Good Brain, Bad Brain – Parkinson's Disease

Start date
No planned start date – resources still available
Three weeks
Course Type
MOOC, Continuing professional development, Distance learning

What is a MOOC?

A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course - these are free, open, online courses designed to offer a taste of higher education to learners from across the UK and the world. The University of Birmingham is delivering new MOOCs in partnership with Futurelearn, the UK’s first MOOCs provider established by the Open University.

Delivered by world-class academics from the University of Birmingham, the courses enable learners worldwide to sample high-quality academic content via a interactive web-based platform from a leading global University, increasing access to higher education for a whole new cohort of learners.

The courses have been developed by senior academic staff and their content is quality-assured in line with our other programmes. The courses do not offer credits towards admission to the University of Birmingham.

Good Brain, Bad Brain – Parkinson’s Disease

This course offers an exploration into Parkinson’s disease; how it affects people, what causes it, ameliorating the symptoms and what we don’t yet know about it.

As one of the most prevalent neurodegenerative disease, most people at least know of one person who has Parkinson’s disease. As the population ages, so the number of people with Parkinson’s disease will increase. Many people will be able to give a vague description of how a person is affected but may not know why. In this course we will consider how the normal principles of how neurones work and communicate are altered in the parkinsonian brain and why this leads to the symptoms that we see. We can then apply this knowledge to thinking about how current therapies work. Finally, we can think about where the holes in our knowledge are and the importance of this for improving our ability to alleviate the symptoms of the disease.

Start date

No planned start date – resources still available.

Course knowledge requirements

You will need to have a basic knowledge of what the brain is made of, how these component cellular parts are organised and the principles of how these cells function normally. This would be appropriate for someone who has taken the MOOC “Good brain, bad brain: basics of the brain” or who has studied neuroscience in the early years of their undergraduate degree.

Course duration and week by week content

  • Week 1 – Introducing Parkinson’s disease
  • Week 2 – What do we know about the pathology and how do we currently treat it?
  • Week 3 – Looking to the future: what are the current lines of research?

Lead academic

Alison CooperA lifelong interest in biology resulted in Dr Alison Cooper reading for a degree in Natural Sciences. During this a developing interest in neuroscience led to a PhD in the laboratory of Alan Crossman in the neuroanatomy department at the University of Manchester. The behavioural pharmacology aspects of the PhD required Alison to acquire skills which, at the time, were going out of fashion, but which are now recognised to be deficient in the science base, particularly in relation to drug discovery. During her post-doctoral phase, Alison was required to undertake some teaching and, after finding that she thoroughly enjoyed it, sought out more teaching opportunities. This led to her being appointed as a teaching fellow at Birmingham which became a lectureship followed by promotion to senior lecturer on the basis of the extent and expertise required for her diverse teaching.

How to apply

You can join now at the FutureLearn website.

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