Spotlight On: Homeostasis

The word homeostasis comes from the Latin roots homeo, meaning similar, and stasis, meaning condition. Homeostasis is the ability of the body to keep everything in balance. It’s important for the body to always monitor what is going on, correcting functions that are out of balance and bringing them back to normal. Homeostasis and regulation … Continue reading Spotlight On: Homeostasis

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

Spotlight On: Hypertension

You may hear the word “hypertension” a lot: in a medical clinic, on the news and in passing conversation. If you’ve ever wondered what it really means, read on. Simply put, hypertension means high blood pressure, a condition that people of all ages, races and ethnicities can develop. Blood pressure is the measurement of blood … Continue reading Spotlight On: Hypertension

Spotlight On: The Immune System

“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 protect us … Continue reading Spotlight On: The Immune System

Spotlight On: The Nervous System

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 organized in … Continue reading Spotlight On: The Nervous System

Spotlight On: Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress is a term that many of us have heard or seen on food and vitamin labels for quite some time, but few people understand what this is. Oxidative stress is the imbalance of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which is a byproduct of metabolism that is made up of different compounds, including forms of … Continue reading Spotlight On: Oxidative Stress

Spotlight On: The Skeletal System

If you’ve ever seen a house being built, you’ll recognize the wooden framework as the beginning of the structure. Just as this framework provides the structure for the insulation, walls and roof of a house, our bones are also a strong framework. Bones provide a firm support system that protects our internal organs and give … Continue reading Spotlight On: The Skeletal System

Spotlight On: Your Kidneys

Most people don’t think about the function of their kidneys daily, but these essential organs are very important. The main job of the kidneys is to regulate the transport of water, salt, blood and nutrients in the body, while removing waste—through urine—that is no longer needed. Each day, these two bean-shaped, fist-sized organs filter about … Continue reading Spotlight On: Your Kidneys

Spotlight On: The Muscular System

Many of us only think about our muscles when they are sore from being a “weekend warrior” or shoveling out after a snowstorm. However, without skeletal muscles we would not be able to breathe, stand upright, walk or run. The fact that our muscles make up between 40 and 50 percent of our body mass … Continue reading Spotlight On: The Muscular System

Spotlight On: The Endocrine System

On any given day, you may feel stressed, moody, happy, tired or thirsty. All of these feelings seem to move and change seamlessly—and they are all a result of your endocrine system. Your endocrine system is made up of glands—for example, islets of Langerhans (within the pancreas)—that produce and secrete hormones and of organs—such as … Continue reading Spotlight On: The Endocrine System