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anatomy
The study of the physical body structure.
Anatomy: The study of form. Gross anatomy involves structures that can be seen with the naked eye. It is as opposed to microscopic anatomy (or histology) which involves structures seen under the microscope. Traditionally, both gross and microscopic anatomy have been studied in the first year of medical school in the U.S. The most celebrated textbook of anatomy in the English-speaking world is Gray's Anatomy, still a useful reference book. The word "anatomy" comes from the Greek ana- meaning up or through + tome meaning a cutting. Anatomy was once a "cutting up" because the structure of the body was originally learned through dissecting it, cutting it up. The abbreviation for anatomy is anat.

morphology
Form of a body part or the study of the structure of something.
Morphology: 1. Literally, the study of form. The study of structure.
2. The form itself, as of an organ or part of the body.

cytology
The branch of biology that studies cells.
cytology - The branch of biology that deals with the formation, structure, and function of cells.
embryology
The study of the embryo and its development.
embryology - 1. The branch of biology that deals with the formation, early growth, and development of living organisms.
2. The embryonic structure or development of a particular organism.
gross anatomy
The study of the body that does not require magnification.
Gross anatomy: The study of the form of structures that can be seen with the naked eye, as opposed to microscopic anatomy (or histology) which involves structures seen under the microscope. Traditionally, both gross and microscopic anatomy have been studied in the first year of medical school in the U.S. The most celebrated textbook of anatomy in the English-speaking world is Gray's Anatomy, still a useful reference book. The word "anatomy" comes from the Greek ana- meaning up or through + tome meaning a cutting. Anatomy was once a "cutting up" because the structure of the body was originally learned through dissecting it, cutting it up. The abbreviation for anatomy is "anat."

histology
The study of tissues, including cells and organs.
Histology: The study of the form of structures seen under the microscope. Also called microscopic anatomy, as opposed to gross anatomy which involves structures that can be observed with the naked eye. Traditionally, both gross anatomy and histology (microscopic anatomy) have been studied in the first year of medical school in the U.S. The word "anatomy" comes from the Greek ana- meaning up or through + tome meaning a cutting. Anatomy was once a "cutting up" because the structure of the body was originally learned through dissecting it, cutting it up. The word "histology" came from the Greek "histo-" meaning tissue + "logos", treatise. Histology was a treatise about the tissues of the body and the cells thereof.

pathology
The scientific study of disease.
Pathology: The study of disease. Pathology has been defined as "that branch of medicine which treats of the essential nature of disease." The word "pathology" comes from the Greek words "pathos" meaning "disease" and "logos" meaning "a treatise" = a treatise of disease. The word "pathology" is sometimes misused to mean disease as, for example, "he didn't find any pathology" (meaning he found no evidence of disease). A medical doctor that specializes in pathology is called a pathologist. Pathologists are experts at interpreting microscopic views of body tissues.

physiology
The study of body function.
Physiology: The study of how living organisms function including such processes as nutrition, movement, and reproduction.

The word "function" is important to the definition of physiology because physiology traditionally had to do with the function of living things while anatomy had to do with morphology, the shape and form, of things.

Human physiology today is a science of wide scope:

Some physiological studies are concerned with processes that go on within cells such as phagocytosis, the process by which cells engulf and usually digest particles, bacteria and other microorganisms, and even harmful cells. The physiology of cells is called cell physiology.
Other physiological studies deal with how tissues and organs work, how they are controlled and interact with other tissues and organs and how they are integrated within the individual.
Yet other physiological studies deal with how we respond to our environment. For example, to extremes of temperature (in arctic conditions versus the desert), to changes in pressure (deep under the ocean versus weightless in space), etc.
Human physiological processes are the functions of living persons and their parts, and the physical and chemical factors and processes involved.
organism
A living individual.
organism - 1. An individual form of life, such as a plant, animal, bacterium, protist, or fungus; a body made up of organs, organelles, or other parts that work together to carry on the various processes of life.
2. A system regarded as analogous in its structure or functions to a living body: the social organism.
cell
The smallest unit of life.
Cell: The basic structural and functional unit in people and all living things. Each cell is a small container of chemicals and water wrapped in a membrane.

Each cell in the human body -- there are 100 trillion cells in each of us -- contains the entire human genome, all the genetic information necessary to build a human being. This information is encoded within the cell nucleus in 6 billion base pairs, subunits of DNA, packaged in 23 pairs of chromosomes, one chromosome in each pair coming from each parent. Each of the 46 human chromosomes contains the DNA for thousands of individual genes, the units of heredity.

There are notable exceptions including the egg and sperm cells (each of which have only 23 chromosomes containing half the usual amount of DNA) and mature red blood cells (which no longer have a nucleus and so lack chromosomes and DNA).

cell membrane
The barrier that surrounds the cytoplasm.
Noun 1. cell membrane - a thin membrane around the cytoplasm of a cell; controls passage of substances in and out of the cell.
The semipermeable membrane that encloses the cytoplasm of a cell. Also called cytomembrane, plasmalemma, plasma membrane.
hydrophilic
Capable of attracting water; water loving.
hydrophilic - Having an affinity for water; readily absorbing or dissolving in water.
hydrophobic
Unable to attract water; water fearing.
Hydrophobia: 1. Literally, an irrational fear of water, to drink or to swim in. Someone who is scared of the water is hydrophobic. 2. A term once commonly used for rabies because in the later stages of that disease, the animal (or person) has difficulty swallowing and so fears a drink of water.

From hydro-, water + -phobia, fear.

organelle
Specialized cellular structure.
A differentiated structure within a cell, such as a mitochondrion, vacuole, or chloroplast, that performs a specific function.
organelle - A differentiated structure within a cell, such as a mitochondrion, vacuole, or chloroplast, that performs a specific function.
ribosomes
Sites of protein synthesis with the cytoplasm.
ribosomes - A minute round particle composed of RNA and protein that is found in the cytoplasm of living cells and serves as the site of assembly for polypeptides encoded by messenger RNA.
Noun 1. ribosome - an organelle in the cytoplasm of a living cell; ribosomes attach to mRNA and move down it one codon at a time and stop until tRNA brings the required amino acid; when a ribosome reaches a stop codon it falls apart and releases the completed protein molecule for use by the cell; "the ribosome is the site of protein synthesis"
mitochondria
Organelles that make and store ATP.
Mitochondria: Normal structures responsible for energy production in cells. Mitochondria are located in the cytoplasm outside the nucleus of the cell. They consist of two sets of membranes, a smooth continuous outer coat and an inner membrane arranged in tubules or in folds that form plate-like double membranes (cristae).

The mitochondria are the principal energy source of the cell (thanks to the cytochrome enzymes of terminal electron transport and the enzymes of the citric acid cycle, fatty acid oxidation, and oxidative phosphorylation). The mitochondria convert nutrients into energy as well as doing many other specialized tasks.

Each mitochondrion has a chromosome composed of DNA that is otherwise quite different from the better known chromosomes in the nucleus. The mitochondrial chromosome is much smaller. It is round (whereas the chromosomes in the nucleus are shaped like rods). And there are many copies of the mitochondrial chromosome in every cell (whereas there is normally only one set of chromosomes in the nucleus).

No matter whether we are male or female, we inherit our mitochondrial chromosome from our mother. In other words, the mitochondrial chromosome is transmitted in a matrilinear manner. We have Eve to thank for our mitochondrial chromosome.

nucleus
Cellular center tat contains DNA and the nucleolus
Nucleus: 1) In cell biology, the structure that houses the chromosomes. 2) In neuroanatomy, a group of nerve cells.

nucleolus
Center of the nucleus that contains RNA.
nucleolus- A small, typically round granular body composed of protein and RNA in the nucleus of a cell. It is usually associated with a specific chromosomal site and involved in ribosomal RNA synthesis and the formation of ribosomes.
ATP
Adenosine triphosphate: An important carrier of energy in cells in the body and a compound that is important in the synthesis (the making) of RNA.
Adenosine triphosphate: An important carrier of energy in cells in the body and a compound that is important in the synthesis (the making) of RNA. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a nucleotide (a building block of a nucleic acid such as RNA). The body produces ATP from food and then ATP produces energy as needed by the body.

DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid. One of two types of molecules that encode genetic information.
DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid. One of two types of molecules that encode genetic information. (The other is RNA. In humans DNA is the genetic material; RNA is transcribed from it. In some other organisms, RNA is the genetic material and, in reverse fashion, the DNA is transcribed from it.)

DNA is a double-stranded molecule held together by weak hydrogen bonds between base pairs of nucleotides. The molecule forms a double helix in which two strands of DNA spiral about one other. The double helix looks something like an immensely long ladder twisted into a helix, or coil. The sides of the "ladder" are formed by a backbone of sugar and phosphate molecules, and the "rungs" consist of nucleotide bases joined weakly in the middle by the hydrogen bonds.

There are four nucleotides in DNA. Each nucleotide contains a base: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), or thymine (T). Base pairs form naturally only between A and T and between G and C so the base sequence of each single strand of DNA can be simply deduced from that of its partner strand.

The genetic code in DNA is in triplets such as ATG. The base sequence of that triplet in the partner strand is therefore TAC.

The first proof that DNA was the hereditary material was provided in 1944 by Oswald Avery, Maclyn McCarty and Colin MacLoed. The double helical structure of DNA was discovered in 1953 by James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick with the invaluable collaboration of the X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin. Watson and Crick shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Maurice H.F. Wilkins.

See also: DNA (figurative); and the Transforming principle.

RNA
Short for ribonucleic acid, a nucleic acid molecule similar to DNA but containing ribose rather than deoxyribose.
RNA: Short for ribonucleic acid, a nucleic acid molecule similar to DNA but containing ribose rather than deoxyribose. RNA is formed upon a DNA template. There are several classes of RNA molecules.

They play crucial roles in protein synthesis and other cell activities:

Messenger RNA (mRNA) is a type of RNA that reflects the exact nucleoside sequence of the genetically active DNA. mRNA carries the "message" of the DNA to the cytoplasm of cells where protein is made in amino acid sequences specified by the mRNA.
Transfer RNA (tRNA) is a short-chain type of RNA present in cells. There are 20 varieties of tRNA. Each variety combines with a specific amino acid and carries it along (transfers it), leading to the formation of protein with a specific amino acid arrangement dictated by DNA.
Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) is a component of ribosomes. Ribosomal RNA functions as a nonspecific site for making polypeptides.
tissue
The aggregation of similar cells.
Tissue: A tissue in medicine is not like a piece of tissue paper. It is a broad term that is applied to any group of cells that perform specific functions. A tissue in medicine need not form a layer. Thus,

The bone marrow is a tissue;
Connective tissue consists of cells that make up fibers in the framework supporting other body tissues; and
Lymphoid tissue is the part of the body's immune system that helps protect it from bacteria and other foreign entities.
organ
A body structure with a specific function. The eye, ear, heart, lungs, and liver.
Organ: A relatively independent part of the body that carries out one or more special functions. The organs of the human body include the eye, ear, heart, lungs, and liver.
system
The functional combination of organs.
system - 1. A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole.
2. A functionally related group of elements, especially:
a. The human body regarded as a functional physiological unit.
b. An organism as a whole, especially with regard to its vital processes or functions.
c. A group of physiologically or anatomically complementary organs or parts: the nervous system; the skeletal system.
integumentary system
The body system that serves a protective function.
integumentary system
n.
The bodily system consisting of the skin and its associated structures, such as the hair, nails, sweat glands, and sebaceous glands.
skeletal system
The body system that functions in protection, support,and movement.
skeletal system
n.
The bodily system that consists of the bones, their associated cartilages, and the joints, and supports and protects the body, produces blood cells, and stores minerals.
muscular system
The body system responsible for movement.
Muscular system refers to all of the muscles of the body collectively.

muscular system
n.
The bodily system that is composed of skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscle tissue and functions in movement of the body or of materials through the body, maintenance of posture, and heat production.
endocrine system
The body system that secretes hormones and interacts with the nervous system.
Endocrine: Pertaining to hormones and the glands that make and secrete them into the bloodstream through which they travel to affect distant organs. The endocrine sites include the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, pineal gland, thyroid, parathyroids, heart (which makes atrial-natriuretic peptide), the stomach and intestines, islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, the adrenal glands, the kidney (which makes renin, erythropoietin, and calcitriol), fat cells (which make leptin). the testes, the ovarian follicle (estrogens) and the corpus luteum in the ovary). Endocrine is as opposed to exocrine. (The exocrine glands include the salivary glands, sweat glands and glands within the gastrointestinal tract.)



endocrine system
n.
The bodily system that consists of the endocrine glands and functions to regulate body activities.
digestive system
The body system that processes and regulates food.
Digestive system: The organs that are responsible for getting food into and out of the body and for making use of it. These organs include the salivary glands, the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, colon, rectum, and anus.

The digestive system has a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. Inside this tube is a lining called the mucosa. In the mouth, stomach, and small intestine, the mucosa contains tiny glands that produce juices to help digest food. Two solid organs, the liver and the pancreas (both of which are embryologically derived from the digestive tract), produce digestive juices that reach the intestine through small tubes known as ducts. In addition, parts of other organ systems (for instance, nerves and blood) play a major role in the digestive system.



digestive system
n.
The alimentary canal and digestive glands regarded as an integrated system responsible for the ingestion, digestion, and absorption of food.
respiratory system
The body system involved with gas exchange.
Respiratory system: The organs that are involved in breathing. These include the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs.

cardiovascular system
The body system that transports substances in the blood.
Cardiovascular system: The circulatory system which comprises the heart and blood vessels. The system carries nutrients and oxygen to the tissues of the body and removes carbon dioxide and other wastes from them.

The cardiovascular system is a closed tubular system in which the blood is propelled by the heart. The system has two circuits, the pulmonary circuit and the systemic circuit. Each circuit has arterial, capillary, and venous components.

lymphatic system
The body system reponsible for fluid transportation.
Lymphatic system: The tissues and organs, including the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, and lymph nodes, that produce and store cells that fight infection and disease. The channels that carry lymph are also part of this system.

immune system
The body system responsible for body defense
Immune system: A complex system that is responsible for distinguishing us from everything foreign to us, and for protecting us against infections and foreign substances. The immune system works to seek and kill invaders.

If a person is born with a severely defective immune system, death from infection by a virus bacterium, fungus or parasite may occur. In severe combined immunodeficiency, lack of an enzyme means that toxic waste builds up inside immune system cells, killing them and thus devastating the immune system. A lack of immune system cells is also the basis for DiGeorge syndrome: improper development of the thymus gland means that T cell production is diminished.

Other immune disorders result from either an excessive immune response or an 'autoimmune attack'. Asthma, familial Mediterranean fever and Crohn disease (inflammatory bowel disease) all result from an over-reaction of the immune system, while autoimmune polyglandular syndrome and some facets of diabetes are due to the immune system attacking 'self' cells and molecules.

A key part of the immune system's role is to differentiate between invaders and the body's own cells - when it fails to make this distinction, a reaction against 'self' cells and molecules causes autoimmune disease.

urinary system
The body system involved with excretion, secretion, and filtration.
urinary system
n.
The bodily system consisting of the organs that produce, collect, and eliminate urine and including the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra.
reproductive system
The body system concerned with human development and continuation
Reproductive system: In women, the organs that are directly involved in producing eggs and in conceiving and carrying babies. In men, the organs directly involved in creating, storing, and delivering sperm to fertilize an egg.

membrane
A thin tissue layer surrounding a body part
Membrane: A very thin layer of tissue that covers a surface.
serous membranes
Cavity-lining membranes that secrete a watery fluid.
(Anat.) , the membranes, like the peritoneum and pleura, which line, or lie in, cavities having no obvious outlet, and secrete a serous fluid.
serosa
Serous membrane
1. A serous membrane, especially one that lines the pericardial, pleural, and peritoneal cavities, enclosing their contents.
2. The chorion of a bird or reptile embryo.
pleural membranes
Membranes associated with the lungs.
Pleural: Pertaining to the pleura, the thin covering that protects the lungs. The term "pleural" is pronounced like "plural" (but does not have plural meanings).

peritoneal membranes
Membranes associated with the abdominal cavity.
Peritoneal: Having to do with the peritoneum.
Peritoneum: The membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers most of the abdominal organs. (From the Greek peri- meaning around + tonos meaning a stretching = a stretching around).

peritoneum
Peritoneal membranes.
The membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers most of the abdominal organs.
Peritoneum: The membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers most of the abdominal organs. (From the Greek peri- meaning around + tonos meaning a stretching = a stretching around).

parietal
Forming or situated on a body wall.
Parietal pericardium: The outer layer of the pericardium which is a conical sac of fibrous tissue that surrounds the heart and the roots of the great blood vessels.

The pericardium has outer and inner coats. The outer coat is tough and thickened, loosely cloaks the heart, and is attached to the central part of the diaphragm and the back of the sternum (breastbone). The inner coat is double with one layer closely adherent to the heart while the other lines the inner surface of the outer coat with the intervening space being filled with fluid.

This small amount of fluid, the pericardial fluid, acts as a lubricant to allow normal heart movement within the chest.

The word "pericardium" means around the heart. The inner part of the pericardium that closely envelops the heart is called the visceral pericardium or epicardium.

visceral
Pertaining to the organs.
Visceral: Referring to the viscera, the internal organs of the body, specifically those within the chest (as the heart or lungs) or abdomen (as the liver, pancreas or intestines).

In a figurative sense, something "visceral" is felt "deep down." It is a "gut feeling."
Viscera: The internal organs of the body, specifically those within the chest (as the heart or lungs) or abdomen (as the liver, pancreas or intestines).

The singular of "viscera" is "viscus" meaning in Latin "an organ of the body."

mesentery
Peritoneal folds that attach abdominal organs to the abominal wall.
Mesentery: A fold of tissue which attaches organs to the body wall.

The word mesentery usually refers to the small bowel mesentery which anchors the small intestine to the back of the abdominal wall. Blood vessels, nerves, and lymphatics branch through the mesentery to supply the intestine.

Other mesenteries exist to support the sigmoid colon, appendix, transverse colon, and portions of the ascending and descending colon.

pericardial membranes
Membranes associated with the heart.
Pericardial: Referring to the pericardium, the sac of fibrous tissue that surrounds the heart. The inner surface of the pericardium is lined by a layer of flat cells (mesothelial cells). The pericardial sac normally contains a small amount of fluid which acts as a lubricant to allow normal heart movement within the chest. A pericardial effusion refers to the presence of too much pericardial fluid, a serous fluid of a pale yellow color, within the pericardium.

Pericardium: The conical sac of fibrous tissue that surrounds the heart and the roots of the great blood vessels. The pericardium's outer coat (the parietal pericardium) is tough and thickened, loosely cloaks the heart, and is attached to the central part of the diaphragm and the back of the breastbone. Its inner coat (the visceral pericardium or epicardium) is double, with one layer closely adherent to the heart and the other lining the inner surface of the outer coat. The intervening space between these layers is filled with pericardial fluid. This small amount of fluid acts as a lubricant to allow normal heart movement within the chest.

Also known as the pericardial sac. See also: Pericarditis.

somatotype
Body structure.
so·mat·o·type (s-mt-tp, sm-t-)
n.
The structure or build of a person, especially to the extent to which it exhibits the characteristics of an ectomorph, an endomorph, or a mesomorph.
endomorph
Fat body type.
en·do·morph (nd-môrf)
n.
1. A mineral enclosed within another mineral, such as rutile or tourmaline in quartz.
2. An individual characterized by relative prominence of the abdomen and other soft body parts developed from the embryonic endodermal layer.

[endo(derm) + -morph.]
mesomorph
Heavily muscled body type.
mes·o·morph (mz-môrf, ms-)
n.
An individual with a robust, muscular body build caused by the predominance of structures developed from the embryonic mesodermal layer.
ectomorph
Thin body type.
ec·to·morph (kt-môrf)
n.
An individual having a lean, slightly muscular body build in which tissues derived from the embryonic ectoderm predominate.
anatomic position
The pose in which a person is facing forward, standing erect, with the hands at the side and palms turned outward in the supine position.
Anatomical position: The position with the body erect with the arms at the sides and the palms forward. The anatomical position is of importance in anatomy because it is the position of reference for anatomical nomenclature. Anatomic terms such as anterior and posterior, medial and lateral, abduction and adduction, and so on apply to the body when it is in the anatomical position.

axial
The body portion consisting of head, neck, and torso.
Axis: The axis is the second cervical vertebra (symbol: C2). It is called the "axis" because the uppermost cervical vertebra (called the atlas) rotates about the odontoid process of C2. The joint between the axis and atlas is a pivot type of joint. It allows the head turn.

The Latin word "axis" means axle or pole. The axis bone serves as the axle about which the atlas (and the head) turn.
appendicular
The body portion consisting of the arms and legs.
Adj. 1. appendicular - relating to or consisting of an appendage or appendages; especially the limbs; "the appendicular skeleton"

supine
Lying face up.
Supine: With the back or dorsal surface downward. A person who is supine is lying face up. As opposed to prone.

prone
Lying face down.
Prone: With the front (or ventral) surface downward. To lie prone is to lie face downward. Prone is as opposed to supine.

posterior
Toward the human back side.
Posterior: The back or behind, as opposed to the anterior.

anterior
Toward the human front side.
Anterior: The front, as opposed to the posterior. The anterior surface of the heart is toward the breast bone (the sternum).

cranial cavity
The space occupied by the brain.
Cranial: 1. Pertaining to the cranium or skull. 2. Toward the head. As opposed to caudad. The eye is cranial to the jaw.
vertebral cavity
The space occupied by the spinal cord.
Vertebral arch: A circle of bone around the canal through which the spinal cord passes. A vertebral arch is composed of a floor at the back of the vertebra, walls (the pedicles), and a roof where two laminae join.

Vertebra: A vertebra is one of 33 bony segments that form the spinal column of humans. There are 7 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral (fused into one sacrum bone) and 4 coccygeal (fused into one coccyx bone).

thoracic cavity
Space occupied by the lungs, heart, and trachea.
mediastinum
Space in the middle of the chest.
The area between the lungs. The organs in this area include the heart and its large veins and arteries, the trachea, the esophagus, the bronchi, and lymph nodes.
Mediastinum: The area between the lungs. The organs in this area include the heart and its large veins and arteries, the trachea, the esophagus, the bronchi, and lymph nodes.

abdominopelvic cavity
Combination of the abdominal and pelvic cavities.
abdominal cavity
The space between the diaphragm and the pelvic floor.
Abdominal cavity: The cavity within the abdomen, the space between the abdominal wall and the spine.

The abdominal cavity is hardly an empty space. It contains a number of crucial organs including the lower part of the esophagus, the stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, and bladder.

pelvic cavity
The space within the bony pelvis.
pelvic cavity-the space bounded by the bones of the pelvis and containing the pelvic viscera.
dorsal
back side
Dorsal: Relating to the back or posterior of a structure. As opposed to the ventral, or front, of the structure. Some of the dorsal surfaces of the body are the back, buttocks, calves, and the knuckle side of the hand.

ventral
anterior, belly side
Ventral: Pertaining to the front or anterior of any structure. The ventral surfaces of the body include the chest, abdomen, shins, palms, and soles. Ventral is as opposed to dorsal. From the Latin "venter" meaning belly.

caudal
toward the tail
An anatomic term meaning
1. Pertaining to the tail or the hind part.
2. Situated in or directed toward the tail or hind part. 3. Inferior to another structure, in the sense of being below it.
Caudal: An anatomic term meaning 1. Pertaining to the tail or the hind part. 2. Situated in or directed toward the tail or hind part. 3. Inferior to another structure, in the sense of being below it.

Caudal is also short for caudal epidural anesthesia.

The terms caudal and caudad are both derived from the Latin cauda, tail.
cephalic
toward or pertaining to the head
Cephalic: Relating to the head or the head end of the body. Situated on, in, or near the head. Cephalic is synonymous with cranial, relating to the cranium or head.

The word "cephalic" came from the Middle French "céphalique," from the Latin "cephalicus", from the Greek "kephalikos" meaning head.

inferior
Lower than another part.
Inferior: In anatomy, below or toward the feet. As opposed to superior. The liver is inferior to the lungs.

superior
Higher than another part.
Superior: In antomy, above or over top of. As opposed to inferior. The heart is superior to the stomach. The superior surface of the tongue rests against the palate.
deep
Away from the surface.
Deep: In anatomy, away from the surface or further into the body. As opposed to superficial. The bones are deep to the skin.

superficial
Pertaining to the surface.
Superficial: In anatomy, on the surface or shallow. As opposed to deep. The skin is superficial to the muscles. The cornea is on the superficial surface of the eye.

proximal
Toward the point of origin.
Proximal: Toward the beginning, the nearer of two (or more) items. For example, the proximal end of the femur is part of the hip joint, and the shoulder is proximal to the elbow. The opposite of proximal is distal.

distal
Farther from the point of origin.
Distal: The more (or most) distant of two (or more) things. For example, the distal end of the femur (the thigh bone) is the end down by the knee; the end more distant from the torso. The distal bile duct is the far end of the cystic duct, the end away from the gallbladder. And the distal lymph node in a chain of nodes is the most distant one. The opposite of distal is proximal.

lateral
Pertaining to the side.
Lateral: 1. In anatomy, the side of the body or a body part that is farther from the middle or center of the body. Typically, lateral refers to the outer side of the body part, but it is also used to refer to the side of a body part. For example, when referring to the knee, lateral refers to the side of the knee farthest from the opposite knee. The opposite of lateral is medial.
2. In radiology, slang for a lateral X-ray.

contralateral
Situated on opposite side
Contralateral: On the other side. The contralateral breast is the breast on the other breast. A stroke affecting the right side of the brain may cause contralateral paralysis, affecting the left arm and leg. The opposite of contralateral is ipsilateral which refers to the same side.

ipsilateral
Situated on opposite side.
Ipsilateral: On the same side. A study of "ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence following lumpectomy and radiation therapy" pertains to cancer returning in the same breast as has been treated. A lesion in the right side of the brain may affect vision ipsilaterally, in the right eye.

The opposite of ipsilateral is contralateral which refers to the other or opposite side.

medial
Toward the midline.
Medial: 1. Pertaining to the middle; in or toward the middle; nearer the middle of the body. Medial is as opposed to lateral. For example, the medial side of the knee is the side closest to the other knee whereas the lateral side of the knee is the outside of the knee.
2. Within a multilayered structure, the center layer. The medial layer of the aorta is the middle layer. For example, necrosis of the medial layer of the aorta may lead to aortic rupture.

The word medial comes from the Latin medialis, from medius, meaning the middle. Medial is the adjective corresponding to the noun median, as in the median in a highway.

intermediate
Between two structures.
peripheral
Outward or near the surface.
Peripheral: Situated away from the center, as opposed to centrally located.

For example, peripheral vision means the type of vision that allows one to see objects that are not in the center of one's visual field.

The word "peripheral" comes from the Greek "peripheria" ("peri-", around or about + "pherein", to bear, carry). An IV (intravenous) catheter is a peripheral line.

Common Misspellings: peripheal, periphial, perpheral

quadrants
Four regions of the abdominopelvic area
Quadrant: A quarter. For example, the liver is in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen.

regions
Nine areas of the abdominopelvic cavity
epigastric region
Upper middle part between the two hypochondriac regions.
Epigastrium: The part of the abdominal wall above the umbilicus (belly button). The hypogastrium is the part of the abdominal wall below the umbilicus. The abdominal wall can thus be divided into upper and lower halves. Or it can be further divided into quadrants by also drawing a vertical line through the umbilicus.

left hypochondriac region
Left upper lateral region below the lower ribs,
hypochondriac region
(Anat.) a region on either side of the abdomen beneath the cartilages of the false ribs, beside the epigastric, and above the lumbar, region.
right hypochondriac region
Right upper lateral region below the lower ribs.
hypochondriac region
(Anat.) a region on either side of the abdomen beneath the cartilages of the false ribs, beside the epigastric, and above the lumbar, region.
umbilical region
Middle region below the epigastric region and above the pubic region.
umbilical region
(Anat.) the middle region of the abdomen, bounded above by the epigastric region, below by the hypogastric region, and on the sides by the lumbar regions.
left lumbar region
To the left side of the umbilical region.
lumbar region
(Anat.) the region of the loin; specifically, a region between the hypochondriac and iliac regions, and outside of the umbilical region.
right lumbar region
To the right side of the umbilical region.
lumbar region
(Anat.) the region of the loin; specifically, a region between the hypochondriac and iliac regions, and outside of the umbilical region.
hypogastric region
Pubic region.
hypogastric region
pubic region
n.
The lowest of the three median regions of the abdomen, which lies below the umbilical region and between the inguinal regions. Also called hypogastrium.
left inguinal region
Left lower region beside the pubic region.
Inguinal: Having to do with the groin.
inguinal region
n.
The lower lateral region of the abdomen on either side of the pubic region. Also called iliac region, inguen.

right inguinal region
Right lower region beside the pubic region.
Inguinal: Having to do with the groin.
inguinal region
n.
The lower lateral region of the abdomen on either side of the pubic region. Also called iliac region, inguen.