Today in Fact, 4 March

Our bodies are amazing. Take the pituitary gland for example. The name “pituitary” derives from the Latin word for “spit”. This pea-sized gland sits at the base of the skull between our eyes. The pituitary is sometimes referred to as the “master gland” as it controls hormone functions such as our temperature, thyroid activity, growth during childhood, urine production, testosterone production in males and ovulation and oestrogen production in females.

In Yoga and esoteric traditions, the pituitary gland is considered the 6th Chakra. So we mess with this little fella at our peril. Now I went to school with a guy we called “Tank”. Tank was seriously big. He was so big that he once broke the arm of Robert Fisher just by sitting next to him and leaning on him! I met Tank, or Antonio de Nobrega, which is his real name, years later when he was the financial director of the South African Mint. It was a shock to me but Tank had shrunk.
He suffered from a growth in his pituitary gland and this had somehow made him smaller. Not a dwarf or anything but smaller than me. The only person in recorded history to have been both a dwarf and a giant was Adam Rainer.
Rainer was born in Graz, Austria-Hungary in 1899. In 1917, at age of 18, he was measured at 122.55 cm (4 ft 0.25 in). A typical defining characteristic of dwarfism is an adult height below 147 cm (4 ft 10 in). Then, probably as a result of a pituitary tumour, he had a dramatic growth spurt so that by 1931 he had reached a height of 218 cm (7 ft 2 in). he never stopped growing. His size and the resulting physical problems forced him to have to lie in bed for the rest of his life. When he died on this day in 1950, Rainer had reached a height of 234 cm (7 ft 8 in). His feet measured 33.3 cm (13.1 inches), and his hands 23.9 cm (9.4 inches). He was however very thin, weighing only 109 kg (241 pounds). he must have suffered terribly by his condition.

So let’s show some respect for our bodies and the tiny pea-sized gland that controls even our height.