Today I Found Out... 10 Interesting Things About The Human Body
- #1 Why fingers wrinkle in water. There is a way/oily substance your skin secretes from the sebaceous glands called "sebum". In these glands, sebum is produced within special cells and is then secreted when these cells burst. This
substance, among other benefits, has the dual effect of helping your skin and hair stay hydrated underneath, so it doesn't get dry and cracked, while also helping to protect your skin from excess moisture from the outside. When you
are in water for extended periods, this sebum gets washed away from your skin and hair, removing this protective layer. When that happens, a type of dead cell (keratin cells) on your skin will absorb the water causing the cells to swell
up. The wrinkle effect appears, absorb the water causing the cells to swell up. The wrinkle effect appears, because the inner layer of living keratin cells stays more or less the same as it was before you were in the water, while the outer
layer swells; the connections between these two layers stay closely bonded while the places not connected are free to swell, hence, the pruney fingers and toes. The reason then that your toes and fingers get more wrinkly is that
they contain a thicker layer of both living and dead keratin cells than the rest of your body. This causes them to swell more noticeable than the rest of your skin as the lead keratin cells absorb water.
- #2 What cause ice cream headaches. When you stick something extremely cold in your mouth and eat it quickly, such as drinking an ice cold beverage or eating ice cream rapidly, it quickly cools the palate of your mouth. Why this is
significant is that there is a nerve center located just above the back of the roof of your mouth. This nerve center includes nerve clusters that send signals to the brain about changes cooled by what you are consuming, they are over
stimulated and send the message to the brain that the body just lost a severe amount of heat. This ends up resulting in the rapid contraction of blood vessels in your head. Shortly thereafter, the temperature at the palate of your
mouth goes back to normal and the nerve centers signal everything is fine and the blood vessels end up rapidly dilating. This all happens in a matter of a few seconds, but the end result of this rapid contraction and dilation of blood
vessels is an extreme, sharp pain, often in your temples, forehead, or sometimes even in your face itself and is referred to as "ice-cream headaches" or "brain freezes".
- #3 Why paper cuts hurt so much. The main reason papercuts are so painful primarily lies in the fact that you usually get them on your fingers, particularly your fingerprints. Fingertips and hands have significantly more nociceptors
(nerve fibers) per square millimeter than most of the rest of your body, such as your legs, arms, stomach area, etc. This ends up making cuts on your fingertips feel significantly more painful than cuts elsewhere, even when they are
produced by paper or similar objects. But why do paper cuts seem to hurt more than other types of cuts on the hand? This is thought to be because the edges of paper are very dull and flexible, compared to knives and other such sharp
objects. Because of this, when the paper cuts your flesh, it does a lot more microscopic damage as it rips through your skin. Not only is there more microscopic damage, but this damage is also very shallow on the skin. This will
further increase the pain because some of the most sensitive nerves in your skin, which have very low thresholds to trigger, are near the surface. They also tend to hurt longer because they won't bleed much and sometimes not at all.
This leaves the nerves open to the air and other irritants, so they will continue to be in an activated state for much longer than more significant cuts.
- #4 why mosquito itch. When female mosquitoes poke their proboscis through your skin so they can suck some of your blood to be later used to make eggs, they inject you with some of their saliva. This saliva helps them to drink
your blood more quickly, because it contains a cocktail of anticoagulants. Once the female mosquito is full up of your blood or is disturbed, she flies away, leaving some of her saliva behind. Your body then kicks your immune system
in gear as a response to the presence of this saliva. It produces various antibodies which in turn bind to the antigens in the mosquito's saliva. This then triggers the release of histamine. Histamine is a nitrogen compound that among
other things triggers an inflammatory response. It also helps white blood cells and other proteins to engage invaders in your body by making the capillaries of these cells more permeable. Bottom line, the histamine ends up making
the blood vessels near the bite swell up. This produces a pink, itchy bump where the mosquito poked you. Scratching the bump only makes this worse because it causes more irritation and inflammation of the sight, resulting in
your immune system thinking it needs more antibodies to get rid of the foreign protein. So the more you scratch, the more it will swell, the itchier it will get, and the longer it will last.
- #5 What causes a hangover. There are several things that contribute to hangovers, but one of the principal factors is simple dehydrating effect by inhibiting the release of vasopressin, which is an anti-diuretic hormone. So, in
layman's terms, the result of alcohol inhibiting the vasopressin is that your body produces a lot more urine than normal, with the result that you become dehydrated easily. This dehydration is a major contributor to the headache,
dry mouth, and general feeling of lethargy that is often experienced during a hangover. Another major contributor to a hangover (many think even more significant than dehydration) is acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is produced when
alcohol is converted within your body by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase to acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is a carcinogen in humans and has been shown to cause damage to DNA, as well as abnormal muscle development when it
binds to proteins, among other negative side effects. Acetaldehyde eventually gets converted to the much more safe (for your body) acetic acid. However, some people's bodies contain a generic deficiency where their bodies don't
convert acetaldehyde to acetic acid very well or at all. These people have been shown to be significantly more prone to severe hangovers.
- #6 What causes the pain in your side when running. The pain, known often as "side stitch" and more technically as "exercise related transient abdominal pain" (ETAP), often occurs while running, swimming, and horse riding, among
others. It is caused by various stresses on your diaphragm that result in strain on the ligaments connected to your diaphragm, as well as spasms or cramps in the diaphragm itself. These strained ligaments and cramps in turn cause the
sharp pain you feel in your side. When you inhale, your diaphragm goes downward and contracts, when you exhale, your diaphragm rises and relaxes. Now consider what's happening when you run, for instance. You are
bouncing up and down while in turn breathing in and out. It turns out that most people naturally time their exhale with one of their feet striking the ground. When their foot strikes the ground, their organs are going down while their
diaphragm is going up. This puts quite a bit of strain on the ligaments that are connected between the diaphragm and the various organs connected to it, such as your liver and stomach. Over time, this can cause pain due to strain on
the ligaments and can also contribute to spasms in the diaphragm itself.
- #7 Why your stomach growls when you are hungry. Basically, your digestive system is one big long tube that goes from your mouth to your butt, with a lot of interesting biological machinery in-between. How the body gets
food through this long tube is accomplished via waves of muscle contractions, called "peristalsis", that run a few inches at a time all down your digestive track. These waves of muscle contractions also serve to mix and chum foods,
liquids, and digestive juices together. The resulting cocktail is called "chyme". These waves of contractions are really not too dissimilar in the smooth muscle cells, which causes the muscle to contract in a rhythmic fashion. In this
case, called the "Basic Electrical Rhythm" or BER. This rhythm is about 3 times per minute in the stomach, and 12 times per minute in the small intestines. The sound you are hearing when your stomach and intestines make noise
are the result of these muscular contractions mixing and moving the chyme along, as well as pushing any resultant air through your system. so why does your stomach seem to growl more when you are hungry? To answer that,
think of the stomach as hot water bottle. When it is full and you slosh the contents around, there is little to no noise, depending on just how full it is. The less you have in it, the more noise the sloshing makes. This is pretty much
exactly what is going on with the stomach only the muscles lining the walls of your stomach and intestines are doing the sloshing as they push the few remaining contents of your stomach and intestines towards your derriere.
- #8 What cause eye floaters. For those who've never experienced this phenomenon, eye floaters are little oddly shaped objects that appear in your vision, often when one looks at bright light such as a blue sky. Their shapes vary
greatly, but will often appear as spots, cobwebs, or randomly shaped stringy objects. These are not optical illusions, but rather something your eyes are actually perceiving. There are a few different things that can cause this, but in
most cases these eye floaters are caused by pieces of the gel-like vitreous breaking off from the back portion of your eye and then floating about in your eyeball. The vitreous humor, or often just "vitreous" is a clear gel that fills the
gap between your retina and lens, helping maintain the round shape of your eye in the process. This gel is about 99% water and 1% other elements: the latter of which consists mostly of a network of hyaluronic acid and collagen.
Hyaluronic acid ends up retainings water molecules. Over time though, this network breaks down which results in the hyaluronic acid releasing its trapped water molecules. When it happens, it forms a watery core in your vitreous
body. As you age then, pieces of the still gel-like collagen/hyaluronic acid network will break off and float around in their watery center. When light passes through this area, it creates a shadow on your retina. This shadow is actually
what you are seeing you see the eye floaters.
- #9 What the things you see when you rub your eyes are. The things you see when you close your eyes and rub them hard are called "phosphenes". A phosphene is characterized by perceiving some form of light when there is little
or no light actually entering the eye, making it an entoptic phenomenon (meaning the source of the phenomenon is within the eye itself). Phosphenes are mogst commonly introduced by simply closing your eyes and rubbing them or
squeezing them shut, tightly; generally the harder you rub or squeeze, the more phosphenes you'll see. This pressure stimulates the cells of the retina and, thus, makes your brain think you are seeing light. The pressure in the eye
results in activation of the retinal ganglion cells in a very similar way to how they activate as a response to light.
- #10 Why poop is brown. Poop is brown due to bile from your gall bladder being metabolized by the bacteria in your intestines. This results in a by product called stercobilin, which, in turn, makes poop look brownish. Without this
stercobilin, your poop would typically look greyish/white.Because of this, a sure sign you are having problems with bile production, such as a blocked bile duct by a gallstone or is if you notice your poop is this white/greyish color. In
the end *pun intended*, brown poop is a pretty good sign you are a relatively healthy individual.
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