Degree course: 
Corso di Second cycle degree in BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (48 hours)

Knowledge and understanding of the basic physiology of neurons; general knowledge of the organization of the CNS

Final Examination: 

Learning achievements are evaluated through an oral interview, aimed at verifying that the student has acquired the capability of discussing a pathophysiological theme by correlating genetic, epigenetic, biochemical, physiological and pathological aspects, examining the possible experimental strategies to further our understanding of the problem, and evaluating the therapeutic strategies in terms of their symptomatic or disease-modifying capabilities. The students can pick a theme of their choice as a starting point for such discussion and prepare an oral, written or multimedia presentation on the topic.

Voto Finale

Knowledge and understanding The students will have demonstrated knowledge and understanding capacity with respect to the functioning of neurons and neuronal circuits, the processes that may impair them, the pathological pictures such impairments may produce; they will be aware of the possible targets for therapeutic intervention, the biotechnological and pharmacological tools available to treat the neurological and psychiatric symptoms and/or intervene on the underlying pathogenic mechanisms and processes; they will be aware of the current experimental strategies to clarify the molecular and cellular basis of neural disorders and to develop diagnostic, monitoring and therapeutic approaches.
Applying knowledge and understanding (Skills and know how) The students are expected to be able to apply their knowledge and understanding capacity to effectively contribute to studying a patho-physiological process that affects the CNS, to critically discuss the problem and to identify the possible approaches to a corrective intervention and the experimental strategies to design and manage the development of such intervention.

1. Synaptology: Neurotransmitters in the CNS. Neuromodulation and neural computing. Neuronal and synaptic plasticity. Neuronal development and degeneration. Glia and neurons.
2. The functional organization of the Central Nervous System (CNS): input-output “axis” and hierarchical structure. The organization of the cerebral cortex.
Sensory system and central processing of sensory information.
* Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
3. Motor control. Cerebellum physiopathology. Basal nuclei physiopathology.
* Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
* Parkinson's Disease (PD)
* Huntington's Disease (HD)
4. Physiopathology of memory and learning
* Alzheimer's Disease (AD)
5. The limbic system. Emotions and mood disturbances
* Anxiety and Depression (BDS)
6. * Epilepsy and Migraine
7. The neural basis of consciousness – thought disturbances
* Autistic Spectrum Disturbances (ASD)
* Attention Deficit + Hyperactivity Disturbance (ADHD)
* Psychosis and Schizophrenia
8. The organization of higher functions
Behavioural control and behaviour disturbances

Students may study by following the trace of the teaching material (slides on-line), with the help of a Neuroscience textbook, such as:
– Principles of Neural Science E.R. Kandel, J.H. Schwartz, T.M. Jessel - McGraw Hill Professional, 2013.
– Fundamental Neuroscience, L.R. Squire, D. Berg, F.E. Bloom et al. - ELSEVIER, 4th ed., 2012.
Monographs about the examined pathologies are available online at a site managed by the teacher, where a brief summary of cellular neurophysiology by the teacher (in Italian) is also available.

Teaching activities are based on lectures. Lectures follow the line of slide presentations that are made available on-line to the students. One main trace for the whole course consists in linking the cellular properties of neurons and their network organization to the specific functions of the CNS; the circuits and computational modules that sustain sensory, motor, emotional and cognitive functions will be examined, to understand how changes in molecular, cellular or network properties can give rise to functional derangements. Particular attention is dedicated to integrate the genetic, molecular, biochemical, physiological and pharmacological aspects that characterize each pathophysiological condition. A number of neurological and psychiatric disorders are specifically discussed in order to provide the students with a method in correlating molecular, functional, clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic aspects.