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Integrative Physiology Ch. 1 - Introduction to Physiology

Physiology The study of the normal functioning of a living organism and its component parts, including all its chemical and physical processes. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, popularized the term in the context of medicine
Anatomy Refers to the structure of the living organism, with less focus on the function. Despite this distinction, anatomy vs. physiology cannot be separated.
The Levels of Organization of living organisms Atoms -> Molecules -> Cells -> Tissues -> Organs -> Organ systems -> Organisms -> Populations of one species -> Ecosystems of different species -> Biosphere
Distinguishing feature of the study of physiology It encompasses many levels of organization, from the molecular level all the way to populations of a species
Cell The smallest unit of structure capable of carrying out all life processes
Cells are separated from the external environment via a barrier called the Cell (or plasma) membrane
Tissues Collections of cells that carry out related functions
Organs Structural and functional units formed from tissues
Organ systems Groups of organs with their functions integrated
List the organ systems of the body Circulatory, Digestive, Endocrine, Immune, Integumentary, Musculoskeletal, Nervous, Reproductive, Respiratory, Urinary. 10 in total.
Circulatory system Heart, blood vessels, blood – Transport of materials between all cells of the body
Digestive system Stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas – Conversion of food into particles that can be transported into the body; elimination of some wastes
Endocrine system Thyroid gland, adrenal gland – Coordination of body function through synthesis and release of regulatory molecules
Immune system Thymus, spleen, lymph nodes – Defense against foreign invaders
Integumentary system Skin – Protection from external environment
Musculoskeletal system Skeletal muscles, bones – Support and movement
Nervous system Brain, spinal cord – Coordination of body function through electrical signals and release of regulatory molecules
Reproductive system Ovaries and uterus, testes – Perpetuation of the species
Respiratory system Lungs, airways – Exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the internal and external environments
Urinary system Kidneys, bladder – Maintenance of water and solutes in the internal environment; waste removal
Four systems that exchange materials between internal and external environments: 1) respiratory, 2) digestive, 3) urinary, 4) reproductive
What approach is taken with regard to determining the function of a physiological system? The teleological approach to physiology, which asks the questions “why does the system exist and why does the event happen?”
What approach is taken with regard to determining the process (AKA mechanisms) of a physiological system? The mechanistic approach to physiology which outlines “how” a system works, rather than why.
Adaptive significance Why a certain function helps an animal survive in a particular situation.
Homeostasis An organism’s ability to cope with an environment’s variability by keeping their internal environment relatively stable.
How did organisms ultimately evolve to obtain the ability of homeostasis? Early organisms that lived in tropical seas had internal environments that were almost identical to their surroundings. As they moved into estuaries and land they required mechanisms to maintain internal stability
Extracellular fluid (ECF) The watery internal environment of multicellular animals. It is the body of fluid that surrounds the cells. It serves as the transition between an organism’s external environment and the intracellular fluid inside cells
Intracellular fluid The fluid inside cells
Because extracellular fluid is a buffer zone between the outside world and most cells of the body… …elaborate physiological processes have evolved to keep its composition relatively stable.
List of variables under homeostatic control 1) Environmental factors that affect cells (osmolarity, temperature, and pH); 2) materials for cells needs (nutrients, water, sodium, calcium, other inorganic ions, oxygen, and hormones and other related chemicals)
If the body fails to maintain homeostasis of the variables under homeostatic control… …then normal function is disrupted and a disease state, or pathological condition, may result.
Diseases can be divided into two general groups according to their origin: 1) Those in which the problem arises from internal failure of some normal physiological process (e.g. cancer, autoimmune, etc.), and 2) those that originate from some outside source
Pathophysiology The study of body functions in a disease state
“-ome” and “-omics” suffixes “-ome”: refers to the collection of items that make up a whole (e.g. genome and proteome); “-omics”: refers to the study of that particular “-ome” (e.g. genomics and proteomics).
Four major themes in physiology (1) homeostasis and control systems; (2) biological energy use; (3) structure-function relationships; (4) and communication
Homeostasis and Control systems: Regulated variables Certain key variables, such as blood pressure and blood glucose concentration, that must be held within a certain operating range. These variables are monitored and adjusted by physiological control systems
Physiological control system Has three components: (1) and input signal; (2) a controller, which is programmed to respond to certain input signals; and (3) an output signal. Most control systems are more complex, integrating many functions
Structure-Function relationships Integration of structure and function. Some structural influences on function include: (1) molecular interactions, (2) the division of the body into discrete compartments; (3) mechanical properties of cells/tissues/organs
(1) Molecular interactions The ability of individual molecules to bind to or react with other molecules is essential for biological function, and this ability is intimately related to each molecule’s structure. E.g. enzymes, signal molecules, etc.
(2) Compartmentation of the body and of cells Compartmentation, or the presence of separate compartments, allows a cell/tissue/organ to specialize and isolate functions. E.g. organelles (compartmentalization via membranes)
(3) Mechanical properties of cells/tissues/organs Some of the mechanical properties of cells/tissues that influence function are: compliance (ability to stretch), elastance (ability to return to the unstretched state), strength, flexibility, and fluidity.
Communication: information flow Information flow in the body takes the form of either chemical signals or electrical signals. Information may pass between neighboring cells (local communication) or across the whole body (long-distance communication)
Communication: signal transduction Extracellular signal molecules that cannot enter the cell pass their message across the cell membranes by a process known as signal transduction
Mass flow The movement of substances within and between compartments of the body. E.g. blood, air, gases, nutrients, wasted, etc.
Gradient A driving forces, such as pressure or concentration, by which mass flow can occur
Resistance Mass flow may be opposed by friction or other factors. Thus, in most instances, energy input is required to facilitate mass flow
Integration Physiologists are trained to think about the integration of function across many levels of organization, from molecules to the living body
Emergent properties Properties that cannot be predicted to exist based only on knowledge of the system’s individual components. E.g. consciousness can’t be predicted upon the understanding of a single neuron
Two types of maps used to understand how the different organ systems work together (1) schematic representation of structure or function; and (2) a process map (AKA flow chart)
Translational research AKA “bench to bedside”; translational research applies the insights and results gained from basic biomedical research to treating and preventing human diseases
Evidence-based medicine Examining biomedical literature for evidence from tests and trials that will help guide their clinical decision making
_____ are the key elements of scientific inquiry Observation and experimentation
Scientific inquiry An investigator observes an event and, using prior knowledge, generates a hypothesis, or logical guess, about how the events take place. The next step is to test the hypothesis by designing and experiment
A common type of biological experiment… …either removes or alters some variable that the investigator thinks is an essential part of an observed phenomenon.
Independent variable The altered variable in an experiment
Dependent variable The variable that depends on the independent variable and changes as a result of tweaking the independent variable
Control A control group is usually a duplicate of the experimental group in every respect except that the independent variable is not changed from its initial value
Data Information about the effect that the independent variable has on the dependent variable
Replication The step of an experiment where an experiment is repeated to make sure that the results obtained were not an unusual, one-time event.
Model When the data support a hypothesis in multiple experiments, the hypothesis may become a working model.
Scientific theory Models with substantial evidence supporting them may be known as a scientific theory
There may be many reasons it is difficult to carry out physiological experiments in humans, including Variability, psychological factors, and ethical considerations
Variability Due to the wide range of values that are measured in humans in the context of blood pressure, etc. and investigator has to include a large number of similar subjects to acquire averages
Crossover study One way to reduce variability; each individual acts both as experimental subject and as control. Thus each individual’s response to the treatment can be compared with his or her own control value
Placebo effect If you give someone treatment and tell them what the effect will be, even if the treatment is invalid, the effect may still occur because the patient is convinced of it
Nocebo effect If you tell someone about the adverse effects a drug may have, there’s a higher likelihood they’ll experience those effects, even if the treatment is an inert substance
How to control for the placebo and nocebo effects? With a blind study
Blind study A study in which the subjects do not know whether they are receiving the treatment or the placebo
Problems with blind studies Problems can still arise if the researchers assessing the subjects know which type of treatment each subject is receiving. Thus, a double-blind study may be required
Double-blind study A third party, not involved in the experiment, is the only one who knows which group is receiving the experimental treatment and which group is receiving the control treatment
Double-blind crossover study A double-blind study in which the control group in the first half of the experiment becomes the experimental group in the second half, and vice versa. This is the most sophisticated approach to minimize psychological effects
Ethical concerns Studies may be halted if there is excessive harm done, or if the treatment is working so well the control group should be immediately treated with it
Longitudinal studies Designed to be carried out for a long period of time.
Prospective study Follows a group over time that differs in certain factors to determine how those factors affect them. Many longitudinal studies are prospective studies
Cross-sectional studies Surveys a population for the prevalence of a disease or condition
Retrospective studies Match groups of people who all have a particular disease to a similar but healthy control group to see whether development of the disease can be associated with a particular variable
Meta-analysis of data Combines all the data from a group of similar studies and uses sophisticated statistical techniques to extract significant trends or findings from the combined data
Journals Scientific periodicals
Peer-reviewed The research has gone through a screening process where the article is screened by an anonymous panel of two or three scientists whose credentials qualify them to judge the quality of the work
Review articles A synopsis of recent research on a particular topic. When researching a new topic it’s a good idea to check review articles first because they’ll have the most recent information in summary form
How to cite a paper Author(s). Article title. Journal Name volume(issue): inclusive pages, year of publication.
Paper citation example Echevarria M and Ilundain AA. Aquaporins. J Physiol Biochem 54(2): 107 118, 1998.
Word for word quotes from other scientific papers are rarely used, most often paraphrasing is used. How to cite in the body of the paper? Example: Some rare forms of epilepsy are known to be caused by mutations in ion channels (Mulley et al., 2003).
When to use et al. When a paper has three or more authors. Et al. is Latin for “and others”.
Two ways to determine how a molecule or a gene works in an organism 1) Knock out/lose the function of the gene in question. This is called a “loss-of-function” experiment. E.g. knock out the estrogen gene 2) Gain-of-function experiment: e.g. what will estrogen do in a male mouse?
Most powerful type of study A study containing both loss-of-function and gain-of-function experiments
Disease is always a result of… …loss of homeostasis
Analogy of the circulatory system A closed system like a hose capped on both ends
What changes in an experiment? Variable
Independent vs. dependent variable Independent variable: the variable that you change (e.g. hours studied); dependent: the variable that changes as a result of the change of the independent variable, (e.g. the exam scores).
The ____ is plotted as a function of ____ Dependent variable; the independent variable
Most important question regarding an experiment Is the experiment valid?
Validity depends on The way data were acquired, the numbers of data points acquired, and what the data points calculate out to be statistically
Experiments can be invalid if… Data was recorded recklessly/erroneously, data was recorded unethically, etc.
Created by: Intellex_



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