This tag is for questions about the general biological features of human beings (as opposed to the biology of non-humans).

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3
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1answer
5k views

What is the functional difference between hemoglobin and ferritin?

I read that both hemoglobin and ferritin are for storing iron in the body. So, what is the difference between them in terms of storing/binding iron?
28
votes
2answers
546 views

Why don't teeth glow?

Hydroxyapatite is the main component of tooth enamel. It contains phosphorus in the form of phosphates, pyrophosphates etc. that are found to exhibit the the property of phosphorescence. But why don't ...
5
votes
1answer
569 views

Is there a relationship between efficiency of cellular metabolism and warm-blooded-ness?

My BIO 101 book states that when human cells convert glucose to ATP, the process is only approx 35% efficient, and much of the potential energy is lost as heat. However, that heat is useful to us in ...
6
votes
1answer
171 views

Understanding Membrane / Resting Potential from the perspective of ions?

From wikipedia article RESTING potential: "there is no actual measurable charge excess in either side. That occurs because the effect of charge on electrochemical potential is hugely greater than ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do we like salt?

A few friends of mine told me that salt provides zero nutritional value to us, and in fact can harm our bodies. Now, these guys are medical students, and being an engineering student myself, I decided ...
17
votes
1answer
903 views

Is kissing a natural human activity?

The word natural here is meant in contrast to it being a sociological construct. Is kissing in all its forms something natural for humans? Is it instinctively erotic? Or is it just a conventional ...
5
votes
2answers
239 views

Energy use by muscles, actual work done by muscles and more

Lately, I've started exercising in the gym and outside. I've also started to look at the details of food I eat. Food usually has a label saying the amount of energy is inside it. For example, some ...
8
votes
1answer
550 views

What causes knuckle “popping” and the feeling of relief that comes from it?

Many people like cracking their knuckles. I have always been curious about it. What happens when we crack knuckles? What creates the POP sound? Why do we get a relief-like feeling after doing it?
4
votes
1answer
132 views

What biological systems are affected by Vitamin B6 (or B vitamins in general)?

B vitamins and particularly the B6 vitamin appears to the one of the main ingredients in energy drinks. There has been anecdotal evidence from people interested in dreaming that ingestion of vitamin ...
3
votes
1answer
248 views

Why apes started to contemplate and become altruistic? [closed]

I was asking this first on philosophy forums, but it is suggested, that answer could be found from evolutionary view of point, so here we go: Again my question raised when thinking of myths, their ...
7
votes
1answer
192 views

Why are some menstrual cycles irregular?

A friend of mine asked me this today, and I didn't know. I remember studying the menstrual cycle a few years ago, but I can't remember the details (other than it was very hormone-related), and so I ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Do hot drinks cool you down?

It is quite the old wives tale that drinking a hot drink cools you down. If you don't really think about it it does seem somewhat logical: increasing temperature will cause your body to try and cool ...
4
votes
1answer
240 views

Can humans shorten their sleeping patterns?

Can sleeping patterns be trained, or are they genetic? I read that a human needs to sleep at least 4 hours. Can sleeping time be reduced without having a negative impact?
2
votes
2answers
180 views

How might I break down bread into glucose in a model of the human digestive system?

I need to make a model of the digestive system. It would be really nice to actually show it in action, such as by breaking down bread into glucose or something similar. Is this feasible with a small ...
8
votes
1answer
233 views

How Antioxidants affects Human Metabolism?

I'd like to know how antioxidants affects the human metabolism and which ones are essential for metabolism processes.
9
votes
3answers
11k views

Healing process in mouth wounds

When we have an external wound the wound generally tents to clot and there is a layer of solid scab formed. Now,Yesterday while brushing my teeth i somehow hurt my gums and it got all bloody but ...
22
votes
1answer
11k views

How does laughing gas (N2O) work?

Laughing gas (N2O), well, makes people laugh. How does just a gas make us do that, there has to be some hormones at work... So, I wanted to know how this works? What is the mechanism?
1
vote
0answers
54 views

Are the intestinal flora substantially different within a diverticulum of the colon?

From the Wikipedia page for the vermiform appendix: This proposal is based on a new understanding of how the immune system supports the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria, in combination ...
9
votes
2answers
307 views

How is human biological clock modelled in modern science?

Im an engineer by education and i program a lot, so the question sounds weird to people from other disciplines. Im trying to better understand the human biological clock. Yet i do not really know ...
32
votes
4answers
15k views

Death because of distilled water consumption

One of my friends said that I would die if I drank distilled water (we were using it in a chemistry experiment) I gave it a go and surprisingly did not die. I did a bit of Googling and found this ...
6
votes
1answer
359 views

Is it purely the nervous system causing vaginal lubrication (arousal)?

My girlfriend was watching some documentary on TLC about a paralyzed woman getting pregnant. I believe that woman still has some feeling, as she spoke about feeling the effects of a bladder ...
8
votes
2answers
127 views

What is the effective relatedness of inbreeding?

If a human inbreeds with a relative, how distant does the relative have to be before the homozygosity in the child is no higher than if the mate were randomly chosen from the global population?
8
votes
1answer
4k views

Primary function of the enzyme lipoprotein lipase

I read here and here that the function of lipoprotein lipase is to facilitate fat uptake and storage in adipose tissue. Could anyone provide a slightly more expanded explanation, without going into ...
10
votes
2answers
331 views

Below which temperature human muscles don't work?

When one exposes theirs body parts to cold environment (especially foot and hands), they may be numb, with temporarily blocked both muscles. What is typical body temperature below which human muscles ...
5
votes
1answer
733 views

The genetic and physiological origins of laughter?

This Wikipedia article defines laughter in many terms, such as... "a visual expression of happiness, or an inward feeling of joy" and "a part of human behavior regulated by the brain, ...
5
votes
1answer
647 views

Is it true that newborn babies don't produce tears while crying? Why?

Well, I was just going through an article on eye, where in fun facts it was mentioned that newly born (for initial 1 to 3 months) babies do not produce tear while crying. Actually, I have found this ...
11
votes
3answers
414 views

How did the human brain evolve?

A common question posed is, "how did the eye evolve?", because the eye is so complex. However, this has been answered rather clearly and there are several examples around the world of animals in ...
7
votes
1answer
184 views

Why is the Patellar reflex not triggered when the tendon is extended slowly?

I have been previously told that the Patellar reflex (knee-jerk-reaction) exists to prevent the hyper-extension of the patellar tendon. Yet if the impact to the tendon is delivered slowly - i.e. by ...
11
votes
1answer
725 views

Is there an evolutionary advantage to crying when sad?

It seems as though the act of crying when sad does nothing to relieve that sadness. Is there an advantage to crying from an evolutionary perspective, or is it the end result of a different process? ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Will humans and animals be harmed by frequencies outside their hearing range?

The human ear (for example) is sensitive to frequencies from 20Hz to 20kHz. Any sound beyond that limit would not be heard by us naturally. Will it harm us (effect our ability to hear) when we hear ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

What happens to dextrorotatory amino acids in humans?

As indicated by this question, most of the amino acids in the human body have the L-chirality. As enzymes also have handedness, what happens to the D-amino acids that end up within the human body? Are ...
11
votes
1answer
208 views

In which order did the cells of the immune system evolve?

Thinking about how complex the interactions between different types of immune system cells (T-helpers, T-Killers, Phagocytes, B-Cells etc.) are, it's fascinating how they all combine to get the ...
6
votes
1answer
148 views

Does muscle growth trigger angiogenesis?

So heavier people generally have more blood than lighter people (this is why heavier people generally need to take higher doses of medication for the same effect of medication). They also have more ...
14
votes
2answers
148 views

Relationship between our microbiome and personalized nutrition

Recently, it has been asked whether there are 'metabolic types' between humans that can benefit from a sort of personalized nutrition. One answer suggested that one discerning factor could be the ...
6
votes
2answers
226 views

Is there such thing as a generic “metabolic type”?

A while ago I picked up a book called "Eat right for your metabolic type". The book discussed the effects of the endocrine system on the overall shape and the speed of metabolism. The book outlined ...
6
votes
1answer
646 views

What happens to a human body once a sugary snack is consumed?

I'm looking to understand the effects of sugary snacks and/or drinks on a human body. I'm particularly interested in the timing of the ingestion versus various hormonal levels that may be circadian in ...
10
votes
2answers
237 views

What can the timing of human urination tell about the human's physical condition and circadian rhythms?

I've noticed a peculiar phenomenon. A subject drinks 400 ml of water, then observes time until the urge to urinate is felt. The time is 15 minutes. The subject releases water. 14 minutes later another ...
19
votes
4answers
6k views

How many genes do we share with our mother?

Somewhere I have read we share more than 99% of our genes with every other other person and 98% of our genes with chimpanzees. What does this mean? Don't we share 50% of our genes with our mother and ...
7
votes
2answers
201 views

During famine, does the human body do anything to prioritize which organs receive nutrients?

When food is scarce, the body slows its metabolism. Are there any other systems or processes that encourage prioritization of organs?
7
votes
2answers
301 views

What is the biology behind a skin “mole”?

Are the dark marks aka "moles" on our skin a patch of dead cells? If so, why is it not cleared over time? In a (probably) similar vein, why do scar marks from injuries remain long after new cells ...
7
votes
2answers
147 views

How was the guided daily amount (GDA) calculated?

We are constantly shown nutritional information on food packaging stating this food contains "x" amount of your guided daily amount. A linked to the values is here. How were these values calculated? ...
5
votes
3answers
505 views

When to measure resting heart rate and blood pressure for following day-to-day trend?

I'd like monitor my resting heart rate and blood pressure to see how they are affected by regular cardiovascular training and other events in life. When should I take the measurements in order to ...
13
votes
2answers
12k views

Possible? When a pregnant woman suffers an organ damage, fetus would send stem cells to the damage organ to help repair it?

I am quite sure that there is this blood-placental barrier between the mother and the baby so that nothing (except a type of antibody) can pass through it. But I remember reading somewhere that when ...
6
votes
3answers
255 views

Weighing 2 vertical halves of the human body

I had this thought while bathing: Assume a perfectly developed physical human body and anatomy in terms of size, dimensions and proportions. In theory, if I cut the body vertically into two exact ...
14
votes
3answers
807 views

Do probiotics survive digestion?

Pretty much this. I've been wondering if any of the yogourt and other "health" foods containing living probiotic cultures survive digestion to populate our intestines? If so, is there peer-reviewed ...
20
votes
3answers
3k views

What actually happens when my leg 'falls asleep'?

Most people have experienced the temporary loss of feeling and tingling in their leg resulting from sitting in an abnormal position for a short while. Usually you get a loss of feeling in your leg ...
19
votes
2answers
615 views

Why is rabies incurable?

I'm still not sure about the mechanics that lead to rabies being incurable. I know that it can be treated before any symptoms show up, but why is it that once symptoms show the person is a dead man ...
10
votes
3answers
731 views

Why do people say that trans fatty acids are bad for your health?

I've heard from several sources that trans FAs are bad for you and their consumption will lead to cardiac problems, and that they are indigestible. But I also learned from biochemistry that they are ...
14
votes
3answers
706 views

What causes a 'stuffy' or 'runny' nose when you have a cold?

When humans get the common cold, a common symptom is a stuffy or runny nose. Is that the body's immune response or is that the virus's doing?
12
votes
2answers
432 views

Is the 'fluttering feeling' when under stress neurological or physical?

I'm sure that everyone is familiar with the sensation commonly known as "butterflies in the stomach". It is commonly experienced during periods of anxiety or stress (e.g. before high stakes job ...