‘Why do men have nipples?’ question answered

Have you ever wondered why your teeth chatter when you’re cold, or if you  could really catch a disease from sitting on a toilet seat?

New York doctor Billy Goldberg, pestered by unusual questions at cocktail  parties and other social gatherings over the years, puts the public’s mind at  ease in his book “Why Do Men Have Nipples?” which hits book stores in America on  Tuesday.

“It’s really remarkable how often you get accosted,” said Goldberg, 39.  “There are the medical questions from family and friends, and then there are the  drunk and outrageous questions where somebody wants to drop their pants and show  you a rash or something.”

The book, subtitled, “Hundreds of Questions You’d Only Ask a Doctor After  Your Third Martini,” (Three Rivers Press), is co-authored by humorist Mark  Leyner.

“People tend to know so little about their bodies as compared to their cars  or their laptops,” said Leyner, 49, of Hoboken, New Jersey. “When I worked in a  pharmacy in Washington, D.C., people would ask me medical questions all the  time. I was just a 22-year-old cashier.”

Questions answered

Chattering teeth is one way the body tries to generate heat.

When the body gets too cold, the area of the brain called the hypothalamus  alerts the rest of the body to begin warming up. Shivering, the rapid muscle  movement that generates heat, then begins. Teeth chattering represents localized  shivering.

During the course of their research, Goldberg and Leyner found reports of  gonorrhea, pinworm and roundworm found on toilet seats – but catching something  from it isn’t common.

The authors discovered that an office setting might be worse for your health  than toilet seats. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona,  found the typical office desk harbors some 400 times more disease-causing  bacteria than the average toilet seat.

Goldberg had compiled a list of nagging questions for several years before  embarking on the book after meeting Leyner.

Ever wondered?

Some of the burning questions answered in the humorous book include “What  causes morning breath?” and “Why do beans give you gas?”

Goldberg says morning breath results from anaerobic bacteria, the xerostomia  (dry mouth) or the volatile sulfur compounds (which are waste products from the  bacteria). Other contributing factors to foul oral odor includes medication,  alcohol, sugar, smoking, caffeine, and eating dairy products.

Beans contain high percentages of sugars that our bodies are unable to  digest, Goldberg explains. When the sugars make it to the intestines, bacteria  go to work and start producing large amounts of gas.

And if you’re ever bitten by a poisonous snake, sucking at the bite to remove  the poison, as often shown in the movies and on TV is not only ineffective, but  could lead to an infection.

Instead, the bite should be washed with soap and water and immobilized. The  bitten area should also be kept lower than the heart. Medical help should be  sought immediately.

And why do men have nipples?

While only females have mammary glands, we all start out in a similar way in  the embryo, the authors explain. The embryo follows a female template until  about six weeks, when the male sex chromosome kicks in. Men, however, have  already developed nipples.

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