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7 Weird but Normal Things That Can Happen to Your Body

Do you know what your body is capable of?

From that old person smell to the geographical insights provided by your tongue, your body can do some truly weird things.

1. You become Dr. Strangelove.

Okay, you won’t actually become Dr. Strangelove. But in a syndrome named after the titular character in the classic 1964 film, your hands may move uncontrollably, as his did, with the affected hand trying to interfere in what the other is doing. Also known as Alien Hand Syndrome (AHS), this syndrome can occur following a surgery, tumor, or stroke affecting the corpus callosum, which is responsible for connecting the two hemispheres in your brain.

2. Your belly button starts harboring foreign bacteria.

According to scientists from North Carolina, we can learn much about biodiversity from our belly buttons. After swabbing about 60 navels, researchers identified some 1,458 species, many of which were described as being “new to science.” One participant harbored some bacteria that had only previously been located in the soil from Japan, while another was carrying bacteria only found in thermal vents and ice caps.

3. You join the Jumping Frenchmen of Maine.

This curious condition was identified in the 1870s, when it affected a group of French-Canadian lumberjacks working in Maine. It involves uncontrolled and extreme reactions to stimuli, such as involuntary jumping and falls. Doctors say it can be treated with benzodiazepines, a type of drug used to treat seizures and extreme anxiety.

4. Your tongue becomes a map.

In a syndrome known as Geographic Tongue, your mouth starts exhibiting symptoms like that of psoriasis. Benign but painful lesions develop on your tongue, with patches of red and white encompassed by an elevated border in yellow — much like a landmass on a map. Though the cause of this condition is unknown, it may be triggered by stress, allergies, nutritional deficiencies, and possibly even spicy foods.

5. Your feet get bigger.

Your feet may not actually grow like they did when you were a kid, but they may change size over time as a result of wear and tear on your bones, tendons, and ligaments. This can cause your arches to flatten, and as a result your feet will become longer and wider. People who are overweight or obese, or tend to get swollen ankles and feet are more susceptible.

6. Your intestines miss their worms.

We’ve long carried worms in our guts — a mere century ago, before the invention of modern plumbing, they were commonplace. Now that they’ve been eradicated in most industrialized nations, there’s some research to suggest that certain kinds of worms may actually help with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and allergies. Known scientifically as “helminiths,” some intestinal worms may be ecological mutualists, providing advantages for their host organisms while also benefitting themselves. For humans, helminiths may play a vital role in keeping the gut free of harmful bacteria.

7. You start to smell like an old person.

Old people have a distinctive smell, but so do people at all stages of life. A recent study indicated that young and middle-aged people are also identifiable by their smells. Indeed, old people were rated as having the least intense and most pleasant smell among all groups. So maybe getting old isn’t such a bad thing after all?

[Image via Getty]

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