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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1answer
705 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
583 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 ...
20
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1answer
2k views

How long do your eyes need to adapt to darkness and reach full contrast?

I heard you should wait some time until your eyes adapt to darkness and are able to see smallest luminosity differences, otherwise you might overlook faint objects in the ocular. Are there any rules ...
11
votes
3answers
383 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
177 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
224 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
130 views

How exactly does long-term tension (over months) build up in the ligaments, tendons, muscles?

And is there any basis for believing that massage relieves that tension?
13
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2answers
145 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
225 views

Mechanism of syndesmophyte growth in AS

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) causes inflammation around joints and the growth of syndesmophytes that may eventually fuse vertebrae. I'm familiar with the genetics (HLA-B27, IL1A) related to the ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What are differences between formation of embryonic disc in chick and mammal embryo?

Exam question which got lowest average points in my university: 1/5 average. No markscheme available so my attempt below. I assume that embryonic disk prefers to germ disk such that Formation prefers ...
12
votes
2answers
411 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
658 views

Why are goosebumps so ineffective at keeping us warm?

If the purpose of "goosebumps" is to keep us warm, why is it so ineffective? Or are the changes subtle, but important?
4
votes
1answer
117 views

What evidence gives clues to the physiological basis for conversion disorder?

Conversion disorder has a set of DSM diagnosis criteria, which, among other things, includes ruling out all neurological disease. However, as the media has shown us (and one could argue a biased ...
9
votes
1answer
275 views

Can Naegleria fowleri enter through wounds into the bloodstream?

All the sources I've read said that Naegleria fowleri enters the brain through the nose. But lets say that someone had cuts on their arm or leg and they are swimming in water that is conducive to ...
8
votes
1answer
814 views

Is there a correlation between muscle fibers and body types?

I have been told the number of muscle fibers a particular muscle has varies from person to person. Unfortunately, the person who told me this did not know much more than this. Initial searching on the ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

How does the human body metabolize gasoline?

A Chinese man has been drinking gasoline to relieve his pain for 25 years. How does the human body metabolize gasoline? Also, what are the side-affects to gasoline?
6
votes
1answer
115 views

What is the number of cells in a line of a fingerprint?

I have been reading a little about the size of cells and was curious as to how small they really were. I have noticed that on my finger, the outlines of the fingerprint are made up of thin lines. In ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the role of acetylcholine in blood pressure regulation?

What is the role of acetylcholine in the cardiac cycle and in blood pressure regulation?
7
votes
1answer
237 views

What causes light to be brighter in the corner of the eyes?

I have noticed when in a dark room light and color seem to be brighter and more intense in the corner of my eyes. For example the light that comes from my digital clock seems like a dark pink when I ...
6
votes
1answer
501 views

What forms the human amniotic sac?

I am trying to understand the formation of embryonic disc for human and chick so the following question is related to here about formation of embryonic disc. I had thought that the amniotic sac forms ...
4
votes
1answer
263 views

Human sleep cycles and dream times, what influences the timing and intensity? Sleep history included

I'm doing sleep and dreams research and have developed an iPhone application to help me track my bedtime, rise time, sleep onset and also mark dreams. The app also monitors overall activity overnight ...
7
votes
1answer
379 views

Which human body hormonal systems exhibit 24 hour diurnal cyclical activity?

I'm researching the possible connection between the dream content and the activity of various organ or hormonal systems within the human body. I'm looking for information on biological cycles within ...
4
votes
1answer
134 views

What are the constraints when growing an artificial brain?

Are there any experiments on growing artificial brains from brain tissue? What are the constraints? Will such tissue grown to the mass greater than that of human brain surpass it in intellect or it ...
5
votes
1answer
703 views

Do eye muscles relax when you close your eyes?

I wonder whether the eyes muscle relax when you close them. Common knowledge told us the eyes muscle get tense when you stare at nearby object. If you close your eyes, you eye lids have 0 distance ...
7
votes
1answer
443 views

Why do people look different after a long sleep?

What happens during a long sleep that makes people look odd when they have just woken up? Why doesn't the same phenomenon occur in the case of a person who lies down for an extended period of time, ...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

Does consuming sodium benzoate (preservative E211) cause problems during pregnancy?

There seems to be strong evidence to support the claim that sodium benzoate (E211) causes hyperactivity in young children, e.g. Bateman et al. (2004) and McCann et al. (2007). This leads me to ...
12
votes
1answer
4k views

Why does scar tissue change color?

I was wondering why, when you are cold, scar tissue turns bluish or purple while original skin stays the same color. The only thing I can think of, is that maybe scar tissue gets less circulation ...
7
votes
1answer
199 views

Does cooking ginger reduce its anti-nausea effect?

There seems to be strong evidence to support the hypothesis that eating ginger helps reduce nausea e.g. during pregnancy (e.g. Vutyavanich et al.). It seems that gingerol is the active ingredient in ...
5
votes
2answers
471 views

How are the gene sequences of individual sperm and egg cells “randomized”?

What I mean by "randomized" is, in the place where an egg cell or sperm cell is made, what is the mechanism by which each one is not made identically? Though I am a layman, I'm pretty sure that if the ...
12
votes
1answer
345 views

Is it correct that the body only responds to the most painful stimulus?

I'm rather ashamed to say that this question is partly based on an episode of House. I have previously heard that, if there are multiple simultaneous painful stimuli, the mind will only feel the ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

Is the protein in teardrops still attached to cells, or is it released and free-flowing?

A ScienceDaily article says that the protein in teardrops can kill bacteria. But how does it reach the bacteria?
17
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2answers
3k views

What is the mechanism behind “acquired” alcohol tolerance?

I can understand natural variation in alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) in a population leading to variation in rate of inebriation (after controlling for other variables -- e.g., mass, food consumption, ...
10
votes
1answer
117 views

What portions of the brain have drastic changes in activation when we “sense” someone is there?

I was watching an old Arnold Schwarzenegger movie ("Commando") where he plays an elite soldier (surprise). An enemy tries to sneak up on him, and Arnold says that he smelled the other guy ...
12
votes
2answers
175 views

Why is the microbial ecosystem of the gut so susceptible to disruption by pathogens?

From all accounts, it seems as if the Escherichia, Enterobacter, etc. that live and thrive in the human gut are pretty well entrenched. I know that these microbial populations are often analyzed as ...
12
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2answers
1k views

How does a brain distinguish stimuli?

If all the brain ever "sees" is action potentials, how do we know that one set of action potentials denotes a flash of light, another one signifies a loud sound, etc ?
8
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1answer
2k views

Effects of Polyphasic vs Monophasic sleep in humans

Why do humans practice monophasic sleep cycles? When altering one's circadian rhythm to a Polyphasic sleep schedule, how much would that affect development? Is Monophasic sleep (once per day) ...
9
votes
1answer
104 views

Why is there an extended delay before G.M. liver cells are attacked by the immune system?

In this BBC article a trial is described where patients with B-Haemophillia are infected with modified Adeno-associated Virus 8 which contained the genes for Factor IX clotting protein. Trials seemed ...
7
votes
1answer
160 views

Can oxygen diffuse out through the lungs?

Let's say you accidentally walk into a room pressurized with pure nitrogen (or you're jettisoned into space). Within a couple of seconds, the partial pressure of oxygen within your lungs drops to 0. ...
7
votes
2answers
470 views

Where does vasoconstriction occur in limbs?

When cold or in shock a person's blood vessels constrict in order to preserve heat or to move blood flow to protect vital organs. I am interested in the mechanism by which this is achieved. Does ...
10
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2answers
908 views

Do human beings have pheromone receptors?

What is the current consensus on whether or not humans have receptors that detect pheromones? If there are purported receptors, in what anatomical areas are they located? With what organ systems do ...