Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Tag Archive for ‘birth’

A mother’s diet can have a lasting impact on offspring

A new study published in Physiological Reports provides evidence that a mother’s diet during pregnancy could have lasting impacts on her offspring’s bone development and later risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is characterized by a loss of trabecular (spongy) bone leading to increased risk for developing bone fractures.  The researchers discovered this relationship while studying female microswine that were consuming a diet containing only 1% protein late in their pregnancy and for […]

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How sheep are helping human pregnancies

    The growth and development of a human fetus is difficult to study, both practically and ethically, as I am sure you can imagine. A new review article published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology explored how sheep have helped solve this problem as fetal sheep share similar brain, lung and cardiac development and placental physiology with humans, many aspects of which differ from […]

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Spiders inspire way to help premature babies

Surfactant is a lipoprotein substance that is secreted by special cells located in the alveoli of our lungs. The alveoli are the grape-like structures where gas exchange happens. Without surfactant, these alveoli would collapse and prevent gas exchange. Babies born prematurely often suffer from respiratory distress syndrome because their lungs do not make enough surfactant. Now researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have revolutionized the way surfactant is created by […]

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Ant ‘love’ hormone may help prevent preterm labor in humans

Happy Valentine’s Day! Inotocin is the insect form of the so-called “love” hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin, as you may know, is responsible for inducing labor in pregnant women. A recent study published in Scientific Reports describes the work of a team of researchers that created a synthetic version of inotocin which could bind to both oxytocin and vasopressin receptors in human tissues. Vasopressin is important for preventing water loss in the kidneys, which is how it gets […]

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