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The Joy of Anatomy

By Sowmiya T | Tuesday, October 18, 2022

The Joy of Anatomy

Scrolling down the Experimental page on Schoolhouse will show you many Biology lessons, including tutoring sessions and preparation sessions for Science Olympiads. Recently, Sadhana, a tutor here at Schoolhouse, started a Future Medical Professions club on the platform! We cannot deny the importance of learning about the biological sciences. They are integral to our education and help us broaden our personal knowledge. As part of my series, The Future of Medicine, this article will focus on anatomy, a branch of biology that is closely linked to medicine.

What is Anatomy?

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, anatomy is “a field in the biological sciences concerned with the identification and description of the body structures of living things.” In other words, it is an academic discipline that allows us to learn about body parts.

It is important to differentiate between anatomy and physiology, considering these concepts are closely related. Anatomy refers to the internal and external structures of the body and their physical relationships, whereas physiology refers to the study of the functions of those structures (Blanchard et. al, 2005).

While this article focuses on human anatomy, there are other types of anatomy such as:

• Zootomy - the anatomy of animals

• Embryology - the science of the development of an embryo from the fertilization of the ovum to the fetal stage (LibreTexts Definition)

Why is Human Anatomy so Important?

Human anatomy serves a variety of purposes in the medical field and beyond, some of which include:

• basic training for those interested in surgery

• motivation to learn more about our bodies

• evidence of our evolution through hundreds of thousands of years

• guidelines to design biomedical products and services

What are the Branches of Human Anatomy?

Human anatomy has two main sub-divisions:

• Gross anatomy (study of structures that are visible to the naked eye)

• Microscopic anatomy (study of organs, tissues and cells invisible to the naked eye)

Many anatomical structures can fall under both categories! Because the human body is so complex, its composition is often studied at different levels.

Anatomy of the Respiratory System

We are often reminded of our heart and lungs when we think about inhaling and exhaling. However, there are many other organs and other anatomical parts involved.

Some of these components are visible to us without any equipment, for example, the nose.

Within the visible nose is the nasal conchae, which are thin, scroll-shaped bony elements forming the upper chambers of the nasal cavities (Britannica, n.d.)

Physiology comes into play when you analyze the function of the anatomical structure:

The epiglottis, for instance, prevents edible substances from entering your windpipe by acting as a lid (Mayoclinic, n.d.).

Here are some other respiratory components that are interesting to learn about:

  • Trachea - informally known as the windpipe, it is the airway that leads from the larynx (voice box) to the bronchi (large airways that lead to the lungs) (National Cancer Institute, n.d.)
  • Diaphragm - thin skeletal muscle that sits at the base of the chest and separates the abdomen from the chest; it contracts and flattens when you inhale (Healthline, n.d.)
  • Alveoli - tiny air sacs that function as basic respiratory units; it is a hollow cup-shaped cavity in the lung parenchyma, where gas exchange takes place (Physiopedia, n.d.)
  • Lungs - a pair of spongy, air-filled organs located on either side of the chest (thorax) (WebMD, n.d.)
  • Bronchi - two large tubes that carry air from your windpipe to your lungs (Cleveland Clinic, n.d.)
  • Frontal paranasal sinus - a hollow space in the bones around the nose on the frontal bone over the eye sockets (National Cancer Institute, n.d.)

Anatomy of the Nervous System

Most of these anatomical structures are not visible to the naked eye. They involve an intricate system of neural connections that require specific microscopes to be detected and observed. Here are some of the structures in this system:

  • Brain - the mass of nerve tissue in the anterior (frontal) end of an organism (Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d.)
  • Spinal cord - long, tube-like band of tissue that connects your brain to your lower back (National Cancer Institute, n.d.)
  • Cerebellum - the part of the brain at the back of the skull (Oxford Languages, n.d.)
  • Femoral nerve - a nerve that runs through the upper thigh, inner leg, and the muscles that extend the knee (Wikipedia, n.d.)
  • Tibial nerve - a nerve that runs down the back of your leg and into your foot (Cleveland Clinic, n.d.)

To learn even more about anatomy or other biological sciences, join the Experimental Biology or AP Biology sessions at Schoolhouse sessions! If you want to test your mastery, you can now get Schoolhouse certifications in Biology! I’ll see you when the next article on Psychology in Medicine drops!

Thank you Sharon V for editing this article!

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