The Big Idea: Unlocking secrets of the human body

Simply unmatched by any other life form on the planet, the human body is a complicated yet highly organized machine.

- Simply unmatched by any other life form on the planet, the human body is a complicated yet highly organized machine.

Each one of us is composed of trillions of cells. The building blocks of our bodies connect us to the universe, comprised mostly from oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen -- the same elements found in star dust.

Working together are 650 muscles and more than 200 bones while lungs suck in 7 quarts of oxygen every minute. And every day the soul of this organism -- the heart -- pumps out enough energy to drive a truck.

For all we know about what's happening, there are many secrets to discover.

Advances in decoding those mysteries are highlighted at the American Museum of Natural History. The Secret World Inside You special exhibit explores the bacteria and viruses crawling on the skin and other organs.

Curator Rob DeSalle says scientists now believe many of those microbes after centuries of evolving with us are good for us.

This ecology, a world invisible to the human eye, co-existing from birth. Babies coated in bacteria in the birthing canal to pathogens in our gut, new research shows may influence mood.

A tiny thing the size of a vitamin is starting to give gastroenterologists like Dr. Seth Gross of NYU Langone Medical Center a peek inside like never before. The pill cam visualizes pre-cancerous legions in the colon, an alternative for patients after an incomplete colonoscopy. It is just the beginning of what's possible in microscopic medicine.

Sampling those internal images with a specular view, the 4K big screen system from Olympus America enhances optics for surgeons, increasing the possibility of more minimally invasive procedures, says company CEO Nacho Abia.

Seeing all 100,000 miles of vessels in every human body, this makeup of ours -- top to bottom, torso to fingertips, stomach to small intestines, every secret we unlock is a step closer to answering questions at the core of the cosmos.
 

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