Things You Didn't Know About Your Body
Here are more glimpses at the power under the hood: human capabilities recently discovered by researchers.
Faster than the blink of an eye: You can recognize an image in as little as 13 milliseconds, Medical Xpress reported:
Imagine seeing a dozen pictures flash by in a fraction of a second. You might think it would be impossible to identify any images you see for such a short time. However, a team of neuroscientists from MIT has found that the human brain can process entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds—the first evidence of such rapid processing speed….
“This didn’t really fit with the scientific literature we were familiar with, or with some common assumptions my colleagues and I have had for what you can see,” [Mary] Potter says.
Automatic probiotic: A paper in Nature says that “the gut microbiome can rapidly respond to altered diet, potentially facilitating the diversity of human dietary lifestyles.” Switch from animal to vegetable diet or back, and the partners in your gut adjust within a couple of days, ready to help you digest the new material. “Remarkably, the plant- and animal-based diets also elicited transcriptional responses that were consistent with known differences in gene abundance between the gut microbiomes of herbivorous and carnivorous mammals,” the authors said.
Swiss Army bacterium: A gut microbe that acts like a “Swiss Army knife” to aid digestion is described by Science Daily. “Researchers have discovered the genetic machinery that turns a common gut bacterium into the Swiss Army knife of the digestive tract — helping us metabolize a main component of dietary fiber from the cell walls of fruits and vegetables.”
Thymus backups: The main thymus gland lies behind the breastbone, where it manufactures T-cells for the immune system. “But scientists were surprised several years ago when two teams of researchers discovered that both mice and humans have extra thymus-like glands distributed throughout their necks,” an article on Medical Xpress says. This is a mystery waiting to be solved. Some of them seem to start as thymus cells, but turn into parathyroid glands.
Senior moments: The reason many elderly appear to forget things is not because they are going dumb, but because they have stored so much information over their many years of experience it just takes a little longer to search through it all. That’s the gist of a new study reported on Science Daily. The “elderly know more; use it better,” the article is titled. Seniors can take heart they do not face a “cognitive decline” as they age. “Forget about forgetting,” explained Tübingen researcher Peter Hendrix, “if I wanted to get the computer to look like an older adult, I had to keep all the words it learned in memory and let them compete for attention.”
Skin scaffold: Stem cells in the skin act as a framework that helps keep the skin intact. Science Daily reports, “interactions between skin stem cells — the cells responsible for the constant renewal of skin — maintain the architecture of this organ,” the largest organ of the human body and the first line of defense against pathogens, UV light and chemicals. “We have seen for the first time that skin stem-cell microtubules connect with cell-cell junctions to form velcro-like structures that hold the cells together,” the study author said.
Why the Y? Contrary to earlier claims, the Y chromosome is not devolving out of existence. Even though Science Magazine repeated the recent finding that only two genes are required to prepare fertile sperm (11/27/13), PhysOrg reported that “A comparison of Y chromosomes in eight African and eight European men dispels the common notion that the Y’s genes are mostly unimportant and that the chromosome is destined to dwindle and disappear.” The study shows that the genes on the Y chromosome (more than just the ones for gamete formation) are being maintained, indicating that “the human Y is going to stick around for a long while”.
Swimming pool: Live Science reported on new findings about seminal fluid. It’s more than just a “swimming pool” for sperm cells. It actually transmits information necessary for stimulation of the female system, the development of the embryo. and the health of the offspring. That’s what scientists found during experiments on male mice whose seminal vesicle glands were removed, but it’s probably true of other mammals. This adds to growing evidence that the male contributes more to the reproductive process than DNA. Seminal fluid plays “an essential role in the preservation of sperm function, and in the stimulation of the female reproductive tract,” the article states. The original paper is in PNAS.
Why is it that findings about the body always show more complexity, more design, and more integrated efficiency, instead of wasteful happenstance like Darwin expected? Every time evolutionists claim that something (like the Y chromosome) is a useless leftover or poorly-designed thing going nowhere, subsequent findings prove them wrong. Intelligent design should have been predictable: the human body works, doesn’t it? Watch the athletes at the upcoming winter Olympics. Even though most of us can’t do the feats they perform, the fact that they are humanly possible points to incredible capabilities in every organ, every cell, every gene. And it all comes together in bodies that can flip and twist with skis on, landing perfectly on a slope at high speed. Even the aged have a phenomenal store of memory. Don’t forget the Maker of these wonders.