NEUROBIOLOGY AND THERAPY OF ADDICTION

A.A. di erogazione 2020/2021
Insegnamento opzionale

Laurea Magistrale in BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES
 (A.A. 2019/2020)
Anno di corso: 
2
Tipologia di insegnamento: 
Affine/Integrativa
Settore disciplinare: 
FARMACOLOGIA (BIO/14)
Lingua: 
Inglese
Crediti: 
4
Ciclo: 
Primo Semestre
Ore di attivita' frontale: 
32
Dettaglio ore: 
Lezione (32 ore)

This course is intended to provide students with fundamental information on molecular, cellular and neurocircuitry systems in the brain that are responsible for drug addiction. Lectures will cover various levels of neuroscientific analysis ranging from neurodevelopment, synaptic plasticity, neurocircuitry, neuroimaging and behavioral analysis in both laboratory animals and humans. The neuropsychopharmacology of all major classes of abused drugs will be covered, along with medication development and clinical approaches for the treatment of addiction. In line with the Master Degree objectives, this course will integrate basic pharmacology, neuropharmacology and neuroanatomy notions with advanced scientific and methodological knowledge to understand how drugs can affect higher brain functions and to use this knowledge to develop effective prevention and treatment approaches.
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
- Understand the basic concepts of addiction and related psychopathologies.
- Describe and discuss the impact of drugs of abuse/misuse on human neurology.
- Understand the strengths and limitations of various experimental approaches for studying the systems level impact of aberrant neural function.
- Describe the pharmacological and toxicological aspects of the major classes of abused drugs.
- Describe and discuss effects of specific pharmacological and behavioral interventions for addicted patients.
- Develop presentation skills; describe the background, questions addressed, approach, conclusions, as well as strengths and weaknesses of scientific papers.

Although not mandatory, knowledge of general and molecular pharmacology as well as basics of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology are preferred.

Lectures (4 CFU, 32 hours)
- Introduction to addiction: general aspects and epidemiology
- Brain circuits mediating addictive behaviours
- Neuroscience approaches toward the understanding of addiction
- Animal models of addiction
- Pharmacology and toxicology of the main classes of drugs of abuse: nicotine, alcohol, stimulants, opioids, cannabinoids, hallucinogens
- Drug abuse in sport
- Non-Drug Addictions: food, gambling
- Addiction: treatment and public policy

Classroom lectures will be carried out with the use of PowerPoint presentations. Lecture slides will be made available to all students on the e-learning platform at the end of each lesson.
Moreover, journal club talks will be organized. To prepare these talks, students will work in pair and should present to the other students a recently published journal article on one of the topics covered during the lessons. This activity will stimulate students’ engagement and learning, improving their presentation skills and developing critical analysis of literature.

The final exam will consist of a written test based on 3 open questions concerning different topics covered during the lessons and present in the program.
A clear exposition of the topics, as well as the use of an adequate terminology are necessary to pass the exam. Students must score at least 18/30 in order to pass the test. Top marks (greater than 28/30), and possibly honors, will be awarded to students who have smartly presented the journal club talks, actively participated in them and can demonstrate to critically discuss the various topics of the course.

Slide presentations and research articles used during lectures will be available on the e-learning website at the end of each lesson.

Contact information: erica.zamberletti@uninsubria.it
The teacher receives students by appointment requested by email or before/after class (while teaching module is ongoing)

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A.A. 2020/2021

Anno di corso: 2
Curriculum: Basic and applied biomedical sciences