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

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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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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. ...
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201 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 ...
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160 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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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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149 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 ...
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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 ...
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159 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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321 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 ...
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137 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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297 views

Would my hands sweat this much if I wasn't wearing gloves?

I've wondered about this for a long time, and hopefully someone here has a reasonable answer. I'm a cell and molecular biologist, and much of my time at the bench is spent wearing (usually nitrile) ...
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385 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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3k 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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187 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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169 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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842 views

How is membrane capacitance related to the increased speed of saltatory conduction?

Here is the original question which inspired my question. As explained by the answers there, the reason saltatory conduction in myelinated neurons is faster than non-myelinated conduction is because ...
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278 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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199 views

Is a raised baseline between T and QRS normal in any ECG lead?

Here are excerpts from an unknown ECG lead. I find it weird that the "baseline" changes after the T wave and doesn't return until after the following QRS complex. Is that normal/expected for any lead? ...
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63 views

Case study and speculations on the brain of Edward Mordake

I am very interested in the case of the man named Edward Mordake who lived in the 19th century. In particular, he had two faces. If you have not heard of this man, please, search this up as there are ...
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56 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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240 views

What happens to fecal matter if it's continually re-eaten?

After class today, the topic of eating one's one fecal matter came up. There was a sharp divide as to how people thought the defecations would change. I realize this is a bit of an odd question but ...
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66 views

Is hands-only CPR as effective as traditional CPR?

Is hands-only CPR as effective as traditional CPR ? Wouldn't 30 chest compressions + 2 rescue breaths be more effective if the person doesn't have a pulse AND not breathing? From my understanding ...
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77 views

Examples of genes involved in plastic responses

Adaptive plasticity involves sensing the environment and responding adaptively to it. Intuitively, I would think that this process may ask for a more or less complex genetic machinery of regulation of ...
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145 views

Mechanism of Muscle Growth

According to this video (sorry for the poor reference but it represents my level of understanding in physiology), muscle grow as a consequence of repairing micro-lesions. How are these micro-lesions ...
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98 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 ...
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105 views

Enlargement of thyroid gland

Why does thyroid gland enlarge both in hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism? Hypothyroid goitre is due to lack of iodine in diet and hyperthyroid goitre (Exopthalmic goitre, Grave's disease) is due to ...
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69 views

Where do most mutations come from, mitosis or meiosis?

According to this (old) paper there are 10 times more mutations during meiosis than during mitosis. One reason for that is that recombination often causes replication error and therefore mutations. ...
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163 views

Which fruit compounds affect the speed of fructose absorption?

Blood fructose levels are not regulated by insulin in the human body. This means that the body absorbs pure fructose very fast, and it raises the blood fructose levels rapidly. Do fruits/ vegetation ...
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118 views

How does anadromous fish physiology “know” to switch from salt to freshwater and back?

What mechanism allows anadromous fish (like salmon) to switch from salt to fresh water and back? How does the fish "know" to switch its physiology and do other fish possess the biochemical machinery ...
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117 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 ...
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152 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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The number of nipples (breasts) a species has?

Only mammals have mammaries and mammary glands. What evolutionary factors determines the number of mammaries (nipples/teats/breasts) a species has? Is it always an even number?
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360 views

How does vasoconstriction/vasodilation change blood pressure?

Background: I am coming at this question from an electrical engineering background, and I feel like I am missing certain assumptions that are going into the statement found in my physiology textbook, ...
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266 views

Body size, what are the evolutionary trade-offs?

Background Considering just the "Kingdom Animalia" branch of organisms. It is clear that bigger does not necessarily mean better - there is large variation in body size... From the 94 µm long ...
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Why are (some) cats attracted by bleach?

(Sorry if this question is only partly biological) I have noticed that several cats (including the one that keeps sleeping in my house), are fond of the odor of bleach (eau de Javel) and chlorine. ...
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337 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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104 views

Question about epinephrine

In my class we were told that adrenaline (or epinephrine) causes vasoconstriction. My question was I had always thought that people took this via an EpiPen when they were having an allergic reaction. ...
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232 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 ...
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228 views

Why do skin and nail go blue in cyanosis?

I have learned that Cyanosis presents with blue skin and nails. What is the reason for the blue coloration of the skin and nails? Why wont the skin and nails turn another color in the visible spectrum ...
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2k 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 ...
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165 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?
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91 views

Does transplanted heart have full sympaticus without medication?

I am reading this and this where I am considering this sentence [N]o baseline parasympathetic innervation [in transplanted heart]. Does this sentence imply that the heart work then in full ...
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88 views

What is the reason behind more severe proteinuria in nephrotic syndrome than in nephritic syndrome?

Why is there less protein loss via urine in case of nephritic syndrome than in case of nephrotic syndrome?
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227 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.
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185 views

Negative feedback in the fructose metabolism in liver

What happens in liver when large amount of fructose is consumed? I vaguely remember my biochemistry lecturer telling us that the enzymes that process fructose in the liver does not have negative ...
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174 views

How do animals handle light refraction in different media?

For a human, when diving underwater, everything is blurry because of the water's different refractive index compared to that of air, which we are accustomed to. How do animals, like turtles, seals or ...
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150 views

What is the physiological difference between cortisone and cortisol?

There is only hydrogen bond different. Cortisol is synthesized by our body, while cortisone is given to the patient. Why you cannot give cortisol directly to the patient? I think the reason is ...
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105 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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60 views

How are smell and taste in fish differentiated?

The senses of taste and smell in different fish classes are described as two distinct senses; smell is mediated by the nasal openings, and taste by epithelial taste buds. They are both forms of ...
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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 ...