Bariatric Surgery Reveals Complexities of Our Hunger Systems

Bariatric surgery affects a variety of physiological processes in the human body, including brain signaling, hormones, blood composition and the microbiome.

Spotlight On: Migraine

Credit: iStock This month, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the American Physiological Society journal Physiological Reviews, we are highlighting recent research published in the journal. Interested in reading more in celebration of Physiological Reviews' birthday? Read about bariatric surgery's effect on hunger. The word “migraine” may not mean much to people who’ve never … Continue reading Spotlight On: Migraine

How Smell Brings Back Memories

Credit: iStock Our waiter set down a warm bowl in front of me. The aroma and steam rising from the bowl grabbed me by the nostrils and sent me on a bullet train 40 years back to my grandma’s kitchen in Guam. I closed my eyes as the sweet perfume of coconut cream brought back … Continue reading How Smell Brings Back Memories

Exercise Recovery: Which Body Position Is Best?

Credit: iStock Picture this: It’s a hot summer day, you’ve been at sports practice all afternoon and you know your coach always has the team do conditioning at the end of practice. You and your teammates line up and start to sprint. The finish line is in sight, you are almost there! Finally, you cross … Continue reading Exercise Recovery: Which Body Position Is Best?

Smile Rx: A Smile a Day Can Go a Long Way

Credit: iStock The biggest authentic smile—called a Duchenne smile—happens when we use our whole face, show our teeth and crinkle the muscles around our eyes. What a beautiful outward projection of our inner positive emotion! Smiling can cause positive changes in our bodies, too, and even a fake smile is worth something. Smile fact:There are … Continue reading Smile Rx: A Smile a Day Can Go a Long Way

Can You Win an Underwater Breath-holding Competition?

Credit: iStock As kids, many of us had competitions to see how long we could hold our breath under water. It may have seemed like a simple and fun way to compete with our friends, but our bodies were actually doing amazing things to help us stay under water for longer periods of time. Humans … Continue reading Can You Win an Underwater Breath-holding Competition?

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

Your Brain During Microsleep

Credit: iStock If you’ve ever forgotten your morning cup of coffee and noticed yourself dozing off in the middle of the day, you might have experienced microsleep, a brief but very deep episode of drowsiness. Microsleep and regular sleep affect our bodies in similar ways, including changing our brain activity and decreasing how much attention … Continue reading Your Brain During Microsleep

Horror-ibly Wrong Physiology in Scary Movies

Filmmakers have a history of making a few common mistakes in horror movie physiology. Credit: iStock Horror movies have been thrilling fans since the late 1800s, and research has shown that people who watched a horror film had a spike in white blood cells—a basic and important part of the immune system—in response to the … Continue reading Horror-ibly Wrong Physiology in Scary Movies

Spotlight On: The Nervous System

Credit: iStock Of all the organs in our bodies, the brain is the most complex and deeply tied to what makes us human. Billions of nerve cells (neurons) in the nervous system make trillions of connections that are the basis of our thoughts, feelings and actions. Our genes make sure our nervous system is generally … Continue reading Spotlight On: The Nervous System