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Monique Mavronicolas

The Human Body

Monique Mavronicolas

The Human Body consists of 11 complex integrated biological

systems, which carry out specific functions necessary for our
everyday living.
For the purpose of the assignment we will only focus on the main
organs within these systems. We will identify and discuss the
following organs:
Large Intestine
Small Intestine
The Nervous System

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The Nervous System consists of THE BRAIN (the major organ of the Nervous
System), Spinal Cord, Peripheral Nerves and nerves. The system detects and
processes sensory information that activates bodily responses
The Brain
Location: In the Cranium (Skull)
Definition: According to BMA Medical Dictionary (July 2013) An organ of
soft nervous tissue contained in the skull of vertebrates, functioning as the
coordinating centre of sensation, intellectual and nervous activity

A Vertical section through the human brain, showing the main areas

Main Function: The Brain receives, sorts and interprets sensations from the
nerves that extend from the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord)
to the rest of the body; it initiates and coordinates nerve signals involved in
activities such as speech, movement, thought and emotion
Physical Description: Pale gray, the size of a small cauliflower (the average
adult brain weighs about 1.4kg) and the texture of pate
Significant Features and Functions:
o This is the largest part of the brain and it is divided into lobes

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o The Cortex is the grey matter on the outer layers of the

The Cortex is divided into two distinct parts the right and
the left cerebral hemispheres.
The Cortex has any convolutions known as Gyri. Sucli
separate the Gyri, which increases the surface area of the
grey matter
o White matter (nerve fibres)connect these two hemispheres deep
within the brain again
o Main Functions of the Cerebral Cortex
Mental Activities involved in memory and intelligence
Sensory perception of touch, sight, hearing, taste and
Initiation and control of movement and voluntary
Basal Ganglia
o Paired nerve cell clusters that influences skeletal muscle the lies
deep within the cerebrum and upper part of the brainstem
o Main functions of the Basal Ganglia
Controls subconscious movement
Muscle tone
o Disease or degeneration affecting the Basal Ganglia may lead
to involuntary movement, trembling and weakness as occur in
Parkinsons disease
o A walnut-sized mass of nerve tissue that sits at the top of the
brainstem and connected to all parts of the brain
o Main functions of the Thalamus
Seems to act as a filter by selecting information of
Certain centers may play part in long term memory
o Situated behind the eyes and the thalamus, roughly the size of a
o Controls and integrates, activities of pituitary gland and the
automatic nervous system
o Main functions of the Hypothalamus
Regulates emotional and behavioral patterns
Controls body temperature
Regulates eating behavior
Helps to maintain sleep patterns
o Disorders of the hypothalamus have diverse effects, ranging
from hormonal disorders, increased and decreased need for food
and sleep

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The Midbrain (Mesencephalon)

o Never cells and fibres that connect with lower parts of the brain
and spinal cord
o Main Functions of the Mid Brain:
Relays motor impulses from the cortex to the pons
Relays sensory impulses from the spinal cord to the
The pons varolii
o Forms a bridge between the two hemispheres of the cerebrum to
replay messages from side to side
o Main Function of the Pons Varolli
Works with the medulla to help control breathing
Medulla Oblongata
o Lowest part of the brainstem, that lies in the scull just above the
spinal cord
o Main Functions of the Medulla
Relays impulses between other parts of the brain and the
spinal cord
Coordinates centres involved in stimulating the reflex
centres for vomiting, coughing, sneezing and hiccupping
Behind the brainstem concerned with maintaining posture,
balance and coordinating movement

The Respiratory System

The Respiratory System the organs used for breathing - consists of two
nasal passages, the pharynx, the larynx, trachea, bronchi, diaphragm and
THE LUNGS (the major organ of the Respiratory System). This system is
responsible for carrying oxygen from the air to the blood and expelling
carbon dioxide from the body
The Lungs
Location: Lies on each side of the thoracic cavity, and protected from injury
by the sternum and the ribcage, resting on the diaphragm muscle
Definition: According to
Each of the pair of organs situated within the ribcage, consisting of elastic
sacs with branching passages into which air is drawn, so that oxygen can
pass into the blood and carbon dioxide be removed.
Main Function: The Lungs supply the body with the oxygen needed for
aerobic metabolism and eliminate the waste product carbon dioxide

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Physical Description: Healthy adult lungs are 10-12 inches cone shaped light
spongy inflatable organs that appear pink in color. The left lung is slightly
smaller than the right to make space for the heart

A Diagram of the Lungs and bronchial tree

Significant Features and Functions:

The Lungs are divided into lobes
o Right lung has 3 lobes Superior, middle and inferior lobes
o Left lung only 2 lobes Superior and Inferior lobes
Each lobe has its own blood supply and bronchi
The Visceral Pleura is the thin membrane that covers the lung on the
outer surface
Major feature of the lungs include the bronchi, bronchioles and the
o Bronchi two large air passageways connected to the trachea
o Bronchioles much smaller tubes, leading off the bronchi
carrying oxygen to the alveoli
o Alveoli microscopic blood vessel-lined sacks in which oxygen
and carbon dioxide gas are exchanged
The pleura, a fluid cushioning system helps prevent friction between
the surfaces

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The Circulatory System

The Circulatory System also known as the Cardiovascular System delivers
oxygen and nutrients to tissues and helps stabilize body temperature, pH
and maintain homeostasis. The system consists of THE HEART, blood vessels
and approximately 5 liters of blood.
The Heart
Location: The Heart is located in the thoracic cavity, medial to the lungs and
posterior to the sternum.
Definition: According to A
hollow muscular organ that pumps the blood through the circulatory system
by rhythmic contraction and dilation. In vertebrates there may be up to four
chambers (as in humans), with two atria and two ventricles
Main Function: To circulate oxygenated blood to body tissues and pumps
deoxygenated blood to the lungs.
Physical Description: A muscular organ that is about the size of a closed fist
of that person. A healthy male heart weighs about 10 ounces and the female
about 8 ounces. It is conical shaped with flattened back and front surfaces.

Diagram of the Heart

Significant Features and Functions:


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The heart sits within a fluid-filled cavity called the pericardial cavity
o The walls and lining of the cavity is known as the pericardium
Pericardium is a type of serous membrane that produces
serous fluid to lubricate the heart and prevent friction
between the heart and surrounding organs
The Pericardium also holds the heart in position
The Pericardium has 2 layers:
A Visceral layer, that covers the outside of the heart
A Parietal layer that forms a sac around the outside
of the pericardial cavity
The heart wall is made up of 3 layers:
o Epicardium is just another name for the visceral layer of the
pericardium, thus to lubricate and protect the outside of the
o Myocardium is the second layer and is the muscular middle
layer of the heart wall that contains cardiac muscle tissue. It is
responsible for pumping blood.
o Endocardium is the squamous endothelium layer in the inside
of the heart. It is smooth and make sure that blood doesnt stick
to the inside of the heart and forming blood clots
The heart has four chambers:
o Right atrium and Left Atrium
The atrium are thinner and less muscular, they act as
receiver chambers for the blood and are connected to the
veins that transport blood to the heart
o Right Ventricle and Left Ventricle
The ventricles are bigger, stronger chambers that pump
blood out of the heart, they are connected to the arteries
that transport blood away from the heart
The heart has two types of valves that prevents blood flow in the
wrong direction
o Atrioventricular (AV) valves that carry blood to the heart
o Semilunar valves that carry blood away from the heart

The Endocrine System

The Endocrine System secretes hormones produced by the endocrine glands
such as pituitary gland, pineal gland, thyroid, adrenal glands and THE
PANCREAS, to regulate body processes.

The Pancreas

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Location: The Pancreas sits at the back of the abdomen and is surrounded by
the stomach, liver, spleen, small intestine and gallbladder
Definition: According to A
tapered gland that lies across the abdomen, that has digestive and hormonal
functions, which secrets digestive enzymes into the duodenum. Embedded in
the pancreas are the islets of Langerhans, which secrete into the blood the
hormones insulin and glucagon
Main Function: The pancreas serves two primary functions. Its endocrine
function is to produce the hormones insulin and glucagon. The second
function, the exocrine function which is to produce and release digestive
Physical Description: The pancreas is a soft, lobular, fleshy, cream colored,
elongated gland that has a most unusual and unique shape, and suffers from
the absence of a robust protective capsule. It functions both as both an
endocrine gland and as an exocrine gland.

Diagram of the Pancreas

Significant Features and Functions:

The endocrine function is to produce the hormones insulin and
o This glad secretes hormones directly into the bloodstream
Hormones usually simulate activity of the organ and
influence their activity, growth and nutrition

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The exocrine function which is to produce and release digestive fluids.

o This glad secretes directly into ducts and include, sweat
sebaceous mucus and digestive system
It secretes pancreatic fluid that contains digestive enzymes
that pass to the small intestine. These enzymes help to
further break down the carbohydrates, proteins and lipids
(fats) in the chime.

The Digestive System

The Digestive System is a system of organs; the mouth, the salivary glands,
SMALL INTESTINE, the gallbladder, the pancreas, the rectum and the anus in
which the major function is to convert food into simpler, absorbable
nutriments to keep the body functioning and healthy.
The Stomach
Location: Between the oesophagus and the beginning of the small intestine
(duodenum). It lies in the upper central portion of the abdomen (above the
umbilicus) and to the left of the midline.
Definition: According to BMA Medical Dictionary (July 2013) An
enlarged and muscular saclike organ of the alimentary canal;
the principal organ of digestion

Diagram of the stomach

Diagram of the Stomach


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Main Function: The Stomachs main function is to break down and digest food
in order to extract necessary nutrients from what you have eaten.
Physical Description: A J-shaped elastic sac which is the widest part of your
digestive system
Significant Features and Functions:
The stomach is divided into 5 areas
o Cardia surrounding and upper opening of the stomach
o Fundus upper portion of the stomach that normally contains
only air
o Body large central portion
o Antrum lies between the body and the pyloris, this is the
expanded potion of pyloric part of the stomach
o Pyloris narrow lower end of the stomach where food leaves the
stomach to enter the small intestine
Peristalsis breaks food down into smaller pieces, mix it with fluids
secreted from your stomach lining and move it through your stomach.
The Liver
Location: Located in the upper-right portion of the abdominal cavity under
the diaphragm, above your stomach, but a small portion extends into the
upper left quadrant
Definition: According to A
large and complicated reddish-brown organ that secrets bile and
functions in metabolism of protein and carbohydrate and fat;synthesizes sub
stances involved in the clotting of the blood; synthesizes vitamin A; detoxifie
spoisonous substances and breaks down worn-out erythrocytes.
Main Function: The liver is the largest glandular organ in the body and
performs many vital functions to filter blood coming from the digestive tract
before passing it to the rest of the body, it keeps the body pure of toxins and
harmful substances.
Physical Description: The Liver is a large, meaty organ weighing about 3
pounds, it is reddish-brown in color and feels rubbery to the touch
Significant Features and Functions:
Removes substances like alcohol and drugs by detoxifying the
Detoxifies the blood
Stores some vitamins, iron and simple sugar glucose
Convers stored sugar to glucose when the levels fall below normal
Breaks down hemoglobin as well as insulin and other hormones

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Converts ammonia to urea (vital in metabolism)

Destroys old red blood cells

Diagram of the Liver

The Large Intestine

Location: The Large intestine starts at the right iliac region of the pelvis
(where it continues from the small intestine). Thereafter it traverses across
the width of the abdominal cavity, and then it turns down, continuing to its
endpoint at the anus
Definition: The part of the alimentary canal consisting of the caecum, colon
and rectum. It extracts moisture from food residues
are later excreted as feces
Main Function: The Large intestine has four main functions; reabsorbs water
and maintains the fluid balance of the body. It absorbs certain vitamins by
processing undigested materials (fiber) and basically stores the waste before
its eliminated. Maintaining a resident population of over 500 species of
bacteria and bacterial fermentation of indigestible material.
Physical Description: The large intestine a tubular sac line structure that is
about 5 feet (1.5 m) in length and 2.5 inches (6-7 cm) in diameter in the
living body and creamy orange in color.


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Diagram of the Large Intestine

Significant Features and Functions:

The large intestine consists of the cecum and ascending (right)
colon, the descending (left) colon, and the sigmoid colon, which is
connected to the rectum.
The cecum which is at the beginning of the ascending colon, is the
point where the large and small intestine joins.
The large intestine secretes mucus and is largely responsible for the
absorption of water from your stool
Many bacteria inhabit the large intestine that can enable further
o Bacteria in the large intestine make some important substances,
such as Vitamin K
o These bacteria is important for healthy intestinal function
The Small Intestine
Location: The Small intestine is situated in the abdomen following the
stomach and followed by the large intestine
Definition: According to,
+small The small intestine is the longest part of the alimentary canal,
consisting of the duodenum, jejunum and ileum in which the digestion is

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Main Function: The main function of the small intestine is absorption of

nutrients and minerals from food.
Physical Description: A narrow long sausage-like coiled tube that averages in
an adult between 6.9m (22ft 8in) to 7.1m (23ft 4 in) that is approximately
2.5-3cm in diameter.

Diagram of the Small Intestine

Significant Features and Functions:

The small intestine continue the in the duodenum the digestive
process that started in the stomach
It absorbs digested food
The small intestine can be divided into3 major regions
o Duodenum first section of the small intestine
Shortest region, that partially digest chyme
o Jejunum the middle section of the small intestine
Primary site of nutrient absorption
o Ileum is the last section of the small intestine
Empties into large intestine
Completes absorption of nutrients that were missed in the

The Urinary System


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The Urinary System consists of THE KIDNEYS, THE BLADDER, ureters and
urethra and is involved in fluid balance, electrolyte balance and excretion of
The Kidneys
Location: Located behind the peritoneal cavity on the posterior abdominal
wall and either side of the spine. The right kidney sits a bit lower than the left
kidney to accommodate the liver
Definition: According to
A pair of organs in the dorsal region of the vertebrate abdominal
cavity, functioning to maintain proper water
and electrolyte balance, regulate
acidbase concentration, and filter the blood of metabolic wastes, which are t
hen excreted as urine.

The kidneys and the structure of a kidney

Main Function: The kidneys are the waste filtering and disposal system of
the body
Physical Description: Two reddish bean shaped organs that is about the size
of a fist


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Significant Features and Functions:

Regulation of blood volume
Regulations of blood pressure
Regulation of electrolytes
Excretion of waste products
Hormone production
The Bladder
Location: Located in the pelvis, just above and behind the pubic bone.
Definition: According to A
hollow organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine.

An interior and exterior view of the bladder

Main Function: Temporary storage reservoir for urine before eliminating it

Physical Description: A muscular sac, when empty, the bladder is about the
size and shape of a pear, the size varies due to the volume of urine within
Significant Features and Functions:
The wall of the bladder has four layers


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o Peritoneum covers the upper surface of the bladder,

remaining outer covering consists of fibrous tissue
o Detrusor muscle it thickens at the bladder-urethral junction to
form an internal urethral sphincter
Involuntary contractions opens the sphincter to allow urine
into the urethra
o Submucosa layer- contain nerves, connective tissue and blood
o Transitional epithelium lines the bladder in folds to allow the
bladder to distend

The Lymphatic System

The Lymphatic System consists of THE SPLEEN, the thymus, lymph nodes
and lymphatic vessels. This system is involved in the transfer of lymph
between tissue and the blood stream, the lymph and the vessels that
transport it.
The Spleen
Location: It is located under the ribs and above the stomach on the left side
of the abdomen
Definition: According to The
spleen is a spongy highly vascular organ situated near the stomach in man.
It forms lymphocytes, produces antibodies, aids in destroying worn-out red
blood cells, and filters bacteria and foreign particles from the blood.
Main Function: The spleens main function is to filter and purify blood and
store blood cells
Physical Description: Adult spleens are usually about 5 inches wide and
weigh about 6 ounces. The spleens is soft and purple
Significant Features and Functions:
Production of lymphocytes
o Producing T cells and B cells that are capable of changing into
cells that preform specific immune reactions
Phagocytosis takes place within the spleen
The spleen has the ability to filter out potentially dangerous bacteria or
viruses in the blood
Storage of platelets for use in emergency situations.


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Diagram of the spleen

Shaw, L (2005) Anatomy & Physiology Access to HE, Cengage,


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Kindersley, London
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in Health and Illness, 12th Ed, Northampton shire
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