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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15
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8answers
8k views

Why have humans evolved much more quickly than other animals?

Humans have, in a relatively short amount of time, evolved from apes on the African plains to upright brainiacs with nukes, computers, and space travel. Meanwhile, a lion is still a lion and a ...
13
votes
1answer
605 views

What light intensity starts melatonin release in humans?

I'm interested in whether any studies have determined the intensity of light at eye level that starts melatonin release in humans. I know that: melatonin release is suppressed by blue light with ...
13
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1answer
938 views

Are human bodies programmed to die?

Following from this question: What is the evolutionary advantage of death?: Is there any evidence that human bodies have systemic self-destruction built into their developmental program? I'm not ...
12
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1answer
1k views

Supercomputer Vs Human Brain

With supercomputers doing calculation in petaflops ($10^{15}$ Calculations per Second), have we crossed the speed of Human Brain?
13
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3answers
1k views

Why does hair grow after trimming but remains at a constant length after a while?

Some hair especially body hair regrows after trimming but stops growing after a while. What is the mechanism behind control of hair growth and how is the length limit determined?
10
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1answer
182 views

Does stress physically age our body?

Going by the assumption that stress eventually triggers a flight/fight response, and the subsequent realization that flight/fight puts the body in a system of readiness to use it's available resources ...
9
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3answers
530 views

Do memories have mass?

If it were possible to live forever, would our brains grow infinitely with the number of memories that we store? Or would we remove old memories as we create new ones?
25
votes
1answer
14k 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?
18
votes
3answers
1k views

How and where, in the human brain, are memories stored?

Background I am a computer programmer who is fascinated by artificial intelligence and artificial neural networks, and I am becoming more curious about how biological neural networks work. Context ...
15
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3answers
406 views

Are human fetuses more likely to be male?

Question: From a physiological point of view, when sex is determined in a human fetus, is it equally likely to be male or female? Studies in this area typically measure age at birth, where the data ...
12
votes
2answers
29k views

How many human cells are there in our body, on average?

How many human cells are there in our body, on average? Wikipedia says 1013: Bacterial cells are much smaller than human cells, and there are at least ten times as many bacteria as human cells in ...
12
votes
2answers
448 views

Could an “overactive” brain increase the chances of Alzheimer's Disease?

From Raichle ME. 2010. Two views of brain function. Trends in cognitive sciences 14: 180–90: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of progressive cognitive decline and dementia in ...
12
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2answers
2k 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 ?
9
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4answers
3k views

Why we have no enzyme to digest cellulose?

As we know, cellulose is the most abundant polysaccharide in nature. Why don't we have any enzyme to digest cellulose?
9
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2answers
327 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the female equivalent of the morning erection that some men experience?

There was question about what causes "morning wood." It was answered that the erection in the morning is caused by decline of norepinephrine during REM sleep. Which in part allows to prevent ...
8
votes
1answer
3k 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) ...
7
votes
2answers
76 views

How can we measure cardiac output?

I could find a way which could find it by body oxygen consumption and there is another way to measure it by injecting drugs — measuring cardiac output by the so-called “indicator dilution method,” a ...
7
votes
1answer
105 views

What happens when we know that there is something that we forgot but we can't remember what it was?

I think it happens for everyone that sometimes we go to a room and forget why we went there. Is there any research or article on this?
5
votes
1answer
178 views

What causes Paresthesia (Pins and Needles) at a cellular level?

I've looked it up in plenty of places like the Wikipedia page and such, and it is clear that the most common cause of Paresthesia is either a fair amount of pressure on a specific patch of skin ...
3
votes
2answers
880 views

Ill effects of urea and NH₃ on metabolism

What exactly does urea do that harms our body? Does it interfere with our cellular processes or disturbs the colloidal onchotic pressure of our blood? I have heard that NH3 damages the brain. What ...
19
votes
3answers
25k views

Why do mammalian red blood cells lack a nucleus?

How did the red blood cell in humans get to lose its nucleus (and other organelles)? Does the bone marrow just not put the nucleus in, or is it stripped out at some stage in the construction of the ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

What do you see when your eyes are closed?

If you are in pitch black and you close your eyes, you sometimes can see strange shapes of various colors. A lot of the time these shapes and colors change as you observe them. This phenomenon still ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Where does the 'C' in exhaled CO₂ mostly come from?

When a human being exhales CO₂, what is, by the numbers, the main source of carbon atoms exiting the body in this way? I mean what class of cells, or which tissues are the biggest on a pie chart of ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

How does sodium in one's diet affect blood pressure?

Due to high blood pressure, my doctor has recommended I go on a low-sodium diet. So, that got me wondering what it is about sodium that drives this recommendation? What does sodium do to a body ...
10
votes
2answers
263 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
27k views

Which shades/hues of color are easiest to distinguish for humans?

I'm trying to represent data graphically and am using a variation of hue/lightness to distinguish one data point from the next. I would like to use a color that would allow me to convey most ...
9
votes
1answer
111 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
832 views

How much weight/volume do microbes occupy within the human body?

Microorganisms constitute the bulk of all the biomass on Earth. I weighed myself yesterday, and wondered how much less I would weigh if I were completely free of bacteria and microbes, inside and out. ...
8
votes
1answer
245 views

How do the pharmacodynamics of the NSAIDs differ and are there “resistant” COX phenotypes?

I know that the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen) affect the enzymes cyclooxygenase (types I and II). Is there any difference in the degree to which these ...
7
votes
1answer
181 views

Is it biologically possible for an adult's eye color to change?

Can it be that the adult eye can change color? Specifically my question is about a unilateral color change, such that the color of one eye remains constant, while the other changes color over time. ...
6
votes
1answer
76 views

What's the worst that can happen from too much sleep deprivation? Can you die?

It is well known that sleep deprivation causes considerable discomfort in humans (and has even used as a form of torture), but nevertheless there have been people who went through protracted sleep ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

What causes the colors we see in eyes?

Genetics aside, what are the biochemical reasons the different colours of human irises? Also, related, how does eye colour change, particularly in childhood? (example: my eyes used to be blue, ...
6
votes
1answer
196 views

How does skin healing work?

I stacked my bike and split my head right open. About three weeks later the scab falls off and the skin is sealed over, like magic! How does it all work? How does the brain know that part of the ...
5
votes
2answers
79 views

Why can't we defibrillate the heart within 1 minute after ventricular fibrillation by electroshock?

We mostly can defibrillate the heart before 1 min of ventricular fibrillation by electroshock.Then we often can't do defibrillate it with electroshock. What's the reason and What's the best way to ...
5
votes
1answer
710 views

Are there any effects of elevated Cysteine levels on cognitive function?

I'm looking at this diagram of homocysteine metabolism and see two distinct pathways that the amino acid may get metabolized to: with vitamin B12 it gets converted back into methionine, while with B6 ...
4
votes
2answers
213 views

The gender of offspring of Twins?

Given identical twin males, Michael and Douglas, Douglas and his wife have four children, all of whom are girls. Michael and his wife have only one child, a boy, and are expecting another. What are ...
4
votes
2answers
431 views

Why doesn't the human skin grow back exactly how it was before being damaged?

Very simple: Why (and how) is regenerated skin different from original ? As we know we lose skin cells that becomes the dust in out homes and it always grows back to full thickness right ? So when I ...
4
votes
1answer
105 views

What light intensity determines the start/end of a photoperiod in humans?

I'm reading this article, which discusses the influence of Long Photoperiod (LP) and Short Photoperiod (SP) on melatonin production: HIOMT drives the photoperiodic changes in the amplitude of the ...
3
votes
1answer
171 views

Does an allergic reaction kill body cells?

I have wondered what actually happens in an allergic reaction that causes the symptoms such as pain, rash etc. Is it possible that the human body actually kills its own cells in the process?
2
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2answers
50 views

What effect does the Barr body have, in relation to female Turner syndrome?

Why do persons with Turner syndrome have developmental abnormalities, when normal XX-females do not, even though they only have 1 active X chromosome? From what I know, one X-chromosome is ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

How many different smells can a human recognize?

How many different smells can a human recognize? If the space of smells is not discrete, how many dimensions it has (for example, the space of colors is three-dimensional).
1
vote
1answer
54 views

Gastro-intestinal physiology reference

I am a physicist but I have always wanted to understand how my digestion takes place in as much detail as possible. I have no idea about books or reference on the subject of Gastro-intestinal and ...
1
vote
2answers
118 views

Which was the last significant event in human evolution? What's next?

At 10.000 BC (12 ka), we became the last of the Homo species on Earth. In evolutionary terms this is a very little time range to something happen, but I'm wondering anyway, in this meantime which are ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

What would be the best design for spike-and-recovery and linearity-of-dilution validation experiments in one 96-well ELISA plate?

I have searched in the web for a detailed explanation of doing such validation experiment, but unfortunately couldn't find a satisfactory one. I came across the following sources: Thermo ...
22
votes
2answers
8k views

What causes fingerprints to form and why is the pattern formed unique?

I've found research that suggests that the reason we develop fingerprints is because they aid us with feeling surfaces (Scheibert, et al. 2008) and not to increase friction and help with the gripping ...
14
votes
2answers
159 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

What causes the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria?

I understand bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics due to selection pressures, but how do resistant bacteria process antibiotics when exposed to it, compared to non-resistant bacteria. Also, ...
11
votes
1answer
797 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
3answers
370 views

Athletes: nature vs. nurture?

Having watched a lot of olympians the last few weeks, I was struck by how many of them have actually spent their wholes lives/careers training for their one event (be in running a marathon, or ...