PHYSIOLOGY (/ˌfɪziˈɒlədʒi/ ; from Ancient Greek φύσις
(physis), meaning 'nature, origin', and -λογία (-logia), meaning
'study of' ) is the scientific study of normal mechanisms , and their
interactions, which works within a living system . A sub-discipline
of biology , its focus is in how organisms, organ systems, organs ,
cells , and biomolecules carry out the chemical or physical functions
that exist in a living system. Given the size of the field, it is
divided into, among others, animal physiology (including that of
humans ), plant physiology , cellular physiology , microbial
physiology (microbial metabolism ), bacterial physiology, and viral
Central to an understanding of physiological functioning is its
integrated nature with other disciplines such as chemistry and
physics, coordinated homeostatic control mechanisms, and continuous
communication between cells.
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded to those who
make significant achievements in this discipline by the Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences . In medicine, a PHYSIOLOGIC state is one
occurring from normal body function, rather than pathologically ,
which is centered on the abnormalities that occur in animal diseases,
* 1 History
* 1.1 Women in physiology
* 2 Subdisciplines
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 6 External links
* 7 Bibliography
Physiological studies date back to the ancient civilizations of India
and Egypt alongside anatomical studies, but did not utilize
dissection or vivisection.
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
Hippocrates incorporated his belief system called the
theory of humours, which consisted of four basic substance: earth,
water, air and fire. Each substance is known for having a
corresponding humour: black bile, phlegm, blood and yellow bile,
Hippocrates also noted some emotional connections to the
four humours, which Claudis Galenus would later expand on. The
critical thinking of
Aristotle and his emphasis on the relationship
between structure and function marked the beginning of physiology in
Ancient Greece . Like Hippocrates,
Aristotle took to the humoral
theory of disease, which also consisted of four primary qualities in
life: hot, cold, wet and dry. Claudius Galenus (c. ~130–200 AD),
Galen of Pergamum, was the first to use experiments to probe
the functions of the body. Unlike
that humoral imbalances can be located in specific organs, including
the entire body. His modification of this theory better equipped
doctors to make more precise diagnoses.
Galen also played off of
Hippocrates idea that emotions were also tied to the humours, and
added the notion of temperaments: sanguine corresponds with blood;
phlegmatic is tied to phlegm; yellow bile is connected to choleric;
and black bile corresponds with melancholy.
Galen also saw the human
body consisting of three connected systems: the brain and nerves,
which are responsible for thoughts and sensations; the heart and
arteries, which give life; and the liver and veins, which can be
attributed to nutrition and growth.
Galen was also the founder of
experimental physiology. And for the next 1,400 years, Galenic
physiology was a powerful and influential tool in medicine.
Jean Fernel (1497–1558), a French physician, introduced the term
In the 1820s, the French physiologist
Henri Milne-Edwards introduced
the notion of physiological division of labor, which allowed to
"compare and study living things as if they were machines created by
the industry of man." Inspired in the work of
Adam Smith ,
Milne-Edwards wrote that the "body of all living beings, whether
animal or plant, resembles a factory ... where the organs, comparable
to workers, work incessantly to produce the phenomena that constitute
the life of the individual." In more differentiated organisms, the
functional labor could be apportioned between different instruments or
systems (called by him as appareils).
In 1858, Joseph Lister studied the cause of blood coagulation and
inflammation that resulted after previous injuries and surgical
wounds. He later discovered and implemented antiseptics in the
operating room, and as a result decreases death rate from surgery by a
The Physiological Society was founded in London in 1876 as a dining
The American Physiological Society (APS) is a nonprofit
organization that was founded in 1887. The Society is, "devoted to
fostering education, scientific research, and dissemination of
information in the physiological sciences."
Ivan Pavlov performed research on "conditional reflexes"
that involved dogs' saliva production in response to a plethora of
sounds and visual stimuli.
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 B.
Cannon in 1929. By homeostasis, Cannon meant "the maintenance of
steady states in the body and the physiological processes through
which they are regulated." In other words, the body's ability to
regulate its internal environment. It should be noted that, William
Beaumont was the first American to utilize the practical application
Nineteenth century physiologists such as Michael Foster , Max Verworn
Alfred Binet , based on
Haeckel 's ideas, elaborated what came
to be called "general physiology", a unified science of life based on
the cell actions, later renamed in the twentieth century as cell
In the 20th century, biologists became interested in how organisms
other than human beings function, eventually spawning the fields of
comparative physiology and ecophysiology . Major figures in these
Knut Schmidt-Nielsen and George Bartholomew . Most
recently, evolutionary physiology has become a distinct subdiscipline.
August Krogh won the Nobel Prize for discovering how, in
capillaries, blood flow is regulated.
Andrew Huxley and Hugh Huxley, alongside their research
team, discovered the sliding filaments in skeletal muscle , known
today as the sliding filament theory.
WOMEN IN PHYSIOLOGY
Initially, women were largely excluded from official involvement in
any physiological society.
The American Physiological Society , for
example, was founded in 1887 and included only men in its ranks. In
American Physiological Society elected
Ida Hyde as the first
female member of the society. Hyde, a representative of the American
Association of University Women and a global advocate for gender
equality in education, attempted to promote gender equality in every
aspect of science and medicine.
Soon thereafter, in 1913,
J.S. Haldane proposed that women be allowed
to formally join
The Physiological Society , which had been founded in
1876. On 3 July 1915, six women were officially admitted: Florence
Winifred Cullis , Ruth C. Skelton , Sarah C. M. Sowton ,
Constance Leetham Terry , and Enid M. Tribe . The centenary of the
election of women was celebrated in 2015 with the publication of a
book "Women physiologists: centenary celebrations and beyond for The
Physiological Society ISBN 978-0-9933410-0-7 .
Prominent women physiologists include:
Gerty Cori , along with husband
Carl Cori , received the Nobel
Physiology or Medicine in 1947 for their discovery of the
phosphate -containing form of glucose known as glycogen , as well as
its function within eukaryotic metabolic mechanisms for energy
production. Moreover, they discovered the
Cori cycle , also known as
the Lactic acid cycle, which describes how muscle tissue converts
glycogen into lactic acid via lactic acid fermentation .
Barbara McClintock was rewarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology
or Medicine for the discovery of genetic transposition McClintock is
the only female recipient who has won an unshared Nobel Prize.
Gertrude Elion , along with
George Hitchings and Sir James Black
, received the Nobel Prize for
Physiology or Medicine in 1988 for
their development of drugs employed in the treatment of several major
diseases, such as leukemia , some autoimmune disorders , gout ,
malaria , and viral herpes .
Linda B. Buck , along with
Richard Axel , received the Nobel
Physiology or Medicine in 2004 for their discovery of odorant
receptors and the complex organization of the olfactory system .
Françoise Barré-Sinoussi , along with
Luc Montagnier , received
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2008 for their work on
the identification of the Human Immunodeficiency
Virus (HIV), the
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Elizabeth Blackburn , along with
Carol W. Greider and Jack W.
Szostak , was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for
Physiology or Medicine
for the discovery of the genetic composition and function of telomeres
and the enzyme called telomerase .
PART OF A SERIES ON
Bloodstain pattern analysis
* Social work
* Facial reconstruction
* Firearm examination
* Footwear evidence
* Gloveprint analysis
* Palmprint analysis
Questioned document examination
* Computer exams
* Data analysis
* Database study
* Mobile devices
* Network analysis
* Video analysis
* Audio analysis
* Electrical engineering
* Fire accelerant detection
* Materials engineering
* Polymer engineering
Traffic collision reconstruction
Perry Mason syndrome
* Use of DNA in
There are many ways to categorize the subdiscplines of physiology:
* based on the taxa studied: human physiology , animal physiology ,
plant physiology , microbial physiology, viral physiology
* based on the level of organization : cell physiology , molecular
physiology , systems physiology, organismal physiology, ecological
physiology , integrative physiology
* based on the process that causes physiological variation:
developmental physiology, environmental physiology , evolutionary
* based on the ultimate goals of the research: applied physiology
(e.g., medical physiology), non-applied (e.g., comparative physiology
Human body §
Human physiology seeks to understand the mechanisms that work to keep
the human body alive and functioning, 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.
Changes in physiology can impact the mental functions of individuals.
Examples of this would be the effects of certain medications or toxic
levels of substances. Change in behavior as a result of these
substances is often used to assess the health of individuals.
Much of the foundation of knowledge in human physiology was provided
by animal experimentation. 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.
Outline of physiology
List of physiologists
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Together with physiology and biochemistry, anatomy is one of the basic
sciences that are to be taught in the medical curriculum.
Look up PHYSIOLOGY in Wiktionary,