Paging Dr. Frischer - Useless facts about the human body

The holidays will soon be upon us. How often have you found yourself at a gathering, wishing that you had a scintillating factoid to amuse and wow your audience? Here is your chance to increase your inventory of such interesting, unusual, perhaps weird, and likely utterly useless facts about the human body. Many of them will surprise you!•If all of your blood vessels were laid end-to-end, they would stretch for about 60,000 miles. Your heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood through those vessels every single day. •Finger and toenails take an average of six months to grow from base to tip. They grow faster where they are used the most and have the most exposure. So, fingernails, especially on the hand you write with, grow faster then toenails. •Blonds have more hair. They average 146,000 follicles, while people with black hair have about 110,000. Brown-haired people have 100,000, and redheads have the least dense hair at roughly 86,000 follicles. •Hair is not destroyed by cold, change of climate, water, or other natural forces, and it is resistant to many kinds of acids and corrosive chemicals. Is it any wonder that it clogs our pipes? •By the time we reach age 60, 60% of men and 40% of women snore. On average, a snore is around 60 decibels, the noise level of normal speech. A snore can get as high as 80 decibels, which is as loud as a pneumatic drill breaking up concrete. Note that noise above 85 decibels can cause harm to the ear! •Over a lifetime, the average person produces 25,000 quarts of saliva. That could fill two swimming pools. •Your sneeze just expelled air at a speed of up to 100 miles per hour. Your last cough expelled air at up to 60 miles per hour. •It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open. •Everyone's body odor is unique…with the exception of an identical twin. Babies can recognize the scent of their mother. Women have a better sense of smell than do men. •Body odor comes from sweat. A pair of feet has 500,000 sweat glands that can produce a pint of sweat per day. Trapped in socks and shoes for much of the time, is it any wonder that feet can be smelly? •Every square inch of skin has about 32 million bacteria on it, depending on what method is used to count them. The vast majority of them, of course, are harmless, and some are helpful. •Humans shed about 600,000 tiny particles of skin every hour. That adds up to about 1.5 pounds per year, or over 100 pounds of skin by age 70. •The small intestine is about four times longer than a person is tall. It ranges from about 18 to 25 feet in length. The large intestine, on the other hand, is only about five feet long. •Although it makes up only two percent of our total body weight, our brain consumes 20 percent of our body's oxygen and calories every day. •The brain technically has the capacity to store everything you experience, see, read, or hear. The difficulty is in accessing that information. •Our hearing becomes less acute when we overeat! Hmmm…yet another reason to eat healthy. •All babies have blue eyes at birth. It takes both melanin and exposure to ultraviolet light to bring out our true eye color. •Babies are born without kneecaps. They appear between the ages of two to six. •We are at our tallest first thing in the morning. Throughout the day, the cartilage between our bones becomes compressed, making us about one centimeter shorter by day's end. •One-fourth of all of our bones are in the feet. We have 26 bones in each foot, or 52 in both. There are 206 bones in our entire body. •Walking requires the use of 200 different muscles. •It takes more muscles to frown than to smile. •The tongue is the strongest muscle in the body (taking size into consideration). •Blushing is a purely human trait. Animals do not blush. Babies, with no sense of social norms, or how others perceive them, do not blush. •The sound we hear when we crack our knuckles is actually the sound of gas bubbles bursting. •Garlic rubbed into the soles of our feet can be detected later on the breath. •A man's testicles manufacture ten million new sperm every day. •The average human head weighs about eight pounds. •Every day, the average person will take over 23,000 breaths, and their heart will beat 100,000 times. Now proceed to your holiday party and fascinate everyone. Good health to you all! Dr. Alan Frischer is former chief of staff and former chief of medicine at Downey Regional Medical Center. Write to him in care of this newspaper at 8301 E. Florence Ave., Suite 100, Downey, CA 90240.

********** Published: November 10, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 30