Articles on Physiology

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World record holder – but for how long? Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters

How low can marathon times go?

This fall Dennis Kimetto set a new world record in the marathon, clocking 2:02:57 at Berlin. He is the first man to run those 26.2 miles in under 2:03 and his time sparked speculation about when the two-hour…
No, I did not get a manicure before coming here today. Polygraph Shutterstock

Lie detectors and the lying liars who use them

As society becomes more and more dependent on machines to make important decisions, the use of technology for lie detection is becoming increasingly popular. But as much as we would like to rely on technology…
The heat is on. And referees can get it wrong. Tolga Bozoglu/EPA

Forget the players, World Cup referees are feeling the heat

There has been much hand-wringing over the problems that World Cup players are facing due to the environmental extremes they are exposed to in Brazil. There has been little sympathy for the men in black…
Dusting off the archives: Griff Pugh at work at altitude. Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

Meet Griffith Pugh: the Everest pioneer you’ve never heard of

Scientists almost never get to be household names just for doing science. Most who impact the public consciousness, like Brian Cox, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking, tend to at least combine the science…
Thank goodness for black and white. Michael

Explainer: why do we blush?

Awkward and embarrassing, the human act of blushing raises many difficult psychological and physiological questions. Why should an emotional response take this particular form and does it serve any purpose…
Fight or flight? Bankers likely to opt for the second. BK and EP

Fear of risk linked to high stress hormone in bankers

In times of financial uncertainty and crisis, high stress reactions lead to traders becoming more risk averse, which drives pessimism and further falls in finance, according to a new study. This is because…
Shifting hemispheres? A good training plan must include time to acclimatise. Vox Efx

Athletes can beat the heat, even during an Australian summer

Two of Australia’s biggest international sporting events kicked off last week – the Australian Open in Melbourne and the Tour Down Under in Adelaide – coinciding with a heatwave over southeast Australia…
The physiological stress of the heat accumulates and takes its toll after two or three days. AAP Image/Joe Castro

Death in a hot climate: southern heatwave to take its toll

Hopefully the southern Australian heatwave is coming to an end – for now. But for health-care providers and death investigators, such as me, the fallout will continue for some time to come. It’s unclear…

Neuronal basis of crows’ intelligence

Tübingen neurobiologists Lena Veit und Professor Andreas Nieder have demonstrated how the brains of crows produce intelligent…
You’re no more likely to lose heat from your head than other parts of your body – except your hands and feet. Taylor Mackenzie

Monday’s medical myth: you lose most heat through your head

As the weather starts to cool down and winter clothes enter rotation in our wardrobes, some peculiar combinations emerge: shorts and scarves; thongs and jackets; T-shirts and beanies. The last is often…
Breathing through your mouth or chewing gum has no effect: the tear stimulus is in your eyes, not your nose or mouth. Flickr/tarale

Monday’s medical myth: chewing gum stops onion tears

The cultivated onion, Allium cepa, is a savoury staple of cuisines around the world. Yet slicing up onions all too often leads to tears: you peel off the papery outer skin, start chopping and before long…
The energy produced per rider during sprints could power a fridge, TV and most of the lights in a standard house. Nicolas Bouvy/AAP

Suffer score: how demanding is Le Tour de France?

The Tour de France – currently underway – has long been regarded as one of the most demanding endurance events in sporting history. But what does that mean in physical terms for the athletes taking part…

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