For example, a systemic anatomical study of the muscular system would consider all of the skeletal muscles of the body.
Whereas anatomy is about structure, physiology is about function.
Human physiology is the scientific study of the chemistry and physics of the structures of the body and the ways in which they work together to support the functions of life.
Much of the study of physiology centers on the body’s tendency toward homeostasis.
Some of these structures are very small and can only be observed and analyzed with the assistance of a microscope.
Other larger structures can readily be seen, manipulated, measured, and weighed.
This is a micrograph of nerve cells from the brain. (credit a: “Writer Hound”/Wikimedia Commons; credit b: Micrograph provided by the Regents of University of Michigan Medical School © 2012) Anatomists take two general approaches to the study of the body’s structures: regional and systemic.
Regional anatomy is the study of the interrelationships of all of the structures in a specific body region, such as the abdomen.
When a body is dissected, its structures are cut apart in order to observe their physical attributes and their relationships to one another.
Dissection is still used in medical schools, anatomy courses, and in pathology labs.