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Anatomy is an Important Foundation
Anatomy is and was the starting point of scientific investigation of the human body. Without an understanding of structure we cannot fully understand function, for it is the structure and interrelation of body parts that permits their function. In order to study anatomy, it is important to understand the different medical/scientific terms that are used to indicate location, relationship, components, numbers and so on. Key terms are listed in the following tables, some will be familiar, but should be reviewed along with new terms, to ensure you are able to fully understand this course.
Parts of The Body
Each body region has a specific function and houses specific structures, be that tissues, organs or glands, that enable the performance of the functions or are the reason for the functions.
The head contains the brain and pituitary gland which are protected by the skull. It also contains specific organs for all of the five senses, the nose, eyes, mouth and ears as well as skin, which are protected by facial structures, including the facial bones. The initial parts of the digestive system are also located in the head; the salivary glands, the oral cavity and the teeth. The orifices required for respiration as well as immune glands such as the tonsils are all located in the head.
The torso contains the majority of the vital organs (the exception being the brain, which is located in the head). It is divided into cavities housing sets of organs and also contains the major blood vessels, all protected by bones such as the ribs and verterbrae or muscle tissues.
The limbs attach to the torso and extend from it. They contain no vital organs but do contain some large blood vessels (brachial and femoral arteries).
These are organs which are partially redundant, you can survive if they are partially non-functional, or if one of the pair is not working. Kidneys and lungs are critical organs.
These are organs that improve function, health and quality of life, but are not essential to life. The spleen, eyes, ovaries are all accessory organs.
Looking Inside the Body
Medical imaging is particularly useful for studying the anatomy and in some cases physiology of deep structures and organs. It provides a non-invasive, generally safe option to often very invasive surgical investigations. There are a variety of imaging techniques currently in use today.
The first imaging technique used in medicine. This involves the exposure of the body to electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic radiation is produced by the movement of electrons in atoms. Some movements release energy in the form of photons which can then be absorbed by other atoms. The soft tissues of the body are made up primarily of small atoms, like hydrogen (1 electron), carbon (6 electrons) and oxygen (8 electrons) and do not absorb photons well. The hard tissues, such as bone are made of larger atoms, like calcium (20 electrons) which aborb photons much more readily. This is how the x-ray distinguishes bones from surrounding soft-tissues and why bones appear on the x-ray while areas of soft tissue do not.
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