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HOW MUCH IS A BODY WORTH?



When biochemist Harold J. Morowitz of Yale University received a humorous birthday card from his daughter that read: "According to biochemists, the materials that make up the human body are worth only ninety-eight cents," he reached for a catalog of a supply company and began looking up prices.



It turns out the human body is actually a Six-Million Dollar Man.



Hemoglobin is $285 a gram; insulin, $47.50 a gram; purified trypsin (an enzyme), $36; bilirubin, the bile pigment, $12; human DNA, $76; collagen, $15; human albumin, $3.



Some less common constituents: Acetate kinase, a substance that activates an enzyme, $8,860 a gram; alkaline phosphates, $225; hyaluronic acid, the cement substance of the tissues, $175; bradykinin (amino acids), $12,000.



A real shocker came when he got to follicle-stimulating hormone--$8 million a gram--a gift he suggests for people who have everything. For the really wealthy, there is prolactin, the hormone that stimulates milk production in the breast glands--$17.5 million a gram.



Calculating the percentage of each chemical in the composition of the human body, Morowitz arrived at $245.54 as the average value per gram of human being.


He then weighed himself: 168 pounds or 79,364 grams. Since man is 68 percent water, his dry weight was 24,436 grams. Multiplying that by $245.54 came to $6,000,015.44.


"It was an enormous upgrade to my ego after the 98-cent evaluation," Morowitz wrote in the journal Hospital Practice.


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