Regarding the term physiology, we can say that it is the study of the activities of living organisms, their cells, tissues and systems or organs.
physiology is often used for body processes as opposed to spirit, soul, spirituality.
It is worth adding that the adjective "physiological" has a broader meaning than the noun it comes from, and applies to all processes that occur in the body under normal conditions. . Its synonyms will therefore be terms such as natural or organic.
What is the goal of physiology?
As one of the branches of biology, physiology aims to understand the laws that govern the functions of life.
From the basic function of the cell at the ionic and molecular level, to the integrated behavior of the whole organism and the influence of the external environment, are objectives of physiology.
Therefore, studying the underlying phenomena is crucial, as well as the biochemical, biophysical, control and intercellular communication mechanisms, which allow determining the physiological and pathological state at the cellular level and, consequently, “of the whole organism”
The knowledge of physiology helps us understand how organisms function in favorable conditions and how to react and adapt to conditions of stress or disease.
Research in this area is facilitated, among other cases, to develop new medications, treatments and guidelines to keep fit.
Basically, depending on the groups of organisms, several main branches of physiology are distinguished, such as: physiology at the cellular level, physiology related to microorganisms and fungi, and the physiology of plants and animals (including humans).
History of research in physiology
The history of physiology begins in ancient times, when the first forms of human physiology developed at about the same time in different places, mainly in Greece and China.
The oldest surviving records include the writings of Aristotle: these early notes documented the functions of the organs.
For a long time, only hypotheses worked in physiology, and many of them were experimentally refuted by Galen in the Middle Ages. This character created the bases for the physiology of that time.
Furthermore, William arvey's experiments made significant progress in this science in the 17th and 18th centuries, leading to the description of blood circulation in the body.
At that time, some of the first books on human physiology were published. Additionally, in the following century, foundations for the theory of sight and hearing appeared. Also, the synapse concept was introduced for the first time.
Furthermore, during this time, both synaptic function and spinal cord function were intensively studied.
In the 19th century, Pavlov conducted research in the field of digestive physiology and physiology of higher nervous functions. This Russian researcher discovered, for example, the classical conditional movement.
And, one of the greatest discoveries in physiology today, is the blurring of long-established gaps between the life processes of animals and humans, by demonstrating shared feelings of anxiety, pain and suffering.
New physiology disciplines and departments
The 20th century was a significant step in the sciences of physiology, leading to the development of a number of new disciplines and branches:
Pathophysiology: a department dealing with the study of disorders and changes in the work of individual cells and organs of the body, as a result of disease
Endocrinology: A department dealing with the study of the endocrine glands, hormones, and their function.
Electrophysiology: A department concerned with the study of the bioelectrical activity of cells and their assemblies in the body.
Also, ecophysiology, evolutionary, comparative, speech, developmental and nutritional physiology is included.