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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11
votes
1answer
752 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? ...
3
votes
1answer
82 views

Predictable microchimerism

I read in New Scientist recently that microchimerism occurs between previously born siblings and grandparents, not just the mother. Do we know which parts of the genome are likely to be transferred? ...
4
votes
1answer
78 views

What are possible health risks to women having large numbers of children?

What is the possible health issue the women would face in this record? The record for most children born to a single couple belongs to the first wife of Feodor Vassilyev of Russia. In 27 ...
25
votes
3answers
404 views

Is telomere length a reliable measure of health/lifespan?

Several companies are commercializing tests for telomere length such as this one here. I understand the basic mechanism for why telomeres shorten during DNA replication, but how good is the evidence ...
10
votes
3answers
206 views

Does current evidence support the use of resveratrol as an anti-ageing drug?

A while back there was a lot of noise about resveratrol, a naturally occurring phenol which was touted as a potential anti-aging drug due to its role in regulating the SIRT 1 gene. A number of studies ...
5
votes
1answer
655 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
422 views

Could inhibition of progerin formation slow the rate at which a body ages?

According to wikipedia, progerin is activated in senescent cells. The protein itself is known to be the cause of a rare affliction 'progeria' - a disease marked by accelerated aging of the body. This ...
1
vote
2answers
462 views

Shouldn't evolution have taken care of baldness already?

It is my understanding that the hair on the head is there to protect us from sunburn. I've never seen a bald animal, so isn't evolution in charge of addressing these type of things? How is it that ...
1
vote
0answers
32 views

Can progerin formation be triggered explicitly?

Corollary to my question - Could inhibition of progerin formation slow the rate at which a body ages? Is it possible to activate/trigger progerin formation explicitly? Say, by some hormonal/chemical ...
0
votes
1answer
443 views

Are there examples of the green beard effect in humans?

Green-beard effects are genes that: Produce an effect that can be detected Produce preference to others with the same effect Are there any examples of this in humans?
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

What are tendons made of specifically

From what I read on wikipedia they are made of collagen. Collagen is just a protein. Right? How is this collagen structured (I imagine like fibers). Aren't there cells in this fibers as well? From ...
3
votes
0answers
239 views

What is the timing of information assimilation within a human brain? [closed]

A little background: I'm an avid dreamer and have great dream recall, sometimes up to 5-7 per night. In my experience, I can sometimes trace some elements of the dream to an event that occured ...
5
votes
3answers
507 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
611 views

Does testosterone increase female sexual behavior?

According to my lecture notes testosterone generally increases sexual behavior. Given that it's generally thought to be the male hormone I'm not quite sure whether they mean that it also increases ...
8
votes
2answers
184 views

Is there a consensus on whether or not race exists on a biological level?

The most recent survey I could find was from 1985 which said that 16% of biologist disagreed that "[t]here are biological races in the species Homo sapiens." I was wondering if there's been a change ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

What are the consequences of voluntary total celibacy?

Psychologically this might be a tough question, but in means of biology, what are the effects of total celibacy on the gonads and the nervous system concerning both man and woman in short and long ...
6
votes
1answer
368 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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
668 views

How does protein help to cure wound? [closed]

I understand that the protein helps to repair body tissues. If I increase the intake of protein, would it help to cure the wound more quickly? I would like to know how does the protein reaches the ...
1
vote
0answers
56 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
268 views

Why does a drop of water penetrate deep sleep? [closed]

Sleeping under the stars, a breeze carrying a few drops of water came by. The sense of water drops on my arms woke me up. I'm curious Why does the sense of a drop of water on one's body penetrate ...
6
votes
1answer
117 views

Latency to audition in human beings?

On average, in a human being with no neurological deficits, how long does it take for a sound which is sensed in the ear to reach the cortex? Which brainstem structures are most responsible for the ...
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
556 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?
5
votes
2answers
240 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
256 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
183 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
672 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
259 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
514 views

How does laser surgery correct accommodation problems?

When someone undergoes laser surgery to improve eyesight, how does it correct accommodation problems? Why does it not help presbyopia?
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 ...
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 ...
16
votes
2answers
5k views

How do the brain and nerves create electrical pulses?

I have heard that information is sent between the brain and peripheral nerves via electrical pulses or signals, but I don't understand how they create them in the first place.
11
votes
1answer
787 views

Does bioluminescence occur in humans too?

I read that Japanese researchers have developed very sensitive camera that recorded bioluminescence in humans; is it possible and if so what is the mechanism behind it?
5
votes
1answer
782 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
679 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 ...
21
votes
1answer
3k 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
438 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
187 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
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
131 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?
14
votes
2answers
151 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
230 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
447 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
875 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?
5
votes
1answer
120 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
308 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
886 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?