Anatomy and Physiology
The Blackford Centre
Anatomy and Physiology syllabus
The fascinating topics you’ll cover on the course
We cover everything you need to know in fourteen modules.
1: The skin: our protector
• The processes that the skin is responsible for, including regulating body temperature
• The 3 layers of the skin, and their role
• 6 jobs that skin does, including giving us immunity
• What is homeostasis?
• How does the body regulate temperature?
• 3 accessory organs of the skin: hair, nails and sweat glands
• The glands that produce malodorous sweat
• What is the function of ear wax?
• What causes acne?
• 7 skin abnormalities, including jaundice
• How birth marks are formed
• The 3 levels of burn
• 3 skin cancers and how treatable they are.
2: Holding it all together: the Skeleton
• The role the skeleton plays
• How the body moves
• How the skeleton supports the soft tissues
• How bone marrow produces blood cells
• How the body stores minerals
• The 4 main types of bones and their roles
• How the skull is designed
• How the skull supports teeth, nose and the eye
• Why only 7 of our 12 ribs are true ribs
• How the vertebrae protects the spinal cord
• Vestigial organs: the bones the body no longer needs
• The bones of the limbs
• The pelvic girdle and its role in child birth
• The four types of moveable joint, and what they do.
• How bones are structured
• The most common injuries of the bones including the 7 types of fracture
• Pain and inflammation of the joints: arthritis and its symptoms
• How the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown: possible origins
• Osteoporosis: types of treatment
3: Muscles: more than just running about
• The 5 characteristics shared by all muscles
• How muscles help communication and heat production and controls passageways in the body
• The three types of muscles: skeletal, cardiac and smooth and their role
• How muscles are arranged
• How muscles are connected to the skeleton
• The four issues you need to learn when studying muscles: anatomical name, common name, location, action
• The major muscle groups in the human body, and what they do.
• Muscles you need to know about
• Common diseases of the muscular system: strains, bruises and avulsions
• Muscular dystrophy
• Myasthenia gravis
4: The Nervous System: How our brain knows what’s going on
• The four types of cells in the nervous system and what they do
• The functions of the nervous system: collecting information, integrating information from the brain and moving muscles
• The major types of cells
• The two parts of the nervous system: central and the peripheral
• How the brain works
• The four lobes of the brain, and the parts of the body they control
• The importance of the hyperthalamus
• Why the spinal cord is important
• Common injuries and diseases of the nervous system including paraplegia and quadriplegia
• Multiple sclerosis, and its cause
• Alzheimer’s disease and its symptoms
5: The eye and the ear: mysterious and beautiful
• How the ears are an extension of your nervous system
• The 3 chambers of the eye and what they do
• How each part of the eye has a specialised function
• The structure of the ear
• How the pinna amplifies sounds
• The role of the tympanic membrane
• How info is carried from the ear to the brain
• The Organ of Corti and its 20,000 hearing cells
• How the ear manages your sense of balance
• Nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism and their causes
• Colour blindness and genes
• Diabetes and the eye
• Nyctalopia (night blindness)
• Conduction Impairment: foreign objects in the ear, tumours and ear wax
• The role of the stapes, or hammer bone
6: The Endocrine System: our hormones
• How hormones are releases, what they do, and how this is linked to many different diseases and disorders
• The endocrine system and its glands
• Hormones and what they do.
• Testosterone and oestrogen
• Feedback loops in the endocrine system.
• The hypothalamus and how it controls the pituitary gland, which responds to information that the brain senses
• Prolactin and milk production
• Growth hormone and its control of the growth of bones and tissues.
• How corticosteroids control the immune system, the body's response to stress, the amount of water in the body, and sexual function.
• How the adrenal medulla helps the body respond to stress
• T4 and T3 hormones and how they break down food to produce energy
• T-cells and their role in the immune system
• The pineal gland and how it controls sleep
• Insulin and glucagon, controlling sugar in the blood for energy
• Hyper thyroidism and the importance of iodine: Hot flushes, fatigue and irritability
• Hypo thyroidism: hair loss, weight gain, hoarse voice.
• Diabetes: the three main types
7: Blood and circulation
• How the body maintains its heart beat and blood pressure
• The main types of blood vessel, and their jobs
• Systolic and diastolic pressure.
• The five steps the heart must follow to successfully pump blood
• Why blood is a very complex substance
• How platelets stop bleeding
• The four blood groups: A, B, AB and O
• Who are the ‘universal receivers’?
• How people with blood group O do not produce antigens
• Anaemia: 400 types.
• Iron deficiency.
• Light headedness and brittle fingernails.
• Hypertension and its treatment
8: The lymph system. Staying healthy
• One of the most overlooked systems of the body
• Keeping the body germ-free
• Immunity: keeping out invading microbes that cause disease. Viruses, protozoans and intestinal worms
• How we remove dead and damaged cells
• The role of bone marrow
• What the spleen does
• The role of the tonsils
• Why fevers can be good for you
• The body’s mechanical barriers
• What is phagocytosis?
• How Neutrophils are the first cells to show up at the site of injury
• How adaptive immunity allows us to respond differently to each pathogen
• How our body remembers pathogens
• How vaccination works
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• AIDs and HIV and its stages
• Opportunistic infections
9: How we breathe
• Inhalation and exhalation: moving air to and from the lungs
• Other roles of the respiratory system including olfaction (smell), voice production.
• The role of the larynx and pharynx
• Bronchioles, alveoli and how gas diffuses in the body
• Laryngitis, sinusitis, and the common cold
• Pneumonia, lung abscesses and bronchitis
• Asthma: its symptoms and causes
• Emphysema: the destruction of the alveoli in the lungs. Its symptoms.
10. The urinary system
• How we filter the blood, dispose of waste and regulate our fluids
• Urine and its composition
• How the brain controls micturition (urination)
• Bacterial infections in the urinary tract
• The kidney and its one million nephrons
• How the kidneys produce over 180 litres of filtrate a day, but only 2 litres of urine
• Kidney stones and their treatment
• Proteinuria and its causes
• Urinary tract infections
11. The digestive system
• How we break food down
• The role of microvilli
• The accessory digestive system, including salivary glands and the gall bladder
• The mouth, including teeth, tongue and salivary glands
• How rugae help us digest food
• The role of peristalsis
• What the small intestine does
• How the liver produces bile
• The chyme
• Bacterial fermentation
• Super foods to help the digestive system
• Tooth decay
12. How we reproduce
• Gametes: sperm and eggs
• Sperm temperature
• The 64-day development of sperm
• 300 million sperm cells a day
• Sperm survival times
• The role of the bulbourethral glands
• Phases of the female menstrual cycle. Flow, follicular, and luteal.
• The prostate gland: benign and malignant tumours
• Yeast infections and candidiasis
• Prostrate cancer
• Tumours: benign and malignant
13. Cells and tissues
• There are 200 types of cells in the human body, each with its own unique function.
• The nucleus: the brain of the cell.
• The plasma membrane: the gatekeeper
• Cytosol: holding the organelles in place
• Cilia and flagella: including inside the nose, and the sperm cell.
• Mitochondria: the power house of the cell
• DNA and the double helix
• Of the 3 billion pairs of DNA, 98% apparently do nothing, and are called junk DNA
• The life cycle of a cell (your brain has 35 million nerve cells)
• Down Syndrome
• The types of connective tissue. Cartilage, bone and blood
14. Disease and Illness. How we get sick
• The difference between disease and illness
• Changes in the body due to injury, inflammation, cell death, and other causes
• Injuries caused by lack of blood flow, chemicals, and immune system reactions.
• Apoptosis. Programmed cell death
• Tumours: carcinomas and sarcomas
• The loss of homoeostasis
• Multifactorial diseases. Acute versus chronic diseases
• Infectious diseases, caused by pathogens.
• Flu and the common cold
• Mental illness, from claustrophobia to Alzheimers
• Deficiency diseases, associated with malnutrition
• Degenerative diseases more frequently seen in the elderly
• Social diseases, shaped by social factors, such as purity of water, job, and drug abuse
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