Five false facts about the human body They myth that it takes seven years to digest gum? It's just a myth. (Thinkstock)
Five false facts about the human body
Lexile

You asked us to debunk some "facts" about the human body, so let's science this!
 
Here are five popular myths that just are not true.
 
First, we have five senses, right? Wrong. Depending on how you define a sense, we actually have between 5 and 33 of them. Beyond the classics, we have a sense of balance and the ability to sense heat and time, along with all kinds of other cool spidey senses.
 
Second, what about the idea that giving kids sugar makes them bounce-off-the-walls hyperactive? Nope, the evidence for that cause-and-effect link is surprisingly slim and it's apparently more of a self-fulfilling prophecy than fact.
 
Myth number three is that we only use 10% of our brains. This one drives me insane because it's totally bogus; we use virtually every part of our brain and most of it is active almost all of the time.
 
Myth number four is that despite all the heavy lifting going on up there, it's totally false that we lose most of our body heat through our heads. The amount of heat we lose depends on how much skin surface area is exposed to the cold, so, yes, you'll lose more heat through a bald head than a gloved hand, but the opposite is just as true. 
 
And finally, I know what your mom said, but trust me, I'm a scientist, it doesn't take seven years to digest swallowed gum. The base element of gum is pretty much indigestible, but it'll still pass through our system within a week if not faster.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why might people have thought that we lose most of our heat through our heads?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (34)
  • holdeno-3-bar
    1/15/2016 - 12:23 p.m.

    People might have thought that we lose most of our heat through our heads because our head uses a lot of energy. When debunking the myth about head heat, the author talks about "all the heavy lifting that goes on up there [in the head]" (par. 6) The author references the fact that our head performs a myriad of tasks, especially the brain. This is completely true, and it also means that the human head must consume more energy than other parts of the body to perform these tasks. However, the plebeians, or the common mass of people, draw a false connection between the head's use of energy and its storage of heat. Therefore, the head's extensive use of energy might have misled people to believe that it stores, and can lose, a lot of heat.
    I liked this article because it deals with anatomy, one of my favorite subjects.

  • madelinew-1-bar
    1/15/2016 - 04:05 p.m.

    One myth proven false was that we loose body heat through our head. I believe that people though this was true because of all the "heavy lifting" in our brain, which is like a control center for our body.
    I found this article surprising. I had no idea that we can have 33 senses. I'm even more surprised that people actually believed that it takes seven years to digest swallowed gum.

  • erino-6-bar
    1/15/2016 - 08:58 p.m.

    People may think that we lose most of our heat through our heads because, many times, in a cold environment the head is the only skin exposed directly to the air. And since "The amount of heat we lose depends on how much skin surface area is exposed to the cold," that would mean that heat is escaping from our heads opposed to covered portions of our bodies.

    I was not surprised by this article because the myths they had proved wrong I had not previously believed. I did not know however, that we have up to 33 senses. I knew it was not 5 but I thought it would be very close to 5. Not up to 33.

  • ShawnaWeiser-Ste
    1/16/2016 - 08:13 p.m.

    I grew up with my parents pretty much telling me these five myths. Now i have something that i can prove them wrong with. I like the many different senses we have within our body.

  • morganh1-str
    1/19/2016 - 10:42 a.m.

    People might think that most of our heat exits from our head because all of our "heavy lifting" and thinking happens in our heads so alot of heat would enter and exit your head when you get stressed out.

  • lauraj-phi
    1/20/2016 - 12:31 p.m.

    I'm not entirely sure, possibly when someone got a fever long ago and their forehead was warm. Or someone just really needed people to buy their hats so they started a rumor.

  • lucib-bag
    1/20/2016 - 07:53 p.m.

    The fact I find most interesting is fact #1, because 33 sences is a lot and we use most of them everyday.

  • briannec-ste
    1/21/2016 - 04:50 p.m.

    I feel semi proud of myself that I knew some of these weren't true.

  • laurenc-bag
    1/21/2016 - 06:40 p.m.

    This article is very interesting. The fact that chewing-gum base is indigestible but can pass through our bodies anyways is pretty cool. Also, the fact that you use every part of your brain as well. I was always told when I was younger that we only used 10% of our brains and always left me wondering why we had as much brain mass as we have and only using 10% of it. :/

    I think that people thought that we lost most of our heat from our heads because that's the only body part for the most part that is not really sheltered like all the other body parts, i.e. how pants shelter your legs and how shirts protect your torso from weather, etc.

  • zeusr-3-bar
    1/21/2016 - 10:28 p.m.


    Because we use a lot of energy using our heads but this is not true because being cold all depends on how much surface area is exposed

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