Cool Science Facts for Future Nurses

Knowledge about human anatomy is a vital part of any medical career, including nursing. While there is more to anatomy than any article could possibly contain, the following facts may help get aspiring nurses started on the right foot (or, as they say in medical speak, the right metatarsus):

Laidback Liver

The liver is arguably the most tolerant and resilient organ in the human body. As little as 25 percent of healthy tissue may be all that is needed to regenerate a damaged liver to its full form. This is why partial liver donations from live donors are viable.

Cancer Connection

The risk of some cancers may be related to a person’s height. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford, concluded that every inch over five feet correlated to a 4 percent risk of cancer. The cancers that were specifically related to height included colon, rectal, breast, uterine, melanoma, ovarian, kidney, Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma, and leukemia.

Vein-like Varieties

Veins and arteries are not the same thing. While veins carry blood towards the heart, arteries carry blood away from the heart. The blood carried by the veins is usually deoxygenated and the blood carried by arteries is usually oxygenated. The exceptions to this include the pulmonary artery (which carries deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs), the pulmonary vein (which carries oxygenated blood from the lungs to the heart), the umbilical arteries (which carry deoxygenated blood from the heart to the fetus), and umbilical veins (which carry oxygenated blood from the fetus to the heart).

The Cerebral Cerebrum

The cerebrum is the biggest and most developed part of the brain. Not only does it control emotion, speech, and sensory stimuli, but it also produces the pathways for movement and controls fine motor skills.

Aneurysm Awareness

Aortic aneurysms occur when the aorta is dilated or swollen: they may be thoracic or abdominal. Though some aneurysms show no symptoms, hoarseness, chest pain and pressure, or flu like symptoms may occur. Aortic aneurysms that rupture are extremely dangerous and have a low survival rate, thus immediate medical attention is essential. They are more likely in people with a family history of aortic aneurysm, in those with Marfan syndrome or other connective tissue disorders, and in those who have a bicuspid aortic valve. They may not always show up on physical exam or ultrasound (echocardiogram) and are often diagnosed by MRI.

The Femoral Freeway

The femoral artery (the large artery in the thigh) acts as a freeway for the body and can be used to access any part of the arterial system. For this reason, it is often accessed to insert catheters or wires and used for diagnostic procedures that involve the kidneys, heart, and brain.

The most commonly broken bone depends on age. While children most commonly break their clavicle (collar bone), adults most commonly break an arm bone. In fact, almost half of broken bones in adults are in the arm.

Spinal Segments

A normal spine can be divided into three major sections: the cervical, the thoracic, and the lumbar.  Each of these sections includes individual bones called the vertebrae. The cervical spine contains 7 vertebrae; the thoracic spine contains 12 vertebrae; and the lumbar spine contains 5 vertebrae. Other vertebrae can be found below the spine in the hip region. These include 5 sacrum vertebrae and 4 coccygeal vertebrae (which make up the tailbone).


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