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?

The Brain in Your Gut

Did you know your gut has a brain of its own? It’s called the enteric nervous system. The brain in your gut is embedded in the wall of the digestive tract. Together with your “big brain,” the enteric nervous system helps control gastrointestinal function, including the mixing and grinding of food in the stomach and … Continue reading The Brain in Your Gut

Myasthenia Gravis May Be (Literally) All Greek to You

Myasthenia gravis is a disease that affects the way that muscles receive signals from nerves. Myasthenia is Greek for “muscle weakness,” which is a good description of this disease’s symptoms. Muscle weakness, which worsens after physical activity but gets better with rest, is the primary symptom of the condition. Weakness may occur in any skeletal … Continue reading Myasthenia Gravis May Be (Literally) All Greek to You

April Showers Bring May Flowers—and Sneezes

There are plenty of things to love about spring. It’s warmer and daylight lasts longer, so you can spend more time outdoors. It’s the end of cold and flu season, so you may be feeling better than you did over the winter. And it seems that everything is in bloom. However, those beautiful spring flowers … Continue reading April Showers Bring May Flowers—and Sneezes