Brain & Behavior

Cats beware…

The FDA has issued a warning that Easter lilies are toxic to cats. According to veterinarian Dr. Melanie McLean at the US Food and Drug Administration ingestion of even a small portion of the leaves, pollen or flowers of the plant are very poisonous to cats. Initial complications include vomiting but then may lead to…

Experimental Biology

I am very excited about the upcoming Experimental Biology conference that starts next weekend. I just looked through the Spring newsletter for the Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology section of the American Physiological Society. Check out the exciting programming in comparative physiology at this year’s conference: Monday, April 28 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM Featured Topic: Abstract-Driven Trainee Session…

Women aren’t the only ones at risk for depression and in need of screening services when a new baby comes into their lives. Young fathers face significant mental health challenges as well, according to a new study.

An river otter was captured on camera taking on an juvenile alligator…and winning. The battle took place at the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in Florida in 2011. More images can be seen on their Facebook page where the images were recently posted, impressive! According to National Geographic, the normal diet of a river otter consists of…

The evolutionary capacitor

Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) helps keep proteins in the body folded properly and is thought to compensate for variations that occur in proteins over time. In a study published in Science magazine, Dr. Nicolas Rohner and colleagues showed that stress can affect the ability for HSP90 to do its job thereby unmasking these alternative…

Frog songs attract bats

Check out this neat video highlighting how frog-eating bats are using frog mating calls to know where to pick up dinner:

I just read a really neat study from researchers at Texas A&M University. While admittedly this is not comparative physiology, it was just too interesting not to share. In a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos and colleagues found that administering peach extract to mice inhibited the metastasis (i.e. spread)…

“It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.” -Anais Nin You know the expression that you should believe half of what you see and none…

Epilepsy in sea lions

According to a press release from Stanford University, California sea lions develop epilepsy from exposure to a toxin produced by algae called domoic acid. The animals develop seizures which can result in memory loss, tremors, convulsions and even death. The hippocampal region in the brain of the affected sea lions shows similar damage as humans…

Snails to the rescue!

Here I thought snails were just cute little creatures that liked to dine in my vegetable garden. You can imagine my surprise to learn there are also carnivorous snails….with venom. New research shows that conotoxin, isolated from cone snail venom, can numb pain. Conotoxin is also reportedly 100 times more potent than morphine at treating…