In what some are calling an important breakthrough, scientists studying historical research have noted several quizzical physical symptoms in human beings that might lead to a widespread diagnosis for many Americans.
The conditions seem to affect nearly every system of the body, and grouped together elicit a collection of strange statistics.
Never miss a local story.
Answer the following questionnaire to see whether you might be included in the diagnosis facing a majority of Americans.
1. You suspect that you blink frequently, up to 16 times a minute.
2. You suspect that you eat 6 pounds of potato chips a year.
3. You suspect that when you sneeze, your heart is having a complex cardiac event.
4. You suspect that more than 75 percent of your brain is water.
5. You suspect that nearly a third of a billion cells are dying in your body every minute of every day you are alive.
6. You suspect that you were born without kneecaps.
7. You suspect that you might pass gas more than a dozen times a day.
8. You suspect that your legs are not the same length.
9. You suspect that you are covered in millions and millions of bacteria.
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you fall into the group that scientists have studied.
Their diagnosis: You are absolutely and completely normal.
Relax and Happy April Fool's Day.
For the curious, here's the scientific research backing up the questionnaire:
1. The average person blinks four to 16 times a minute. This varies greatly depending on weather, allergies, emotions, temperament, mental health, eye health and general health.
2. The average person eats 96 ounces of potato chips a year, according to the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association.
3. According to Dr. Tom Wilson of the Washington University School of Medicine: ”As you "ah' and "choo,' you significantly change the pressure inside your chest, which affects blood flow and thus the beating of the heart,“ Wilson says. ”Still further, I assume that a sneeze involves a significant activation of certain pathways of the autonomic (roughly means automatic) nervous system. These also innervate (stimulate) the heart and do affect the frequency and other aspects of the heartbeat.“
4. About 77 to 78 percent of your brain is water; 10 to 12 percent is lipids; 8 percent is protein; 2 percent is soluble organic substances; 1 percent is carbohydrate; and 1 percent is inorganic salts.
5. About 300 million of your body's cells die every day. That doesn't include the number you are prematurely killing by sunburning them or artificially tanning them into early death and early damage at a deeper level that might cause cancer later.
6. Kneecaps start showing signs of ossification (turning from cartilage to bone) about age 3 in girls and age 4 to 5 in boys.
7. The average person passes gas 14 to 23 times a day, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
8. A difference in leg length of 1 to 1.3 centimeters is considered normal.
9. In a New York University School of Medicine study in 2007, a simple swab of the skin between the hand and the elbow of different subjects showed that almost three-quarters of the total number of bacterial species were unique to individual subjects, suggesting that the skin surface is highly diversified in terms of the bacteria it harbors. Fifty percent of the species seem to be permanent residents.