Monday, December 7, 2015

Gas, Liquids, and Solids

Our human existence maintains life in an environment that surrounds us.  Our lungs exchange gases.  Our gastrointestinal system takes in liquids and solid; and in addition, our urinary tract along with this gastrointestinal tube eliminates the waste products.  There are a few other things in this environment that affect us such as ambient temperature, atmospheric conditions,  and various other items that make our existence an unique experience. 

Now the basic gases are oxygen and carbon dioxide.  The basic liquid is water.  The basic solids are a host of items containing nutrients that provide the fuel.  Everyday, everywhere, every time this exchange of gases, liquids, and solids keep us going.  A common thread to our human existence it is.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Am I

Who am I? = Homo sapien

What am I? = a biochemical platform

When am I? = from the beginning

Where am I? = in a biosphere

Why am I? = why not

Common threads we all seek to answer.

Monday, September 28, 2015


For most of us, we had very little to do with selecting our ancestors.  You know, the ones that came before us.  The ones from who we are descended.  They have provided that chromosomal material called DNA which make us unique among the worlds population.

Webster defines "ancestor" as "one from whom a person is descended and who is usually more remote in the line of descent than a grandparent."  A great-grandparent and beyond it would be.  Not many of us ever met our great-grandparents in person.  Perhaps there are family items that have been past down through time to us that were part of their lives, but we still carry a portion of their genes as we walk around this earth.  A family we are from the beginning of time...a common thread indeed.

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Human existence provides each of us certain things that are uniquely our own.  That genetic code which directed the formation of this existence is the only one walking around, that is unless your a twin, etc.  Fingerprints are another item that belongs to this set of things that are one of a kind.  Psychology would teach us that personality is "...the unique organization of enduring attributes of the individual."

Now Webster defines this as the organization of the individual's distinguishing character traits, attitudes, or habits.    As early as 400 B.C., Hippocrates thought that certain "humors" [blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm] produced a certain temperament within the individual.  Now a days, we have certainly expanded our concept of this thing called personality, but each of us has one...another common thread.

Thursday, August 6, 2015


The "Adam's Apple" we use to call it.  We all have one.  You know, that place in the neck that sticks out in the front, ever since Adam took that first bite, and a piece of the apple got stuck in his throat.  The larynx I believe it is officially called.  It is especially adapted to act as a vibrator to the air that passes thought what we now call the "voice box".  Phonation (sound) and articulation (speech) are the processes by which we learn to speak. 

There are specific speech nervous control centers in the brain as well as various breathing control centers of the brain.  These centers, along with resonance structures of the mouth and nasal cavities produce our speech.  The stretching and motion of the vocal cords are central to this activity.  You then add the soft palate, the tongue, and lips to this process of air movement, have speech.

What a wonder it is. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Limbic System

Webster tells us that emotion is "a psychic and physical reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling and physiologically involved changes that prepare the body for immediate vigorous action".  It seems the French word emouvoir is the root, which means "to stir up".  You might say that we all get "stirred up" frequently as we go about our daily lives.

My old psychology text teaches that human beings rarely seek goals without fear or joy or happiness or jealousy or anger accompanying that seeking.  A quote from the text:

"We live our daily lives in the midst of what may feel like a whole and ever changing symphony of emotional experience."

The physiologist [ different from "psychologist"] teaches that "The Limbic Association Area" is the region of the brain that is concerned primarily with behavior, emotions, and motivation.  We all have one in the midbasal regions of the brain. It is the limbic system that provides most of the drives for setting the other of the brain into action. 

Another common thread it is... this limbic system.
 For other definitions see:
   Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, G. & C. Merrian Co., Springfield, MA, 1981, p.369

For a broad discussion see:
   Psychology A Scientific Study of Man, Second Edition, by Fillmore H. Sanford, pp. 253-275.

For those interested in the medical side, see:
   Textbook of Medical Physiology, by Guyton, Eighth Edition, p.637.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


For most, around 30% of our human existence is spent in unconsciousness.  Yes sir, that's right.  My textbook of medical physiology defines this unconsciousness as sleep, and lets one know that a person can be aroused from this state by sensory or other stimuli.  [This state is to be distinguished from coma, which is a state of unconsciousness from which the individual cannot be aroused.]

It is recognized that there are multiple stages of sleep, ranging from a very light sleep to a very deep sleep.  It has also been shown that a person goes through two different types during this period of unconsciousness.  One type is called "slow wave sleep", and the second is called "REM sleep". [Stands for rapid (R) eye (E) movement (M) sleep.]  Each night approximately 75% of sleep is the slow way type.  It is during REM sleep that dreaming is usually associated. 

Now sleep produces its effects on the nervous system itself, and on other structures of the body.  It is part of the cycle called "sleep-wakefulness".  How about that, we all share this cycle [consciousness to unconsciousness] on a daily bases.  It is a common thread of our human existence.

My text is:

Textbook of Medical Physiology, Eighth Edition, by Arthur C. Guyton.  It was published by W.B. Saunders Co., 1991.  Pages 659 - 663 discuss this topic.  It was the 1971 edition that accompanied me through medical school.