Full course description
Neurological disorders such as epilepsy and movement disorders (e.g. Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease) arise from a primary structural/molecular lesion (e.g. trauma, disrupted brain development, gene defect) followed by a chronic process of neuronal network reorganisation. Once this process has reached a critical stage the patient will manifest clinically observable symptoms. Though drug therapy is the first choice in treating patients with neurological disorders, this introduces side effects and pharmacoresistance in a considerable number of patients. Hence, alternative treatment options are explored, some of which are established and some which are still in an experimental stage. Surgical treatment strategies aim at restoring the function of the pathologic neuronal network by i) electrical modulation of the network, ii) disrupting or isolating the pathologic network by resective surgery and iii) building new networks by gene therapy, stem cell transplantation or induction of cytogenesis. One of the challenges that this approach faces is the anatomical and functional demarcation of the pathologic network. As with any therapy, its efficacy depends on selecting suitable candidates, which implies a multidisciplinary workup. The course focuses on the underlying molecular mechanisms as well as the (lack of) rationale behind the treatment options. Students gain experience with the multidisciplinary workup and the molecular assays that are currently explored to characterise these disorders. The course also encompasses practical training in which students have to genotype their own NMDA receptor.
Students will be able to understand:
translational research approaches for neurological disorders including epilepsy and movement disorders.
- G. Hoogland