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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6
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1answer
139 views

Why are pilots under the illusion of gaining altitude without doing so?

We had a lecture about the balancing systems of the body (mainly the otolith organ / semilunar canals) in which a case was described where a pilot crashed into a ship. He was supposed to keep his ...
4
votes
1answer
476 views

Why do rod cells not recover after bleaching upon exposure to bright light?

I'm confused as to why, when exposed to bright light, rod cells cease to function. I understand that exposure to bright light bleaches all of the rhodopsin, but...so what? Why doesn't the bleached ...
4
votes
1answer
81 views

During human ageing, which immune cell sub-types are most affected?

It is now well established that human ageing is accompanied by an increase in systemic, low-grade (chronic) inflammation, sometimes termed inflammaging (Franceschi, 2007). This is in part due to more ...
2
votes
1answer
320 views

How does the brain instinctively know the math behind Newtonian Physics?

A 10 year old child does not have the intellectual power to accurately calculate the energy required to throw a ball an arbitrary distance. Yet they are able to accurately throw a ball at a ...
8
votes
1answer
543 views

A timeline of the odds for survival for fertilized eggs and fetuses

I'm looking for data to build a timeline of the odds for survival of a fertilized egg, i.e., What are the odds it'll last a week? What are the odds it'll last a month? 2 months? (and so on ...
4
votes
1answer
689 views

When is the lactase in lactose-free milk active?

Recently we have started suspecting that one of our children has hypolactasia (lactose intolerance), and so accordingly I have had my first exposure to lactose-free dairy- and dairy-like products. In ...
7
votes
1answer
390 views

How fast do different organs turn over cells?

It is said that the human body turns over all cells or molecules in 7 year cycles. This is not quite correct, because there are different organs changing at different speeds. My interest is what is ...
6
votes
1answer
642 views

Is there a biological basis to physical attraction?

Is there something encoded within us that makes us attracted to, e.g., someone taller or shorter with blonde or brunette hair with green or blue eyes? Or, is this phenomenon completely based on ...
6
votes
1answer
103 views

What is the biological mechanism linking temperature and probability to be infected with a virus?

It is common knowledge that when you're cold you could get a cold. What is the mechanism linking temperature and viral infection?
6
votes
1answer
61 views

On the effect of polluted air on health. Is it more gradual, or more immediate?

I've heard time and again that living in São Paulo (a large city in Brasil) takes 1.5 years from your life expectancy. The allegation is that this happens because of air pollution. I am just ...
10
votes
2answers
262 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
120 views

What controls the feeling of discomfort/comfort before and after sleep?

I'm interested in which biological systems or hormones are involved in the following phenomenon: Before sleep it may be difficult to find a comfortable position, and muscular aches and pains are more ...
4
votes
1answer
106 views

Is there a correlation between incidence of type 1 diabetes and vitiligo?

Does the data indicate that if you have one, the probability of you having the other is higher than that of someone who doesn't have the one?
1
vote
1answer
429 views

Is sperm contagious?

A person may have a cold or any other disease that is an airborne-infection. Is their sperm also contagious? Should the person take any precautions?
2
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the “lifecycle” of an average eschar and what types of cells are involved in each stage?

(after some deliberation in the comments, I've decided to make the question more general) An eschar or "dry scab" often forms at a site of injury over a large cut or sore. It seems as though the ...
11
votes
1answer
796 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
87 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
83 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 ...
26
votes
3answers
434 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
215 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
753 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
438 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
599 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
491 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
252 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
532 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
644 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 ...
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
398 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
737 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
60 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
119 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
142 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
587 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
249 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
299 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
194 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
724 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
273 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
564 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?
14
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2answers
13k 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
6k 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
802 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
875 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
774 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
470 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 ...