Barts and The London, School of Medicine and Dentistry


Year GEP 1 GEP/BB: Brain and Behaviour

Teaching Material for this Module


The aim of Brain and Behaviour is to develop an understanding of the structure and function in the nervous system and appreciate ways in which this understanding and knowledge is applied and relevant to clinical practice.

At the end of this course you should be able to:

  1. Describe the major functional structures of the human central nervous system (CNS) and their main interconnections. This should include all major structures in the forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain and spinal cord.
  2. Describe the main pathways by which the sensory modalities of low threshold cutaneous sensation (touch, pressure and vibration), pain and proprioception are transmitted from the periphery to the brain. The location of where these pathways crossover (decussate) in the nervous system, the basic tests used to assess their integrity and the clinical signs associated with damage to them.
  3. To outline the main components of the motor system with particular emphasis on the monosynaptic reflex and the corticospinal (pyramidal) tract, how to test reflexes, their clinical significance, and how to recognise damage to the motor system.
  4. Describe the vascular anatomy of the CNS, the ventricular system of the brain, the meninges and the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid.
  5. Understand the structure and function of the different cranial nerves, the principles of examination of the cranial nerves and how this examination can reveal pathologies in brain function.
  6. Examine a person’s special senses with particular emphasis on appreciating the anatomy and physiology relevant to the understanding of such examinations.
  7. Have a broad understanding of the parts of the brain involved in and the management of common neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, dementia, psychosis and depression.
  8. To appreciate the main neurotransmitters in the CNS, the receptors at which they act and how specific drug classes can be used in the pharmacological management of PNS and CNS disorders.
  9. Describe the physiology and pharmacology of movement disorders.
  10. Describe the different pathways by which pain is transmitted to the brain and how it can be physiologically and pharmacologically modulated.
  11. Understand the psychological principles relating to health and health-related behaviours.
  12. Describe the mental state examination, the major signs and symptoms of psychiatric illness and the main principles underlying treatment.
  13. Appreciate the effects on the conscious level of brain disease.
  14. Describe the neurobiological, psychological and clinical basis of addictive behaviour.
  15. Describe the anxiety and mood disorders and explain the rationale underlying their treatment. 

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