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Introduction to Human Physiology

Topic Review on "Title":

Physiology: Physiology is the science of body functions; it is the study of mechanical, physical and biochemical properties of living organisms. Physiology incorporates a significant amount of anatomy; anatomy is the science of body structures and their inter-relationships.

Levels of organization of the human body:
  • Chemical - made up of atoms and molecules
  • Cell - are basic structural and functional units of an organism. There are many different types of cells in the body      including: nerve cells, blood cells, muscle cells and fat cells.
  • Tissue - groups of cells & the surrounding environment that work together to produce a specific function. There are only four types of tissues in the body: epithelial tissue, connective tissue, muscle tissue and nervous tissue.
  • Organ – organs are structures that are made of two or more different types of tissues, they have specific functions & a defined shape. The heart is an example of an organ; it is made of muscle, connective, & nervous tissue. The tissues work in concert to move blood through the body.

System - consists of related organs that have a common function, there are eleven organ systems in the body:

  1. The Integumentary System: includes the skin & derived structures, it protects internal organs & helps maintain body temperature.

  2. The Skeletal System: includes the bones & joints, it provides support & protection to internal organs.

  3. The Muscular System: includes skeletal muscle and it provides movement.

  4. The Nervous System: includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. It provides regulation of body functions & sensory perception.

  5. The Endocrine System: includes hormone-producing cells & glands. It regulates homeostasis, growth & development.

  6. The Cardiovascular System: includes blood, heart, & blood vessels. It is responsible for delivery of oxygen & nutrients to the tissues.

  7. The Lymphatics & Immune System: includes lymphatic vessels & fluid. It is involved in the defense against infection.

  8. The Respiratory System: includes lungs & airways. It is involved in the absorption of oxygen & release of carbon dioxide.

  9. The Digestive System: includes organs of the gastrointestinal tract. It is responsible for the absorption of nutrients.

  10. The Urinary System: includes the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. It is responsible for electrolyte balance & waste removal.

  11. The Reproductive System: includes the reproductive organs in males and females. It controls the biological process by which new individuals are produced.

Homeostasis: The process through which a nearly stable internal environment is maintained in the body so that cellular functions can proceed at maximum efficiency.

Anatomical planes and sections: Anatomical planes are imaginary flat surfaces that pass through the body. The coronal plane coronal plane separates the body into front and back halves. The sagittal plane separates the body into left and right halves. The transverse plane separates the body into superior and inferior halves.

Tips for studying physiology:

  • Take each system in steps
  • Identify the information “given” and “wanted”
  • Try to understand why processes happen & look for patterns
  • Connect each thing you learn with previous concepts
  • Keep up with the work
  • Physiology builds on prior knowledge
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Don’t be afraid to seek out help early…find a instructor, TA, tutor or friend that can help!

Typically in science, keyword mnemonics are a great way to memorize what is needed for class. Here is a simple 3-step process to do so:

  1. List the keywords in a logical order.
  2. Write down the first letter of each keyword.
  3. Create a word, phrase, or sentence from the first letters of these keywords.

Rapid Study Kit for "Title":
Flash Movie Flash Game Flash Card
Core Concept Tutorial Problem Solving Drill Review Cheat Sheet

"Title" Tutorial Summary :

An introduction to human physiology is provided in this chapter. Including, the organization of the body organ systems, systems used to maintain homeostasis and an introduction to medical terminology.

A review of the organization of the human body is introduced here, beginning at the chemical level and including the tissues and organs in the various body systems. A definition and the role of specific body systems are provided along with information about the feedback loops the body uses to regulate a normal internal environment. Ideas are included on creating personal mnenomics to memorize key information.


Tutorial Features:
Specific Tutorial Features:
  • Overview of the various body systems and organs including anatomically labeled pictures. 
Series Features:
  • Concept map showing inter-connections of concepts introduced.
  • Definition slides introduce terms as they are needed.
  • Examples given throughout to illustrate how the concepts apply.
  • A concise summary is given at the conclusion of the tutorial.

"Title" Topic List:

Definition of Physiology: Branches of Physiology

Levels of organization of the human body

  • Chemical level
  • Cell
  • Tissue
  • Organ
  • System
  • Organism

Systems of the human body (11)

  1. The Integumentary System
  2. The Skeletal System
  3. Muscular System
  4. Nervous System
  5. Endocrine System
  6. Cardiovascular System
  7. Lymphatic & Immune System
  8. Respiratory System
  9. Digestive System
  10. Urinary System
  11. Reproductive System

Homeostasis and feedback mechanisms

Positive and negative feedback loops

Basic anatomic terms     

Body Positions
Directional Terms
Anatomical Planes & Sections

Body fluid and cavities

Body Fluids
The Dorsal Cavity
The Ventral Cavity

Tips for studying physiology

See all 24 lessons in Anatomy and Physiology, including concept tutorials, problem drills and cheat sheets:  Teach Yourself Anatomy and Physiology Visually in 24 Hours


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