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Your Body: The Missing Manual

Book Description

What, exactly, do you know about your body? Do you know how your immune system works? Or what your pancreas does? Or the myriad -- and often simple -- ways you can improve the way your body functions?

This full-color, visually rich guide answers these questions and more. Matthew MacDonald, noted author of Your Brain: The Missing Manual, takes you on a fascinating tour of your body from the outside in, beginning with your skin and progressing to your vital organs. You'll look at the quirks, curiosities, and shortcomings we've all learned to live with, and pick up just enough biology to understand how your body works. You'll learn:

  • That you shed skin more frequently than snakes do

  • Why the number of fat cells you have rarely changes, no matter how much you diet or exercise -- they simply get bigger or smaller

  • How you can measure and control fat

  • That your hair is made from the same stuff as horses' hooves

  • That you use only a small amount of the oxygen you inhale

  • Why blood pressure is a more important health measure than heart rate -- with four ways to lower dangerously high blood pressure

  • Why our bodies crave foods that make us fat

  • How to use heart rate to shape an optimal workout session -- one that's neither too easy nor too strenuous

  • Why a tongue with just half a dozen taste buds can identify thousands of flavors

  • Why bacteria in your gut outnumbers cells in your body -- and what function they serve

  • Why we age, and why we can't turn back the clock

  • What happens to your body in the minutes after you die

Rather than dumbed-down self-help or dense medical text, Your Body: The Missing Manual is entertaining and packed with information you can use. It's a book that may well change your life.

Reader comments for Your Brain: The Missing Manual, also by author Matthew MacDonald:

"Popular books on the brain are often minefields of attractive but inaccurate information. This one manages to avoid most of the hype and easy faulty generalizations while providing easy to read and digest information about the brain. It has useful tricks without the breathless hype of many popular books." -- Elizabeth Zwicky, The Usenix Magazine

"...a unique guide that should be sought after by any who want to maximize what they can accomplish with their mental abilities and resources." -- James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review - Wisconsin Bookwatch

"If you can't figure out how to use your brain after reading this guide, you may want to return your brain for another." -- The Sacramento Book Review, Volume 1, Issue 2, Page 19

"It's rare to find a book on any technical subject that is as well written and readable as Your Brain: The Missing Manual. The book covers pretty much anything you may want to know about your brain, from what makes it up, through how it develops to how to mitigate the affects of aging. The book is easy reading, fact packed and highlighted notes and practical applications. So if you want to learn more about your brain, how it works, how to get the best out of it or just want to stave off the ravages of Alzheimers (see chapter ten for details of how learning helps maintain your brain) then I can't recommend this book highly enough." -- Neil Davis, Amazon.co.uk

"MacDonald's writing style is perfect for this kind of guide. It remains educational without becoming overly technical or using unexplained jargon. And even though the book covers a broad scope of topics, MacDonald keeps it well organized and easy to follow. The book captures your attention with fun facts and interesting studies that any person could apply to their own understanding of human ability. It has great descriptions of the brain and its interconnected parts, as well as providing full color pictures and diagrams to offer a better explanation of what the author is talking about." -- Janica Unruh, Blogcritics Magazine

Table of Contents

  1. Special Upgrade Offer
  2. The Missing Credits
    1. About the Author
    2. About the Creative Team
    3. Acknowledgments
    4. The Missing Manual Series
  3. Introduction
    1. About This Book
      1. About the Outline
      2. Separating Truth from Speculation
      3. About the Missing CD
      4. About Missing Manuals.com
      5. Safari®Books Online
  4. I. From the Outside In
    1. 1. Skin: Your Outer Layer
      1. The Protective Wrapper
        1. Building a Barrier
        2. Shedding Your Skin
        3. The Creature That Eats Your Skin
      2. Skin and the Sun
        1. Vitamin D
        2. Sun Damage
        3. Tans, Moles, and Melanoma
      3. Going Deeper
        1. Wrinkles
      4. The Oil Factory
        1. Acne
      5. Your Temperature Control System
        1. Blushing
        2. Sweat
        3. Body Odor
        4. Deodorants and Antiperspirants
      6. Hair
        1. Vellus Hair
        2. Terminal Hair
        3. Shampoo and Conditioner
        4. Hair Growth and Hair Loss
    2. 2. Fat
      1. The Purpose of Fat
      2. Fat Up Close
        1. How Fat Controls Your Body
        2. The Life and Death of a Fat Cell
      3. Taking Stock of Your Body Fat
        1. Body Mass Index
        2. Body-Fat Percentage
        3. Bring Your Fat to a Checkup
      4. Where Fat Lives
        1. Body Shapes
        2. Fighting Visceral Fat
      5. Understanding Your Body’s Anti-Starvation System
        1. Naturally Lean and Naturally Fat
        2. How to Supersize a Human
          1. Changes in activity
          2. Changes in food
          3. The breakdown of food culture
          4. Environmental programming
        3. Good Reasons Not to Diet
        4. Winning the Battle of the Bulge
    3. 3. Muscles
      1. Meet Your Muscles
        1. The Three Flavors of Muscle
        2. White Meat and Dark Meat
        3. Pairing Up
        4. Binding Muscles to Bones
      2. Exercise
        1. Building Muscles
        2. The Stretching Controversy
        3. Setting a Schedule
        4. How to Lift Weights
          1. Aim for the point of exhaustion
          2. Use good form
          3. Always warm up
      3. A Grab Bag of Strength Exercises
        1. 1. Squats
        2. 2. Lunges
        3. 3. Overhead Press
        4. 4. Bench Press
        5. 5. Abdominal Crunch
        6. 6. Push-Ups
    4. 4. Bones
      1. The Skeletal System
        1. The Benefits of Bones
      2. Living Bone
        1. Bone Health
        2. The Blood Factory
      3. Joints
      4. Your Spine
        1. Posture and Pain
          1. Standing posture
          2. Sitting posture
          3. Lifting posture
          4. Sleeping posture
        2. Back Strengthening
    5. 5. The Doors of Perception
      1. Vision
        1. Your Eyes In Motion
        2. The Adjustable Eye
        3. Your Faulty Focus System
        4. Seeing in Color (and at Night)
        5. Binocular Vision
      2. Hearing
        1. Converting Pressure Puffs to Sound
        2. The Outer Ear
        3. The Middle Ear
        4. The Inner Ear
        5. Understanding Volume
      3. Smell
        1. Into the Nasal Cavern
        2. The Purpose of Smell
      4. Taste
        1. Taste Buds
        2. Supertasters
        3. The Riddle of Flavor
  5. II. The Machinery Inside
    1. 6. Your Lungs
      1. The Respiratory System
        1. The Structure of Your Lungs
        2. The Great Gas Exchange
      2. Breathing
        1. Breathing Exercises
        2. Taking a Deep Breath
      3. The Path to Your Lungs
        1. The Nasal Cycle
        2. The Dangerous Crossing
        3. Your Mucus
      4. Your Voice
        1. The Vocal Folds
        2. Improving Your Voice
          1. Get comfortable
          2. The man in the mirror
          3. Slow speech
          4. Serial emphasis
          5. Project the distance
      5. Pollution
        1. The Size of the Problem
        2. Indoor Air Quality
        3. The Riddle of Asthma
        4. The Contents of Cigarette Smoke
    2. 7. Your Heart
      1. The Pump Inside
        1. Your Heartbeat
        2. Heart Rate
        3. Blood Pressure
      2. The Circulatory System
        1. The Contents of Blood
        2. Veins and Arteries: Your Body’s Plumbing
      3. Heart Attacks
        1. Your Heart Attack
        2. Heart Attack Prevention
      4. Cardio Exercise
        1. Types of Cardio Exercise
        2. Workout Intensity
          1. Maximum heart rate
          2. Target heart rate
          3. Recovery heart rate
    3. 8. Your Digestive System
      1. In Your Mouth
        1. Your Teeth
        2. Mouth Maintenance
        3. Saliva
      2. Your Stomach
        1. The Gastric Storage Tank
        2. Stomach Acid
      3. Your Small Intestine
        1. The Great Absorber
        2. Diet Advice from Your Small Intestine
      4. Your Large Intestine
        1. Bacteria: Your Extended Family
        2. Balancing Your Bacteria
        3. The Embarrassing Exit
        4. Smoothing the Exit with Fiber
    4. 9. Your Immune System
      1. Self-Defense
        1. The First Front: Physical Barriers
        2. The Second Front: Inflammation
        3. The Third Front: Tactical Forces
        4. Acquired Immunity
      2. Bacteria
        1. Skin Bacteria
        2. Living in a Bacterial World
        3. Antibiotics
      3. Viruses
        1. The Life Cycle of a Virus
        2. Profile of a Cold
      4. Cancer
        1. How Cancer Starts
        2. The Body’s Cancer Defenses
        3. Cancer Prevention
      5. Flaws in the System
        1. Autoimmune Diseases
        2. Allergies
        3. The Age of Allergies
  6. III. Sex and Death
    1. 10. Sex and Reproduction
      1. Male Sex Organs
        1. What’s on the Outside
        2. Erections
        3. The Matter of Size
        4. Ejaculation
      2. Female Sex Organs
        1. The Inside Job
        2. Pleasure and the Clitoris
        3. Breasts
        4. The Uterus
        5. Vasectomy vs. Tubal Ligation: Who’s Making the Trip
      3. The Main Event
        1. Arousal and the Art of Foreplay
        2. Orgasms
        3. Toward Better Sex
    2. 11. Your Final Exit: Aging and Death
      1. Life Expectancy
        1. Your Lifespan
        2. The Ultimate Limit
      2. Why We Die
        1. The Naturalness of Death
        2. The Blessing of a Short Life
      3. Aging
        1. The Mechanisms of Aging
        2. Staying Young
      4. The Anatomy of Death
        1. Common Ways to Die
        2. How to Die with Dignity
        3. The Final Moment
    3. A. The Final Word
  7. Index
  8. About the Author
  9. Special Upgrade Offer
  10. Copyright