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
How Your Smartphone May Be Keeping You Up at Night
I struggled with sleep deprivation while I was in graduate school. Even though I did not take medication to help me sleep, many colleagues and family members took sleeping pills because they could not get a good night’s rest. Research shows that up to 60 percent of all students nationwide suffer from poor sleep quality. … Continue reading How Your Smartphone May Be Keeping You Up at Night
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