Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why Nausea Exists

My favorite professor in college was Dr. Eric Cooper.  He didn't have many people skills, and often asked students to take any questions regarding their grades or other administrative problems to the class TA instead of going straight to him.

But the dude was a goldmine of information.  If a student had a question about the class material, Dr. Cooper would have the answer backed up by thousands of scientific sources, all of which he had memorized.  I took three college courses with Dr. Cooper, and I doubt he ever even knew my name, but he changed my life and perspective, and this article is my homage to his lessons.

I'm not a germaphobe.  I probably should be.  In fact, I get sick often enough that a doctor would probably advise that I live in a plastic bubble for the rest of my days.  So it comes as no surprise that I've become sort of an expert of Nausea.  Sure, I know all about hangover nausea, but there are plenty of other kinds too!  Like being in a car or plane after a night of drinking.  Or having the stomach flu after a night of drinking!  Or even-- and I think it might be a rumor-- you can be nauseous even if you didn't drink anything the night before!

Meet most of your Vestibular Organs:

These guys live in your inner ear.  Their job is to tell you what direction you are facing as well as register how fast you are moving.  They can do this because they are connect neurologically with our eyes.  When you feel dizzy, your vestibular organs are actually telling you that what you see and what you feel do NOT add up.

Lots of stuff can fuck with your vestibular organs.  Alcohol.  Spinning around in circles.  Playing certain types of video games.  Riding in cars.  Riding in airplanes.  Riding in any vehicle.

So motion sickness and hangovers are caused by these organs and here's the interesting tidbit:  It is scientifically possible to remove these organs all together and live.  So why wouldn't you want to?!

It's because nausea and vomiting are occasionally good for you.  Granted, motion sickness is stupid and annoying.  And hangovers are awful.  But when you have food poisoning, you do a fuckload of puking.  Because the food you ingested is POISONED.  Our vestibular organs pick up that our bodies should not have ingested poison, and they do all the natural puking for us!

Your body is ousting poison so it doesn't do any other bodily damage.  Pretty sweet, huh?  And you're losing weight!  BOMB.COM!

So the next time you are puking your brains out and wishing for death, remember that your vestibular organs are doing their job, and if you feel a little risky, just get those fuckers removed and live the rest of your life gambling on what you'll eat next!

This entire lesson contains factual material to the extent that I learned it correctly.  I might have mixed up a few names or functions, but I fact-checked every now and then with some of the information.  Are you a super secret genius or Dr. Cooper himself--- how did you know some of my facts may be incorrect?!

...Actually, if you are Dr. Cooper, here is a message:  You sir, are of my greatest esteem.  I'm sorry I didn't learn all of science like you tried to engrain in me.  It's just SO MUCH, and some it it blends in my brain.  But I learned the bigger stuff!  About the nausea and the organs!  And then something about the moon size effect on the horizon... Weird cool facts though!  Anyway, I just want you to know that you are the coolest person I know.  Thanks for all of the inspiration and cool ways to think about things.