Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and Physiology are grouped as under the broader term Biology, which aims at studying a living organism within its non-living environment as the organism is influenced by the factors surrounding it, living (biotic) or non-living (abiotic).

The study of the human body as a physical object and the reasons for the components being built as they are observed (purpose)
Various levels of study are undertaken: broadly

Macroscopic - what can be observed without the aid of powerful magnifiers

Microscopic - observing structures with the aid of powerful magnifiers such as electron

microscopes and other aids such and the use of isotopes, markers and tracers

The study of the processes and mechanisms of operation of structures and systems within the human body.

Various levels of operation identified, from gross operation to nucleo--chemical and nanotechnological operations.
Various mechanisms*1, machines*2 and equipment*3 are used to determine physical structure and processes. Malfunctioning can be detected using the same mechanisms. In many instances, cadarvas are used for physicals/anatomical structures. Processes, however, need to be studied in the living body and very limited opportunities exist for studies within the living human body. For this reason, many processes are studied in animals and projections are made as to the way it might operate in the human body. This method provides opportunities for experimentation as well, to document how the body would react under differing conditions.

Thus, a great deal of information about human physiology is derived from studies on animals.

Although artificial materials are readily available, nothing is as good as ‘the real thing’. Materials can be obtained by campaigning for people to donate their bodies for scientific research upon death. Strict legal procedures have to be followed. Amputations, miscarriages, Jon/Jane Doe’s, abortions, still births, embryonic malformations, etc. also provide a source of materials for study after due permission has been granted and all legalities have been complies with.
Patients are often asked to volunteer their records or participate in a scientific study. Journals kept by doctors and patients of specific experiences during a period of disease can be collated and compared to find common features for a disease.
Health Centres and Academic Hospitals play a major role in construction of knowledge in the sphere of Health Sciences. Such institutions are usually equipped with hitech laboratories to facilitate research.
NB>> NO Text book, set of notes, or article is exhaustive of any topic. Always keep an open mind and leave scope for alternative views.

[Provide examples of *1 , *2 , and *3]



Anatomical Position is used as reference for positioning and locating structures and organs.

On the diagram below, note key positions of certain parts of the body and indicate these on the diagram


Other points of reference are obtained by dividing the body into sections. Label the quadrants and regions. Label the regions

. .1. right hypochondriac region
. .2. epigastric region
. .3. left hypochondriac region
. .4. right lumbar region
. . 5. umbilical region
. . 6. left lumbar region
. . 7. right iliac region
. .8. hypogastric region
. .9. left iliac region

Imaginary lines are used to be more accurate in locating a specific area on the body



What is symmetry:

Types of symmetry:

asymmetry, radial symmetry, bilateral symmetry

The human body displays external bilateral symmetry, but internal asymmetry.

Externally we see mirror images when dividing the body sagitally from head to toe. What we see on the one side, we see on the other side. However, if we take one half and we look inside, the contents clearly differ. There is only one of most of the organs that is either positioned on the left or on the right. The heart (slightly to left), stomach (left), liver (right) and the course of the GIT are of the features that render the internal structure asymmetrical. The lungs and kidneys are paired organs while structures like the bladder and uterus are centrally placed.

bilateralsymmetry.jpg humanInternalOrgans.jpg


Skull> Cranium : Cranial cavity - brain
Vertebral Column : Vertebral canal : spinal cord

Cavity in the trunk of the body = coelom , a fluid-filled space in which viscera are housed, which is divided into

/ Pleural cavities - lungs - lined by visceral and parietal pleura ThoracicCavity.jpg
Thorax> Thoracic cavity ----- Mediastinum > ---- Pericardial cavity - heart - pericardia
(space between pleural cavities)
contains: trachea, oesophagus
blood vessels, lymph vessels


. 1. Abdominal cavity - liver, stomach & intestines,
. spleen, pancreas, blood vessels, lymph vessels etc.RetroperitonealKidneys.jpg

ABDOMINO-PELVIC REGION> 2. Retroperitonial space - kidneys

3. Pelvic cavity - reproductive organs, bladder