Lesson 1 - Introduction and Study Techniques
Student Performance Objectives
1. List and define the levels of study of anatomy and physiology.
2. Outline the idea of the scientific method of study.
3. List and explain the difference between imaging techniques used to view the inside
of the human body.
4. Demonstrate proficiency using a medical dictionary.
5. Demonstrate proficiency using a computer for an on-line topical search.
A. Anatomy and Physiology
1. Definitions: anatomy is an organism's structure or architecture; physiology is the way structures
work, the way they function. There are no functionless structures; just structures
whose functions we do not yet understand.
2. Levels of Study - gross and microscopic.
a. Anatomy - science of structure; architecture of an organism.
1. Gross anatomy - what can be seen with the naked eye.
2. Microanatomy - requires instrumentation for viewing.
3. Comparative anatomy - comparing the structure of vertebrate or invertebrate
4. Developmental biology - study of embryonic and fetal development.
5. Cytology - microscopic study of cells.
6. Histology - microscopic study of tissues.
b. Physiology - science of function; how body parts work and how functioning is regulated.
1. Organ physiology - study of the overall functioning of organs, like
the liver or spleen.
2. Cell Physiology - study of the functioning of the individual cells of an organ or tissue.
3. Comparative physiology - study of the functioning of similar structures
in different organisms.
c. Related allied health fields
1. Microbiology - generally, study of the structure and function of bacteria,
fungi and protists.
2. Biochemistry - the study of biologically interesting molecules like
proteins or nucleic acids.
3. Pathology - the science of disease; what goes wrong with normal cells,
tissues and organs.
B. The World of Science
1. The Scientific Method - using the senses to observe the world, asking questions based on
observations, devising experiments to test educated guesses (hypotheses) to answer
analyzing experimental results (data) to formulate new questions. The method attempts
to avoid bias; to find the truth no matter where it leads.
2. The allied health sciences, especially anatomy and physiology, are based on careful observation of the human
body; not taking someone else's word on how it is constructed and how it works. The
anatomical and physiological principles currently proposed in your textbooks are based
on hundreds of years of observation and experimentation. Such work continues to this
day to expand and refine our knowledge of how our bodies work.
C. Visualization of the Interior of the Human Body without Exploratory Surgery
1. Radiography - examination of the body with x-rays. Images called radiographs are produced.
Typical chest x-rays and mammograms utilize this technique.
a. Examination of the interior of blood vessels is possible with radiography
through the use of
radio-opaque dyes injected into the blood - a technique called angiography.
b. Similarly, examination of the interior of digestive organs is possible
by having the individual
swallow a radio-opaque substance like a barium salt - such a procedure is called a
GI series or barium enema.
2. CT scans - in computerized tomography, thin slices of the body are x-rayed and then stacked together
to construct a three dimensional image of the body clearer than ordinary radiography.
a. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a technique utilizing strong magnetic fields and radio waves to visualize the body's
soft tissues. This technique does not utilize the potentially harmful effects
of ionizing radiation like x-rays.
b. Sonography - this technique utilizes high frequency sound waves to visualize the body's interior.
D. Use of the Medical Dictionary - an indispensable aid to study; as important as textbooks. You will learn in the
section below (E1b - medterms) how biomedical words are constructed. They are not as impossible to figure out as
they first appear.
E. How to learn Anatomy and Physiology
a. Texts and handouts
b. Understanding how biomedical words are constructed: prefix - root - suffix, e.g.,
Spend an hour at the following site and your future study of A&P will be greatly facilitated.
c. Each lesson of this website has a list of the important biomedical words described or explained
that lesson. A review of the meaning of these words comprehensively reviews the lesson.
2. Writing and rewriting: notes based on the text and class notes.
3. Speaking aloud to peers and family with correct pronunciation.
4. Testing each other: recitation with one or several partners.
5. Repetition of reading text and notes.
6. Animations - using visual tools on the Internet.
F. Demonstration of Internet sites using search engines: e.g., for cell structure
and function: http://www.cellsalive.com/. For virtual dissections of rats, pigs, and organs: http://biology.about.com/library/weekly/aa061302a.htm Check out the cow's eye dissection for fun.
Biomedical Terminology: Define the terms. E.g.: anatomy refers to the structure of the body;
Physiology refers to the function of a structure in the body.
Computerized tomography (CT scan)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)