Human physiology

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
BIO/09 MED/26
Learning objectives
The teaching course in Human Physiology is composed by two modules: Human Physiology and Neurology. The general aim of the course is to provide the intellectual tools to understand the functioning of the human body at the level of single cells, tissues, organs and systems. Moreover, stemming from some of the basic principles of neurophysiology and functional neuroanatomy the fundamentals of neurological semiotics will be provided.

The teaching module of Human Physiology aims at providing medical students with the skill of mastering:
- The notion of homeostasis: life from the level of cells to level of systems rests on the ability to maintain a number of physical parameters (both physical and chemical) within an optimal range. A thorough understanding of the concept of homeostasis and the related control systems is the pillar of physiology and medicine in general: preserving homeostasis means preserving life.
- An integrated view: at the beginning of the teaching course single functions will be analytically dissected to deepen basic knowledge, they are eventually incorporated in a multiscale framework of interactions between cells, tissues, organs and systems up to the entire individual. This process culminates with the study of the nervous system and with the integration of somatic, cognitive functions and consciousness.
- Quantitative approach: physiology rests on the precise measure of relevant parameters, from body temperature to glucose concentration and blood pressure, whose regulation relies on complex control systems. Thus, the teaching course must provide the students with the ability to build quantitative models and with the knowledge to understand the methods and limitations of empirical measures.
- The concept of adaptive responses: even in physiological conditions cells as well as organisms may temporarily depart from homeostasis in order to face perturbations of the internal and the external environment, e. g. changes in temperature or oxygen availability, or to adapt to new functional demands, e. g. from rest to exercise.

The module of Neurology aims at providing the basic knowledge to perform a neurological examination. It will also focus on the following topics: 1) Motor systems; 2) Cerebellum; 3) Language and cortical functions; 4) Consciousness and e coma; 5) Semiotics of the peripheral nervous system; 6) Brainstem and cranial nerve; 7) Spinal cord; 8) Semiotics of the autonomous nervous system; 9) Pain in neurology
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the teaching course, the medical student will be able to master the notions about subcellular, cellular tissue and oprgan function in order to:
- Illustrate the concept of homeostasis, the physiological rang e of all relevant physiological parameters and describe the different control system ad their interactions.
- Link within an integrated framework physiological processes occurring at different spatiotemporal scales including the ones allowing the emergence of complex functions (sensory, motor, and cognitive).
- Frame physiological processes by means of quantitative models and demonstrate a critical appreciation of the different measuring methods with specific emphasis on the ones involved in the assessment of clinically relevant variables.
- Describe how cells and systems adapt to external perturbations and to physical exercise.
- Prove that s/he can master the acquired notions in order to formulate principled clinical reasoning ass requested in the following teaching courses.
- Be able to localize sign or symptoms in the nervous system (central or peripheral, level of lesion) and to know the anatomo-functional principals of the various neurological functional systems
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Human physiology
BIO/09 - PHYSIOLOGY - University credits: 18
Informal teaching: 32 hours
Lessons: 192 hours
MED/26 - NEUROLOGY - University credits: 2
Lessons: 24 hours
Educational website(s)
Tuesday 10:00-12:00
Palazzina LITA 5° piano via GB Grassi 74 Milano