Brain Develop & Degeneration
Brain Development and Degeneration 2023-24
School Of Human And Behavioural Sciences
Module - Semester 2
- Brief review of basic neuroanatomy and neurobiology (in-depth aspects of both will be covered as they become relevant to specific disorders)
- Neurodevelopmental disorders discussed will include (but not be limited to) Williams Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Down Syndrome and Rett Syndrome.
- Neurodegenerative disorders discussed will include (but not be limited to) Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Fragile X Tremor and Ataxia Syndrome, (FXTAS) and Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Genetic and/or molecular mechanisms commonly involved in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders
- Clinical, cognitive and neural phenotypes of these disorders
- Overview of techniques used in assessing and describing these disorders (e.g., neuropsychological testing, genetic techniques, neuroimaging).
- Ethical implications of genetic and neural studies of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders
-threshold --Adequate answers or writing to the question, largely based on lecture material. No real development of arguments outside of provided module material.-Basic understanding of genetic and neural underpinnings of the covered disorders-Adequate knowledge about various disorders and some ability to compare and contrast them
-good --Reasonably comprehensive coverage of the topic. Well organised and structured writing. Good understanding of the material covered in class and some inclusion of outside material.-Good but not comprehensive understanding of the genetic and neural underpinnings of the covered disorders-Good knowledge of various disorders and the ability to explain several similarities and differences between them.
-excellent --Comprehensive and accurate coverage of the area with clarity of argument and expression. Depth of insight into theoretical issues.-Deep understanding of genetic and neural underpinning of covered disorders and the ability to connect them to other similar disorders-In depth knowledge of various disorders and the ability to thoroughly explain the similarities and differences between them.-Evidence that the student’s understanding does not only rely on lecture material, but is also based on core texts and additional reading of recommended papers as well as knowledge and skills learned in other modules across the psychology course.
- Compare and contrast disorders and show the ability to describe these similarities and differences at a behavioural, cognitive and biological level.
- Critically evaluate current theories in neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration through in-depth analysis of contemporary research papers.
- Demonstrate engagement with materials in weekly seminars.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the genetic changes that can have neurodevelopmental or neurodegenerative consequences (e.g., chromosomal abnormalities, mutations (or various types), deletion, duplication, SNPs).
- Demonstrate knowledge of various brain systems and structures that are impacted in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders at both a whole-brain and a cellular (e.g. dendrites, synapses, neurotransmission) level.
- Describe the clinical, cognitive and neural phenotype of each disorder presented during the course.
- Differentiate between, reflect on, and appreciate the value of (and difference between) clinical and statistical significance
- Engage in both in-class and on-line discussions of topics and material relevant to the module.
- Engage in critically thinking about and discussion of the ethical challenges involved in researching these disorders, as well as the ethical implications of applying the findings from such research.
- Propose interesting and relevant research questions, including critical assessment of potential approaches to answering such questions
Students will produce a 1500 word Blog or 5-minute Vlog focused on an ethical issue that affects those with a specific neurodevelopmental or neurodegenerative disorder. Source material for the Blog/Vlog will be expected to include both "popular media" and scientific sources, as well as creative elements.
Exam (Centrally Scheduled)
The final exam will consist of 20 long-answer questions (2 - 5 sentences) and a seen essay. Long-answer questions will be pulled from a set of 100 questions that are presented throughout the module during weekly revision sessions.
Mini-Critique: Write a short critique of one of the empirical articles read during the module, focusing critical comments on one important/key aspect of the article. Writing include an ~250 synopsis of the paper and ~500 words of critical commentary.
Article reading and discussion. Students will read two articles each week and complete a short worksheet each week to prepare for small group discussions. Worksheets will be marked and the grade for this component will be based on those marks *and* contributing during discussions.