Type 2 Diabetes and You: It’s Complicated

People in the U.S. continue to eat diets high in saturated fat and get little exercise. And more and more of them are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. While many people with diabetes make lifelong lifestyle changes to control their blood sugar, others may not understand that eating too much sugar when they have … Continue reading Type 2 Diabetes and You: It’s Complicated

Running on Empty: No Oxygen Needed!

Take a deep breath in. Now breathe out. Each time we breathe, oxygen enters the bloodstream to keep our organs alive and working. When oxygen can’t get to our body’s tissues, they begin to fail. This is true of all organs, but most of all the brain. In conditions like stroke and cardiac arrest—when the … Continue reading Running on Empty: No Oxygen Needed!

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

Did You Know?: A Muscle May Increase Pneumonia in Older People

By the year 2030, an estimated 70 million people in the U.S.—about 20 percent of the total population—will be older than 65. Going forward, this number is only expected to rise due to a combination of declining birth rates and increased life expectancy. A well-known witticism is “Age is an issue of mind over matter. … Continue reading Did You Know?: A Muscle May Increase Pneumonia in Older People

Traumatic Brain Injury: More Than a Kick in the Head

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be caused by many things, including car accidents, sports injuries, falls, domestic violence and explosions during combat. In the past few years, research has shown American football to be a major contributor to TBI. The media has also highlighted this, especially as iconic athletes speak about their experiences and detrimental … Continue reading Traumatic Brain Injury: More Than a Kick in the Head

Yoga + Deep Breathing = A Calmer You

“I’m not flexible enough to do yoga!” In my 12 years as a yoga instructor, this is the excuse I have heard most often for why people aren’t practicing yoga. My initial response is usually, “That’s exactly why you should be practicing yoga!” However, I am also an assistant professor of physiology, and I know … Continue reading Yoga + Deep Breathing = A Calmer You

Spinal Cord Injury: Let’s Clear the Air(ways)

The spinal cord is the information processing highway in animals (including humans) that have a backbone. In humans, the spinal cord contains nerve cells called motor neurons that control movement in the muscle fibers of the body, similar to the way a puppeteer controls the movements of a puppet. About 17,000 people in the U.S. … Continue reading Spinal Cord Injury: Let’s Clear the Air(ways)

What Animals Can Teach Humans about Muscle Maintenance

We all know the saying “use it or lose it.” Your muscles and nerves are no exception. When people are not active, whether it’s because of bed rest, spinal cord and nerve injury, or other reasons, two big problems arise. First, the muscles shrink by losing protein (a state called atrophy). Second, nerve cells have … Continue reading What Animals Can Teach Humans about Muscle Maintenance

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