The Human Body: How We Fail, How We Heal

Course No. 1564
Dr. Anthony A. Goodman, M.D.
Montana State University
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Course No. 1564
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Course Overview

Your body is a fortress under constant assault. Infectious diseases, parasites, environmental toxins, physical trauma, allergens, and natural disasters are some external enemies it faces. From the inside, it is threatened by occasional overzealous allergic, immune, and inflammatory responses, as well as by the cellular mutations that produce cancer.

Fortunately, the body's defenses are remarkably successful, and most of the time we are unaware of the intense drama taking place within our cells and organs.

The intriguing details of this drama make up the field of pathophysiology—the study of the disruptions in a normal body's functions that are caused by disease or injury. Medical students get an exhaustive introduction to this subject early in their training, and the best clinicians are masters of it. Yet few laypeople understand the story of how our bodies fail and the marvelous ways they heal themselves.

The Human Body: How We Fail, How We Heal is designed to fill this information gap. In 24 half-hour lectures, you will explore the many ways the body meets the challenges of disease and injury with remarkable defenses and restorative powers, and how, in some cases, it may either fail or overreact.

A Doctor Who Can Tell You What's Wrong and Why

Your guide is Dr. Anthony A. Goodman, surgeon, professor, novelist, and a superb communicator of medical information. Many Teaching Company customers have already experienced his reassuring bedside manner in his other course, Understanding the Human Body: An Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology. That series covered the normal functioning of the body's organ systems, with glimpses at the more common clinical problems.

Now, Dr. Goodman presents a systematic survey of what can go wrong, why, and how the body itself responds, as well as what doctors can do to intervene. There is no better demonstration of the wondrous intricacy of the body and the everyday miracle of good health.

Hundreds of Medical Examples

In these lectures, Dr. Goodman brings up many subjects you may have wondered about, while also taking you down fascinating paths that will be completely new to you. Among the hundreds of examples he discusses are:

  • Grapefruit and medicine: Cells react to many medications as if they were toxins, which is why the medicines work for a short time before being excreted. Some chemicals in grapefruit interfere with this "toxin-recognition" function in some cells, keeping the medicine in the system longer than usual—a dose that may have been normal could become too much.
  • The eyelid: If you go to an ophthalmologist for a condition such as conjunctivitis, a corneal abrasion, or an infection, the doctor will have you close your eye and then cover the eyelid with a piece of gauze and adhesive tape to keep it closed. The inside of the eyelid is the world's best dressing. It has never been surpassed.
  • Human bite: The flora of the human mouth is extremely toxic anywhere but in the mouth. Therefore, the human bite is one of the most dangerous. The "boxer's fracture"—a broken hand from a blow to the opponent's teeth—must be treated very aggressively if it is contaminated with bacteria from the mouth—even more aggressively than a dog or cat bite.
  • Appendicitis: An initial pain near the site of the appendix is more likely to be a kidney stone than appendicitis, which usually begins as pain around the navel due to the way nerves interpret swelling in the intestines. Dr. Goodman describes the distinctive migration of pain as the appendix becomes obstructed, enlarged, and then infected.
  • Colon cancer: The tumors that cause most colon cancers are unusual because they develop from benign to malignant in a predictable sequence. Early intervention can remove the precancerous growths, called polyps. "We practically wipe out colon cancers in that population willing to be colonoscoped about every five to ten years or so," observes Dr. Goodman.

Become Familiar with Terms Doctors Use

One of the valuable features of this course is the exposure you will have to medical terminology. Dr. Goodman is generous in his use of technical terms and equally generous in the care he takes to explain them. You will learn the difference between signs and symptoms; when a disease is acute versus chronic; how to distinguish endemic, epidemic, and pandemic; and why the malapropism elephantitis means "inflammation of your elephant," when elephantiasis is the correct term (meaning "appearing like an elephant").

Reminding viewers that medical students are exposed to thousands of new words in their first two years, Dr. Goodman emphasizes that physicians have to understand each other as well as the biology of the body, and that is why a precise, familiar vocabulary is so important. "We'll try to keep these terms in play all the time, and I think you'll find them just a part of your vocabulary as we move along," he says reassuringly.

It's just one of the many ways that Dr. Goodman treats you with collegial respect when introducing you to the body's astonishing, yet natural, mechanisms of healing and self-defense when it faces the assaults and accidents of daily life.

What You Will Learn

Cellular level: After an introductory lecture describing the scope of the course, you begin at the cellular level, exploring the function of cells and the several common forms of injury. This lays the foundation for all that follows.

Inflammation and the immune system: The inflammatory response is the body's most primitive and immediate reaction to most forms of attack. The immune response is slower acting but more highly evolved, and it is tailor-made to each threat, for which it develops a distinct memory.

Infectious diseases: Infectious diseases are humankind's most persistent and deadly perils. They have a wide range of causes, including molecular prions, viruses, bacteria, parasites, and worms. These lectures focus on their prevention and treatment.

Shock: When the body perceives a dire threat it begins an automatic, progressive shutdown of systems in an effort to protect the brain and heart. This ultimately life-saving response is called shock, and yet it can quickly lead to death unless corrective measures are taken.

Cancer: Cancer is a self-inflicted wound caused when the genetic machinery of a cell goes awry. Theses lectures explore the environmental causes of cancer, the specific steps in its molecular biology, and strategies for treating its different forms.

Wound healing: The complex and astounding processes of bodily healing and repair are well illustrated by wound healing—in infections, trauma, and surgical intervention. You may be surprised to learn that no wound has to be closed, and that it is often a bad idea to attempt to close a wound that might be contaminated.

Dr. Goodman's goal is to give you the tools to understand diseases and injuries and the body's reaction to them. Such knowledge is no substitute for seeing your physician; however, now you will be better able to communicate with your doctor, know what questions to ask, and have more clarity regarding your own illness or that of a loved one.

Please Note:

These lectures are intended to increase the understanding of the structure and function of the human body. They are in no way designed to be used as medical references for the diagnosis or treatment of medical illnesses or trauma. Neither The Teaching Company nor Dr. Goodman can be responsible for any result derived from the use of this material. Questions of diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions must be brought to the attention of qualified medical personnel.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    How We Fail
    Pathophysiology is the study of changes in the normal functioning of the body due to disease or injury. Dr. Goodman begins the course with an intriguing look at how, in his general surgical practice, he developed a broad knowledge of this field. x
  • 2
    Cell Biology—Introduction and Definitions
    Cells are the smallest fully functioning units of life and therefore the fundamental level of reaction to an attack and subsequent healing response. This lecture shows how cells can maintain the status quo and how they react to different challenges. x
  • 3
    Inflammation—Basic Principles
    The acute inflammatory response is the body's first reaction to infection or invasion. During this response, chemicals are released that consume invaders, while other processes remove the invaders and initiate healing of the injured site. x
  • 4
    The Inflammatory Response
    Several kinds of blood cells are instrumental to the inflammatory response. Blood platelets initiate clotting; some types of white blood cells eat debris in a process called phagocytosis, while others release chemicals that direct the phagocytes. x
  • 5
    Inflammation—Clinical Manifestations
    This lecture reviews the four classic signs of inflammation: rubor (redness), dolor (pain), calor (heat), and tumor (swelling). The inflammatory response also produces different exudates and transudates, exemplified in burn injuries. x
  • 6
    The Immune Response
    The immune system is the next line of defense after the inflammatory response. Two distinct but related modes of action are the humoral response, induced by invaders in body fluids such as blood; and the cell-meditated response, directed against viruses, parasites, and foreign cells. x
  • 7
    The Immune Response Continued
    The secretory response is another aspect of the immune system, which aims to neutralize invaders before they enter the body. This lecture also examines natural and acquired immunities and vaccine development. x
  • 8
    Hypersensitivity and the Allergic Response
    Hypersensitivity turns a protective re­­sponse into a potentially dangerous one as the body overreacts to a foreign substance. Such reactions are generally called allergies and can be stimulated by foods, medicines, natural toxins, and various chemicals. x
  • 9
    Infectious Diseases—General Introduction
    Infectious diseases account for more death and illness than all other threats combined. Infectious agents include: prions, viruses, chlamydiae, rickettsiae, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and helminths. x
  • 10
    Two major classes of bacteria are distinguishable by the Gram stain. This lecture examines different gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, including staphylococci, streptococci, and clostridium; and the diseases they cause, such as tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and plague. x
  • 11
    Viruses survive by replicating inside the cells of their hosts. The inflammatory response is ineffective against them, but the immune response can be successful. There are many viral diseases ranging from the common cold, to polio, to Ebola. x
  • 12
    Spirochetes, Rickettsiae, Chlamydiae, Prions
    This lecture looks at syphilis, typhus, chlamydia, and Lyme disease, some of which can be treated successfully with antibiotics. You will also look at some of the newly identified diseases caused by prions, such as mad cow disease, which have no known cures or treatments. x
  • 13
    Many tropical diseases involve parasitic organisms that have complex life cycles. Often these organisms do not kill but rather sap the vitality of their hosts, keeping them barely alive. Malaria is one of the most widespread and devastating of these diseases. x
  • 14
    Schistosomiasis, Filariasis, Tapeworms
    This lecture covers a series of parasitic diseases that have been largely eradicated in the developed world, but that still affect millions in poor nations. Among them is a form of filariasis, called Loa loa, that Dr. Goodman, as a student, encountered in a dramatic case. x
  • 15
    Infectious Diseases—Treatment
    Sulfa drugs opened the antibiotic era in the early 20th century. Penicillin followed along with a host of antibiotics with specialized uses. Today, many bacteria have evolved drug resistance, turning back the clock to the preantibiotic era. x
  • 16
    Infectious Diseases—Triumph and Failure
    This lecture looks at some of the great success stories in conquering infectious diseases: Edward Jenner and smallpox, John Snow and cholera, and Louis Pasteur and rabies. All were working in the period before the organisms responsible for these diseases were known. x
  • 17
    Shock—Principles and Hypovolemic Shock
    Shock is the inability of the heart to provide adequate perfusion to the body's organs. Shock may lead to multiple organ failure, and if untreated, death. Forms of shock share the failure of the heart and vessels to keep up adequate blood flow to the organs to sustain life. Hypovolemic shock usually starts from severe blood loss x
  • 18
    Categories of Shock
    Other forms of shock include cardiogenic shock, the failure of the heart to function effectively; anaphylactic shock, stimulated by a severe allergic reaction; septic shock in response to infection; and neurogenic shock, resulting from damage to the nervous system. x
  • 19
    Cancer—The Enemy Within
    Stem cells are found throughout the body and can differentiate into specialized cells to replace normal cell attrition or to repair damaged tissues. Cancer, says Dr. Goodman, is the failure of stem cells to differentiate, and results from mutations lead to uncontrolled cell division. x
  • 20
    Environmental Carcinogens
    Carcinogens are chemical, physical, and biological agents that cause cellular changes that may result in cancer. Tobacco, as a chemical, is the world's number one carcinogen. Physical and biological carcinogens include radiation and certain viruses. x
  • 21
    Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis
    By damaging the DNA, carcinogens interfere with the passage of information from the parent cell to the daughter cell. This lecture investigates the various pathways at the molecular level that can lead to cancer. x
  • 22
    Invasion, Metastasis, and Angiogenesis
    This lecture reveals how cancer spreads in the body. The turning point is the establishment of distant metastases. This generally defines incurable disease and unleashes its lethal potential. However, antiangiogenesis therapy shows promise for curing some metastatic cancers. x
  • 23
    Treatment—Surgery, Radiation, Chemotherapy
    For well-defined cancer tumors of known location, surgery does well at removing bulk, while radiation kills malignant cells around the margins. Chemotherapy is ideal for finding residual microscopic tumors where the exact location is not known. x
  • 24
    How We Heal
    The final lecture looks at the complex process of wound healing, focusing on the surgical wound or the traumatic wound as the prototype. Dr. Goodman discusses a range of factors that influence wound healing, illustrated by some of his own cases. x

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Your professor

Anthony A. Goodman

About Your Professor

Anthony A. Goodman, M.D.
Montana State University
Dr. Anthony A. Goodman is Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Montana State University and Affiliate Professor in the Department of Biological Structure at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He earned his B.A. from Harvard College and his M.D. from Cornell Medical College and trained as a surgical intern and resident at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor. He completed his surgical training and...
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Also By This Professor


The Human Body: How We Fail, How We Heal is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 79.
Rated 3 out of 5 by from so wanted to like this but... I so wanted to like this and was looking foward to starting the course. I gave it a three star and was generous with that because: 1. The audio was terrible 2. There is not closed caption 3. The course was way more complicated than it deeded to be. There is lots of information here but it is more geared to the medical student than someone who just wanted to know more about the human body and how we heal.
Date published: 2018-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very professional, suitable for non-professionals The presentation in a pace that is easy to follow with plenty of illustration including many words that we are unfamiliar with. No, you cannot listen to this course while traveling. Everyone should know this life-saving information to keep you and your loved ones as safe as is humanly possible. Learn how sophisticated critters are that attack us from more sources than you ever imagined. You will not be bored. Take the time ones in your life.
Date published: 2018-06-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Very disappointed I'm not only disappointed, but I found the professor downright irritating. He spent much of the first lecture explaining why general surgeons are just as good if not better than surgeons with specializations, the second and third lessons giving technical terms after technical terms, and I didn't find his graphics to be all that helpful. I slogged through the first 3 1/2 lessons, but I won't subject myself to the rest of what he has to say. I think the topic would be very interesting, but not with this professor.
Date published: 2018-06-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good...but not great... There was certainly some good information but I was immediately disappointed that the presenter obviously didn’t practice what he preached!
Date published: 2018-04-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from High school biology extension...success! We used this product as a supplement to a biology course for 7th through 9th graders. Overall we would rate it a success! Though some of the information was "advanced" especially for the 7th grader, and though we did skip a couple of the more "mature" topics, the students appreciated the visual aids very much. Dr. Goodman was a good instructor.
Date published: 2018-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating, well taght - but still disappointing I have heard Professor Goodman’s other course on anatomy and physiology, “Understanding the human body”, which was dedicated to understanding the functionality of the different systems of the human body in its normal state. It was one of the courses I had enjoyed most in TGC: it offered me an in depth and serious glimpse of this field – of which I had only the vaguest idea, and the presentation was exceptionally clear, focused and sharp. That course did not focus so much on how and why the body fails, and what are its mechanisms to overcome such failures, though pathology was mentioned as the some of the systems were introduced. This course focuses on the complementary aspects: what are the agents and mechanisms that can cause sickness and injury to the body, and what mechanisms are used to overcome them. Many fascinating topics are discussed, but the discussions I found most fascinating were the ones concerning the non- specific inflammatory response, and the discussion about cancer. I did not feel that the material was covered in anything close to the same level of comprehensiveness as in the first course. I was excited to learn more about the immune system – of which I got quite an in-depth description in the wonderful course “biology the science of life” – but the description in this course turned out to be much more superficial and less satisfying than in the former. The discussion of cancer, also, though quite new to me and full of interesting new insight, left a lot of questions unanswered. Particularly, I found the fascinating teaser that Professor Goodman used – that a cancer is like a micro evolutionary system in which the runaway cancer cells prosper due to their “unfair” advantages with regards to natural selection – very intriguing. There was not nearly enough discussion regarding this point to satisfy me though. So overall how was it? Professor Goodman is a great teacher – clear, enthusiastic, entertaining (but not overly focused on this aspect), and in great command of the material. I do feel, however, that he was more focused and structured in “Understanding the human body”. The same applies to the level of coverage of the material. Having said this – the course did provide to me a lot of new knowledge of which I had only a tiny inkling – which is exactly the point of listening to these courses in the first place. So, although I feel that this course does not match the near perfect expectations I had for it based on “Understanding the human body”, it was still a great course: fascinating, well taught and worthwhile.
Date published: 2018-01-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very interesting. A very useful reference for understanding how the body reacts to foreign substances and diseases.
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from explains how and why the body fails us very well! I bought this previously and bought a second copy for some high school kids in my family who claim they want to be doctors. I use it to convince some elderly relatives as to why preventive care is needed. Seeing the visual is so much better than just telling someone.
Date published: 2018-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Course Indeed I purchased this course because I have purchased the other course (Human anatomy and Physiology) from the same instructor and was very impressed how such difficult subject could be lectured in such a profound yet insipring way of teaching. Every chapter lectured by Dr. Goodman was like a 3-D story telling, everything became so clearly and alive to me. I felt my thalamic gate suddenly open up and those blockages seemed to be removed and connect pieces of knowledge better than ever. The instructor made the hard subject incredibly much easier to understand and retain. I even joked and told my spouse that if I had seen these lecture videos when I were young, I would want to be a general surgeon today. We both enjoyed Dr. Goodman's lectures very much. Each time I reviewed his lecture, there was always new surprise for me to digest and think. The thoroughness and integrity of the course were expressed in a very graceful professional manner from the instructor. The quality of the course was only made possible by a highly dedicated and skillful physician with extended years of clinical and teaching experiences. I think his courses are all very inspiring, exciting and great collections for everyone. Look forward to seeing more Dr. Goodman's lectures.
Date published: 2017-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very detailed information Very detailed look at how the individual cells of the body respond to drama or invasion. Specific illnesses and conditions are used mostly as examples of the cellular mechanism, but the course is not designed to actually study particular illnesses. I did find most of the lectures pretty interesting, but I can understand why many people would think this is pretty dry. The course outlines lacks the charts shown on screen in the DVD and also (strangely) there is no vocabulary list, which would have been REALLY HELPFUL!
Date published: 2016-05-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very scientific for a better living course As some other reviews have stated before, the course could have been called “An Intro to Pathophysiology”. Furthermore, I think it could also have been placed into the Science section of the Great Courses, rather than into Better Living. Both, the actual title and the section chosen, make it much more appealing. However, if you are in the situation like myself, and have no medical background and are not seeking deep knowledge of the topic but rather a basic understanding of it, you might just struggle sometimes with the lectures like I did. The course is very logically structured and very complex topics are divided into several lectures. Dr. Goodman is very knowledgable and tries to explain every one of the dozens of technical terms that are used in simple words. The presentation is supported by many slides, which he also explains further, and even though some topics cover grisly diseases, one does for the most part not have to look at shocking photos to get an understanding. Dr. Goodman presents fluently in a pleasant voice and the occasional slips of tongue are immediately corrected. He could have loosened his tie before some lectures, as that seemed to give him occasional difficulties in speaking. So from my point of view as a layperson, I think that this is a good course and I have now a much better understanding of the basic principles of the topics, hence the overall 4 star rating. However, as I mentioned in the first paragraph, I did struggle at times to stay interested. Several chapters, especially the first few, are for someone without medical background very dry, and it took me several months to get past those “bumps” to finally watch the whole course. For a Better Living course, and I have done quite a few, I found the material too scientific with too many technical terms, and I think that it could have been even more simplified to make it more interesting, even though Dr. Goodman makes it clear that the topics are already very condensed. I understand that it is often difficult for the Great Courses to find a balance between making material interesting for a layman without making it too boring for someone who already has some background knowledge. That is why I think that by putting this lecture into the Science category, it would have been clearer for the learner what to expect. Hence my recommendation of this course to a friend would be somehow restricted.
Date published: 2016-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Presenter Dr. Anthony Goodman has my vote for a great lecturer.
Date published: 2015-12-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from human body fail or heal This course is taught by Dr. Goodman and talks about many relationships from germs to diseases, inflammation and some cancer aspects. He delivers in a very understandable way, however I kept falling asleep because the content is very factual and if you remember your days in school when the teacher talked in a consistent way talking fact, fact, fact; most of us in class fell asleep. One of the weak points I have noticed not only in this course but others is we buy these courses because maybe have a disease and we are hoping to learn more about it. In my case, I have an inflammatory disease that threatens to shorten my life causing a lethal form of cancer. I listened intently the to the chapters on inflammation in this course and Dr. Goodman mentioned my disease that could occur due to inflammation and that was it He did not talk about it or offer anything else; just passed it on by and went on to something else. For this reason, I cannot recommend this course. My next door neighbor has a inflammatory disease called lupus. I hoped I could help her with info from this course. If I remember correctly, it was not even mentioned.
Date published: 2015-10-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Introduction to Pathophysiology I'm a RN and have been watching both of Dr. Goodman's courses to review A&P and pathophysiology. When I was in school several years ago, I didn't find these great courses to be too helpful to me with my studying, so I've sat on them for a while. Now that I have a better background in the topics, I've found these to be immensely useful as review courses and would recommend them to anyone who is looking for some review of the topics. For those new to the topics, they are good overviews, too, but don't expect them to help you out with coursework because it is too hard to match your course sequence to the information in these videos.
Date published: 2015-07-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Isn't there a more dynamic speaker available? I was really looking forward to this course. I am in the health care field, and wanted more education about various diseases and injuries, but that is not what this course offered. Dr. Goodman did not describe specifics of diseases or injuries or the healing power of the human body. He did not present information in an interesting fashion. And why am I surprise about this. I was very disappointed in his course on Understanding the Human Body--this course is little improvement. Isn't there a more dynamic speaker available? I have now learned my lesson and will stay away from future courses of this uninspiring speaker.
Date published: 2014-11-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Become more at Ease about knowing Disease This course certainly is slotted into the right category "Better Living". What can better contribute to better living than knowing how our bodies react to pathogens and fight off disease? This course is a great introduction to pathophysiology with a level of technical detail somewhat less than a medical school course but comprehensive enough to give the student sufficient information to work effectively with their own doctor(s) and be a better self advocate in the diagnostic and treatment process. Dr. Goodman takes the student through the fundamentals of our pathogen response systems, the pathogens themselves and the diseases they cause, the body's reaction of shock, and the basics of wound healing. Five lectures focused on cancer give a great explanation of how this "enemy within" really happens and the pros and cons of various treatment options. Dr. Goodman is unabashed in pointing out some misinformation that is out there and willing to admit what is and what is not known in the field. This frankness and humility is not at all typical for medical professionals. Dr. Goodman's presentation style is quite different from the typical TGC lecturer. He wears his white lab coat and is seated in front of a lectern. Actually this contributes to his effective "bedside manner" and enables him to be colloquial yet professional as he presents the medical topics right down to the basic biochemistry and cell biology level. Expecting to deal with lots of medical jargon, I purchased the transcript book so I could look things up following the lectures. This helped as expected but also provided an added benefit; Dr. Goodman often followed a description which included a lot of different technical nouns, and with a simple "it", "they", or "these guys" in a follow-up sentence. Fortunately, whoever edited the transcript book caught most of these and added clarifications for the right noun (e.g. it [DNA]). The graphics used are adequate though relatively primitive by today's standards. The course guide is also adequate but sure could have used a glossary for keeping track of all the technical terminology. Fortunately, the URL for the Farlex Medical Dictionary was included. One thing the student must realize is that this course was produced in 2007. Significant advances have occurred in medical science since then particularly in genetics and molecular biology. The material in the course is still valid and provides sufficient foundational knowledge to enable the student to read and understand current articles on more recent discoveries in these areas. Without hesitation I recommend this course. I would have rated this 5 stars if the graphics and course guide were a bit better.
Date published: 2014-02-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great pathology review Dr. Goodman is a wonderful presenter. His good-natured attitude and wealth of experience made it a joy to watch this course. Unlike most other Great Courses I have viewed, I watched this one for work as I needed a refresher on pathogenic microorganisms for a recent job promotion. This course was a wonderful supplement to the infectious disease and microbiology textbooks I was studying. My only complaint, and it's a minor one at that, is that the lectures could have been longer, with a little less emphasis on cancer.
Date published: 2013-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Intro. to Patho-Physiology This course is really an introduction to the med school course known as pathophysiology and is presented in an informative and entertaining manner. Since its inception I have watched the entire course several times. Dr. Anthony Goodman; med school professor, board certified surgeon and practicing surgeon has done a superb job in presenting complex medical information in way that both facilitates an immediate level of understanding and allows the student to move directly into medical school textbooks for a more in depth look at specific topics. The course follows the general flow of the medical text "Understanding Pathophysiology" included in the reading list. That makes for a relatively easy transition of this complex material from lecture to actual med school textbook if you would like a more in depth understanding. Dr. Goodman does a courageous and exceptional job with his lectures on cancer starting with the definition itself. "The first characteristic in my definition [of cancer] - now if you go into a textbook, you're going to see a slightly different definition - but I really think this definition works... criteria number (1) failure to differentiate ... stem cells are the players here… the next one is potential to invade... the next one is potential to metastasize... means 'growth at another place'... then finally we go to the potential for lethality… cancer cells are lethal by design..." Dr. Goodman's clear and insistent definition clarifying what is and is not cancer enabled me to ask informed questions saving me a lot of trouble. I shudder to think how much. In other words Dr. Goodman puts the patients' health before profits. Thank you Dr. Goodman. And the cancer establishment is finally coming around. For example in July, 2013 the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article from researchers at the National Institute of Cancer that broke ranks and caused quite a stir. "Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment in Cancer: An Opportunity for Improvement" Esserman MD,, jama.2013.108415 states "In the case of an indolent [slow growing] tumor, detection is potentially harmful because it can result in overtreatment... Physicians, patients, and the general public must recognize that overdiagnosis is common and occurs more frequently with cancer screening. Overdiagnosis, or identification of indolent cancer, is common in breast, lung, prostate, and thyroid cancer." One of the other points of the article is that treatment of non-lethal disease increases the per cent survival statistics. This deceptive use of statistics is medicine at its worst and has been practiced in cancer treatment. Unfortunately that is not the only misuse of statistics in cancer and medicine. The Teaching Company might consider a course on medical statistics from Dr. Goodman or another good choice would be med school professor, Dr. Marya Zilberberg of the U. of Mass., who has written popular and technical articles and books on the subject. In addition to cancer, the course also covers inflammation (whose importance in a wide variety of conditions including cancer you might under estimate), the immune response and infectious diseases including drug resistant infections as well as cancer mentioned above. Each item is presented from multiple technical viewpoints ranging from molecular biology to cell biology to tissues to organs and systems of organs. It is also presented from multiple personal points of view from researchers, practicing doctors and surgeons as well as patients. Some of Dr. Goodman's stories from being a med school professor, his military practice (triage), his civilian practice, and being a patient himself add another dimension to this course.
Date published: 2013-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb Course This is an excellent course enjoyed by my wife and myself. Dr. Goodman is a fine teacher with a conversational and easy manner. The course content is superb, providing an understanding of the defenses we posses against disease or injury and once overwhelmed, how the body attempts to heal the damage.
Date published: 2013-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How to understand what is going on in ;medicine A humanist of the first order talks about his life in medicine while giving an accessible and fascinating overview of our body's resilience.
Date published: 2013-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent and interesting course Full of surprising and interesting facts, well presented. Each lecture always left me looking forward to the next.
Date published: 2013-05-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, but needs more time and healing content Good course. The material provides a wide-ranging survey of interesting topics. Professor Goodman explains most things clearly. Yet the course could be improved by taking more time to cover the existing material in more depth, and by adding more material about healing, especially from common injuries and illnesses. For example, it would have been very helpful to learn how and why different types of healing take different amounts of time, such as bone breaks versus tendon or ligament damage, versus muscle strains, and so on. Instead, while we see throughout how the body attempts to deal with problems, only the last lecture was devoted to healing. My wife and I recommend the course, but neither of us place it among the best Great Courses.
Date published: 2013-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Felt Like a Med Student I enjoyed the range of information and details. I have a background in zoology and probably could have gone into medicine. I hope to use courses like this to help my family with their health problems.
Date published: 2013-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favorite Professors of TGC Dr. Goodman lives up to his name. He's one of my favorites, in that he's easy to understand (unlike a few other Professors I've seen on TGC). I'm more of a visual learner, & so this Dr. is one of the few good ones, that make learning easy & enjoyable. The most disappointing thing about this course (& most others), is that it lacks in explaining the terminology used in greater detail (helpful for the beginners such as myself).
Date published: 2012-09-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Wrong Name for Course I am clearly out of step here, but I thought this course was one of the least interesting I had ever seen from The Great Courses, despite my long-term interest in matters medical. A more descriptive title would have been "The Human Body: Its Microcellular Construction". Professor Goodman sits in front of an open computer and talks in a monotone about esoteric cells and their behavior. I had expected more emphasis and illustrations of what illnesses do to the human body (as opposed to the behavior of its diagrammed cartoon cells). You will not learn much in this course about how specific diseases affect our bodies and how they may be healed.
Date published: 2012-08-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from good basic pathophysiology course Although the data are a bit dated, this is a very good intro course for the lay public. Dr Goodman's presentation improved significantly from the first lecture, in which he basically read from his notes without much even looking up, to loosening and discussing with great enthusiasm bacteria, viruses and his chosen field, cancer. Since much has happened from the time this course was filmed, I hope the Teaching Co will consider updating it (there are so many more interleukins now than when it was filmed, for example), so it remains a fresh and up to date course for everyone.
Date published: 2012-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well Done Dr Goodman's course is well organized and progresses through how our bodies react to various diseases. He is an engaging presenter and clearly delivers the material.
Date published: 2012-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic course! The content is deep enough to really teach you the underlying theory, yet the lecturer keeps it concise enough for you not to get lost. The course is a wonderful example of the great courses promise. The lecturer is knowledgable and clear. The structure of the course is well set out and easy to follow and refer back to. The content is interesting, technical and fundamental. I would recommend this to anyone. And will myself be looking to purchase another course from this professor.
Date published: 2011-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from GOOD TOOL FOR SENIORS Dr Goodman is a polished and erudite lecturer who is clear and concise. His approach is especially helpful for seniors like me who have no knowledge of medicine. The problem for many of us geezers is communicating with medical professionals, not just for ourselves, but also our loved ones who may be facing a medical challenge. This series of lectures appears to be intended to be helpful for those of us who wish to comprehend the consequences of what we may face as well as grasping what alternatives are available. This very general course is helpful in at least getting one started. Obviously, it doesn't cover the whole field and is not intended to provide detailed knowledge for specific situations. Both my wife and I found it provided a good foundation to address the understanding of medical issues. I would recommend this series to any senior or his or her caregivers as a general tool for an avenue to maintaining better health awareness. Obviously, it's not designed to replace professional medical advice, but it could assist in the process.
Date published: 2011-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Buy! What a great course. It was very easy to understand and Dr. Goodman was such a delight to listen to. Anyone who wants to get more in depth about their body and how it handles diseases, toxins, physical traumas and so on would really benefit from this course. I highly recommand it!
Date published: 2011-05-01
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