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Author Topic: 98% of the atoms in the human body are replaced every year
Newton
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I came across this figure while reading somebody's "Useless Science Facts" list.

98% of the atoms in the human body are replaced each year.

I traced the source to a Dr. Chopra. In a book with the title "Quantum Healing" he writes "that quantum physicists have proven through radioactive isotope studies that 98% of the atoms in your body are replaced within one year. In three months your body produces an entirely new skeleton. Every six weeks, all the cells have been replaced in your liver. You have a new stomach lining every five days. You are continually replacing old blood cells with new ones. Your skin is sloughing off dead cells and producing a new skin monthly."

No references were given. I can not find a reference for any original source. I recall from biology that your stomach lining does get replaced, same as blood cells, skin gets replaced but I remember a figure of 7 years. The statement seems to be repeated by a number of Christian and Zen Buddhist groups.

Can anybody tell me if there is any truth in it?

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Spam & Cookies-mmm
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Is that by weight or by volume?

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Posts: 7767 | From: Paradise Ceded | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Kiefer Wombat, Average Son
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Tears of a Spam & Cookies-mmmm:
Is that by weight or by volume?

Since the statement was "98% of the atoms in the human body are replaced every year," it would be by number of atoms.

I think this statistic has a 78.2% chance of having been made up.

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bufungla
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Sounds like BS

quote:
Lawrence Raisz, of the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, says that over the years, all of the bone in a person's body will be replaced. But the amount of bone surface being remodeled at any one time is small, probably only about five percent. This turnover occurs at specific sites throughout trabecular bone, while cortical bone remodeling occurs only along its border with the marrow and near the Haversian canals that penetrate it. The entire process from the initiation of resorption to the completion of repair takes about 100 days.
(100 days / 0.05 ) / 365 = 5.479 years or so, assuming absolutely no replication of effort (no bone material being replaced twice).

I was also under the impression that the teeth didn't "grow" after adulthood (thus the importance of fluoridated water during childhood, so that the flouride compounds could be incorporated into the body of the tooth, and not just absorbed on the outside). Moreover, brain cells do not reproduce, though the actual atoms of the cell structures must be renewed and rebuilt.

buf 'will ask the resident nurse when he gets home' ungla

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The Witchfinder General
The Red and the Green Stamps


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This reminds me of a claim that in seven years time we will have none of the same cells (which is why the aliens come to abduct people every seven years so they said!). I'm not sure that works with brain cells, or bone.

We do get rid of a lot of atoms of course, simply by pushing them out, by breathing, peeing, shitting, shedding skin cells and hair... not to mention a little wear and tear. The skin grows really fast for example...

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AliBaba
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
In three months your body produces an entirely new skeleton.
Don't think so....I know that the bones of children heal much more rapidly and completely than that of adults, but if this were true, they wouldn't be able to see old breaks and fractures on X-rays, right?

Ali "phony la-boney" Baba

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Joe Bentley
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I heard something unrelated but similar... apparently every seven years every cell in your body is replaced... but from what I know about human biology this can't be true... certain cells, like blood cells, are replaced at a fairly rapid rate, while other cells like nerve cells are never replaced...

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Newton
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Hmm...seems like everybody is in that same place as me...let me tell you why it seemed plausible enough for me to spend my time trying to find out if it were true. The replacement of atoms and the replacement of cells do not have to be 100% correlated. Cells have membranes and organelles that are made up of molecules that are made up of atoms. These parts wear out and need to be replaced or repaired. So a neuron that never gets replaced still has a membrane and receptors that over time need to be replaced. This type of mechanism can lead to the complete turnover of atoms, eventually. However, the questionable information provided with the statement about the atoms (the length of time required for the cells of the skeleton, skin, and liver to turn over) leads me to question the whole concept.

This whole thing can be answered with a study in which rats are fed a diet of some kind of radioactive carbon compound. After a year you slice them up and put the slices on some xray film. If the film is 98% exposed then it would suggest that the animals have been 98% replaced.

The statement further suggests that it has been done, "...that quantum physicists have proven through radioactive isotope studies...". I just can't find a reference to support that it has actually been done. There is a further problem that these types of studies would not have been carried out by quantum physicists, they would have been carried out by biologists.

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Arts Myth
The First USA Noel


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I would also tend to think that there would be a considerable amount of "recycling" within the body. Considering that, as far as I know, while molecules can break down over time, I doubt that atoms have the same sort of "expiry date". They get "modified" temporarily through the gain or loss of electrons, and some are certainly meant to be mobile, possibly to the point of departure from the host, by bonding to other atoms, but I'd hazard that there's a lot of circulation of materials that might make temporary stops here or there as needed.

Arts "bond with that atom and promenade" Myth

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