Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Itty bitty new species of seahorse discovered

Newly discovered species of seahorse, Hippocampus japapigu, discovered in Japan. Credit: © Richard Smith – www.OceanRealmImages.com Scientists have named the well-camouflaged (and quite adorable) pygmy seahorse, Hippocampus japapigu, aka: the Japan pig. Considering it is about the size of a lentil bean, it is not hard to imagine how it may have been easily overlooked until now. Check out this Youtube video from National Geographic:    

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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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Defining Physiology

Kudos to Mael Lemoine and Thomas Pradeu who recently published a paper in Physiology that attempted to define physiology’s place in modern science. Historically, physiology has held importance as a fundamental discipline on which other disciplines such as medicine and biological sciences were built. As such, the field of physiology has given birth to several modern disciplines including immunology, endocrinology, neuroscience and of course, the wave of “omics” research. Lemoine and […]

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My what big ears you have…

Jackrabbits have REALLY big ears. Their big ears are well-vascularized as you can see in the photo above. These blood vessels dilate (widen) when it is hot outside to help the animals give off heat to their environment by routing warm blood from their core to their ears. Having such an efficient cooling mechanism means they can conserve water by avoiding the need for evaporative cooling (sweating or panting). As […]

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Maternal obesity resistance may protect fetus

      Research has shown that high fat diets ingested during pregnancy can impair development of the fetus as well as the placenta. The problem is that these perturbations to normal development can have life-long consequences. A new study published in Physiological Reports was interested in whether the volume of amniotic fluid can change with a high fat diet even when the mother does not develop obesity. To examine this, […]

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New study shows mussels are “hot and bothered”

Freshwater organisms are especially vulnerable to environmental changes as they are exposed to both atmospheric changes as well as run-off from nearby cities; in particular, rising temperatures and increasing carbon dioxide levels from both natural factors (rainfall, geology, etc) as well as human influence (deforestatin, agriculture, urbanization). For example, studies of rivers around the world have found that carbon dioxide levels vary from 647 – 38,000 µatm. Higher levels are […]

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