New Science on Deep Heat Creams, Herbicides and Daytime Sleepiness Presented at Experimental Biology 2021

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Scientists who study physiology and other biomedical research fields—including anatomy, biochemistry, pathology and pharmacology—network, collaborate and communicate about the latest research at the APS annual meeting at Experimental Biology (EB). This year’s virtual EB featured studies ranging from mitochondrial function and tissue repair to the effects of capsaicin on exercise performance.

Read on to learn more about how an over-the-counter muscle cream can boost athletic performance, what exposure to a popular herbicide does to roundworms, and what being sleepy during the day can tell us about our heart disease risk.

If you have ever experienced sore muscles after a workout, you might already have a tube of over-the-counter deep heat cream in your medicine cabinet. This type of product combines menthol, a variety of oils and lanolin to soothe your aches and pains. Next time, try using it before you exercise. Researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore wondered how a deep heat cream would affect exercise performance when it’s applied before a workout. They found that volunteers who rubbed the cream into their feet, legs and buttocks before riding a stationary bike were able to exercise an average of two minutes longer before they got tired.

Govindasamy Balasekaran, PhD, talks about using deep heat cream for exercise performance.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University are exploring whether the pesticide Roundup®—previously linked to cancer in people—could cause neurological problems. The research team looked at the effects of the herbicide’s main ingredient, called glyphosate, on a tiny roundworm called C. elegans. About 38% of this microscopic animal’s genes are similar to ours, which means that it may react the same way as we do to environmental stress. The researchers found that exposure to an extremely diluted solution of Roundup® caused the C. elegans to have seizures. Further study will help scientists understand the full impact of glyphosate on creatures that live in the soil and in mammals.

Akshay Naraine, MSc, discusses roundworm responses to glyphosate.

Telomere” is popping up more and more in conversations, especially when it comes to healthy aging. Telomeres are pieces of DNA that cover and protect the ends of chromosomes, similar to the end of a shoelace. When telomeres get shorter, due to aging or other biological processes, they aren’t able to protect as well and lead to a higher risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, found that people who report being tired during the day—and don’t have disruptions such as sleep apnea—also have shorter telomeres than people who don’t have daytime sleepiness. More research will help scientists understand how to keep telomeres from shortening in order to lower heart disease risk.

Joshua Bock, PhD, explains the relationship between daytime sleepiness and telomere length.

Interested in learning about more research presented at the meeting?

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