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Mar 4, 2009

Have you ever had an experience like this: You and a friend start jogging together. Neither of you have been exercising much, but after a few days, your friend is easily striding along as you wheeze, gasp and hold onto your aching side. Do not feel bad about your performance; it may be your genes.

Scientists have identified about 200 genes that play a role in our body's ability to become fitter, referred to as "adaptation to exercise." In this episode, we talk to Mark Olfert of the University of California at San Diego and Claude Bouchard of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. They have organized a symposium on the genetics of adaptation to exercise, to take place at the Experimental Biology conference in New Orleans in April. They will give us a flavor for the research in this field by telling us a bit about their own work. (Begins at 3:51)

In the Buzz in Physiology (Begins at 1:21) University of Illinois researchers are developing a program to train people to avoid falls. This research could be particularly valuable for the elderly, for whom falling can be an especially dangerous proposition. And a study from the University College London Medical School sheds light on why patients with cirrhosis may have a more regular heart rhythm than is normal, and why they develop hepatic encephalopathy, a neurological disorder. The body's inflammatory response may be the common thread behind the development of these conditions. 

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