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9 Burning Science Questions You've Always Wanted the Answers To

9 Burning Science Questions You've Always Wanted the Answers To

The human body is a weird and wonderful thing. From waking up in the morning to going to bed at night, hundreds of biological processes are happening to keep us alive, many of which we don't really understand. So why is sugar so addictive? With a little help from How The Body Works, we've got the answers to some of those burning science questions!

How can you tell if someone is lying?

There are signals that can give a person away when they lie: pausing, micro-expressions and hand gestures can all indicate that someone is lying. The best liars convince themselves they are telling the truth – if you believe your lie, your body language can’t give you away.

What happens if you don't go to sleep?

When you grow tired, your brain will steadily become unresponsive to neurotransmitters (chemicals) involved in regulating happiness. This is why tired people are often moody. When you sleep, your brain resets itself, and becomes sensitive to these neurotransmitters once again. The effects of sleep deprivation become progressively worse the longer you stay awake. Make sure to catch some z's tonight.

Infographic of the body displaying some of the issues from lack of sleep: forgetfulness, loss of rational thought, risk of illness, higher heart rate, and muscle tremors

Why do we have to revise for exams?

Revising information increases the memory’s strength with each revision session – this ensures the learnt information is stored in our long-term memory. Revising information little and often is best for retention. When you cram for an exam or presentation, you acquire a lot of information quickly, but it is lost without revisiting the information.

How tall will I grow?

Assuming both parents are of normal stature, a child’s potential adult height can be calculated as follows: add father’s height to mother’s height. For a boy, add 13cm (5in) and for a girl deduct 13cm (5in). Then divide the total by two. Most children will have a final adult height within 10cm (4in) of this estimate.

Why do some people get acne?

Sebaceous glands release oil (sebum) onto the skin and hair. When the glands produce an excessive amount of sebum, the hair follicle can become clogged with sebum and dead skin cells to form a blackhead. Skin bacteria can infect the plug to cause a spot, which can leave a scar when it heals. It can be tempting, but you should definitely avoid picking a spot.

What's more addictive, sugar or cocaine?

Sugar! Foods that are quickly turned into sugars cause a spike in blood glucose levels. Insulin spikes in response, causing glucose levels to plummet. The sugar crash leaves us tired and craving more sugar, while insulin lingers in our blood and prevents us from burning fat.

Blue graphic saying 'the sugar trap', and that sugar is now thought to be more addictive than cocaine

Why do we get jet lag?

Air travel transports us into new time zones faster than the body can adjust. It takes time for the new rhythm of daylight to reset the body clock. While our rhythms adjust, the body feels hungry and sleepy at all the wrong times – a phenomenon called jet lag.

Why does alcohol make your head spin?

Alcohol builds up quickly in the cupulas of the inner ear and makes them float in their canals. When you lie down, the cupulas are disturbed and your brain thinks you are spinning.

Are people really double jointed?

People who are said to be double-jointed have the same number of joints as everyone else, but their joints have a wider than normal range of movement. This trait is usually due to inheriting unusually elastic ligaments or a gene that codes for the production of a weaker type of collagen (a protein found in ligaments and other connective tissues).

How The Body Works is a fascinating exploration of the weird and wonderful processes that occur  within the human body, often without us knowing. Understand how our bodies keep us alive and thriving and get to the bottom of such niggling questions as why we get dizzy, why we get butterflies in our stomachs, and why we get jetlag!

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