Chapter 1 an introduction to the structure and function of the body
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Chapter 1 ~ An Introduction to the structure and function of the body. directional terms, definitions, examples of usage. A and P defined. The study of the human body's structure is called anatomy . The various functions carried out by the body's systems make up the body's physiology .

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Chapter 1 ~ An Introduction to the structure and function of the body

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Chapter 1 ~ An Introduction to the structure and function of the body

directional terms, definitions, examples of usage

A and P defined

  • The study of the human body's structure is called anatomy.

  • The various functions carried out by the body's systems make up the body's physiology.

Introduction to anatomy and physiology

  • Many people fail to understand the difference between anatomy and physiology. Anatomy is the study of the structure of body parts, whereas physiology is the biological study of the function of body parts.

  • For example, the stomach is a J-shaped, pouch-like organ, whose walls have thick folds which disappear as the stomach expands to increase its capacity. This organ temporarily stores food, secretes digestive juices, and passes on partially digested food to the small intestine.

Levels of Organization


  • Atom-submicroscopic particles that make up all matter in the universe

  • Molecule-formed by a group of atoms

  • Organelle-tiny membranous structures that perform cell functions

  • Tissue-composed of similar types of cells and performs a specific function

  • Organ-composed of several types of tissues and performs a particular function

  • Organ system-group of related organs working together

  • Organism-a living thing

Anatomical directions

Anatomical directions

  • Superior and inferior

  • Anterior and posterior

  • Medial and lateral

  • Proximal and distal

  • Superficial and deep

  • Dorsal and ventral

superior and inferior

  • Superior - Relatively higher or above in relation to another structure.

    Eg. The Eyebrows are superior to Eyes

  • Inferior - Relatively lower in relation to another structure.

    Eg. The Eyes are inferior to the Eyebrows

anterior and posterior

  • Anterior - Towards the front, or in front of.

    Eg. The Chest is anterior to the Back.

  • Posterior - Towards the rear, or around the back of.

    Eg. The Back is posterior to the Chest.

medial and lateral

  • Medial - Towards the midline in relation to another structure.

    Eg. The Navel is medial to the Hips.

  • Lateral - Away from the midline in relation to another structure.

    Eg. The Hips are lateral to the Navel.

proximal and distal

  • Proximal - Closer to the trunk or point of origin in relation to another structure. Eg.The Wrist is proximal to the Fingers.

  • Distal - Further from the trunk or point of origin in relation to another structure. Eg. The Fingers are distal to the Wrist.

superficial and deep

  • Superficial - Towards the outside of. Eg. Skull is superficial to the Brain.

  • Deep - Towards the inside of.

    Eg. The Brain is deep of the Skull.

dorsal and ventral

  • Dorsal - Relating to the Back.

    Eg. The Posterior.

  • Ventral - Relating to the Front. Eg. Belly & Abdomen.

Anatomical p o s i t i o n s

  • Anatomical Position- The body is in an erect or standing posture with arms at the side and face, toes, and palms of hands pointing forward.

  • Lying Supine – lying face up

  • Lying Prone – lying face down

p o s i t i o n s

p l a n e s

When analyzing movements, we can observe each joint action through or

parallel to, a flat plane of motion. A helpful way to think of a plane is as a

large sharp razor, that slices the body or limb moving through it, in two.


  • This plane allows Anterio - Posterior movements through it. The median (mid-sagittal) plane passes vertically through the middle of the body, dividing it equally into left and right halves.

  • All other sagittal planes run parallel to this median plane, but do not have to pass through the body's midline (parasagittal).

  • The median plane is merely one example of a sagittal plane.

frontal or coronal plane

  • A flat vertical plane passing through the body from side to side, dividing it into anterior and posterior halves.

  • Movements along this plane will be from side to side or (medio-lateral).

transverse plane

  • A plane passing horizontally through the body, dividing it into upper and lower halves or (inferior & superior).

  • Movements through this plane whilst the body is in the anatomical position will be horizontally (parallel to the ground) towards and away from the mid-sagittal plane.

Regions of the body

The body's parts can also be separated into axial and appendicular portions.

  • Theaxialparts include the head, neck, and chest.

  • Theappendicularparts are the body's limbs.

Different terms are used for the smaller areas of the body and they are the following:


Cephalic-headCranial-skullFrontal-foreheadOccipital-back of headOral-mouthNasal-noseOphthalmic-orbital, eyes

Descriptive terms for body regions



Thorax (chest)


Descriptive terms for body regions


Celiac-abdomenPelvic-lower portion of abdomenGluteal-buttockInguinal-groinGroin-depressed region of abdomen near thighLumbar-lower backSacral-where vertebrae terminatePerineal-region between anus and external sex organs

Descriptive terms for body regions

Limbs (arms and legs)

Brachial-upper armForearm-lower armCarpal-wristCubital-elbowPalmar-palmLower limb-legFemoral-thighPopliteal-back of kneeLower leg-distal to the kneePedal-foot

Cavities of the body

Cavities of the Body

  • The visceral, or internal organs are located in one of two main cavities in the body, the dorsal cavity and the ventral cavity.

  • Each of these can also be divided into two additional parts. The dorsal cavity is divided into the cranial cavity, which includes the brain and skull, and the spinal cavity, which includes the spinal cord.

  • The ventral cavity is split into the thoracic cavity and the abdominopelvic cavity.

  • The thoracic cavity is divided by membranes to form separate pleural cavities and the pericardial cavity, which contains the heart.

Cavities of the Body

The mediastinum, a mass of tissues and organs, divides the pleural cavities.

The diaphragm is a muscle that divides the thoracic and the abdominopelvic cavity.

The abdominal cavity can be further split into the upper abdominal and lower pelvic cavities. This is where most of the digestive organs such as the stomach and liver reside.

Finally, the abdominopelvic cavity can also be split into the umbilical, lumbar, epigastric, hypochondriac, hypogastric, and illiac cavities.

Name these

  • Need more review, go here wa_body_cavities_1.htm

9 regions of abdominopelvic cavity

  • Rt hypochondriac

  • Epigastric

  • Lt hypochondriac

  • Rt lumbar

  • Umbilical

  • Lt lumbar

  • Rt iliac (inguinal)

  • Hypogastric

  • Lt iliac (inguinal)

4 quadrants of the abdominopelvic cavity

1. Rt upper

  • Lt upper

  • Rt lower

  • Lt lower

Chapter 3 Organ Systems of the Body

Can you name the 11 organ systems of the body? and

Describe the role of each system.

Organ Systems and Functions

Integumentary System

External support and protection of body.

Skeletal System

Internal support and protection; body movement; production of blood cells.

Muscular System

Body movement; production of body heat.

Nervous System

Regulation of all body activities; learning and memory.

Endocrine System

Secretion of hormones for chemical regulation.

Respiratory System

Gaseous exchange between external environment and blood.

Circulatory System

Transport of nutrients to body cells; remove of wastes from cells

Lymphatic System

Immunity; absorption of fats; drainage of tissue fluid.

Digestive System

Breakdown and absorption of food materials.

Urinary System

Maintenance of volume and chemical composition of blood.

Reproductive System

Production of sperm; transfer of sperm to female reproductive system.


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