Study of Human Physiology
The term "anatomy" is commonly taken to refer to human anatomy. However, substantially the same structures and tissues are found throughout the rest of the animal kingdom and the term also includes the anatomy of other animals. The term zootomy is also sometimes used to specifically refer to non-human animals. The structure and tissues of plants are of a dissimilar nature and they are studied in plant anatomy.
Humans have the overall body plan of a mammal. Humans have a head, neck, trunk (which includes the thorax and abdomen), two arms and hands, and two legs and feet. Generally, students of certain biological sciences, paramedics, prosthetists and orthotists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, podiatrists, and medical students learn gross anatomy and microscopic anatomy from anatomical models, skeletons, textbooks, diagrams, photographs, lectures and tutorials and in addition, medical students generally also learn gross anatomy through practical experience of dissection and inspection of cadavers.
The study of microscopic anatomy (or histology) can be aided by practical experience examining histological preparations (or slides) under a microscope. Human anatomy, physiology and biochemistry are complementary basic medical sciences, which are generally taught to medical students in their first year at medical school. Human anatomy can be taught regionally or systemically; that is, respectively, studying anatomy by bodily regions such as the head and chest, or studying by specific systems, such as the nervous or respiratory systems.
The major anatomy textbook, Gray's Anatomy, has been reorganized from a systems format to a regional format, in line with modern teaching methods. A thorough working knowledge of anatomy is required by physicians, especially surgeons and doctors working in some diagnostic specialties, such as histopathology and radiology. Academic anatomists are usually employed by universities, medical schools or teaching hospitals.
They are often involved in teaching anatomy, and research into certain systems, organs, tissues or cells. Before the modern medical era, the main means for studying the internal structures of the body were dissection of the dead and inspection, palpation and auscultation of the living. It was the advent of microscopy that opened up an understanding of the building blocks that constituted living tissues. T
echnical advances in the development of achromatic lenses increased the resolving power of the microscope and around 1839, Matthias Jakob Schleiden and Theodor Schwann identified that cells were the fundamental unit of organization of all living things. Study of small structures involved passing light through them and the microtome was invented to provide sufficiently thin slices of tissue to examine. Staining techniques using artificial dyes were established to help distinguish between different types of tissue. Advances in the fields of histology and cytology began in the late 19th century along with advances in surgical techniques allowing for the painless and safe removal of biopsy specimens.
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