Physiology at a Glance 3e
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More About This Title Physiology at a Glance 3e


This revised and updated edition of Physiology at a Glance features clear and concise illustrations, memorable data tables, and easy-to-read text, to provide a thorough introduction to physiology that integrates seamlessly with the medical school curriculum.

Physiology at a Glance breaks the topic down into its core components, dealing with structures of the body from cellular level to composite systems. Each chapter focuses on an element of the body and explores vital concepts to aid students at all levels of their training.

Physiology at a Glance:

• Introduces basic biological principles in easy-to-follow spreads, followed by thoroughly revised and updated systems-based chapters

• Features completely revised or brand new chapters and figures, including introductory chapters on homeostasis, blood, haemostasis and immunological defence mechanisms

• Is fully supported by a companion website at featuring online access to over 200 self-assessment questions from the book, downloadable flashcards, and revision notes

With its straightforward approach to explaining the functions of the body, Physiology at a Glance provides medical, dental, health science and biomedical students with a thorough understanding of an often complex subject.

This title is also available as a mobile App from MedHand Mobile Libraries. Buy it now from Google Play or the MedHand Store.



Jeremy P.T. Ward is Head of Department of Physiology and Professor of Respiratory Cell Physiology
Schools of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, King’s College London

Roger W.A. Linden is Emeritus Professor of Craniofacial Biology, School of Biomedical Sciences
King’s College London


Preface 7

Acknowledgements 7

List of abbreviations 8

About the companion website 11

Part 1


1 Homeostasis and the physiology of proteins 12

2 Body water compartments and physiological fl uids 14

3 Cells, membranes and organelles 16

4 Membrane transport proteins and ion channels 18

5 Biological electricity 20

6 Conduction of action potentials 22

7 The autonomic nervous system 24

8 Blood 26

9 Platelets and haemostasis 28

10 Defence: Inflammation and immunity 30

11 Principles of diffusion and flow 32

Part 2


12 Skeletal muscle and its contraction 34

13 Neuromuscular junction and whole muscle contraction 36

14 Motor units, recruitment and summation 38

15 Cardiac and smooth muscle 40

Part 3

The cardiovascular system

16 Introduction to the cardiovascular system 42

17 The heart 44

18 The cardiac cycle 46

19 Initiation of the heart beat and excitation–contraction coupling 48

20 Control of cardiac output and Starling’s law of the heart 50

21 Blood vessels 52

22 Control of blood pressure and blood volume 54

23 The microcirculation, fi ltration and lymphatics 56

24 Local control of blood fl ow and special circulations 58

Part 4

The respiratory system

25 Introduction to the respiratory system 60

26 Lung mechanics 62

27 Transport of gases and the gas laws 64

28 Carriage of oxygen and carbon dioxide by the blood 66

29 Control of breathing 68

30 Ventilation–perfusion matching and right to left shunts 70

Part 5

The renal system

31 Introduction to the renal system 72

32 Renal filtration 74

33 Reabsorption, secretion and the proximal tubule 76

34 The loop of Henle and distal nephron 78

35 Regulation of plasma osmolality and fl uid volume 80

36 Control of acid–base status 82

Part 6

The gut and metabolism

37 Gastrointestinal tract: overview and the mouth 84

38 Oesophagus and stomach 86

39 Small intestine 88

40 The exocrine pancreas, liver and gallbladder 90

41 Large intestine 92

Part 7

Endocrinology and reproduction

42 Endocrine control 94

43 Control of metabolic fuels 96

44 The hypothalamus and pituitary gland 98

45 Thyroid hormones and metabolic rate 100

46 Growth factors 102

47 Somatic and skeletal growth 104

48 Control of plasma calcium 106

49 The adrenal glands and stress 108

50 Endocrine control of reproduction 110

51 Sexual differentiation and function 112

52 Fertilization, pregnancy and parturition 114

53 Lactation 116

Part 8

The sensory and motor systems

54 Introduction to sensory systems 118

55 Sensory receptors 120

56 Special senses: Taste and smell 122

57 Special senses: Vision 124

58 Special senses: Hearing and balance 126

59 Motor control and the cerebellum 128

60 Proprioception and refl exes 130

Part 9


Self-assessment MCQs 132

Answers to self-assessment MCQs 148

Appendix I: Comparison of the properties of skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle 149

Appendix II: Normal physiological values 150

Index 153