10 questions about the human body
Science moves forward by leaps and bounds. In recent years, researchers have learned to better understand the principles of the human body, a marked increase in life expectancy. However, we still know far away about our own body, not everything. There is still much to learn and explore.
1. Why do we need fingerprints?
Despite the fact that the uniqueness of each person’s fingerprints and its numerous applications for personal identification are widely known, science still does not know the answer to the question why, in fact, nature has endowed each person with unique fingerprints. Scientists have developed complex computer models that explain the process of fingerprint formation, but they still didn’t come close to understanding the evolutionary reason for the existence of unique fingerprints for each of us.
However, scientists do not lose attempts to find an answer to this question. Thus, the phenomenon addermatoglyphia was discovered - a rare genetic mutation that exists only in a few families in the world and leads to the absence of fingerprints in an individual.Besides the fact that people with this mutation sweat a little less than the others, their health no longer has any differences from the norm. The researchers hope that the study of these families and their genotypes will help in the end to understand the evolutionary cause of fingerprints.
2. What exactly do probiotics do?
If you have ever seen an advertisement for yogurt, you must have heard the word "probiotics." Many yogurts are positioned as containing probiotic cultures intended for the general improvement of human health. Advertising is built as if yogurt companies have discovered and are using something fundamentally new, but in fact, probiotics are a type of useful intestinal microflora, and every person has them since birth. It is also worth noting that manufacturing companies do not say what exactly the benefits of these crops are for human health.
The reason is that people really do not know what exactly the benefits of probiotics are. Probiotics are used in food products to increase their shelf life, and not necessarily because of their health benefits.It is reliably known that these bacteria do not harm health, but scientists are still taking only the first steps towards understanding what their usefulness is. There is an assumption that if it is possible to understand the purpose of all types of beneficial bacteria found in the human body, this will give answers to many other questions and will allow to cure many diseases. The solution to this problem will not be quick, since there are hundreds of different unexplored types of probiotics.
3. Why are there different blood types?
You probably know about the existence of various types of human blood, and if you have ever donated blood, you probably also know your own. It is very important to know your blood type, because once her transfusion can save your life.
Blood groups appeared about 20 million years ago, and humanity had enough time to study them. Despite the fact that we understand the differences between blood groups, we still do not know the evolutionary reason for their appearance.
Blood groups are classified according to various antigens that are contained in the blood cells of different groups. These antigens are signals to antibodies that destroy foreign cells in the human body.Antibodies do not react to the antigens of their blood group in any way, but they are attacking everything alien, causing rejection of the transfused blood of the wrong group or transplanted organ.
Despite the great knowledge of the science of blood groups, we still do not know much. So, there are many more blood groups than the three widely known 0 (first), A (second) and B (third). And, more importantly, we do not understand the importance of antigens. There is a hypothesis that this is somehow connected with diseases, some interesting facts confirm this. Experts have found, for example, that people with the third blood group are more sensitive to E. coli, and people with blood groups that do not contain the Duffy antigen (after the patient in whom it was first found), also called Fy glycoprotein, have almost complete immunity to one from malaria forms. The current state of science does not allow to assert with complete confidence, but, probably, blood groups appeared as an evolutionary mechanism for combating infectious diseases.
4. Does the brain continue to function after cutting off the head?
In many urban legends, after cutting off the head, she remains conscious for a few minutes.In some stories, the head closes its eyes or makes some other movements, showing that it is still conscious. It sounds more like a fantastic story or horror story for small children, but, in fact, the truth is that we do not know how long the brain can be conscious in this situation.
The processes occurring at the moment, it is difficult to investigate, because scientists can not conduct experiments and chop off people's heads. During the revolutionary era in France, the guillotine was the main instrument of execution, so the documents of that era are unique sources of information on this issue. There is only one written source that says that Dr. Gabriel Beaurieux tried to talk to a man who had his head cut off. The man who just had his head cut off was called several times by name, after which he opened his eyes several times and tried to look at the one who was calling him, and finally closed his eyes completely. The doctor came to the conclusion that some of the simplest functions remain active for 30 seconds after cutting off the head, but he could not establish whether the person is conscious at the same time.
5. Do people have pheromones?
The use of pheromones, especially for procreation, has been investigated in animals for a long period of time. Animal studies were followed by human studies. The results of these studies confused scientists. While many studies show that smells affect humans, the mechanism of pheromone action is somewhat more complicated.
Scientists have long been convinced that humans do not have a vomeronasal organ that other animals have and is designed to detect pheromones. In fact, we have such an organ, but it is very small and it is not clear whether it performs any function. It has been scientifically proven that every person has his own unique, like fingerprints, odor, which depends on his genome. For example, young children can distinguish their mothers by smell, and a group of women can synchronize the menstrual cycle with the help of smell. However, there are still a lot of white spots in the study of the effects of odors on humans.
6. What happens when a person is hit by lightning?
If you have ever been on the street in a thunderstorm, especially near large metal objects, then you probably thought about the threat of lightning.Contact with lightning can cause brain injury, burns or even death. However, despite the high probability of death, many victims not only survive, but remain safe and sound, which still does not have a full-fledged scientific explanation.
In order to understand the nature of these phenomena, scientists went to South Africa, where thunderstorms occur most often and have the greatest force. They investigated the passage of the discharge through the human body during a lightning strike and revealed that this process is characterized by high power and takes place in a very short period of time. There are still many questions in this area left unanswered, but there is hope that many lives will be saved in the near future, when people will better understand the nature of these phenomena.
7. How can a woman not know that she is pregnant?
It seems strange, but there are cases that women are surprised when they begin to give birth and insist that they have not noticed any changes in their bodies over the past nine months. This phenomenon is very rare, therefore it is difficult to investigate it.
One of the reasons why a woman does not notice that she became pregnant is overweight.The increase in weight due to pregnancy in this case is insignificant compared to the previously recruited and may go unnoticed. It may seem that cycle violations are an unambiguous criterion for pregnancy, but they occur in many women, especially those who are overweight. In such cases, the delay can last for months. There are also cases of bleeding during pregnancy. In case of such bleeding, an erroneous conclusion can be made to maintain the normal cycle.
Although some women may have health problems, another part is completely healthy and does not notice any symptoms. One of the patients of Dr. Sabrina Sukhan belongs to the second category. She had a normal weight and was even a doctor, and, therefore, knew all the signs of pregnancy, but also could not detect her pregnancy before giving birth. Doctors find it difficult to explain how this could happen.
8. How does mitochondria work?
Mitochondria are an integral part of our body. The purpose of these microscopic organelles is to obtain energy from food. For a long time, we knew almost nothing about mitochondria, but by now science has made great strides in understanding these important organisms.
More recently, scientists have learned how mitochondria transfer energy. They also learned that they consume calcium, but its excessive consumption by the mitochondria can cause problems. With an excess of calcium, the cell may die, and diseases such as type 2 diabetes may also develop. Researchers believe that these diseases affect the process of transmitting signals, through which the body tells the mitochondria how much calcium to take inside or outside. A group of scientists from Harvard University recently managed to compile a catalog of mitochondrial proteins, including those involved in calcium intake processes. Although we still do not have complete knowledge of mitochondria, we hope that soon all their puzzles will be solved.
9. Why does a person have three ear bones?
Hearing is one of the most studied feelings that we take for granted. If you do not subject your ears to severe deformations, they usually function very well and usually do not require care. Not all people perceive their ears as given. So, a researcher named Sunil Puria from Stanford University noted that reptiles and birds have only two ear bones, while mammals have three, and we have no answer to the question why.
According to Puria, human hearing functions in several ways. The first one is the most obvious - we hear a sound passing through our ears. We also hear the vibrations of the movement of our vocal cords passing through the bones of the skull. When you speak, you hear your voice a little differently than the other person. This explains why few people like to listen to their own voice in the recording.
Puria believes that the absence of a third ear bone in a person can lead to a decrease in the tissue in the ear canal, as a result of which people would hear distracting sounds that they usually do not perceive, for example, the beating of their own heart. Puria suggests that perhaps the third ear bone can minimize these effects, but science does not have a thorough understanding of this problem, and much remains to be researched.
10. What types of bacteria live in our language?
The human mouth is one of the most studied parts of the body. We know how the teeth, gums, taste buds are arranged. At first glance it may seem that we know almost everything about the language, but in fact it still hides many secrets.Many doctors in the world would like to get their hands on all the bacteria that live on the language in order to study them in detail and save more lives, but most of the bacteria found in human language will not grow in a Petri dish. This presents considerable difficulty for their study and classification.
Lack of knowledge about these bacteria is the main stumbling block in the treatment of such gum diseases such as periodontitis. Doctors cannot develop a simple way to treat this disease, because many types of different bacteria are involved in the processes in the mouth, and our knowledge about them is limited. Researchers have only recently succeeded in studying several DNA fragments of one of the bacteria found in the mouth, and they hope that this will help them better understand how to deal with diseases of the oral cavity. However, many of the microorganisms that offend our mouth remain unexplored.