Archivo de June 2012

Skeletal muscle: much more than a contractile tissue

By Iñigo Mujika , el 19 de June de 2012

Triathlete Ainhoa Murua. (Photo: Inigo Mujika)

Last weekend I lectured at a professional masters degree on high performance in team sports in Barcelona. In my lectures, I spoke about training, recovery and detraining. Many of the changes that take place in the body of athletes as a result of these processes occur at the skeletal muscle level. Indeed, skeletal muscle adapts to the training performed by athletes during periods of intensive work, and also adapts to the lack of training during periods of inactivity, whether voluntary or forced by injury or illness. But is that all skeletal muscle does, adapt to varying levels of physical and mechanical demands?

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Elementary Anatomy and Physiology (IV). A tribute to Nobel Price-winning physiologist Sir Andrew Huxley

By Iñigo Mujika , el 7 de June de 2012

Bird (Photo: Iñigo Mujika)

The great British physiologist Sir Andrew Huxley died a few days ago at the age of 94. One of his major achievements was explaining how electricity travels the length of a single nerve cell, for which he was awarded the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The prize was shared with fellow scientists Sir John Eccles and Alan L. Hodgkin, whose joint work revealed the key triggers that spark the nervous system’s electrical system into life.

That muscle contraction and movement required electricity had been known for two centuries, but how this electricity was generated and transmitted in living organisms was a complete mistery, as we can see in the following extracts from Hitchcock & Hitchcock’ 1860 book Elementary Anatomy and Physiology for Colleges, Academies and Other Schools.

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