Understanding the Human Body: An Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology

Course No. 160
Dr. Anthony A. Goodman, M.D.
Montana State University
Share This Course
4.5 out of 5
159 Reviews
79% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 160
Video Streaming Included Free

What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Get clear descriptions of human anatomy and physiology - aimed at the level of the interested layperson.
  • numbers Explore the anatomy of organs and organ systems, then examine the physiology of systems when they function normally.
  • numbers Take a closer look at the most common clinical problems (pathologies) associated with major organ systems.
  • numbers Learn insights into fascinating systems including your cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, and immune systems.
  • numbers Probe the biology of human cancer and gain a greater understanding of this complicated set of diseases.

Course Overview

You live with it 24 hours a day. But how well do you really know it? These 32 lectures are your owner's manual to a remarkably complex, resilient, and endlessly fascinating structure: the human body. Your guide is Dr. Anthony A. Goodman—surgeon, professor, and writer—who takes you step by step through the major systems of the body, explaining exactly how things work and why they sometimes don't.

Using detailed color illustrations, life-sized models, and, in one lecture, a video shot during surgery, Dr. Goodman gives clear descriptions of structure (anatomy) and function (physiology) aimed at the level of the interested layperson.

"One can tell he has explained these topics to everyone from children to adults," an enthusiastic viewer wrote to The Teaching Company.

A Systems Approach

Dr. Goodman's approach differs from anatomy lab in medical school, with which he has extensive teaching experience. By necessity, medical students dissecting cadavers must study all of the organs in one area before moving on to the next. They simply cannot dissect the entire nervous system; then go back and dissect the vascular system; then, the gastrointestinal system; and so on.

By contrast, this course introduces anatomy by systems and depends on illustrations, not cadavers. Dr. Goodman correlates the findings in anatomy with the functioning of the normal human body, its physiology.

"A Gripping Page-Turner"

"The study of anatomy alone, without reference to both the normal and abnormal function of the human body, has little meaning," says Dr. Goodman. "However, when studied in the context of the exquisite and intricate relationships of anatomy to those normal processes that keep us alive and allow us to reproduce and evolve, the subject becomes a gripping page-turner."

Each lecture concentrates on a particular organ or organ system; for example, the heart. The following lecture then examines the physiology of the system, looking, for example, at a normally functioning heart. Finally, to make the connections even more meaningful, Dr. Goodman discusses the more common clinical problems that occur when something goes wrong, or the pathology of the organ or system. These clinical correlations make the course particularly valuable, since in real life not everything goes as planned.

What You Learn

  • Cardiovascular System: The course opens with the cardiovascular system, focusing on the heart in Lectures 1 and 2. You examine its different parts, their responsibilities, and how the processes can break down. Lectures 3 and 4 complete the cardiovascular system with descriptions of the anatomy and physiology of the great vessels of the body, including arteries, veins, and their relationships.
  • Respiratory System: Tied directly to the structure and function of the heart and great vessels is the respiratory system—covered in Lectures 5 and 6, which address the anatomy and physiology of the lungs.
  • Nervous System: The lectures continue with a look at the very reason for the existence of all the other organ systems: the nervous system. Lectures 7 and 8 explore the structure and function of the brain itself. Lecture 9 covers the anatomy and physiology of the spinal cord and the spinal nerves. Lecture 10 addresses the unconscious workings of the autonomic nervous system and all-important cranial nerves. In Lecture 11, you learn about the wonders of sight and the eye. In Lecture 12, you study the ears, hearing, and balance. Lecture 13 ends the discussion of the nervous system by examining memory, brain pathology, anesthesia, and pain.
  • Digestive System: Lectures 14 and 15 examine the anatomy and physiology of the upper portion of the gastrointestinal tract—the mouth, esophagus, and stomach—continuing in Lectures 16 and 17 with the pancreas, liver, and the biliary tree. In Lectures 18 and 19 you learn about the anatomy and physiology of the small intestine, colon, and rectum.
  • Endocrine System: Dr. Goodman devotes three lectures to the endocrine system. In Lecture 20, you study the anatomy and physiology of the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands, then move on to cover the anatomy and physiology of the endocrine pancreas in Lecture 21. In Lecture 22, Dr. Goodman completes the analysis of the endocrine system with a look at the anatomy and physiology of the thyroid gland and the parathyroid glands.
  • Urinary System: Lectures 23 and 24 focus on the kidneys, ureters, and bladder.
  • Reproductive System: In Lectures 25 and 26, Dr. Goodman discusses the anatomy and physiology of the male and female reproductive systems. Lecture 27 covers genetic inheritance and its potential problems.
  • Musculoskeletal System: The next topic is the musculoskeletal system. Lecture 28 looks at the physiology and physics of the muscles. In Lecture 29, you examine the anatomy of specific muscle groups. Lecture 30 focuses on the anatomy and physiology of the skeleton.
  • Immune System: Lecture 31 addresses the structure and function of the body's major defense mechanism, the immune system.
  • Cancer: The course ends with a lecture on the biology of human cancer.

Comprehensive ... Humane ... Lighthearted

Dr. Goodman's teaching style is clear but comprehensive, objective but humane, learned but lighthearted. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his M.D. from Cornell Medical College. After a surgical internship and residency at the University of Michigan Medical Center, he completed his surgical training and chief residency at the Harvard Surgical Service of Boston City Hospital, New England Deaconess Hospital, Lahey Clinic, and Cambridge City Hospital.

Dr. Goodman is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery. Currently, he teaches gross anatomy at Montana State University in the W.W.A.M.I. Medical Sciences Program.

"While it is certain that this course will NOT prepare you for performing an emergency tracheotomy, a wilderness appendectomy, or an informal diagnosis of your neighbor's child's illness," says Dr. Goodman, "I hope it will excite and inflame an interest in your own body, its processes, and 'the ills that flesh is heir to.'"

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.

Hide Full Description
32 lectures
 |  Average 45 minutes each
  • 1
    Cardiovascular System—Anatomy of the Heart
    This introductory lecture examines the anatomy of the fist-sized muscle that pumps blood through the body. We review the distinction between arteries and veins and discuss the location of the heart, its coverings, layers, and subdivisions. x
  • 2
    Cardiovascular System—Physiology of the Heart
    In this lecture, we examine the functioning of the cardiac cycle. We also examine the functioning of the heart's conduction system, the functioning of the valves (which produce the heart's distinctive "lub-dub" sound), and possible complications, notably atherosclerosis. x
  • 3
    Cardiovascular System—Anatomy of the Great Vessels
    This lecture examines the anatomy of the three vessel networks that circulate blood. We identify and describe the structure of the vessels that form these networks. Next, we examine the major circulatory routes for the blood: arterial and venous systemic circulation, pulmonary circulation, and hepatic portal circulation. x
  • 4
    Cardiovascular System—Physiology of the Great Vessels
    In this lecture, we examine the physiology of the large blood vessels—how they control blood flow, regulate blood pressure, and control bleeding when ruptured. We will also examine the composition of blood and the functions of each of its parts—plasma, white blood cells, and red blood cells. x
  • 5
    Respiratory System—Anatomy of the Lungs
    This lecture examines the anatomy of the respiratory system. After studying the integration of the respiratory system with the circulatory system, we review the anatomy of the structures through which air enters the body and passes into the lungs. x
  • 6
    Respiratory System—Physiology of the Lungs
    We turn now to the physiology of the respiratory system. We examine the four areas where respiration occurs and the consequences of blocking this respiration. We review the physiology of the movement of gases into the lungs and of their exchange with waste gases. Finally, we turn to the central respiratory centers, and we examine some respiratory disorders and their treatments. x
  • 7
    Nervous System—Anatomy of the Brain
    This is the first of seven lectures on the nervous system. We examine the anatomy of the brain—its principal components and its main anatomical divisions. Next we examine the divisions of the cerebrum and the functional areas of the cerebral cortex. x
  • 8
    Nervous System—Physiology of the Brain
    We turn now to the brain's physiology. After considering how the nervous and endocrine systems work together, we review the functions of the nervous system and of nervous tissue. The main divisions of the central and peripheral nervous systems are reviewed. Finally, we distinguish afferent from efferent nerves and describe the categories of cranial and spinal nerves. x
  • 9
    Nervous System—Spinal Cord and Spinal Nerves
    This lecture examines the anatomy and functions of the spinal cord. We review the reflex arc, which allows the body to react rapidly to changes in the external environment. Finally, the lecture examines the categories and locations of the spinal nerves. x
  • 10
    Nervous System—Autonomic Nervous System and Cranial Nerves
    We begin this lecture by examining the autonomic nervous system, which controls the body's basic functions without conscious intervention by the higher brain centers. We distinguish between the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes rest and recovery, and the sympathetic nervous system, which promotes "fight and flight." Finally, we will review the 12 pairs of cranial nerves and their functions. x
  • 11
    Nervous System—The Eyes
    This lecture examines the eyes. We examine the anatomy of the eyeball, its coverings and functions, and the photoreceptors of the retina that allow us to perceive shades and colors of light. We also review the structure and functions of the lens, eyelids, lacrimal glands and ducts, and extrinsic eye muscles. Next, we consider how the eye perceives light and how the brain converts those perceptions into meaningful information. x
  • 12
    Nervous System—The Ears, Hearing, and Equilibrium
    We examine the anatomy of the organs of hearing: the external ear, the eardrum, the tympanic cavity, and the labyrinth. Next, the lecture reviews how these structures gather and transmit sound waves to the brain as nerve impulses. Finally, we examine the anatomy and functions of the vestibular apparatus, structures in the inner ear that govern balance. x
  • 13
    Nervous System—Memory
    This lecture examines memory and brain pathology and provides information about anesthesia and pain. First, we examine the nature, development, pathology, and mysteries of memory. We then examine kinds of damage to the brain and spinal cord and the results of such damage. We conclude by discussing anesthesia and referred pain. x
  • 14
    Digestive System—Anatomy of the Mouth, Esophagus, and Stomach
    This is the first lecture in a six-lecture examination of the digestive system. We examine the structures through which food passes before its conversion into nutrients for the body. We conclude by reviewing the four divisions of the stomach and its layers. x
  • 15
    Digestive System—Physiology of the Mouth, Esophagus, and Stomach
    Having studied the anatomy of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach, we turn now to the processes of digestion, absorption of nutrients, and excretion of waste products. This lecture examines mechanical then chemical digestion. Next, we examine the three phases of gastric secretion, and the process of gastric emptying. Finally, we consider stomach and digestive disorders and their treatments. x
  • 16
    Digestive System—Anatomy of the Pancreas, Liver, and the Biliary Tree
    This lecture examines the anatomy of the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. First, we examine the gross and microscopic anatomy of the pancreas. We turn next to the liver. The location, size, and blood supply and routing of the liver are reviewed. Finally, the lecture examines the gallbladder and biliary tree—the duct system that drains bile from the liver into the gallbladder and the duodenum. x
  • 17
    Digestive System—Physiology of the Pancreas, Liver, and the Biliary Tree
    This lecture reviews the functions of the pancreas, the liver, and the biliary tree. The pancreas and liver secrete digestive juices and enzymes that aid in digestion and absorption. In this lecture, we review the components of the exocrine pancreas. After reviewing several pancreatic disorders, we turn to the liver and examine the various functions that it performs. We conclude with a review of common liver disorders. x
  • 18
    Digestive System—Anatomy of the Small Intestine, Colon, and Rectum
    We turn now to the anatomy of the organs in which nutrients and water are extracted for use by the body and by which the resulting waste material is excreted from the body. The small intestine is the organ in which most of the absorption of nutrients and water occurs. We review its anatomical divisions, blood supply, and microstructure. We turn next to the large intestine, or colon, which absorbs remaining water and transfers the feces to the rectum for excretion. x
  • 19
    Digestive System—Physiology of the Small Intestine, Colon, and Rectum
    This last lecture on the digestive system examines the physiology of the small and large intestines and the rectum. First, we examine mechanical and chemical digestion in the small intestine. We turn next to the large intestine or colon, examining the reflexes that move feces into and through the colon for excretion. Finally, we examine the physiology of defecation. x
  • 20
    Endocrine System—The Pituitary and Adrenal Glands
    This is the first of three lectures on the endocrine system, the glands that secrete hormones directly into spaces surrounding cells. We examine the functional differences between the endocrine and nervous systems, and the basic properties of hormones. Next, we look at the most important endocrine glands: the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus, and the adrenal glands. x
  • 21
    Endocrine System—Pancreas
    This lecture examines the endocrine functions of the pancreas. As an endocrine organ, the pancreas produces insulin and glucagon. After reviewing the four cell types composing the endocrine pancreas, the lecture examines in detail several insulin-related disorders: two principal types of diabetes mellitus and hyperinsulinism. x
  • 22
    Endocrine System—Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands
    This lecture examines the thyroid gland and the parathyroid glands. For each, we briefly review the gross and microscopic anatomy, its physiology, and the consequences of dysfunction. Thyroid dysfunction can lead to cretinism, myxedema, Graves' disease, and other pathologies. Parathyroid dysfunction can lead to disorders including bony demineralization, high calcium levels, duodenal ulcers, kidney stones, and behavioral disorders. x
  • 23
    Urinary System—Anatomy of the Kidneys, Ureters, and Bladder
    This is the first of two lectures on the urinary system. We examine the anatomy of the kidneys, the ureters, and the bladder. We consider the kidneys' major functioning unit—the nephron. The lecture concludes by reviewing the conduits through which urine passes before excretion from the body. x
  • 24
    Urinary System—Physiology of the Kidneys, Ureters, and Bladder
    This concluding lecture on the urinary system examines the physiology of the urinary tract organs, especially the kidneys. The primary function of the urinary system is to maintain the body's homeostasis. This lecture focuses on the physiology of the nephron and how it filters many of the blood's components, reabsorbs some, and removes others. The lecture concludes by briefly reviewing the physiology of the ureters and bladder. x
  • 25
    Reproductive System—Male
    Lecture 25 is the first of three on the reproductive system. We examine the gross anatomy of the male reproductive system. The scrotum contains the testes, which produce spermatozoa. The lecture also reviews the functions of the prostate and Cowper's glands, the process of erection and ejaculation, and the composition of the semen. x
  • 26
    Reproductive System—Female
    This lecture reviews the female reproductive system. We begin by reviewing the anatomy of the external female genitalia, and the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Next we consider the physiology of the menstrual cycle, fertilization, and early pregnancy. Finally, we examine the anatomy and physiology of the breast, the risk factors and treatments for breast cancer. x
  • 27
    Reproductive System—Physiology of Genetic Inheritance
    This lecture examines the physiology of genetic inheritance. It begins by identifying the differences between DNA in somatic and germ cells and between genetic and inherited changes in cell DNA. Next, it distinguishes between types of cells and reviews allele inheritance and the sex chromosomes. We examine several developmental abnormalities related to digestion, respiration, and cardiovascular activity. x
  • 28
    Musculoskeletal System—Physiology and Physics of the Muscles
    In this lecture, we will examine the physiology and physics of the muscles. There are three kinds: skeletal, smooth, and cardiac. The muscles are innervated by motor neurons, which stimulate them to contract. Nerves connect with target muscles by means of a neurotransmitter, which conducts the electrical stimulation from the nerve to the muscle across the synaptic gap. The lecture concludes by examining the physics of muscle contraction. x
  • 29
    Musculoskeletal System—Anatomy of the Muscles
    In this lecture, we examine how muscles operate as levers in conjunction with the bones. We review the names of the muscles, as indicated by their size, shape, orientation of their fibers, mechanical action, number of origins, origin and insertion points, function, and location. x
  • 30
    Musculoskeletal System—Bones
    In this final lecture on the musculoskeletal system, we examine the divisions and functions of the skeletal system. First, we consider the gross anatomy of the bones, marrow cavity, blood supply, and surface markings. Next, we examine the cells that compose the bones. Finally, the lecture reviews kinds of bone fractures and their treatments. x
  • 31
    Immune System—Anatomy and Physiology
    This lecture examines the body's mechanisms for defense against invaders. The main components of the immune system are T-cells, B-cells, natural killer cells, phagocytes, and major histocompatibility complex antigens. The lecture also examines the ability of B-cells and T-cells to memorize past immunological responses and reviews clinical applications: transplantation surgery, HIV/AIDS, and autoimmune disease. x
  • 32
    The Biology of Human Cancer
    In this lecture, we will examine the subject of cancer. We will see how the fragility that allowed us to evolve has saddled us with susceptibility to mutations that can cause cancer. We examine environmental causes of cancer: chemicals, physical agents, and biologic agents, as well as the mechanisms that lead to the basic definition of cancer: failure to differentiate, potential to invade, potential to metastasize, and potential lethality. We will define some important terms. x

Lecture Titles

Clone Content from Your Professor tab

What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 32 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 32 lectures on 8 DVDs
  • 216-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 216-page course synopsis
  • Photos, Charts & diagrams
  • Questions to consider
  • Bibliography

Enjoy This Course On-the-Go with Our Mobile Apps!*

  • App store App store iPhone + iPad
  • Google Play Google Play Android Devices
  • Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Tablet + Firephone
*Courses can be streamed from anywhere you have an internet connection. Standard carrier data rates may apply in areas that do not have wifi connections pursuant to your carrier contract.

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...
Learn More About This Professor
Also By This Professor


Understanding the Human Body: An Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 158.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Clear but Still Difficult I am enjoying this course. It is a complicated subject, but he is very clear. That being said, it's still not easy to grasp, but I am learning a lot more than I knew before I started.
Date published: 2020-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Anatomy Presentation Very well presented. I gained a great deal of knowledge about Anatomy.
Date published: 2020-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great supplement! These lectures have served well as a supplement to my college A&P course.
Date published: 2020-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good title for contents of course This is a great in-depth course that the average person can follow and learn a lot from.
Date published: 2020-07-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Understanding the Human Body The illustration of the different organs and body could be better. It should be presented in 3D. I think it will be easier to follow the Dr.'s presentation.
Date published: 2020-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dr. Goodman not only knows his stuff, he can keep the participants engaged and eager to learn. He has the expertise and knowledge AND can impart it in interesting manner.
Date published: 2020-04-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Teacher has excellent technical and teaching skill Gave me a good understanding of how our amazing body works. And I enjoyed it. Somebody without a technical background might have difficulty with some of it.
Date published: 2020-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What all humans should know The presentation style could be considered dated, but to me that was irrelevant. I was looking for good quality content and I got it. It's a bargain at the price now offered.
Date published: 2020-03-09
  • y_2020, m_11, d_29, h_16
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.12
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_10, tr_148
  • loc_en_US, sid_160, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.0
  • CLOUD, getContent, 4.73ms

Questions & Answers

Customers Who Bought This Course Also Bought