Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Project: Ears, Nose, Lips

The nose serves multiple functions, such as breathing and distinguishing scents. The nose also contributes to our sense of taste. It is composed of both external and internal parts; there is the organ that protrudes from the center of the face, which is composed of cartilage and the nasal cavity which expands back into the head and connects with the throat. The nose contains tiny hairs called cilia hairs, which act as filters to catch airborne particles that can enter our respiratory system and make us sick; cilia is considered the first line of defense, before it is left up to our immune systems to battle. On average, men’s noses are bigger than women’s, and one of the most common medical conditions associate with this organ are nosebleeds. The nose is also an organ that is particularly susceptible to frostbite. In researching the function of this organ, I was somewhat surprised to discover that several searches generated plastic surgery web pages... apparently there are a lot of people out there who are dissatisfied with the way their noses are shaped, which is mainly determined by the ethmoid bone and the nasal septum. The number of rhinoplasty procedures performed in the US each year ranges somewhere from 250-400,000!
The ears are sense organs which allow us to hear. The ear can be divided into three main parts: inner, middle and outer. The middle and outer ear transmit sounds to the inner ear, which contains fluid and sound receptors. Sound creates motion in the fluid, which then gets converted by the receptors into electrical impulses which are sent to the brain to allow the perception of sound. The inner ear is also responsible for our sense of “equilibrium,”which gives us our balance and coordination.

Human lips are located at the bottom of the face, at the opening of the mouth. Our lips serve several functions, with food intake being one of the most obvious and important. The lips also contain several nerve endings, and are therefore a tactile organ that is very sensitive to hot, cold and touch. Lips are also very important for articulation, and therefore contribute largely to our ability to speak, and also allow us to play certain wind instruments. Nerve endings in the lips make them an erogenous zone on the body (critical for acts of intimacy, such as kissing), and interestingly enough, lip size has been correlated with sexual attraction in both men and women, as healthy plump lips indicate fertility (this could be why women are so concerned with having "juicy" lips!). Our lips also allow us to indicate our feelings through facial expression, by enabling us to smile and frown.

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