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How cells live and die

(HealthDayNews) -- By the time you've read this, 50,000 cells in your body will have died. An equal number will have been created, most by the simple division of one cell into two.

The life spans of individual cells vary greatly, from about 10 hours for a skin cell, to 36 hours for a cell in your intestines, to a lifetime for undamaged muscle and nerve cells. The average life of a cell ends after it has divided 50 times.

After the union of sperm and egg at conception, those two cells multiply over nine months to produce a baby that has 20 billion cells. That number grows to 60 trillion by adulthood, according to the Doubleday book "Amazing Facts About Your Body."

The only cells in your body that do not reproduce are brain cells. You are born with considerably more than a lifelong supply to compensate for continual losses.

Think about that the next time you hear the phrase "brain drain."

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