Invisible and Deadly: Small Particles Cause Big Problems for Our Hearts

Credit: iStock Most of us have heard arguments about climate change and how increasing levels of pollution are destroying the Earth and its natural resources. Air pollution, however, has a much more direct impact on us. In particular, tiny particles in the air invisible to the naked eye are causing big problems for our hearts. … Continue reading Invisible and Deadly: Small Particles Cause Big Problems for Our Hearts

2020’s Most-read I Spy Physiology Posts

Credit: iStock In a year like no other in our lifetimes, many of us found ourselves putting aside our usual pursuits and thirsting for information on the coronavirus pandemic. I Spy Physiology blog contributors quickly switched gears to keep you informed, including a series of posts covering the physiology of COVID-19 and how it affects … Continue reading 2020’s Most-read I Spy Physiology Posts

Giving Sugar the Run-around: How Exercise Protects Blood Vessels from Sugary Drinks

Credit: iStock An estimated 70% of people living in the U.S. add too much sugar, about 23 teaspoons, to their diet each day. This is alarming because diets high in added sugar increase the risk for developing chronic conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which is the leading cause of death … Continue reading Giving Sugar the Run-around: How Exercise Protects Blood Vessels from Sugary Drinks

How ACE2 Influences COVID-19 Severity in Older Adults

Credit: iStock In the spring of 2020, ACE2—angiotensin-converting enzyme 2—became a major focus of attention as the entryway of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. As of early November 2020, over 47 million cases of COVID-19 were confirmed worldwide, with more than 9 million cases in the U.S. Since the beginning … Continue reading How ACE2 Influences COVID-19 Severity in Older Adults

This Halloween, Celebrate the Creepy-crawlies that Keep Us Safe

Credit: iStock Each Halloween season, we celebrate all those spooky critters that give us the heebie-jeebies. But there might be more to cheer for than you realize. Scientists who study these creepy-crawlies are learning ways they may improve human health. Gila Monster In 1992, John Eng, MD, an endocrinologist working at the Veterans Affairs Medical … Continue reading This Halloween, Celebrate the Creepy-crawlies that Keep Us Safe

COVID-19 and the Heart

Credit: iStock SARS-CoV-2—the virus responsible for COVID-19—is a respiratory virus. When first discovered, the virus was thought to mostly affect the lungs. We now know that it affects many different organs in the body, including the heart. All respiratory viruses, including the seasonal flu, lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. But SARS-CoV-2 appears … Continue reading COVID-19 and the Heart

Can Your Blood Vessels Last Until 100?

Credit: iStock As life expectancy increases in the world, centenarians—people who have celebrated their 100th birthday—have become increasingly common. Scientists now have more data related to changes that accompany aging than ever before. One thing the data show is that cardiac (heart) muscle must stay strong and, most importantly, resistant to fatigue for our heart … Continue reading Can Your Blood Vessels Last Until 100?

Fainting, the Brain and the Chilean Miners’ Rescue

The Fénix capsule brought the Chilean miners safely to higher ground. Credit: iStock On August 5, 2010, 33 Chilean miners became trapped 2,300 feet underground when the San José copper-gold mine in the Atacama Desert caved in. Sixty-nine days later, they were rescued when a 21-inch-wide torpedo-shaped container called a Fénix capsule brought the miners … Continue reading Fainting, the Brain and the Chilean Miners’ Rescue

The Healing Power of Nature

Credit: iStock Have you considered that nature is a form of medicine? The ancient Greek civilization expressed its need for nature through its father of medicine, Hippocrates, who said “airs, waters and places” were essential for well-being. You may feel profound relaxation on a beach, but you may not know exactly why you feel that … Continue reading The Healing Power of Nature

Cautious Hope for Long Overlooked Disease

Credit: iStock One year ago, Victoria Gray became the first person in the U.S. to receive a revolutionary treatment for sickle cell disease (SCD). SCD is a genetic disorder in which the red blood cells—the cells that carry oxygen throughout the body—can become shaped like a crescent, or “sickle.” These misshaped cells build up in … Continue reading Cautious Hope for Long Overlooked Disease