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Unit information: Diseases of the nervous system in 2015/16

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Unit name Diseases of the nervous system
Unit code SOCS30004
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Caldwell
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The nervous system regulates and coordinates the body’s activities and nervous dysfunction can lead to debilitating consequences. This unit will introduce the diseases of the nervous system and will give an overview of research into regenerative strategies that are being developed to slow disease progression or to treat neurodegenerative disorders. The content will cover the basic biology of neurodegenerative disorders, current therapeutic strategies and pre-clinical/clinical applications of experimental research. The topics that will be described in this unit will include: 1) the pathology of Parkinson’s disease and clinical therapies; 2) Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and experimental therapeutics; 3) multiple sclerosis; 4) degenerative eye disease and 5) clinical applications of stem cells or novel regenerative therapies.

The unit aims to: (i) Provide students with the fundamental knowledge of the basis of diseases of the nervous system, including neurodegenerative and ocular disorders (ii) Provide students with knowledge of the new and emerging therapeutic approaches to treating neurodegenerative diseases (iii) Provide students with an understanding of stem cell biology and how they can be utilised to model disease or as regenerative therapies for neurodegenerative disease

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit, the students should be able to: (i) describe the underlying causes of key neurodegenerative and ocular disorders and discuss recent research that contributes to understanding the pathophysiology of these diseases (ii) discuss the basic principles and effectiveness of current and emerging therapeutic approaches for neurodegenerative diseases (iii) describe how stem cells can generate new cells/tissues and critically appraise the utility of stem cells in modelling or treating neurodegenerative disorders

Teaching Information

This unit is taught through lectures and tutorials. Independent study: students are expected to study the recommended literature.

Assessment Information

The unit will be assessed through two summative examinations in May/June. In the first 1-hour examination (40%), students will be expected to answer a range of multiple-choice questions on the content of the unit. In the second 2-hour examination (60%), students will be expected to answer two essay questions from a choice of 5, which will assess their knowledge and critical understanding of the field, and their ability to gather information from the primary scientific literature.

Reading and References

Selected relevant review papers from the literature