Researchers trying to find cures for cancer find naked mole rats rather interesting. Not only are these animals long-lived by rodent standards, they are also resistant to the development of cancer. By long-lived, we are talking up to 30 years! A team of researchers from Hokkaido University and Keio University in Japan have now isolated stem cells from…

Skeletal muscle function and structure change as we age. Humans typically experience a loss of muscle mass or muscle weakness which can greatly reduce mobility and stability. While much is known about aging skeletal muscle in humans and rodents, less is known about horses, which are rather athletic animals that are living longer due to advancements in veterinary care…

Heart rate decreases during diving in seals and other animals. Thus the ascending aorta becomes very important during diving as it helps to maintain blood pressure during prolonged dives. A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology was designed to examine the ascending aorta of hooded seals (Cystophora…

Shark week is back!

I LOVE Shark Week on Discovery Channel. I can’t wait to see the bizarre sharks episode. The excitement begins June 26th.

Big-brained birds

Birds get such a bad rap when it comes to intelligence. Sure they have relatively small brains, but scientists have known they are similar to primates with respect to their cognitive abilities. New research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences presents data showing how this apparent dichotomy is possible. They found…

Heroic horseshoe crabs

The blue blood of horseshoe crabs contains a special chemical limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) that medical laboratories obtain from thousands of animals annually to detect bacterial infections in humans. The labs are only allowed to draw up to 30% of their blood once a year. Despite these precautions, researchers are becoming increasingly concerned that some…

Although laboratory rodents are used to study estrogen-related disorders, they are different from humans in that they do not menstruate. Therefore, they are not used to understand or develop treatments for disorders related to menstruation, like endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or some fertility disorders. Researchers from Monash University (Australia), have now reported they’ve discovered a rodent…

Mosquitoes. That’s right, mosquitoes. As creepy little transmitters of diseases such as the current Zika virus epidemic (linked with causing the birth defect microencephaly), West Nile virus, malaria, chikungunya, and dengue fever, mosquitoes kill over 1 million people every year according to the World Health Organization. This fascinating video from PBS shows how they suck your…

Protecting The Great Lakes

In a prior post summarizing the annual Michigan Physiological Society Meeting, I briefly mentioned the work from Adrian Vasquez, Milad Qazazi, Andrew Failla, Sanjay Rama, Samuel Randall, and Jeffrey Ram from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI). They were exploring the diversity of water mites, a type of arachnid, in Western Lake Erie and they found a mixture of…

Seawater contains sulfate concentrations that are nearly 40 times those measured in plasma. Therefore, it is easy to see why fish would need to develop mechanisms to keep sulfate within a physiologically normal range. The kidneys of teleost fish have been known to excrete excess sulfate in the urine. However until now, it was not known whether…