Organization of the Body » Anatomy and Physiology

Organization of the Body 

A large part of beginning the study of anatomy and physiology is learning the specialized words that are used. This new terminology may seem daunting, but the challenge lies in its unfamiliarity rather than its difficulty in comprehension. You must expect to encounter a lot of new words and be prepared to learn them over the course of your study. Most of the words contain information as the words are constructed with a prefix and a suffix or a stem that identifies the word as referring to a specific part of anatomy or physiology. Many anatomical and physiological terms are in fact descriptions. For example, extensor carpi radialislongus refers to a muscle that extends the hand at the wrist (the carpals), lies over the radius bone, and is the longer of two muscles.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) refers to a molecule that contains units of ribose sugar with an oxygen atom removed, attached to a base to form a nucleoside, and also attached to phosphoric acid. This sometimes makes the words rather long or unusual. You should know what the anatomical position of the body is and in what direction the transverse, sagittal, and coronal planes of the body lie.

Directional terms such as proximal/distal, deep/superficial, superior/inferior, lateral/medial, anterior/ posterior, and caudal/cephalic allow the location of one anatomical feature to be placed relative to another. The dorsal and ventral body cavities are located on different sides of the body and contain different organs. For ease of communication, the abdomen is divided into nine regions: a right hypochondriac, epigastric, left hypochondriac, right lumbar, umbilical, left lumbar, right inguinal, hypogastric (or pubic), and left inguinal regions. Furthermore, you should be aware that superficial anatomical landmarks are referred to by regional names such as popliteal, calcaneal, cephalic, axillary, acromial, etc. You should know the difference between physiology and anatomy and the definitions of metabolism, anabolism, and catabolism.

1. Which of the listed terms is described by: “All the chemical processes that take place in the organelles and cytoplasm the cells of the body”?

A. Metabolism

B. Cellular respiration

C. Homeostasis

D. Physiology

The answer is A: The quoted statement is a definition of metabolism.

2. Which major organ lies deep to the right hypochondriac region?

A. The stomach

B. The spleen

C. The liver

D. The duodenum

The answer is C: Hypochondriac = below the rib cartilage; the liver is located mostly on the right side.

3. Which plane of the body divides it into dorsal and ventral regions?

A. Transverse

B. Axial

C. Coronal

D. Sagittal

The answer is C: Dorsal and ventral = front and back – a coronal section that divides the body into these sections.

4. To which of the following does the “tissue level” of structural organization refer?

A. Atoms, ions, molecules, and electrolytes

B. Mitochondria, ribosomes, nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum

C. Nephron, alveolus, villus, lobule

D. Muscle, nervous, connective, epithelial

The answer is D: The listed structures are the four major tissue types.

5. The directional term “superior” in anatomy means which of the following?

A. Cephalic

B. Ventral

C. Closer to the top of the head

D. Closer to the skin surface

The answer is C: Cephalic refers to the head region, while superior refers to being closer to the head than is the other anatomical structure in question.

6. Which of the following is the best definition of physiology?

A. The microscopic study of tissues and cells

B. The study of how the body works

C. All the chemical processes that take place in the organelles of the body’s cells

D. The body’s automatic tendency to maintain a relatively constant internal environment

Answer is B: Physiology is indeed the study of how the (healthy) body functions.

7. The “anatomical position” could be described as which of the following?

A. Lying down prone

B. Lying down supine

C. Standing displaying the ventral surface of the body

D. Standing with arms and legs abducted

Answer is C: This is the best answer. Standing is required, as is having the arms hanging parallel to the sides, with palms facing forward.

8. Which choice best describes the location of the majority of the musculoskeletal system?

A. It is in the dorsal cavity

B. It is in the ventral cavity

C. It is in the abdominopelvic cavity

D. It is not located in a body cavity

Answer is D: The musculoskeletal system is located in the arms and legs, and surrounding, but outside of the abdominopelvic, thoracic, and dorsal cavities.

9. Which of the following is/are the contents of the ventral cavity?

A. Heart and lungs

B. Brain and spinal cord

C. Viscera

D. Gut, kidneys, liver, pancreas, spleen, bladder, internal reproductive organs

Answer is C: This is the best answer. It is a collective term for all organs in the thoracic and abdominopelvic cavities.

10. Which of the stated relationships is correct?

A. The heart is inferior to the clavicle

B. The shoulder is distal to the carpals

C. The phalanges are proximal to the metacarpals

D. The eye is medial to the eyebrows

Answer is A: The heart is indeed below (inferior) to the clavicle. All other choices are wrong.

11. Which of the following is/are the contents of the dorsal body cavity?

A. Heart and lungs

B. Brain and spinal cord

C. Viscera

D. Gut, kidneys, liver, pancreas, spleen, bladder, internal reproductive organs

Answer is B: Dorsal refers to the back, the cavity enclosed by the skull and vertebrae.

12. Which of the stated relationships is correct?

A. The heart is superior to the large intestine

B. The shoulder is distal to the metacarpals

C. The phalanges are proximal to the carpals

D. The eye is medial to the nose

Answer is A: The heart is indeed above (superior) to the intestine. All other answers are wrong.

13. What is the study of how body parts function called?

A. Histology

B. Physiology

C. Homeostasis

D. Metabolism

Answer is B: Physiology refers to function.

14. Which of the following correctly describes the two named body parts?

A. The elbow is proximal to the shoulder

B. The phalanges are distal to the carpals

C. The ribs are proximal to the sternum

D. The elbow is distal to the knee

Answer is B: Phalanges (finger bones) are indeed further from the trunk along the arm, than are the carpals (wrist bones).

15. Which one of the following statements is correct?

A. The diaphragm separates the brain and spinal cord.

B. The ventral cavity contains the male and female reproductive system.

C. The abdominopelvic cavity contains the spinal cord.

D. The dorsal cavity contains the brain and spinal cord.

Answer is D: Dorsal means back and that is the cavity with the spinal cord and brain. B is incorrect as the genitalia are outside the ventral cavity.

16. Complete the sentence correctly: “Cervical vertebrae are……

A. Superior to the rib cage

B. Inferior to the thoracic vertebrae

C. Located between the thoracic and sacral vertebrae

D. Fused into a single bone called the sacrum

Answer is A: Cervix refers to “neck”. The cervical vertebrae are in the neck; hence they are above (superior) to the rib cage.

17. The dorsal body cavity contains which of the following organs?

A. The brain

B. The brain and spinal cord

C. The brain, spinal cord, and heart

D. The brain, spinal cord, heart and kidneys

Answer is B: Dorsal refers to the back and is opposite to ventral. Only the brain and spinal cord occupy the dorsal cavity. All other answers are incorrect.

18. What does the process known as anabolism refer to?

A. The use of energy for producing chemical substances

B. The breaking down phase of metabolism

C. All the chemical process that take place in the organelles of the cells

D. The supply of nutrients to the body’s cells

Answer is A: Anabolism refers to the process of constructing/building molecules (think anabolic steroids). B refers to catabolism. C is metabolism.

19. To what does the term “hypochondriac” refer?

A. A condition of having too few chondral

B. The region of abdomen inferior to the ribs

C. A person who often complains of an ailment

D. Having insufficient cartilage in the knees

Answer is B: In this case “hypo-” means below, while “chondro” refers to the cartilage joining the ribs to the sternum (the costal cartilages). The regions of the abdomen immediately inferior to these rib cartilages (on the left and right sides of the body) are what is being referred to.

20. If a medical image displays internal anatomy in the midsagittal section, which of the following describes the section?

A. A vertical section through the nose and umbilicus that divides the body into right and left halves

B. A cross-section through the midriff at about the level of the liver

C. A cross-section through the upper chest at about the level of the shoulders

D. A vertical section through the midpoint of the clavicle and through either the right or left thigh

Answer is A: A sagittal section divides the body into left and right portions. A midsagittal section means that the dividing line is in the vertical midline of the body so

that the halves are equal.

21. Which of the following best describes the “anatomical position”?

A. Standing vertically, arms held horizontally, legs apart so that the tips of the head, hands and feet lie on an imaginary circle, drawn around the body

B. Standing “to attention”, with hands held so that thumbs are ventral while the fifth digit is dorsal

C. Standing “at ease” with hands clasped behind your back while adjacent and dorsal to the sacrum

D. Standing vertically, arms parallel and lateral to the ribs with hands inferior to the elbows and supinated

Answer is D: The anatomical position is achieved when standing with feet comfortably apart while displaying the ventral surface of the head, body and forearms to the same direction (forwards).

22. Which term describes the location of the adrenal glands with reference to the kidneys?

A. Proximal

B. Distal

C. Superior

D. Inferior

Answer is C: The adrenal glands are on the cephalic side of the kidneys. Being closer to the head, they are termed “superior to the kidneys”.

23. Which of the following terms is NOT used to identify a region of the abdomen?

A. Left hypochondriac

B. Hypogastric

C. Epigastric

D. Right sacral

Answer is D: Right sacral is not a region on the anterior surface of the abdomen.

24. What structure separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity?

A. The mediastinum

B. The diaphragm

C. The peritoneum

D. The pylorus

Answer is B: The muscular diaphragm physically separates these two ventral cavities.

25. When the body is standing in the “anatomical position”, which of the following is true?

A. The radius is lateral to the ulna.

B. The radius is medial to the ulna.

C. The radius is proximal to the ulna.

D. The radius is distal to the ulna.

Answer is A: In the anatomical position, the palms are displayed ventrally. The radius is further from the body’s midline than is the ulna; hence, it is lateral to the ulna.

26. What is the movement called when the arms are moved from the anatomical position by sweeping them through 90° in the coronal plane, so that they are held horizontally (parallel to the ground)?

A. Pronation

B. Circumduction

C. Abduction

D. Rotation

Answer is C: Moving the straight arms away from the body in this fashion is called abduction.

27. Which bones are located distal to the elbow and proximal to the wrist?

A. The carpals

B. The radius and ulna

C. The tarsals

D. The humerus

Answer is B: Distal to the elbow means further along the arm towards the hand this eliminates the humerus. Proximal to the wrist means closer to the body than the wrist – this eliminates the carpals. The tarsals are in the ankle.

28. What is the collective term used for contents of the body’s ventral cavity?

A. The omentum

B. The peritoneum

C. The internal organs

D. The viscera

Answer is D: The peritoneum is the membrane that surrounds the abdominal cavity and the omentum is a portion of that. The internal organs are close but also include the brain which is not in the ventral cavity.

29. What is meant by the term “retroperitoneal”?

A. On the dorsal side of the lungs

B. In the space between the spinal cord and the bodies of the vertebrae

C. Within the body wall but not enclosed by the peritoneum

D. It is a small bone of the facial skeleton

Answer is D: Retroperitoneal refers to organs inferior to the diaphragm but not

enclosed by the peritoneum. For example, the kidneys, pancreas, rectum and part of

the duodenum.

30. How does a coronal section divide the body?

A. Into many transverse slices

B. Into a ventral part and a dorsal part

C. Into a left and right section

D. Into superior and inferior portions

Answer is B: An imaginary cut that divides the body into a front half (or section) and the back half is termed coronal. Choice C is sagittal, while choice D is a transverse section.

31. What structure separates the abdominal and pelvic cavities?

A. There is no separating structure.

B. The diaphragm.

C. The peritoneum.

D. The dura mater.

Answer is A: The pelvic cavity is not physically separated from the abdominal cavity. For example, parts of the small intestine are located in both “cavities”.

32. In which cavity(ies) does the digestive system lie?

A. The abdominal cavity

B. The abdominal and pelvic cavities

C. The thoracic, abdominal and pelvic cavities

D. The dorsal, thoracic, abdominal and pelvic cavities

Answer is C: The oesophagus is within the thoracic cavity, while the remainder is in the abdominopelvic cavity.

33. Imagine an image of a transverse section of the upper arm. What tissues may be identified there located from the most superficial to the deepest?

A. Skin, subcutaneous fat, muscle, hypodermis, bone

B. Epidermis, dermis, hypodermis, muscle, bone

C. Integument, muscle, superficial fascia, bone, marrow

D. Hypodermis, subcutaneous fat, muscle, marrow, bone

Answer is B: Choice A is incorrect as hypodermis is more superficial than muscle. Choice C is wrong again because superficial fascia (which is a synonym for hypodermis) is more superficial than muscle. Choice D is wrong as marrow lies within bone, and also hypodermis and subcutaneous fat are almost synonyms.

34. By what anatomical term is the head region known?

A. Plantar

B. Cephalic

C. Hypochondriac

D. Axillary

Answer is B: The Cephalus is the head; the plantar region is the base of the foot; the hypochondriac region is inferior and deep to the rib cartilages of ribs 7–10; the axillary region is the “armpit”.

35. Which organ would be found in the left hypochondriac region?

A. The appendix

B. The urinary bladder

C. The liver

D. The stomach

Answer is D: Left hypochondriac region is deep to the cartilages of the lower ribs

on our left-hand side. The stomach is closest to this region.

36. To which body region does “popliteal” refer?

A. The region around each eye

B. The region anterior to the elbow, between arm and forearm

C. The region dorsal to the knee

D. The region of the anterior crease between thigh and abdomen

Answer is C: Here the popliteal artery and popliteus tendon may be located. Choice A refers to orbital; B refers to antecubital; D refers to inguinal.

37. Which region of the body is known as the acromial region?

A. The elbow region

B. The heel region

C. The medial ankle region

D. The shoulder region

Answer is D: The superior part of the shoulder at the distal end of the clavicle is known as acromial. Here the acromion of the scapula articulates with the clavicle at the “ac” or acromioclavicular joint. Choice A is the olecranon region; B the calcaneal; C (the medial malleolus) is not usually ascribed a region name.

38. What are the terms cortex and medulla used to describe?

A. The cortex is the outer part of an organ or bone, while the medulla is the inner part.

B. The cortex is the inner part of an organ or bone, while the medulla is the outer part.

C. The cortex is the deeper part of an organ or bone, while the medulla is the more superficial part.

D. The medulla refers to the fibrous capsule around an organ, while the cortex is the tissue of an organ.

Answer is A: The cortex of the kidney, for example, is the deep, inner part, while the cortex is the more superficial, outer part.

39. What is meant by the term flexion (or to flex)?

A. Flexion is where the angle between two long bones is decreased by muscle action.

B. Flexion is an action performed to stretch (extend) a muscle.

C. Flexion is where the angle between two long bones is increased by muscle action.

D. Flexion is caused by the action of contracting a muscle.

Answer is A: To flex an arm is to decrease the angle between the humerus and radius (by contracting the biceps brachii). Choice D is wrong as contracting the triceps brachii causes extension of the forearm.

40. To what movement is the term “extension” applied?

A. Extension is where the angle between two long bones is decreased by muscle action.

B. Extension is an action performed to stretch (extend) a muscle.

C. Extension is where the angle between two long bones is increased by muscle action.

D. Extension occurs when an antagonistic muscle is allowed to contract.

The answer is C: To extend a body part is to increase the angle between the moving bone and the stationary bone. For example, when the fingers of a clenched fist are allowed to straighten, the angle between the proximal phalanges and the metacarpals increases.

41. What exists in the “potential space” between the visceral and parietal layers of a membrane?

A. Serous fluid

B. Nothing

C. Air

D. Synovial fluid

The answer is A: Serous membranes have a deeper visceral layer and a more superficial parietal layer. Between them is a small amount of serous fluid to lubricate their movement past each other.

42. One of the images taken for mammography of the compressed breast is known as “craniocaudal”. What direction is this?

A. Compression from the medial and lateral sides.

B. A left-to-right (sideways) view.

C. The breast is flattened against the rib cage for imaging.

D. When standing, the breast is compressed from above and below.

The answer is D: From above (the cranial direction) and below (the caudal, or tail direction).

43. What part of the body is known as the popliteal region?

A. The fold of the knee

B. The fold of the elbow

C. The area around the ears

D. The medial sides of the ankles

The answer is A: Behind the knee, opposite to the patella is the popliteal region. Here the popliteal pulse and popliteus tendon are found.

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