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Anatomy and Physiology for practice Part 1.

An Introduction to the Organisation of the Human Body.

This Continual Professional Development (CPD) will introduce you to some of the fundamental biological principles and terminology that underpin the structure and function of the human body. Although you have undertaken anatomy and physiology studies in the past and as part of your professional health training, over time some of our basic understanding of biological sciences diminishes. While hopefully much of what had been learnt has remained with us, the following activities will be a reminder of some of the basic science and structures of the body, including the terminology or professional language and terms used by health professionals in our daily working lives. Mastering and understanding the terminology was a part of the process of learning and evolving into a professional health practitioner and therefore, we are all aware that without a good understanding of this terminology it can often be difficult to communicate effectively with colleagues, other health professionals and patients.

Hopefully, you will find that this introduction to anatomy and physiology useful to help you build upon the key concepts you were introduced to during your original training and in respect of other anatomy and physiology CPD you have since undertaken.

This CPD is divided in sections and each section has a set of self assessment questions to help you assess what you know or learnt to identify any areas that you may need to study further to support your practice.

Following completion of this CPD you should be able to:

* Define anatomy & physiology.

* Describe how these are commonly subdivided.

* Name the different levels of structural organisation that make up the human body.

* Identify anatomical position by describing body directions, regions and body planes or sections.

* Locate the major cavities of the body.

* List and briefly describe the meaning of the Applied Biological Science subjects.

Introduction to Applied Biological Science: Anatomy & Physiology

The study of Applied Biological Science involves the study of Anatomy and Physiology. With reference to a dictionary or biology related textbook, briefly define anatomy and physiology in your own words.

It is possible to study anatomy & physiology in isolation however, they are really inseparable because function always reflects structure i.e. what the body as a whole or a specific part of the body can do (it's function) is dependant on how it is built (structure). We can relate this to aspects of every-day life in order to understand this concept. When we examine a tin of soup, where it is apparent that the structure of the tin is related to its function e.g. the tin is hard to resist damage in order to transport the food safely from the factory to the purchaser's home. The tin is an air tight container to prevent the food decaying or becoming contaminated. This relationship between structure and function is called the principle of complementarily of structure and function. Anatomy and physiology are both broad fields with many subdivisions or topics.

Subdivisions of Anatomy

Gross or macroscopic anatomy is the study of large body structures visible to the naked eye. Gross anatomy can be studied either regionally i.e. looking at all body structures in a particular region e.g. the arm or abdomen, or studied systematically i.e. looking at all the body structures in a specific body system e.g. the cardiovascular system.

Surface anatomy is the study of internal body structures as they relate to the overlaying skin surface e.g. this would be used to locate the appropriate artery over which to feel a pulse.

Microscopic anatomy is the study of structures that are too small to be seen by the naked eye. These structures are usually viewed using microscope e.g. individual cells. The study of cells is a specific subdivision of microscopic anatomy known as Cytology. Groups of similar cells that have a common function are known as tissues and the study of tissues is another branch of microscopic anatomy known as Histology.

Developmental Anatomy is the study of the structural changes that occur in the body throughout the lifespan. Embryology is a subdivision of developmental anatomy that studies the specific change in the structure of the body prior to birth i.e. while the baby is growing in the mothers uterus.

Radiographic Anatomy studies internal structures as visualised by x-rays and other imaging techniques such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). You may come across other references to radiographic imaging in television programmes and the media.

Pathological Anatomy studies structural changes that are caused by disease.

Molecular Biology studies structure at a sub cellular level i.e. it involves the study of chemical substances.

Subdivisions of Physiology

The subdivisions of physiology usually consider the functioning of specific body systems e.g. renal physiology = study of the kidney function. Physiology like anatomy may focus at a gross level i.e. how the overall system works (what is its general function) or it may focus on events at molecular or chemical level.

An understanding of physiology is dependant on you developing an understanding of physical principles e.g. electrical currents to explain how cells conduct electrical impulses in the nervous system, pressure and gravity to explain how the blood circulates in the blood vessels and how air moves into and out of the lungs to facilitate breathing, temperature and heat to explain how the body regulates temperature.

The aim of this CPD is to facilitate your learning and understanding of the structure and function of the human body. It therefore, seems appropriate to ensure that we are talking the medical language and using the same terms when discussing biological sciences. Below there are a few basic questions to answer, just to refresh your knowledge on some of the terms used in biological science.

Levels of body organisation

The human body is extremely complicated. It is useful to organise the human body systematically. One way of doing this is to divide the body into levels based on the size of its structures:

Chemical level--includes the study of atoms and molecules.

Atoms are the smallest units of matter that participate in chemical reactions. Molecules are two or more atoms joined together such as water, sugar and proteins. Molecules then combine in specific ways to form cells and organelles.

Cellular level--molecules combine to form cells, which are the smallest basic structural and functional units of a human body. There are many different types of cells. Cells vary in their size and shape, in order to reflect their unique function. Cells specialise to perform specialist function e.g. red blood cells to carry oxygen. However, in order identify some of the general structures and hence functions of a cell the following diagram of a cell has been included.

Self-Assessment--Part 1 Biological Science Terms

(answers to be continued on separate sheet of paper)

1 What is Anatomy?

2 What is Physiology?

3 What is Biology?

4 What is Dietetics?

5 What is Osteology?

6 What is Mycology?

7 What is a Cell?

8 What is Tissue?

Self-Assessment--Part 3

Self-Assessment--Part 2

Match the organ systems (A to L) with the following organs or body
structures (1 to 12).

A    Skeletal
B    Muscular
C    Urinary
D    Digestive
E    Cardiovascular
F    Male reproductive
G    Nervous
H    Endocrine
I    Female Reproductive
J    Integumentary
K    Respiratory
L    Lymphatic

1    Blood vessels, blood & heart
2    Trachea, bronchi, alveoli
3    Testes, vas deferens
4    Adrenal glands, pancreas
5    Oesophagus, stomach
6    Kidneys, bladder, ureters
7    Skin, hair, nails
8    Brain, spinal cord, nerves
9    Lymph nodes, lymph vessels
10   Bones, ligaments, joints
11   Skeletal muscles, tendons
12   Ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes


Now that you have matched the organs with the relevant organ system can you match the organ system (A to L) to its most important function below (1--12)

1. Rids the body of nitrogen containing waste, conserves body water and eliminates excesses.

2. Responds to environmental changes by transmitting electrical impulses.

3. Provides support and levers for the muscular system to work.

4. Breaks down undigested food into smaller absorbable units that can enter the blood stream.

5. A transportation system, delivers oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and cells.

6. Moves the limbs, allows you to smile

7. Is damaged if you cut your finger or get sunburnt

8. Allows exchange of gases between small air sacs (alveoli) and the blood stream.

9. Produces sperm, has ducts and glands to deliver sperm to female reproductive tract.

10. Consists of glands, which produce hormones.

11. Returns to the bloodstream tissue fluids containing substances that cannot re-enter at the vein end of capillaries.

12. Produces eggs and provides a site for fertilisation and development of a foetus.

Self-Assessment--Part 4

Use the labels of the cell diagram and briefly describe the function
of each part of the cell--an example is given in the table below.
(answers to be continued on separate sheet of paper)

The Cell Parts Function
(Organelles)

Nucleus          Generally spherical or oval and is the largest
                 structure in the cell. It is a central mass
                 surrounded by its own membrane. It contains the
                 hereditary factors, the 'genes', of the cell, which
                 control cellular structure and direct many cellular
                 activities. Mature red blood cells do not have a
                 nucleus, as they carry only limited types of
                 chemical activity, which are not capable of growth
                 or reproduction.


Tissue level--groups of cells with similar structure and function. There are four types of tissue; epithelial, connective, muscular, and nervous tissues.

Organs are composed of two or more tissues that have unique shape and function, for examples; the heart, the kidneys, and the lungs.

Organ system level--consists of a group of organs that all contribute to a particular function. For example the urinary system is composed of the kidneys, the bladder, the ureters and the urethra.

Reference List

Brewer, S. 2011. The Human Body A Visual Guide to Human Anatomy. 2nd Ed. London. Quercus Publishing Plc.

Clancy, J. and McVicar, A. 2009. Physiology & Anatomy for Nurses and Healthcare Practitioners: A Homeostatic Approach. 3rd ed. London: Arnold

Coyle, F., Davis, J., Geddes, L., Meredith, G., Parker, S., Price, D., Walker, R. & Roberts, A (ed). 2010. The Complete Human Body The Definitive Visual Guide. London. Dorling Kindersley Limited.

Davidson, S., Preston, P., Williams, F & Peters M (ed). 2008. The British Medical Association Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 2nd Ed. London. Dorling Kindersley Limited.

Foss ,M. & Farrine, T. 2000. Science in Nursing and Health Care. Prentice Hall.

Kapit, W., Elson, ML, 2001. The Anatomy Coloring Book. 3rd Ed. San Francisco. Benjamin Cummings.

Marieb, E. N. 2012. Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology International Edition. 10th ed. London: Pearson Education

Marieb, E. N. and Hoehn, K. 2010. Human Anatomy and Physiology International Edition. 8th ed. London: Pearson Education

Martini F. H., Nath, J. L. and Bartholomew, E.F. 2012. Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology. 9th ed. London: Pearson Education.

Rampton, S. 2007. Applied Biological Sciences workbook, APU: Chelmsford.

Tortora, G. J. 2005. Principles of Human Anatomy. 10th ed. John Wiley and Sons Inc.: New Jersey

Tortora, G. J. and Derrickson, B. 2006. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. 11th ed. New Jersey: Wiley and Sons Inc.

Watson, R. 2011. Anatomy and Physiology for Nurses. 13th edition. London, Elsevier.

Waugh, A. and Grant, A. 2010. Ross and Wilson Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness 11th ed. London: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier

Beverley Wright MSc, BSc(Hons), PGCE, PGDip, MInstChP
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Title Annotation:CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Author:Wright, Beverley
Publication:Podiatry Review
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2014
Words:1892
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