- Anatomy and physiology concern with the structures and functions of the human body.
- Anatomy describes the structures of the body — their scientific names, composition, location, and associated structures. Anatomy (“a cutting open”) is a plan or map of the body.
- Physiology studies the function of each structure, individually and in combination with other structures.
- Anatomy and physiology always work together. As we examine each part of the body, always consider both its structure and its function.
The study of anatomy is divided into 2 major fields:
- Gross anatomy is the study of large visible structures
- Microscopic anatomy is the study of structures that are too small to see, such as cells
Gross anatomy, also called macroscopic anatomy, is separated into 5 major divisions:
A. Surface anatomy describes surface forms and marks.
B. Regional anatomy describes the organization of specific areas of the body such as the head or hand. This approach is used mostly in professional schools: medical, dental, physical therapy.
C. Systemic anatomy describes groups of organs that function together for a single purpose.
D. Developmental anatomy describes the structural changes in an organism from fertilized egg to maturity. Embryology is the anatomical study of early development.
E. Clinical anatomy describes various medical specialties, including medical anatomy (changes that occur during illness), and radiographic anatomy
Microscopic anatomy is divided into two major divisions:
A. Cytology, the study of cells and their structures.
B. Histology, the study of tissues and their structures
Physiology has many specialties. The 4 basic divisions are:
- Cell physiology, including chemical and molecular processes within and between cells.
- Special physiology, the study of specific organs such as the heart.
- Systemic physiology, the cooperative functions of all the organs in an organ system. We
will use a systemic physiology approach
- Pathological physiology, the effects of diseases on organs and organ systems.