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5 properties of life



describes structures of body;
composition (what they're made of), location, associated structures

gross anatomy

examines large structures;
aka macroscopic anatomy

surface anatomy

exterior anatomical features

regional anatomy

study of body areas

systemic anatomy

study of organs working together

microscopic anatomy

study of cells and molecules


study of cells and their structures


study of tissues and their structures


study of function

levels of organization

chemical → ceullular → tissue → organ → organ system → organism

11 organ systems

integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, pulmonary (respiratory), digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems


basic unit of life


group of similar cells performing a similar function


groups of different tissues working together to perform a specific function

organ system

groups of organs working together to perform a specific function

integumentary system

Skin, hair, and nails; covers and protects the body and maintains body temperature

skeletal system

provide protection and support;
bones & cartilage

muscular system

moves and heats body;
muscles & tendons

nervous system

provides speedy communcation signaling within body, sensation (sensory info.), interpretation (consciousness), memory, and movement commands;
brain & spinal cord comprise the Central Nervous System (CNS);
nerves and receptors comprise the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)

endocrine system

secretes hormones that help control body activities such as growth and reproduction


long-lasting and widespreading chemical signals in blood;
eg, thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary glands

lymphatic system

defends the body from pathogens;
eg thymus, spleen, lymph nodes


disease-causing agent (eg, cancer cell, bacteria, virus, fungus, insects, venom)

respiratory system

gas exchange and air movement;
eg, lungs, bronchi, trachea

digestive system

ingests (take in), digests (break down), absorbs (nutrients through cells into blood), excretes waste out of body;
eg, esophagus, stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas

urinary system

filters blood and excretes wastes in urine;
eg, kidneys, ureters, bladder, urethra

reproductive system

produces offspring and sex hormones & sexual characteristics;
eg, ovaries, uterus, vagina, testes, prostate gland


maintenance of equilibrium within a normal range;
"same state";
usually through a negative-feedback mechanism

negative-feedback mechanism

process by which an effector negates/counteracts a stimulus;
returns body to "normal range" (eg body temp);
includes receptor, control center, and effector


neural detector for a given stimulus (eg, light, pressure, damage)

control center

neuron(s) that process signal and sends instructions to effector;
found in brain or spinal cord


tissue that causes an effect
(eg, muscle that contracts to remove hand from stove

positive-feedback mechanism

response of effector increases change of the stimulus—speeds up processes;
no "normal range" of stimulus;
eg, labor contractions and blood clotting

abdominopelvic quadrants

RUQ - contains the liver and gall bladder;
RLQ - contains the appendix;
LUQ - contains the stomach, spleen;
LLQ - contains the descending colon, rectum

9 abdominopelvic regions

R. hypochondriac — Epigastric — L. hypochondriac;
R. lumbar — Umbilical — L. lumbar;
R. inguinal — Hypogastric — L. inguinal

anatomical position

body standing erect, facing forward, with upper limbs at sides and palms forward; always imagine patient in this position for correct directional term use






towards the front; aka ventral


towards the front; aka anterior


towards the back; aka dorsal


towards the back; aka posterior


closer to attachment point on the trunk of body


further from attachment point on the trunk of body


away from midline


toward midline


away from center


imaginary cut that divides the body through the center


any slice parallel to a plane

transverse plane

plane through body at the navel; cuts the body into upper and lower parts; aka horizontal plane

horizontal plane

plane through body at the navel; cuts the body into upper and lower parts; aka transverse plane

frontal plane

vertical plane through body longitudinally from head to toe; cuts body into front and back parts; aka coronal plane

coronal plane

vertical plane through body longitudinally from head to toe; cuts body into front and back parts; aka frontal plane

midsagittal plane

vertical plane through midline of body from head to pelvic floor; cuts body into equal left and right parts


space within body containing internal organs

dorsal cavity

1 of 2 major body cavities; contains cranial cavity (brain) and spinal cavity (spinal cord)

ventral cavity

1 of 2 major body cavities; contains thoracic and abdominopelvic cavities

thoracic cavity

superior portion of ventral cavity superior to diaphragm; contains pleural cavities, pericardial cavity, and mediastinum

pleural cavities

cavities within thoracic cavity containing lungs

pericardial cavity

cavity within thoracic cavity contains heart

abdominopelvic cavity

inferior portion cavity below diaphragm; contains the abdominal cavity and the pelvic

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