Spotlight On: SARS-CoV-2

Credit: iStock SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, emerged into the human population late in 2019. COVID-19 is an airway infection much like the common cold. One in six colds are caused by coronaviruses, although these are other types of coronaviruses. Why, then, did COVID-19 become such a devastating pandemic that has led to the … Continue reading Spotlight On: SARS-CoV-2

Understanding Why Exercise Is Medicine

Credit: iStock Around the year 600 B.C., a physician from India by the name of Sushruta stressed the importance of physical activity on one’s health. Fast forward 2,600 years: Scientists have learned that lifelong exercise can make your body feel as much as 30 years younger. But even so, there’s a growing trend of our … Continue reading Understanding Why Exercise Is Medicine

Love, Physiology Style

Credit: iStock Love is described in many ways, both good and bad: “Love is blind” is first attributed to English author Geoffrey Chaucer. American author and activist Helen Keller said love is like a beautiful flower. According to the (perhaps jaded?) Greek philosopher Plato, love is a “grave mental disease.” Love is also physiology. Our … Continue reading Love, Physiology Style

The Skin Is a Mirror to the Heart

Credit: iStock It’s been said that the eyes are the mirror to the soul, but have you heard that the skin is a mirror to the heart? As your largest organ, your skin is literally your armor, the protective barrier between the outside world and inside your body. It turns out, how quickly your skin … Continue reading The Skin Is a Mirror to the Heart

What Are the Types of Biomedical Research?

Credit: iStock There are myriad fields and subfields of biological and medical research, but when scientists categorize these by broader goals rather than subject matter, there are three main categories: basic, clinical and translational. If you’re not a scientist, you may wonder what all of this means. Read on for an explanation. Basic Research Don’t … Continue reading What Are the Types of Biomedical Research?

Spotlight On: Smell

Credit: iStock Each time we stop to smell the roses, we should thank our sense of smell (olfaction) that allows us to detect airborne chemicals (odors) from the environment. Olfaction is one of the ancient senses used by animals to monitor the external environment. Although olfactory systems vary in different animals—insects, for example, use antennae, … Continue reading Spotlight On: Smell

Why Liver Cells Are Like a Rowing Crew

Credit: iStock At the back of a rowing boat sits the coxswain (pronounced “kaak-sn”) or “cox” for short. Unlike the rest of the muscle-bound rowing crew, the cox is much smaller and does not actually row. You might wonder: Why they should be kept in the boat if they don’t help with the energy-demanding tasks? … Continue reading Why Liver Cells Are Like a Rowing Crew

Floating: How Sensory Deprivation Can Improve Wellness

Credit: iStock What would you say if I told you closing yourself in a dark, enclosed space where you can float in saltwater isolation is good for you? You might wonder if I was serious. As more spas and wellness centers advertise sensory deprivation tanks, people may be skeptical about the supposed health benefits. Fear … Continue reading Floating: How Sensory Deprivation Can Improve Wellness

Blood Flow Restriction Exercise: Fad or Future?

An athlete practices blood flow restriction during exercise. Photo credit: Michigan Tech University Department of Kinesiology & Integrative Physiology During the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, there were reports of elite athletes training while wearing inflatable cuffs around their muscles. American swimmer Michael Andrew, who won a gold medal in the 4x100-meter medley relay, used … Continue reading Blood Flow Restriction Exercise: Fad or Future?

2021’s Most-read I Spy Physiology Posts

Credit: iStock This year, as the pandemic continued, the lights of labs and classrooms switched back on as scientists and students returned to studying, working and researching in person. Our I Spy blog contributors wrote about a wide range of topics this year, including aging, the physiological effects of grieving, achieving optimal physical performance and … Continue reading 2021’s Most-read I Spy Physiology Posts