Why Don't Your Eyelashes Grow?

January 3, 2009 6:59:47 AM PST
Ever wonder why our eyes close when we sneeze or why we get a headache if we eat ice cream too quickly? There's a new book that helps answer those and other questions asked by curious kids and adults. Dr. Beth Ann Ditkoff and her daughters Andrea and Julia wrote "Why Don't Your Eyelashes Grow?" and joined us this morning. As a physician, I am used to answering medical questions from my patients. However, friends and family also like to ask me health questions, ranging from serious topics like brain tumors to trivial ones like ingrown toenails. My two daughters, Andrea and Julia, also like to query me about medical matters. One day, my husband, Charlie, heard the girls ask me, "Why don't your eyelashes grow?" It is a basic questions, but one for which most people don't know the answer. As I explained to the girls about the cycle of hair growth, it gave my husband and idea. Why not write a book about everyday medical questions? Andrea and Julia would compile the questions, and I could provide the answers. Within days, Andrea and Julia had come up with dozens of questions--involving human body trivia (How many bones are in the body?), gross scientific facts (Why do we have boogers?), urban myths (Will you go blind if you sit too close to the TV?), and basic medical facts (Why do some people have innie belly buttons and others have outies?). In a little more than a month, we had more than 150 questions to answer! This book is intended for children and parents to address the everyday medical questions that come up frequently in day-to-day life.

Some of the questions in the book include:

1) What is that dewdrop thing in the back of your mouth?
a. It is part of your vocal cords and helps you to speak.
b. It contains taste buds and helps you to taste your food.
c. It helps to push the food that you eat down towards your stomach instead of back out through your nose.

2) Why don't your eyelashes grow?
a) You are born with a certain number of eyelashes and they never grow or change.
b) Once an eyelash falls out, you can not grow a new one.
c) Your eyelashes grow too slowly for you to notice.

3) Why do your eyes close when you sneeze?
a) It's a reflex.
b) Your eyes close to prevent your boogies from getting in your eyes.
c) By squeezing your eyes shut, you help to create a more forceful sneeze.

4) What does it mean to be tongue-tied?
a) It means you are shy or embarrassed.
b) It means you can not touch your nose with the tip of your tongue..
c) It means the tongue is too tightly connected to the floor of your mouth, thus making normal tongue motion difficult.

5) Can your contact lens get lost in your eye and float into your brain?
a) yes.
b) It can travel to the back of your eyeball, but it can't get into your brain.
c) No.

6) Is it really bad to crack your knuckles?
a) Yes, you can cause permanent joint damage.
b) No, if you crack your knuckles a lot, you can make your fingers double-jointed.
c) No, but it is an annoying habit.

7) Why do you get a headache if you eat ice cream too quickly?
a) It is your body's way of telling you that you are eating a high calorie food.
b) The headache causes you to slow down your eating so that your stomach doesn't freeze.
c) The cold ice cream causes spasm in the brain's blood vessels which leads to a headache.

8) What happens if you swallow gum?
a) Nothing. It will pass through your intestines in about 24 hours.
b) It takes seven years to digest.
c) It will stay in your body forever.

9) If you drop food on the floor, is it still safe to eat if it doesn't touch the floor for more than five seconds?
a) Yes, of course, as long as you drop it in the house and not outside in the dirt.
b) Yes, as long as you brush off any visible dirt.
c) No, it's never safe, because once it hits the floor, bacterial contamination can occur.

10) If you cross your eyes, will they get stuck?
a) Yes, if you do it for a long time.
b) Yes, but you can fix them by focusing on a point in the far distance.
c) No.

11) Do you really need to wait an hour after eating before going swimming?
a) Yes, otherwise you will get cramps.
b) Yes, otherwise you can get nauseous.
c) No, many athletes eat before exercising.

12) How much does your brain weigh?
a) three pounds
b) five pounds
c) ten pounds

13) Is it true that if you swallow a watermelon seed, a watermelon will grow in your stomach?
a) No, not if you only swallow a few.
b) Yes. If you swallow more than one cup of seeds, the seeds can not be digested and attach to the stomach wall and begin to sprout.
c) No, that can never happen.

For more information on the book, visit: http://us.penguingroup.com/static/html/blogs/guest-author/why-dont-your-eyelashes-grow-beth-ann-ditkoff


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