Life Science

Category archives for Life Science

Researchers at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative at Scripps Research Institute have discovered that cows can produce antibodies that effectively neutralize HIV. Thus far, developing an effective vaccine for HIV has been hampered by the ability of the virus to mutate. Some people who have been infected with the virus for a period of years develop antibodies that are…

Dr. Michael Tobler and Dr. Zach Culumber at Kansas State University examined 112 species of live-bearing fish (Poeciliidae) and have made some interesting discoveries about their evolution. Their analyses included information on body shape, fin size, where the species are found and information on global climate. What they discovered is that the evolution of female fish is…

The mitral valve is located between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart where it serves an important role in preventing backflow of blood into the left atrium as the ventricle contracts. Mitral valve prolapse, a condition that occurs in humans, is characterized by regurgitation of blood into the left atrium, which receives blood from the lungs.…

  Preeclampsia is a serious complication that develops in about 5-8% of pregnant women. It is characterized by elevated blood pressure and is typically accompanied by excess protein in the urine (a sign of kidney problems). Symptoms often (but not always) return to normal after delivery of the baby. Elabela is a recently discovered micropeptide secreted by the placenta in…

Humans are not the only primates that spontaneously develop hypertension. A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, examined the development of spontaneous hypertension in African Green Monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus; aka: vervets). The team measured blood pressure in 424 adult monkeys and found that 37% had…

Surfactant is a lipoprotein substance that is secreted by special cells located in the alveoli of our lungs. The alveoli are the grape-like structures where gas exchange happens. Without surfactant, these alveoli would collapse and prevent gas exchange. Babies born prematurely often suffer from respiratory distress syndrome because their lungs do not make enough surfactant. Now…

A recent study published in Microbiome from researchers at the University of Alberta shows that babies from families with pets had nearly two-fold increases in the amount of two specific microbes in their guts, Ruminococcus and Oscillospira. These particular microbes are associated with reduced risks of developing childhood allergies as well as obesity. According to study author…

Platelets are important in the formation of blood clots. For this reason, antiplatelet medications are commonly prescribed for people at risk of developing blood clots, or who have already developed one. Many of the medications that are currently on the market to treat blood clots come with a risk for excessive bleeding and reduced platelet numbers.…

How bird eggs got their shape

Ever wonder why bird eggs are shaped the way they are and what drives the variations in egg shapes across species? I never really wondered that either until I saw an article in Science that explained a possible reason…then I just HAD to know. Some theories had been proposed suggesting that their shape prevented eggs from…

Who would have thought tiny fish could lead to big advances in medicine? Zebrafish (Danio rerio) and mammals have similar anatomy and physiology of the brain, eyes, gut, and cardiovascular systems. Some of the reasons why these fish are good models to understand cardiovascular physiology were recently explored in a new article published in Physiological Reviews.…