Total Lecture Hours: 
Total Lab Hours: 
Course Director(s):

John S. Martin, Ph.D., Associate Professor


This course attempts to present the basic principles and concepts necessary for comprehending the function of the various systems so that the student can understand the total integrated organism--man. In order to understand the function of an organ it is essential to have a knowledge of its structure. Modern techniques and typical values for recording body function will be included in the course.

Recognizing that Physiology is essential for medical students in their understanding of clinical medicine, first-year podiatric medical students should be able to demonstrate:

  • Endocrinology
  1. Review the complete anatomy, histology and embryology of the endocrine glands.
  2. Be able to cite the effects of hypo- and hyper-functional endocrine glandular conditions on all of the body's systems.
  3. Be able to recall the principles involved in the synthesis, release, control and actions of all hormones. Relate hormone action to each of the body systems and metabolism.
  4. Describe the major symptoms of the various disorders of the reproductive and endocrine systems.
  5. Describe the physiology of the menstrual and ovarian cycles.
  6. Describe the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, birth, and lactation.
  • Cardiovascular Physiology
  1. Review the physical properties of the cardiovascular systems such as velocity, flow, viscosity, pressure resistance, compliance and distensibility.
  2. The electrical properties of pacemaker, conducting, and contractile cells in the heart.
  3. Sketch in detail the structure of the heart. Review those principles that relate the mechanical and electrical activity of the heart. For example: heart models, force-velocity curves, length-tension diagrams, heart wall tension, efficiency, Starling's law, potentials, excitability and conduction. Be able to use the electrocardiogram to pick out cardiovascular abnormalities.
  4. Draw and label the cardiac cycle. Show how the stethoscope is used to listen to heart sounds and to determine blood pressure. Review your knowledge of heart regulation, blood pressure, shock and coronary circulation and then be able to cite those influencing factors so that you can understand cardiovascular disease.
  5. State the important characteristics of hypertension, heart failure, shock, inflammatory response and atherosclerosis.
  6. Have a clear picture in your mind how tissue fluid is formed and what factors cause edema so that you can treat edema formation of any origin.
  7. Review as many clinical cardiovascular diseases as possible, particularly those that relate to podiatry.
  8. The exchange of water, nutrients, wastes, and gases across capillary walls.
  • Blood
  1. Compare the theories of blood clotting
  2. Blood abnormalities as they relate to disease
  3. How agglutinogens and agglutinins when applied to the A, B, O and Rh blood systems are crucial in successful blood transfusion.
  • Renal Physiology
  1. Review the anatomy, histology and embryology of the kidney. Renal circulation, neural influence and juxtaglomerular apparatus should be emphasized.
  2. Cite those controlling factors and forces that regulate fluid-electrolyte balance in the body. 3. How is urine formed? The answer to this question makes it necessary to know precisely the modern concept of filtration, reabsorption, and secretion by the kidney as it handles the various substances.
  3. Recall the function of the various parts of the nephron so that you can understand urine concentration and dilution, hormone action, counter-current theory and renal circulation.
  4. How does the kidney control pH changes in the body? Mechanism for buffering must be described.
  5. Discuss kidney function in the various renal diseases.
  • Respiratory Physiology
  1. How the mechanics of inspiration and expiration effect pulmonary compliance, and the pulmonary volumes and capacities.
  2. Those respiratory muscles causing expiration and those which cause inspiration.
  3. Those factors which aid the collapse tendency of the lungs.
  4. How the negative intrapleural pressure insures normal expansion of the lungs.
  5. The detailed mechanism with chemical reactions by which oxygen and carbon dioxide are transported in the blood and their exchange at both the lung and tissue levels.
  6. The mechanism of oxygen and carbon dioxide diffusion through the respiratory membrane.
  7. The Hering-Breuer reflex in regulating the amplitude of lung expansion and contraction.
  8. The peripheral chemoreceptor reflexes which control the rate of ventilation.
  9. The central nervous system control of respiration.
  • Gastrointestinal Physiology
    by the end of this section students should be familiar with:
  1. Gastrointestinal motility
  • Nervous innervation of the gut
  • Types of G.I. movements
  1. The stages of food ingestion
  • Hypothalamic control
  • Mastication
  • Salivation and swallowing: function, regulation and stages
  • Movement of food through the stomach, small intestine and large intestine
  1. The regulation and composition of secretions of the
  • Salivary glands
  • Stomach
  • Small intestine
  • Pancreas
  • Liver and gall bladder
  1. The breakdown and absorption of carbohydrate, protein, and fat.

The major reflex and hormonal systems of the gut.   


To present a good foundation in mammalian physiology particularly needed for the practice of clinical podiatry. A clear understanding of all body functions helps the clinician to understand abnormal conditions of the extremities. We cannot separate clinical problems presented to the podiatrist from specific functions of all systems in the leg as well as the entire physiology of the total organism. Our lectures are about the average man or woman and how they function.