Bodies: the Exhibition Blog


Thanksgiving is just days away and for most families, that means a turkey dinner with all of the trimmings. We want to help put two of the biggest turkey myths to rest.


1)  Does our favorite Thanksgiving bird really make us sleepy?

2)  Is white meat healthier than dark?


So…let’s talk turkey!

White vs. Dark meat –

Question: Do you prefer white meat or dark meat? And, other than personal taste, do you know the difference between the two?

Here’s the scoop:

Dark meat is darker in color because it contains more myoglobin (proteins) that are responsible for making sure that oxygen gets to a turkey’s muscle cells during exercise. For that reason, the thigh and leg muscles are darker in color. Turkey muscles that are used less often and contain little myoglobin are lighter in color.

So which is healthier?

Regardless of your personal preference for white or dark meat, both have a good source of protein. Dark meat has some nutritional advantages over white; as it contains more vitamins and minerals, particularly Vitamin B, iron and zinc.  However, white meat tends contains less saturated fat.

So we think it is a draw. As long as you remove the skin either part of your turkey dinner is something to “gobble up”.


Does turkey make you sleepy?

Question: We have often heard that the turkey can make you pretty sleepy, why is this?

Here is the scoop:

L-tryptophan (a chemical found in turkey), is often to blame for those after dinner naps. However, many experts tend to disagree with that theory. As it turns out, turkey contains no more tryptophan than any other kind of poultry. In fact, turkey contains slightly less tryptophan than chicken.

Proteins like turkey, chicken and fish, are high in tryptophan, and actually require the assistance of foods high in carbohydrates to affect serotonin levels, ultimately making you tired. This is because carbohydrates serve as tryptophan's ticket to entering the brain quickly. So turkey plus mash potatoes can easily force you to an early bedtime.

Also, don’t discount the very full stomach that goes hand in hand with Thanksgiving. When you overeat, it takes a lot of energy to digest your food. Making it a bit more difficult to use your energy to clean the dishes and have a long chat with your relatives.

Hope this helps give your dinner table a bit more conversation when carving your turkey on Thanksgiving.  Make sure to send us any other questions you may have about those traditional holiday health myths!

We at BODIES want to wish you a wonderful day filled with love, laughter and lots of turkey.

- See more at:

Smoking Effects

We have been told that smoking cigarettes is harmful to our lungs and that second hand smoke can be even more damaging. The media is constantly reaffirming data research and new revelations on how smoking affects us on a daily basis.

In fact, cigarettes are one of a few products sold legally that have the potential to harm and even kill a person over time. Lung cancer, emphysema, bronchitis and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are just a few major of the complications that can result from inhaling the thousands of different chemicals cigarettes contain.  Smoking is  a primary cause of: heart disease, strokes, infertility, major changes in the skin, hair, teeth and gums; premature delivery - low birth weight, heart, lung, and brain abnormalities.

In order to bring the affects this life threatening, addictive habit to the public’s attention, BODIES…The Exhibition will participate in the annual Great American Smokeout. On Thursday, November 15th, we will encourage smokers to make a commitment and design a plan to quit. The first step in making this commitment to quit smoking is to dispose their cigarettes at any of our venues and we will offer a two-for-one admission voucher in return.

Second step – we want everyone to see, first hand, what the dangerous contaminants in cigarette smoke can do to your lungs.  By visiting the exhibition, you will have an unprecedented opportunity to see a side-by-side comparison of a healthy lung vs. a smoker’s lung – an opportunity more impactful and visual then any text book image.  These darkened black, misshapen lungs illustrate the tar damage and buildup that often accompany smoking, and our hope is that you will join the thousands who, after viewing this vivid display, have decided to make a change and commit to quit!



- See more at:

Special Student Journal Event Featuring Reporters from CNN, AJC, and WXIA

BODIES…The Exhibition and Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition will host a free Student Journalism Panel on Wednesday, October 24th at 4pm, held at the Premier Exhibition Center at Atlantic Station. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the reporting process through a press panel event, featuring reporters from CNN, WXIA (NBC affiliate), and from the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The reporters will share their career experiences with local high school and college journalism students at this panel. Each reporter will provide advice to students allowing them to ask questions to gain knowledge about the news industry. Following the panel, students will receive a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the Exhibitions and conduct interviews with Titanic and Bodies spokespeople.  This special event is opened to students and teachers in the Atlanta area. For more information, please email:




- See more at:

BODIES "Have A Heart" Campaign

BODIES…The Exhibition put its heart on display Wednesday, August 15th for its “Have A Heart” event, by unveiling a huge heart delivered to South Street Seaport’s Pier 17. The heart sculpture is 13ft long, 7ft wide and 12ft high, and designed by artist Faith Schexnayder at FlatFork Studios in Austin, TX.  Chief Medical Director, Dr. Roy Glover was the speaker at the event and spoke of the importance in making healthy choices in food, and regular exercise for the betterment of the heart. In honor of the campaign, BODIES donated hundreds of tickets to the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club, providing the club’s children with the opportunity to visit the Exhibition and educate themselves about their bodies. 

BODIES huge heart is currently resting in front of the Exhibition’s entrance and will remain for the next few weeks. Also, BODIES has a Facebook contest,  where fans will have a chance to guess how much the huge heart weighs before today's weigh-in, and win a $500 travel voucher to NYC, hotel for two and tickets to our NYC exhibitions. Answers must be entered on BODIES Facebook page today before 1pm EST. To view photos captured during the arrival of the heart sculpture, please visit:



- See more at:

Pancreatic Cancer: The Silent Killer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the fastest spreading cancers and one of the deadliest with only a 4% survival rate in patients five years after the diagnosis.  Often times called the “Silent Killer” pancreatic cancer does not cause symptoms in the early stages. In the US, there are 44,000 new cases each year and 37,000 people die of the disease.

The pancreas contains two types of glands, according to Time Health. The exocrine glands produce enzymes that break down fats and proteins while the endocrine glands make hormones like insulin that regulate sugar in the blood.  Last month, Steve Jobs lost his battle to a rare form of pancreatic cancer that only affects 5% of patients, with tumors originating in the endocrine glands.

Standard treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, but because of the poor prognosis of pancreatic cancer, many patients also try alternative therapies, such as the Gonzalez regimen. This involves taking pancreatic enzymes and nutritional supplements to fight the pancreatic tumors, vitamins with magnesium citrate and coffee enemas twice a day.

It is reported that Jobs did not try the Gonzalez regimen, but did subscribe to other alternative therapies.  Among these, he tried to control his diet and underwent a radiation-based hormone treatment in Switzerland.  Cancer experts are not sure if these treatments helped extend his life and were surprised that he survived years after the average pancreatic cancer patient loses their battle.


Photo Courtesy of Time Health

- See more at:

Eight Running Stretches to Remember

With the season for 5Ks and 10Ks underway, it is important to warm up properly before these events to prevent any injuries. When running, you’re not using just your legs.  Each muscle plays a role in your running routine, so it is especially important to stretch before and after.  Here are a few stretching tips for you to note before you hit the ground running!

The Calf Stretch

Your calf muscles work incredibly hard when you’re running, so it’s important to stretch them fully before and after.  Place both hands extended in front of you on a wall, lean against the wall with one knee bent and facing forward. Keeping the heel of your rear foot grounded, hold 15-30 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg. [1]









The Quadricep Stretch

Your quadriceps work to the fullest as well while you’re running, so be sure to stretch them before and after.  Standing straight, lift your right foot up behind you and grab your foot. Pull your heel gently toward you with your knees as close together as possible. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg. [2]









The Hip Flexor Stretch

Your hip flexor muscles work to lift your legs up during running.  Start in a lunge position with your toes and upper torso pointed forward.  Press down with your hands and extend the hips forward until you feel a stretch from the front of your hip and the top of your thigh. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg. [3]









The Hamstring Stretch

Your hamstrings are highly prone to injury, so it’s crucial to stretch them before and after running. Standing with your legs crossed and the outside of your feet together, bend over with your rear knee straight. Reach for your feet and bring your torso close to your legs. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg. [4]









The Tricep Stretch

Not only do you use your legs but also your upper body when running.  To stretch your triceps, bring your elbow across your body towards the opposite shoulder. With your other hand, bring your elbow close to your shoulder. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat with the opposite arm. [5]









The Hip and Lower Back Stretch

To stretch your hips and lower back, sit on the ground with your legs straightened in front of you. Cross your right leg over your left leg. Pull your right leg to your chest and twist the trunk of your body to look over your right shoulder. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side. [6]









The Groin Stretch

Also known as the butterfly stretch, the groin stretch is beneficial for your inner thighs and groin area.  Sit on the ground with the soles of your feet touching in front of you and knees out to the side. Push your feet as close to your groin as possible with your knees as close to the ground as possible. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Lean forward, as if to touch your nose to the ground if the stretch feels too easy. [7]









The Arms and Abs Stretch

To stretch your arms, oblique, and abs, stand with your feet shoulder width apart.  Stretch your arms above your head with your shoulders relaxed. Lean back as far as you can without hurting your back, return to the upright position and then lean to the left and right to stretch your sides. [8]











[1] Photo: Mike Harrington / Getty Images

[2] Photo by Reggie Casagrande/Getty Images

[3] Photo by Eddie Collins/Getty Images

[4] Photo by Siri Stafford/Getty Images

[5] Photo by ballyscanlon

[6] Photo by Siri Stafford

[7] Photo by George Doyle

[8] Photo by Plush Studios

- See more at:

Stem Cell Therapy: The Answer to Chronic Conditions?

Dr. Steven Schwartz, an eye doctor from UCLA, has begun to test the first embryonic-stem-cell therapy for Stargardt’s and dry macular degeneration. One of the people in his clinical trial is a 26 year-old female that is legally blind.  She is being evaluated as a potential pioneer to receive the first retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells generated from embryonic stem cells.  If she is accepted, she will join other patients with macular degeneration who will have thousands of cells injected into their eyes to replace their destroyed RPE cells in the retina and hopefully rescue any remaining photoreceptor cells.

With this clinical trial underway, scientists are beginning to determine whether or not embryonic-stem-cell therapies are safe and ultimately effective.  A few patients with spinal cord injuries have received injections of an embryonic-stem-cell-based treatment in an effort to repair the shredded nerves that crisscross the spinal cord and extend out to the arms, legs, fingers, and toes.    In cases such as Alzheimer’s disease, doctors are hoping to replace damaged nerve cells in the brain with new, healthier versions that could eventually lead to a cure.

Despite much controversy in the last decade and questions to be answered over stem cell therapy, scientists are hoping to find a way to intervene with cells to do the most good and attack diseases before they advance. Dr. Schwartz does not anticipate that early participants will regain their vision completely, nor do the spinal cord experts believe their first patients will walk again after receiving treatments.  They are hoping that the therapies are safe and they can strike at diseases like macular degeneration before one’s vision is completely gone.


Source: Stem Cell Miracle? New Therapies May Cure Chronic Conditions like Alzheimer's

- See more at:

The Girl Who Collapses From Laughing

Kay Underwood, a 23-year-old girl from England, has a disease called Cataplexy that only affects one in 2,000 people.  This disease is brought on by any strong emotion that triggers the weakening of muscles. These strong emotions can include exhilaration, fear, surprise, anger, or even laughter.

There are degrees of Cataplexy, ranging from barely perceptible to severe, as in Kay’s case.  In a given day, Kay will collapse over forty times, according to the Telegraph.  Some people with Cataplexy only feel their facial muscles slackening, while others may drop their head, go weak in the knees or totally collapse.  People with Narcolepsy are often times also affected with Cataplexy and will drop off to sleep without warning.

Treating Cataplexy associated with Narcolepsy is simpler than treating Cataplexy on its own.  There are several treatment options for Narcolepsy, but there is no known cure for Cataplexy or the origins of the disease.  Theories of its origin include chemical imbalances in the brain due to an immune problem or the result of an infection.  In Kay Underwood’s case, she has been visiting with sleep disorder specialists hoping to find a cause for this and new medicine.



- See more at:

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Sleep?

Researchers say that there is such a thing as too much sleep.   Just as a person that sleeps too little, sleeping too much can cause a person to be sleepier.  One study has shown that a person that sleeps more than the suggested six to eight hours a night does just as poorly as a person that sleeps less than six hours a night on a cognitive reasoning test.

According to “Sleep Your Brain Young,” sleeping for more than eight hours a night can cause your brain to age prematurely.   In addition, consistent sleep patterns of approximately seven hours of sleep a night can help reduce the regular cognitive decline that happens to us as we age.   In this specific study, men and women were tracked over the course of five years and were consistently asked to perform memory, vocabulary, and logic tests. The study suggested that those who did not get enough sleep showed a loss in brain function that was like aging four to seven years.

People generally sleep less as they age, so maintaining six to eight hours of sleep consistently can prevent the natural memory loss that happens.   While people may battle insomnia or other sleep disorders, quality sleep is essential to keep the brain young.    When people sleep for longer than the suggested eight hours, their cognitive functioning may be lower because although they may be in bed for a long period of time, the quality of their sleep is not necessarily the best.



- See more at:

Could Viruses Influence our Brains?

Scientists have discovered infections that alter the behavior in plants, humans and other mammals. In the past, findings from the tomato plant concluded the majority of microbe behavior research. In the example of a tomato plant, a virus relies on a certain insect called a thrip, which jumps from plant to plant, sticking it’s oral probe into the plant’s cells to spread the virus. The virus itself manipulates the insect to get to the next plant.  Once the thrip consumes the virus, its behavior changes because it spends more time feeding and licking plant cells, coating each tomato cell with the virus in the process.

The deadly Hantavirus, which is a distant strand of the same tomato plant virus, caused infected rats to become more aggressive. Rabies has caused mammals to go crazy and be unable to swallow; a rabid animal is more likely to bite and spread the saliva-transmitted Rabies.   Most viruses have subtle effects and could be difficult to determine whether or not a person’s behavior is a result of the virus itself.  An example of this would be the Cold virus, which is said to make people friendlier right before symptoms appear and when they’re the most contagious.   The virus needs this to survive, because the host will spread the illness.

The parasite that causes toxoplasmosis is the most serious of the behavior-changing microbes. This parasite can live in cats, rodents, livestock, and other warm-blooded animals, but it reproduces only inside the feline intestinal tract and is carried by feline feces or contaminated soil. Research has shown several personality traits that appear to be associated with toxoplasmosis. Men are willing to disregard social norms and can become more jealous. Women tend to be more friendly, easygoing, and attentive to others. When infected, both genders tend to be more insecure.  Those infected with toxoplasmosis also have slower reaction times and more people that have been infected have been reported to have more car accidents. [1]


- See more at: