BMS2011 : The Nervous System and Respiratory Diseases

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1) This module aims to build an understanding from basic cellular neuroscience through to behaviourally relevant function of network activity in the CNS.

2) This module aims to develop a students’ understanding of the physiology of the lung, the molecular pathology and pathogenesis of a range of lung diseases and the diagnostic tools and treatments available for these diseases.

3) This modules gives an opportunity to further develop written and oral communication skills

Neuroscience offers many challenges in understanding the way the brain functions. This can be to perform many complex tasks, to determine how neurons communicate and organise themselves in ordered networks, to work out why things sometimes go wrong and to deliver treatments for disorders that affect many peoples lives. To introduce neuroscience this module will cover the basic electrical properties of cells; types of cell-cell communication, properties of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission, synaptic plasticity, types of neuronal circuits, network rhythm (oscillation) generation and the cognitive importance of network oscillations.

Respiratory diseases are one of the most common forms of ill health in the UK. Respiratory conditions are the most common form of long term illness in children and the single main cause of emergency admissions to hospitals with the major diseases being chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, pneumonia, other respiratory infections and asthma. Thus in the UK respiratory diseases cost the NHS more than any other disease area. In addition the prevalence of respiratory diseases in the UK is increasing with asthma being a good example of this with between 15-20% of secondary school children and at least 10 % of adults having this disease. This module will focus on the study of the molecular pathophysiology of a range of respiratory diseases and infections, the diagnosis of these diseases and current and future treatment options for these diseases.

Outline Of Syllabus

Neuroscience Strand:

Introduction: overview of excitable cells; origin and control of the resting membrane potential.

Cell-cell communication: overview of synaptic chemical transmission, neurotransmitter release; electrical signalling via gap junctions, coupling potentials.

Excitatory neurotransmission; excitatory cells, pathways and systems; excitatory receptors (ionotropic versus metabotropic), excitatory potentials, plasticity.

Inhibitory neurotransmission; inhibitory cells, pathways and systems; inhibitory receptors (ionotropic versus metabotropic), inhibitory potentials, plasticity.

Synthesis and trafficking of neuronal proteins, changes in postsynaptic properties.

Basic neuronal circuits in the CNS; feedforward and feedback pathways, current excitation, disinhibition.

Origin of brain rhythms; origin of the EEG signal, cellular mechanisms underlying generation of theta and gamma frequency activity.

Cognitive functions of network rhythms; role of gamma oscillations; working memory; changes in network rhythms in neuropsychiatric conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Respiratory Disease Strand:

Introduction - Structure of the lung/mechanics of breathing/compliance/oxygen transfer.

The pathology and molecular pathogenesis of a range of obstructive and restrictive lung diseases including COPD, asthma, emphysema, IPF, cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis, extrinsic allergic alveolitis, sarcoidosis.

Industrial diseases including pneumoconiosis and asbestosis.

The role of atmospheric pollutants, PM10, PM5, ultrafine particles, NO, SO2 on the development of lung disease will be discussed.

The pathology and pathogenesis of a range of respiratory infections including Staphylococcus aureus, Neisseria meningitidis, Streptococcus pneumoniea, Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

The bacteriology symptoms clinical nature, epidemiology, treatments and prevention of whooping cough, diptheria and legionnaire's disease.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture331:0033:00
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching13:003:00Seminar
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1641:00164:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide students with key information. The Seminar session will encourage an increased understanding of the material through discussion. Private study will allow students to extend their knowledge through reading of text books, journal articles and other recommended reading.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A80Unseen - 50% EMI & 50% essays.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M20Extended Essay (2000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination provides evidence of knowledge and understanding of the topics. The extended essay supports the students’ development in finding and critically analysing current literature and their written communication skills.

Reading Lists