Monday, March 03, 2008

short story about "borborygmi"

I came across this on a magazine when I was browsing at magnation quite a while ago and have been meaning to blog about this since - but somehow only got around to doing it now.

When I was younger, I find that whenever I have exam in the morning - my stomach likes to growl in the exam room (of course at its quietest moment) - and I get very embarrassed about this. Mainly because at those time, I hated people thinking I am on a diet (even though I know I could do with a bit of weight loss).
The very same growling ...
... has been of interest for so many years that the ancient Greeks came up with the rather interesting name for it: borborygmi (the plural of borborygmus).

The word actually translates as "rumbling."
Furthermore, growling doesn't only come from the stomach but, just as often, can be heard coming from the small intestines. Growling is more commonly associated with hunger because it is typically louder when the stomach and intestines are empty and so the organs' contents don't muffle the noise.

Anyway - basically the following paragraph explains why it happens...
The physiological origin of this rumbling involves muscular activity in the stomach and small intestines. In general, the gastrointestinal tract is a hollow tube that runs from mouth to anus and its walls are primarily composed of layers of smooth muscle. When the walls are activated and squeeze the tract's contents to mix and propel food, gas and fluids through the stomach and small intestines, it generates a rumbling noise. This squeezing of the muscular walls is termed peristalsis and involves a ring of contraction moving aborally (away from the oral cavity) towards the anus a few inches at a time.
*** Blockquoted texts taken from the SciAm link provided below.

For more information, please look at this article here at Scientific American site: "Why does your stomach growl when you are hungry?".


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