Climate Change Research Is a Focus at APS’ Comparative Physiology Conference

Credit: American Physiological Society Earlier this fall, comparative physiologists met in San Diego for the eighth APS Intersociety Meeting in Comparative Physiology. Comparative physiology is the study of biological processes—particularly adaptation to various environments—of different species. In short, comparative physiologists study animals. The theme of this year’s conference, “From Organism to Omics in an Uncertain … Continue reading Climate Change Research Is a Focus at APS’ Comparative Physiology Conference

To Infinity and Beyond: Our Ability to Control Blood Pressure

Astronaut Matthias Maurer returns to Earth after 177 days in space. Credit: NASA (Aubrey Gemignani) via Flickr NASA has a goal to send the first woman and first person of color to the moon. From there, a launch point will be established for the first human mission to our galactic neighbor, Mars. This is no … Continue reading To Infinity and Beyond: Our Ability to Control Blood Pressure

Space Travel Helps Us Learn about Our Gut

Credit: iStock During space travel, astronauts are exposed to a lack of gravity. This affects their physiology in different ways, including cardiovascular and musculoskeletal deconditioning, eye changes and immune dysfunction. However, less is known about the effects on the digestive system from spaceflight exposure. It’s important that we understand more about these effects because the … Continue reading Space Travel Helps Us Learn about Our Gut

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

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

The Dog Days of Summer Running

  It’s August in Louisville, Ky., and my alarm goes off at 5:40 a.m. Time for my morning run with my four-legged running buddy, Julep. After I do some light stretching, we’re pounding the pavement by 6 a.m. to get a 5-mile run in. I choose to exercise before work because it’s (slightly) cooler compared … Continue reading The Dog Days of Summer Running

Taking Tests in a Heat Wave is Not So Hot

You know the feeling: It’s like a sauna outside. Sweat pours down your face and body. You drink gallons of water and still can’t get cool. You don’t want to exert much physical effort. The dog days of summer are here, but with a heightened intensity. Record-breaking heat in the U.S.—with North Texas seeing triple … Continue reading Taking Tests in a Heat Wave is Not So Hot

Why Does Air Pollution Affect More Women than Men?

A year ago, I went to California to participate in a scientific conference. After a couple of days, my mentor and I started to have trouble breathing. As two healthy adults, we wondered why this was happening. I did not know the answer at that time, but I did notice a pattern: Other female colleagues, … Continue reading Why Does Air Pollution Affect More Women than Men?

Putting Out Fires Hurts Firefighters’ Hearts

As the temperature outside rises, our bodies make adjustments to keep our internal temperature constant to prevent us from overheating through a process called thermoregulation. This includes bodily functions such as sweating and widening of the blood vessels (vasodilation). When we sweat, perspiration evaporates from our skin to cool us down. When the blood vessels under … Continue reading Putting Out Fires Hurts Firefighters’ Hearts

Go Ahead and Scratch … Your Brain Is Telling You To

Winter is here, and for much of the country, it’s going to stick around for a while. When exposure to frosty air and the constant hum of the heat pump continue for too long, you may end up with dry, itchy skin. We know that scratching an itch feels good, but why? Researchers studied brain … Continue reading Go Ahead and Scratch … Your Brain Is Telling You To