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    Know Yourself Blog

    Listen up, my fellow microscopic villains! I know all of us bacteria and viruses want to infiltrate the human body, but there are some serious forces we’ve got to know our way around if we’re going to be successful. Today we’re going to take a journey into the lymphatic system. While you may not hear about it as much as some other parts of the body, it has clever defenses waiting to foil us at every turn. Read on if you want to stand a chance of navigating its maze of crafty checkpoints standing in our way.
    When we think about which system of the body fights off sickness and diseases, which one do you think of? If you thought of the immune system, you’re not wrong -however, the immune system is not the only body system in town that’s important for disease prevention and opposition. The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in aiding the immune system to counter and interrogate illnesses.
    One of the most unique and interesting things about our lymphatic system is that it sends the lymph in only one direction. Think of it like a river - the water flows downstream to the ocean, but never runs back up the same way. However, unlike river water, lymph doesn’t rely solely on the help of gravity to get it moving. In fact, it sometimes needs to flow against gravity.
    The integumentary system includes our hair, skin, and nails. Why are these all grouped within the same system? It might not be obvious at first, but they all serve a unifying function. The skin, hair, and nails provide a barrier between our internal organs and the external world, protecting our body from pathogens and our organs from injury.
    Meditation is a practice dating back to ancient times. Early Hindu and Buddhist monks discovered techniques that allow a meditator to train their attention and awareness. There are many different forms of mediation, and all of these forms have different goals. Some styles are designed to bring up particular emotions, like love and joy. Other forms, like mindfulness meditation, are designed to help you better control your attention and awareness, and to help you regulate your emotions (parents, if you’d like to learn more about emotion regulation in kids, ask our resident psychology PhD student by submitting your interest on the Ask Dr. B page! 
    Welcome, Know Yourselfers, to our twelfth and final adventure! It’s been a long ride, but here we stand at the integumentary system -- the perfect one to wrap it all up! As I’m sure you know by now, the integumentary system consists of your skin, hair, and nails, and I’d be happy to shed some light. It’s a big system, which leaves a lot of unanswered questions, but never fear, Dr. Bonafide is here to give you the skin-ny! I said give you the skinny -- did you hair me? Ha ha ha...nailed it!
    The best games are the ones where you are moving your body. Not only are they entertaining, but they’re also extremely healthy. One of the best things you can do for your health is to move your body as much as possible, so we want you to get some fresh air and get moving with some fun activities. . This isn’t all fun and games, though - we also want you to understand what is going on in your body while exercising.
    Are you afraid of spiders? Many of us are, and when confronted with one, we’ll have one of two responses - the first is fight- to spring into action and show that spider who runs the jungle. The second is flight- to run away in fear. This human response to perceived threats is aptly named the fight-or-flight response, and is the result of an interaction between our brain and endocrine system, an interaction called the - you ready? - hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis*. For brevity’s sake, we call it the HPA axis.
    Say you need to get a bunch of your friends—more than a quintillion of them, in fact—from one place to another to do an important job. Naturally, you’re going to need a creative way to get them there. Would you use a plane, train, or car? Maybe you’d need all of the above! This is exactly what the respiratory system does: it gets oxygen from the air, through the body, and all the way to the tissues to help the cells make energy from the food you eat. Then it needs to send the cells’ waste—carbon dioxide—out of the body. We call this process gas exchange. Fortunately, it gets a hand from your circulatory system and several clever modes of transportation to get the job done.
    Welcome back to another Ask Dr. B. Today we’re talking about social psychology—that is, how your thoughts, beliefs, and actions are changed by interacting with others (and I don’t just mean things you do by yourself that you would be embarrassed to do in front of other people—like singing into your stethoscope in front of a mirror! Not that I do that….). Let’s get out of our heads and into the questions.
    We can't see it, and usually can't smell it...but have you ever thought about the air you breathe? What's it made of, anyway? Is all air created equal? The lungs are the central organs of the respiratory system. They play a vital role in a wide variety of critical bodily functions that keep you alive and healthy. For example, the lungs, assisted by muscles of respiration like the diaphragm (located below the lungs) and the intercostal muscles (found between the ribs), are responsible for the body’s ability to breathe.
    When an allergen enters your respiratory system, it can set off a false alarm that causes your immune system to mistake it for an invader. Recall from Adv. 6 that your immune system responds to viral invaders by creating antibodies[note for web design: link to Adv. 6materials]. The immune system does just that - it forms antibodies to fight the allergen, even though it’s harmless. Each time you encounter the allergen thereafter, the new antibodies alert the immune system, which responds by releasing histamine (Say it like this: HI-stuh-meen).Histamine is a hormone, and we remember from Adv. 8 what they do[note for web design: link to Adv. 8 materials]- they tell your cells to do stuff! In this case, they tell your cells to sneeze, cough, irritate your eyes, or make your nose run.