Your Body is a Miracle

By Farzana Rahman

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No, this is not a John Mayer lyric (you’re thinking of ‘Your Body is a Wonderland’ – infinitely more creepy). 

We’re talking about you.

When we think of the human body we see a person. A discrete physical entity which fits on a single chair. Yet, in many ways, the body is infinite.

A single cell is made up of millions of atoms and we are made up of billions of cells.  As doctors, we spend most of our time analysing the body trying to understand its flaws. But sometimes this single-minded quest makes us forget the magic that is the human body. The millions of electrical impulses travelling in nanoseconds, the steady rhythm of our heart beat, the ebb and flow of our breath. The sensory experiences of every moment of existence processed by brains that have circuitry we still don’t understand. 

We have cells in our eyes that process different wavelengths of light to help us see colour. The images we see are stored in a memory centre that is closely related to how we process smell. So years after the event, we might catch a scent that takes us back to another time. 

When I reflect on what I’ve learned, I realise that the map of the body that I’ve studied and committed to memory is rudimentary and basic. Like a map drawn on the back of a napkin which attempts to illustrate a landscape of eternal beauty and remarkable complexity.

 

Five fascinating facts about the human body:

 

  1. If a human being’s DNA were uncoiled, it would stretch 10 billion miles, from Earth to Pluto and back.[13]

  2. The brain contains 86 billion nerve cells joined by 100 trillion connections. This is more than the number of stars in the Milky Way.[13]

  3. Your eyes can distinguish between 2.3 and 7.5 million different colours.

  4. Gastric acid produced by the stomach is strong enough to dissolve metal

  5. Human decomposition begins about 4 minutes after we die where the enzymes and bacteria we used to digest food eat, a process known as ‘self-digestion’ where your enzymes and bacteria eat you away.

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