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

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How are our senses dimmed during sleep?

Our senses are not as sensitive during sleep compared to wake. There is an arousal threshold during sleep that only when it is overcome will it wake a person up. My question is how is this arousal ...
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1answer
26k 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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2answers
428 views

Where do the bacteria within the vagina originate from?

I understand that it's feasible the bacteria within the gastrointestinal tract originate from the food we eat and air we breath, but where does this population of microbes originate from?
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5answers
710 views

Why is the human body able to repair a broken bone and not a heart muscle?

The human body can repair skin/organ laceration, fractures, even repair nerves - albeit the duration and rate of recovery differ. For instance: The burn scar on my arm from the hot soldering iron ...
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3answers
10k 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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2answers
3k views

How do the lungs act as a sieve to trap blood clots?

Does anyone know? I'm curious to find out as my human anatomy and physiology book doesn't go into much detail on how the lungs function as such
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2answers
350 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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1answer
264 views

What is the convention for log notation in biology?

I'm reading through some oldish (1980s) papers on length-weight relationships in fish and crustaceans. Many report log-log relationships without specifying whether this is natural log, base 10, etc. ...
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1answer
211 views

What are the effects of caffeine on the mammalian circulatory system?

A friend of mine told me an anecdote about his mother, who drank too much caffeine, to the point she became hypotensive and would pass out. Because caffeine acts as a stimulant, I'm assuming the ...
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2answers
150 views

Why can good music raise goosebumps?

Listening to really good music right now, I was wondering why it raises goosebumps. Is there any physiological reason for this reaction to specific wavelengths or something? EDIT: Due sometimes ...
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1answer
135 views

Why pouring salt in the wounds is painful?

Pouring salt in the wounds is so painful. I am sure you all experienced this. whats happend there?
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754 views

What causes feeling of feet falling asleep to be delayed?

This answer explains the sensation of extremities "falling asleep" as a result of sustained pressure on a nerve. The answer links to an external web page that says that the feeling "quickly goes away ...
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1answer
80 views

What is the effect of exendin on beta-cells?

Do you know if exendin, an analog of GLP-1 (glucagon like peptide-1), can be toxic for beta-cells? For example, what is the effect on INS1 or Min6 cells at a certain concentration or after 90 mins of ...
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1answer
2k views

Why is the brain dependent on glucose?

The strict dependence of the (human) brain on glucose has always been puzzling to me. While ketones can substitute for a portion of the brain's energy needs, it cannot substitute completely: blood ...
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3answers
841 views

What triggers meiosis in gonadal cells?

What specific biochemical processes are involved in inducing meiosis rather than mitosis? Why are gonadal cells the only cells in the human body which do undergo meiosis?
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3answers
927 views

Where does extra blood come from to fill your muscles during exercise?

Let's say I go to the gym and lift some weights an hour. During this time my arms will grow due to the "pump" -- the extra blood rushing in to feed the muscles. For example, I've measured about 2-3 ...
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2answers
736 views

Why is blood pressure higher the more distal an artery is?

Why is blood pressure generally higher in more distal arteries?
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2answers
295 views

Why don't we see turbulence in the aorta even in normal situations?

I read about the Windkessel effect. Then I read about pulse pressure waves getting reflected from the periphery. If the pulse pressure wave is reflected during diastole and at the same time blood is ...
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1answer
244 views

Does the oxygen concentration equilibrate between red blood cells in the liver sinusoids?

In the sinusoids of the liver, venous blood from the hepatic portal system mixes with arterial blood from the hepatic arteries. Do oxygen molecules move between oxygenated RBCs and non-oxygenated ...
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1answer
1k 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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2answers
45k 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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3answers
219 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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1answer
174 views

Dimensionless number for blood volume

Comments from the question How is the blood volume of a living organism measured without killing it? by @Nico discussed that the time of blood recirculation scales with the size of the organism. I was ...
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2answers
2k 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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2answers
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Can human organs be transplanted indefinitely?

I watched this movie, where they rented hearts to people for a year. I wonder if it is possible to transplant a heart indefinitely from person to person, or does the heart have a lifetime? So, do ...
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1answer
1k 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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2answers
317 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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1answer
665 views

Crusty eyes in the morning

Often, after waking up from a night's sleep hard, flaky, pale yellow crystals are deposited around the eyelids (which easily wash off with water). What are these? Why are they yellow? What are they ...
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1answer
9k 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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4answers
14k views

Why do men have a higher hematocrit (red blood cell count) than women?

The hematocrit, also known as packed cell volume (PCV) or erythrocyte volume fraction (EVF), is the volume percentage (%) of red blood cells in blood. It is normally 45% for men and 40% for women. so,...
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1answer
2k views

Does the human ear adapt to noise levels?

I have noticed lately that if I go to sleep, when I have my radio running, it is on lowest volume, I still consider it kind of loud. In the morning, when being on the edge of waking up, I hear the ...
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3answers
454 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 side....
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1answer
147 views

Counterintuitive action of Vitamin D?

Vitamin D acts in a way which to me is counterintuitive. It functionally supplemets Parathormone. It in the intestinal tract steps up calcium absorption by altering nuclear gene expression and also ...
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1answer
481 views

Do mosquitoes need to pump blood out of the host?

Many species of mosquitoes have bloodsucking females. When they bite a host, do they need to pump? Or does the sheer blood pressure combined with capillary action suffice to make the blood rush into ...
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1answer
107 views

Blood clumping in mosquitos

Will a mosquito die due to blood clumping if it sucks blood from two persons having different blood group? What will happen in its gut? Is there any mechanism to avoid clumping ? Or mosquitos know ...
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1answer
114 views

The mechanism of mechanoreception?

I am interested in knowing the molecular mechanism behind mechanoreception/mechanotransduction (i.e. mechanism behind receptor potential generation on mechanical stimulation). I know that most ...
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1answer
189 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. ...
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1answer
101 views

Excretion of monovalent and divalent ions in sharks

I have heard that sharks excrete $\ce{Na+}$ and $\ce{Cl-}$ by their gill surfaces but divalent ions like magnesium are excreted through feces. What could be the reason behind this?
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1answer
2k views

What really happens when a body is tired?

This may be anecdotal; please feel free to vote to close. After staying awake for an extended duration, I usually find myself having to take extra effort to focus my eyes on an object. Similarly ...
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1answer
393 views

Are cerebellar basket and stellate neurons actually different cell types?

The title more or less says it all, but to contextualise a bit: Cerebellar molecular layer interneurons have been classified, probably since Cajal, into the basket cells, which synapse onto the soma ...
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1answer
364 views

Can humans live without their right atrium?

The right atrium is one of four chambers (two atria and two ventricles) in the hearts of mammals (including humans) and archosaurs (which include birds and crocodilians). It receives deoxygenated ...
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1answer
474 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 ...
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1answer
599 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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1answer
240 views

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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1answer
183 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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2answers
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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1answer
1k views

Why does a fetus drinks and urinates into the amniotic fluid?

I was reading this website saying that fetuses urinate into the amniotic fluid. It also mentioned that, because we drink the amniotic fluid, we’ve been drinking our urine for months. However, why do ...
6
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1answer
815 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 ...
6
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2answers
122 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 (...
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1answer
543 views

Relationship between nerves and axons

I just wanted to get a realistic viewpoint of our nervous system. I understand arteries and veins, but I wanted to know how similar our nervous system is to that? I understand we have neurons (...