Arts & HumanitiesHealthcare & WellnessScience and Research

P407 Drugs and the Nervous System

Professor: Alex Straiker

We rely on drugs to solve many of our problems: to treat our diseases, to take away our pain, to change our mood.  Drugs are a huge business, but how do they work, especially in the brain?  Why are some drugs – even commonly available ones – more dangerous than others?   And why are there so many side-effects?

This course broadly explores neuropharmacology with a partial emphasis on drugs of abuse and the neuro-therapeutic applications of the major drug classes.  After introducing basic pharmacology – drug delivery, kinetics and metabolism – we revisit neuronal function from the perspective of drug function.  The bulk of the course is devoted to specific drug classes, their known mechanisms of action, behavioral effects, and clinical applications.  We will also explore emerging drug classes such as those targeting vanilloid receptors and topical subjects such as neurological impact of environmental toxins how drugs are developed.


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