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Improvement suggestions history of homeostasis Further consideration of positive feedback eg in pathological conditions The Homeostasis Concept Homeostasis is a system of automatic control mechanisms which maintain the internal environment of an organism despite changes in the external environment Campbell Reece 2005 The internal environment consists of extracellular fluids that bathe every cell of the body supplying nutrients and receiving wastes Purves et al 2001 Regulators animals which use homeostasis maintain suitable physical conditions such as body temperature and water potential of cells and the supply of nutrients eg O and glucose and removal of wastes eg CO and urea by the interaction of a number of body systems including the respiratory digestive circulatory excretory and immune systems controlled by the brain via the endocrine and nervous systems Campbell Reece 2005 wwwemcmaricopaedu wwwgonzagak12nfcaacademics Homeostasis is based on feedback mechanisms whereby sensory nerves or receptors receive a stimulus for example a change in temperature and inform the control centre in the brain This sensory input is processed and a signal is sent to an effector system eg muscles or glands that cause the response to the stimulus Purves et al 2001 Most examples are of negative feedback loops in which any deviation from the set point is made smaller or resisted Positive feedback is occasionally used eg release of oxytocin during childbirth - nerve stimulation caused by the babys head pushing the cervix stimulates uterine contractions causing further nerve stimulation and therefore more oxytocin is released until the cut-off point of birth Seeley Stevens Tate 2006 Thermoregulation controlled by the autonomic nervous system maintains body temperature within an optimal range enabling cells to function most effectively even as external temperatures fluctuate Campbell Reece 2005 This is important as many enzymes in the body work within specific temperature ranges Seeley Stevens Tate 2006 Thermoreceptors of sensory nerves in the skin body core and hypothalamus detect a change in temperature and
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