What's New: #ISpyPhysiology

Dec 11 2014 Published by under [Science in Society]

The last day or so I have engaged with other members of the American Physiological Society's (APS henceforth) Communication Committee. We kicked around all sorts of ideas for improving outreach to the non-physiologist world, as well as continuing internal communication in an effective manner. Since I had my twitter feed open during the meeting, I tried out one of our hashtag ideas:

 

The idea of the hashtag is to highlight physiology in everyday life. The link in the tweet takes you to this infographic, Cleveland Clinic's Top Ten Healthcare Transformations for 2015. Let's take a look at the physiology of a couple of these innovations:

  • Mobile stroke units: Strokes, or cerebral vascular accidents in doctor-speak, cause death and disability in lots of people. Basic science study of the brain and its response to loss of blood flow reveals that rapid response to an event can minimize the damage and improve outcomes. These data (many from animal studies) resulted in rapid-response stroke teams in many US hospitals so that patients get their clot-busters ASAP. Taking that one step further is the stroke-mobile, with personnel who can initiate treatment while the patient travels to the hospital. As time = brain, this seems like a winning approach and an excellent result of brain physiology studies.
  • PCSK9 inhibitors for high cholesterol levels: Despite the widespread, near-universal prescribing of statins, many people still have elevated cholesterol levels and high risk of heart disease. This new class of drugs reduces bad LDL cholesterol. Antibodies to proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (yeah, that's why we abbreviate these things) give doctors another weapon for patients who respond inadequately to other measures. Finding this enzyme that controls cholesterol resulted from studies of normal metabolism in cells and animal models. In other words, Physiology!

I am not waiting for approval or permission (I'm a badass that way); I am plowing ahead with #ISpyPhysiology and invite all my physiologist friends to participate. Read your newsfeed, mine your twitter feed, and find examples of physiology affecting everyday life. They are out there waiting!

We just need to spy them!

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