Here are our favorite science facts of the weeks, and the sciecne behind them!
Diets that include complete starvation are not only unsustainable, unhealthy and energy-draining- they can also cause the brain to literally eat itself! Autophagy is a process by which cells consume other damaged cells in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells. When the body is devoid of sustenance, cells undergo autophagy in order to acquire energy. Scary!
Humans shed skin cells at an extremely rapid rate of 600,000 particles per hour! This amounts to 1.5 pounds of skin lost per year or 105 pounds of skin lost during the lifetime of a 70 year old. Crazy!
Taktsubo cardiomyopathy (heartbreak syndrome), while immensely rare, is a condition that sees sufferers pass away due to stress from difficult and grief-filled events. In these events, a surge of adrenaline (which is a hormone that contributes to the fight or flight response; it increases heart rate and breathing) is released in the body- this leads to a heart attack-like event in the body! Redifing heartbreak!
On average, we spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping! The importance of sleep is often, and unfortunately, grossly underestimated by many. Sleep helps us recuperate, restore and rebuild new memories and grow. Those who sleep as much as they need to wake up refreshed, maintain much better moods and perform much better, and efficient, work. Those who are sleep deprived have a higher risk of depression, over eating, a lower reaction time, as well as a host of other negative effects. The body needs sleep!
The strongest muscle based on weight is the masseter or one of the jaw muscles responsible for mastication, the closing of the jaw when food is chewed. With all the masticatory muscles working together, the teeth can be closed with a substantial amount of force. Scary!
Sulfur is the third most abundant mineral in the body and it plays various roles in the body. This element acts as an antioxidant against bacteria that may cause acne. Additionally, it is integral to the synthesis of various amino acids, substances which combine to form proteins. This mineral is necessary for many bodily functions and too little of it would have dire effects!
During the day, our spines are pushed down by the force of gravity. This pressure on our vertebrate disappears when we sleep, though and the spine relaxes and stretches to its natural height. A human being could be up to half an inch taller in the morning and this extra height would be lost by the evening!
Our taste buds are responsible for the tasting of food that is consumed. They are made up of taste receptor cells (gustatory cells)- these cells aid the taste buds in its purpose. When food is consumed, the molecules react with saliva and are received by the taste receptors which then send specific messages to the brain to undergo certain (digestive) processes.
Carbon is an essential element in the human body. It acts as a building block for various macromolecules, including carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Carbon is so prevalent because it plays a necessary structural role in the human body.
There is about 5 and a half liters of blood in the body of an average adult (weighing about 70 kg). A single mosquito will drink close to 5 microliters (a millionth of a liter) of blood during one meal. If a human being was to be completely drained of blood by a scourge of mosquitoes, about 1.2 million of them would be required!