Medical Neuroscience Course Description

The Medical Neuroscience course is designed to introduce the first year medical student to the form, function, and dysfunction of the nervous system.  This information is presented in the context of the clinical situation, when feasible, and with an emphasis on the major disease processes a general physician is likely to encounter.  Faculty participation includes members from the Departments of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Neurology, Neurosurgery, and the Neuroscience Center.  The material is presented in four blocks.  The first block covers the neuroanatomy and basic function of the spinal cord, brainstem, and forebrain.  During this block, the student is also instructed, in a small group setting, in how to do a neurological examination.  Three laboratories introduce the student to brain specimens which demonstrate the anatomy of the brain.  The second block covers basic physiology of the neuron, synaptic transmission, cell signaling, and diseases of molecules and neurotransmitters, followed by lectures on the sensory systems, including clinical aspects of vision, hearing, and clinical management of pain.  In the third block, motor systems are examined, including the role of the cerebrum, basal ganglia and the cerebellum in motor function and the diseases associated with these structures (i.e. Parkinson's, Huntington's Chorea, Cerebellar disorders), as well as peripheral nerve and muscle disorders.  The final block of the course emphasizes higher cortical functions, including learning and memory, cognitive function, and the role of the limbic system in emotional behavior; and the diseases that affect these systems, including Alzheimer's, Aphasia, Autism, and Mental Illness.  The course concludes with clinical lectures related to the cerebral vasculature, stroke, brain stem disorders, trauma, and tumors.  The course material is presented in lectures combined with laboratory exercises utilizing human brain material, MRI and other imaging modalities, and computer-based animations.  Patient presentations are also provided in the setting of grand rounds.