Improve Your Understanding of Human Physiology
Designed for health therapists and health adjacent professionals, this course is a solid introduction to the deeper workings of the human body. You'll discuss how our bodies maintain internal equilibrium and health while exposed to the most variable range of conditions, such as physical, psychological and environmental factors. Excellent as a stand alone or bridging course.
Prerequisite: Human Anatomy & Physiology BSC101 or equivalent.
- Cell Physiology – Study of the functions of cells
- Chemical reactions
- Homeostasis, feedback systems, homeostatic imbalances
- Cellular Metabolism
- Membrane Transport
- Histophysiology – Study of the functions of tissues
- Muscle filaments and fibres
- Bone Ossification and Growth
- Varieties of Dense Connective Tissue
- Functions of Epitheilial Tissue
- Systems Physiology - Study of the significant systems and functions of organs
- Autonomic Nervous System
- Dual Innervation and neurotransmitters
- Actions of the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous System
- Peripheral Nervous System
- General senses and their integrative function
- Study of the sensory modalities - smell, taste, vision, hearing and equilibrium
- Neurophysiology – Study of the functional characteristics of nerve cells
- Structure of the Nervous System
- Resting membrane potentions, ion channels, repolarization
- Classification of different neurons
- Grey/White matter
- Reflexes, relex arcs and homeostasis
- Action potentials and synapses
- Functions of the cerebral cortex
- Endocrinology – Study of hormones and how they control body functions
- Principle functions of the endocrine system
- Physiology of hormones
- Actions of the Anterior and Posterior Pituitary Glands
- Hormone receptors
- Mechanisms of homeostatic action
- Cardiovascular Physiology – Study of the heart and blood vessels
- The Cardiac Cycle
- Heart-Muscle cell contraction
- Hemodynamics of blood - volume, BP, capillary exchange
- The Arterial-Alveolar Gradient
- Cardiac Output
- Oxygen Transport
- Immunology – Study of the body defence mechanisms
- Non specific cellular and Chemical Defenses
- Functions of White Blood Cells
- The Inflammatory Response
- The Physiology of Fever
- Specific Defense Mechanisms
- Immunity and Antibodies
- Respiratory Physiology – Study the functions of the air passageways and lungs
- Pulmonary Ventilation - pulmonary capacity
- Gas Exchange
- Lung Volumes and Capacity
- The Respiratory Epithelium
- Renal Physiology – Study of the function of the kidneys
- Structure and Functions of the kidneys
- Glomerular Filtration
- Renal control of Electrolytes and Acid Base Balance
- Active and Passive Tubular Reabsorption
- Tubular Secretion
- The process of Micturition
Types of Physiology
There are different areas of study that come under the umbrella of "Human Physiology"
- Cellular Physiology -studies the cells
- Histophysiology studies the functions of different tissues
- Systems Physiology studies the things that are created by groups of tissues.
A group of tissues make up an organ and a group of organs that work in a specific way together make up the organisation of a system. This lesson focuses on how systems ‘communicate’ with each in order to bring about necessary changes within the internal environment of the body. For this ‘communication’ or signalling to take place, we need to look closely at the nervous system and the associated cells, tissues and functions of this system.
Central and peripheral nervous systems
Principally the nervous system is made up to 2 divisions –
- The CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM (CNS): is made up of the brain and spinal cord
- The PERIPHERAL NERVOUS SYSTEM (PNS): is made up of cranial nerves which emerge from the brain and spinal nerves which emerge from the spinal cord
These are interconnected systems which work together – some nerves, or neurons carry signals into the CNS from the PNS and some neurons carry signals from the CNS to the PNS. The neurons responsible for the input signals into the CNS are called sensory or afferent neurons. These neurons conduct impulses from sensory receptors into the CNS (and around within the CNS).
The neurons responsible for output signals from the CNS are called motor or efferent neurons. That is these nerve impulses originate from within the CNS and travel to the muscles and glands in different parts or organs of the body.
The peripheral nervous system
The peripheral nervous system (PNS) is subdivided into a somatic nervous system (SNS), autonomic nervous system (ANS).
- Somatic (soma = body) nervous system – associated with voluntary control of skeletal muscles and senses linked to hearing, sight, smell.
- Autonomic (auto = self) also can be referred to as the visceral system, though this is less common, nervous system – is a control system which we have little or no control of, for example digestion, respiration rate, salivation. The autonomic system is branched into sympathetic and parasympathetic components (both of these work on particular parts of the human body)
Sensory, Motor and Integrated Systems
It is through this functioning of systems that the body is able to communicate and relate with each other. It is necessary to have these in place so if we feel pain; we can react to alleviate the discomfort (for example, moving our hand away from a fire).
Sensation is being aware of a change in the environment, whether that environment is external or internal. Each type of sensation such as touch, pain, hearing and vision is called a sensory modality. Each specific sensory neuron carries information for that particular sensory modality. Neurons carrying information for touch can only transmit impulses for touch, not pain or hearing
The general senses are made up of both somatic senses and visceral senses. Somatic senses are include tactile sensations which are touch, pressure and vibration, thermal sensations, warm and cold, pain sensations and proprioceptive sensations which is perception of both moving and non moving body parts. Visceral senses are information about internal organs.
The general or somatic senses begin in the receptors located in the skin (cutaneous) or embedded in muscles, tendons, joints and the inner ear (proprioceptive). Anaesthesia means without sensation and when it is used it blocks sensation within the body and between systems. The sensations from the somatic receptors then cross over to the opposite side in the spinal cord or brainstem before going to the thalamus.
There are two general pathways from sensory receptors to the cortex: posterior column pathway (discriminative touch and proprioception) and the spinothalamic (anterolateral) pathway (pain and temperature). This input is then integrated in the central nervous system which is then conveyed by the motor pathway to create a response.
The integrative functions include such activities as memory, sleep and wakefulness, and emotional responses (limbic system). These functions are the subject of many studies and we are just beginning to understand the physiology and interdependency of these systems with the rest of the body. Of course we are aware when we have little sleep it can affect our emotional responses as well as our memory.
The Process of Sensation
The process begins in a sensory receptor – either a specialised cell or in the dendrites of a sensory neuron. The sensory receptor responds to stimulus – or a different change in the environment. Once the receptor is stimulated, they will convert energy into a graded potential. Importantly, each sensory receptor can only transduce its own particular type of stimulus.
Once the message is received, a particular region of the CNS will receive and integrate the sensory nerve impulse and then integrate it into the cerebral cortex. Different sensory impulses from each part of the body arrive in a particular region of the cerebral cortex which interprets the sensation as coming from the stimulated sensory receptor. Therefore, you seem to hear with your ears, or feel pain in a certain bodily part, when in fact it is your brain telling you about the action as it responds to the message.