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

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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 ...
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1answer
2k 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
882 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
81 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
173 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
227 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
175 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
257 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?
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1answer
1k 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: ...
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1answer
141 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
914 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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3answers
89 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 ...
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1answer
481 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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1answer
318 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 ...
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1answer
295 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
168 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 ...
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2answers
185 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. ...
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2answers
213 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 ...
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2answers
372 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
82 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
260 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
361 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
152 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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1answer
336 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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0answers
57 views

Physiological or molecular difference before and after sleep?

I know that the details of the process of sleep aren't entirely known, but have always wondered why I feel rested after sleep. Biologically, what differences can be directly observed in the human ...
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3answers
136 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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1answer
164 views

Is there a way for a 19th century scientist to prove that the octopus doesn't revive?

Say a sophiscated scientist in the 19th century noted that applying soy sauce on a dead octopus leads to movement of the legs, as a result of the voltage differences resulting from the salt in the soy ...
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1answer
766 views

What is itching?

What exactly at the molecular level is itching? What physiological function does itching serve, if any? I cant remember the reference but a PLCb3 null mice lost the itch phenotype, so presumably it is ...
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1answer
176 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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1answer
48 views

Is there such thing as “biological cycles” of activity/performance/etc in mammals?

I'm looking for some information about the cycles of increased/decreased activity, mental performance or endurance that are related to a mammal's age and the time of a season. First of all, I'm not ...
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1answer
97 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
184 views

Does stress physically age our body?

Going by the assumption that stress eventually triggers a flight/fight response, and the subsequent realization that flight/fight puts the body in a system of readiness to use it's available resources ...
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5answers
341 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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1answer
174 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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1answer
2k views

What is the “lifecycle” of an average eschar and what types of cells are involved in each stage?

(after some deliberation in the comments, I've decided to make the question more general) An eschar or "dry scab" often forms at a site of injury over a large cut or sore. It seems as though the ...
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2answers
163 views

Can the body of any organism on Earth live without impairment both in vacuum, and within Earth's atmosphere?

I know from reading that a human in vacuum needs a space-suit to survive. Is the body of any organism on Earth capable of living equally in vacuum, and on/below Earth's surface within the ...
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1answer
344 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
2k views

What are the units of Q10 (temperature sensitivity)?

$Q_{10}$ is the increase in a rate (e.g. activity of an enzyme) observed with a 10° temperature increase. According to Wikipedia: ...
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1answer
18k views

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. ...
6
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1answer
193 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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1answer
260 views

Why apes started to contemplate and become altruistic? [closed]

I was asking this first on philosophy forums, but it is suggested, that answer could be found from evolutionary view of point, so here we go: Again my question raised when thinking of myths, their ...
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1answer
204 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 ...
5
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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 ...
6
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1answer
410 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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2answers
391 views

Below which temperature human muscles don't work?

When one exposes theirs body parts to cold environment (especially foot and hands), they may be numb, with temporarily blocked both muscles. What is typical body temperature below which human muscles ...
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1answer
933 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, ...
6
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1answer
756 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 ...
4
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0answers
108 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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3answers
4k views

What actually happens when my leg 'falls asleep'?

Most people have experienced the temporary loss of feeling and tingling in their leg resulting from sitting in an abnormal position for a short while. Usually you get a loss of feeling in your leg ...