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

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367 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 ...
9
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3answers
529 views

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
379 views

Why is the blood pressure in the superior vena cava during inhalation less than during the exhalation?

For further investigation into the progress of the blood pressure, we will measure a patient's blood pressure in the superior vena cava measured during inhalation and during an exhalation. His heart ...
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1answer
101 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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1answer
564 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
842 views

What organs are absolutely needed by the human body?

The title is my question: what organs are absolutely needed (fatal if injured/removed) by the human body and perhaps animals in general? I'm not asking which organs are mechanically replaceable, but ...
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1answer
285 views

What are the long-term negative effects of going without water/food for a period of time [closed]

There are no good answers anywhere. so asking: this is not about days of survival without water. This is about long-term negative effects induced from not drinking water for at least the mentioned ...
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0answers
78 views

Why do ion concentrations change with different secretion rates in pancreatic juice?

Why is it that when secretory rate increases in the pancreas the concentration of chloride ions decreases, and the concentration of bicarbonate increases in the production of isotonic NaCl secretion? ...
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0answers
76 views

Size of classical liver lobule across species

A classical liver lobule is made up of a central vein and the portal triads. A typical human liver weighs around 3 lbs. , while a typical bovine liver weighs around 12 lbs. I was wondering if anyone ...
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0answers
339 views

How is Hypertonic Urine Produced in a Mammalian Kidney?

I know that the ascending loop of Henle is impermeable to water and ions, and, by end of the ascending limb, the osmolarity of the tubular fluid is very low due to the active transport of ions out ...
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2answers
138 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
145 views

What is the energy balance of cooking?

If I cook some food, I get apparently several energetic advantages: thermal : the temperature of the food is closer or superior to the temperature of my body or internal organs, so I do not have to ...
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4answers
4k 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
60 views

Is stereo olfactory ability restricted to humans?

Most animals I see around seem to have two nostrils - humans, snakes, birds, fish .. and so on. From reading online I see that 2 nostrils provide a stereo olfactory effect. This stereo effect is ...
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1answer
117 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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2answers
5k 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
395 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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2answers
296 views

What exothermic reaction distinguishes warm blooded animals?

I would appreciate an answer specifically in the form of an exothermic chemical reaction. Namely, the one primarily responsible for generating heat in warm blooded animals that does not take place in ...
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2answers
96 views

Is there any evolutionary/physiological advantage to multi-lateral symmetry?

Just wondering ; I get the impression a large number of multicellular organisms are multi-lateral in their physical structure. Why would evolution/mutation have retained multi-lateral symmetry in an ...
6
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1answer
45k views

What causes random long white body hairs?

I'm sure many of you have experienced this - you scratch your back or brush your hand over your arm and find a ridiculously long thin white hair, sometimes as long as 3 or 4 inches. I know a few ...
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2answers
153 views

What chemicals can be detected from one's sweat?

This question came to mind after reading this article. The article speaks of inducing sweating to determine by a roundabout fashion the amount of salt therein. I'm no medic but I find myself wondering ...
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0answers
34 views

What is the mechanism behind ventilatory acclimatization?

In my respiratory physiology lectures, my professor explained that hypoxia-induced hyperventilation occurs in 2 stages when people try to acclimate at high altitudes. My question is about the ...
5
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1answer
119 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. ...
4
votes
2answers
285 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 ...
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3answers
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 ...
3
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0answers
79 views

What are the physiological effects of wine?

I have read that alcohol in general and wine in particular can have advantageous as well as detrimental effects on human health. Is this true? What are the physiological effects of consuming wine in ...
5
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1answer
712 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
575 views

Physiological indicators of happiness and well being

If I understand it correctly, levels of serotonin in the brain can indicate if a person is happy. What other physiological measures indicate happiness or well being for a humans? I am looking for ...
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1answer
47 views

How is olfactory acuity rated/measured?

Acuity of one's sight is rated on the 20/20 scale. An online search appeared to indicate there is no comparable 'standard' to rate olfactory acuity. How is acuity of the olfactory system rated?
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1answer
136 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.
3
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1answer
198 views

what are the mechanics of sweating?

The causes of sweating aside, i.e. I'm not interested in which and how nerve signals are transmitted to sweat glands. But I would like to read a detailed account on what a sweat gland consists of, ...
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3answers
153 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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3answers
209 views

What difference does it make in the organism's physiology/metabolism whether oxygen binds reversibly or not?

A follow-up to How does hemoglobin-free blood transport oxygen? I'm unsure about the use of physiology/metabolism in the title there. The question in mind is whether this reversible binding makes an ...
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1answer
2k views

Slow-oxidative fibres vs fast-glycotic fibres

Why do slow oxidative muscle fibres contain more mitochondria compared to fast-glycolytic muscle fibres?
4
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1answer
877 views

Conversion rate of topical Retinol to Retinoic Acid (Tretinoin)?

I'm wondering if someone out there has more information than me. Retinoids have well known metabolic pathways in vivo, and it's usually something like: ...
5
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1answer
124 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
730 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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0answers
47 views

Patch-Clamping Neurons Resources

Are there any lectures available on Patch-Clamping? Were can I find a mathematical model of Patch-Clamp? (that can be easily implemented in matlab). I have found some step-by-step protocols on ...
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3answers
83 views

Are all healthy animals more likely to defecate near the end of a rest-cycle?

Just what the title states. It stems from observation & personal experience that a person/dog/cat/monkey is more likely to relieve oneself immediately after it wakes up from the peak-sleep cycle ...
6
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1answer
422 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 ...
9
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1answer
260 views

How can an albatross stay airborne for months?

Albatrosses, of the biological family Diomedeidae, are large seabirds allied to the procellariids, storm-petrels and diving-petrels in the order Procellariiformes. They range widely in the Southern ...
6
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1answer
252 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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3answers
152 views

How are long time periods measured in biological systems?

Biological systems are pretty good at measuring fairly long times, for example, menstrual cycles (month), or puberty (years). Counting days or years seems to be implausible, and chemical concentration ...
3
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2answers
151 views

Why is most tissue cellular?

Most tissue is comprised of cells. Why? It would seem inefficient to have so many individual nucleus, membranes, etc.? Specifically: Not all tissue is cellular. Much tissue is extracellular matrix. ...
2
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2answers
204 views

Is consuming sugar with food as beneficial as consuming glucose (~half of the amount of sugar)?

A few years back I heard at biology class that sugar's molecule consists of half the number of elements of a glucose molecule. So not counting the energy needed to transform two sugar molecules in one ...
3
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2answers
293 views

Why is the frog genome so much larger than a fish's?

As we have heard in the summaries of the human ENCODE project, 80 per cent of junk DNA appears to have an essential function. Many fish have a genome with only one tenth the size of a usual vertebrate ...
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2answers
65 views

Is vision a vestigial sense for deep ocean species?

Sunlight doesn't penetrate beyond a couple of hundred feet from the surface of the ocean. Species that exist at greater depth probably live in a state of perpetual night; yet from a quick google image ...
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3answers
229 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 ...
4
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1answer
305 views

What causes instinctive behaviour?

Some actions, almost behaviour, exist that are common across a species. For instance, based on personal observation, human babies try to taste anything new they encounter until they are a few score ...
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3answers
136 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.