The Course and its Faculty: The Medical Neuroscience Course is a 6-week, interdepartmental course for first-year medical students that emphasizes the interdisciplinary study of the human nervous system as it applies to clinical medicine. The basic science of the human nervous system arose out of clinical observations in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, basic science informs the clinical science of the human nervous system, and vice versa. The Neuroscience faculty are drawn from both basic science and clinical departments, chiefly from Structural and Cellular Biology, Physiology, Neuroscience Program, and Neurology, but also including Neurosurgery, Radiology and Ophthalmology.
The overarching theme of the Medical Neuroscience course is that nervous system disorders can be understood in terms of neuroanatomical and physiological mechanisms; contrasts between function and dysfunction are consistently shown. Individual topics include organization, function and dysfunction (e.g., lesion effects) of spinal cord, brainstem, cerebral cortex, and subcortical regions. They include the cranial nerve, mental status, motor, and neuro-ophthalmological exams. Information on current neuroradiological testing is also included.
Course Goals and Objectives
By the end of this course the students should be conversant with the unique and large vocabulary and be able to apply the vocabulary in learning to diagnose conditions related to major central nervous system structures, functions, concepts, and disorders (e.g., medial lemniscus, compound action potentials, upper motor neuron, aphasias, etc.).
By the end of this course, the students will be able to:
1) identify, describe, draw and label the major structures and explain the functions of the human nervous system, and
2) explain the neuroanatomical/neurophysiological basis of and describe the fundamental methods of neurological examination and clinical problem solving in relation to common neurological disorders.
Specific course learning objectives:
By the end of Block 1, students will be able to:
1. describe, draw and label major topographic features of the brain,
2. explain the major interrelationships between major brain structures,
3. localize, identify, draw and label major brainstem nuclei and tracts from origin to termination,
4. describe the major function(s) and interrelationships of brainstem nuclei and tracts,
5. describe, diagram and label the blood supply to the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, brainstem, and spinal cord,
6. explain the fundamentals of the localization and diagnosis of neurological lesions.
By the end of Block 2, students will be able to:
7. describe, draw and label major topographic features of the forebrain,
8. explain the fundamental use of neuroimaging in the detection and diagnosis of major neurological disorders,
9. describe the major anatomical subdivisions, mapping, and functions of cerebral cortical systems (e.g., motor, sensory, language, cognition, emotion, memory, etc.),
10. describe and explain clinical abnormalities in the structure and function of cerebral cortical systems,
11. localize, identify, draw and label major somatosensory systems and pathways from origin to termination,
12. explain the neurobiological basis and clinical correlates of pain and headache,
13. describe the major function(s), interrelationships and clinical abnormalities of major somatosensory systems,
14. localize, identify, draw and label major somatomotor systems and pathways from origin to termination,
15. describe and explain the function of major neurotransmitters and their receptors,
16. describe the major function(s), interrelationships and clinical abnormalities of somatomotor systems.
By the end of Block 3, students will be able to:
17. describe, draw and label the major neuroanatomical features and functions of the frontal cortex, hippocampus, limbic system, and ventricular system,
18. explain the neurophysiological basis of the EEG and epilepsy,
19. describe and explain brain blood flow and metabolism and mechanisms of stroke,
20. explain the major clinical correlates of and major clinical treatment approaches to stroke,
21. localize, identify, draw and label the major central visual pathways,
22. explain the neurophysiology of the retina and central visual system and major related clinical abnormalities and correlates,
23. localize, identify, draw and label the major central auditory/vestibular pathways,
24. explain auditory/vestibular functions and major related clinical abnormalities and correlates,
25. localize, identify, draw and label major neuroanatomical nuclei and pathways of the hypothalamus,
26. explain the role of the hypothalamus in homeostatic functions of neuroendocrine regulation, water/osmolar balance, temperature regulation, food intake/energy balance, and circadian rhythm regulation, and major related clinical abnormalities and correlates.
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