Neurobiology of Disease


Date: April 3, 2012 (Tuesday)
Time: 10 a.m.
Theme: Introduction
Module: Overview
Session: One person's perspective on the neurobiology of disease; Clinical info gathering
Instructor: Gary Westbrook, Senior Scientist, Vollum Institute; Professor, Neurology, OHSU
Objectives: This introductory session will outline the goals and structure of the course, and establish the expectations for students in the course. We will also overview some of the common mechanisms that cross disease boundaries in neurological and psychiatric disease. In the second part of the 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. We will discuss how a working clinical diagnosis compares to research criteria necessary for experimental studies, and how that impacts studies of underlying mechanisms and potential therapies. We will use clinical vignettes as part of the discussion.
Study questions:
  1. What is the distinction between disease-oriented research and translational research?
  2. Describe a typical pathway from basic observation to clinical therapy.
  3. Neurologists often approach clinical problems by trying to determine "where's the lesion?" What does this mean?
  4. What components of nervous system function can be assessed in the neurological exam?
  5. How would you define a "disease" for the purposes of an experimental protocol or clinical trial?
  1. Groopman, Jerome "What's the trouble?"
    The New Yorker, January 29, 2007
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  2. NOD Case 1 and 2
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  3. Zoghbi et all 2000 "Neurobiology of disease"
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