Tag Archives: Physiology (e.g. Exercise Physiology)

How climate change will hurt humanity’s closest cousins

The consequences of climate change are an increasing concern for humans around the world. How will we cope with rising sea levels and climbing temperatures? But it’s not just humans who will be affected by these worldwide shifts — it’s our closest cousins, too: monkeys, apes and lemurs. A new Concordia study published in the […]

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Labrador study offers vets clues on why dogs’ tails lose their wag

A painful condition that affects dogs’ tails may be more common than previously thought, a study suggests. The research offers clues to potential causes of the illness — known as limber tail — which mostly affects larger working dog breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers. Researchers say their findings are the first step towards preventing the […]

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How birds soar to great heights

Migratory birds often use warm, rising atmospheric currents to gain height with little energy expenditure when flying over long distances. It’s a behavior known as thermal soaring that requires complex decision-making within the turbulent environment of a rising column of warm air from the sun baked surface of the earth. But exactly how birds navigate […]

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An hour of moderate exercise a day enough to counter health risks from prolonged sitting

The health risks associated with sitting for eight or more hours a day — whether at work, home or commuting — can be eliminated with an hour or more of physical activity a day, according to a study from an international team of researchers. Ever since a study back in 1953 discovered that London bus […]

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* Electric assist bikes provide meaningful exercise, cardiovascular benefits for riders

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Electric assist bicycles (“pedelecs”) are equipped with a built-in electric motor that provides modest assistance while the rider is actively pedaling, making it easier to cover greater distances and hilly terrain. Pedelecs have steadily grown more popular with consumers over the past decade, especially in Europe and Asia. While an assist from an electric motor […]

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How chameleons capture their prey

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Despite their nonchalant appearance, chameleons are formidable predators, capturing their prey by whipping out their tongues with incredible precision. They can even capture preys weighing up to 30% of their own weight. In collaboration with the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle de Paris, researchers from the Université de Mons (UMONS) and the Université libre de Bruxelles […]

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Changing weather patterns threaten grassland sparrows

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Two of North America’s declining grassland songbirds may be particularly vulnerable to altered weather patterns caused by climate change, according to new research in The Condor: Ornithological Applications. Extreme heat waves have been known to kill adult birds, and droughts can cause birds to abandon nests or skip breeding altogether. To learn what species might […]

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Early-life stress causes digestive problems and anxiety in rats

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Traumatic events early in life can increase levels of norepinephrine — the primary hormone responsible for preparing the body to react to stressful situations — in the gut, increasing the risk of developing chronic indigestion and anxiety during adulthood, a new study in American Journal of Physiology — Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology reports. Functional dyspepsia, […]

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Tropical birds develop ‘superfast’ wing muscles for mating, not flying

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Studies in a group of tropical birds have revealed one of the fastest limb muscles on record for any animal with a backbone. The muscle, which can move the wing at more than twice the speeds required for flying, has evolved in association with extravagant courtship displays that involve rapid limb movements, according to a […]

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* Pandas hear more than we do

A study published in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation may help field conservationists better understand the potential for human activities to disturb endangered giant pandas in native habitats. Using pandas located at the San Diego Zoo, conservation scientists worked with animal care specialists to determine pandas’ range of hearing sensitivity, discovering that they can […]

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Simulator-based training in veterinary medicine

Simulator-based training of students at Vetmeduni Vienna has been part of the curriculum since 2012. The Skills Lab is a simulated veterinary practice in which students have the chance to train a variety of veterinary interventions in a near-realistic setup on animal dummies. But is simulator-based training really as efficient as training on live animals? […]

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Newfound strength in regenerative medicine

Researchers in the field of mechanobiology are evolving our understanding of health by revealing new insights into how the body’s physical forces and mechanics impact development, physiological health, and prevention and treatment of disease. At the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, engineers and biomedical scientists have assembled to form collaborative teams […]

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Researchers work on lowering greenhouse gas emissions from poultry houses

The University of Delaware’s Hong Li is part of a research team looking at how adding alum as an amendment to poultry litter reduces ammonia and greenhouse gas concentrations and emissions, specifically carbon dioxide, in poultry houses. Li partnered with researchers at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the University of Tennessee and Oklahoma […]

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Singing in the brain: Songbirds sing like humans

A songbirds’ vocal muscles work like those of human speakers and singers, finds a study recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience. The research on Bengalese finches showed that each of their vocal muscles can change its function to help produce different parameters of sounds, in a manner similar to that of a trained opera […]

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Brazilian torrent frogs communicate using sophisticated audio, visual signals

Brazilian torrent frogs may use sophisticated audio and visual signals to communicate, including inflating vocal sacs, squealing, and arm waving, according to a study published January 13, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Fábio P. de Sá, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil, and colleagues. Frog communication plays a role in species recognition and recognition […]

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How variation in body size correlates with en-route migration performance in a long-distance migratory songbird?

Researchers relate migration performance to body and wing size in migratory songbirds. The original article “The influence of morphological variation on migration performance in a trans-hemispheric migratory songbird” is available to read and download fully in open access on De Gruyter Online. Every spring and fall, migratory songbirds around the world make epic journeys from […]

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Precise method underlies sloppy madness of dog slurping

Stories about lap dogs are everywhere, but researchers at the Virginia Tech College of Engineering can tell the story of dog lapping. Using photography and laboratory simulations, researchers studied how dogs raise fluids into their mouths to drink. They discovered that sloppy-looking actions at the dog bowl are in fact high-speed, precisely timed movements that […]

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Brainstem ‘stop neurons’ make us halt when we walk

Locomotion is an essential motor behaviour needed for survival in both humans and animals. It has an episodic nature: we move when we want or need and, equally well, we can terminate ongoing movements. This episodic control has generally been attributed to descending excitatory signals in the brainstem that contact and activate neuronal circuits in […]

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* Hummingbirds rely on raw power, not physique, to outmaneuver rivals

Brute strength is surprisingly important to the ability of hummingbirds to outmaneuver rivals for nectar and evade predators, according to new University of British Columbia research published in eLife. An intensive study of 20 Anna’s hummingbirds, Calypte anna, led by the University of British Columbia, revealed that birds with the highest muscle capacity are able […]

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Adapting to -70 degrees in Siberia: A tale of Yakutian horses

From an evolutionary perspective it happened almost overnight. In less than 800 years Yakutian horses adapted to the extremely cold temperatures found in the environments of eastern Siberia. The adaptive process involved changes in the expression of a plethora of genes, including some also selected in human Siberian groups and the extinct woolly mammoth. In […]

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* Nerve cells warn brain of damage to inner ear

Some nerve cells in the inner ear can signal tissue damage in a way similar to pain-sensing nerve cells in the body, according to new research from Johns Hopkins. If the finding, discovered in rats, is confirmed in humans, it may lead to new insights into hyperacusis, an increased sensitivity to loud noises that can […]

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* Vulture’s scavenging secrets: Ironclad stomach, strong immune system

Vultures have a unique genetic make-up allowing them to digest carcasses and guard themselves against constant exposure to pathogens in their diet, according to the first Eurasian vulture genome published in the open access journal Genome Biology. The study also finds that this species of Asian vulture is more closely related to the North American […]

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Cats retain multiple functional bitter taste receptors

The bitter truth: Kitty’s picky eating habits further unravelled. According to new research from the Monell Center, cats have at least seven functional bitter taste receptors. Further, a comparison of cat to related species with differing dietary habits reveals that there does not appear to be a strong relationship between the number of bitter receptors […]

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Activity could help keep knees lubricated

Cartilage is filled with fluid — about 80% of the volume of the cartilage tissue — that plays the essential roles of supporting weight and lubricating joint surfaces. Loss of this fluid, called synovial fluid, results in a gradual decrease in cartilage thickness and increase in friction, which is related to the degradation and joint […]

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Sea turtles face plastic pollution peril

Study warns that all seven species of marine turtle can ingest or become entangled in discarded plastic debris. A new global review led by the University of Exeter that set out to investigate the hazards of marine plastic pollution has warned that all seven species of marine turtles can ingest or become entangled in the […]

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Sex and sea turtles: New study reveals impact of climate change, sea level rise

Marine turtles deposit their eggs in underground nests where they develop unattended and without parental care. Incubation temperature varies with environmental conditions, including rainfall, sun, shade and sand type, and affects developmental rates, hatch and emergence success, and embryonic sex. Although the loggerhead turtle has been around for more than 60 million years, drought, heavy […]

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* Mare pedigree influences offspring more than previously thought.

In horse breeding, stallions are usually used to establish a breeding line. In some cases, however, the maternal lineage plays a more important role. Researchers from the Vetmeduni Vienna looked at the gestation length of different mare families and discovered that the length of gestation varies significantly from lineage to lineage. Certain families also produce […]

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Motion studies: See how they run

Software tools that track how animals move are helping researchers to do everything from diagnosing neurological conditions to illuminating evolution. Palaeontologist Stephen Gatesy wants to bring extinct creatures to life — virtually speaking. When he pores over the fossilized skeletons of dinosaurs and other long-dead beasts, he tries to imagine how they walked, ran or […]

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Dogs, cats, and big-wave surfers: Healthy heart lessons from animals and athletes

Heart rates of big-wave surfers are among the surprises from 30 years of studying exercise physiology in people, wild animals. For over 30 years, Terrie Williams has been studying exercise physiology in wild animals: African lions and wild dogs, dolphins and whales, coyotes and mountain lions, as well as a few human athletes. She has […]

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Gut microbes affect circadian rhythms and metabolism in mice

By now, the old saw, “You are what you eat,” has been well-used in describing the microbiome. However axiomatic that phrase may be, a new study has also found that who and when that consumption is done can affect microbiome make-up. Changes in the abundance of mouse gut bacteria, over a 24-hour cycle, particularly in […]

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