AskDefine | Define physiological

Dictionary Definition

physiological adj
1 of or relating to the biological study of physiology; "physiological psychology"; "Pavlov's physiological theories"
2 of or consistent with an organism's normal functioning; "physiologic functions"; "physiological processes" [syn: physiologic]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Of, or relating to physiology
  2. Relating to the action of a drug when given to a healthy person, as distinguished from its therapeutic action

Derived terms


of, or relating to physiology
relating to the action of a drug when given to a healthy person

Extensive Definition

Physiology (from Greek: φυσις, physis, “nature, origin”; and λόγος, logos, "speech" lit. "to talk about the nature (of things)") is the study of the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of living organisms.
Physiology has traditionally been divided between plant physiology and animal physiology but the principles of physiology are universal, no matter what particular organism is being studied. For example, what is learned about the physiology of yeast cells may also apply to human cells.
The field of animal physiology extends the tools and methods of human physiology to non-human animal species. Plant physiology also borrows techniques from both fields. Its scope of subjects is at least as diverse as the tree of life itself. Due to this diversity of subjects, research in animal physiology tends to concentrate on understanding how physiological traits changed throughout the evolutionary history of animals. Other major branches of scientific study that have grown out of physiology research include biochemistry, biophysics, paleobiology, biomechanics, and pharmacology.


Physiology can trace its roots back more than two millennia to classical antiquity, to the Greek and Indian medical traditions. The critical thinking of Aristotle and his emphasis on the relationship between structure and function marked the beginning of physiology in Greece, while Claudius Galenus (c. 126-199), known as Galen, was the first to use experiments to probe the function of the body. The ancient Indian books of Ayurveda, the Sushruta Samhita and Charaka Samhita, also had descriptions on human anatomy and physiology.
During the Middle Ages, the ancient Greek and Indian medical traditions were further developed by Muslim physicians, most notably Avicenna (980-1037), who introduced experimentation and quantification into the study of physiology in The Canon of Medicine. Many of the ancient physiological doctrines were eventually discredited by Ibn al-Nafis (1213-1288), who was the first physician to correctly describe the anatomy of the heart, the coronary circulation, the structure of the lungs, and the pulmonary circulation, for which he is considered the father of circulatory physiology. He was also the first to describe the relationship between the lungs and the aeration of the blood, the cause of pulsation, and an early concept of capillary circulation.
Following from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance brought an increase of physiological research in the Western world that triggered the modern study of anatomy and physiology. Anatomist William Harvey described the circulatory system in the 17th century, demonstrating the fruitful combination of close observations and careful experiments to learn about the functions of the body, which was fundamental to the development of experimental physiology. Herman Boerhaave is sometimes referred to as a father of physiology due to his exemplary teaching in Leiden and textbook 'Institutiones medicae' (1708).
In the 19th century, physiological knowledge began to accumulate at a rapid rate, most notably with Matthias Schleidan and Theodor Schwann's "Cell theory" which radically stated in 1838 that organisms are made up of units called cells, along with Claude Bernard's (1813-1878) many discoveries that ultimately led to his concept of, interieur (internal environment) which would later be taken up and championed as Homeostasis by American physiologist Walter Cannon (1871-1945).
In the 20th century, biologists also became interested in how organisms other than human beings function, eventually spawning the fields of comparative physiology and ecophysiology Major figures in these fields include Knut Schmidt-Nielsen and George Bartholomew. Most recently, evolutionary physiology has become a distinct subdiscipline.

See also


physiological in Arabic: فيزيولوجيا
physiological in Asturian: Fisioloxía
physiological in Bengali: শারীরবৃত্ত
physiological in Bosnian: Fiziologija
physiological in Bulgarian: Физиология
physiological in Catalan: Fisiologia
physiological in Czech: Fyziologie
physiological in Danish: Fysiologi
physiological in German: Physiologie
physiological in Estonian: Füsioloogia
physiological in Modern Greek (1453-): Φυσιολογία (βιολογία)
physiological in Spanish: Fisiología
physiological in Esperanto: Fiziologio
physiological in Persian: فیزیولوژی
physiological in French: Physiologie
physiological in Western Frisian: Fysiology
physiological in Galician: Fisioloxía
physiological in Korean: 생리학
physiological in Croatian: Fiziologija
physiological in Indonesian: Fisiologi
physiological in Ido: Fiziologio
physiological in Icelandic: Lífeðlisfræði
physiological in Italian: Fisiologia
physiological in Hebrew: פיזיולוגיה
physiological in Georgian: ფიზიოლოგია
physiological in Kurdish: Erkzanist
physiological in Latin: Physiologia
physiological in Latvian: Fizioloģija
physiological in Lithuanian: Fiziologija
physiological in Hungarian: Élettan
physiological in Macedonian: Физиологија
physiological in Malay (macrolanguage): Fisiologi
physiological in Dutch: Fysiologie
physiological in Japanese: 生理学
physiological in Norwegian: Fysiologi
physiological in Norwegian Nynorsk: Fysiologi
physiological in Novial: Fisiologia
physiological in Occitan (post 1500): Fisiologia
physiological in Polish: Fizjologia
physiological in Portuguese: Fisiologia
physiological in Romanian: Fiziologie
physiological in Russian: Физиология
physiological in Sicilian: Fisioluggìa
physiological in Simple English: Physiology
physiological in Slovak: Fyziológia
physiological in Slovenian: Fiziologija
physiological in Serbian: Физиологија
physiological in Serbo-Croatian: Fiziologija
physiological in Finnish: Fysiologia
physiological in Swedish: Fysiologi
physiological in Tagalog: Pisyolohiya
physiological in Thai: สรีรวิทยา
physiological in Vietnamese: Sinh lý học
physiological in Tajik: Физиология
physiological in Turkish: Fizyoloji
physiological in Ukrainian: Фізіологія
physiological in Urdu: فعلیات
physiological in Chinese: 生理学
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