anatomy tissues

The Human Body: An Orientation

| May 16, 2013

An overview of Anatomy and Physiology

Welcome to the wonderful world of Anatomy and Physiology! The subject can be a challenge in college but the payoff is well worth it. Learning about the inner workings of the human body may seem like a daunting task, but in order to understand emerging technologies and breakthroughs taking place in science and medicine, one must first build a core understanding of A&P.

In this lesson we’ll define and contrast Anatomy and Physiology and discuss how the human body is organized. We will also review the needs and functional processes common to all living organisms.

Anatomy– studies the structure of body parts and their relationships to one another.

Physiology– studies the function of body parts (how they work and carry out tasks.)

Topics of Anatomy

  • Gross Anatomy– The study of large body parts visible to the naked eye (heart, lungs, kidneys)
  • Regional Anatomy– Studies all the structures in a particular region of the body, such as the leg or abdomen
  • Systemic Anatomy– Body structure is studied system by system
  • Surface Anatomy– The study of internal structures as they relate to the overlying skin surface
  • Microscopic Anatomy– The study of human structures to small to be seen with the naked eye (cytology, histology)
  • Developmental Anatomy– Studies structural changes that occur in the body throughout life

The human body, an orientation

Topics of Physiology

Like anatomy, physiology has many subdivisions, here’s a few

  • Renal Physiology– Studies kidney function and urine production
  • Neurophysiology– Studies the inner workings of the nervous system
  • Cardiovascular Physiology– Examines the operation of the heart and blood vessels.

Complementarity of Structure and Function

Technically, it’s possible to study anatomy and physiology separately, but since function reflects structure the two are inseparable. Because of this, a key concept called the “principle of complementarity of structure and function” was made.

For example, blood flows through the heart in one direction because the heart has built in valves that prevent backflow. Bones are strong and can support the body because they contain hard mineral deposits.

Category: The Basics

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