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MMB8020 : Scientific Basis of Neurological Disorders

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Robert Lightowlers
  • Demonstrator: Dr Gavin Clowry
  • Lecturer: Professor Andrew Trevelyan, Dr Amy Reeve, Dr Timothy Williams, Professor Bobby McFarland, Dr Sarah Pickett, Professor Andrew Blamire, Professor Nicola Pavese, Professor Evelyne Sernagor, Dr Hugo De Sao Jose Martinho De Oliveira, Professor Raj Kalaria
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module aims are to:

1. acquaint students with the clinical presentations of some important neurological disorders

2. develop understanding of key aspects of cellular and molecular neuroscience in the context of their relevance to those disorders

3. introduce principles and practice of a range of modern methods for investigating the nervous system

4. describe the main ways in which nerve cells respond to insult and injury

5. examine the latest hypotheses to explain the symptoms and consequences of neurological disorders

6. explore possible ways in which neurological disorders might be treated in the future

Original Summary:

This module introduces the basic clinical aspects of many neurological disorders and details our present understanding of the molecular aetiology that underlies these disorders. It blends clinical lectures given by practicing clinicians and basic science lectures from researchers involved in unravelling the molecular basis of these disorders.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module introduces the students to several aspects of neurology and neurological research that are critical to their understanding of the subject. This involves basic neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurological examination and neuroimaging. The module then focuses on several groups of disorders – stroke, movement disorders, dementias, epilepsy, peripheral neuropathies, acquitted myopathies, autoimmunity and mitochondrial disease. Clinicians working in these areas present the basic clinical aspects and research scientists explain the molecular dysfunctions that can lead to these diseases. Finally, the module leader gives a brief overview of the course with emphasis on general themes that run through all the neurological disorders that have been discussed.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion129:0029:00Preparation for formative online MCQ test
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion129:0029:00Oral Presentation preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture141:0014:00Present in Person (PIP): Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion137:0037:00Produce short (1500 word) scientific assessment of a key publication
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00Formative Online MCQ
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00Present in person (PIP): Anatomy lab
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Present in person (PIP): Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching21:002:00Present in person (PIP)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Present in Person (PIP) Oral presentation
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity125:0025:00Additional Reading & Reflective Learning
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study150:0050:00Preparing Notes from Lecture materials, Seminars & Reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Many neurological disorders diseases have dramatic debilitating effects and cause major stress within the family. Understanding of these diseases and their causes requires knowledge of the basic principle of nerve cell biology. This module will introduce students to these principles in the context of several clinically important neurological disorders and will show how defects at the cellular and molecular levels can give rise to the features of the disorders at clinical presentation. The diseases selected for study will include both inherited and acquired conditions that affect both nerve cell function and survival. The module takes advantage of the wealth of neuroscience experience in Newcastle at both scientific and clinical levels.

This will be a module split between lectures, small group teaching and seminars, with students being introduced to neurological disorders in man and the associated defects in cells and molecules. In addition to the formal teaching, students will be expected to spend considerable time on independent learning following the guidelines identified in the lecture materials and taught sessions.

Should public health circumstances dictate that it is necessary, in person sessions including oral presentations will be moved to online alternatives.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M50Written assessment of scientific publication (1500 words)
Oral Examination1M50Present in person oral presentation: 15 minutes (12 mins with 3 mins questions)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment1M1 hour Online MCQs (50 questions)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The oral presentation and written assessment probes critical analysis of a key piece of published neuroscience research.

The formative MCQs test knowledge and understanding of the entire module.

Should public health circumstances dictate that it is necessary, the oral presentation will be moved to a synchronous online presentation.

Reading Lists