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

2017’s 10 Most-read Posts

Another physiology-filled year on the I Spy Physiology blog is almost over. This year, we’ve explored dozens of topics, ranging from skin cancer, gut health and spinal cord injury to the mystery of how hibernating animals’ muscles remain strong. We’ve celebrated women in science and smiled at the thought of turkeys running on treadmills. Today, … Continue reading 2017’s 10 Most-read Posts

Research and Education Help Babies Born Too Early

A typical pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, but about 10 percent of babies in the U.S. are born preterm (before 37 weeks’ gestation) or premature. Less time in the womb means the infants’ organs are immature and not yet ready to function on their own. Generally, the earlier a preterm birth happens, the more likely it … Continue reading Research and Education Help Babies Born Too Early

The Trouble with E-Cigs: Why They May Pose More Harm than Good

The market for electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) and vaping has surged in popularity within the past five years, while traditional cigarette sales have declined. From 2012 to 2013, e-cig sales more than doubled to $1.7 billion. By 2015, sales were estimated at $3.7 billion. Although manufacturers claim that e-cigs are safer than traditional cigarettes, their use … Continue reading The Trouble with E-Cigs: Why They May Pose More Harm than Good