Physiology (/ˌfɪziˈɒləi/; from Ancient Greek φύσις (physis), meaning 'nature, origin', and -λογία (-logia), meaning 'study of') is the scientific study of normal mechanisms, and their interactions, which work within a living system. A sub-discipline of biology, its focus is in how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and biomolecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. Given the size of the field, it is divided into, among others, animal physiology (including that of humans), plant physiology, cellular physiology, microbial physiology (microbial metabolism), bacterial physiology, and viral physiology.

Central to an understanding of physiological functioning is its integrated nature with other disciplines such as chemistry and physics, coordinated homeostatic control mechanisms, and continuous communication between cells.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded to those who make significant achievements in this discipline by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In medicine, a physiologic state is one occurring from normal body function, rather than pathologically, which is centered on the abnormalities that occur in animal diseases, including humans.

Human physiology seeks to understand the mechanisms that work to keep the human body alive and functioning, through scientific enquiry into the nature of mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of humans, their organs, and the cells of which they are composed. The principal level of focus of physiology is at the level of organs and systems within systems. The endocrine and nervous systems play major roles in the reception and transmission of signals. that integrate function in animals. Homeostasis is a major aspect with regard to such interactions within plants as well as animals. The biological basis of the study of physiology, integration refers to the overlap of many functions of the systems of the human body, as well as its accompanied form. It is achieved through communication that occurs in a variety of ways, both electrical and chemical.

Changes in physiology can impact the mental functions of individuals. Examples of this would be the effects of certain medications or toxic levels of substances. Change in behavior as a result of these substances is often used to assess the health of individuals.

Much of the foundation of knowledge in human physiology was provided by animal experimentation. Due to the frequent connection between form and function, physiology and anatomy are intrinsically linked and are studied in tandem as part of a medical curriculum.

Plant physiology is a subdiscipline of botany concerned with the functioning of plants. Closely related fields include plant morphology, plant ecology, phytochemistry, cell biology, genetics, biophysics, and molecular biology. Fundamental processes of plant physiology include photosynthesis, respiration, plant nutrition, tropisms, nastic movements, photoperiodism, photomorphogenesis, circadian rhythms, seed germination, dormancy, and stomata function and transpiration. Absorption of water by roots, production of food in the leaves, and growth of shoots towards light are examples of plant physiology.

Although there are differences between animal, plant, and microbial cells, the basic physiological functions of cells can be divided into the processes of cell division, cell signaling, cell growth, and cell metabolism.

This page was last edited on 18 May 2018, at 15:38.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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