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Opinion: The decline of physiology

Medical schools in the UK are teaching physiology courses primarily focused on clinical applications with much curtailed practical laboratory training to the detriment of medical education

R.J. Naftalin
Physiology has been taught in British medical schools for a century and a half, but since about 1990, physiology teaching for medical students has been cut by more than fifty percent (see table). During this time, medical student numbers have doubled. Currently 8,000 new students enroll in UK medical schools each year. This bloating in numbers has outgrown the capacity of staff and space available to teach and accommodate them appropriately. Consequently, practical physiology training has been virtually eliminated.
A vivisection of a Common Sand Frog
Image: Wikimedia commons, Muhammad Mahdi Karim
Physiology studies the relationships between living states at all levels of biological organization, from molecules to organ systems. It is the key to understanding organ function and dysfunction. A good understanding of the subject is necessary for the proper training of the next generation of doctors linkurl:under the UK's General Medical Council guidelines.;http://www.gmc-uk.org/education/undergraduate/tomorrows_doctors_2009.asp Some view physiology as an...
*PBL plenary lectures on physiological topics
Thanks to Glasgow University Registry and Steve Franey for retrieving this information and for useful discussions with CAR Boyd, O Hutter and Michael Lucas.


linkurl:R.J. Naftalin;http://f1000.com/thefaculty/member/788525835890041 is Emeritus Professor of Physiology, King's College London and a F1000 Member since 2006. He was trained in medicine at Glasgow University and in biochemistry London University.



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