School in a Book: Anatomy and Medical Science

We love our bodies, don’t we? It’s just so nice to understand what’s going on inside of all of this skin.


The eleven systems of the human body: Skeletal system, respiratory system, muscular system, nervous system, digestive system, reproductive system, circulatory system, endocrine system, lymphatic/immune system, integumentary system, urinary system

Skeletal system: The system of the body that includes the bones and cartilage, that creates a framework for the body and that provides hard surfaces for the muscles to contract on

Bones: The organs that form the structural framework of the body. The four types are flat (such as the ribs), long (such as the femur), irregular (such as the vertebrae), short (such as the phelanges).

Cranium: The skull bones

Mandible: The jawbone

Scapula: The shoulder blade bones

Clavicle: The collar bone

Sternum: The breastbone

Vertebrae: The bones that make up the spine

Pelvis: The set of bones that includes the hip bones, the sacrum and the coccyx

Coccyx: The tailbone

The sacrum: The large, triangular bone located at the base of the spine and between the two hip bones of the pelvis

Humerus: The upper arm bone

Radius: The bone on the thumb side of the lower arm

Ulna: The bone on the pinky side of the lower arm

Femur: The upper leg bone

Tibia: The shin bone on the inside of the lower leg that is larger than the fibula

Fibula: The bone on the outside of the lower leg that is smaller than the fibula

Patella: The kneecap

Metatarsals: The foot bones

Tarsals: The ankle bones

Carpals: The wrist bones

Metacarpals: The bones in the palm of the hand

Phalanges: The finger and toe bones

Joint: The places where bones meet, most of which are movable

Bone marrow: The soft, spongy tissue located in the cavities of many bones that produces blood cells and stores fat

Cartilage: The connective tissue similar to bone that is more flexible than bone but more rigid than muscle. Most baby bones start as cartilage and slowly turn into bone as the baby grows.

Muscular system: The system of the body that includes muscles, tendons and ligaments and enables the body to move

Muscles: Stretchy tissues that connect to bones that contract and relax, allowing for movement and stability. While contracting, muscles become shorter and harder and may bulge.

Voluntary muscles: Muscles that respond to conscious intention (such as the quads)

Involuntary muscles: Muscles that move without conscious intention (such as the heart)

Skeletal muscles: The muscles located on the bones of the skeletal system that can be voluntarily contracted

Cardiac muscles: The heart and related muscles

Visceral muscles: The smooth muscles inside organs (such as the intestines and bladder)

Abdominal muscles: The muscles in the front and sides of the abdominal wall

Biceps: The muscles on the front of the upper arms

Deltoids: The muscles on the top of the shoulders

Gluteus muscles: The buttocks muscles

Hamstrings: The muscles on the back of the thighs

Obliques: The muscles on the sides of the torso

Pectorals: The muscles on the front of the upper chest

Quadriceps: The muscles on the front of the thighs

Triceps: The muscles on the back of the upper arms

Trapezius: The muscles on the upper and mid-back that help with neck stability

Circulatory system: The system of the body that circulates blood via the heart, arteries and veins, delivering oxygen and nutrients to organs and cells and carrying their waste products away. It also regulates body temperature.

The parts of the heart: Four chambers (two atria and two ventricles); valves to keep blood moving the right direction through the heart; and veins and arteries that carry blood to and from the lungs and the rest of the body

Arteries: Thick, muscular blood vessels, most of which move oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to tissues and organs

Veins: Thinner-walled blood vessels, most of which move oxygen-depleted blood from tissues and organs toward the heart. They have valves that keep the blood flowing in the right direction.

Capillaries: The fine branching blood vessels that help move blood around the body

White blood cells: The cells of the immune system that are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders

Red blood cells: The cells that are made in the bone marrow and make up blood, and that contain hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen

Digestive system: The system of the body that includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines and more and that is responsible for the mechanical and chemical processes that provide nutrients and eliminate waste

Esophagus: The tube that connects the mouth to the stomach

Stomach: The sac that stores and breaks down food before it moves to the intestines and other places in the body

Liver: The body’s largest organ by mass, which processes nutrients, removes toxins from the blood and stores food energy in the form of glycogen

Respiratory system: The system of the body that includes the lungs and the passages that lead to them and that allows for the breathing in of oxygen and breathing out of carbon dioxide

Windpipe/trachea: The tube that connects the pharynx and larynx to the lungs, allowing the passage of air

Primary bronchus: The tubes between the trachea and each lung. After passing through the bronchus, air goes into the lungs. Then oxygen goes into secondary and tertiary bronchi, bronchioles, air sacs and capillaries and from there is distributed throughout the body.

Lungs: The pair of spongy, air-filled organs located in the chest that are responsible for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the body and the environment during breathing

Diaphragm: The flat sheet of muscle lying under the lungs that moves up and flattens when a person breathes in and moves down when a person breathes out

Voice box/larynx: The organ in the neck located on the top part of the trachea just below the root of the tongue that contains vocal cords, which vibrate to produce sound when air passes through them during exhalation

Vocal cords: Two bands of muscle in the larynx that can tighten as air passes over them to create a vibration and allow for speaking during breathing. Shorter, faster cords, as those of many females, create higher pitched sounds.

Integumentary system: The system of the body that includes skin, hair, nails, sweat and other exocrine glands that is responsible for organ protection, heat regulation and more

Skin: The soft outer tissue covering that contains the epidermis, the dermis and subcutaneous tissues (fat cells)

Melanin: A natural pigment found in most organisms that protects from UV rays

Pores: Tiny openings on the surface of the skin that allow sweat, oil, and other substances to pass through

Keratin: The tough, protective material that the epidermis, hair and nails are made of

Hair follicles: The structures located at the base of hairs in the skin that produce and grow hair. Their shape determines whether the hair is curly, wavy or straight.

Urinary/renal system: The system of the body that includes the kidneys, the bladder and the tubes connected to them that is responsible for regulating the amount of water and electrolytes in the body, filtering blood and excreting waste materials

Bladder: A muscular, balloon-like sac that holds urine before it is excreted

Urethra: The tube that connects the bladder to the urinary meatus for the removal of urine from the body

Kidneys: The two bean-shaped organs located in the back of the abdomen on either side of the spine that filter blood and produce urine

Lymphatic system/immune system: The system of the body that includes lymphatic vessels, nodes, other organs and lymph and that is responsible for preventing infection, filtering waste products, regulating fluid balance and helping with nutrient absorption

Lymph: The fluid that contains white blood cells, waste products and more that circulates throughout the body through vessels, nodes and organs

Lymph nodes: The small, bean-shaped organs located throughout the body that filter lymph and it passes through them

Endocrine system: The system of the body that includes glands and other organs that produce and secrete hormones into the bloodstream

Endocrine glands: Small organs that make hormones

Hormones: Chemicals that are located throughout the body that act as messengers to regulate a large variety of body functions

Pituitary gland: The pea-sized endocrine gland located at the base of the brain that produces and secretes several important hormones, including prolactin and growth hormone

Adrenal glands: The twin endocrine glands that are located on top of each kidney that produce and secrete adrenaline, cortisol, androgens and more

Thyroid gland: The endocrine gland located in the neck in front of the trachea that makes thyroxine and other hormones that control metabolism

The pancreas: The endocrine gland located in the abdomen behind the stomach that produces and secretes insulin and glucagon, which regulate glucose levels in the body. It also releases digestive enzymes into the small intestine.

Adrenaline: A hormone produced by the adrenal glands that prepares the body for “fight or flight” response to stress or danger

Cortisol: A hormone produced by the adrenal glands that helps to regulate various bodily functions, including metabolism, immune response, and stress response

Oxytocin: A hormone produced by the hypothalamus and released by the pituitary gland that plays a role in social bonding, maternal behavior, and sexual reproduction

Pitocin: A synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin that is sometimes used to induce or augment labor during childbirth

Testosterone: A hormone primarily produced by the testicles that plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues and secondary sexual characteristics, as well as in maintaining bone density and muscle mass

Estrogen: A group of hormones primarily produced by the ovaries that play a key role in the development and regulation of the female reproductive system and secondary sexual characteristics

Progesterone: A hormone primarily produced by the ovaries that plays a key role in regulating the menstrual cycle, preparing the uterus for pregnancy, and maintaining a healthy pregnancy

The nervous system: The system of the body that includes the sensory organs, the brain, the spinal cord and the nerves that is responsible for collecting and processing information from the senses and coordinating body movement

The central nervous system: The brain and spinal cord

Peripheral nervous system: The network of nerves throughout the body that connects the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body

Autonomic nervous system: The part of the nervous system that regulates and controls involuntary bodily functions, including heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, digestion, and glandular secretion. It includes the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

Sympathetic nervous system: The part of the autonomic nervous system that prepares the body for a “fight or flight” response by increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration, while decreasing digestive activity and blood flow to non-essential organs

Parasympathetic nervous system: The part of the autonomic nervous system that promotes “rest and digest” functions by decreasing heart rate and respiration, while increasing digestive activity and blood flow to non-essential organs

Brain: The central organ of the nervous system, which is located under the skull and made up of billions of neurons and supporting cells that communicate through electrical signaling

Brain stem: The part of the brain that connects the brain to the spinal cord and that controls many automatic functions like heartbeat, breathing and blood pressure regulation

Spinal cord: The thick bundle of nerves located inside a tunnel in the backbone that joins the brain to the rest of the body

Neurons: Nerve cells, which include sensory, association and motor nerve cells

Nerves: Cord-like structures that contain nerve fibers and can be sensory, motor or mixed types

Motor nerves: Nerves that carry signals from the brain to the muscles to move

Nerve impulse: A brief electrical signal that moves through and between neurons

Neurotransmitters: Various chemical messengers such as serotonin and epinephrine that are released by neurons and allow them to communicate with each other

Sensory organs: Organs that send nerve impulses to the brain along nerves

Eyes: The seeing organs of the body, which contain a retina, cornea, pupil and optic nerve. Light enters the pupil through the clear cornea and lens. These bend the light rays so they form an upside down image on the retina and back of the eye. Rods and cones convert the image to nerve impulses which move along the optic nerve to the brain. Then the brain interprets the signal and turns the image right side up.

Stereoscopic vision: The perception of depth and three-dimensional structure, which is obtained through visual information from the eyes

Ears: The hearing organs of the body, which contain outer, middle and inner parts. The ear flap funnels and amplifies sound waves to the ear canal, then to the eardrum. The eardrum vibrates. These vibrations pass through bones and holes to the cochlea, then to fluid chambers. Tiny nerve cells in the fluid convert vibrations into nerve impulses, which go along the auditory nerve to the brain. Ears also help keep you balanced through the vestibular system, which senses the movement of fluid in the ducts and sends that information to the brain, which uses it to determine how the body as a whole is moving.

Chemoreceptors: The small organs in the nose and tongue that detect the chemicals responsible for smells and tastes and send this information to the brain

Nasal cavity: The large air-filled space located above and behind the nose that allows for breathing as well as filtering and humidifying incoming air

Cerebrum: The largest part of the brain, located at the front of the skull and divided into the right and left hemispheres, which is responsible for voluntary physical activity, thinking, sensation and emotion. It contains the frontal lobe, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes as well as the cerebral cortex.

Cerebral cortex: The outermost layer of the brain that is divided into four lobes (the occipital, parietal, temporal and frontal lobes) and that is responsible for perception/sensing, thinking, and voluntary muscle coordination

Frontal lobe: The part of the cerebrum that includes the prefrontal cortex and other areas and is responsible for decision making, voluntary physical activity, speech and more

Parietal lobe: The part of the cerebrum that is responsible for processing touch and temperature information, spacial awareness and more

Temporal lobe: The part of the cerebrum that includes the hippocampus and amygdala and other areas and is responsible for memory functions, processing auditory information and more

Occipital lobe: The part of the cerebrum that is responsible for processing visual information and more

Hypothalamus: The small but distinct area of the brain located near the amygdala at the base of the brain that controls body temperature, hunger, and thirst

Amygdala: The area of the brain located near the hippocampus at the base of the brain that is primarily associated with emotional processes, such as fear

Cerebellum: The part of the brain located at the back of the skull that is primarily responsible for muscle movement and balance

Corpus callosum: The large bundle of nerve fibers that connects the two hemispheres of the brain and allows them to integrate cognitive, emotional and bodily functions

The limbic system: The various parts of the brain, including the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus and more, that work together to regulate emotions, stress responses, aggression, social bonding, hunger, sexual desire and other reactions to external stimuli

Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep: Sleep that is characterized by rapid movement of the eyes, deep relaxation, and vivid dreams, which happens as part of each 90- to 120-minute sleep cycle

Reproductive system: The system of the body that includes sex organs and that is responsible for the production of offspring

Vagina: The elastic, muscular canal leading to the uterus in which penetrative sex takes place and out of which a baby exits the mother’s body

Vulva: The external genitals of the female, which include the labia, the clitoris, the vaginal opening and more

Clitoris: The small, highly sensitive organ located underneath the labia of females that swells with blood during sexual arousal and is covered by the clitoral hood

Labia: The two folds of skin that are part of the vulva

Cervix: The lower part of the uterus that contracts and opens during childbirth

Ovaries: The pair of endocrine glands located in the reproductive system of females that produce and release estrogen, progesterone and reproductive eggs (ova)

Fallopian tubes: The tubes leading from the ovaries to the uterus

Uterus: The organ in which the fetus grows and lives; the womb

Placenta: The organ that supplies nutrients, oxygen, hormones and more to the fetus and that also supports gas exchange, waste elimination, immune responses and heat regulation

Umbilical cord: The cord-like structure that connects the fetus to the placenta

Penis: The external male reproductive organ that also contains the urethra

Testes/testicles: The pair of oval-shaped endocrine glands located in the scrotum of males that produce testosterone and sperm cells (spermatozoa), which mix with other fluids during ejaculation to form semen

Prostate gland: A small gland located between the bladder and the penis in males that produces some of the fluid that makes up semen

Scrotum: The suspended dual-chambered sack of skin and smooth muscle that holds the two testicles


Infection: The invasion of an organism’s body tissues by disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host tissues to the infectious agents and the toxins they produce

Immunity: The balanced state that occurs when an organism is able to both resist infection and disease while not overresponding to infectious agents so that autoimmune problems don’t develop

Etiology: The cause or origin of a disorder or disease

Virus: A small pathogen that replicates only inside the living cells of other organisms and can cause illness

Pathogen: A germ, usually a microorganism like a bacteria or virus, that can cause illness

Drug: A natural or synthetic chemical substance other than food and water that, when introduced to the body, causes a temporary physiological change

Vaccine: A medication that usually contains weakened disease pathogens that is introduced to the body via vaccination in order to help stimulate the immune system to develop immunity to those pathogens

Antibiotics: A type of medication that kills or prevents the growth of bacteria in the body. They do not work against viruses.

Tumor: An abnormal and excessive growth of tissue that can form anywhere in the body and that starts as a neoplasm, then forms a mass. Benign tumors are non-cancerous and usually do not spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors are cancerous and can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs, as well as spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system.

Preventive medicine: Measures taken for disease prevention, as opposed to disease treatment

Conventional medicine: The mainstream medical practices that are widely accepted and used by the medical community, such as pharmaceutical drugs, surgery, and other scientifically-proven treatments. It is also known as Western medicine or allopathic medicine.

Alternative medicine: A wide range of health promoting techniques that are not part of conventional medicine, some of which are backed by research and some of which are not

Nutrients: The carbohydrates and fats that are burned for fuel in the body, as well as the vitamins, minerals and proteins that are used to make body parts, either by facilitating chemical reactions or by being used as actual material

Carbohydrates: Sugars, starches and fibers

Lipids: Fats, which are important for hormone synthesis, insulation, and cellular function

Amino acids: The building blocks of proteins, which are used by the body to build enzymes, hormones and body cells

Vitamin A: A nutrient that helps with vision and more

Vitamin C: A nutrient that helps with immune system functioning and more

Vitamin D: A nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium and more

Vitamin E: A nutrient that helps protect cells from damage and more

Vitamin K: A nutrient that helps with blood clotting and more

Calcium: A mineral that helps with bone and cartilage production and more

Iron: A mineral that helps with red blood cell production and with carrying oxygen throughout the body

Magnesium: A mineral that helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels and more

Zinc: A mineral that helps with wound healing, immune system functioning and more

Potassium: A mineral that helps with fluid balance, muscle and nerve functioning and more


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