleep patterns during which energy expenditure is decreased and body as well as brain temperatures decline. Animals that experience torpor (hummingbirds, arctic ground squirrels, some mice, bears, etc) have reduced metabolic rates and body temperatures that dip below baseline. NREM […]

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