Studying Bear Hibernation – Fascinating Finds

Veterinarian Lynne Nelson and researcher Charles Robbins of Washington State University study the only research colony of grizzly bears in the U.S., and their work may help unravel some mysteries of human health. Before hibernation, the bears must pack on more than 100 pounds. Then they enter a state of reduced activity when their heart rate drops to 15 beats per minute and only two of their four heart chambers function, yet they can still stand and change positions. Using echocardiograms, blood tests and other tools, the researchers hope to identify the factors that make these changes possible. The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) (free content)/Washington State

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