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Subject: PHYSIOLOGY (A.A. 2021/2022)


Course year 1
Teaching units Unit Fisiologia generale
Biomedicine (lesson)
  • TAF: Basic compulsory subjects SSD: BIO/09 CFU: 3
Teachers: Giulia CURIA
Unit Neurofisiologia
Biomedicine (lesson)
  • TAF: Basic compulsory subjects SSD: BIO/09 CFU: 2
Teachers: Daniela GANDOLFI
Unit Sociologia generale
Propedeutic Studies (lesson)
  • TAF: Basic compulsory subjects SSD: SPS/07 CFU: 2
Teachers: Amelia CECI
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Aula virtuale su Microsoft Teams (immatricolati: 2021)

in attesa di attivazione da parte del docente

Exam type oral
Evaluation final vote
Teaching language Italiano
Contents download pdf download


Amelia CECI
Giulia CURIA


At the end of the course, the student will have acquired:
- the physical principles for a proper understanding of the contents of this course and of the subsequent related ones, the knowledge of the main theoretical models for medical physics and the assumptions on which these models are based, the ability to apply these models to real cases of clinical relevance (FTP; TRP; LOGO);
- the ability to interpret at chemical-molecular level the phenomena described by biochemistry; knowledge of the structure and function of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids, and the ways in which living organisms synthesize and degrade carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, with particular consideration to the production and consumption of energy; understanding of the basic principles of the different metabolic pathways in the human body (FTP; TRP);
- specific knowledge about cellular excitability and integrated functioning of organs and systems for homeostasis (FTP; TRP; LOGO; TO);
- principles of CNS functioning, especially sensory and motor systems (FTP; TRP; LOGO; TO);
- basic functioning of the external, middle and inner ear; basic functioning of the central auditory processing (LOGO);
-the ability to understand and analyze heterogeneous social situations and their consequences on individual health; identify pathogenic social contexts; find significant links with respect to social unease and its socio-economic causes and gender differences (TO).

Admission requirements

Principles of mathematics, basic chemistry, and biology.
Anatomy, biochemistry and physics are prerequisite for general physiology.
General physiology is prerequisite for neurophysiology.
Neurophysiology is prerequisite for audiology and phoniatrics (LOGO).

Course contents

PHYSICS: Vector algebra. Mechanics: kinematics and dynamics of the material point. Frictional force. Hydrostatics and hydrodynamics of fluids (blood). Wave phenomena, electromagnetic waves and their application in medicine. Acoustic waves and Doppler effect. Radioactivity and applications in medicine (FTP; TRP; LOGO).
BIOCHEMISTRY: Definition and function of metabolism. Amino acids and proteins. Hemoglobin and myoglobin. Enzymes. Metabolism of amino acids. Carbohydrates. Carbohydrate metabolism: glycogenolysis; glycolysis. Krebs cycle. Oxidative phosphorylation. Glycogen synthesis; gluconeogenesis. Nucleosides; nucleotides and nucleic acids. Lipids. Lipid metabolism (FTP; TRP).
GENERAL PHYSIOLOGY: Physiology and homeostasis. Cellular physiology. Cellular excitability. Synaptic transmission. Cell muscle physiology. Autonomic nervous system. Endocrine system. Cardiovascular system. Respiratory system. Renal system. Digestive system (FTP; TRP; LOGO; TO).
NEUROPHYSIOLOGY: Basics of CNS functions. Sensory systems: general principles; mechanoception; proprioception; thermoception; pain; ascending pathways; somatosensory cortex. Motor systems: voluntary, automatic and reflex movement; spinal cord and brainstem; motor cortices; vestibular system; cerebellum; basal ganglia; postural control (FTP; TRP; LOGO; TO).
AUDIOLOGY AND PHONIATRICS: cochlear dynamics and retrocochlear transmission of signal to the brain. Voice anatomy and physiology (LOGO).
SOCIOLOGY: Social dimensions of health. Sociology of health theories (functionalist, phenomenological, critical). Health in the somatic society. Social capital as a health factor. Social vulnerability and health inequalities. Knowledge of the debate on health definitions. The cure in history and culture. Care practices, professions and organizations. Nursing relationships in the digital age. The prospect of promoting health and self-care education (TO).

Teaching methods

Classroom lectures and discussions. Moreover, teachers receive students by appointment for explanations and academic support. In addition, the teachers receive students by appointment for clarifications and personalized tutoring. Due to health emergencies following directives from the government or the Rector, the lessons could be delivered remotely limited to the period of the emergency.

Assessment methods

PHYSICS: written examination including some simple exercises and open questions (FTP; TRP; LOGO). BIOCHEMISTRY: written examination including 16 closed questions (FTP; TRP). GENERAL PHYSIOLOGY: written examination including 31 closed questions. Upon request, the exam can be done in English. DSA certified students can apply to divide the program into 3 parts (FTP; TRP; LOGO; TO). NEUROPHYSIOLOGY: written examination including 20 closed questions (FTP; TRP; LOGO; TO). AUDIOLOGY AND PHONIATRICS: oral examination starts with the illustration of a student’s thesis and it will be completed by further oral questions (LOGO). SOCIOLOGY: written examination includes 8 closed questions and 12 open questions (TO). The final mark of the course will be obtained as the weighted average of the votes of the different modules. Due to health emergencies, following directives from the government or the Rector, the exams could be delivered remotely and in different modality compared to what described above limited to the period of the emergency.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding: classroom lectures and discussions with the teacher lead the students to learn:
- physical principles underlying phenomena of interest in biology and medicine;
- how living organisms produce and consume energy;
- the mechanisms of body integrated functioning to maintain homeostasis;
- the functions of peripheral and central nervous system in sensibility and in motor control;
- anatomical and physiological features of the inner ear and of the phoniatric apparatus;
- the basic conceptual tools of sociology.

Applying knowledge and understanding: the discussions on the subject lead the students to apply their knowledge to foresee and understand:
- the physical aspects of some biological phenomena and some physical techniques of medical interest;
- which metabolic pathways of the energetic metabolism are activated as a result of nutritional status;
- body changes in various physiological situations;
- reflex, automatic and voluntary responses of the nervous system;
- inner ear activity with respect to the surrounding stimuli and communication abilities;
- the territorial social structures, and the processes of social change.

Critical analysis: through discussions in the classroom, the students acquire the ability to critically discuss and recognize false statements regarding:
- physical mechanisms underlying biological phenomena and physical medical investigation techniques;
- metabolic pathways of energy metabolism activated accordingly to different nutritional conditions;
- various physiological situations;
- the main features of the nervous system;
- the main feature of the inner ear and the larynx;
- relational dynamics in personal and community contexts

Communication abilities: the discussions in the classroom develop the capacity to communicate on the subject, both with specialists and non-specialists.

Learning skills: the course allows the students to continue to study applying their critical thinking.


Elementi di fisica biomedica; D. Scannicchio, E. Giroletti (EdiSES)
Chimica per le scienze biomediche; G.I. Sackheim, D.D. Lehman (EdiSES)
Chimica, biochimica e biologia applicata; M. Stefani, N. Taddei (Zanichelli)
Fisiologia umana – fondamenti; A. Belfiore e AAVV (Edi Ermes)
Fisiologia Medica F.Conti e AAVV (Edi Ermes)
Sociologia del paziente Diseguaglianze sociali, salute digitale e nuove forme di partecipazione in sanità, di Veronica Moretti, Franco Angeli, 2020.

Per il modulo di Sociologia (TO), si suggerisce fermamente la lettura di:
1. Salute bene comune. Domande e risposte, di Fulvia Signani, Volta la Carta, Ferrara 2015
2. Oltre gli stereotipi di genere. Verso nuove relazioni di cura, Comune di Ferrara

Sulla pagina del Portale MOODLE, o inviati al rappresentante di classe, saranno disponibili (nel rispetto dei diritti d’autore):
- le diapositive utilizzate dal docente nel corso delle lezioni frontali (Fisica, Fisiologia generale, Neurofisiologia),
- il programma dettagliato (Fisiologia generale)
- questionari a risposta multipla volti alla simulazione d’esame (Fisiologia generale)