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

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What gases are needed for humans to breathe?

I will be beginning a science project about sustaining life on space stations. I already know that pure oxygen is harmful for humans but would $O_2$ + $CO_2$ be enough for humans to breathe in or do ...
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1answer
2k views

fibroblast cells and fibers

I am interested in fibroblast cells in human arteries. Here are the things that I am not clear at the moment and I could not find any answer from the literature: What are the dimensions of these ...
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1answer
55 views

Deep diving in mammals

Mammals like seals often dive and can remain under water for more than 70 minutes. How do seals know when is it the time to come up?
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1answer
66 views

What is a good review article source for Physiology?

I am looking review articles for Physiology. For instance, Physiological explanation of steps of measurement of the metabolism by Douglas-Haldane. There is no section for Physiology or metabolism in ...
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1answer
1k views

Ammonia smell after physical exercise? What is the explanation? [duplicate]

After exercising vigorously one can sometimes smell ammonia and it feels like it's coming from within the nose actually. There is no indication that others can smell it when I do (i.e. seems to be ...
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1answer
458 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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1answer
222 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
842 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 ...
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1answer
51 views

Immunity during pregnancy

I have learnt that our immune system distinguishes self from non-self by using MHC. So a mother during pregnancy should also develop antibodies against the fetus as it is also a genetically different ...
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1answer
495 views

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

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
104 views

Are humans more aggressive during a full moon? [closed]

Is it true that we are more agressive during the night when there is a full moon? If true, could this be a remnant from times where we needed to hunt for our food and so could see more at night when ...
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1answer
151 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
149 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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1answer
465 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
111 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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3answers
185 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
432 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
180 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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2answers
610 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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1answer
112 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
192 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
483 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 ...
0
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2answers
123 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 ...
2
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2answers
205 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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518 views
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356 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
6k 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
430 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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1answer
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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2answers
2k 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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1answer
210 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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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
196 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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1answer
3k views

Slow-oxidative fibres vs fast-glycotic fibres

Why do slow oxidative muscle fibres contain more mitochondria compared to fast-glycolytic muscle fibres?
7
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1answer
408 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
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
157 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
719 views

Is trembling an advantageous response during periods of anxiety?

I originally had planned to ask about whether there was any biological truth in the popular phrase "shivering with fright". However, after doing a fair bit of googling it seems that there is a lot ...
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1answer
215 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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3answers
94 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
534 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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2answers
201 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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1answer
353 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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2answers
367 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?
31
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1answer
850 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 ...
7
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1answer
369 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 ...
8
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3answers
601 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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2answers
218 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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3answers
274 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
166 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 ...