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The Human Body: How We Fail, How We Heal

Gain the tools necessary to understand how your body meets the challenges of disease and injury with this useful course by an award-winning professor and doctor.

The Human Body: How We Fail, How We Heal is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 88.
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Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointed that Great Courses tech supports We have a substantial number of courses and are pleased with the individual courses but very disappointed that we cannot watch through our Amazon Fire streaming devices. We have to dedicate a laptop to watch. Since Great Courses can send out catalogs twice a week it seems reasonable that they could upgrade their support to include Fire streaming devices.
Date published: 2023-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! Fantastic course. Dr Goodman is a remarkable teacher. He explains everything in such a way anyone can follow. I can't wait to buy his other 3 courses.
Date published: 2022-06-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Goodman is Great! Only 2 lectures in, but I saw the entire Goodman series for Intro to Anatomy and Physiology. Dr. Goodman is an excellent presenter and the information is basic enough for a health nut and TV hospital show aficionado to grasp easily. I am a hairdresser with no formal pre med training but I do have an interest in health and nutrition, so Dr. Goodman's lectures lend depth to my understanding of how my body works.
Date published: 2022-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course I found this course fascinating and well presented. It is superior to the other course by Dr. Goodman because the graphics are so much better. This course is obviously tailored to layman and Dr. Goodman presents it in an organized and logical manner. The graphics aren't high tech and I'm sure are not up to what is being presented in medical schools today, but they are fine for the nature of this course. I watch these in the DVD format and it works great. Navigation is simple. I found the course quite rewarding and wish there were more by Dr. Goodman.
Date published: 2021-02-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Poor presentation Only got through the first lecture before stopping. Lecturer spent most of the time enhancing his work as "general surgeon". Was reading from paper notes.
Date published: 2020-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Halfway through and loving it! Spent my entire career in the medical field so a lot of it has been review. But I have enjoyed it immensely, most recently to relive my favorite college class Microbiology! There are many details I have forgotten and many new concepts expertly discussed by the physician. Have watched about half of it and am looking forward to the remainder. Speaker is very knowledgeable and provides a variety of humorous anecdotes. He is absorbing to listen to and doesn't get bogged down in medical school level details.
Date published: 2020-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Clear Useful Presentation About Medicine This pre-med 101 is a useful overview for the average non-physician. There are sensible take-aways that can help people to stay healthy. The course has useful diagrams and explanations while keeping the terminology from spinning away from comprehension.
Date published: 2020-06-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from None My wife and I watch a Great Course on Plus every night. This video is about the human body. We were shocked when the professor read the lecture and barely made eye contact with the audience. This takes all the fun out of watching a lecture. Worse, the first slide we saw was in the second lecture; a slide of virus in a cell. Can't get worse.
Date published: 2020-06-17
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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 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. This course explores 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 overreact or fail.


Anthony A. Goodman

It is the greatest gift to be able to explore the ever-changing outer edges of science and share them with my students.


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 served as chief resident at the Harvard Surgical Service of Boston City Hospital, the New England Deaconess Hospital, the Lahey Clinic, and Cambridge City Hospital. For 20 years, Dr. Goodman worked as a general surgeon in south Florida and served as Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Miami School of Medicine. In addition, he served as a surgeon with the U.S. Army Medical Corps and on the hospital ship for Project HOPE. He was also Visiting Professor of Surgery at the Christchurch, New Zealand, Clinical School of Medicine. Founder of the Broward Surgical Society, Dr. Goodman is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Surgery.

By This Professor

Understanding the Human Body: An Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology, 2nd Edition
The Myths of Nutrition and Fitness
Lifelong Health: Achieving Optimum Well-Being at Any Age
The Human Body: How We Fail, How We Heal


How We Fail

01: 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.

31 min
Cell Biology—Introduction and Definitions

02: 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.

31 min
Inflammation—Basic Principles

03: 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.

31 min
The Inflammatory Response

04: 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.

31 min
Inflammation—Clinical Manifestations

05: 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.

31 min
The Immune Response

06: 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.

29 min
The Immune Response Continued

07: 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.

31 min
Hypersensitivity and the Allergic Response

08: 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.

31 min
Infectious Diseases—General Introduction

09: 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.

31 min

10: Bacteria

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.

30 min

11: Viruses

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.

30 min
Spirochetes, Rickettsiae, Chlamydiae, Prions

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.

30 min

13: Malaria

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.

30 min
Schistosomiasis, Filariasis, Tapeworms

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.

30 min
Infectious Diseases—Treatment

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.

30 min
Infectious Diseases—Triumph and Failure

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.

29 min
Shock—Principles and Hypovolemic Shock

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.

31 min
Categories of Shock

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.

31 min
Cancer—The Enemy Within

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.

31 min
Environmental Carcinogens

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.

31 min
Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis

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.

31 min
Invasion, Metastasis, and Angiogenesis

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.

31 min
Treatment—Surgery, Radiation, Chemotherapy

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.

31 min
How We Heal

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.

31 min