Sample Biology Essay on Homeostasis
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Homeostasis is the ability of self-regulation. It is the ability of the open system to maintain the balance of its internal condition with the help of the number of the coordinated reactions. It is the intention of the system to reproduce itself and restore the lost balance or defeat the harmful external influence of the environment. In 1932, the American physiologist Walter Cannon wrote in his book The Wisdom of the Body that homeostasis is the coordination of biological processes that maintain the majority of the stable states of the organism. The further explanation of this term is related to the ability of the dynamic preservation of the stable internal condition of any open system. However, the idea of the constancy of the internal environment was formulated by the French scientist Claude Bernard in 1878. The term homeostasis is most often used in biology. Multicellular organisms require maintaining the stability of their internal environment if they want to survive. Many ecologists believe that this term can be applied for the external environment too. If the system is unable to restore its balance, it will not be able to function any longer. Such complex systems as the human organism should possess homeostasis in order to maintain stability and exist. These systems should strive not just to survive but to adapt to the environmental changes and develop.
Homeostatic systems possess a range of the similar qualities. The first one is the instability of the system. This feature is very notable because the system tests itself and learns how to adapt to the environmental changes better. If the system was always stable, it would never survive. It would not be able to adapt to the slightest changes in the external environment. The second feature is the intention towards the balance. The entire internal and functional structure of the system maintains its balance. If the system loses its balance, there is a threat of stress or even death. Thus there is a paradox. The system should be unstable but well-balanced at the same time to survive. Finally, the third quality is the unpredictability of the system. Very often the impact of the specific factor can have different and unexpected results.
It is reasonable to admit that homeostasis is a very complicated issue. Although the organism is in a balanced condition, its physiological state can be dynamic. For instance, the body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and the majority of the metabolic indicators are not always on the same level.
They change every minute and hour dynamically. Nevertheless, the homeostasis of the organism is maintained perfectly well. Although the indicators change, you feel good and your organism remains in the perfect condition. Thus, one should say that our organism is so complicated that every organ is able to react to the rhythm of other organs increasing or reducing its performance in order to work in tandem with them. In fact, when one organ fails to work well, the entire organism will suffer being unable to compensate the poor work of the weak organ.
When there is any alteration in the system, it reacts in two major ways. We can define the positive and negative feedback of the system. The negative feedback is the reaction characterized with the change of the alteration’s direction in the opposite way. The negative feedback maintains the stability of the system and the entire homeostasis. The brightest examples of this feedback are the work of lungs and thermoregulation. For example, if the concentration of carbon dioxide increases in the organism, lungs receive the signal that makes them work more actively and release more carbon dioxide. Thermoregulation is another example of the negative feedback. When the body temperature increases (or reduces), thermoreceptors in our skin and hypothalamus register this alteration and delivers this information to our brains. Brains react to this information with the response. They increase or reduce the temperature if necessary.
Positive feedback is characterized with the increase of the amplification of the variable. This feedback occurs rarely in the natural environment. The best example the positive feedback is the complex of processes that take place at birth when the organism survives the biggest stress.
Both types of feedback are vital for the system and they often co-work with each other. While the negative feedback helps the organism to return to its homeostatic condition, the positive feedback is used for the transition of the organism towards the new type of homeostasis provoked by stress and other external changes in the environment.
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