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Deeper learning in Physiology?

  1. Dec 9, 2014 #1
    I have no idea where to post this, but I figured this is the most relevant place. I'm sorry if it's in the wrong section.

    I am a Pharmacology and Toxicology major at a large state school. I was only required to take physics I and II. (algebra based)

    At first I thought that was fine, but I soon began to realize that I can't just memorize like my professor and book asks me too, but I need to go in-depth.

    So my question is this, I am looking for a way to learn the "physics and chemistry behind physiology" or deeper that what we are taught?

    I know there is a lot of physics and math in pulmonary and neurology, so that is something that I would like to know in detail as opposed to just memorize this equation!

    For example, say we are taught that atherosclerosis can cause aneurysms and that aneurysms can rupture.

    But what we aren't taught is that blood flow through a closed vessel is constant, so any dilatation in the mid-length will increase the cross-sectional area and decrease the fluid velocity to maintain flow.

    In accordance with Bernoulli's principle, the decrease in velocity is met with an increase in pressure, which increases wall tension. Vessel integrity is already compromised from the three layer degradation. So now you start to see this great positive feedback loop whereby atherosclerosis damages the vessel wall causing it to dilate, which increases the pressure, which causes it to dilate further, which damages the vessel wall further, etc, etc, until the aneurysm finally ruptures. (I did not write this example, but it is an example of how I would like to learn it. I would like to know how the author of that explanation came to that conclusion or what kind of book would explain in heavy detail.)

    The question I am asking how can I learn the "science" behind the physiology? I'm a type of learner that needs to know the how and why. Will I need to take more physics classes?
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2014 #2


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    Are you able to follow the reasoning in the "atherosclerosis" example?
  4. Dec 9, 2014 #3
    I'm able to understand about 60% of it. I never learned about Bernoulli's principle specifically, but I inference the concept of pressure.
  5. Dec 9, 2014 #4

    Doug Huffman

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    This independent clause doesn't jump out at the author?
  6. Dec 9, 2014 #5


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    Understanding the science behind physiology is a big ask, there's plenty of fields to cover. It seems like you are more interested in biomechanics which is more physics based. I'd advise looking for an introductory text on that topic.
  7. Dec 9, 2014 #6
    Ohh, that seems to be what I'm looking for! Do you have any recommendations? And are there any requisites for reading those?
  8. Dec 9, 2014 #7


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    This is probably impractical, but something I found out about algebra vs. calculus based physics is that there's a lot more memorization in algebra-based because you can derive a lot more from a lot less with calculus. In algebra-based classes, you have to memorize all those algabraic formulas that fall out of the calculus definitions.
  9. Dec 13, 2014 #8
    TL;DR: Take calculus. It allows you to 'come up with your own physics equations' to a certain extent. It's the language of physics IMO.

    If you want to model this mathematically, you use calculus.
  10. Dec 13, 2014 #9
    Thank you. But I have already taken calculus I, II, and III
  11. Dec 13, 2014 #10


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    Then why not take the calculus based physics course?
  12. Dec 13, 2014 #11
    It was not required and I took it over the summer at community college. To be honest we learned the same as calculus based. The professor made us use calculus to derive if we wanted to use a formula instead of memorization. I don't feel like retaking it also.
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