Life Science

Category archives for Life Science

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…

New research published in the American Journal of Physiology Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology shows that bacterial infections increase the production of nitric oxide in chicks, which is similar to what happens in rodents. The increase in nitric oxide is thought to be related to the development of fever. In fact, when nitric oxide production was blocked,…

The Michigan Physiological Society, a chapter of the American Physiological Society, held their 3rd annual meeting last week. As mentioned in a prior post, the keynote address was given by Comparative Physiologist Dr. Hannah Carey (University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine). You can read about her research in the prior post. Here are other highlights…

I am very excited about the upcoming 3rd annual Michigan Physiological Society Meeting on May 12-13 in Detroit. This society is a local chapter of the American Physiological Society. I am most excited by their choice of a Comparative Physiologist for the keynote address: Dr. Hannah V. Carey from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary…

Check out this video from Scientific American discussing how canids from different areas have different ‘dialects’:

Limb regeneration in brittle stars

A new study published in Frontiers in Zoology examined the developmental process involved in regulating limb regeneration in brittle stars (Amphiura filiformis) following amputation of an arm. Limb regeneration is a multi-stage process involving initial healing and repair of the wounded site, initial growth of the limb followed by development of more complex layers of cells until…