Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Tag Archive for ‘sheep’

Chronic stress during pregnancy increases risk of stillbirth and preterm delivery

At the end of pregnancy, levels of the hormone oxytocin increase to stimulate parturition, or childbirth. The stress hormone cortisol is also important for normal fetal development and, like oxytocin, cortisol increases at the end of pregnancy. This may help explain why chronic stress during pregnancy increases the risk of complications such as stillbirth.   A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative […]

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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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Leptin influences mammalian bone development

Leptin is a hormone that was discovered in 1994 and was once heavily studied by researchers who had hoped it might be useful in promoting weight loss.  It is produced by fat cells and signals to the brain whether those fat cells have sufficient energy, at which time it suppresses hunger and thereby promotes weight loss (WebMD; Klok et al., 2007). One of the reasons it failed as a weight […]

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Sheep can recognize human faces

New research published in Royal Society: Open Science shows that it is possible to train sheep to distinguish between different human faces shown in photos.  In fact, 8 out of 10 times, the sheep were able to choose the image they had been trained to recognize. According to study author Dr. Jenny Morton, “…sheep have advanced face-recognition abilities, comparable with those of humans and monkeys.” Because these animals are rather […]

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