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Unit information: Spinal and Demyelinating Disorders in 2021/22

Unit name Spinal and Demyelinating Disorders
Unit code BRMSM0044
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Wong
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The aim of this unit is to introduce the range of spinal, peripheral nerve and demyelinating disorders, discuss the range of pathogenetic processes and review regenerative therapies for these diseases. The main disorders that will be covered include multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and motor neuron disease. The unit will discuss the contributing factors to the development of these pathologies and emphasise the potential role for stem cell therapies. .

This unit will describe: 1) The pathology of peripheral nerve disorders; 2) Pathology of multiple sclerosis and current research in regenerative therapies; 3) Spinal cord injury and current research; 4) Pathology of motor neuron disease and current research; 5) Streamed video of in vitro models of nerve growth and in vitro/in vivo histological techniques to assess models of these disorders.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students successfully completing this module will:

  • Evaluate the potential of different types of stem cells in nervous system repair
  • Appraise ways in which gene and protein expression can be manipulated for nervous system repair
  • Be able to integrate current understanding of cellular pathways in spinal, peripheral nerve and demyelinating disorders and how these might be targeted by future therapies.
  • Critically evaluate how biomaterials can support the use of stem cells and regenerative medicine approaches in the context of nervous system repair.
  • Be able to critically analyse data and present findings
  • Appraise current pre-clinical and clinical stem cell and regenerative therapies. Be able to describe the techniques required to assess in vitro or in vivo models of these disorders, for example histological analyses on spinal cord and peripheral nerve sections and cells in culture

Teaching Information

  • Web-based Audio Lectures and Seminars.
  • Web-based tutorials/practicals
  • Self-directed study
  • On-line discussion forums

Assessment Information

Summative Assessment will comprise a number of tasks during the Unit and a final end of Unit timed assessment:

  • 1x Paper Review contributing 40% to the Unit
  • 1x short answer question contributing 20% to the Unit
  • 1x end of Unit timed assessment which will occur at the end of the academic year and contribute 40% to the Unit

Sets of multiple choice questions will help to support student engagement with the asynchronous material.

Online synchronous sessions will provide support through the Unit including for coursework tasks. Students will be given formative feedback on all written assessments to aid their learning.

The pass mark for the unit is 50%


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. BRMSM0044).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.