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

Spotlight On: Itching

Credit: iStock You probably don’t think much about itching until you have an itchy spot that’s just out of reach. Then, it’s all you can think about until you’re able to get rid of the “not-quite-painful-but-almost” feeling with a satisfying scratch. What exactly is itching? And what purpose does it serve? A review published in … Continue reading Spotlight On: Itching

Exercise Is Medicine: Staying Active during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Credit: iStock The coronavirus pandemic poses a global health threat. As we try to adjust to a new way of life with teleworking, remote learning and physical distancing, we are moving less and sitting more. This is a major concern because physical inactivity and increased sitting are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. … Continue reading Exercise Is Medicine: Staying Active during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Why COVID-19 Makes It Hard to Breathe

Credit: iStock COVID-19—the viral respiratory infection caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2—is a rapidly evolving disease that will undoubtedly profoundly affect many, if not all, of our lives in one way or another.  As we learn more about the disease, we can better understand how and why it affects people so differently. We don’t have a … Continue reading Why COVID-19 Makes It Hard to Breathe

Spotlight On: The Immune System

Credit: iStock “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 … Continue reading Spotlight On: The Immune System

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