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1 Introduction to Physiology.docx

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Western University
Physiology 2130
Anita Woods

Introduction to Physiology What is Physiology?  Physiology is the study of functions in living organisms  Explores the mechanisms by which the organisms control their INTERNAL environments regardless of what happens outside in the EXTERNAL environment  Explains physical and chemical factors responsible for both normal function and disease (pathology) Homeostasis  Maintenance of relatively stable conditions within the internal environment regardless of what is happening in the external environment. o Our body is capable of maintaining internal environment so that our cells can function regardless of external conditions o Body maintains homeostasis using negative and positive feedback mechanisms  INTERNAL environment: is the fluid in which the cells of the both are bathed. Ex: interstitial fluid and blood plasma  EXTERNAL environment: region outside the body. Ex: space and contents of the digestive, respiratory, urogenital tracts, lungs. Negative feedback control systems  Contains: o Set point o Control centre (integrator) o Effector o Controlled variable o Sensor (receptor)  Found throughout the body and perform different functions such as maintaining body temperature and maintain body fluids  The CONTROLLED VARIABLE eventually shuts off its own production  Example: Body temperature dropping from set point (cold) o Set point for body temperature is 37 degree Celsius (body wants to maintain) o If body temperature drops to 35 degrees it is detected by the sensors in the nervous system o The sensors signal the control centre which is in a specific region of the brain called the hypothalamus o This control centre notices a difference between the values (actual vs. set point) and activates the effector(s) like organs and systems to generate heat, our controlled variable o Result: shivering and conserving heat by decreasing blood flow to the skin o Once normal, the control centre would stop the shivering etc. (negative feedback)  Example: Body temperature rises (hot)
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