OSU Researcher Studies Sled Dogs

Monday, January 5th 2009, 3:43 pm
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- An Oklahoma State University veterinary professor is on his annual research trip to Alaska to study sled dogs.

Michael Davis is looking for physiological clues that could improve understanding of human medical conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Davis has spent about a decade studying sled dogs to learn how they can run hundreds of miles in conditions as cold as minus-40 degrees.

He says sled dogs are an excellent example of what's called the athlete's paradox.  He says in obese humans who develop type 2 diabetes the muscles take up loads of fat, and the accumulation of the fat in the cell interferes with metabolism.

But in athletes -- be they human or sled dog -- there is similar accumulation of fat in the cells and instead of being insulin resistant they are even more insulin sensitive than normal.

Davis says the sled dogs may provide an opportunity to explain the paradox.