Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Tag Archive for ‘American Physiological Society’

The physiology of bad taste

Ever wonder how humans and other animals evolved the ability to detect foods that can potentially harm us? A recent article published in Physiological Reviews, explains the physiology behind why certain foods taste bad. The act of tasting is very complex and includes receptors in our mouths that can detect specific chemicals in our food and prepare our digestive system to receive the food and, as anyone with a cold knows, […]

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What do nematodes and humans have in common?

Orthologs are genes present in different species that evolved from a common ancestor. While studies have shown the existence of orthologous genes and proteins in C elegans that are associated with diseases in humans, a new study published in Physiological Genomics examined this question as it relates to reproduction. In the new study, researchers identified a whopping 504 genes in C elegans that have yet to be associated with reproduction in humans whereas […]

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Compromising fish

Here’s something to think about. How do fish optimize gas exchange in their gills to efficiently take up oxygen (favoring large, thin, permeable membranes) while at the same time limiting water and ion movement across the surface? If they reduce surface area, then oxygen transfer will be limited, but ions and water transfer will be optimized. What is a fish to do? A new review article published in Physiology discussed how […]

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What do hibernating animals and astronauts have in common?

Well, nothing yet…but imagine the possibilities of human spaceflight if we could put people into a form of stasis? While short term stasis-like states have been used in medical settings, the idea of putting people into stasis to allow long term space travel – without intensive physician oversight, remains a major goal of space agencies and companies like Spaceworks (above). Scientists at the Comparative Physiology meeting considered this very question, […]

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Dangers of eating greens

Dr. Kevin Kohl (University of Pittsburgh) gave an interesting talk at the conference on the various dangers of eating plants. Aside from having low protein content and large quantities of indigestible fibers, plants are great sources of toxic chemicals. Remarkably, many animals have evolved to eat plants that may be toxic to other animals. Research by Dr. Kohl suggests that the gut microbiome of these animals may have evolved to […]

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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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