Michelle Reed

News

Fri, 26 Jun, 2015

The real cause of brain freeze, plus other weird body phenomena explained

The real cause of brain freeze, plus other weird body phenomena explained

Scientists Mitchell Moffit and Greg Brown have published a new book that gives insight into some of the most common questions about seemly bizarre bodily occurrences. Why do we get brainfreeze? Why does the sun make us sneeze? The book answers these amusing questions and more, some of which you will find below.

Why does the sun make me sneeze?

“Photic sneeze reflex,” or the occurrence of sneezing when confronted with bright light, is caused by a signal in the optic nerve. This signal cuts through the trigeminal nerve, a nerve responsible for controlling most of the face. This in turn triggers the sneeze centre of the brain. The brain then informs the body to produce a sneeze. Basically, it’s a bit of a miscommunication. The irritated eye misinforms the brain of a need to sneeze, rather than the irritated nose.

Why can’t I get huge muscles?

Every person naturally has different levels of myostatin, the protein that determines the limit of one’s possible muscle mass. Myostatin stops a muscle from getting larger as it reaches its limit. The less myostatin a person has, the bigger their muscles have the potential to become.

Why do my extremities fall asleep?

When you get pins and needles in your arm, it is because your restrictive position has cut off the blood’s circulation to the area. The brain recognises this disturbance and increases nerve activity (in other word, that numb, tingling feeling) until the situation is rectified.

Why are men hairy?

Humans actually have a similar number of hair follicles to primates, the difference being that most of our hair is lighter and finer. It is believed that heavier coats of hair became burdensome once humans started to migrate to warmer climates in search of food. Men have more terminal hair, the coarse hair responsible for head and pubic hair, while women have more vellus hair, which is finer. The reason for this might be in our biological need for reproduction: a hairy chest represents a more virile man while fine hair represents youth, a necessary component for childbearing.

Why do I get brain freeze?

When you eat ice cream or other cold snacks and beverages, the capillaries in your mouth constrict and the body sends blood to the brain, both in an effort to keep your organs warm. This extra blood causes uncomfortable pressure in the head. When we swallow our treat, our capillaries unconstrict which causes us further pain and discomfort.

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