The human body and mind are tremendous forces
that are continually amazing scientists and society.
Therefore, we have no choice
but to keep an open mind as to what the human being can achieve.
The human body is truly a magnificent chunk of nature stuffed full of mysteries that haven’t quite fallen to our ever questioning minds, despite scientist are able to reanimate the corpses.
Even though science has pushed our understanding of the living world to new heights, when it comes to some really basic parts we are stumped.
1 – Yawning
What makes us yawn? Science still didn’t fins definite answer what’s behind this mysterious epidemic of yawning.
A new study has suggested that the reason we yawn has nothing to do with tiredness or boredom, but actually works in order to cool down our brains and help us think a little clearer.
Like any computer the brain has an optimal working temperature and when it becomes too hot yawning helps cool it down, increasing both the heart rate and blood flow while delivering a big gulp of air to the head, cooling the blood in that area.
Previously it’s been thought that yawning served a respiratory function, helping to wake us up with a jolt of oxygen when we were feeling sluggish, but studies have shown that yawning doesn’t actually increase oxygen levels in the body; something that tallies with the simple observation that we don’t yawn when we exercise, a time when we definitely need more oxygen.
So why do we yawn when we’re tired? Well, both sleep deprivation and exhaustion are known to increase brain temperature, so while it’s true that we yawn to combat lack of sleep, yawns don’t make us ‘more awake’ but instead help keep our brains operating at the right temperature.
2 – The appendix
Why do doctors remove the appendix when someone has appendicitis? Don’t we need this organ?
Why don’t we just remove it from everyone when we are born? Well, some are convinced that the appendix actually plays a role in our lives. There is research supporting that the appendix plays an important role in our immune system, helping mature lymphocytes and directing them where to go. Thus, by exposing our immune system to the plethora of bacteria in our gut, it helps suppress potentially harmful antibody responses. As well, researches from the Duke University Medical Center suggest that the appendix helps protect good bacteria, and in times of need, gives our body a bacterial “boost”. In the case of diseases such as cholera that end up flushing out our good gut bacteria, the appendix helps re-start our stock by keeping some of the bacteria safe. Even though it’s no big deal to have your appendix removed, It may not be completely useless either.
3 – Big breasts
Breast women, like female apes, filled with milk only when they need to feed infants. However, women’s breasts, unlike breast animal is large enough and the rest of the time. Scientists are constantly arguing, why do women need such big breasts?
Most evolutionary biologists believe that the breast is used to attract the opposite sex. Men administered so misleading that a woman is able to surround the bust to be a good nurse for future offspring. In fact, most preferably consists of breast adipose tissue, and are not made from milk.
Anthropologists meanwhile concluded that such women developed breast for themselves and for their children, and not to attract men, because in many cultures, men did not find breasts sexual.
Florence Williams, author of “Breast” (2012) suggests that women have larger breasts in order to satisfy the need for more energy is required to infants having a relatively large volume of the brain.
Hormones that are in the chest, contribute to the accumulation of fat, which, in turn, falls in milk during breastfeeding. In other words, the fat from the chest helps to shape a child’s brain. However, it is still only a theory, which is waiting for more serious research.
4 – Blushing
In a species with a reputation for cunningly manipulating others to maximise personal gain, blushing is pretty difficult to explain. Why would humans evolve a response that puts us at a social disadvantage by forcing us to reveal that we have cheated or lied?
It is a question that Charles Darwin struggled with. He pointed out that while all people of all races blush, animals – other primates included – do not. When it came to explaining the evolution of “the most peculiar and the most human of all the expressions”, he was at a loss. That has not stopped others from trying.
One suggestion is that blushing started out as a simple appeasement ritual: a way to show dominant members of the group that we submit to their authority. Perhaps later, as our social interactions became increasingly complex, it became associated with higher, self-conscious emotions such as guilt, shame and embarrassment. This would seem to put individuals at a disadvantage, but blushing might actually make a person more attractive or socially desirable.
Noting that women blush more than men, neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran of the University of California, San Diego, suggests that blushing might have evolved as a way for women to demonstrate their honesty to men and so enlist their help in rearing offspring. “Blushing is telling you that I can’t cuckold you. If you ask me about infidelity I can’t lie – my blush gives me away,” he says.
5 – Right-handedness
A preference for the left or the right hand might be traced back to that asymmetry. “These results fundamentally change our understanding of the cause of hemispheric asymmetries,” conclude the authors. The team report about their study in the journal eLife.
Preference in the womb
To date, it had been assumed that differences in gene activity of the right and left hemisphere might be responsible for a person’s handedness. A preference for moving the left or right hand develops in the womb from the eighth week of pregnancy, according to ultrasound scans carried out in the 1980s. From the 13th week of pregnancy, unborn children prefer to suck either their right or their left thumb.
Arm and hand movements are initiated via the motor cortex in the brain. It sends a corresponding signal to the spinal cord, which in turn translates the command into a motion. The motor cortex, however, is not connected to the spinal cord from the beginning. Even before the connection forms, precursors of handedness become apparent. This is why the researchers have assumed that the cause of right respective left preference must be rooted in the spinal cord rather than in the brain.
The influence of environmental factors
The researchers analysed the gene expression in the spinal cord during the eighth to twelfth week of pregnancy and detected marked right-left differences in the eighth week – in precisely those spinal cord segments that control the movements of arms and legs. Another study had shown that unborn children carry out asymmetric hand movements just as early as that.
The researchers, moreover, traced the cause of asymmetric gene activity. Epigenetic factors appear to be at the root of it, reflecting environmental influences. Those influences might, for example, lead to enzymes bonding methyl groups to the DNA, which in turn would affect and minimise the reading of genes. As this occurs to a different extent in the left and the right spinal cord, there is a difference to the activity of genes on both sides.
6 – Dreaming
Dreams connect you to the outer world, and connect you with the higher self. This weird phenomena has always been interesting not only for the researchers but also for the people in general. The conversations with the higher self happens not in the waking hours but, only in a dream. Carl Jung posits a path to decipher the this phenomena, where he believes that the rich characters whom we encounter can lead us best to extract the meaning of our dreams.
To tap into the powerful portals of the divine through your dreams, you can follow some ways. Set an intention, as the universe can only act in accordance with what we directly command. Keep a dream journal to record your dreams as soon as you can. To interpret your dream personally, go back to the jottings and see what is transpired. Once you see the characters and themes, you can readily understand them. (Read more)
7 – Consciousness
Consciousness! A term which has been related to a varied meaning! It is the term you must have read about in your Moral Science books. Or, in your Bible classes! Or, you must have heard your grandparent telling you story about the same.
But, how do you define this feeling or this trait or this attribute! The thinking which is empowering human minds and guiding them has been defined or explained by philosophers all round the world.
What the philosophers have to say about consciousness?
Hence, it did not come as a surprise, when Rene Descartes, the renowned 17th century philosopher, said that the capacity to think about this question as to what is consciousness, gives the answer. He said- “I think, therefore I am.”
And, then there is David Chalmers, who made this observation-“consciousness poses the most baffling problem in the science of the mind. There is nothing that we know more intimately than conscious experience, but there is nothing that is harder to explain.”
Yet, somehow the question seems unanswered. (Read more)