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Unit information: Ageing, disease and dysfunction in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Ageing, disease and dysfunction
Unit code ANAT30001
Credit points 30
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Tortonese
Open unit status Not open

For Intercalators in Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science. 2-3 years of professional degree program (BVSc, MBChB, etc).


Normal structure and function of the body (ANAT 30002)

School/department School of Anatomy
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This seminar-based unit will contain elements of cell and cancer biology, musculoskeletal biology, biomechanics of gait, and neuroendocrinology of behaviour and fertility with a focus on breakdown of those systems due to ageing and disease. It is aimed at intercalating Medical, Veterinary and Dental students who are intercalating in Anatomy after the first 2-3 years of their professional programs. The unit will include study of both human and veterinary species.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Specific learning outcomes will vary according to the material covered per year. Broadly, the unit will focus on ageing and disease and their effects on function of the musculoskeletal and neuroendocrine systems of the mammalian body, including both human and veterinary species. Specifically, upon completion of the unit, students will be able to explain:

  • Cell and cancer biology: Cancer cell dynamics in micro-environment; Interactions with non-cancerous epithelial cells and with fibroblasts.
  • Muscle: The physical, mechanical and electrical events leading to muscle fatigue, and its detection; The causes of weakness, pain and fatigue in muscle and how these symptoms are exacerbated in disease; The differences between the common myopathies and how to differentiate between them using histological, biochemical and electrophysiological techniques.
  • Bones and joints: The main diseases and malignancies that affect bone mass; The responses of bone to biomechanical and hormonal influences; The range of current therapies for osteoporosis.
  • Biomechanics: How limb loading and movement compensations that occur as a result of orthopaedic or neuromuscular injury affect the measured forces and moments at limb joints, and how these are reflected in the patterns of work at joints.
  • Neuroendocrinology: The concept of a stress response and long-term adaptation to stress; The social and behavioural roles of oxytocin and its implications in certain behavioural disorders; The neuroendocrine basis of disruption to the normal pattern of fertility.

Teaching Information

Two to three 3-hour seminars per week (Mondays and Tuesdays) with the remaining time given to the dissertation unit, other coursework and independent study.

Assessment Information

Three-hour written exam consisting of a Part A (based on content) and a Part B (based on data interpretation or scientific method within the context of the unit): 70%

Essay based on special topic within the unit content; 3000 words: 20%

Poster based on special topic within the unit content: 10%

Reading and References

The list of readings (mostly journal articles) will vary and will be current science. A reading list will be circulated prior to the commencement of the unit each year.