Maybe She’s Born with It: Genetics Give Competitive Swimmers Their Edge

Competitive swimming is a demanding sport that requires maintaining a high level of activity—while partially submerged in the water—without being able to breathe naturally. It’s a sport—like any form of exercise—that may not be suited to everyone. Years of research have shown that competitive swimmers have larger lungs and better lung function than non-swimmers. In … Continue reading Maybe She’s Born with It: Genetics Give Competitive Swimmers Their Edge

Survival of the Fishes: Research in Comparative Physiology

Animals can be cute, cuddly, weird-looking and even scary. To a comparative physiologist—someone who studies the physiological function of different species—animals can also be the key to understanding human health. Animals can provide clues about the world’s larger ecological systems. This is becoming more and more important as climate change and pollution become two of … Continue reading Survival of the Fishes: Research in Comparative Physiology

Halloween Musings on Mutations

The word “mutation” may conjure up images of fictional monsters, Marvel X-Men and creatures with non-human characteristics. It’s true that mutations are often associated with disease: something that has gone wrong in the body to produce an oddly shaped body part or sometimes cancer. However, mutations can’t be categorized as “good” or “bad” so easily. … Continue reading Halloween Musings on Mutations

Pregnancy, Altitude and Exercise: One Serious Set of Challenges

Frequent readers of the I Spy Physiology blog will know that topics such as altitude, pregnancy and exercise are some of our favorites to write about. All of these conditions provide a challenge to our body’s homeostasis, or ability of the body to regulate all of its systems and functions. Until recently, scientists did not … Continue reading Pregnancy, Altitude and Exercise: One Serious Set of Challenges

Getting Younger As We Age: Could a Diabetes Drug Help?

Between the years of 1946 and 1964, families in the U.S. were having a lot of children—76 million to be exact. People who were born in this time period are generally referred to as “baby boomers.” Today, the oldest baby boomers are over the age of 70, with all baby boomers turning 65 or older … Continue reading Getting Younger As We Age: Could a Diabetes Drug Help?

How Being Male or Female Affects Our Hearts, Kidneys and Waistlines

When it comes to health, men and women aren’t always equal. Biological factors, such as our anatomy and hormones, affect the way our bodies behave when we’re healthy and when we face health challenges. Top researchers who study the influence of biological sex on health and disease gathered earlier this month in Knoxville, Tenn., for … Continue reading How Being Male or Female Affects Our Hearts, Kidneys and Waistlines

Four More Reasons Why You Should Exercise Regularly

You may know that being physically active can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. Exercise also helps prevent age-related declines in muscle size and aerobic capacity. Aside from the well-known benefits of regular exercise on leading a long and healthy life (also known as the healthspan), there are other important advantages that may … Continue reading Four More Reasons Why You Should Exercise Regularly

Spotlight On: Inflammation

Working at a medical school, I hear the word “inflammation” in our students’ classes at least once a day. When people begin learning about inflammation, they usually ask a common question: Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Inflammation is part of the body’s normal response to injury or infection. The four classic … Continue reading Spotlight On: Inflammation

Walk It Out: How Frequent Walking Breaks Help Your Brain

“Sit less, move more.” This message is being increasingly promoted in the world of health and fitness and in society at large and for good reason. The time we spend sitting is directly related to our health. In fact, too much sitting might even be harmful to people who exercise regularly. Sitting continuously for three … Continue reading Walk It Out: How Frequent Walking Breaks Help Your Brain

Missing Out on Sleep, Missing Out on Health: Why You Need More Sleep

Right now, one-third of the population is walking, driving or doing their job in a drunken state. Not because they’ve had too much to drink, but because they haven’t spent enough time in bed. No exaggeration—inadequate sleep has been shown to be the same as operating at a blood alcohol level of .05 percent (the … Continue reading Missing Out on Sleep, Missing Out on Health: Why You Need More Sleep