cod. 1011328

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - Second semester
Professor responsible for the course unit
integrated course unit
6 credits
course unit

Learning objectives

The Health and Disease course aims to provide basic notions on general pathology, on the discipline of general and applied hygiene and on the fundamental principles of the Italian health system, useful for the integration of the professional educator in clinical and social-health activities. In particular , within the hygienic discipline, the student will have to acquire the fundamental notions of hygiene and preventive medicine and the basic knowledge to interpret factors that can interact with the state of health of the individual and the community and learn the meaning of prevention strategies.
The course offers general information on the causes and mechanisms of the disease. At the end of the course of general human pathology ,the student should have acquired knowledge:
- on the mechanisms by which pathogenic noxae, including those of an environmental nature, cause disease;
- on the main pathological conditions, with particular reference to neurological, musculoskeletal, cardio-vascular diseases and tumours.
The student will also be able to evaluate situations of environmental contamination/exposure in a broad sense, to estimate the risks and to adopt measures aimed at their reduction. Finally, it will be able to transmit adequate and correct information aimed at protecting human health also to the general population


General notions about anatomy, histology, biochemistry

Course unit content

Hygiene and Public health. Health promotion and health education. Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine.

At the end of the course the student will be able to:
1. Acquire knowledge of the scientific terms and language that are used in the field of human pathologies.
2. Know the main chemical, physical and biological pathogenic factors and their effects (biological damage and cell death) on cells and tissues.
3. Know the responses of a tissue or organ to a biological damage with particular reference to the mechanisms of inflammation and immune system.
4. Know the general characteristics of neurological and mental pathologies at the cell level.

Full programme

Definition of Health, Hygiene and Public Health; evolution of the definitions of health. Objectives and methods of Hygiene and preventive medicine. Role of Public Health. Disease prevention and health promotion. Definition of epidemiology and fields of study. Causal factors and risk factors; determinants of health. Overview of health demography and health indicators. Data sources. The main epidemiological measures: rates and proportions, prevalence and incidence; risk measures and causal relationship; association. Epidemiological studies: observational studies, experimental studies.
General epidemiology of infectious diseases: microorganisms and us; sources and reservoirs of infection; mechanisms (ways) of transmission of infectious diseases. Factors favoring the occurrence of infections. Ways of infections onset in the population.
General prevention of infectious diseases: the levels of prevention (primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary prevention). General prophylaxis of infectious diseases: notification, isolation, default measures, epidemiological investigation, disinfection, sterilization, antisepsis, asepsis. Active immunoprophylaxis: vaccines and vaccinations. Passive immunoprophylaxis. Primary and secondary chemoprophylaxis.
Epidemiology and prevention of chronic degenerative diseases. Definition and characteristics of a screening test: sensitivity, specificity and predictive values. Screening campaigns.
Epidemiology and prevention of care-associated infections. Food hygiene: food safety and microbiological risk.

Basic concepts in pathology: etiology and pathogenesis of diseases

Genetic pathology
Gene mutations and chromosomal disorders
Hereditary and acquired diseases. Multifactorial diseases.

Cellular damage
Causes of cell damage and mechanisms.
Cellular adaptations to damage: Hypertrophy, Hyperplasia, Atrophy, Metaplasia.
Cellular responses to stress and harmful insults
Cell death: necrosis, apoptosis and autophagy.
Examples of damage: damage from ischemia, damage from alcohol.

Defense mechanisms and immunology
The tissue response to injury: acute and chronic inflammation
Cells of innate and adaptive immunity
Tissue regeneration and repair.

characteristics of the tumor cell
Neoplastic progression: Initiation, Progression, Dissemination
Cellular bases of neoplasms

Neurological diseases
Degenerative diseases of the nervous system: Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
Multiple sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)
Spina bifida

Neurodevelopmental disorders
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
Rett syndrome.

Mental illnesses
Schizophrenia: general characteristics of possible causes and brain alterations.


-Barbuti, Fara, Giammanco et al. Igiene Medicina Preventiva Sanità Pubblica . Edises (2014); II Ed. (2022).
-Signorelli C. Igiene e sanità pubblica. Secrets. Domande e risposte. Editore SEU (2021).
Learning material used during the lessons, provided by the teacher.

J.A.M. Maier - “Patologia generale e fisiopatologia per le professioni sanitarie” II edizione – Mc Graw Hill Editore
E. Rubin, H.M. Reisner - “Patologia generale - l’essenziale” - Piccin Editore
G.M. Pontieri - “Patologia generale e fisiopatologia generale. Per i corsi di laurea in professioni sanitarie” III edizione - Piccin Editore

Teaching methods

Lectures will be held on-site in compliance with safety standards. Supporting material will be available on the specific, student-reserved platform (Elly) and will include slide presentations, audio-video aids or video-recording of the lectures.

Assessment methods and criteria

The assessment of the achievement of the objectives of the course consists of an oral examination. Through questions about the contents of the course will be determined whether the student has achieved the goal of knowledge and understanding of the content and whether it is able to apply the knowledge acquired in the exercise of profession.

The vote will be expressed from 18 to 30/30.

Students with learning disabilities (DSA/BSE) must contact the University's Center for Accommodation and Inclusion (

Other information

- - -