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  • Breasts. They provide nourishment for our babies, they are one of the few organs not

  • fully developed at birth, and of course are a major obsession in western culture.

  • Yet there is so much about breasts that isn’t discussed or is deemed taboob, sorrytaboo”.

  • So, what does science say about breasts?

  • Forget water into wine - what about blood into milk? Proteins, sugars, and fat are pulled

  • from a mother's blood supply to make milk, and it is this action that has made mammals

  • so successful. Unlike birds or reptiles, whose young are dependent on parents to bring them

  • outside food such as insects, mammals, from the word mammary, access their nutrition at

  • a young age from the secretion of a mother's milk.

  • Breasts come in all shapes and sizes and though there is a positive correlation between breast

  • size and weight, genes also play a crucial role in the size of boobs. 50% of the time

  • one breast is larger than the other, most commonly the left boob, known as breast asymmetry.

  • This asymmetry is normal and though scientists aren’t entirely clear why, a possible contributor

  • is the hormonal changes that happen during puberty. On top of this, the size of your

  • breasts vary from week to week! Yup, the production of estrogen and progesterone

  • throughout the menstrual cycle changes the size of your breasts.

  • Both men and women have nipples and mammary glands, but usually only women have them

  • develop at puberty. This characteristic is uniquely human as other mammals breasts only enlarge

  • during nursing. The ring of pigmented skin surrounding the nipple is called the areola

  • which is covered in little bumps called Montgomery's Gland. While lactating, the glands make oily

  • secretions that keep the nipple lubricated and may also release compounds to make the

  • nipple seem yummy for a baby.

  • The nipple isn’t composed of a single orifice but has many tiny holes you cannot see with

  • the naked eye. After having a baby, receptors in the nipple detect when the baby begins

  • to suckle, sending messages to the mother's brain, causing a release of oxytocin and continued

  • production of prolactin. Oxytocin causes cells that line the mammary glands to contract and

  • is also known as the cuddle hormone, as it enhances the bonding experience between mother

  • and child. The hormone prolactin is essential in making milk. This whole hormonal process

  • can be triggered after only hearing a baby cry, even if it isn’t your baby!

  • Babies love breasts, but so do people. Research has found that people spend more time observing

  • large breasts with a certain hip to width ratio - potentially explaining why breast

  • augmentation surgeries are the most prevalent form of plastic surgery, with 300,000 surgeries

  • being performed in 2014...in America alone. However, the same research shows that people

  • prefer breasts of all different shapes and sizes, and medium sized breasts were actually

  • rated as statistically most attractive. Breasts don’t only create joy for others, but also

  • for oneself. Studies show that stimulation of nipples enhanced sexual arousal in 82%

  • of women and 52% of men. Interestingly an fMRI scan that mapped the brain's response

  • to clitoral and vaginal self-stimulation, found that the same areas lit up when a woman

  • stimulated her nipples.

  • Despite being an amazing source of both nutrition and pleasure, breasts are incredibly vulnerable.

  • Breast cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in North America. Cells that divide

  • often are at a higher risk of mutations than cells that don’t divide - and because breasts

  • change and grow over the course of our lives, these cells are frequently dividing. The hormone

  • estrogen also stimulates breast cell division, and there are environmental chemicals found

  • in pesticides, industrial products, and even our food that mimic estrogen and can influence

  • cell growth, increasing the risk of breast cancer. Research is discovering new risk factors

  • of breast cancer such as breast density, age of first pregnancy, and genetic predisposition

  • to breast cancer genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2. This scientific knowledge can help increase prevention.

  • Although they are vulnerable, they are incredible, and regardless of shapes and sizes they are

  • an essential aspect of sustaining human life and defining us as a species. Thank you boobs.

  • Wanna learn even more about boobs? Check out our latest AsapTHOUGHT video where we debunk

  • some myths about Why Women Have Breasts. Click on the screen or use the link in the description.

  • And subscribe for me weekly science videos.

Breasts. They provide nourishment for our babies, they are one of the few organs not

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The Science of Boobs

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    Shirley Huang posted on 2016/06/14
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