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What animals can tell us about hemorrhage, organ transplants and aging

The stereotype of a scientist as a man in a white lab coat hunched over a microscope in a laboratory is far from real life. Consider the scientists who will meet at The American Physiological Society's conference, Comparative Physiology 2006: Integrating Diversity, taking place October 8-11 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

  • They spend time in the mountains studying bears, animals that hibernate for months without suffering significant muscle atrophy
  • They follow migrating birds thousands of miles to understand how they fuel their metabolisms for grueling transoceanic flights
  • They slog through wetlands, studying frogs that literally freeze during the winter, then hop away in the spring as though nothing unusual occurred

Comparative physiologists study all kinds of animals -- bears, frogs, snakes, squirrels, seals, oysters and a host of other animals to answer the question "How do they do that?" They uncover general physiological principles that may apply to humans, and may spur future medical advances to benefit people. These scientists exude an enthusiasm for their work and maintain a wonderment of the physiological adaptations in the animal world.

Science writers can meet and interview many of these scientists at the Comparative Physiology conference. (See the box at the end of this release for a link to the program.) If you can't make it to the conference but want to review the program and conduct interviews from your office, The American Physiological Society can help arrange that, in many cases.

With six plenary speakers, 20 symposia, and hundreds of poster presentations, there is much to choose from. Consider three symposia: "Biomedical applications of suspended animation," "Molecular aspects of the mechanisms of hibernation," and "Comparative biology of aging in long-lived animals." How is it that:

  • Hibernating squirrels can lose up to 60% of their blood volume and survive at least 10 hours?'"/>


Source:American Physiological Society


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