The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Bioelectricity refers to the static voltage of biological cells and to the electric currents that flow in living tissues, such as nerves and muscles, as a result of action potentials. Biological cells use bioelectricity to store metabolic energy, to do work or trigger internal changes, and to signal one another.

Bioelectrity is studied primarily through the techniques of electrophysiology. In the late eighteenth century, the Italian physician and physicist, Luigi Galvani, first recorded the phenomenon while dissecting a frog at a table where he had been conducting experiments with static electricity. Galvani coined the term animal electricity to describe the phenomenon, while contemporaries labeled it galvanism. Galvani and contemporaries regarded muscle activation as resulting from an electrical fluid or substance in the nerves.

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