Courses we have Developed
RXRS 403 "Neuropharmacology in Health and Disease"
The human brain remains as one of the most challenging frontiers in science. It is much more than a complex computer designed to store information and utilizes complex connections to solve problems. The human brain is a result of its environment and experience and displays what is termed neuroplasticity, the ability to alter the strength of connections, create new circuits, all leading to the emergence of new behaviors and the maintenance of established ones. It is only within the last few years that we are beginning to expand our understanding and appreciation of the dynamic human brain. Unfortunately, the human brain is subject to a wide spectrum of neurological disorders and diseases at all stages of life from birth, development, adolescence, adult hood, and old age. The economic and social burden of neurological disorders is vast and continues to grow. As we are better equipped to identify these disorders we are in an environment where brain health is at risk. There is a great need to better understand brain disorders and to find new pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments.
The purpose of this course is to provide an opportunity for students to explore a wide spectrum of brain disorders and to better understand current and future neuropharmacological treatments. It is assumed that for a number of students this will be one of their first neuroscience courses. Therefore the first section will be an introduction to brain and neuronal structure and function. The majority of the course will explore various neurological disorders including acute injury such as that of TBI, stroke, and spinal cord injury; neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and MS; as well as developmental disorders and neuropsychiatric disorders. We will discuss some fundamental aspects of current neuropharmacology as well as future therapeutic modalities targeting brain function including neuroplasticity. Special topics will explore novel approaches in pharmacology that target specific aspects of brain function in both normal and disease conditions.
BKN 599 "Restorative Neurorehabilitation "
The purpose of this course is to highlight a new and important area of neuroscience that will have a significant impact on the understanding and practice of physical therapy and rehabilitation medicine. Specifically, this course will focus on what is termed restorative neurorehabilitation; the concept that the human brain is capable of going through a phase of change (termed neuroplasticity). While the concept of neuroplasticity is well accepted in developmental neuroscience it is beginning to emerge as a fundamental characteristic in brain disorders at all stages of life. Studies from a number of laboratories including our group here at USC are beginning to show that neuroplasticity can serve as a therapeutic target in treating brain disorders including neurodegenerative diseases and acute brain injury. This course will examine neurorehabilitation from a historical perspective, discuss motor and cognitive circuits, and how they are affected in neurological disorders including acute injury such as that of TBI, stroke, and spinal cord injury; neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and MS; as well as developmental disorders and neuropsychiatric disorders. Topics will cover basic and clinical research with an emphasis on physical therapy and evidence based approaches and applications.