University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Gastrointestinal and the Endocrine System

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Physiology and Biochemistry

DESCRIPTION Gastrointestinal Physiology

1. General Instructional Objectives
    • An understanding of basic gastrointestinal physiology
    • An understanding of hepatic function

2. Required Abilities
    a. To outline the autonomic and hormonal regulation of secretion from the gut
    b. To outline the composition of secretions from the alimentary tract including saliva, gastric fluid, bile and intestinal fluid
    c. To outline basic aspects of fat, protein, and carbohydrate digestion and absorption
    d. To describe the control of gastric motility and emptying
    e. To describe the physiology of swallowing and vomiting
    f. To describe the consequences of prolonged vomiting, bowel obstruction and malabsorption syndromes
    g. To explain the factors preventing reflux of gastric contents into the oesophagus
    h. To describe the storage, synthetic, metabolic and excretory functions of the liver
    i. To describe the clinical laboratory assessment of liver function and hepatic failure
    j. To describe the handling of bilirubin in the body
    k. To describe the anatomical and physiological considerations in hepatic blood flow
    l. To describe the portal circulation and its significance

Endocrine Physiology

1. General Instructional Objectives
    • An understanding of the physiological effects of hormones and the derangements that result from dysfunction, including the various mechanisms by which hormones affect target cells

2. Required Abilities
    a. To describe the role of the hypothalamus in the integration of neuro-humoral responses
    b. To describe the control of secretion and the functions of pituitary hormones
    c. To describe the synthesis and functions of thyroid hormones and how their secretion is regulated
    d. To describe the synthesis and functions of Parathyroid hormones and how their secretion is regulated
    e. To describe the regulation of plasma calcium including the actions and control of vitamin D, parathormone and calcitonin
    f. To describe the actions of pancreatic hormones and the control of their secretion
    g. To explain the control of blood glucose levels
    h. To describe the control of secretion and the functions of adreno-cortical hormones
    i. To describe the control of secretion and the functions of Ovaries and Testes

Recommended Textbooks

• Human Physiology by Stuart Ira Fox, WCB/McGraw-Hill
• Anatomy & Physiology by Kenneth S. Saladin, WCB/McGraw-Hill
• Textbook of Medical Physiology by Arthur G Guyton & John E. Hall, W.B. Saunders
• Review of Medical Physiology by William F. Ganong, McGraw-Hill/Appleton & Lange


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Sarah Cuschieri
Christian Scerri (Co-ord.)

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 study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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