I Spy Physiology Blog Archive


  • man-kidney152

    Out in the Sun? Think about Your Kidneys!

    When your body gets overheated, it responds in several ways as it races to cool you back down and prevent serious health problems. Heat stress is when your internal body temperature rises above the normal...
  • Muscle Rebuilding on the COlorado Trail 152

    Muscle Rebuilding on the Colorado Trail

    The feats of ultra-endurance athletes are remarkable and sometimes incomprehensible. There are few published data on how the body deals with the stresses of an ultra-endurance event
  • Traumatic Brain Injury 152

    Traumatic Brain Injury: More Than a Kick in the Head

    Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be caused by many things, including car accidents, sports injuries, falls, domestic violence and explosions during combat. In the past few years, research has shown
  • Yoga and Deep Breathing 152

    Yoga + Deep Breathing = A Calmer You

    “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga!” In my 12 years as a yoga instructor, this is the excuse I have heard most often for why people aren’t practicing yoga. My initial response is usually,
  • The Hispanic Paradox 152

    The Hispanic Paradox: Why Are Some Ethnic Groups Living Longer than Others?

    In the U.S., we focus much attention on the health behaviors that can help us live a longer life: the “secrets” of centenarians and long-lived animal species such as the naked mole rat,
  • A Nutty Way to Curb Cravings 152

    A Nutty Way to Curb Cravings

    Although walnuts are recommended as an effective way to control appetite in people with diabetes, just how they regulate appetite has only recently been discovered. In a new study published
  • Sugars Fructose and Your Health 152

    Sugars, Fructose and Your Health

    Early humans were probably jacks of all trades when it came to food—they ate what was available, and the amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in their diet varied dramatically depending
  • Dog Gazing 152

    Dog Gazing: Attachment between Hound and Human

    While walking through Santiago, Chile, you are likely to come across at least one of the countless wandering dogs that live on the busy streets. Homeless dogs are a normal part of Santiago’s
  • When Hormones Take Your Breath Away 152

    When Hormones Take Your Breath Away

    After a healthy childhood, my best friend suddenly started having breathing difficulties when she was 20 years old. The doctor diagnosed her with asthma. With the help of inhaled medications,
  • Fact or Fiction 152

    Fact or Fiction: Does Coca Candy Prevent Altitude Sickness?

    This summer, I spent a month studying at the Universidad de los Andes in Chile. We visited the Atacama Desert, the driest non-polar desert in the world. It is nestled between two sets
  • Being Left Handed 152

    Being Left (Handed) Is All Right

    Throughout history, left-handedness has both fascinated and frightened people. Maybe it is because only about 15 percent of the population is left-handed. Or maybe it is because the
  • Beer Does a Body Good 152

    Beer Does a Body Good?

    Bone is a living organ that constantly breaks down and rebuilds itself. As we get older, bone breaks down more and rebuilds less, which often leads to weaker bones over time. If we lose too
  • Spinal Cord Injury 152

    Spinal Cord Injury: Let’s Clear the Air(ways)

    The spinal cord is the information processing highway in animals (including humans) that have a backbone. In humans, the spinal cord contains nerve cells called motor neurons that control
  • What Animals Can Teach Humans 152

    What Animals Can Teach Humans about Muscle Maintenance

    We all know the saying “use it or lose it.” Your muscles and nerves are no exception. When people are not active, whether it’s because of bed rest, spinal cord and nerve injury, or other reasons, two big
  • Can Exercising in Low-Oxygen 152

    Can Exercising in Low-Oxygen Conditions Help Breast Cancer Survivors?

    Physical activity has been linked to a lower risk of developing several types of cancer, including breast cancer. Walking a few hours a week may even decrease the risk of a breast cancer recurrence
  • Not Horsing Around 152

    Not Horsing Around: Therapeutic Effects of Horseback Riding

    Choosing your favorite part of a trip can be a difficult decision for travelers. I had countless unforgettable and unique experiences during a recent four-week trip to Chile. One excursion that stands
  • The Brain in Your Gut 152

    The Brain in Your Gut

    Did you know your gut has a brain of its own? It’s called the enteric nervous system. The brain in your gut is embedded in the wall of the digestive tract. Together with your “big brain,” the enteric nervous system
  • Myasthenia Gravis 152

    Myasthenia Gravis May Be (Literally) All Greek to You

    Myasthenia gravis is a disease that affects the way that muscles receive signals from nerves. Myasthenia is Greek for “muscle weakness,” which is a good description of
  • Like Father Like Son 152

    Like Father, Like Son (and Daughter): How Your Dad’s Past Affects Your Future

    What makes your father the best dad in the world? Maybe it’s his sense of humor or the times he has taken you to the movies or played catch in the yard. Or maybe it’s the fact that he made healthy
  • Putting Out Fires 152

    Putting Out Fires Hurts Firefighters’ Hearts

    As the temperature outside rises, our bodies make adjustments to keep our internal temperature constant to prevent us from overheating through a process called thermoregulation. This includes bodily
  • Is Running Barefoot Better 152

    Is Running Barefoot Better than Wearing Shoes?

    Visit any sporting goods store today, and you’ll see a wall display full of running shoes for all types of runner, from sprinters to marathoners and everything in between. Before the 1970s, however,
  • A Healthy Diet 152

    A Healthy Diet: A Prescription for a Healthy Life!

    We have all heard the phrase “You are what you eat.” Not only is there a lot of truth in that little saying, it is also a great reminder for us to be aware of everything we put into our bodies. Everything we eat
  • In May Take Steps 152

    In May, Take Steps to Prevent Melanoma

    With the weather getting warmer, you may be tempted to bare more skin in the coming months. However, sunnier days can increase your risk of skin cancer if you don’t protect yourself. May is
  • Walking and the Brain 152

    Walking and the Brain, Aromatherapy for Horses and a Whole Lot More!

    Physiology, the study of function from microscopic cells to complete organ systems, encompasses a wide range of fascinating topics. The annual Experimental Biology (EB) meeting is a showcase for thousands
  • April Showers Bring May Flowers 152

    April Showers Bring May Flowers—and Sneezes

    There are plenty of things to love about spring. It’s warmer and daylight lasts longer, so you can spend more time outdoors. It’s the end of cold and flu season, so you may be feeling better than
  • What Alcohol Can Do  to Your Body 152

    What Alcohol Can Do to Your Body Is Not Always So “Cheer”y

    “Cheers!” is a word often associated with alcohol consumption, conjuring up images of celebration and good times. However, it is important to remember that alcohol is a drug as much as any other drug
  • Dysphagia Can Be a Tough Pill to Swallow 152

    Dysphagia Can Be a Tough Pill to Swallow

    Your body performs many physiological functions without you really paying attention to them. One example is swallowing. Chances are you’ve never really thought about what your body needs to do in order to swallow.
  • man-kidney152

    Desperately Seeking Kidneys: New Future for the Treatment of Chronic Kidney Disease?

    The kidneys are an important pair of organs responsible for filtering water and waste out of the blood to produce urine. They help regulate blood pressure and produce hormones that the body needs to function properly.
  • teen-girls152

    When’s the Best Time to Eat? Your Body Clock Knows

    The American Heart Association recently released a statement suggesting that when and how often you eat could affect your risk for developing heart disease and stroke. Until now, the focus on diet has been primarily about how much
  • ChristinaMcManus152

    Meet Christina McManus, Associate Professor of Physiology

    March is Women’s History Month, a time when women who have challenged—and continue to challenge—traditional roles are celebrated. In the final installment of our series, we introduce you to APS member Christina McManus, PhD, an associate professor of physiology
  • KarenHamilton152

    Meet Karyn Hamilton, Health and Exercise Science Professor

    March is Women’s History Month, a time when women who have challenged—and continue to challenge—traditional roles are celebrated. In part four of our series, we introduce you to Karyn Hamilton, PhD, a professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University.
  • SueBodine152

    Meet Sue Bodine, Physiology Professor

    March is Women’s History Month, a time when women who have challenged—and continue to challenge—traditional roles are celebrated. In part three of our series, we introduce you to APS member and incoming editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Physiology
  • SabrinaRamelli152

    Meet Sabrina Ramelli, Lung Biology Student

    March is Women’s History Month, a time when women who have challenged—and continue to challenge—traditional roles are celebrated. In part two of our series, we introduce you to APS member Sabrina Ramelli, a PhD student at the University of South Alabama.
  • Hyde152

    Ida Henrietta Hyde: A Trailblazer in Physiology

    March is Women’s History Month, a time when women who have challenged—and continue to challenge—traditional roles are celebrated. This month, the I Spy Physiology blog will introduce you to several female physiologists, starting
  • women-walking152

    How Obesity Fuels Inactivity

    More than one in three adults and one in six children in the U.S. are obese. Obesity—defined as a serious degree of overweight—is a leading cause of death, disease and disability. Although obesity has been linked to genetic disorders, it is most often
  • jousting152

    Go Ahead, Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve!

    In medieval times, a jousting knight would wear the colors of the lady he was courting tied around his arm. Hence, the phrase “Wear your heart on your sleeve” was born. Today, we use this romantic phrase to describe someone who expresses their emotions openly. How applicable that ancient phrase
  • older-man152

    When You Can’t ‘Spy’ with Your Eye Anymore

    Many of us take our ability to read this blog or see the faces of our families and friends for granted. For the 10–15 million Americans with a disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), however, the loss of this ability is a daily
  • freestyle152

    Microvesicles and Blood Vessels and Exercise, Oh My!

    The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 30 minutes of endurance exercise every day to keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy. A daily workout can help reduce your risk of developing diseases
  • thyroid-meter152

    It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Your Thyroid Gland!

    The thyroid gland—a small, butterfly-shaped gland found at the base of the neck—is the “Clark Kent” of endocrine organs. The thyroid’s actions are extremely powerful, but most people don’t know about its secret superpowers.
  • scratch-itchy-skin152

    Go Ahead and Scratch … Your Brain Is Telling You To

    Winter is here, and for much of the country, it’s going to stick around for a while. When exposure to frosty air and the constant hum of the heat pump continue for too long, you may end up with dry, itchy
  • skiers152

    Are Cross-Country Skiers Premier Athletes?

    With winter upon us, it is a good reminder that cold weather is not an excuse for inactivity. Athletes from cold-weather climates, such as the Nordic countries, are not content to stay indoors during
  • NewYears152

    How Your Brain Decides to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions (or Not)

    The start of a new year can feel like a fresh slate or an unwritten book. It’s a chance for many of us to resolve to do things better (eating, exercising) or to stop doing certain things altogether (smoking). But most people don’t succeed
  • ISpy152x152

    2016’s Ten Most Read Posts

    It’s been a physiology-full 2016 on the I Spy Physiology blog! From exercise to respiration to heart health and beyond, we’ve explored how the bodies of humans and other animals work, adapt and react. Today, we take a look back at our
  • girl-snow152

    Bring on Winter! (But Stay Safe and Healthy)

    Winter officially begins next week with the winter solstice—the day of the year with the fewest hours of sunlight—on Dec. 21. With the cold weather and shorter days, you might be tempted to curl up under a blanket until the spring thaw.
  • brainexercise152

    Exercise: It does a body—no, your brain—good!

    It’s 7:30 a.m., I’m looking for my keys, grabbing my bag and herding everyone out of the door as we hurry off to school and work. Wait! One more trip back into the house for the forgotten homework assignment, a lunchbox
  • wineglass

    Can Alcohol Cause Irregular Heartbeat?

    Alcohol and heart health have a complicated relationship. Recent research suggests that moderate drinking may reduce your risk of stroke. But for some people, even one or two drinks a day may increase the risk of a form of heart
  • heartburn

    Handling the Pain of Acid Reflux at Holiday Time

    With Thanksgiving coming up, eating—of all things rich, indulgent and delicious—is top of mind for many Americans. But for people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), eating this type of food often and in large quantities
  • quit-smoking

    Nanoparticles: A High-Tech Solution for Lung Cancer Treatment

    Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death for both men and women in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Responsible for 1 in 4 cancer deaths, there were approximately 224,390 new
  • nobel

    The Proof Is in the Papers: APS’s Long History with the Nobel Prize

    Last month, Yoshinori Ohsumi of the Tokyo Institute of Technology was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Ohsumi won for his research in autophagy, the mechanism that cells use to break themselves down—an essential function in all cells.
  • diabetes

    Are You at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?

    During American Diabetes Month in November, you may notice more people are talking about diabetes, a disease that affects 29 million Americans. It’s a great time to learn more about diabetes and the ways that you can decrease or manage your risk of developing the disease.
  • scared-couple152

    The Physiology of a Good Scare

    With Halloween next week, you may be planning to head to a haunted house or cozy up on the couch with popcorn and a horror flick. Either way, you’re probably hoping for a good scare.
  • seniors-spin-class152

    The Young Qualities of Old Muscle

    Decline, decrease, deteriorate—all words associated with the aging process. Preventing “D” words is important to keep older people healthy. The loss of muscle is one of the most obvious age-related decreases we experience. Bulky muscles on a person that lifts a lot of weights or the sleek tone of
  • machu-pichu152

    Keeping Up with the Highland Natives

    After spending three weeks getting to know the geography of Chile and making important connections with other academics, I treated myself to some tourist activity in Peru, Chile’s neighbor to the north. I met my mother in Lima, and we began a nine-day tour to visit the famous Incan sites of the Andes.
  • depressedmom152

    Depression + Pregnancy = Diabetes?

    Morning sickness, swollen ankles and a growing belly are just a few of the many physiological changes that women experience during pregnancy. The changes we can see are just the tip of the iceberg. Blood volume, bones, heart rate, skin and many other parts of a woman’s body function differently
  • childhood-obesity152

    What Blood Vessels Tell Us about Childhood Obesity

    Did you know that blood vessels can “talk?” That’s right: Changes in the cells within blood vessels can communicate important information about the overall health of the cardiovascular system. The inside of blood vessels are lined endothelial cells—protective cells that form a tight barrier through
  • hibernating152

    Shhh … I’m Hibernating!

    As the days grow shorter, many animals, such as bats, bears and bees, begin getting ready to hibernate. It’s a process that allows animals to spend the winter months conserving energy by reducing metabolism, oxygen consumption and body temperature. So why don’t humans do it, too? Well, a
  • kid-in-hat152

    What Happens during Heat Stroke and How to Prevent It

    Temperatures in July and August 2016 were the hottest ever recorded on the planet and much of the U.S. is still struggling with a heat wave. Hundreds of heat-related deaths occur in the U.S. each year, and these rates are on the rise. Awareness of when the body is losing the ability to deal with
  • picture-of-health152

    What Is Physiology?…and Why You Should Care

    Physiology provides an explanation of life, and everyone—not just doctors and scientists—would benefit from understanding some essential physiological concepts. But to learn how physiology applies to everyday life, you must first understand what it is.
  • telescope152

    A 10,000-Foot View from the ALMA Observatory in Atacama


  • PIO152

    Physiology for the Armchair Scientist

    Want to learn more about physiology without going back to school for a PhD? Check out www.physiologyinfo.org. The website, hosted by the American Physiological Society, goes in-depth to explain the multi-faceted field of physiology to nonscientists. In addition to examining hot and emerging areas
  • frigatebird152

    If Only Birds Could Compete in the Summer Games

    Endurance is a hard-won characteristic of many elite athletes and is vital to winning most sporting competitions. If great frigatebirds could compete this summer, they would certainly take home a medal for endurance flight.
  • santiago-smog152

    In Santiago, What’s Smog Got to Do with It?

    Upon arriving in Santiago, Chile, my travel companions from the University of Dayton and I were struck by the beautiful sights of the Andes mountains and the not-so-beautiful sight of a cloud of smog hanging over the city.
  • undergrad-poster-eb152

    Physiology Is Alive and Well, Just Ask an Undergraduate Student

    When you think of a cutting-edge, exciting area of science, do you think of physiology? If not, you should. Physiology is the basis for medicine. Many important medical advances that we take for granted today are direct or indirect results of research conducted by physiologists. But despite the
  • PIOQuiz152

    Pop Quiz: Test Your Physiology Knowledge!

    If you’ve been following along with the I Spy Physiology blog, you may be feeling like a physiology wiz. APS member-physiologists have developed a series of quizzes to help you test your physiology smarts and, perhaps, teach you something new. Visit www.physiologyinfo.org to take one of our systems quizzes
  • bloodvesselnetwork152

    Not in the Same Vein

    The word “vein” pops up in a variety of contexts. When used as a figure of speech, vein means similar or alike, for example “in the same vein as.” But in the body, vein refers to a specific type of blood vessel.
  • dancing152

    Let Your Moves Turn Back the Clock on Aging

    Do you think someone could guess your age? If so, how would they do it? Guessing a person’s age can be a challenge for a number of reasons. Just looking at someone is not always a reliable gauge—two 52 year olds, for example, may not look and act the same. Understanding the differences in how people
  • cryingbaby152

    Learning about a Leading Cause of Infant Mortality from Lambs

    Pulmonary hypertension is a form of high blood pressure that affects the blood vessels in the lungs. In the womb, the blood pressure in the fetus’ lungs is normally high. Once a baby is born, there is a switch from a high to low blood pressure. When this fails to happen, the baby develops pulmonary
  • hot-dogs152

    How Many Hot Dogs Can You Eat in 10 Minutes?

    The competitive-eating elite will descend on New York City’s Coney Island this Fourth of July to flex their hot dog eating skills at the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. Last year, the male winner ate 62 hot dogs and the female winner ate 38 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Competitive eaters
  • Aosta152

    Looking for a New Physical Challenge? Try a Mountain Ultra-Marathon

    Of all the extreme endurance races out there—such as the Ironman triathlon or 50- or 100-mile marathons—the Tor des Géants ultra-mountain marathon may be the most extreme. The course is 205 miles long on the rugged terrain of the Italian Alps with a cumulative elevation gain of 24,000 feet.
  • antioxidants152

    The Antioxidant-Activity Connection

    Antioxidants: It’s one of the biggest health buzzwords today. The fabled powers of these mysterious compounds have been featured on daytime TV, plastered on age-defying beauty products and foods in the grocery store, and sold to us as a major reason to frequent juice bars and smoothie shops. Antioxidants
  • nut-cracker152

    Your Immune System Makes You Mentally Tough

    When we have an extremely stressful experience, such as losing a loved one or being constantly bullied by a classmate, our body can react in different ways. Sometimes we overcome the psychological stress and come out stronger than before. Other times, we fall victim to the stress. These experiences build
  • running-bone152

    Go for a Longer Run…Your Bones Will Thank You

    Turning on the television, I inhale deeply as the Olympic marathoners stride across cities to compete for their shot at a medal. As an exercise physiologist, I find all athletes particularly amazing. These men and women devote themselves to their training, pushing for just one more mile with each run. That
  • dogs152

    The Anti-Aging Cure May Be in Your Medicine Cabinet

    Rapamycin, a drug used to prevent organ transplant rejection, may also turn back time—in dogs at least. A study is underway to see if rapamycin can delay aging in dogs, and the puppy-like energy of one canine participant, eight-year-old Bela, gives some hope that the drug might work. Rapamycin is one
  • yoga-mat152

    Yoga Can Help You Mind Your Weight

    Reduced calorie diet and physical activity are common ways to help with weight management, but many might not be aware that yoga can also help. Researchers at the Wellness Institute of the Cleveland Clinic came to this conclusion after extensively reviewing the studies on the health impacts of yoga.
  • weight-scale152

    Does Weight Have to Yo-Yo? Secrets for Keeping Weight Off

    It’s the million-dollar (possibly billion-dollar) weight loss question: How do you keep lost weight off? This question is receiving renewed attention after a recent study reported that most of the contestants on Season 8 of television’s “The Biggest Loser” regained the large amounts of weight they’d lost on the
  • mom-breastfeeding152

    Dear Mom: Happy Mother’s Day … and Thanks for Sharing Your Bones

    Warning! Understatement of the year to follow: Many fascinating changes take place in a mother’s body during and after pregnancy. One of the most interesting changes for many new moms, myself included, is breastfeeding. Often called “nature’s perfect baby food,” breast milk seems to
  • haiku152

    Physiology as Haiku for National Poetry Month

    April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate, APS members and staff wrote physiology-themed haikus—because science is art, too!
  • crocodilian152

    Is Two Better Than One? What We’re Learning from the Unique Crocodile Heart

    Crocodiles are amazing animals. I admit that I am partial as a comparative physiologist who has studied them for many years, but I’m not alone in finding their interesting history and uncommon characteristics fascinating.
  • capsaicin152

    Capsaicin Causes Pain, No Gain

    Capsaicin is a chemical people love or hate. It’s the chemical in hot peppers and spicy foods responsible for their spicy (and sometimes painful) taste, but researchers in Maryland and Pennsylvania think it may have some health benefits. William Yang, a high school student who worked on the project
  • sugar-learning152

    Your Sweet Memory

    Most of us know it’s not healthy to eat a lot of sugar. Overeating sweets for a long time can cause weight gain, cavities, type 2 diabetes and other health problems. But what if sweets also had effects on your brain and memory? Researchers at the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México
  • plastic-chemicals152

    Chemicals in Plastic May Be Bad News for Mothers and Babies

    If you’re a health-conscious shopper, you’ve probably noticed a new generation of “healthier” plastics popping up in grocery stores. These new plastics are “BPA-free,” which means a chemical called bisphenol-A (BPA) has been replaced with alternative chemicals. But are chemicals in plastic really
  • post-game-drink152

    To Play Better, Skip the Post-Game Drink

    Sports and alcohol are a famous pair. Whether you’re a fan or an athlete, it’s common to follow up a great game with a drink or two. But does that drink affect your recovery after your workout? Researchers at California Polytechnic State University think that it might.
  • glacier-dive152

    Of Ice Swims and Mountain Marathons (and So Much More)

    If you regularly read this blog, you may know that the research questions that physiologists ask relate to wide range of topics—cells, tissues and organs, insects and animals, and how the environment influences all of these things. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the annual Experimental Biology
  • space152

    You Don’t Have to Leave the Stratosphere to Feel Like You’ve Been in Space

    Astronaut Scott Kelly came back from 340 days in space two inches taller. Along with height, many aspects of the body change because of the weightlessness environment of space. The body loses muscle, heart and bone mass because it no longer has to support itself as it does on
  • office-chair152

    Don’t Take a Load Off: Too Much Sitting Is Bad for You

    If you’ve considered getting in on the standing desk trend, you’ve probably heard the public health warnings about the dangers of too much sitting. (Would you get a standing desk? Tell us on our poll.) Several studies report an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease with too much sitting.
  • lake152

    Ice, Ice Baby: How Being in Cold Water Can Kill You

    Spring is coming, and if you like to welcome the crisp March weather with water sports such as fishing and kayaking, remember that lakes, streams and oceans can have freezing temperatures this time of year. Falling into icy water is never part of the plan, but it happens even to the best cold-water
  • flint-michigan152

    Kidney Trouble Could be a Downstream Consequence of the Flint Water Crisis

    The water crisis in Flint, Mich., highlights the toxicity of lead. While the most publicized consequence of lead exposure are the long-term effects on developing brains, this toxic metal also damages the kidneys of adults and children. The people of Flint face a number of long-term health risks related to
  • iditarod152

    Running a Thousand Miles Can Be Exhausting. How Do Iditarod Sled Dogs Do It?

    Have you ever had a morning where you just did not have the energy to go out for your five-mile run? What if you woke up in New York City and had to run to Miami? That is the distance Alaskan Huskies run every year at the annual Iditarod sled dog race. How these amazing canine athletes accomplish
  • shoveling-snow152

    Don’t Be Cold-Hearted: Understand and Protect Yourself from the Cardiovascular Risks of Cold Weather

    Winter storms, like those that hit the East Coast in January, are often followed by sad reports of deaths from heart attacks related to winter weather. These reports often seem to be isolated incidents, but emerging evidence reveals a clear association between winter temperatures and heart attacks,
  • bloodpressure152

    Beyond Mars and Venus: Three Ways Gender Can Affect your Blood Pressure

    Much of what we know about human health and disease comes from studies in male animals. However, researchers are finding that for blood pressure control, what’s true for male animals is not necessarily true for females. One in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure (hypertension) and
  • chocolatecake152

    Is Fat the Sixth Taste?

    Restaurant menus for Valentine’s Day can be described in one word: decadent. From molten chocolate cake to marbled steaks, fat makes these foods so palatable. For a long time, scientists thought that we find heavy foods more appealing because of their mouth feel and aroma. However, recent studies
  • football152

    Football Safety Tips from Birds? How Woodpeckers Avoid Concussions after Head Impact

    The NFL has been under a lot of heat over concussion injuries in its players and the long-term brain injury and health impacts. With the size of the player and the speed he runs, it’s not hard to imagine the sheer force and damage that can occur from even a single collision. Woodpeckers, though, bang their
  • flu-ruff152

    Stack the Deck against the Flu

    Flu season: It’s the time of year when many of us become acutely aware of anyone sniffling and sneezing nearby. We hope to avoid a brush with the virus, which can leave us feeling awful for a few days or a week or two, causing us to miss work and be unable to take care of our
  • polarbear152

    Too Cold Outside? Try Out Polar Mammals’ Methods of Staying Warm

    If temperatures in the teens (or the 50s for the warmer climates) make you grumble, be glad you’re not a mammal living in the Arctic or around Antarctica. These animals face much colder air temperatures of -40 to -76 degrees Fahrenheit. While humans bundle up with thick sweaters and jackets
  • cold-weather-running152

    Why Do You Gasp for Air on a Cold Winter’s Day?

    I live in South Dakota where the winter days can be frigid and very dry. Many people, including me, have difficulty breathing while exercising in the winter because our airways temporarily narrow during exercise. This condition is called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB),
  • tissue152

    How Your Immune System Can Make You Sick

    Your immune system has a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde complex when it comes keeping you healthy. Traditionally, the immune system is seen as a good guy that kills off viruses and eats up bacteria attacking your body. However, it can also turn against you and cause disease.
  • ISpy152x152

    2015’s Top Ten Most Read Posts

    Do you really need to drink eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated? This physiology question intrigued the most readers, coming in as the most-viewed I Spy Physiology post for 2015. Exercise came in next, followed by cardiovascular health. Here are the top 10 posts for this year.
  • freediver152

    How Long Can You Hold Your Breath? The Dangers of Freediving

    The appeal of freediving may lie in its freedom. Freedivers, without cumbersome scuba gear and noisy regulators, easily glide through tranquil waters toward coral or rocky reefs with scenes unobstructed by bubble trails. With dives often exceeding five minutes, they get to see up close and
  • food-groups152

    How Our Bodies Turn Food into Energy

    Low carb, high protein, paleo—diet trends often single out a nutrient group as the culprit of unwanted weight gain and an unhealthy lifestyle. But our body needs food for energy, and all three groups—carbohydrates, fats and proteins—have important roles to play.
  • honeybee152

    Bee-ware the Cause of Childhood Asthma

    Childhood asthma has reached epidemic proportions across the globe for unknown reasons. Maternal smoking is associated with childhood asthma, but a study published in 2005 suggested that if your grandmother smoked, you were at greater risk of developing asthma than if your mother
  • python152

    A New Meaning for ‘Food Baby’: How the Burmese Python Digests Big Meals

    Thanksgiving dinner can leave the stomach feeling and looking stuffed beyond capacity. The Burmese python goes beyond the post-meal bulge: Its intestines and other organs grow too, and these changes happen within days of eating.
  • apple-pie152

    Hungry, Hungry Hormones: What Keeps You from Saying No to a Second Slice of Pie?

    Now is the time of year when family and friends gather together and share large meals. We eat … and keep eating … and keep eating. Our body has a number of signals that tell us to stop eating, but the mashed potatoes and stuffing tempt us to ignore them. What are those signals?
  • ISpy152x152

    Exercising Is “PhUn”: What Your Heart Rate Says About Your Fitness

    Physiology Understanding (PhUn) Week takes physiology to the classroom through scientist-student outreach. This year’s PhUn Week wrapped up last Friday, but you can still continue the “PhUn” at home. Here’s an activity contributed by PhUn Week mentor Patricia A. Halpin, PhD:
  • ISpy152x152

    A Berry Interesting Experiment, Indeed!

    Physiology Understanding (PhUn Week) takes physiology to the classroom through scientist-student outreach. Each year, more than 14,000 students learn about physiological concepts led through interactive lab experiments, such as this one as described by middle school science teacher Anne Joy:
  • ISpy152x152

    Physiologists Share the “PhUn” of Physiology with Students This Week

    Back-to-school is an exciting time. It marks the start of another school and the start of the fall season. For some physiologists, the fall signifies it is time to plan and participate in K–12 science events, such as science day, health day, science fair judging and more.
  • haunted-house152

    Is It Cold in this Haunted House or Is It Me? Why You’ll Get Goosebumps This Halloween

    Maybe it’s the chilly fall air. Or maybe it’s the macabre Halloween lawn decorations in your neighborhood. Both cool temperature and emotions can give you goosebumps. What causes goosebumps, and why can two different sources give you the same physiological reaction?
  • ISpy152x152

    Over 50 Percent of School-Age Children in the U.S. Are Dehydrated: Why Should We Be Alarmed?

    The fluid in our body is water mixed with minerals and nutrient particles. Balancing the amount of mineral and nutrients to water level ensures that our body works properly. A recent study found that more than half of U.S. children between six and 19 are not drinking enough water.
  • kennedy152

    Life After A Life-Saving Treatment: Lung Health in Young Adults Who Were Born Prematurely

    In 1963, President John Kennedy’s wife, Jackie, gave birth to a little boy three weeks early. The baby survived only 39 hours before dying of hyaline membrane disease, more commonly known as respiratory distress syndrome. The first successful treatments began in 1991,
  • gingerbread152

    Ouch! How Getting Hurt Hurts

    If you’ve dropped a heavy object on your toe or slammed your finger in the door, you’ll notice that a sharp pain happens immediately, followed by a dull, throbbing ache later. Why the lag? It’s because two kinds of neurons—cells that relay signals between your body and brain—are working.
  • soup152

    Getting the Most out of What You Do: Your Body’s Strategy

    Life is hectic. To keep you running, your body absorbs oxygen from the air you breathe and nutrients from the food you eat. How does your body make sure it’s getting the most it can to get you through your day?
  • bloodbag152

    Blood Types: B Positive about How They Work

    Blood transfusions are an essential and safe part of modern medicine, but it wasn’t always that way. In medieval times, transfusions often caused terrible, fatal reactions. Then in 1901, Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types and that humans had four—A, B, AB and O. Because of this discovery,
  • ISpy152x152

    So, You Want to Be A Scientist?

    This week is National Postdoc Appreciation Week. Postdocs, short for postdoctoral fellows, are scientists-in-training and are vital to a laboratory’s survival. Postdocs generate tremendous amounts of data and are hands-on guides to graduate students in the lab.
  • pumpkin-spice152

    Tasting Food Literally: What Makes the Pumpkin Spice Latte Feel So Warming?

    Fall is around the corner, and coffee shops everywhere are rolling out their pumpkin spice-flavored warm drinks. The drink feels warm to the touch because of the temperature, but somehow the pumpkin spice flavor also tastes warm. Why
  • bloodvessel152

    Could Fresh Breath Cause High Blood Pressure?

    Good ol’ mouthwash: Sure, it makes your breath minty fresh, especially after eating garlic bread with extra garlic. But did you know that using it could also raise your blood pressure? Surprisingly, it’s all related to nitric oxide.
  • body-gi152

    How Food Snakes and Shimmies through the Digestive System

    Moving food through your digestive system is not a simple process: Food does not just drop down into your stomach when you swallow. It’s actually a controlled journey coordinated by muscle cells that line the digestive tract. These cells are organized in two directions: crosswise, circling around the tract,
  • ISpy152x152

    No More Motion Sickness! Tips for Finding Your Steady State

    Summer vacation season brings distress to a number of people who suffer from motion sickness. Motion sickness causes a variety of symptoms, including queasiness, sweating and pale skin color. Some people also experience fatigue and, occasionally, vomiting.
  • mosquito152

    Stop Scratching! Why Mosquito Bites Swell and Itch

    It starts with a buzz and then a nip. If you’re quick enough, the culprit mosquito becomes a squashed smear on your hand. More often, it flies off unscathed. Either way, you’re left with a red, itchy welt. What physiological processes are set off to leave us swollen and uncomfortable when mosquitos bite?
  • ISpy152x152

    Look to the Sky for Lessons in High Blood Sugar

    So much of what we hear in health news today involves how what we eat or how much we move affects the way we live. For example, if we overeat sugar or unhealthy foods and don’t get enough exercise, we can find ourselves at increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These can affect our quality
  • hot-wather152

    Does Exercising in Warm Weather Make You Fitter for Cooler Temperature?

    Those who are active year-round know that summer workouts are more tiring than those done in cooler weather. The good news is that it’s not a sign that you’re suddenly out of shape. Exercising in warm temperatures is not the same as exercising in cooler temperatures and the body’s physiology has to adjust.
  • water152

    Water: Can You Get Too Much of a Good Thing?

    Water is arguably the best drink on Earth. Drinking water provides undisputable benefits to humans, other animals and plants. We know it’s possible to overwater a plant, but what about us humans? Can we drink too much water? And is it worse to be over-hydrated or under-hydrated?
  • ISpy152x152

    A New Discovery to Help Prevent Preterm Labor

    In pregnancy, it’s best for women to carry babies to full term, considered to be between 39 and 40 weeks of pregnancy. Babies born before that time run the risk of having a small birth weight. Small birth weight is associated with incomplete development and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in children,
  • sunburn152

    Soak Up the Rays without Soaking Them In: Be Sun Safe and Prevent Skin Damage

    Tan lines and sunburns are our souvenirs of summer. Unfortunately, they’re also reminders that we’ve had too much sun and the sun has damaged our skin. How does sun exposure harm skin, and what are the physiological processes that
  • ISpy152x152

    Keep Bones Strong by Making Workouts a Priority

    As a species, our bones have gone through many changes over time. A recent report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that as humans transitioned from hunter-gatherer culture to farming our food, our bones became weaker.
  • ISpy152x152

    Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Don’t Forget About the ‘Hidden’ Benefits of Exercise

    I approached an article in The New York Times titled “To Lose Weight, Eating Less Is Far More Important Than Exercising More” with a bit of trepidation. I don’t disagree with the statement (or the science behind it), but I felt the
  • ISpy152x152

    Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Don’t Forget About the ‘Hidden’ Benefits of Exercise

    I approached an article in The New York Times titled “To Lose Weight, Eating Less Is Far More Important Than Exercising More” with a bit of trepidation. I don’t disagree with the statement (or the science behind it), but I felt the
  • respiratory152

    Reduce Your Risk of a “Lung Sunburn”: Stay Inside on Poor Air Quality Days

    June 21 officially marked the first day of summer, bringing in long hot days of fun in the sun. Summer is also the time when air quality alerts start popping up, warning us to avoid breathing in bad air and limit activities outside. These alerts
  • ISpy152x152

    Get a Grip: What Grip Strength Can Tell Us about the Cardiovascular System

    Most of us grab hold of something every day—the steering wheel of a car, the handle of a heavy shopping bag or the hand of a new acquaintance. Whatever we’re holding, we’ve got a grip on it. But our grip strength can do more than help us hold on to an object. Handgrip is often used by physiologists to
  • man-blood-pressure

    Why the Y Difference in High Blood Pressure?

    One in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure (hypertension). Although men and women are just as likely to develop hypertension during their lifetimes, men younger than 45 have hypertension more often than women that age do. Scientists wondered if this difference is because the male hormone
  • ISpy152x152

    Feeling Lightheaded after Exercise? Use the Heart in Your Legs!

    Do you ever get lightheaded or feel a little dizzy after hard exercise? Maybe you have felt a little bit of “tunnel vision” after a hard sprint or when you stand up in the first hour after a long training session? This is a surprisingly common occurrence in healthy people, as recently
  • coffee152

    Why Does Coffee Make You Have to Go?

    That morning cup of coffee usually leads to a bathroom run later. You did just ingest liquid, but it’s also because the caffeine in coffee is a diuretic—a substance that stimulates the kidneys to release more urine. We know this effect of caffeine well from our daily routine but how caffeine interacts with our
  • ISpy152x152

    Inhale, Exhale and the Step We’ve All Been Missing

    What is breathing? The simple explanation is that animals, including humans, breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. But a recent discovery has blown the lid off this paradigm by showing that respiration is not so simple.
  • ISpy152x152

    Can You Work Off Depression with a Workout?

    Stress is a part of all of our lives. From work, to family, to waiting in rush hour traffic, stress comes at us from all directions and in many shapes and sizes. Stress and other physical and mental health problems have been linked
  • ISpy152x152

    The Pregnancy Condition that Can Predict Future Heart Disease Risk

    With rising rates of obesity and diabetes in the United States, high blood pressure in pregnant women is becoming increasingly prevalent. This can result in many pregnancy complications, the most severe of which include preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy-related condition that can affect
  • walking-stick152x152

    A Bug Steps into a Hole…

    What happens when you accidentally step into a hole? You were expecting a solid landing, but all of a sudden, it’s not there. One leg is left hanging, and you are caught off-guard. How the body reacts in this situation says a lot about how the brain controls the muscles used to walk
  • ISpy152x152

    What Makes You Move?

    The muscles in our body contract and relax to walk and move us through our day. Even when we are not in motion, our muscles are actively working to keep us upright and steady. Surprisingly, this constant action doesn’t fatigue us like running at top speed for 30 seconds does.
  • ISpy152x152

    Why Meetings Are a Must in Science

    Did you know that a superfood can combat PTSD? Or that missing just two hours of sleep each night can affect your metabolism? These and other exciting new research findings were presented at the Experimental Biology (EB) meeting last week in Boston.
  • ISpy152x152

    Rebalancing the Balance System

    Walking heel-to-toe in a straight line is not much of a test if our balance faculties are intact. However, it is a tough task for astronauts just returning to Earth. Many astronauts say they feel unsteady when they come back to gravity after being in the weightlessness environment of space. How does balance depend on
  • peanut-allergy152x152

    Peanut Allergy in a Nutshell

    Science has been coming through for peanut allergy sufferers lately. In February alone, researchers announced that yogurt could be a possible cure, a skin patch may be a new treatment and giving kids peanuts during their infant years
  • BloodDrop152x152

    Heart-Healthy Diets: Why the Low Sodium?

    Eat less salt. It’s advice often recommended as a way to reduce blood pressure, but why? And if the body needs sodium (salt) to work properly, how does eating too much of it become unhealthy? In the cardiovascular system, excess sodium
  • BloodDrop152x152

    Your Childhood Happiness Can Predict Your Heart Health as an Adult

    The idea that the environment during childhood can shape or program adult cardiovascular health is nothing new. Many studies over the last decade have shown that adversity during childhood, such as low socioeconomic status, parental
  • ISpy152x152

    Welcome to the I Spy Physiology Blog!

    At the American Physiological Society (APS), we believe that physiology is everywhere. It is the foundational science that provides the backbone to our understanding of health and medicine. At its core, physiology is all about