Author Archives: Dr. Kimberly May

Contagion…in real life?

I recently saw a trailer for the upcoming release of a movie called “Contagion.” Based on what I’ve seen so far, it’s a disaster movie based on a worldwide outbreak of an extremely nasty version of bird flu. I’m sure they’ve taken the regular Hollywood liberties when it comes to presenting the story.After all, that’s what sells.

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Posted in Zoonoses/Shared Disease | Tagged , , , , , ,

Super ninja drugs to the rescue!

Everything we do carries some risk and potential consequences. That’s particularly evident when using medications – I’m sure you’ve heard the long list of potential side effects they rattle off during the TV drug commercials. Medications work because they might enhance or suppress a process or biochemical reaction in your body that’s causing a problem, and that’s good in that it causes relief of the problem. However, just because a specific process or reaction is causing harm one place in your body, that doesn’t mean it’s causing harm everywhere else in your body. Unfortunately, we’re not yet at the stage where we have a drug that only affects the process/reaction in the area where we want it affected. But we’re getting closer…

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Posted in Research | Tagged , , , ,

What do fish have in common with NASCAR?

Good question! First, a disclaimer: I’m not a NASCAR fan. But this is still cool: when fish swim in schools, the kinetic energy (the energy associated with movement of an object) of the fish in front of them helps fish swim more efficiently and keep going forward. In NASCAR (and in other forms of racing, such as bicycle racing), you’ll see racers “drafting” or “slipstreaming” off each other to increase their speed. It’s all about aerodynamics (…and yes, aerodynamics apply in water, too!).

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Posted in Human-Animal Connections | Tagged , , ,

Benefits of bear bile

A compound called ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), which is found in the bile of bears, has been known and used to dissolve cholesterol gallstones that form in the gall bladder.

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The value of independence

We often take our independence for granted, only to realize its true value when it’s gone. Fortunately for some, service animals can help them regain their independence. Just ask Mark Hagen, a diabetic who’s had to rely on a glucose monitoring system that’s only about 70% effective. What happens that other 30% of the time?

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Posted in Human-Animal Connections | Tagged ,