10 Fascinating Phenomena in the Human Body
The human body is a miracle machine. There are so many processes taking place within our body we are unaware of. Scientists are constantly trying to figure out the seemingly mystic happenings within the human body and mind and have been able to reveal some mind-blowing phenomena. We now bring you 10 such fascinating phenomena found in the human body.
1 Humans have the power to glow in the dark. But the light is so faint, the naked human eye is unable to perceive it. In 2009, Japanese scientists captured bioluminescence in humans for the first time using a camera.
All living creatures have the ability to emit a small amount of light. This happens as a result of the chemical reactions that are constantly taking place within the living cells. Although there had been evidence for bioluminescence in some animals, it took a lot of time for experts to capture the light emitted by humans.
In 2009, a group of Japanese scientists released images that captured on camera human bioluminescence for the first time. The scientists imaged the upper bodies of volunteers using ultra-sensitive cameras across several days. They discovered that the amount of light discharged by the body follows a 24-hour cycle. They also discovered that the highest amount of light emitted is in the late afternoon, and the least is at night. Moreover, the cheeks, forehead, and neck have the maximum emission.
The intensity of the light emitted is so low, the naked eye cannot perceive it. It is a thousand times weaker than the normal vision range of humans. The experts do not believe that bioluminescence in humans has any evolutionary significance. (source)
2 A person is taller by one centimeter in the morning than at night. This happens because while we are lying down at night, our spine “spreads out” or decompresses. But during the day, gravity causes the cartilage in our spine and legs to compress making us a little shorter by the end of the day.
The human body is a thing of mysterious science. One such bizarre body-science mechanism makes a person a little taller in the morning.
During the day, the cartilage in our body, especially the spinal cord and the knees, gradually compresses. This happens due to the constant gravitational pull on the body. The reverse mechanism happens when we lie down to sleep at night. The cartilage decompresses and comes back to its original form. This leads to a change in height throughout the day. As soon as a person wakes up, they are taller by almost one centimeter. This measurement may not be quite remarkable, but it still is significant.
The spinal cord plays an important role in this phenomenon. The spinal cord has numerous vertebrae that overlap each other. Each of these vertebrae has material within it that stretches when the body is at total rest. Vice versa, they compress under the weight of the body when there is movement. (source)
3 Extreme starvation makes the brain eat away its own cells. In a study with starved mice, researchers observed that the hypothalamus of the brain started feeding on its own cells.
There are many negative criticisms and theories related to dieting. Dieting causes the loss of good muscles, it makes one tired, and sometimes even leads to more health disorders. But the researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine have come up with a completely mind-boggling theory related to dieting.
They have stated that dieting causes the brain to eat itself! Although scientists have known for a long time that cells start eating themselves when the body lacks sustenance, this is a completely new bit of information. Known as “autophagy,” this is a natural phenomenon in cells. This is how cells acquire energy during low-resource periods. But until this new discovery, scientists believed that the brain is immune to autophagy.
The discovery was made by scientists while working with mice. They noticed that when the mice were deprived of food, a hunger signal was generated in the brain. Following this, the hypothalamus of the brain started eating away the cells and necessary proteins in the brain. When the brain autophagy was blocked by scientists, the hunger signal got blocked as well. Now scientists believe that this would provide them with better insights into treatments for obesity. (source)
4 Some physical actions are hardwired into our genes. A study observed that blind people raise their hands to depict the victory gesture after winning even though they have never witnessed it themselves.
Raising your arms to demonstrate the victory symbol comes naturally to all of us. This is because we have seen other people do it. But, what about people who are blind and have never witnessed a victory sign?
Well, scientists believe that the desire to flash the victory gesture comes from within. They believe that it is hardwired into our genes. And, it’s not just the victory gesture. Psychologists believe that this applies to all gestures that suggest pride or shame.
For the research, the experts analyzed images from the judo competition in the 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games. They observed the expressions and body language of athletes in the competition representing 30 countries. Both sighted as well as athletes blind from birth displayed the same body language. After a win, they would either raise their arms with the victory gesture, stand tall, or expand their chest. Similarly, during defeat, they would slump their shoulders and lower their chest.
The psychologists stated that this phenomenon probably occurs as these were the universal signs of dominance and submission among our ancestors. They are hard-wired into our genes and they come to humans instinctively. (source)
5 When listening to music, a person’s heartbeat syncs with the rhythm of the music. This has good health repercussions such as lowering blood pressure and promoting better cardiovascular activity.
Music has the potential to influence emotions in a person. Sometimes, listening to a good song makes a person feel happy. Their heart beats faster and their breathing increases, sometimes so much that hairs stand up on their arms and chills go down their back. Music, in altering emotions, can have a direct influence on the heart.
Researchers Stefan Koelsch and Lutz Jäncke published an extensive paper on how music influences heart activities. According to their research, exciting music increases the heart rate and blood pressure. Similarly, relaxing music does the opposite. But, the determination of whether the music is exciting or relaxing depends entirely on the perspective of the person. Some may find a rock metal band relaxing while others may find a melancholic tone exciting.
Scientists are looking forward to exploiting this connection that music has with the heart to treat anxiety disorders. They can also be used to manage pain in numerous clinical scenarios. Other conditions such as depression, cardiovascular disorders, and stress could be treated with music. (source)
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