Posted: August 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Health and Body | Tags: | 1 Comment »

Rendering of dendrites, branch-like projections of neurons

The nervous system displays varying degrees of arborization throughout the body, and thus produces widely divergent levels of sensitivity. There are so many nerve endings in your thumb and forefinger knuckles that if you consecutively feel two stacks of paper, you can detect a mere 0.006 inch difference in thickness. The nerve endings in the back, however, are so sparsely placed that if two points press on your back within 2.5 inches of each other, they will probably be indistinguishable from a single point.

Arborization (ar-bər-ih-ZAY-shən)

1. *A branching, treelike shape or arrangement, as that of the dendrite of a nerve cell.
2. The formation of a treelike shape or arrangement.


From Latin arboreus, “pertaining to trees”. Arboreus is also the root of arborist, arboretum, and arboreal.


The Sense of Man (pg. 37, 52)   |   Photo by: theilr


Posted: July 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Health and Body | Tags: | 2 Comments »

"Miracle fruit" alters your gustatory perception.

The “miracle” fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) is a berry with amazing yet puzzling gustatory properties. Popping one in your mouth will give you a 15-60 minute time frame thereafter in which extremely sour foods like lemons will taste sweet, and slightly bitter or stale foods will taste fresh and delicious. The berry itself is only mildly sweet with low sugar content.

Gustatory (GOOS-tə-tor-ee)

Of or relating to the sense of taste.


From Latin gustare, meaning “to taste”.

Related Words

Gustation – The act or faculty of tasting.

Olfactory – Of, relating to, or contributing to sense of smell.


Wikipedia: Miracle Fruit


Posted: June 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Health and Body | Tags: | No Comments »

Chili peppers can really burn.  Indeed, a large bite into a Jalapeno or Habanero can send you into a near febrile panic. But there is no cause for alarm. The pepper won’t burn a hole in your stomach — quite the opposite. Chili peppers have been shown to kill harmful bacteria in the stomach and stimulate excretion of protective juices. They are linked to reduced risk of ulcers. They also reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, lower cholesterol, decrease triglyceride levels, clear congestion, and more.

Febrile (pronounced “FEEB-rəl”)

Of, relating to, or characterized by fever.


feverish, fiery, delirious, pyretic


Whole Foods: Cayenne PepperImage Credit


Posted: June 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Health and Body, Science and Technology | Tags: | No Comments »

People who lose adult teeth typically need to obtain dentures or dental implants. But soon, we may be able to simply regrow a resplendent smile. Dr. Mao of Columbia University has devised a technique for regenerating teeth directly from their sockets. By integrating a stem-cell-infused scaffolding into the mouth, the tooth grows, forming new ligaments and alveolar bone. The technique has only been tested on animals, but it will likely be quicker and more affordable than implants when it becomes available.

Resplendent (pronounced “rih-SPLEN-dənt”)

Splendid or dazzling in appearance; brilliant.


radiant, gleaming, effulgent


Columbia University Press Release, Photo by MikeBlogs


Posted: June 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Health and Body, People | Tags: | No Comments »

Karnazes has run 135 miles through Death Valley

Dean Karnazes is an indefatigable runner. His feats include running 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days, running 350 miles in 81 hours (nonstop), and running a marathon to the South Pole at -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Karnazes had not run since high school when on his 30th birthday, while drinking at the bar, he suddenly decided to set out and run 30 miles.

Indefatigable (pronounced “in-dih-FAT-ih-gə-bəl”)

Incapable or seemingly incapable of being fatigued; tireless.


unflagging, unremitting, pertinacious


Wikipedia: Dean Karnazes