Researchers at Washington State University are studying grizzly bears raised in captivity to figure out how the bears’ hearts undergo such dramatic and helpful changes during hibernation. Understanding how the physical and chemical changes occur that allow grizzly bears to avoid blood clots and ruptured arteries could lead to breakthroughs in long awaited treatment for human heart disease.
Many elderly people suffer from osteoporosis, the significant bone loss that can increase the risk of fracture. This disease affects more than 10 million Americans and is the underlying cause behind 1.5 million fractures every year. Rather than develop osteoporosis, black bears’ bodies have made evolutionary adjustments to prevent bone loss during disuse and a team of research scientists have been investigating the secret behind the integrity of bears’ bones.