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Unit information: Neurodegeneration: Symptoms, molecular mechanisms and therapies in 2020/21

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Unit name Neurodegeneration: Symptoms, molecular mechanisms and therapies
Unit code MEDIM0014
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Allen-Birt
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This unit covers an in depth understanding of neuropathology, symptoms and possible treatments of selected neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Alongside this, there is a comparison of pathology, symptoms and underlying mechanisms involved in these separate diseases in order to find unifying theories of disease.

The Aim of this Unit is to:

Provide a basic understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of certain neurodegenerative processes, and to use this to explain similarities and differences between the associated neurodegenerative disorders.

Specific aims:

  1. To explain the pathology of neurodegenerative specific diseases in terms of underlying mechanisms.
  2. To provide an insight into how the pathology of these diseases relates to the symptoms produced.
  3. Using the above information, to explain how drugs and other therapies may be useful in neurodegenerative diseases.
  4. To provide basic training in writing a research grant.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of the unit the student should be able to:

A. discuss the neuropathology, symptoms and molecular mechanisms of the major neurodegenerative diseases; B. discuss similarities of underlying molecular processes in different neurodegenerative diseases; C. discuss the importance of protein structure in the disease process; D. discuss the types of possible therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases; E. present the major theories of how neurodegenerative diseases occur, to other scientists; F. to understand what might be required to apply for (small) grant funding.

Teaching Information

This unit is taught via a blended learning approach with a combination of online and face-to-face lectures, tutorials, and workshops supported by online resources.

Assessment Information

The Unit is assessed through the writing of a research grant application of approximately 3,000 words (100%).

Formative coursework will reinforce the intended learning outcomes and will aid the writing of the grant application.

Reading and References

Selected relevant review papers from the literature. There are a number of topics within this unit. For each there is a recent review given. There are also additional notes given on Blackboard.