How Math Is Leading to Breakthroughs in Cancer, Breath Tests and Understanding of Glaucoma

What do you get when you put mathematicians and physiologists in a room together? The question may sound like the beginning of a joke, but the answer is not a punchline. Last week, math modelers and experts who study the body’s smallest blood vessels—called the microcirculation—met in Scottsdale, Ariz. This group of elite scientists explored … Continue reading How Math Is Leading to Breakthroughs in Cancer, Breath Tests and Understanding of Glaucoma

Sea Water vs. Saline: Why Not All Salty Water Is Created Equal

Sunshine, warmer temperatures and no school—summer is well underway. Summer brings with it an abundance of outdoor activities—hiking, biking and trips to the beach—plus cuts, scrapes, bumps and bruises. You might think a jump in the ocean to soak those scrapes in the salt water might help. But this isn’t always the best way to … Continue reading Sea Water vs. Saline: Why Not All Salty Water Is Created Equal

A Battle Against ‘Superbugs’ in a New Medical Era

Have you heard of “superbugs?” Superbugs are bacteria that have gained the superpower to survive in the presence of antibiotics—medicines developed to slow or kill the growth of bacteria. Antibiotics are widely used to treat infections and to prevent infections after surgery. Because antibiotics are effective and convenient, doctors prescribe them often, which may lead … Continue reading A Battle Against ‘Superbugs’ in a New Medical Era

2018’s Most-read Posts

December is here again, and we’ve tackled another year of physiology facts on the I Spy Physiology blog. This year, we’ve delved into topics ranging from the link between childhood stress and medical problems in adulthood, to how researchers use virtual reality in the classroom to teach physiology, to the many reasons why marriage is … Continue reading 2018’s Most-read Posts

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

March to the Beat of Your Own Drum

My two young children absolutely love to beat on drums (or tables, chairs, any flat surface really). I recently took them to a family-oriented drum circle. They had a blast, and I was surprised at how good I felt too, both during and after the event. It turns out all that drumming—especially with others—is beneficial … Continue reading March to the Beat of Your Own Drum

Unusual Allergies: Water, Exercise, Sun and Cold

As a graduate student rotating through medical clinics, I once heard a patient say, “Good morning, I think I am allergic to water.” At the time, the idea of a water allergy seemed absurd to me. But as the human body constantly tries to adapt to a rapidly changing world, unusual allergies are cropping up … Continue reading Unusual Allergies: Water, Exercise, Sun and Cold

Food, Friend or Foe: How Our Gut Recognizes Good from Bad

Think about the last time you ate an apple—from the apple’s perspective. Pulverized in your mouth and dunked in a cauldron of stomach acid, the fruit slowly passed through the intestine before its final, unceremonious exit. Digestion is a wild, wacky journey. Scientists study how the body can both absorb life-sustaining nutrients and keep out … Continue reading Food, Friend or Foe: How Our Gut Recognizes Good from Bad

Spotlight On: Tuberculosis

If you’ve ever volunteered or worked in a hospital, nursing home or laboratory, you may remember having a tuberculosis (TB) skin test. But did you fully understand what TB is and why the tests are necessary? Though TB may not seem to be a major health concern in the U.S., this cunning disease remains a … Continue reading Spotlight On: Tuberculosis

Childhood Stress + Immune Overactivity = High Blood Pressure in Adulthood?

About 35 million adults in the U.S. may develop high blood pressure because of negative events that happened to them during childhood. Researchers are exploring how an event you experience when you’re a kid can cause high blood pressure as an adult. About 35 million children in the U.S. experience early-life stress (ELS). ELS is … Continue reading Childhood Stress + Immune Overactivity = High Blood Pressure in Adulthood?