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

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140 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
124 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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3answers
530 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
78 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
709 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
737 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
685 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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3answers
8k 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
629 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
253 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
234 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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3answers
208 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
171 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
2k views

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
288 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
619 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
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
282 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 ...
7
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1answer
144 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 ...
7
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1answer
432 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 ...
7
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1answer
187 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
89 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
1k 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
358 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
228 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
420 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
504 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
234 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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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 ...
6
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1answer
685 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
102 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
500 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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5answers
228 views

Is the amount of blood that flows through every vein and artery per minute really a constant?

I was listening lectures from Mark Saltzman via Open Yale Courses. Now, if I did not understand him wrong, he said that the amount of blood that travels through every vein and artery in our bodies per ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
6
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1answer
248 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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2answers
677 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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2answers
50 views

Why do epithelial cells arrest in response to serum?

Primary epithelial cells, for example human mammary epithelium, fail to proliferate (arrest) in serum-containing medium. Therefore, a common growth medium for epithelium contains pituitary extract ...
6
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1answer
241 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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2answers
807 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 ...
6
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1answer
6k 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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2answers
243 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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3answers
295 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 ...
6
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1answer
58 views

How can hyperthyroidism induce osteoporosis?

It says in my physiology notes that hyperthyroidism can cause osteoporosis. I've been trying to figure out how this could be possible for a little more than an hour now. Every article that I look at ...
6
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2answers
32k 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 ...
6
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1answer
1k 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
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1answer
72 views

What is the top speed of muscle contraction?

Currently I am looking into what muscles groups are most used during a football kick. I have a hypothesis that the quadriceps are not as used as most people think because the momentum the swing ...
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2answers
2k views

What physiological processes within a muscle cause the latent period in a muscle fiber?

This is a lab question I cant find the answer in the lab manual or in the text book. What physiological processes in a muscle cause the latent period in a muscle fiber? Please help. Edit: The latent ...