Unit 1 -- Intoduction to anatomy and Physiology Notes

Unit 1:  An Introduction to the Structure and Function of the Human Body  


·        Anatomy - The study of body structure


·        Physiology - The study of body function


I.                    Levels of Organization


·        Atoms and Molecules - Chemical level




·        Organelles - Parts of a cell that carry out specific functions.

o       Ex. Mitochondria, Lysosome




·        Cells - Smallest “living units” in our body



                     Erythrocytes (Red Blood Cells)                                                           Osteocyte (bone cell)


·        Tissues - A group of similar cells that act together to perform a common function.     

o       Ex. Muscle and Glandular


                                     Skeletal Muscle Tissue                                                 Glandular Tissue


·        Organs - Groups of different kinds of tissues arranged to perform a special function.

o       Ex. Kidney, Heart, Lungs



                                             Heart                                                                                                     Kidney


·        Systems - Groups of organs arranged to perform complex functions                

o       Ex. Urinary



                      Urinary System                                                                         Digestive System


·        Organism - All the atoms, molecules, cells, tissues, organs, and systems of a living thing.


II.                 Anatomical Position


·        Standing erect with arms at side and palms turned forward.


III.               Two Major Regions of the Body


·        Axial - Head, neck, and torso

·        Appendicular - Upper and lower extremities (Arms and Legs)


IV.              Major Cavities of the Body and Subdivisions






                                                                                                                                                                           Subdivisions of Thoracic Cavity



A. Ventral Cavity -Toward the belly

1. Thoracic cavity - Chest

a. Mediastinum -  Midportion of thoracic cavity (heart and trachea)

b. Pleural Cavities – Sides of thoracic cavity (Right and Left Lungs)


-----Thoracic and Abdominopelvic are separated by the  diaphragm-----


2. Abdominopelvic Cavity

a. Abdominal cavity - Stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen

b. Pelvic Cavity - Reproductive organs, Urinary bladder, rectum, and anus.


B. Dorsal Cavity - Toward the back

     1. Cranial Cavity - Skull and Brain

     2. Spinal Cavity - Spinal cord and spine


V.                 Anatomical Terminology of Position (Human)


        Anterior/Ventral - Towards the front or in front of (nose to face)

        Posterior/Dorsal - Towards the back or behind (spine to ribs)

        Superior - Towards the head or above (ribs to knee)

        Inferior - Towards the feet or below (stomach to lungs)

        Medial - Towards the midline (heart to arms)

        Lateral - Towards the side (lungs to trachea, little toe to big toe)

        Proximal - Toward the trunk (shoulder to elbow)

        Distal - Away from the trunk (hand to elbow)



        Superficial - Nearer the surface (muscle to skin)

        Deep - Farther away from the surface (muscle to bone)




        Supine - Lying face up

        Prone - Lying face down


VI.              Planes - Body Sections


·        Sagittal - Divides a part into right and left halves

·        Midsagittal - Divides a part into right and left halves equally

·        Frontal/Coronal - Divides a part into anterior and posterior portions

·        Transverse/Cross - Divides a part into superior and inferior portions




VII.            Basic Facts About Body Functions


·        All living things have five things in common.


1. Maintaining mechanisms that ensure survival and success to its offspring is the primary business of life.  “Survival of the Fittest”




2. Survival depends on maintaining or restoring homeostasis (Equilibrium of the internal environment)





3. Homeostasis depends on never ceasing activities. (Response to changes, exchange of materials, metabolism, and control within the body.)


4. All body functions are ultimately cell functions.


5. Body functions are related to age.  (Peak efficiency in young adulthood with diminishing efficiency thereafter.)


                                     Brett Favre (Rookie - 1991)                                                                                                 Brett Favre (2016)



VIII.         Anatomical Terms of Location


·        Brachial - arm

·        Carpal - Wrist

·        Cephalic - Head

·        Cervical - Neck

·        Femoral - Leg

·        Gluteal - Buttocks

·        Patellar - Knee (Anterior)

·        Popliteal - Knee (Posterior)

·        Thoracic - Chest

·        Buccal - Mouth

·        Orbital - Eye socket

·        Nasal - Nose

·        Digital - Finger/toe

·        Axillary - Armpit

·        Mammary - Breast

·        Pedal – Foot

·        Tarsal – Ankle

·      Sural -- Calf

·      Scapular -- Shoulder Blade

·      Lumbar -- Lower Back

·      Antecubital -- Anterior Elbow

·      Abdominal -- Stomach

·      Pubic -- Groin

·      Inguinal -- Beltline (where abdomen meets pelvis)



            body regions