Life Lines

Archives for February, 2011

A Beary Long Winter

This winter really made me think hibernating animals had the right idea. I’d love to just sleep away the six-month cold front, and wake up as refreshed as ever. Now, as great as that sounds, there are a few minor things I’d have to worry about – you know, my heart stopping, bone loss, small…

Hungry Pups

It requires a lot of energy to fast. If I go more than a few hours without eating, I get cranky, a little shaky, and I feel like crawling up into a ball and going to sleep forever. Ok, that was a little bit of an exaggeration, but I can’t imagine fasting like a subantarctic…

Why Cats Might Need a Day at the Spa

Dr. Linda Lord at Ohio State University has been studying how cats respond to stress. Her findings show that otherwise healthy cats became ill when stressed whereas cats with a disorder called feline interstitial cystitis (FIC) became healthier when they were less stressed. FIC is a painful disorder that causes inflammation of the bladder in…

Being SAD in Wintertime

I’m not a huge winter fan. I don’t like the cold, and I don’t like just a few measly hours of sunlight. That’s probably why I live in the southwest. But despite that, I still find myself feeling more lethargic in the winter than in the summer. It turns out this is pretty common. More…

Science Fairs Succumbing to Economy

Recently, The New York Times published an article about the difficulties local science fairs have had securing funding to support their events. Some of the funding woes stem from state budget cuts whereas others result from sponsors no longer being able to provide support. Science fairs, in my opinion, are highly valuable experiences for bright…

The last stop on our trip across America is the the youngest local chapter of The American Physiological Society, the Puerto Rico Physiological Society, established in 2009. This chapter held their inaugural meeting on February 4th at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan. Here are some highlights from the meeting: Chapter President Dr.…

Next stop: The Gulf Coast Physiological Society, founded in 1999 and comprised of physiologists in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. This local chapter of The American Physiological Society met in 2009 to discuss physiology research in their region. The Keynote Address was provided by Dr. Mark Gladwin at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who…

Animal Magnetism

No, we are not talking about mating habits here. We are talking about the ability of some animals to use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate and in the case of foxes, to find prey. In a recent article published in New Scientist, foxes have been identified as the first animal believed to use the…

I’m really afraid of bees. I’ve only been stung once, and after 2 seconds of pure torture, I thought the end of the world was approaching. Now I’m reading that there might be a way to use bee venom to help individuals with multiple sclerosis and arthritis… by voluntarily being stung! It sounds crazy, but…