At Home Christian Jessen 2014 - 36

Your body:

brilliant yet bizarre
An extra rib, a hyoid bone? We shed light on the strange parts you may not have heard about

eye, eye

The words lacrimal caruncles hardly
roll off the tongue, but these are the
small pinkish nodules on the inside
corners of your eyes. They contain
glands that secrete that thick, whitish
substance which accumulates in the
corner of your eyes after sleep. They
have two tiny openings, called lacrimal
puncti, which suction tears by vacuum
action, each time you finish blinking
- a bit like a window vacuum for your
eyes. These tears are then transported
via ducts into your nose.

tak e a r i bbi n g

While women are said to have an extra
rib (possibly due to this being touted
about by the Bible), in fact both sexes
have 12 pairs of ribs. The lowest two
pairs, known as 'floating' ribs, are only
connected to your spinal column, and
not the rest of your rib cage. Despite
this moniker, there's nothing spare about

036 | JULY 2014

them; while most of your ribs provide
protection to your heart and lungs,
your floating ribs help prevent damage
to your stomach, spleen and kidneys.

get l i ppy

Then there's that indentation between
your nose and lips... it has a name
and you've probably heard it, but always
forget it. Try and remember it, as it often
comes up in quizzes and you'll look
like a smarty pants. It's one of those
annoying words... philtrum. Everyone

5 litres

of blood flow
through the average
human body

has one, but it is more pronounced in
some people. It's formed while you're still
in the womb, when the two sides of your
face join together (this sounds scary but
is perfectly natural). Various conditions,
such as cleft or hare lip, or fetal alcohol
syndrome, can prevent the philtrum
from developing properly. The ancient
Greeks thought the philtrum was
connected with love, and the word comes
from philtron in ancient Greek, which

means 'love charm' or 'kiss.' They're
still considered erotic today, with many
women using make-up to line their
lips, highlighting the 'peaks' to help
increase their perceived sex appeal.

b are b ones

So, how many bones have you got?
Around 206, right? Well, no. You're
forgetting the hyoid bone. The hyoid
bone is connected to the... er, well no
other bones, actually. It isn't a bone
in the traditional sense, as it works
independently from the rest of the
skeleton, and is attached instead by
ligaments and muscles. Also known
as the lingual bone, your hyoid sits on
top of your larynx, providing an anchor
for the back of your tongue. It plays
a crucial role in speech and swallowing,
and also protects the fragile tissues
of your larynx and pharynx. It tends
to only break if you're being strangled,
so it's often mentioned in post-mortems.

i nner space

Moving on down the body, we come
to the space of Disse. No, not a sci-fi
movie (although maybe it should be),
this is an area of the liver also known
as the perisinusoidal space. Named after
its discoverer, Josef Disse (1852-1912),
a German anatomist, it contains blood
plasma and cells which store fat and
vitamin A. The space may be obliterated
by liver disease, which then reduces
your liver's ability to absorb toxins
and to store fat-soluble vitamins.

on the ball

The cremaster is something that men
have but women don't. Yes, you've got

words: kia hansen | illustration: getty images

W

hat an
incredible
machine
your body is.
While you're
probably
aware of
your main
organs, and the important roles they play
in keeping you alive and healthy, many
of your lesser-known bits and bobs may
be a bit of a mystery. Some of them have
funny names but serious jobs - others
don't do much at all. We uncover some
marvellous and mysterious body parts to
delight, inform and entertain... or at
least help you win a debate with friends.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of At Home Christian Jessen 2014

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