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Humanities Libertexts

Key Terms

  • Page ID
    19140
  • abdominopelvic cavity
    division of the anterior (ventral) cavity that houses the abdominal and pelvic viscera
    anabolism
    assembly of more complex molecules from simpler molecules
    anatomical position
    standard reference position used for describing locations and directions on the human body
    anatomy
    science that studies the form and composition of the body’s structures
    anterior
    describes the front or direction toward the front of the body; also referred to as ventral
    anterior cavity
    larger body cavity located anterior to the posterior (dorsal) body cavity; includes the serous membrane-lined pleural cavities for the lungs, pericardial cavity for the heart, and peritoneal cavity for the abdominal and pelvic organs; also referred to as ventral cavity
    catabolism
    breaking down of more complex molecules into simpler molecules
    caudal
    describes a position below or lower than another part of the body proper; near or toward the tail (in humans, the coccyx, or lowest part of the spinal column); also referred to as inferior
    cell
    smallest independently functioning unit of all organisms; in animals, a cell contains cytoplasm, composed of fluid and organelles
    computed tomography (CT)
    medical imaging technique in which a computer-enhanced cross-sectional X-ray image is obtained
    control center
    compares values to their normal range; deviations cause the activation of an effector
    cranial
    describes a position above or higher than another part of the body proper; also referred to as superior
    cranial cavity
    division of the posterior (dorsal) cavity that houses the brain
    deep
    describes a position farther from the surface of the body
    development
    changes an organism goes through during its life
    differentiation
    process by which unspecialized cells become specialized in structure and function
    distal
    describes a position farther from the point of attachment or the trunk of the body
    dorsal
    describes the back or direction toward the back of the body; also referred to as posterior
    dorsal cavity
    posterior body cavity that houses the brain and spinal cord; also referred to the posterior body cavity
    effector
    organ that can cause a change in a value
    frontal plane
    two-dimensional, vertical plane that divides the body or organ into anterior and posterior portions
    gross anatomy
    study of the larger structures of the body, typically with the unaided eye; also referred to macroscopic anatomy
    growth
    process of increasing in size
    homeostasis
    steady state of body systems that living organisms maintain
    inferior
    describes a position below or lower than another part of the body proper; near or toward the tail (in humans, the coccyx, or lowest part of the spinal column); also referred to as caudal
    lateral
    describes the side or direction toward the side of the body
    magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    medical imaging technique in which a device generates a magnetic field to obtain detailed sectional images of the internal structures of the body
    medial
    describes the middle or direction toward the middle of the body
    metabolism
    sum of all of the body’s chemical reactions
    microscopic anatomy
    study of very small structures of the body using magnification
    negative feedback
    homeostatic mechanism that tends to stabilize an upset in the body’s physiological condition by preventing an excessive response to a stimulus, typically as the stimulus is removed
    normal range
    range of values around the set point that do not cause a reaction by the control center
    nutrient
    chemical obtained from foods and beverages that is critical to human survival
    organ
    functionally distinct structure composed of two or more types of tissues
    organ system
    group of organs that work together to carry out a particular function
    organism
    living being that has a cellular structure and that can independently perform all physiologic functions necessary for life
    pericardium
    sac that encloses the heart
    peritoneum
    serous membrane that lines the abdominopelvic cavity and covers the organs found there
    physiology
    science that studies the chemistry, biochemistry, and physics of the body’s functions
    plane
    imaginary two-dimensional surface that passes through the body
    pleura
    serous membrane that lines the pleural cavity and covers the lungs
    positive feedback
    mechanism that intensifies a change in the body’s physiological condition in response to a stimulus
    positron emission tomography (PET)
    medical imaging technique in which radiopharmaceuticals are traced to reveal metabolic and physiological functions in tissues
    posterior
    describes the back or direction toward the back of the body; also referred to as dorsal
    posterior cavity
    posterior body cavity that houses the brain and spinal cord; also referred to as dorsal cavity
    pressure
    force exerted by a substance in contact with another substance
    prone
    face down
    proximal
    describes a position nearer to the point of attachment or the trunk of the body
    regional anatomy
    study of the structures that contribute to specific body regions
    renewal
    process by which worn-out cells are replaced
    reproduction
    process by which new organisms are generated
    responsiveness
    ability of an organisms or a system to adjust to changes in conditions
    sagittal plane
    two-dimensional, vertical plane that divides the body or organ into right and left sides
    section
    in anatomy, a single flat surface of a three-dimensional structure that has been cut through
    sensor
    (also, receptor) reports a monitored physiological value to the control center
    serosa
    membrane that covers organs and reduces friction; also referred to as serous membrane
    serous membrane
    membrane that covers organs and reduces friction; also referred to as serosa
    set point
    ideal value for a physiological parameter; the level or small range within which a physiological parameter such as blood pressure is stable and optimally healthful, that is, within its parameters of homeostasis
    spinal cavity
    division of the dorsal cavity that houses the spinal cord; also referred to as vertebral cavity
    superficial
    describes a position nearer to the surface of the body
    superior
    describes a position above or higher than another part of the body proper; also referred to as cranial
    supine
    face up
    systemic anatomy
    study of the structures that contribute to specific body systems
    thoracic cavity
    division of the anterior (ventral) cavity that houses the heart, lungs, esophagus, and trachea
    tissue
    group of similar or closely related cells that act together to perform a specific function
    transverse plane
    two-dimensional, horizontal plane that divides the body or organ into superior and inferior portions
    ultrasonography
    application of ultrasonic waves to visualize subcutaneous body structures such as tendons and organs
    ventral
    describes the front or direction toward the front of the body; also referred to as anterior
    ventral cavity
    larger body cavity located anterior to the posterior (dorsal) body cavity; includes the serous membrane-lined pleural cavities for the lungs, pericardial cavity for the heart, and peritoneal cavity for the abdominal and pelvic organs; also referred to as anterior body cavity
    X-ray
    form of high energy electromagnetic radiation with a short wavelength capable of penetrating solids and ionizing gases; used in medicine as a diagnostic aid to visualize body structures such as bones
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