Today’s episode has something for everyBODY. It's the Body Bonanza where we answer a ton of your questions about our human bodies! This time around, we’ll hear from some of our favorite body parts: the heart beats, the stomach rumbles, the appendix writes a poem. The ear brings us a new Mystery Sound, a foot gives us the lowdown on how it falls asleep, the tongue sings a song… and there’s even an appearance from the “anti-mouth.” Wow!
SPEAKER 1: You're listening to Brains On, where we're serious about being curious.
SPEAKER 2: Brains On is supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
[KNOCKING ON DOOR]
MOLLY: Oh, great. That must be our guest for the episode.
KENZIE: Who is it?
MOLLY: Well, we're doing another Body Bonanza episode, and it's all about organs!
OCTAVIUS ORGAN: Did somebody say organ?
It's me, Octavius Organ at your service. I've got organs for all occasions! Scary organs.
[SCARY ORGAN PLAYING]
[HAPPY ORGAN PLAYING]
[SUPRISED ORGAN PLAYING]
And moderately amused organs.
I keep them all organized in my orange organ organizer!
MOLLY: No, we're not talking about that kind of organ.
PATRICIA PORTLAND: Knock knock. I heard someone's in a fever state for the Beaver State!
PATRICIA PORTLAND: I was so thrilled to hear you're doing an episode all about Oregon, the niftiest of the 50th states. I'm Oregon's very official, definitely not self-appointed, spokesperson Patricia Portland. And I am here to answer all of your Oregonian questions.
MOLLY: No, not Oregon. I meant organs, body organs.
DR. CREEPENSTEIN: Did somebody say body organs?
DR. CREEPENSTEIN: Because I, Dr. Creepenstein, have made a monster from old body organs and brought it all to life!
Behold my creation.
MONSTER: Ugh. Stop it. You're embarrassing me.
DR. CREEPENSTEIN: Oh, I only gave you life, and you can't even be bothered to meet my friends?
MOLLY: We're not friends. We don't even know who you are.
MONSTER: Did you have to give me life so early in the morning? Geez. I just want to go back to bed and listen to my music.
OCTAVIUS ORGAN: Did someone say music? Ha-cha!
PATRICIA PORTLAND: Ooh! I love music. The Oregon State song goes like this.
(SINGING) Land of--
DR. CREEPENSTEIN: Are you watching videos on your phone again? That will rot your brain.
MONSTER: Ugh. My brain is already rotten, remember? You build me from old body parts.
DR. CREEPENSTEIN: Look, I didn't build you to pay attention to your screen.
[OVERLAPPING SINGING AND CONVERSATION]
MOLLY: All of you, stop! Oh, thank you. I'm sorry, we don't need an organist or an Oregonian, or even a monster made of old organs. We just need a regular old guest to talk about body organs for our Body Bonanza.
[KNOCKING ON DOOR]
HEART: Hello? Is someone looking to chat about body organs? I'm a heart, and these are my body organ friends.
BODY ORGAN 1: What's up?
BODY ORGAN 2: Hi. How's it going?
MOLLY: Wait, you all are giant talking organs that can somehow survive outside the body?
KENZIE: Finally, normal podcast guests.
MOLLY: You're listening to Brains On for APM Studios. I'm Molly Bloom, and my co-host today is Kenzie from Minneapolis. Hi there, Kenzie.
KENZIE: Hi, Molly.
MOLLY: So you've written to us with lots of questions about the human body, and it turns out our listeners have more questions about their bodies than just about anything else. So why do you think that is? Why do so many people have questions about bodies?
KENZIE: Mm. Maybe because the body is, like, us?
MOLLY: Mm-hm. We spend all day with it. What is your favorite body part?
KENZIE: Maybe my wrist.
KENZIE: Because we pick up a lot of things with it, and we write with it.
MOLLY: I like that choice, because the wrist doesn't get a lot of attention, but it is super important to so many things that we do all the time. So if your wrist could speak, what would its voice sound like?
KENZIE: Maybe like a high, pitchy kind of tone?
MOLLY: I think my wrist would have a deep voice.
(DEEP VOICE) Hey, what's up? Get me off of this computer.
I think that maybe all my body parts sound like that. They're just grumpy in general.
So what body part do you think is underrated, like we don't give it enough love?
KENZIE: Like your foot or elbow?
MOLLY: Mm. Elbow. Yeah, elbows do not get a lot of love. And you said your foot?
MOLLY: What's your favorite thing about your foot?
KENZIE: That it can kick soccer balls.
MOLLY: Mm. You play soccer?
MOLLY: Well, today is our second ever Body Bonanza episode, and we're going to answer a whole slew of listener questions about the human body.
KENZIE: Anyone else think it's weird that there are a bunch of body parts here that somehow walk and talk?
FOOT: It's best not to think too hard about it.
APPENDIX: Yeah, what Foot said. Just focus on the fact that we're here to help, and not that I, a giant talking appendix, just showed up at your door.
MOLLY: Sure. Well, let's get to it. Our first question is for you, Heart.
HEART: Start with the greatest? Good call.
MOLLY: It comes from Brooke in Kansas.
BROOKE: My question is, how many times does our heart beat a day? Bye.
HEART: I love this question. It's all about my rhythm.
KENZIE: Did you bring a drum kit with you?
HEART: Totally. Got to keep that beat. And allow me to answer this one with a little accompaniment.
(SINGING) A one, a two, a, 1, 2, 3, 4.
As the heart, my job is to pump blood throughout the body. Sometimes, I pump faster, like when you're dancing, running, laughing hard, or driving fast in your car-- diac.
Sometimes I pump slower, like when you're asleep or just super relaxed, but I'm pumping and keeping that rhythm all the time.
MOLLY: Wow. They're really good!
HEART: Now, the average number of beats in a day depends on how old you are. If you're one or two years old, your heart beats about 80 to 130 times per minute, like this.
As you get older, your heart goes a little slower, like when you're five years old, it's about 75 to 115 beats per minute.
MOLLY: Huh, I did not know that our hearts get slower as we age.
HEART: Yeah, but only up to a point. By the time you're 10 or 11, your heart beats at the same rate as an adult, which is 60 to 100 beats per minute, and it stays that way. So to answer the question, let's do a little math.
Say your average is 70 beats per minute. We'll take 70 times 60 minutes per hour for 24 hours a day. It means your heart beats about 100,000 times every day!
KENZIE: 100,000 beats a day? Wow, you're a busy body part.
HEART: Oh, yeah. I'm a pumpin', thumpin' machine.
MOLLY: Yeah, that's one hard working heart. You know, I just read the other day that your heart pumps blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body. So that means if you laid all of your blood vessels out on the ground, end to end, they could circle the Earth four times.
HEART: That's what I'm saying! I'm the one keeping this whole thing going. I'm basically a superhero, but, like, inside your body. Should I get a cape? I should get a cape, right?
Good point. Cape's overused. I should get a cool helmet.
KENZIE: Wait, what was that noise?
STOMACH: Excuse me.
That was me.
MOLLY: Oh, right. The giant talking stomach. I thought that rumbling sounded familiar. Do you need a snack?
STOMACH: I'm fine. It happens all the time, actually.
KENZIE: Didn't we get a question about this?
MOLLY: Oh, yeah, we did.
PHIL: I'm Phil from [INAUDIBLE] Minnesota. My question is, why do our tummies rumble when we're hungry?
STOMACH: I was hoping someone would ask this. Fun fact, it's not just me making that rumble grumble noise, it's also your intestines.
INTESTINE: Hey-o! Guilty as charged.
STOMACH: The intestines are one long tube that's curled up and tucked inside your lower belly. I send food there after I'm done with it.
INTESTINE: Yup! We're like a massive tunnel in the belly where vitamins and stuff gets plucked from your food and sent to the rest of your body.
KENZIE: OK. But most stomachs and intestines can't talk like you two can. So how did they make noises?
STOMACH: Allow me the pleasure of teaching you a new word.
STOMACH: The word is peristalsis.
KENZIE: Peristalsis? What does it mean?
STOMACH: You know how the heart pumps itself to move blood around?
STOMACH: Well, peristalsis is how your body moves food around.
You see, when you eat food, it goes through one long tube, starting with your mouth. Then through the throat, then into me, the stomach, and into the intestines, large and small, before eventually coming out the other end.
ANUS: He means me, the anus! It comes out of me. I'm the antimouth.
Well, peristalsis is how we move that food. The muscles of your stomach and intestines start squeezing and relaxing in a wavelike pattern, and that wave of muscles drives the food, liquid, and gas bubbles through this giant tube in your body.
INTESTINE: Yeah. And when we squeeze and relax during a peristalsis thing, it makes noise. The emptier we are, the louder the noise because there's no food to block the sound. Think of it like an intestine echo, echo.
STOMACH: Exactly. And get ready for another fancy word. Those noises are called borborygmus.
MOLLY: What a word! Borborygmus.
KENZIE: Next time my stomach growls, I'm going to say excuse my borborygmus.
MOLLY: Speaking of borborygmus, all this tummy talk made me hungry. Let's break for snacks and then get back to more of your questions in our Body Bonanza.
We're working on an episode about why we smell the way we do. And we'd like to know, if you could smell like anything, what would it be?
KENZIE: Maybe it's the smell of books or sloppy joes in the cafeteria.
MOLLY: Maybe it's fresh basil or the sidewalk after it rains. Kenzie, what would you want to smell like?
KENZIE: Maybe like brownies in the oven?
MOLLY: Oh, that is a very good choice. You would make people happy wherever you went. Listeners, record yourself telling us your preferred smell and why. And send it to us at brainson.org/contact, and while you're there, you can send us ideas, mystery sounds, and questions.
KENZIE: Like this one.
LISA: My name is Lisa. And my question is, why do dogs chase their tails?
KENZIE: You can find the answer on our Moment of Um podcast.
MOLLY: It's a short daily dose of facts every weekday. Find it wherever you listen to Brains On.
Oh, I think your brownies are done.
KENZIE: Nope, that's just my perfume.
MOLLY: You're listening to Brains On. I'm Molly.
KENZIE: And I'm Kenzie.
MOLLY: And this is the crowd of talking body parts that showed up at our door today.
- Hey, guys.
KENZIE: Let's get back to your questions about the human body.
MOLLY: Next up, this one.
ERIN: Hi. My name is Erin Shu. My question is, why do we have an appendix, and why? And what causes it to burst?
APPENDIX: Hi! Over here, in the back. Excuse me. Excuse me. Coming through.
MOLLY: I take it you are the?
APPENDIX: The appendix at your service. Here, have a business card.
KENZIE: You have business cards?
MOLLY: It just says appendix, and for contact find me attached to the large intestine.
APPENDIX: Yep, that's where I live. If you're ever in the neighborhood, just look for a small finger-shaped pouch. That's me. And remember, you've always got a friend in the appendix.
HEART: Ugh, not that line again.
APPENDIX: Listen, heart, you might be the beating heart of this operation but the rest of us body parts are important, too.
HEART: Oh, please. You don't even serve a real purpose, appendix. You just hang out below the large intestine and, what, write poems?
APPENDIX: Well, it just so happens I do have a poem for this occa--
HEART: Why don't you find a way to make yourself useful?
APPENDIX: Not useful? That's an outdated view of what I bring to the table. Molly, Kenzie, just hear me out. Yes, for a long time, doctors thought I didn't do much. But new research suggests I play an important role in keeping you healthy.
APPENDIX: Yes. There are a couple theories. One is that I'm actually full of good bacteria that your body needs to help digest food and stay healthy. I'm like a storage warehouse for these bacteria.
Let's say you get diarrhea or something and all your good bacteria gets flushed out of your intestines, so to speak. That's where I come in. I release all my good bacteria back in there. And just like that, you're back in business, buddy.
HEART: Well, that does sound useful.
APPENDIX: Another theory is that I have special immune cells that help you fight things that make you sick.
HEART: Huh. I didn't know all that. That is pretty neat, actually.
APPENDIX: See? Some people think I was more important when you humans lived in a world that was filthier, and germier, and had less soap and water. I helped fight diseases and stuff. But now that you keep so clean, I'm just chilling with nothing to do. But hey, I'm still important.
KENZIE: So why do you burst sometimes, like the question asked?
APPENDIX: Well, I'm not perfect. It's rare, but sometimes I get clogged or infected and I swell up, that's called appendicitis. I can even pop if it gets really bad, but doctors usually try to remove me before that happens. So the bursting just means that I got really sick. And that's actually what my poem is about. It's a haiku. May I?
MOLLY: By all means.
APPENDIX: Appendicitis. You never saw it coming. Sorry, I freaked out.
KENZIE: Well, thank you for sharing all of that, appendix.
APPENDIX: Of course. You can't always depend on the append-ics.
MOLLY: OK. Next up.
EAR: Oh. Oh. Excuse me. Hello?
KENZIE: Is that an ear?
EAR: Yes. And I think you're forgetting something.
MOLLY: We are?
EAR: My favorite part of the show, you know, where I show off my amazing talent.
EAR: I believe you call it the Mystery Sound.
MOLLY: Oh, right. Yeah, well, let's do it then. Here we go. Kenzie, are you ready?
MOLLY: All right. Here is the sound.
All right. What is your guess?
KENZIE: Maybe like cracking peanuts or something?
MOLLY: Oh, very good guess. We're going to hear the answer and get another chance to guessed after the credits.
EAR: Oh, I can't wait!
KENZIE: Me neither.
- Brains On. On. On.
KENZIE: Oh, dang it. Not again.
MOLLY: What's wrong? Are you bored? Is this too much learning?
KENZIE: No, never. It's just--
MOLLY: You need some water?
KENZIE: I brought my water bottle.
MOLLY: Need a snack?
KENZIE: No, it's my foot.
MOLLY: Your foot needs a snack?
KENZIE: No, it's numb.
KENZIE: I've been sitting so long in this recording studio that my foot fell asleep.
MOLLY: Oh, I have the perfect question for this.
ETHAN: Hi. My name is Ethan and I'm from San Jose, California. And my question is, what happens when parts of your body fall asleep?
FOOT: Kick that question over to me, Mollerino. Hi. Foot here. I like long walks on the beach, kicking soccer balls, and fuzzy wool socks.
KENZIE: Hey, foot. So why do feet fall asleep even if the rest of me is still awake?
FOOT: Well, we're not really falling asleep, you just can't feel us for a little while. You see, when you sit on us for a long time in a weird position, you can actually squish or pinch some nerves. Nerves are like wires that connect different body parts to the brain and tell it what they are feeling.
When you sit on your foot weird, you might also pinch the blood vessels that feed the nerves. Because of all this, the nerve can't send a good signal, so your foot loses feeling.
KENZIE: Oh, that's why my foot felt numb. But why is it all prickly now, like pins and needles?
FOOT: That happens when you stop pinching the nerve and feeling is coming back to your foot. It can be weird, but don't worry, it's usually over pretty quick.
MOLLY: This Body Bonanza has flown by. We still have one more question, and it comes from a listener with a really awesome name.
MOLLY 2: My name is Molly. And my question is, why do we have tongues?
KENZIE: OK. A talking tongue? Sure.
TONGUE: Without your tongue, you couldn't chew or swallow or taste.
The little bumps on your tongue, the papillae, they help grip food, move it around your mouth, and push it down your throat.
And these papillae have taste buds inside that are made up of taste cells that contain teeny tiny hairs called macrovilli that send taste information to your brain where you come up with ideas. And who do you think helps you communicate those genius thoughts? Your tongue, of course. Without your tongue, it'd, be very tricky to talk or sing.
OK. You know what? Enough with this tongue talk. I've got a song all about it.
MOLLY: Wait. I don't know if we have time for--
TONGUE: Hit it, heart.
MOLLY 2: My question is, why do we have tongues?
TONGUE: Why do we have tongues, you ask. Yet as you speak, your tongue it flaps. It tickles your teeth. It swerves and dips. You smile and then it licks your lips.
(SINGING) You're tongue is strong, it does not stop. At night it moves, saliva slop. Down your throat, into your tongue. You drown in drool without your tongue.
Not only that, it helps you speak. The tip makes sounds like slip this leak. The back makes sounds like kick, rag, clack. Eight muscles, front and back. To top it off, your tongue fights germs, blocks invaders [INAUDIBLE] The root has tonsils, immunocytes, cells and tissues designed to fight.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Plus the tongue it helps you taste. Without it, food would be a waste. Salty, sour, bittersweet. Your tongue delivers yummy treats.
MOLLY: OK. Well, that's a great number to end on.
KENZIE: And just in the lick of time.
MOLLY: Thank you, giant talking body parts for all your help.
ANUS: Wait, what about me, the anus? I have a song too.
(SINGING) Oh, I am the deer down by your rear. When you toot, I let out the air. Stinks and smells, I let them pass. I open and close for bacterial gas. For I am your pal, the anus. Without me, your life would be heinous. Your belly would bloat, you'd bleed like a goat without your pal, the anus. Without your pal, the anus!
[PASSING GAS SOUND]
MOLLY: And we're done here.
KENZIE: Your heart beats day and night to keep blood running through your body.
MOLLY: Your stomach and intestines squeeze and relax, and sometimes that makes rumbly noises.
KENZIE: Your appendix can burst if it gets infected, but it's pretty rare when it happens.
MOLLY: Your foot feels numb when you squish a nerve for a long time by sitting on it.
KENZIE: And your tongue does lots of things from helping you talk to letting you taste.
MOLLY: That's it for this episode of Brains On.
KENZIE: This episode was produced by Molly Bloom, Rosie DuPont, Anna Goldfield, Ruby Guthrie, Mark Sanchez, Anna Weigel, and Nico Whistler.
MOLLY: Our editors are Sanden Totten and Shahla Farzan. This episode was sound designed by Rachel Breeze and mixed by Alex Simpson. We had engineering help from Evan Clark. Special thanks to Kara Johnson, Tracy Mumford, Maeve Skelly, Joy Dolo, and Andy Disset.
Beth Perlman is our executive producer. And the executives in charge of APM Studios are Chandra Kavati, Joanne Griffith, and Alex Shaffer.
KENZIE: Brains On is a nonprofit public radio show. There are lots of ways to support us.
MOLLY: You can tell your friends about us.
KENZIE: Hey, friends, have you heard of Brains On?
MOLLY: Buy our books!
KENZIE: They're fantastic.
MOLLY: Or check out our merch.
KENZIE: So stylish.
MOLLY: Head to brainson.org. And that's all we have--
EAR: But, but what about the mystery sound?
MOLLY: Oh my goodness. Good call, ears. Let's hear that mystery sound one more time.
[MYSTERY SOUND PLAYING]
All right. New thoughts. What do you hear?
KENZIE: I mean, it kind of sounds like hammering? But then in the end, it also kind of sounds like crumbling a leaf, kind of.
MOLLY: It does. So all the things we heard, we heard crumbling, we heard cracking, we heard banging. Yeah, that's a tricky one. You ready for the answer?
MOLLY: All right. Here is the answer.
ELLIS: My name is Ellis, and that was the sound of a hard boiled egg being cracked. My mom and I were talking about mystery sounds while she was making me lunch, and lunch was hard boiled eggs. I love hard boiled eggs, especially deviled eggs because they're tasty.
MOLLY: That's the crackling noises, the peeling. The banging is when you bang it on the counter to get it all cracked up.
MOLLY: Have you done that before?
MOLLY: It's fun. I like peeling hard boiled eggs. Do you enjoy it?
[PEELING HARD BOILED EGGS]
MOLLY: Now it's time for the brain's honor roll. These are the incredible kids who keep this show going with their questions, ideas, mystery sounds, drawings, and high fives. Erin from Australia, Braden from Aurora, Colorado, Riya from Amman, Jordan, DeSean, Brooke, Nayele, Cora, and Lincoln from Santa Maria, California, Adelaide from Tacoma, Washington, Bennett from Milwaukee, Charles and James from Quebec City, Piper and Wyatt from Flushing, Michigan, Gwen and Parker from Ithaca, New York, Nathaniel from San Marcos, California, Penelope from Minneapolis.
Xavier and Sloan from Brooklyn, New York, Luke from Calgary, Holden Bubba and Link from Ferndale, Washington, Andrea from Durham, North Carolina, Grace and Audrey and Laila from Mason, Ohio, Lily from Berkeley, California, Olivia from Brandon, Florida, Mallory and Ryan from Draper, Utah, Kenzie from Minneapolis, Audrey, Ellie, and Kate from Atlanta, Ursula from Bullets, California, Eden and Willa from Ladysmith, British Columbia, Hailey from Boston, Rosa and flora from Middlebury, Vermont.
Katia and Ruslan from Tucson, Arizona, Averie from Anderson, South Carolina, Emerson and Evelyn from Bloomington, Indiana, Valentino from Albany, California, Atticus and Zoe from Flossmoor, Illinois, Noah from Hidden Valley, California, Opal from Woodside, New York, Braden from Aurora, Colorado, Rowan from Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.
Jahnavi from Princeton, New Jersey, Nyla from Chicago, Rory from Charlottesville, Virginia, Porter from East Lansing, Michigan Babette from Banff, Alberta, AJ from Michigan, Zyon from Brisbane, Australia, Donovan from Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, Molly from Ripon, California, Holly from Morgantown, West Virginia, Tessa from Denver, Venla, from Portland, Oregon, AJ from San Diego, Isaac from Holland, Michigan.
Javier and Jose from Raleigh, North Carolina, Jackson from Peachtree Corners, Georgia, Charlotte from Asheville, North Carolina, Will and Ben from McMinnville, Oregon, Okule from Pretoria, South Africa, Yasmine from Hiroshima, Japan, Emmett, Martin, and Barry from New Franklin, Ohio.
Alden from Washington, Gabriel from Bolitho, South Africa, Leo from Woodbury, Minnesota, Akiva from Argyle, Texas, Oscar from London, Asher from Chicago, Isla from Los Angeles, Kathryn and Cassandra from Montreal, Molly from Tucson, Arizona, Luca from Erie, Pennsylvania, and Mia from Maidstone, United Kingdom.
We'll be back next week with more answers to your questions.
KENZIE: Thanks for listening!
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