When it comes to knowledge of the human body, many of us do not know our adrenal glands from our elbows.
In a survey that asked people to mark on a diagram of the body where various organs were, the only part of body 100 per cent of participants got right was the brain.
The organ we get wrong most is the adrenal glands – only 15 per cent of us know where these are.
Many people wrongly thought they were in the neck.
The survey revealed only 15% of us know where the adrenal glands are on the human body
The next organ for which we only have a hazy idea of location is the spleen, with just 20 per cent of us knowing its whereabouts.
Also obscure is the gall bladder – only one in four of us have a clue where it is.
While many of us like to think our heart is in the right place, around four out of ten of us are unable to correctly point where it is found.
The lack of anatomical knowledge may make it harder for doctors and medical staff to communicate with patients.
They may be unaware that an area of the body that is hurting may be the location of a major organ.
In an example cited in the research, published in the journal Campaigns targeting parts of the body – such as the prostate in the case of prostate cancer in men – can fall flat as one study found that nearly 18 per cent of men were unaware they even had a prostate and only 8 per cent knew what it does.
Older people tended to do better at placing body parts than younger people – with the best performers in the 40-49 year old age group, as this may be ‘because this is when people begin visiting the doctor more often’, the Lancaster University research found.
FORGET WHAT YOU WERE TOLD…
Forget what you were told in biology class, as researchers have classified a brand-new organ inside the human body.
The mesentery was long-believed to be made up of separate structures, but a new study has shown that it is one continuous organ.
Researchers hope that the reclassification will aid better understanding and treatment of abdominal and digestive disease.
The mesentery is a fold of the peritoneum which attaches the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, spleen, and other organs to the abdomen.
Until the study in January, it had been overlooked in medicine as a fragmented structure.
Members of the public were asked to place the following on a blank template of a human body; the brain, cornea, lungs, liver, diaphragm, heart, stomach, appendix, bladder, kidneys, pancreas, gallbladder, spleen, adrenals, thyroid, hamstrings, biceps, triceps, quadriceps, cruciate ligament and Achilles tendon.
Study leader Dr Adam Taylor said: ‘We picked parts of the body people may have heard about. Everybody knows about adrenaline, I was surprised how few people knew where their adrenal glands were.
‘We also thought everybody knows where the heart is. But that wasn’t the case.’
After the brain, the easiest part of the body to place was the cornea, with nine out of ten of us (89 per cent) getting it right, followed by the biceps (84 per cent).
The terms were chosen based on mentions in everyday life such as keeping fit, sports injuries, TV shows and online searches for abdominal pain.
Men scored higher than women at identifying muscles – but not internal organs.
For instance, around 82 per cent of men were able to locate the triceps – compared to around 54 per cent of women.
When it came to the diaphragm, things were reversed, with 60 per cent of women getting it right versus 40 per cent of men.
The study was carried out on a group of 63 people aged from eight to the late 70s – 36 females, 26 males and one person who declined to give his or her sex.
Dr Taylor said the quiz revealed the public’s eagerness to learn anatomy despite their limited knowledge of the human body.
‘An improvement in the delivery of basic anatomical knowledge within primary and secondary education may have beneficial health outcomes in later life, as well as reducing the burden on healthcare services by ensuring competent communication between patient and healthcare professional.’