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Drugs, brain and altered awareness (6 points)
Leader: Associate Professor Jenny Redman and Dr Shantha Rajaratnam
Synopsis: This unit examines neurobiological mechanisms that underlie changes in awareness. Clinical, prescribed and recreational drugs are discussed in regard to their modes of action on brain cells, the regions of brain targetted and their effects on cognition and behaviour. They are compared with other altered states of awareness including circadian rhythms, sleep, coma, hypnosis, meditation, delirium, amnesia, dementia, psychoses and affective disorders. Emphasis is placed on the notion that awareness results from the integration of cellular activity in the brain, and that subtle changes in this pattern of activity can dramatically alter awareness, cognition and behaviour.
Assessment: Mid-semester written theory examination (short answer and/or MCQ, 1.5 hour): 35% + End of semester written theory examination (short answer and/or MCQ, 1.5 hour): 35% + Two short practical written reports (maximum 500 words each): 5% + One oral presentation using Powerpoint (based on group laboratory work) 5% + Laboratory report (2,000 words) 20%
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