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Human Physiology

Fifth Edition

Gillian Pocock, Christopher D. Richards, and David A. Richards

Publication Date - 07 February 2018

ISBN: 9780198737223

952 pages
10.9 x 8.6 inches

The ideal course companion for any student needing a solid foundation in the subject for a future career in human biology, biomedical science, or medicine


The human body is a complicated and beautiful machine, governed by the laws of physics and chemistry. By understanding its physiology--how it performs its varied functions--it is possible to build strategies for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.

In this latest edition, expanded and restructured coverage of sensory physiology and the respiratory system, a new comprehensive glossary of key terms, and additional online learning resources make Human Physiology even more student-friendly than its predecessors.

Human Physiology provides clear explanations of the principles that govern the body's physiological processes and shows how these can be applied. This is the ideal course companion for any student needing a solid foundation in the subject for a future career in human biology, biomedical science, or medicine.

Online Resources:

Student resources
*Numerical and clinical problems
*Multiple-choice questions
*Web links

Lecturer resources
*Figures from the book


  • Extensive coverage of human physiology in clearly-structured chapters make this the ideal student text
  • Accessible explanations, enhanced with numerous with photos and diagrams, help readers to learn and remember the material
  • Boxes containing more advanced material, or numerical examples, give opportunities to stretch and challenge the reader
  • Reading lists at the end of each chapter link physiology with other key subjects, particularly anatomy, biochemistry, and pharmacology
  • Bulleted lists within chapters and at the end of chapters provide useful summaries and aid revision
  • An accompanying Ancillary Resource Center includes multiple choice questions, allowing students to test their knowledge

About the Author(s)

Gillian Pocock read Physiology at the University of Oxford before moving to Kings' College London to study for her PhD under the supervision of P.F. Baker. She held a post-doctoral position at Kings' College before taking up an appointment in the Department of Physiology, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine. She is now Senior Lecturer in Clinical Science in the School of Nursing at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK. Her research interests have focussed on the role of calcium in secretion and pH regulation in neurons.

Christopher Richards read Biological Chemistry at the University of Bristol. He completed his PhD in the Department of Zoology, University of Bristol, under the supervision of P.C. Caldwell before taking up a position at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. He subsequently moved to the National Institute for Medical Research where he was a member of the scientific staff. He later held posts in the Departments of Physiology at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine and University College London where he is currently Emeritus Professor of Experimental Physiology. He has published over 100 scientific articles, chiefly on the physiology and pharmacology of nerve cells.

David Richards studied biochemistry at the University of Bristol before beginning his PhD at the National Institute for Medical Research and University College, London under the supervision of T.V.P. Bliss. After postdoctoral positions at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the University of Zurich Brain Research Institute and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, he was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, before moving to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. He is now Associate Professor of Neuropharmacology at Husson University School of Pharmacy in Maine. His research focuses on the cell biology that supports synaptic transmission.

Table of Contents

    Section 1 Basic concepts in physiology
    1. What is physiology?
    2. Key concepts in chemistry
    3. The chemical constitution of the body
    Section 2 The organization and basic functions of cells
    4. Introducing cells and tissues
    5. The transport functions of the plasma membrane
    6. Principles of cell signalling
    Section 3 The excitable tissues - nerve and muscle
    7. Nerve cells and their connections
    8. Muscle
    Section 4 The nervous system and special senses
    9. Introduction to the nervous system
    10. The physiology of motor systems
    11. The autonomic nervous system
    12. Principles of sensory physiology
    13. The somatosensory system
    14. The physiology of the eye and visual pathways
    15. The physiology of the ear and auditory pathways
    16. The vestibular system and the sense of balance
    17. The chemical senses - the senses of smell and taste
    18. The limbic system, learning and memory
    19. The cerebral cortex, sleep and circadian rhythms
    Section 5 The endocrine system
    20. Introduction to the endocrine system
    21. The pituitary gland and hypothalamus
    22. The thyroid and parathyroid glands
    23. The adrenal glands
    24. The endocrine pancreas and regulation of plasma glucose
    Section 6 Blood and the immune system
    25. The properties of blood
    26. Defence against infection: inflammation and immunity
    Section 7 The cardiovascular system
    27. Introduction to the cardiovascular system
    28. The heart
    29. The electrocardiogram (ECG)
    30. The circulation
    31. The microcirculation and lymphatic system
    Section 8 The respiratory system
    32. Introduction to the respiratory system
    33. The mechanics of breathing
    34. Alveolar ventilation and blood gas exchange
    35. The control of breathing
    36. Pulmonary defence mechanisms and common disorders of respiration
    37. The physiology of high altitude and diving
    38. The physiology of exercise
    Section 9 The regulation of the internal environment
    39. The renal system
    40. The regulation of plasma osmolality and body fluid volume
    41. Acid-base balance
    42. The skin and thermoregulation
    Section 10 The gastrointestinal system
    43. Introduction to gastrointestinal system
    44. The digestive functions of the gastrointestinal tract
    45. The exocrine functions of the pancreas
    46. The liver
    47. Nutrition and energy balance
    Section 11 Reproduction and growth
    48. The physiology of the male and female reproductive systems
    49. Fertilization, pregnancy, and lactation
    50. Fetal and neonatal physiology
    51. The control of growth
    Appendix 1 - Glossary of key terms
    Appendix 2 - SI Units