Course SummaryDysfunction of the human brain can produce a wide variety of neurological and psychiatric illnesses. Over the past decades, neuroscientists have begun to unravel the basic underlying mechanisms of a number of important diseases of the nervous system, at the cellular, molecular and genetic levels. None of these disorders are completely understood, and, perhaps more importantly, none are yet susceptible to either total prevention or cure, so these conditions remain among the most important health problems of our society. This course is designed to familiarize neuroscientists with basic information about a number of important neurological and psychiatric diseases, focusing on a relatively brief clinical description of the condition and a more in depth discussion of what is currently understood about the basic pathobiology of the disorder.
TEXTBOOK: Please check the electronic blackboard for readings: readings often will be assigned for the various topics. There is no one text suitable for the course. Many of the chapters in "The Molecular and Genetic Basis of Neurological Disease" edited by Roger Rosenberg, Stanley Pruisiner, Salvatore DiMauro, and Robert Barchi, Edition 2 or 3, are a good initial source. Copies are available on reserve in the medical library and in the Neuroscience library.
TYPES OF ACTIVITIES FOR WHICH STUDENTS WILL PREPARE IN ADVANCE OF CLASS: For the following types of student-led activities the class will be divided into two teams. The teams will stay the same throughout the semester. For each activity, two (or perhaps more) members of each team will sign up to take primary responsibility for their team's presentation. The other members of each team will be responsible for assisting their team members and for answering questions during the discussion.
Clinical Trials Presentations: Students will read a paper(s) describing the results of a clinical trial(s) for a given disease. After the designated students from each team present their trial, other team members will compare and contrast their team's trial with that of the other team.
Debates on alternative mechanisms: Students will read papers giving evidence in support of a particular mechanism as central to the etiology of a given disorder. The two designated students from each team will present the best evidence in support of "their" mechanism. After the initial arguments are made, students may debate the points presented by the opposing team.
Presentations of various hypotheses: These will be similar to the "debates" but students will not be responsible for contrasting "their" hypothesis or mechanism with the others that are presented by the other students.
Website Review: Students will review a website (for a disease or a foundation) and write a 1 page, single-spaced summary about the site. Details on how the focus the review are included on the syllabus.
GRADING: Grades will be based on quality of presentations, written assignments, and ability to answer questions and participate in the discussions during class. At the end of the term, students will write a ~3 page 'mini grant proposal" on one of the diseases discussed in class. More information will be provided towards the end of the semester.
SYLLABUS: Just click HERE.
Viewing the LecturesFor helpful hints on viewing the videotaped lectures go HERE.
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