The study of the normal function of living organisms and the means by which it is achieved.

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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 ...
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168 views

How does one maintain balance sleepwalking?

Anectodal. Feel free to shoot it down. Walking is an acquired skill; As far as I'm concerned exhaustion causes disorientation. Even after waking up it sometimes takes a second or so to get balanced. ...
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1k views

Do women have testosterone?

In a documentary on fitness I saw it was stated that women can't get big like men because of their low concentration of testosterone. If it is true that women have testosterone, where is it made? Why ...
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452 views

What causes the characteristic 'gleam' in the eye of a living being?

The title is pretty much what I seek to know. Unless the other person is play-acting, one can often make out the eye of a living person has a shine-of-life to it; a cadaver does not. Similarly the ...
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3k views

Why does having cold hands hurt?

(1). Why does having cold hands create a painful sensation? Is it a physical effect, maybe a protection mechanism from evolution? (2). Why, if one's hands are cold, does it feel as if they are more ...
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97 views

Does muscle get bigger by increase in size of individual cells or increase in number?

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I have the claim that a muscle never increases its amount of cells but, if the muscle gets bigger, it's simply because individual cells get bigger. The book Anatomy ...
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6k views

What is the cause of muscle cramps?

According to wikipedia, muscle cramps are caused by myosin fibers not being able to break free from the actin filaments during contraction, resulting in a prolonged contraction. Obviously a lack of ...
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1answer
376 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 ...
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4k views

What is the normal duration of human sexual intercourse?

Wikipedia is saying: Men's typical ejaculatory latency is approximately 4–8 minutes How the researchers measured this? How did they know if the test subjects weren't suffering from premature ...
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532 views

Cat purring: What are some possible underlying mechanisms behind purring and bone remodeling and formation?

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-do-cats-purr The article above says that cats purr mostly when they're wounded or under duress. They hypothesis that cats purring leads to ...
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149 views

Would muscle fatigue still occur if aerobic conditions for a working muscle is maintained?

Put another way if the muscle is given everything it needs to contract and do work will it ever get tired or have a reduction in energy efficiency? As far as I understand muscles depend upon a ...
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178 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 ...
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502 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 ...
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115 views

Task-dependent “reversed” handedness: why use left hand for some tasks? How is it controlled by the brain?

I am right-handed. Which means that when I hammer down a nail, I hold the nail in my left hand, with which I can hold it straight and at a controlled position. This is true in situations where the ...
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3answers
90 views

Why do I feel funny in my tummy when riding a virtual roller coaster?

I've ridden a virtual roller coaster on an Oculus Rift. I felt tension as I went up to the top, but more interestingly I actually felt my stomach drop when I went down the steep drop on the other ...
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694 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 ...
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133 views

What gaseous substances do humans emit?

Other than CO₂ and Methane what other gases do humans produce or emit? For example, does skin decomposition, or aerobic respiration emit any special gases that people don't normally realize or know ...
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312 views

Can I estimate leaf temperature from air temperature? What other information would be required?

Physiological measurements such as respiration rate and assimilation rate depend on temperature. Most papers report tissue temperature (e.g. leaf temperature for leaf measurements), although some ...
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2answers
127 views

What type of force holds my body rigid & doesn't make it collapse?

My query is that as atoms & its molecules have inter & intra molecular forces,like that only what type of force keeps the cells bonded to each other & prevent it from collapsing ever ...
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101 views

Disproportion in cranial nerve innervation?

The cranial nerve innervation is highly disproportionate, as far as humans are concerned. I am not sure of the advantage of being innervated by cranial nerve versus being innervated by a normal ...
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1answer
279 views

Why is membrane potential not zero at equilibrium?

For the squid giant axon, the membrane potential computed by the Goldman equation is -60mV. And the Nernst potentials are (the differences between the K+ and the Na+'s Nernst potential and the ...
6
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1answer
160 views

How is hibernation/aestivation different from anesthesia?

How do hibernation/aestivation happen? I read on wikipedia that a squirrel injected with the body fluids of a hibernating fellow is more prone to hibernation. If hibernation/aestivation are driven ...
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137 views

Is it possible to have life in vacuum?

I just got struck by curiosity now: Intuition says no, but I've never had confirmation of it.
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814 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, ...
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135 views

What protocol does the nervous system use?

I just read How does an inhibitory synapse communicate to the cell body of a neuron? and found myself asking this question ... hopefully I'm not asking the same thing Any body possessed of a nervous ...
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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 ...
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74 views

Why do small organisms make faster movements than big organisms?

I hesitated to ask this question because it seems so obvious and intuitive. However, I am not able to explain this tendency. Background It seems to me that small organisms make faster movements than ...
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90 views

By what mechanism can hypoglycemia induce fainting?

Hypoglycemia (Low blood sugar) is said to be among the potential causes of human-faintings. I was wondering by which mechanism this happens. Google search results are abundant; there are lists of ...
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238 views

Skeletal muscles in clam

Although skeletal muscle fatigues fairly rapidly, clams have a protein called paramyosin that allows them to sustain contractions for up to a month. What might be the role of paramyosin at the ...
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1answer
1k views

How much gas is exchanged in one human breath?

When we breathe, our lungs absorb a portion of the oxygen in the air, and replace it with some amount of carbon dioxide and water vapor. Typically, how much $O_2$ (in grams, milliliters, or moles for ...
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143 views

Do dogs have something different about their physiology that allows them to pant without hyperventilating?

I was wondering this as I considered how effective panting would be for humans as a means of cooling.
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71 views

How do diving marine mammals avoid decompression sickness?

How do marine mammals, whose very survival depends on regular diving, manage to avoid decompression sickness or "the bends?" Do they, indeed, avoid it?
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8k views

What could cause hairs to gray at the tips but not the roots?

I have noticed that some of my sporadic gray hairs are gray at the tip side but oddly, not near the roots. Some are even only gray in the middle. I find all of this very counter intuitive, and I ...
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2answers
452 views

What metabolic activities are performed by a developing human fetus's liver?

I understand that organ function varies with the stages of development. Does a fetal liver EVER perform lipogenesis, gluconeogenesis, make bile, etc? Or does it only begin performing these actions ...
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32 views

Components of the concept of Developmental Noise?

Developmental noise is a concept that correspond to the amount of possible phenotypic variance of a given genotype in a given environment. Intrinsic noise (aka Cellular noise) is a component of ...
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245 views

Biological Pathway of Lipid Hypothesis

I've read a lot on both sides of the debate of low carb vs low fat diets trying to make some sense of what is being proposed. The lipid hypothesis runs roughly along the lines that we have lots of ...
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1answer
64 views

How does a Na+/H+ antiporter drive osmosis in this “osmotic motor”?

This recent paper in Cell describes a cancer cell using osmotic pressure to move in confined spaces. The cell preferentially inserts Na+/H+ antiporters in the leading membrane. I want someone to ...
5
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1answer
468 views

Why does it hurt more when you touch a nerve directly?

I am not a biologist nor know much about biology (so please explain in layman's terms) however I have always been curious as to why this is. What causes the difference in pain between touching an ...
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1answer
77 views

Competition for mates in sea horses

This source here ...research has shown that it is STILL the males that compete for females. says that male sea horses compete for mates but this source here Females exhibit a ...
5
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130 views

functional hypocholesterolemia due to very high HDL or low LDL?

Nutritional and medical recommendations about cholesterol seem to focus exclusively on hypercholesterolemia, and as such, they provide only a maximum desirable level for LDL and a minimum for HDL. ...
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3answers
120 views

How does strength of a pulse related to EKG(ECG)?

There are variabilities in the heart rate as well as strength of heartbeats. I want to know if one can predict which heartbeat will be strong or weak based on the corresponding EKG/ECG signal. I am ...
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66 views

Is the empty GI tract a hollow tube with air inside, or is it generally collapsed until food is eaten?

I have heard that "air in the GI tract" results in flatulence and burping etc, however I initially assumed that the "empty" GI tract was a hollow tube filled with air anyway. So on an empty stomach ...
4
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1answer
212 views

How does a pine cone open?

When a pine cone is wet, it remains closed. However, when it's dry it opens again. From the perspective of physics or biomechanics, what is the mechanism that allows a pine cone to open and close as ...
4
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1answer
114 views

What are some examples of scaling laws in biology?

I've seen that metabolic rate scales logarithmically as function of mass for many animals over an extremely large span of parameters. What other scaling laws exist at the individual level?
4
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174 views

Where do the 31 spinal nerves start/meet?

Which part of the brain is the first place (from top to bottom) where all 31 pairs of spinal nerves (on each side) meet? Or if they all start at one place - where is that? Nominally, the beginning of ...
4
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1answer
135 views

What limits the size of fish compared to marine mammals?

The largest extant fish species is the whale shark (Rhincodon typus). With a length of 13 meters and a mass of about 20-30 metric tons, the whale shark is relatively small compared to the largest ...
4
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1answer
147 views

How does ethanol interact with insulin?

I know that ethanol increases insulin secretion--could someone explain why? All I have found till now is experimental data analyses. I am interested in mechanism of alcohol consumption.
4
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1answer
86 views

Are there any situations in which phenylephrine is preferred to pseudoephedrine?

In the mid 2000s in the US, due to issues of drug enforcement, pseudoephedrine containing medications were brought behind the pharmacy counter and in most cases require ID, and phenylephrine was ...
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1answer
70 views

How efficient is the human body at metabolizing food?

My friend and I were having a discussion over how "efficient" human digestion is. If a human ate a 1000 calorie hamburger, how many of those calories (how much energy) does the body process into ...
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307 views

Extraretinal photoreception in mammals? [duplicate]

A Finnish firm Valkee sells light-ear-plugs against thing such as jetlag. I asked a researcher in Aalto university how do they really work and he responded ...