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The neurophysiology is primarily concerned with the workings of the human nervous system , but also with the animals . It is therefore both a sub-area of physiology and animal physiology and a sub-area of ​​the younger discipline of neurosciences .

Neurophysiology, in turn, can be subdivided into further specialties:

The subject of research in neurophysiology, the understanding of which was shaped by speculative ideas from antiquity and the Middle Ages until the early modern era , is, among other things, neuronal activity and plasticity. The focus is on the dynamic processes in the individual nerve cells as well as in entire networks of neurons, the so-called neural networks , but also the integrative activity of various neural networks.

The Clinical Neurophysiology is concerned as a special area of human medicine (more precisely of Neurology ) with functional disorders of the human nervous system.


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

Lately also have imaging (also known as (digital) Imaging ( Engl. )) Such as the confocal microscopy , the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and the two-photon microscopy - primarily as fluorescence microscopy methods - important contributions to the knowledge gained in the Neurophysiology done.


Although the (animal) physiology, a sub-discipline of biology is, you follow in neuroscience not this system, but is a separate sub-discipline neurophysiology next to the neurobiology . The reason for this is the clearly different focus of the two disciplines. Neurobiology, for example, explores the molecular and cell biological foundations of neuroscience , not neuronal activities (at least not primarily); Cell biology, like electrophysiology, also deals to a lesser extent with communication (signal transduction) between cells.

The neuroanatomy as a branch of anatomy studied the structural and morphological structure of the 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 (further OCLC numbers: 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 a special focus on neurophysiology. Stuttgart 1964 (= Medicine in History and Culture. Volume 5).

Individual evidence

  1. Gerhard Klier: The three spirits of man. The so-called Spiritus Doctrine in early modern physiology. Steiner, Stuttgart 2002 (= Sudhoffs Archiv , supplement 50), ISBN 3-515-08196-8 .
  2. Axel Karenberg : Neurophysiology. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 1045 f.