Neurobiology of Disease


Date: March 31, 2010 (Wednesday)
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Theme: Introduction
Module: ToolBox
Session: Clinical information gathering
Instructor: Joe Quinn/Gary Westbrook
Description: Physicians in the clinic diagnose neurological and psychiatric diseases largely based on the patient's clinical history and physical examination. Laboratory tests are often unhelpful or simply confirmatory. In this session, we will discuss how clinicians assess the nervous system and the diagnostic steps necessary to define the part of the nervous system affected (AKA "where's the lesion") and then determine the underlying pathological process. This exercise will be used to compare clinical and research criteria for neuropsychiatric disease, and how that impacts studies of underlying mechanisms and potential therapies. We will use clinical vignettes as part of the discussion.
Study questions:
  1. Neurologists often approach clinical problems by trying to determine "where's the lesion?". What does this mean?
  2. What components of nervous system function can be assessed in the neurological exam?
  3. How would you define a "disease" for the purposes of a experimental protocol or clinical trial?
  1. Groopman J (2007). What's the trouble? New Yorker 82:36-41.
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  2. NODCase1.doc and NODcase2.doc
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