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Anatomy and Physiology I & II

I know that when most people like me think of diabetics, we tend to associate it with too much this correct or do other factors come into play? If so what are these factors?

It isn’t the sugar itself, it’s the body’s inability to handle sugar (glucose) properly that causes problems. In Type 1 (mostly children) diabetes the cells that make insulin are attacked by an abnormal immune response. With decreased insulin, the cells cannot take up glucose properly and they “starve” even though the blood sugar is high. In Type 2 (adults) there is enough insulin, but for some reason the cells are resistant to responding to it and taking up sugar from the blood..

What do energy drinks that contain alcohol do to your body? Could they lead to death?

A very bad idea. They are marketed directly at kids, and they carry the implied message that the caffeine they contain will keep you from getting drunk on the 7% alcohol they contain (they are twice as strong as a supermarket beer. In theory they could lead to death in someone who drank very large numbers of them, but they are full of sugar and would likely make you sick first. There seems to be no point to them.

How does the food you eat affect your body and brain?

It makes you fat and happy. But we break it down to the basics in out intestines, so even if you are eating muscle you don’t get strong, and eating brain won’t make you smart. Eat a bit of everything, especially if it’s good, and you will be a well-adjusted and prosperous person..

About how many cells do you have in your stomach?

On average a human stomach weight 1 kilogram. That works out to about 10 to the power 12 cells, or a million million.

Can you burn a fair amount of calories with your brain? If you can what kind of brain activity does it require to burn a fair amount of calories?

The brain uses about 1.4 grams of glucose a minute, so that’s about a teaspoon of sugar in 5 minutes. When you think hard the usage goes up in some places but down in others, so there is not much net change. Fever increases metabolism and so, brain glucose usage goes up a bit then (maybe 10%)..

Why do pregnant women get angry easily?

Not everyone does, of course. Hormone levels change and some hormones affect our mood and behavior (for example, in adolescence) and that could do it.

When oxygen level drops from normal, does that affect the number of ATP molecules that are produced, therefore reducing the energy level?

Yes, in general. So when you live or train at higher altitude (low oxygen levels) you make more mitochondria in your cells, so you can use what oxygen there is as efficiently as possible.

In stage 1 kidney failure is the kidney making less red blood cells?

Stage 1 kidney disease is the mildest form, with kidney blood filtration at normal levels. This implies not much wrong with the blood flow to the kidney, and so it does not make large amounts of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO) which would cause increased blood cell production in the bone marrow; nor has it yet lost the ability to make EPO, so that red blood cells are not made. But individuals vary.

Tinnitus: anything new?

Tinnitus is the phantom perception of sound in the absence of overt acoustic stimulation. Its impact on the military population is alarming. Annually, tinnitus is the most prevalent disability among new cases added to the Veterans Affairs numbers. Also, it is currently the most common disability from the War on Terror. No curative treatments are available. However, tinnitus symptoms can be alleviated to some extent. The most widespread management therapies consist of auditory stimulation and cognitive behavioral treatment, aiming at improving habituation and coping strategies. Available clinical trials vary in methodological rigor and have been performed for a considerable number of different drugs. None of the investigated drugs have demonstrated providing replicable long-term reduction of tinnitus impact in the majority of patients in excess of placebo effects. Accordingly, there are no FDA or European Medicines Agency approved drugs for the treatment of tinnitus. However, in spite of the lack of evidence, a large variety of different compounds are prescribed off-label. Therefore, more effective pharmacotherapies for this huge and still growing market are desperately needed and even a drug that produces only a small but significant effect would have an enormous therapeutic impact.

Microvilli vs cilia?

Microvilli are microscopic cellular membrane protrusions that increase the surface area of cells, and are involved in a wide variety of functions, including absorption, secretion, cellular adhesion, and sensing mechanical signals. From Yahoo: A cilium waves, resulting either in motion of the cell, or motion of the material over the surface of the cell. In humans, you'll find these lining the respiratory tract, to move fluid (and small particulates) out of the lungs. A microvillus does not wave. Its function is to increase the surface area of the cell, to increase the rate of diffusion of materials into the cell. In humans, you'll find these on cells lining the small intestines, where you'd want to absorb the small molecules that have resulted from digestion of food you ate.

If the brain requires so much glucose to function, how is the brain of someone who is hypoglycemic affected? Does that affect brain function?

Yes, but the body adjusts blood flow to supply the brain at all costs. A person with real hypoglycemia (diagnosed by a real doctor, that is) must have the cause of the problem investigated since there are some very serious problems that may be involved. And the doctor can answer other questions. This doc would usually be an endocrinologist.

What is pneumonia?

Any inflammation of the lung themselves (not just the bronchi.) It can be microbial (viral, bacterial, fungal) or chemical.

How is it possible that ear problems due to music are not repairable?

Once you knock the cilia in the organ of Corti down hard, the cannot get up again, and that cell loses most of its response to sound waves.

Since the brain is folded in order to fit in our skull, is it possible to unfold the brain into a flat surface?

No, as the fold develop there are many cross-growths made so the brain is not un-foldable.

Please describe atrial fibrillation.

The Mayo Clinic has a nice discussion:

Do white blood cells die? How?

Neutrophils only live 17 hours on average, and then the die by the normal physiological process called apoptosis.

How can I donate my body at death, for medical study and maximum use of all transplantable parts? I have marked my driver’s license as a donor, but want to do more.

The contact person for donations to the State Anatomical Board is Kate Torgler ( or 303-724-0505). She can answer questions or send out information and /or donation forms as requested.

Can I get a chart of “fun facts about calories and exercise” for kids? I’m a teacher and would like to share these facts with my kids so they can understand about why to avoid junk food. Or, could I get a web link to this info for kids?