Human Anatomy & Physiology

Any time people get into a discussion about illness, health, drugs, metabolism, excretion, the functions of cells or organs, immunity, etc., sooner or later they start talking about the structures in the human body and their functions. It's impossible to have an understanding of drug effects, digestion, respiration, etc. without being familiar with the anatomical structures involved and how they operate.

I know that many visitors to this site already have a pretty good understanding of how their bodies work, but also that many folks don't know much about their inner workings at all. In fact, it's been proven, more than once, that the typical American man knows much more about his car's anatomy and how it operates (its physiology) than his own body!


Anatomy refers to the location of the various organs and other components. Below is a collection of links to sites with review materials, as well as self-testing sites. Most allow you to focus on one body system at a time.

Anatomy Arcade - a very low-level study aid for anatomy, aimed at high school and younger students. It's kind of fun to look around, and see how anatomy is being taught these days, especially to such young kids. I think it's great!

Anatomy & Physiology - from the NCI (National Cancer Institute), a detailed set of tutorials covering all body systems, followed by a series of "site-specific modules", as well as much additional information. An excellent resource.

Anatomy & Physiology - from WiscOnline, the University of Wisconsin's great teaching site, several dozen links to very good tutorials on topics from cell biology and biomolecules to our sense of taste.

Anatronica - "Interactive anatomy 3D" is a really excellent, 3D anatomical reference program. Requires installation of their "Unity One" player, but it's small and doesn't interfere with other programs (so far).

AnatQuest - a project of NLM (National Library of Medicine): "U.S. National Library of Medicine's Visible Human Project has produced high resolution (4096 x 2048 x 24 bits) cryosectional color images of human anatomy."

Brain Sections - from a site on comparative mammalian brain anatomy, a collection of brain slices from a variety of mammals in addition to humans.

Brainviews Links & Resources - an amazing collection of links to brain atlases, brain injuries, stroke, brain pathology, and much more.

GetBodySmart - a nice collection of online quizzes about the various body systems.

Gray's Anatomy - amazingly, this classic reference work (first edition 1918) is available online at no cost. This was a very expensive book before its online debut, and has been continuously updated since then. It currently features 1247 wonderful engravings and a subject index with 13,000 entries.

Healthline Body Maps - very nice, animated body outline, which you then adorn with different systems with a mouse click.

Human Anatomy - The homepage of an anatomy prof. at Penn. State. Separate modules for each body system.

InnerBody - a very well-executed study aid for human anatomy. Mouseover any link to study a given system, and the components of that system appear on a diagram of a human body. Very nice, with intuitive navigation.

Interactive Concepts in Biochemistry - Wiley's multimedia, interactive companion to the popular textbook. Features interactive animations, tutorials, even quizzes to see how you're doing.

Kids' Health - a site with sections for kids, teens, and parents (so the parents know how to talk to their kids about this). In reality, it's a primer for adults who either never learned it or forgot it. This makes it a great study guide.

(The) Medical Biochemistry Page - huge, comprehensive site with tutorials on pretty much any topic important to biochemists, medicinal chemists, and anyone wanting to learn some biochemistry from an excellent, authoritative source.

Pathogen Profile Dictionary - very good, very huge database of virtually all pathogens known to cause human diseases.

(The) Whole Brain Atlas - from Harvard Medical School, a great collection of brain images for normal brains and those afflicted with a collection of common brain injuries or illnesses.

Zygote Body - a very cool 3D approach to diagramming anatomical features.

Physiology is the study of function in living systems. In studying humans, a good way to remember anatomy vs. physiology is that anatomy says where it is, and physiology says what it does. It also covers digestion and the utilization of essential vitamins and minerals.

Cells Alive - lots of interactive animations of body processes like cellular function, including meosis, mitosis; how antibiotics function, and many other interesting topics.

Human Physiology - superlative collection of tutorials, each including a really good animation of the process(es) being discussed.

What Exactly Do Vitamins and Minerals Do? - a very good, well-organized primer on vitamin and mineral function, with extra links provided for greater detail.