Spotlight On: SARS-CoV-2

Credit: iStock SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, emerged into the human population late in 2019. COVID-19 is an airway infection much like the common cold. One in six colds are caused by coronaviruses, although these are other types of coronaviruses. Why, then, did COVID-19 become such a devastating pandemic that has led to the … Continue reading Spotlight On: SARS-CoV-2

Spotlight On: Smell

Credit: iStock Each time we stop to smell the roses, we should thank our sense of smell (olfaction) that allows us to detect airborne chemicals (odors) from the environment. Olfaction is one of the ancient senses used by animals to monitor the external environment. Although olfactory systems vary in different animals—insects, for example, use antennae, … Continue reading Spotlight On: Smell

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, targeting the immune system to treat cancer and new thoughts on … Continue reading Spotlight On: Migraine

Spotlight On: Metabolism

Credit: iStock Our bodies undergo millions of chemical reactions throughout the day: building, breaking down and transporting molecules in an attempt to maintain balance, or homeostasis. Many of these reactions require energy. Most of that energy comes from our cells’ energy centers, called the mitochondria. The total of all of these chemical reactions and the … Continue reading Spotlight On: Metabolism

Spotlight On: Menopause

Credit: iStock Menopause is a stage in a person’s life when their menstrual cycle stops. The average age in the U.S. is 52. During this time, the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone—hormones that regulate the reproductive cycle and support pregnancy—marking the end of reproductive function. After going without a period for 12 consecutive months, … Continue reading Spotlight On: Menopause

Spotlight On: Heart Failure

Credit: iStock Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition that leads to decreased heart pumping capacity. This makes it difficult for the heart to pump enough blood to the body to meet its needs. Conditions that cause heart failure include heart disease (no, they are not the same), diabetes and high blood pressure. Those at … Continue reading Spotlight On: Heart Failure

Spotlight On: Vision

Credit: iStock If you’re reading this article, you can thank the crafty and tireless work of evolution. While we may take vision for granted as a simple and straightforward process, how we see is not so simple at all. How we see While the evolution of sight—from a primitive eyespot that could only discriminate between … Continue reading Spotlight On: Vision

Spotlight On: Microbiome

Credit: iStock Over the past decade, studies around how bacteria influence our health have gained attention. The human microbiome is a community of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other multicellular microorganisms. These little “bugs” exist in our gut, on our skin, on our computers and desks, and even on the foods we eat. The elements of … Continue reading Spotlight On: Microbiome

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

Spotlight On: Mitochondria

Credit: iStock You may remember learning about mitochondria, the “powerhouse of the cell” in science class. Mitochondria earned this nickname because of their ability to maintain the supply of a chemical called ATP that is our primary source of energy. Mitochondria help with almost every reaction in our body that requires energy, from contracting our … Continue reading Spotlight On: Mitochondria