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

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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 ...
31
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2answers
6k 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 ...
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3answers
727 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 ...
4
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1answer
355 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 ...
18
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3answers
520 views

Are human fetuses more likely to be male? [duplicate]

Question: From a physiological point of view, when sex is determined in a human fetus, is it equally likely to be male or female? Studies in this area typically measure age at birth, where the data ...
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2answers
4k 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 ...
3
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1answer
358 views

Elevated position effect on recovery times from upper respiratory infections at rest?

In nursing school, they advice for people with upper respiratory infections to be in a slightly elevated position at the head region when sleeping. My intuition of the reason is that the lymphatic ...
16
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1answer
589 views

How fast can a human run?

I'm a runner (cross country) and I'm always amazed at how fast Olympic sprinters are. There's a lot of hype about those in the 100-meter dash being the fastest in the world, and we're constantly ...
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2answers
1k views

Why do we get runny noses in the cold?

The most annoying thing for me about being cold is a runny nose. Is there an advantage to having a runny nose when cold? What does having a runny nose achieve?
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4answers
428 views

Why do the humans become sleepy after meals?

I don't know about all the mankind, but I know enough people, who becomes sleepy after their meals. Also, I'm not sure, what kind of food do they consume, but I personally get sleepy almost from any ...
2
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1answer
26 views

If targeting a certain daily water intake, do you have to compensate for beverages that promote diuresis?

Please forgive my ignorance on the topic and I hope this is a "on topic" question here. It was a toss up between this SE and Physical Fitness SE but I want a more scientific answer. I came at a ...
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1answer
2k views

Can food swallowed when a person is upside down reach the stomach?

If a person positions himself upside down and swallows food, will it reach the stomach against gravity? If so how?
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3answers
4k views

Is there any use of CO₂ in human body?

We all know CO₂ as a waste product of metabolism . Does CO₂ have any helpful role , apart from having a role in pH of blood ?
10
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228 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 ...
21
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3answers
432 views

How is the blood volume of a living organism measured without killing it?

How is the blood-volume of an organism measured without killing it? Note:The blood-volume of an organism is defined as the total volume of blood present inside that organism.
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3answers
272 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 ...
8
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3answers
892 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 ...
6
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1answer
525 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 (...
5
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2answers
352 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 ...
3
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2answers
214 views

What are the physiological roles of Hydrogen sulfide?

I am thinking why hydrogen sulfide has its effects in the body. For instance, it is one Salmonella's virulence factor. I am not sure if such a balance equations holds H2O + H2S ←→ ... Actually, I ...
16
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3answers
2k views

Do animals exist with an uneven total number of digits?

I recently finished reading Contact by Carl Sagan. In the book they talk about a pattern in the transcendental number like pi or e, and comment that it is found in base 10 or however many fingers the ...
14
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1answer
3k views

Why do some mammals not have testes in a scrotum?

Coming from an evolutionary approach, Is the only purpose of a scrotum to regulate the temperature of the testes? Knowing all mammals are warm blooded, shouldn't all mammals have testes in a scrotum?...
7
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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, ...
4
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2answers
3k views

Ill effects of urea and NH₃ on metabolism

What exactly does urea do that harms our body? Does it interfere with our cellular processes or disturbs the colloidal onchotic pressure of our blood? I have heard that NH3 damages the brain. What ...
2
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1answer
106 views

Fast standing and the heart's insufficient accommodation of the increased venous return

Assume you are 45 minutes on the supine position. Furthermore: you stand all of a sudden and fast and without sympaticus activity. The venous return (smooth musculature of vessels) accommodates ...
14
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1answer
2k views

How did the huge dinosaurs cope with gravity and loads on bones, etc.?

It's very costly to be a huge animal. Your mass grows in cube when you scale up, but you still only have two/four legs to support the same weight. This increases the pressure that your body needs to ...
13
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1answer
873 views

Can an organism exist as a single cell but come together as multi-cellular during certain times?

I am trying to remember a particular segment from a BBC special, in which there was single cellular species. However, at certain times all the individual cells came together to form a structure, not ...
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2answers
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Can humans transdermally absorb minerals from ocean water, and if so how much?

According to several studies quoted here, chemicals can be absorbed by the skin transdermally, at least under certain conditions. When it comes to elements in seawater like sodium, magnesium, ...
10
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1answer
188 views

Were dinosaurs 'hot-blooded' or 'cold-blooded'?

Were dinosaurs hot-blooded or cold-blooded? NOTE: The popular term 'hot-blooded' means having an internally maintained average body temperature, which is generally more than that of the surroundings, ...
10
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3answers
2k 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 ...
5
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1answer
188 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 ...
5
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1answer
623 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 ...
4
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2answers
444 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 ...
4
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1answer
252 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
75 views

Mechanisms of bone growth

The length of a bone is caused by growth of hyaline cartilage which is then replaced by bone tissue. How do cells know whether they should grow the hyaline cartilage? What are the key molecules that ...
2
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1answer
90 views

What happens during a Raynauds episode?

Raynaud's phenomenon can be a serious health issue, as the blood flow to the extremities, mainly the fingers is compromised, causing fingers to blanche, and then turn blue. Severe Raynaud's can cause ...
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1answer
36 views

Which ionic channels of Pacemakers can work in very low frequencies in extrasystole?

At frequency 0-3 Hz. Like computer processors which can work at low frequencies and controlling under- and overvoltage. Normal most significant channels are Ca2+ and K+ that are changing. However, I ...
13
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0answers
2k views

Why do we experience temperatures below 37 degrees Celsius as 'hot'? [duplicate]

We always prefer to be in 20-25° C, although our core temperature is about 37°? Why is our skin temperature lower than our core temperature?
11
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4answers
13k views

How can we differentiate between respiration and breathing?

I am a student of 10th grade, and I eagerly want to learn biology. What is the difference between respiration and breathing?
8
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2answers
42k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
698 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
182 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 ...
5
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1answer
162 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 ...
5
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2answers
16k views

How does extracellular potassium ion concentration and calcium ion concentration affect the excitability of a cell?

When extracellular $K^+$ concentration increase by a certain amount, excitability of cells is higher because the resting potential shifts toward a higher equilibrium potential of $K^+$, therefore ...
4
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1answer
223 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?
3
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1answer
58 views

Why do the size of the phase 1 notch vary among cardiac cells?

The size of the phase 1 notch varies among cardiac cells. It is prominent in myocytes in the epicardial and midmyocardial regions of the left ventricular wall and in ventricular Purkinje fibers. ...
3
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2answers
166 views

Why can't we defibrillate the heart within 1 minute after ventricular fibrillation by electroshock?

We mostly can defibrillate the heart before 1 min of ventricular fibrillation by electroshock.Then we often can't do defibrillate it with electroshock. What's the reason and What's the best way to ...
3
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2answers
622 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 ...
2
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2answers
178 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 atmosphere?...
2
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1answer
112 views

Do Ants have a sense of Direction?

Do ants understand which way is up or down? Could they differentiate between uphill and downhill?