About This Chapter
Digestive System Functions and Organs - Chapter Summary
This chapter explains the role of the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract in the digestive system. Other topics featured in our 'Digestive System Functions and Organs' chapter include:
- Throat, esophagus and mouth anatomy
- Stomach and gastric juice physiology
- Role of saliva
- Water absorption
- Epiglottal action
We introduce concepts through our easy-to-understand video lessons that are short. Our video lessons are coupled with supplementary quizzes that can be used to assess your weaknesses and strengths through immediate feedback. After receiving your quiz scores, you will be able to determine if you're ready to correctly answer digestive system questions when taking the biological sciences section on the MCAT.
Digestive System Functions & Organs Objectives
According to the MCAT's digestive system test objectives, you should know about concepts regarding:
- Ingestion and the stomach
- The liver, bile and the pancreas
- The small and large intestine
- Waste storage and elimination
- Muscular control
You're allotted 70 minutes to answer 52 multiple-choice questions when taking the MCAT's biological sciences section. These questions are broken up between 13 individual questions and seven sets of passage-based questions. Each reading passage set contains four to seven questions. Along with sitting for the biological sciences section, you must complete sections covering physical sciences and verbal reasoning. You also have the opportunity to sit for an optional trial section.
1. Digestive System I: The Upper Gastrointestinal Tract
Did you know that there are digestive enzymes in your saliva? It's true. As soon as you put a piece of food in your mouth, the digestive process begins. Join us with this first of two lessons about the human digestive system, where we'll follow food through the upper gastrointestinal tract from the mouth through the stomach.
2. Digestive System II: The Lower Gastrointestinal Tract
The lower gastrointestinal tract is the part of the digestive system that is responsible for the last part of food digestion and the expulsion of waste from the body. In this lesson, we'll look at each part of the system and what functions each serves in the process of digestion.
3. Anatomy and Physiology of the Mouth
The digestive system is a long tube that breaks food down both mechanically and chemically. In this lesson, you will learn about the mouth and how it begins the digestive process - with the help of the teeth and the enzyme called salivary amylase.
4. Anatomy of the Throat and Esophagus
After food has been partially broken down in the mouth, it moves through the pharynx, or throat, and the esophagus. In this lesson, you will learn how food is swallowed and how it is propelled by peristalsis through the esophagus.
5. Physiology of the Stomach and Gastric Juices
When food enters your stomach, it is mechanically broken down by a process called churning. In this lesson you will learn about this process and the chemical break down of proteins within the stomach by the enzyme pepsin.
6. Anatomy and Physiology of the Stomach and Autonomic Nervous System Controls
In this lesson, you will learn how the unique anatomy of the stomach - including rugae, gastric pits and gastric glands - makes it a perfect organ for digestion. You will also learn how the autonomic nervous system controls digestion.
7. The Gallbladder & Liver: Function & Role in Digestion
Bile is produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. In this lesson, you will learn about bile and its role in the breakdown of dietary fats. You will also learn how the hormones secretin and cholecystokinin help regulate these organs.
8. What Is the Pancreas? - Function, Enzymes & Role in Digestion
Your pancreas plays an important role in the digestion of food. In this lesson, you will learn about the enzymes found in pancreatic juice that allow your body to break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
9. Small Intestine: Nutrient Absorption and Role In Digestion
The majority of digestion and absorption of nutrients takes place in the small intestine. In this lesson, you will learn about unique modifications within the walls of the small intestine, such as microvilli, villi, and circular folds. These structures increase absorption of nutrients.
10. Movement Through the Small Intestine: Peristalsis, Segmentation & Pendular Movement
The small intestine is an important organ for digestion and absorption of nutrients. In this lesson, you will learn about the enterogastric reflex. You will also learn how intestinal movements, such as peristalsis, segmentation, and pendular movement, improve digestion and absorption.
11. Anatomy and Physiology of the Large Intestine
The large intestine is the made up of the cecum, colon, rectum and anal canal. In this lesson, you will learn about the anatomical features and basic functions of these large intestine segments.
12. Rectum, Functions of the Large Intestine & Water Absorption
The large intestine is the final processing area for digested food. In this lesson, you will learn how the large intestine removes water from undigested food and prepares for the elimination of feces through the anus.
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