State function question as it applies to Biology/Physiology

In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of State Functions and whether a person's blood pressure or body temperature can be considered as such. While the definition of a State Function is agreed upon, the issue arises when considering the changes in these variables due to external factors. Further research is suggested to fully understand and recognize State Functions in biological and physiological systems.
  • #1
taimcampos92
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Hi everyone! Hope you all are doing great. I'm currently starting a new course mixed with Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics-related to Nurse anesthesia. While reading about State function a question arrived on my team. We all agreed that a State Function "is a property or characteristic of a system that depends only on its current state and not on how it reached that state"; however, can a person's Blood pressure or body temperature can be considered state functions?
 
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  • #2
Welcome to PF. :smile:

Can you give a reference to your source of information on State Functions? Is it referring to biological and physiological systems mainly, or is it a general systems reference?

The issue with BP and body temperature is that they are affected by many things in real time. And it seems like elevated local temperature due to local swelling is different from uniform body temperature. Similarly, low BP due to being in V-tach is different from low BP with a NSR...
 
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  • #3
berkeman said:
Welcome to PF. :smile:

Can you give a reference to your source of information on State Functions? Is it referring to biological and physiological systems mainly, or is it a general systems reference?

The issue with BP and body temperature is that they are affected by many things in real time. And it seems like elevated local temperature due to local swelling is different from uniform body temperature. Similarly, low BP due to being in V-tach is different from low BP with a NSR...
I see, thanks for the quick reply,

Still becomes somehow confusing to me to actually understand and fully recognize it. I'll do a little more research, thank you
 

Related to State function question as it applies to Biology/Physiology

What is a state function in the context of biology and physiology?

A state function is a property whose value does not depend on the path taken to reach that specific value. In biology and physiology, state functions include properties like entropy, enthalpy, and internal energy. These properties are essential for understanding various physiological processes, such as metabolic pathways and thermodynamic changes in cells.

How does the concept of state function apply to metabolic pathways?

In metabolic pathways, state functions help in understanding the energy changes that occur during biochemical reactions. Since state functions depend only on the initial and final states, they allow scientists to calculate the overall energy change in a metabolic pathway without needing to know the detailed steps and intermediates of the pathway.

Can you give an example of a state function in physiology?

An example of a state function in physiology is the Gibbs free energy. Gibbs free energy changes help determine whether a biochemical reaction will occur spontaneously. This is crucial for understanding cellular respiration and other metabolic processes, as it helps predict the direction and feasibility of reactions.

Why are state functions important for understanding homeostasis?

State functions are important for understanding homeostasis because they provide a way to quantify the energy changes and equilibrium states of biological systems. By analyzing state functions, scientists can predict how changes in temperature, pressure, and other environmental factors will affect the stability and function of physiological systems, thereby helping to maintain homeostasis.

How do state functions relate to the laws of thermodynamics in biological systems?

State functions are directly related to the laws of thermodynamics, which govern energy transformations in biological systems. The first law of thermodynamics, which concerns the conservation of energy, and the second law, which deals with entropy, both utilize state functions to describe how energy is stored, transferred, and transformed within living organisms. This relationship helps in understanding processes like energy production, heat regulation, and metabolic efficiency.

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