Guide to the Human Body
Guide to the Human Body
Guide to the Human Body Guide to the Human Body Guide to the Human Body Guide to the Human Body

* Book Type:

Not Available Online
Publisher: Firefly Books

Edition Notes: Second edition, revised and updated
Author Statement: Richard Walker
Series Name: Firefly Pocket series
Audience: Trade
Specs: 250 color illustrations and diagrams, index
Pages: 192
Trim Size: 5" x 7 3/4" x 1/2"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20080815
Price: Select Below

Guide to the Human Body

An illustrated guide to the human body covering anatomy and physiology and including a medical encyclopedia of medical conditions and elements of human biology. The second edition is fully updated.

A fully illustrated guide to human anatomy, physiology and medicine.

A greater understanding of the human body is an essential part of staying healthy. Learning basic anatomy and physiology is important, but technical medical texts are generally impenetrable.

Guide to the Human Body, fully illustrated and clearly written, is an ideal reference. This new edition has been thoroughly updated to include the latest scientific developments, including sections on the brain, the male and female reproductive systems, and genes and inheritance. A concise A-Z medical encyclopedia describes over 600 medical conditions, many of which have been added or revised to include current information on timely subjects, including:

  • Skeletal and muscular systems
  • Nervous system
  • Glands and hormones
  • Cardiovascular system, tissues and organs
  • Immune system
  • Respiratory system
  • Digestive and urinary system
  • Reproductive system.

Concise, clear, up-to-date and illustrated with more than 250 colorful diagrams, Guide to the Human Body is an outstanding pocket-sized reference.


Richard Walker is an award-winning author on human biology. A past winner of the Aventis Junior Prize for Science Books, he is the author of Encyclopedia of the Human Body and Microscopic Life.

First Chapter:

Human Body

The Structure of the Body

The human body is a living structure of incredible complexity. The purpose of this book is to describe simply yet comprehensively the anatomy (structure), physiology (function), and interdependence of the body's component parts. Throughout the book, for ease of description, specific terms are used to describe different regions of the body, and the orientation and position of the body parts. This terminology, in common usage by doctors and scientists, is explained below.

Body regions

When viewed externally, the whole body is divided into regions and areas. The head houses the brain and major sense organs. It is supported and protected by the skull, which also forms the framework of the face. The head is held upright by the muscles and bones of the neck, which connects the head to the trunk. The trunk (or torso) forms the central part of the body and has two sections: the thorax forms the upper part of the trunk and extends from the neck to the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that separates the thorax from the abdomen, the lower part of the trunk. The terms cephalic, cervical, thoracic, and abdominal describe items found respectively, in the head, neck, thorax, or abdomen. The two upper limbs (or extremities) are each divided into three regions: the arm, forearm, and hand; the hollow just beneath the junction between the upper extremity and trunk is the axilla (or armpit). The two lower limbs (or extremities) are divided into the thigh, leg, and foot. Most organs, such as the heart and stomach, are enclosed inside one of three closed cavities within the body. Females and males have the same body regions, but their body shapes, and internal and external reproductive organs, differ.

Orientation and direction

The terminology that describes orientation and direction assumes that the body is upright, with arms at the side, and the palms facing forward. Some terms refer to an imaginary midline, or axis, that runs vertically down the center of the body and splits it in two.

  • Medial means at or near to the midline, or on the inner side of it; lateral means away from the midline, or on the outer side of it. For example, the backbone is medial to the kidneys; the left eye is lateral to the bridge of the nose.

  • Superior means above, or towards the head or upper parts of the body; inferior means below, or towards the lower part of the body. For example, the superior vena cava is a large vein that carries blood into the heart from the upper body; the inferior vena cava does the same from the lower body.

  • Anterior (ventral) means towards the front of the body; posterior (dorsal) means toward the back of the body. For example, the heart is anterior to the backbone; the sacrum is posterior to the urinary bladder.

  • Proximal refers to something that is nearer to the point of attachment of a body part; distal means further away. The proximal end of a digit in the hand is at the knuckle, while its distal end is at the fingertip.

  • Superficial is used to indicate something at or near the body's surface; deep means located away from the body's surface. For instance, the skin is superficial to the skeleton, while the brain is deep to the skull.


Human body


DNA and proteins

Body organization

tissue, organs, systems

Integumentary system

skin, hair, nails

Skeletal system

shoulder and arm
hip and leg

Muscular system

muscles and movement
muscle contraction

Nervous system

neurons and synapses
spinal cord
autonomic nervous system
touch and pain
taste and smell
eyes and vision
ears, hearing and balance

Endocrine system

endocrine glands and hormones
pituitary gland

Cardiovascular system

blood vessels

Lymphatic system

lymph and organs

Immune system

lymphocytes and antibodies

Respiratory system

lungs and gas exchange
larynx and speech

Digestive system

food and nutrition
chewing and swallowing
small intestine and pancreas
large intestine
liver and metabolism

Urinary system

bladder and urination

Reproductive system

fertilization and implantation
growth and development
genes and inheritance

Medical Encyclopedia

Over 600 concise definitions of medical conditions and terminology


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