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

The ‘Holidaze’: What Happens in Your Body to Cause a Hangover

‘Tis the season for holiday parties—which may include a flurry of festive cocktails that sound too delicious not to try. Overindulge and you may wake up feeling groggy with a pounding head and a mouth drier than a month-old pine tree. Hangovers are no fun, that’s for sure. So how did you go from being … Continue reading The ‘Holidaze’: What Happens in Your Body to Cause a Hangover

Circulatory Failure: When Blood Pressure Dips Too Low

We often hear about high blood pressure and how it can be dangerous to health, but low blood pressure isn’t talked about as much. For most people, a blood pressure reading lower than 90/60 mmHg may cause lightheadedness but otherwise is unlikely to cause long-term harm. However, in cases of severe disease or major injury, … Continue reading Circulatory Failure: When Blood Pressure Dips Too Low

Spotlight On: Circadian Rhythm

The phrase “circadian rhythm” seems to appear with increasing frequency in the news. The study of circadian rhythm also got a boost when the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to three pioneering researchers in this area. But many people may not understand what it means and why it’s important. All biological … Continue reading Spotlight On: Circadian Rhythm

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

Survival of the Fishes: Research in Comparative Physiology

Animals can be cute, cuddly, weird-looking and even scary. To a comparative physiologist—someone who studies the physiological function of different species—animals can also be the key to understanding human health. Animals can provide clues about the world’s larger ecological systems. This is becoming more and more important as climate change and pollution become two of … Continue reading Survival of the Fishes: Research in Comparative Physiology

Halloween Musings on Mutations

The word “mutation” may conjure up images of fictional monsters, Marvel X-Men and creatures with non-human characteristics. It’s true that mutations are often associated with disease: something that has gone wrong in the body to produce an oddly shaped body part or sometimes cancer. However, mutations can’t be categorized as “good” or “bad” so easily. … Continue reading Halloween Musings on Mutations

Pregnancy, Altitude and Exercise: One Serious Set of Challenges

Frequent readers of the I Spy Physiology blog will know that topics such as altitude, pregnancy and exercise are some of our favorites to write about. All of these conditions provide a challenge to our body’s homeostasis, or ability of the body to regulate all of its systems and functions. Until recently, scientists did not … Continue reading Pregnancy, Altitude and Exercise: One Serious Set of Challenges