What you will study
If you’re interested in global health issues; how the body works; statistics; or the scientific rationale for common screening procedures and treatments, this module is for you. You’ll also find this module useful if you are, or want to be, working in a health-related occupation and some knowledge of science could enhance your prospects. It’s unique in presenting a global perspective on health topics and in the range of scientific disciplines that contribute to each case study. The impact on individual lives is illustrated by real-life accounts. It’s designed for you if you are new to science, and we’ll support you step-by-step if you’re unfamiliar with using a computer to learn from interactive programs and online sources. The seven case studies covering major topics in global public health are presented in seven books with associated study companions and DVD-ROMs containing videos, computer models and interactive animations.
Book 1 Water and Health in an Overcrowded World. Most people now live in a very different world to the one in which we evolved. Rapid urbanisation and changes in human lifestyles means we inhabit a ‘human zoo’ that, despite many benefits, incurs many costs to health and happiness. We focus on the global shortage of clean water that exposes over a billion people to infectious diseases and chemical pollution.
Book 2 Pain. This case study presents an integrated account of the neurobiology and psychology of pain. It considers the common properties of pain triggered by injuries and the pain of events such as divorce. You’ll study the anatomy and function of the nervous system combined with psychological processes such as classical conditioning to understand how effective drugs, surgery, placebos and cognitive therapies are in treating pain.
Book 3 Alcohol and Human Health. Heavy drinking increases the risk of life-threatening diseases; accidental injury; psychological impairment; and addiction, but moderate intake may have some health benefits. You’ll explore not only global health statistics, but also the chemistry of ethanol: how alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream and its effects on major organs, behaviour and memory.
Book 4 Screening for Breast Cancer. Mammography screening using X-ray imaging to detect early breast cancers occurs in most wealthy countries. This case study examines the physics of mammography, the rationale for screening and the risk factors for breast cancer, and explains how normal and abnormal cells are distinguished in diagnostic tests. It considers the benefits, efficacy, costs and drawbacks of screening.
Book 5 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Forgotten Killer. Permanent loss of lung function due to COPD affects millions of people worldwide. In richer countries, most are older cigarette smokers, but in poor countries, younger women and children exposed to indoor smoke from cooking fires also suffer. This case study explains the science of respiration and treatment, and the effects of COPD on people’s lives.
Book 6 Trauma, Repair and Recovery. Traumatic injury causes millions of deaths and disabilities globally and cases are rising as road traffic increases. You’ll look at how the body reacts to tissue damage, focusing on limb fractures in younger and older people. The psychological – as well as the physical – effects of injury are considered in the context of variations in access to emergency and longer-term care.
Book 7 Visual Impairment: A Global View. Partial or total loss of sight affects millions of people worldwide. Many cases are preventable or curable, but simple interventions are unaffordable in poorer countries, where even the lack of clean water is a significant threat to sight. This case study explains sight loss and corrective treatments through the anatomy and physiology of the eye and the physics of light and lenses.
You will study this module before or alongside Health sciences in practice (S110/SZL110), which teaches you more of the theory that you will need to support your practice
Introducing health sciences: a case study approach will help to prepare you for Exploring science (S104) and OU level 2 health sciences modules (for example, Human biology (SK277) or The science of the mind: investigating mental health (SDK228)). By the end of the module you will be expected to be working successfully at the level required of first-year undergraduate students.
This module will be attractive to anyone interested in a career in the areas of health care; health promotion; the pharmaceutical and food industries; technical support in the NHS; occupational, environmental and public health; as well as teaching in any of these fields.
This is a compulsory module in the Foundation Degree and Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) in Paramedic Sciences, which are all accredited routes to professional recognition by the Health Professions Council.
Although this module is available for study by all OU students, the foundation degree and DipHE are at present restricted to students who are employed within a healthcare setting and are being supported in their practice learning by their employer.
For further information on registering, you or your employer should contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.