26The Surprising Second Brain in Your Stomach
There's a "second brain" surrounding our stomach that has more neurons than a cat's brain. It is capable of controlling digestion, autonomous reflexes, memories, and even senses, leading to the idea that our gut has evolved to handle the critical action of nutrition separately from the main brain. It's thought to have come about because of the blood-brain barrier and the main brain being locked away in the skull, away from the critical action of nutrition. This explains the existence of the "butterflies in the stomach" sensation.
27. If the brainstem, the part of the brain that controls most body movements, is damaged, a person can experience "locked-in" syndrome, where they are fully conscious but unable to move or speak, except for the muscles controlling eye movement. It can be caused by toxins, blockage of the basilar artery, or other brainstem damage.
28. As many as 55% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, most often before a woman misses her menstrual period. They are expelled instead as a "heavy period," and most women don’t even realize that they miscarried. Also, more than 80% of miscarriages occur within the first three months of pregnancy, mostly caused by chromosomal abnormalities.
29. We each have a blind spot in the center of our eye, where the optic nerve is located, and it's bigger than we might think. It can be easily "seen" by doing a simple self-experiment with a pen and a napkin. Simply draw a cross and a dot on the napkin, hold it about an arm's length away from your face, and close one eye. Move the napkin closer to your face until the dot disappears behind the cross. The dot is actually in the blind spot of your eye, showing how our brains fill in the missing information to create a seamless image.
30. Humans could theoretically breathe a liquid that's super saturated with oxygen. One such liquid is perfluorocarbon. The density of liquid, however, is so much higher than air that after 15 minutes or so, a person would be too fatigued to continue breathing, and the hardest part would be preventing pneumonia by getting all the liquid out of the lungs.
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31The Biggest and Smallest Cells in the Human Body
The human body is home to some surprising cell size comparisons. While sperm may be the smallest cell in the body, with the naked eye, you can actually see human eggs (ovum), which are the largest visible cells in the body. Meanwhile, some neurons can be incredibly long, stretching up to several feet in length, they are still not visible without the help of a microscope.
32. When your brain doesn't get enough stimulation, it will create its own! Colors you see before you fall asleep are a common but mild occurrence. In extreme classes of hallucinations, there are closed-eye visuals, caused by leaving your eyes closed for a long time; hypnagogia, which is caused by the onset of sleep; prisoners' cinema, which is caused by looking into a dark place for a long time; the ganzfeld effect, which is caused by blocking out all external stimuli; and Charles Bonnet Syndrome, caused by sight loss. Some of these can be whole imagined scenes or more abstract, fractal-like imagery.
33. Your heart can generate its own electrical impulses (i.e., action potentials) because it is constantly depolarizing. Therefore, it can beat even after it's removed from the body. heart Transplants are possible due to the fact that the heart only requires oxygenated blood supply to continue beating on its own. After transplants, surgeons don’t really reconnect the nervous system to the new heart and will just leave it working independently, and it will continue to work fine.
34. Having a bowel movement can temporarily alter your heart rhythm due to a vagus response and even lead to dire consequences like a heart attack or passing out. This is why EMTs will not let you use the bathroom before getting on the ambulance. The vagus nerve is also the one that causes "poo-phoria." This is when your bowel movement stimulates the vagus nerve, causing feelings of exhilaration, intense relaxation, and goose bumps, especially after passing "a large mass of stool."
35. Our body's urge to breathe is actually to get rid of carbon dioxide and not to intake oxygen! The presence of carbon dioxide triggers the sensation of breathing. This is why you would not suffer if you suffocated in nitrogen. This is what makes low oxygen levels so dangerous, as we may not realize it before it's too late. This is also why carbon monoxide is such a hazardous gas!
36Synovial Fluid: The Frictionless Wonder
The fluid in your joints is so slippery that it makes the stuff you use to grease up your bike chain look like sandpaper. It's called synovial fluid, and it is one of the most frictionless substances on the planet. It's more frictionless than Teflon. This amazing lubricant is crucial for smooth joint movement and is only surpassed by other man-made lubricants like perfluoropolyethers, silicone oils, and graphite. No wonder our joints can move so effortlessly!
37. Your brain filters out an overwhelming amount of stimuli in order for you to function normally. It helps you wear clothes without feeling them on your skin, breathe without hearing or noticing it, and even swallow food with ease by controlling complex movements. Your nose is always in your vision, but your brain just ignores it, and your tongue constantly moves in your mouth without voluntary inputs.
38. The levator ani muscle, located in the pelvic area, is so strong that it has been documented to remain intact even in serious car accidents, even in cases where people have broken other bones. It is responsible for keeping our buttholes in place and aiding in the most important bodily function of all—pooping! It also makes your butthole pucker, and its name translates to "lift the anus."
39. When you're feeling highly stressed, your blood thickens to encourage clotting in case of a physical attack. But beware—this is often why stress contributes to heart attacks. And to add to the weirdness, did you know that some people experience a phenomenon called "stress-induced tears," where tears can start flowing uncontrollably when feeling highly stressed?
40. When a pregnant woman experiences organ damage (such as a heart attack), her fetus sends stem cells to repair it! But why doesn't the body do this without a fetus? Well, it turns out that having an abundance of stem cells in the body increases the risk of cancer, and the most common cancers actually stem from organs with a high population of stem cells.
41Collar Bone, the Circuit Breaker of Your Skeleton
The collarbone, also known as the clavicle, is the most frequently broken bone in your body, and that's because it's actually designed to break! Imagine your collar bone as a circuit breaker, absorbing the shock from impacts and preventing it from reaching your spine, which could cause paralysis. It's like your body's way of saying, "Better a broken bone than a broken back!"
42. Our brain chemistry is stable enough to last thousands of years if it is not diseased; it's the rest of the body that kills us. The neurons in our brain have the potential to outlive the rest of our body, but our own lifestyle choices can put an end to this possibility. Not getting enough sleep, drinking too much, and a few other things can quickly hurt our brains and make them age faster than the rest of our bodies.
43. On average, you produce and swallow 1 to 2 liters of saliva every single day. It's not just water, though; it's a concoction of bacteria, enzymes, dead cells, and a secret ingredient called haptocorrin. This unique substance acts like a bodyguard for Vitamin B12, binding to it to protect it from being destroyed by strong stomach acid before it can be absorbed in the intestine. Also, introverts tend to produce more saliva than extroverts!
44. Humans are bioluminescent. We literally glow, but the light is 1,000 times less intense than the levels to which our eyes are sensitive. This occurs due to metabolic reactions within our cells. Japanese scientists have captured images of human bioluminescence and found that the amount of light emitted follows a 24-hour cycle, with the brightest light being emitted from the cheeks, forehead, and neck, but these areas did not correspond with the brightest areas on thermal images.
45. The skin of all human beings is covered in stripes. They're called Blaschko’s Lines, and they cover the body from head to toe. We just can't see them with the naked eye. They only become visible under UV light. However, these stripes, which run from head to toe, can be seen in people with certain skin conditions and even chimerism. It's almost as if our skin is secretly wearing a UV-illuminated, body-hugging pattern, just waiting to be revealed.
46Debunking the Myth of Continued Nail Growth After Death
The belief in vampire mythology was partly influenced by the physical transformation of the human body after death. The corpses were found to have grown long teeth and had bloating and red liquid seeping from the mouth, but these were the result of soft tissues in the fingers and hands contracting as they lost moisture and the belly expanding from gases. This happened to people who died of tuberculosis when there was no understanding of germs and disease and people were getting thin, pale, and weaker until they died.
47. The hyoid bone is the only bone in the human body that is not attached to any other bones. This is the reason it is not found on any anatomical skeletons on display. It acts as the anchor for the tongue. It's also the key to determining the type of strangulation that has occurred, as it's the bone that breaks in cases of hanging. That's one powerful little bone!
48. The reason we often dislike the sound of our recorded voice is due to missing low frequencies! When we speak, our voice is transmitted through air and bone conduction, but when recorded, it only captures the air-transmitted sound, which leads to a higher pitch and a disconnect from what we think our voice sounds like.
49. Our bodies have the ability to perform their own bypass procedures, known as collateral pathways, in the case of chronic arterial disease. However, this process takes time, and in the case of an acute onset, the pathways may not form in time. These pathways can also form in response to increased blood flow demand in a specific area of the body, such as in response to exercise or increased physical activity. This allows blood to bypass areas of blockage, allowing blood to flow to tissues that require it.
50. We're all just walking, talking pieces of stardust! Every atom in our bodies, from the oxygen in our lungs to the iron in our blood, was created inside a star before the Earth was even born. It's crazy to think that we're essentially made of exploding stars and are, in a way, the universe experiencing itself.