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Do your organs grow as you get older? A simple question that we unpack in this week's episode of Big Questions.

A weekly show where we endeavor to answer one of your big questions. This week, Jen Alexander asks, "Do your organs grow with you?"
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Hi, I'm Craig, I have regular-sized organs, and this is Mental Floss on YouTube. Today, I'm gonna answer Jen Alexander's big question, 'Do your organs grow with you?'

Well, Jen, the answer is yes, for the most part. They grow until you're fully grown, which is usually your late teens and early twenties. But it's hard to generalize, considering you have almost eighty organs, which make up many different organ systems. So I'm gonna explain the development of a few different organs for you today, including the heart, the lungs, the liver, and the brain. Let's get started.

(Intro plays)

Right after conception, a fetus's heart takes up almost all of its midsection. Other than that, though, your heart is pretty much always around the same size as your fist, at the time. Even babies have heart the size of their witty-bitty fists. Then it grows with that person. Once they stop growing, their heart stops growing, too.

There are some conditions that make their heart continue to grow after this point, though. These include high blood pressure, and a leaky heart valve. Or love. But that's metaphorical.

Lungs start working after birth. At first, they're filled with amniotic fluid; then the baby takes their first breath, and lungs start to do their job. Crying. A lot.

Lungs continue to grow until people are in their late teens or early twenties; this is why young people smoking is such a concern. their lungs don't end up developing to the extent and size they should.

The liver reached its full size of around 3 pounds at the same time. It's capable of regenerating itself, which is why people are able to donate a part of their liver to another person. Or to a dog, maybe. It probably has never happened.

At birth, the brain is about twenty five percent of the size it'll reach. Then it starts to grow, fast. By the time a child is two years old, the brain is eight five percent of its adult size. It also stops growing around your twenties, but even when it has stopped growing, the brain continues to develop in other ways until its around twenty five years old. And then we just all just remain that smart. We're just dumb until... until we die. No, we never stop learning.

Putting aside the liver's ability to regenerate and the brain's ability to continue to develop, there's really only two organs that will continue to grow until you die, your ears and your nose. Six year olds have ears that are ninety percent fully grown, and that's the case for teenagers with their noses, but still, a little elongation continues throughout life, thanks to cartilage growth and gravity. And lying.

Speaking of organs on our faces, there's a common misconception that eyes don't grow at all after birth. In fact, they grow a little, but stop when you're about 13 years old.

Thanks for watching Mental Floss on YouTube, which is made by these regular-organ-sized people. If you have a question of your own that you'd like answered, leave it below in the comments. And I will see you next week.