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Neurophysiology deals primarily with the functioning of the human nervous system , but also with that of animals . It is thus both a sub-area of physiology and animal physiology and a sub-area of ​​the more recent discipline of neuroscience .

Neurophysiology, in turn, can be divided into further special areas:

The subject of research in neurophysiology, the understanding of which until the early modern period was still shaped by speculative ideas from antiquity and the Middle Ages , includes neuronal activity and plasticity. The focus is on the dynamic processes both in the individual nerve cell and in the entire network of neurons, the so -called neural networks , but also the integrative activity of various neural networks.

As a special field of human medicine (more precisely: neurology ), clinical neurophysiology deals with functional disorders of the human nervous system.


The most common methods of investigation and research used in neurophysiology are those of electrophysiology in the broadest sense, including EEG .

Recently, imaging methods (also referred to as ( digital ) imaging ), such as confocal microscopy , functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and two-photon microscopy - primarily as fluorescence microscopy methods - have made important contributions to the knowledge gain in Neurophysiology done.


Although (animal) physiology is a sub-discipline of biology , the neurosciences do not follow this system, but instead place their own sub-discipline neurophysiology alongside neurobiology . The reason for this is the clearly different focus of the two disciplines. Thus, neurobiology explores the molecular and cell -biological foundations of neuroscience , not neuronal activities (at least not primarily); However, cell biology, like electrophysiology, also deals to a lesser extent with the communication (signal transduction) between cells.

Neuroanatomy as a branch of anatomy examines the structural and morphological structure of nerve tissue .

Sister disciplines of neurophysiology are cognitive neuroscience and neurochemistry .

See also


  • Harold L Atwood , William A MacKay : Neurophysiology . Text/image manual. Schattauer , Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 978-3-7945-1416-8 (English: Essentials of Neurophysiology . Translated by J. Walden and OW Witte , paperback , 403 pages (other OCLC nos: 257182047 and 715866807) ).
  • MA Brazier: The historical development of neurophysiology. In: J. Field (ed.): Handbook of Physiology. Neurophysiology, I. Washington 1959, pp. 1-58.
  • Karl Eduard Rothschuh (ed.): From Boerhaave to Berger. The development of continental physiology in the 18th and 19th centuries with special reference to neurophysiology. Stuttgart 1964 (= medicine in history and culture. Volume 5).


  1. Gerhard Klier: The three spirits of man. The so-called Spirituslehre in the physiology of the early modern period. Steiner, Stuttgart 2002 (= Sudhoff's archive , supplement 50), ISBN 3-515-08196-8 .
  2. Axel Karenberg : Neurophysiology. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Encyclopedia of Medical History. De Gruyter, Berlin/New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 1045 f.