Paging Dr. Frischer – The human body

Let’s take one more look at fascinating facts about the incredible human body. It never ceases to amaze me just how remarkable it is. Let’s start from the top and work our way down: You may have heard that it takes twice as many muscles to frown as it does to smile. The number actually varies depending on the researcher, the size of the smile, etc. Regardless, smiling is indeed easier than putting on a scowl, squint, or frown.

We generate 1 to 1 ½ liters of saliva every day. During a lifetime, we each will make enough saliva to fill two swimming pools.

What is the strongest muscle in the human body? In proportion to its size, it is the tongue. Consider what a workout it gets throughout the day – not only while eating, but while drinking and talking as well.

Women tend to be better smellers than men, and remain so throughout life. Sadly, two out of every hundred people have no sense of smell whatsoever. The average nose is capable of sensing up to 50,000 different odors – far fewer than a bloodhound, but nonetheless pretty impressive.

An average person might breathe in 1/2 liter of air, 15 times every minute. If we live for, say, 35 million minutes, then we will breathe in over 265 million liters of air in a lifetime! Along with all that air comes dust, and we might well breathe in 45 pounds of dust as well.

Mondays bring with them the greatest risk of heart attack. This information comes from a ten-year study in Scotland, which found that 20% more people die of heart attacks on Mondays than on any other day. Perhaps we overindulge on the weekends, or are experiencing the stress of a new workweek?

When our fingers touch something, that message is sent to the brain at 124 miles per hour.

The hydrochloric acid in our stomach is not only good at dissolving that pizza from dinner, but can also eat through many types of metal – it can even dissolve a razorblade!

We can survive and function far longer without food than without sleep. Assuming that one consumes only water, on average we could survive for a month or two (depending on body fat and other factors).  But consider that after only a few days without sleep, we start to experience radical personality and psychological changes. The longest recorded time spent without sleep is 11 days.  Let’s not try it.

Digestion causes the body to produce gases, which must be released. On average, we experience flatulence 14 times every day.  No one is too dignified.

Approximately 75% of our stool is water – water does not exit the body solely through urine and sweat. Stool requires that much liquid in order to leave the body without causing pain.

The skin of the foot is the thickest on the body. It’s three times thicker than the skin on our palm, and 15 times thicker than the skin on our face.

Let’s remember to appreciate our amazing body, and take only the very best care of it!


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: Aug. 28, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 20