Science questions for kids | How long can a human fingernail grow?

Vilma Pollari, 9

Fingernails are growing all the time. The average growth rate is 1–4 millimeters per month. Fingernails grow faster than toenails, and young people grow faster than old ones.

In principle, nails can grow to any length. However, long nails often break in use.

Some people have allowed their nails to grow over a meter long. However, it does not make much sense, as shorter claws are useful for picking up and handling small objects, for example.

It is also easier to take care of the cleanliness of the hands when the nails are relatively short.

The nail is formed when the cells under the cuticle die, flatten and compact into a nail plate. The nail plate mainly consists of a protein substance called keratin, which contains sulfur.

Marja Mikkola

research director

Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki

Sports stress the body in very different ways.

If you want to be a top athlete, which sport is the healthiest and safest to be in good shape even in old age?

Ansa Tuomainen 8

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So he would still be in good shape even when he was old, it would be worthwhile to avoid injuries when playing sports.

Sports injuries that bother even old people are typically serious anterior cruciate ligament injuries, back stress fractures, eye injuries and head injuries.

Among the Olympic sports, the risks are lowest in running, swimming, sailing, curling, speed skating, ice dancing and golf.

Of them, curling might be the safest.

Jari Parkkari

Professor of Sports Medicine

University of Jyväskylä

In a difficult situation, a person can say “eh”.

When in doubt, why say “öö” and not “aa” or “ii”?

Victoria Yu, 10

Even with small ones words and word-like expressions have their own meaning.

For example, the word “aa” is used in Finnish to express that the speaker has realized something. Its cognates ´”aha” and “ai” express that the speaker has received new information.

“Ii”, iih” and “iik” on the other hand express excitement or fear.

“Oo” and “ooh” on the other hand express admiration and “uh” displeasure.

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Not all small words have been studied. You could still think that “uh” and “uhhuh” express dismay, “eh” and “ehheh” amusement, and “yh” and “yhhyh” disgust.

What remains are “öö” and “öh”, whose task has then fallen to express hesitation or that the speaker does not know or understand something.

We don’t know why in the Finnish language, öö has a well-established function of expressing hesitation.

One possible explanation could be that öö comes out of a Finnish speaker’s mouth rather effortlessly.

However, the meanings of such expressions can change quickly, causing the division of labor for small words to change.

Marja Etelämäki

assistant professor of discourse analysis

University of Oslo

The suitability of the blood for the recipient must be carefully examined.

What happens if human blood gets into a cat’s blood?

Elias Hannikainen, 10

In humans and other animals have species-specific characteristics in their red blood cells. The blood characteristics of the blood donor and the recipient must match.

When the blood is not suitable for another type, the donated red blood cells break down quickly in the blood vessels. It’s because of that. that antibodies are formed in the body. In this case, the patient becomes seriously ill and may die.

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This could also happen to a cat if it were given human blood.

In some situations, a blood transfusion is needed to save the cat’s life.

It is needed, for example, if the cat has lost a lot of blood in an accident or major surgery, or if it has a disease leading to the breakdown of red blood cells.

Cats have their own blood banks, from which, depending on the situation, you can get either whole blood, red cells or plasma. Cats have three common blood types: A, B and AB. Most cats belong to group A.

Only blood of the cat’s own blood group is suitable for blood transfusion. The compatibility of the blood is verified before the procedure.

Leena Saijonmaa-Koulumies

docent of veterinary dermatology, specialist veterinarian for small animal diseases

Send the question, the questioner’s full name and age to [email protected]. The column is edited by Touko Kauppinen and Juha Merimaa.

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