The University of Southampton
Courses

BIOL3025 Neuropharmacology of CNS Disorders

Module Overview

The module provides an introduction to functional brain anatomy and important neurotransmitter signalling pathways. This is used as a framework on which to describe the symptoms and treatment of brain disorders with a particular focus on a subset of psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia. The possible underlying causes of these disorders, and advances in therapy, are discussed in the light of the most recent research in these topics.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to describe basic concepts in neuropharmacology e.g. on the localisation and putative function of neurotransmitter pathways in the brain and to use this knowledge to consider different theories relating to the biochemical basis of action of psychotomimetic and psychotropic drugs. This is used as a foundation to consider the biochemical basis of major psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, depression and anxiety and neurodevelopmental disorders e.g. autism spectrum disorders.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Provide an overview of neurotransmitter systems in the brain and their putative functional roles
  • Use examples of psychotomimetic and psychotropic drugs to discuss the biochemical basis of mood and behaviour
  • Describe the various techniques used to investigate CNS disorders and to assess their limitations
  • Assess the hypotheses put forward to explain the neurochemical and neurophysiological bases for the following: schizophrenia, affective disorders, drug addiction and autism spectrum disorders.
  • Describe the treatments used in these disorders, their efficacy and side-effects
  • Highlight recent advances in drug therapy that have arisen from a better understanding of the pharmacology of the brain.

Syllabus

The module provides an introduction to functional brain anatomy and important neurotransmitter signalling pathways. This is used as a framework on which to describe the symptoms and treatment of brain disorders with a particular focus on a subset of psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia. The possible underlying causes of these disorders, and advances in therapy, are discussed in the light of the most recent research in these topics.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The course is delivered through a series of lectures supported by recommended reading. A workshop on essay skills using a past examination question provides support for preparation for the written examination. Feedback is provided via a series of set work in the form of short answer questions.

TypeHours
Lecture24
Independent Study126
Total study time150

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Written exam  (2 hours) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Written exam  (2 hours) 100%

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: BIOL2016 OR BIOL2017 OR BIOL2010 OR BIOL2011.

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