Physiology

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Physiology (/ˌfɪziˈɒləi/; from Ancient Greek φύσις (physis), meaning "nature, origin", and -λογία (-logia), meaning "study of"[1]) is the scientific study of function in living systems.[2] A sub-discipline of biology, its focus is in how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system.[3] Given the size of the field it is divided into, among others: human physiology, animal physiology, plant physiology, cellular physiology, microbial physiology (see microbial metabolism), bacterial physiology, viral physiology.[3]

The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, awarded since 1901 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

History[edit]

Physiological studies date back to Egypt alongside anatomical studies but did not utilize dissections and vivisection.[4] The study of human physiology as a medical field dates back to at least 420  BC to the time of Hippocrates, also known as the father of medicine.[5] The critical thinking of Aristotle and his emphasis on the relationship between structure and function marked the beginning of physiology in Ancient Greece, while Claudius Galenus (c. 126–199 AD), known as Galen, was the first to use experiments to probe the functions of the body. Galen was the founder of experimental physiology.[6]

Jean Fernel, a French physician, introduced the term "physiology" in 1525.

In the 19th century, physiological knowledge began to accumulate at a rapid rate, in particular with the 1838 appearance of the Cell theory of Matthias Schleiden and Theodor Schwann. It radically stated that organisms are made up of units called cells. Claude Bernard's (1813–1878) further discoveries ultimately led to his concept of milieu interieur (internal environment), which would later be taken up and championed as "homeostasis" by American physiologist Walter Cannon.[clarification needed]

In the 20th century, biologists also became interested in how organisms other than human beings function, eventually spawning the fields of comparative physiology and ecophysiology.[7] Major figures in these fields include Knut Schmidt-Nielsen and George Bartholomew. Most recently, evolutionary physiology has become a distinct subdiscipline.[8]

Subdisciplines[edit]

There are many ways to categorize the subdiscplines of physiology:[9]

Human physiology[edit]

Main article: Human physiology

Human physiology seeks to understand the mechanisms that work to keep the human body alive and functioning,[3] through scientific enquiry into the nature of mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of humans, their organs, and the cells of which they are composed. The principal level of focus of physiology is at the level of organs and systems within systems. The endocrine and nervous systems play major roles in the reception and transmission of signals that integrate function in animals. Homeostasis is a major aspect with regard to such interactions within plants as well as animals. The biological basis of the study of physiology, integration refers to the overlap of many functions of the systems of the human body, as well as its accompanied form. It is achieved through communication that occurs in a variety of ways, both electrical and chemical.[citation needed]

Much of the foundation of knowledge in human physiology was provided by animal experimentation. Physiology is the study of function and is closely related to anatomy which is the study of form. Due to the frequent connection between form and function, physiology and anatomy are intrinsically linked and are studied in tandem as part of a medical curriculum.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "physiology". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  2. ^ Prosser, C. Ladd (1991). Comparative Animal Physiology, Environmental and Metabolic Animal Physiology (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Liss. pp. 1–12. ISBN 0-471-85767-X. 
  3. ^ a b c Hall, John (2011). Guyton and Hall textbook of medical physiology (12th ed. ed.). Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders/Elsevier. p. 3. ISBN 978-1-4160-4574-8. 
  4. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=LKdC0fDmnT4C&pg=PA43&dq=ancient+egyptian+medicine++physiology&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1UKaU6OZCZenyASB5IKoBA&ved=0CEsQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=ancient%20egyptian%20medicine%20%20physiology&f=false
  5. ^ "Physiology". Science Clarified. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  6. ^ Fell, C.; Pearson, F. (November 2007). "Historical Perspectives of Thoracic Anatomy". Thoracic Surgery Clinics 17 (4): 443–8. doi:10.1016/j.thorsurg.2006.12.001. 
  7. ^ Feder, ME; Bennett, AF; WW, Burggren; Huey, RB (1987). New directions in ecological physiology. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-34938-3. 
  8. ^ Garland, Jr, Theodore; Carter, P. A. (1994). "Evolutionary physiology". Annual Review of Physiology 56 (56): 579–621. doi:10.1146/annurev.ph.56.030194.003051. PMID 8010752. 
  9. ^ Moyes, C.D., Schulte, P.M. Principles of Animal Physiology, second edition. Pearson/Benjamin Cummings. Boston, MA, 2008.

External links[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Human physiology[edit]

  • Widmaier, E.P., Raff, H., Strang, K.T. Vander's Human Physiology. 11th Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2008.

Animal physiology[edit]

  • Hill, R.W., Wyse, G.A., Anderson, M. Animal Physiology, 3rd ed. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, 2012.
  • Moyes, C.D., Schulte, P.M. Principles of Animal Physiology, second edition. Pearson/Benjamin Cummings. Boston, MA, 2008.
  • Randall, D., Burggren, W., and French, K. Eckert Animal Physiology: Mechanism and Adaptation, 5th Edition. W.H. Freeman and Company, 2002.
  • Schmidt-Nielsen, K. Animal Physiology: Adaptation and Environment. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • Withers, P.C. Comparative animal physiology. Saunders College Publishing, New York, 1992.

Plant physiology[edit]

  • Larcher, W. Physiological plant ecology (4th ed.). Springer, 2001.
  • Salisbury, F.B, Ross, C.W. Plant physiology. Brooks/Cole Pub Co., 1992
  • Taiz, L., Zieger, E. Plant Physiology (5th ed.), Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer, 2010.

Fungi physiology[edit]

  • Griffin, D.H. Fungal Physiology, Second Edition. Wiley-Liss, New York, 1994.

Protist physiology[edit]

  • Levandowsky, M. Physiological Adaptations of Protists. In: Cell physiology sourcebook: essentials of membrane biophysics. Amsterdam; Boston: Elsevier/AP, 2012.

Algae physiology[edit]

  • Lobban, C.S., Harrison, P.J. Seaweed ecology and physiology. Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • Stewart, W. D. P. (ed.). Algal Physiology and Biochemistry. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, 1974.

Protozoa physiology[edit]

  • Levandowski, M., Hutner, S.H. (eds). Biochemistry and physiology of protozoa. Volumes 1, 2, and 3. Academic Press: New York, NY, 1979; 2nd ed.
  • Laybourn-Parry J. A Functional Biology of Free-Living Protozoa. Berkeley, California: University of California Press; 1984.

Bacterial physiology[edit]

  • El-Sharoud, W. (ed.). Bacterial Physiology: A Molecular Approach. Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, 2008. ISBN 9783540749202
  • Kim, B.H., Gadd, M.G. Bacterial Physiology and Metabolism. Cambridge, 2008. ISBN 9780521712309
  • Moat, A.G., Foster, J.W., Spector, M.P. Microbial Physiology, 4th ed. Wiley-Liss, Inc. New York, NY, 2002. ISBN 9780471461197