The Surprising Health Benefits of ‘Yo-yo’ Dieting

Credit: iStock It’s not really news that obesity and the trend of increasing waistlines seems to only be heading upward—and outward. Despite efforts to fight the fat, many people end up regaining the weight they lose when they diet in a phenomenon known as “weight cycling” or “yo-yo dieting.” Weight cycling can be frustrating, and … Continue reading The Surprising Health Benefits of ‘Yo-yo’ Dieting

Ground-breaking Cystic Fibrosis Treatment Is a Testament to Basic Research

Credit: iStock Roughly 70,000 people worldwide have cystic fibrosis (CF)—a progressive, degenerative disease characterized by the buildup of unusually thick mucus in the lungs and other tissues. It occurs when a mutation causes a specific protein, called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), to malfunction. In healthy people, CFTR moves electrolytes in and out … Continue reading Ground-breaking Cystic Fibrosis Treatment Is a Testament to Basic Research

Try High-intensity Interval Exercise: Your Brain Might Thank You

Credit: iStock Imagine burning 30 percent more calories in half the amount of time you usually spend working out—and continuing to burn calories after the workout ends. High-intensity interval exercise (HIIE)—a type of workout that alternates bursts of intense cardiovascular exercise with brief breaks—does just that. A recent study from Brazil suggests that HIIE does … Continue reading Try High-intensity Interval Exercise: Your Brain Might Thank You

How Do We Know When to Take Another Breath?

Credit: iStock The goal of the respiratory system is to exchange gases between your body’s cells and the atmosphere. Oxygen goes in, and carbon dioxide, a byproduct of your cells’ metabolic actions, comes out. You probably don’t pay much attention to your breathing unless you’re having trouble with it. So, how does your body know … Continue reading How Do We Know When to Take Another Breath?

Horror-ibly Wrong Physiology in Scary Movies

Filmmakers have a history of making a few common mistakes in horror movie physiology. Credit: iStock Horror movies have been thrilling fans since the late 1800s, and research has shown that people who watched a horror film had a spike in white blood cells—a basic and important part of the immune system—in response to the … Continue reading Horror-ibly Wrong Physiology in Scary Movies

Spotlight On: The Immune System

Credit: iStock “Alert! Alert! Foreign invader detected! Recruit additional support! Destroy the target!” This could be the radio chatter of a battle scene in the latest blockbuster action film, or it could also be what our immune system would sound like if it could talk. As our body’s form of defense, the immune system helps … Continue reading Spotlight On: The Immune System

Probiotics for Gout, New Therapies for Heart Disease and More Discussed at APS Research Conference

The number of people who develop long-term health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure and kidney disease increases every year. Because these chronic conditions affect so many, it is important to better understand what causes them. International scientists who study the kidneys, heart, blood vessels and other organs recently gathered to discuss the relationship … Continue reading Probiotics for Gout, New Therapies for Heart Disease and More Discussed at APS Research Conference

How Is the Nobel Prize Chosen?

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine will be awarded on October 7, kicking off a weeklong celebration of groundbreaking achievement in medicine or physiology, physics, chemistry, literature, global peace and economics. We at the American Physiological Society (APS) eagerly await this time of the year too. Physiologists have been well-represented in the long list … Continue reading How Is the Nobel Prize Chosen?

Spotlight On: The Nervous System

Credit: iStock Of all the organs in our bodies, the brain is the most complex and deeply tied to what makes us human. Billions of nerve cells (neurons) in the nervous system make trillions of connections that are the basis of our thoughts, feelings and actions. Our genes make sure our nervous system is generally … Continue reading Spotlight On: The Nervous System

How Math Is Leading to Breakthroughs in Cancer, Breath Tests and Understanding of Glaucoma

What do you get when you put mathematicians and physiologists in a room together? The question may sound like the beginning of a joke, but the answer is not a punchline. Last week, math modelers and experts who study the body’s smallest blood vessels—called the microcirculation—met in Scottsdale, Ariz. This group of elite scientists explored … Continue reading How Math Is Leading to Breakthroughs in Cancer, Breath Tests and Understanding of Glaucoma