Basic sciences are offered simultaneously as an integrative course – a program unique to the Boucher Institute. The Biomedicine course is taught six to nine hours per week over the first two years, encompassing physiology, biochemistry, pathology, histology, embryology, pharmacology and laboratory diagnosis. This course promotes an integrative and clinically relevant view of the basic medical sciences.
Biomedicine provides learners with an ability to foresee potential underlying causes of disease in patients. It also enables them to create and justify treatment rationale, learn a common language for communicating with other medical professionals, and to hypothesize and research theories on the mechanisms behind naturopathic treatments.
Anatomy provides a detailed study of the anatomical structures and systems of the human body. Special attention is paid to palpation of the clinically relevant surface anatomy. The musculoskeletal, vascular, lymphatic, and nervous systems are studied in depth in order to appreciate the relevance of landmarks, and how physical relationships affect function.
Anatomy – Dissection Lab
This lab is a six-day intensive cadaver dissection component of the anatomy course. The dissection is completed under the supervision of highly qualified instructors – a unique experience that involves exploring the human body, progressing from the skin through to the superficial fascia, muscle, and internal organs. This process allows the intricacies of the body as a symbiotic unit to be appreciated and understood.
Biomedicine provides a common framework for describing the structure and functions of the human body. Presented as a synthesis of several fields of study, the Biomedicine courses at Boucher set out to promote an integrative and holistic view of the basic medical sciences. They provide a comprehensive description of the structure, organization, function and dysfunction of the human body, and the ways in which we measure and manipulate these parameters.
Increasing levels of complexity are explored as the courses progress from the lives of cells to the dependent relationships found in systems. After reviewing the biochemical nature of molecular building blocks, the cellular incorporation and metabolism of these molecules are discussed, providing for the cellular creation of tissues that enable the body to develop, grow and sustain life. Next is an examination of how these tissues are consolidated into organs, which participate in complex interrelated systems that support and allow a body to thrive. A great deal of emphasis is placed on cellular metabolism, as this is where our vitality is defended as homeostatic organisms, and it is usually here that pathology begins.
Biomedicine – Biochemistry
The biochemistry component forms the basic language and mechanism of the sciences of physiology, pathology, pharmacology, nutrition and laboratory diagnosis, and addresses the application of biochemistry to naturopathic knowledge and practice. Topics examined in this context include:
- The energetic relationship of molecules
- The nature and function of enzymes
- Cellular regulatory mechanism
- Metabolism of proteins
- Fats and carbohydrates
- Common metabolic pathways
- Detoxification reactions
- Acid / alkali balance
- Vitamin mechanisms and nucleic acids and DNA.
Biomedicine – Laboratory Diagnosis
This component teaches students to critically evaluate and apply the results of commonly used laboratory tests. Tests covered in this section of the course include:
- Serological chemistry and haematology
- Endocrine panels
Related laboratory parameters and disease states are covered in conjunction with each other throughout the Biomedicine courses in order to best integrate the information and to facilitate the learning process.
Biomedicine – Pathology
The pathology component explores the scientific study of disease. It examines the etiology and pathophysiology of diseases and the potential for progression and sequelae. Beginning with the study of general pathology, the genetic basis of disease, cellular and tissue responses to injury, inflammation, healing and repair and neoplasia, it then progresses to a systematic discussion of specific diseases of the various organs and organ systems of the body, with its greatest emphasis on the most common and clinically relevant disease processes. The pathophysiology of local and systemic changes occurring in the body during illness is discussed to better understand the rationale for methods of diagnosis and treatment in clinical practice.
Biomedicine – Pharmacology
The pharmacology component explores the biological effects and mechanisms of action of pharmaceuticals on the body.
Prior to addressing the actions of specific pharmaceuticals, the general principles behind the administration, metabolism, withdrawal, and excretion of pharmaceutical agents are examined. For each specific pharmaceutical studied, the mechanism of action is detailed and linked to therapeutic effects, adverse effects, drug interactions and contraindications of the drug. In addition, selected unique adverse events that cannot be linked to the mechanism of action are highlighted.
Additionally, the federal and provincial (British Columbia) drug schedules are outlined, as are the prescribing regulations within British Columbia.
Biomedicine – Physiology
The physiology component of the course provides comprehensive coverage of the structure, organization, and functioning of the human body. The course progresses through the cellular, histological, organic and systemic levels to characterize the body as an interrelated and holistic entity. Organ systems are covered in a sequence that describes relevant histology, followed by physiological models of function and homeostatic contribution, and finally a look at the embryological development of that system.
Microbiology I examines constructive organization and wholeness in open systems, introducing the Gaia view of the natural world as a whole, organized and self-regulating “super-organism”, and looking at the concept of “deep ecology” and its relevance to naturopathic philosophy. The course also includes a general overview of the biospheric cycles including carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and water. The general health effects of pollution (air, water, soil, electromagnetic, etc.), species extinction, climate change, biotechnology and the remaking of nature are discussed.
The theme of constructive organization in the natural world is extended to an introduction to microbiology. Major groups of microorganisms are identified; archaebacteria, prokaryotes, and eukaryotes are explored. Gram-stain and the basic physical elements which differentiate gram positive and gram negative are covered including their antigenic determinants. The major groups which make up gram-positive and gram-negative are covered. An overview of prions and viruses is also included.
The normal resident and transient flora of the skin, conjunctiva, mouth and upper respiratory passages, intestinal tract, urethra, and vagina are then examined in relation to their beneficial roles in health and normal function. The special microbial environments of food and water are considered in relation to infection, pathogenicity, virulence and the role of natural barriers and general immunity in host resistance. The holistic perspective is thus expanded to include the environment and the interface between the individual and the environment as living, dynamic components with both positive and negative health impacts. The course concludes with an exploration of requirements for environmentally sustainable health care and physician-based contributions to environmental health.
Microbiology II involves the study of various infectious agents and their role in disease in the human body. Transmission, virulence, laboratory identification and diagnosis, pathological presentation and pharmacology of treatment are investigated.
A detailed study of the structure and function of the nervous system. This course expands on the nervous system anatomy covered by the Anatomy courses, and includes the physiology and selected pathologies of the nervous system. Special attention is given to the ascending and descending nerve tracts. The complexities of consciousness, memory, learning, and emotion are explored.