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MMB8020 : Scientific Basis of Neurological Disorders

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Daniel Erskine
  • Co-Module Leader: Professor Robert Lightowlers
  • Demonstrator: Dr Gavin Clowry
  • Lecturer: Professor Andrew Trevelyan, Dr Sarah Pickett, Dr Christopher Morris, Dr Timothy Williams, Professor Bobby McFarland, Professor Evelyne Sernagor, Professor Andrew Blamire, Professor Nicola Pavese, Professor Raj Kalaria, Dr Hugo De Sao Jose Martinho De Oliveira
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


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
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture141:0014:00Present in Person (PIP): Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00Formative Online MCQ
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion135:0035:00Preparation for formative online MCQ test
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Produce a poster to summarise a scientific research publication
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)
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity125:0025:00Additional Reading & Reflective Learning
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study171:0071:00Preparing 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.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination601A60Choice of 1 to 3 questions.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Poster1M40Online submission of a poster (size A0): assessment of a scientific publication
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment1M1 hour Online MCQs (50 questions)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The MCQs test knowledge and understanding of the entire module.
The exam brings together information presented in the lectures as well as evidence of further self-directed reading and learning. The poster probes critical analysis of a key piece of published neuroscience research.

Reading Lists