Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and Physiology syllabus

Course Syllabus


The fascinating topics you’ll cover on the course

We cover everything you need to know in fourteen modules.

1. Welcome

  • 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
  • Conjunctivitis
  • 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
  • Tinnitus

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
  • Gonads
  • 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
  • Lupus
  • 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
  • Gastritis

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
  • Tuberculosis
  • 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