Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Integrated Biomedical Sciences

UM LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DEPARTMENT Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

DESCRIPTION This study-unit is intended to integrate basic anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology using much of the knowledge base already assimilated by the students over the first two years. The topics extend across a number of systems requiring that these be integrated with one another. Each topic will be covered by at least one lecture followed by an interactive tutorial session. The aim of the study unit is to make sure the student is well prepared for the clinical aspects of their course.

Study-unit Aims:

- To develop students’ abilities to integrate basic biomedical knowledge and skills;
- To integrate the knowledge gained from all the other modules studies from the 2 pre-clinical years of the MD course, in order to be able to have a solid coherent foundation for the following clinical years of medical studies.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- describe the inter-relationships between basic anatomy, physiology and biochemistry and between the different systems of the body - such as the cardiovascular and the respiratory systems;
- describe the multi-system effect of common clinical conditions such as obesity, diabetes and renal failure amongst others;
- explain the separate systems of the anatomy and physiology of the human body as a whole;
- explain the overlapping anatomical and surgical considerations of relations between different organs and tissues and systems in regional conception;
- explain the most likely sites of metastatic spread of tumours arising in different parts of the body via the lymphatic, blood and local routes;
- describe the cellular and embryological basis of different common and less common diseases;
- explain the role of vitamins and minerals in physiological or biochemical processes and to describe the effects of hyper and hypo vitaminoses;
- discuss the cardiovascular adjustments to exercise and other conditions;
- discuss the multifactorial regulation of normal calcium homeostasis in the human body;
- outline fuel metabolism in muscle tissue during resting, physical activity and ischaemia and discuss the causes of fatigue after physical activity;
- describe adaptive responses by the kidney to loss of functioning nephrons;
- describe the renal response to decreased renal perfusion;
- explain the major causes of renal failure;
- describe the characteristic clinical findings in renal failure;
- describe the metabolic and respiratory components of acid-base balance;
- explain the conscious state of a person through the Glasgow Coma Scale;
- distinguish between the different waveforms in ICP recording (A,B, C-waves);
- explain the various strategies for management and treatment of strokes.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- demonstrate on models or human volunteers the basic clinical methods for examining each of the body regions;
- identify common abnormalities in radiographs, CT scans and MRIs of various parts of the body;
- distinguish the common underlying causes of pain arising from different viscera in terms of anatomy and pathophysiology;
- predict the motor and sensory consequences of damage or injury to the nerves of the upper and lower limb and their common sites of injury;
- identify the basic functions of the somatic and autonomic nervous systems as exemplified by cranial nerve reflexes;
- explain the role of vitamins and minerals in physiological or biochemical processes and to describe the effects of hyper and hypo vitaminoses;
- analyse the changes in respiratory physiology on moderate to severe exercise;
- comment on clinical conditions associated with disturbances of the acid-base balance;
- focus on Epigenetics including the importance of epigenetics in Cancer and Epigenetic Therapy;
- identify factors that may lead patients to abusing prescribing medication;
- identify the causes, signs and symptoms of elevated ICP;
- distinguish between the different waveforms in ICP recording (A,B, C-waves);
- recognize how prescribed drugs may be abused by patients.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Text for Physiology

- Textbook of Medical Physiology, Ed. Guyton & Hall; Saunders, 11th Edition, 2006. ISBN: 978-0-7216-0240-0.

Main Text for Biochemistry

- Mark's Basic Medical Biochemistry: A Clinical Approach. Michael Lieberman, Allan D. Marks, Third Edition. Walters Kluwer/ Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0-13:978-0-7817-7022-4.

Main Texts for Anatomy

- Clinical Anatomy by Regions, Richard. S. Snell, 8th Edition. January 2007, Lipincott. ISBN-10: 0-7817-6404-1. ISBN-13: 978-0-7817-6404-9.
- Clinical Anatomy by Systems, Richard. S. Snell, April 2006. ISBN-10: 0-7817-9164-2. ISBN-13: 978-0-7817-9164-9.
- Grays Dissection guide for Human Anatomy, Morton, Peterson and Albertine.

Main Text for Pathology

- General and Systematic Pathology, JCE Underwood, 4th Edition, ISBN 0443073341, Churchill Livingstone or 2. Robbins Basic Pathology, V Kumar, A K Abbas, N Fausto, R Mitchell, 8th Edition ISBN1416029737,

Main Texts for Pharmacology

- P. N. Bennett, Morris J. Brown. Clinical Pharmacology: With STUDENTCONSULT Access (Paperback). 10th Edition. Churchill Livingston (2007). ISBN-10: 0443102449. ISBN-13: 978-0443102448.
- Humphrey P. Rang, Maureen M. Dale, James M. Ritter BM, Rod Flower. Pharmacology: With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access (Paperback). 6th Edition Churchill Livingstone (2007). ISBN-10: 0443069115. ISBN-13: 978-0443069116.

Supplementary Readings

- Imaging Atlas of Human Anatomy, Weir, Jamie and Abrahams, Peter, 3rd Edittion, 2003. ISBN-13: 978-0-7234-3211-1; ISBN-10: 0-7234-3211-2.
- Young Lowe, Stevens, Heath and Deakin. Wheater's functional Histology. A text and colour atlas. 5th Edition, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-0-443-06850-8. ISBN-10: 0-443-06850-X. Imprint: CHURCHILL LIVINGSTONE.
- T.W. Sadler. Langman's Medical Embryology Edition: 10th Paperback, 2006. ISBN-10: 0781794854; ISBN-13: 9780781794855.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study & Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
MCQ and Written Examination (3 Hours) SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Shawn Agius
Therese Marie Agius
Ernest Azzopardi
Jean Calleja Agius
Marie Therese Camilleri Podesta'
Ramona Camilleri
Simon Camilleri
Kieran Chircop
Kelvin Cortis
Sarah Cuschieri
Nathan Mark Edwards
Gabriel Galea
Joseph Galea
Alexander Gatt
Reuben Grech
Kristian Micallef
Nikolai Pace
Luise Reichmuth
Christian Scerri (Co-ord.)
Warren Scicluna
Mario Valentino
Josanne Vassallo
Neville Vassallo
Christian Zammit


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2022/3. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.