Ground-breaking Cystic Fibrosis Treatment Is a Testament to Basic Research

Credit: iStock Roughly 70,000 people worldwide have cystic fibrosis (CF)—a progressive, degenerative disease characterized by the buildup of unusually thick mucus in the lungs and other tissues. It occurs when a mutation causes a specific protein, called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), to malfunction. In healthy people, CFTR moves electrolytes in and out … Continue reading Ground-breaking Cystic Fibrosis Treatment Is a Testament to Basic Research

How Do We Know When to Take Another Breath?

Credit: iStock The goal of the respiratory system is to exchange gases between your body’s cells and the atmosphere. Oxygen goes in, and carbon dioxide, a byproduct of your cells’ metabolic actions, comes out. You probably don’t pay much attention to your breathing unless you’re having trouble with it. So, how does your body know … Continue reading How Do We Know When to Take Another Breath?

Breathe Deep to Explore the Heart’s Physiology

Credit: iStock Breathe in, breathe out. You may have heard that deep breathing techniques are good for your health because they can help you relax and manage stress. You may not know that they are also useful teaching tools for learning about cardiovascular physiology—the study of how the heart and blood vessels work. Breathing—particularly deep … Continue reading Breathe Deep to Explore the Heart’s Physiology

Time to Breathe

Like a candle flame, our metabolism consumes oxygen and releases carbon dioxide (CO2). Breathing removes the CO2 and brings in fresh oxygen, ensuring that metabolism—and life— can continue. It is the buildup of CO2 more than the lack of fresh oxygen that makes you feel a strong urge to inhale when you hold your breath—like … Continue reading Time to Breathe

The Iceman: Wim Hof Is a Real-life Superhero

If you’re a fan of superheroes, you have probably heard of Iceman, a Marvel Comic character that has the unique ability to tolerate the cold and turn his body into ice. But you might not have heard of the real-life “Iceman,” Dutch adventurer Wim Hof who is known for his unusual ability to withstand extreme … Continue reading The Iceman: Wim Hof Is a Real-life Superhero

Pumpkins: Orange, Tasty and Good for Your Health

Leaves are falling, the air is crisp and everywhere you turn, mums and hay bales decorate yards and front porches. With autumn in full swing and Thanksgiving coming up, the grocery store shelves are heavy with root vegetables and squashes, especially pumpkins. In addition to the seasonal appeal, pumpkin contains nutrients that are good for … Continue reading Pumpkins: Orange, Tasty and Good for Your Health

Maybe She’s Born with It: Genetics Give Competitive Swimmers Their Edge

Competitive swimming is a demanding sport that requires maintaining a high level of activity—while partially submerged in the water—without being able to breathe naturally. It’s a sport—like any form of exercise—that may not be suited to everyone. Years of research have shown that competitive swimmers have larger lungs and better lung function than non-swimmers. In … Continue reading Maybe She’s Born with It: Genetics Give Competitive Swimmers Their Edge

When Sleep Problems Get in the Way of Your Greatness

We often hear about the importance of a good night’s sleep. Sleep refreshes the body, plays an important role in brain development and even helps wounds heal more quickly. Poor sleep quality can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Symptoms of sleep apnea, which include snoring, shallow breathing, a complete … Continue reading When Sleep Problems Get in the Way of Your Greatness

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

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