Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Importance of feeding chicks shortly after hatching

While egg yolks are rich in lipids, chicks consume mainly carbohydrates after hatching. This ability to switch between using nutrients provided by the mother in the egg and those the chick must acquire from the environment is important for the normal growth and metabolism of the birds after hatching. Delayed access to foods after hatching can therefore have long term effects on the animals. Transport of animals from hatcheries to […]

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How some fish may compensate for low environmental oxygen

     Adult fish rely on gills to extract oxygen from the surrounding water. Larval fish, on the other hand, do not have well-developed gills and instead rely primarily on gas exchange across their skin.      In a new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, researchers examined whether larval fish could use their pectoral fins to increase the flow of water […]

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Researchers explore why fetuses that experienced intrauterine growth restriction have smaller muscles

We have talked several times about the long-lasting issues related to growth restriction of a fetus during pregnancy: Intrauterine growth restriction increases risk of cardiovascular disease as adults Intrauterine growth restriction increases risk of insulin resistance as adults It can also result in offspring that have smaller muscles. New research published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology suggests this may be due to adaptations to […]

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Warm hypoxic waters impair heart function in some fish

Events causing bodies of water to become hypoxic (low oxygen levels) are increasing with climate change. Water can become hypoxic when it warms up or there are changes in tidal flow, density, wind patterns as well as separation from the main source, such as occurs in a tidepool. While some fish are tolerant of hypoxia and even anoxia (oxygen depleted) environments others, such as Atlantic cod and steelhead trout, rely […]

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Final highlights from the 2019 Arizona Physiological Society conference

Here are some additional comparative physiology highlights from the 2019 Arizona Physiological Society poster session: Researchers at Arizona State University compared the physiology of Gambel’s quail (Callipepla gambelii) living in urbanized and less developed areas. They found that birds living in more urbanized areas were larger and had more circulating lipids than birds living in areas that were less developed. (A Funk, P Hutton, S Earl, P Deviche, and K Sweazea. […]

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Dogs may facilitate spread of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Alec Oliva, a graduate student at Midwestern University – Glendale campus, presented research examining the spread of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) at the 2019 Arizona Physiological Society conference this past weekend. With a mortality rate as much as 80% without treatment, the spread of this disease is quite concerning. Ticks are vectors for the Rickettsia rickettsii bacteria responsible for causing RMSF. Dogs are notoriously at risk for acquiring tick infestations […]

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Could fungicides be to blame for colony collapse disorder?

Colony collapse disorder happens when worker bees disappear from a hive and there are not enough adult bees to maintain the colony. This is concerning as bees are essential for pollinating crops. Adrian Fisher II, a postdoctoral fellow at Arizona State University, presented results from an interesting study conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Jon Harrison that explored the effects of fungicides on honey bee (Apis mellifera) populations. Pollinating insects like bees […]

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