Illustration: Amélie Fontaine

Reason Why We Are Worrying That the Himalayan Yeti Might Have a Heatstroke

The Yeti, a large hairy creature resembling a human, is said to live in the Himalayas. Would someone dress up as Yeti in the highest altitude part of the world for curiosity? Wearing a suit in mid-summer would be extremely uncomfortable and may cause a heatstroke.

It is true that the elderly are more affected by heatstroke. More than twice as many men as women in their 30's to 60's die of heatstroke, because men are more likely to go outside of home or work outdoors. According to a survey, men often do not take preventive measures against heatstroke. They may "overestimate their resistance to heat."

Heatstroke is a condition marked by dizziness, headache, unconsciousness, etc., caused by failure of the body's temperature regulating mechanism or sweating heavily followed by loss of water and salt in the body when people are exposed to extremely high temperature and humidity. Be careful: It can happen to anyone and be fatal in hot summer.

"TRPV1" detects heat; "TRPM8" detects cold

Not only the Himalayan Yeti but also many animals living in cold climates are homoiothermic like human beings. We maintain our body temperature at a constant level irrespective of changes in the environment. Responsible for body temperature control are the "TRP channels" of cell sensors, which detect an ambient temperature, or whether it is hot or cold around us.

When the TRP channels detect heat, the bloodstream on the body surface increases, and sweating starts to lower the body temperature. We turn on air conditioning and take off clothes. We take these actions to respond to "TRPV1," a sensor that detects heat.

On the other hand, "TRPM8" detects cold. It also detects menthol, a compound of mint. If you smell mint and feel cool and refreshed, it means that your "TRPM8" is activated. When it is hot, use menthol to feel a sensation of coolness.

Alligator's sex is determined by the temperature of egg incubation

"TRP channels" are considered to be present in all animals susceptible to changes in the environment. Interestingly, the sex of some alligators and turtles is determined by the temperature of egg incubation. In case of the Mississippi alligator, incubation at a higher temperature produces mostly males. Recent research revealed that the determination depends on "TRPV4" in the egg. It is surprising that temperature-dependent activation of "TRPV4" determines the sex of an alligator. The temperature of egg incubation can be a critical factor for survival of the species.

We almost forgot the "someone" wearing a Yeti suit! They should take a rest in a cool place and drink water. A little neglect may lead to great mischief.

Click here to find out the secrets of TRP channels