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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[40/39]  MEDICINE AND SURGERY [39/00 - Ord. 2020]  PERCORSO COMUNE 9 90


To familiarize Students with:
The anatomy and physiology of the central nervous system, including external and surface anatomy, its component parts and their correlations.
The chemical and molecular neuroanatomy and basic microscopical features of brain neurons.
The major nerve pathways and interconnections underlaying functional, integrative and adaptive roles.
A basic understanding of functional and anatomical bases of certain disease conditions affecting the human nervous system (see: Contents).
The ability to outline and discuss major topics concerning the nervous system and the neuroendocrine system, as listed in the course Contents.

Acquisition of critical tools and familiarity with issues related to the general organization of the nervous system, neuroanatomy and neuronal systems in relation to projection and association circuits, to chemical neuroanatomy and to the main functional correlations.
Autonomous and guided activities for the systematization of knowledge through recognition of the different nervous structures in neuroanatomy atlases with illustrations both schematic and derived from imaging techniques of the central nervous system, and of their functional role.
The lessons will be set up in such a way as to allow students to acquire the ability to critically evaluate the knowledge of the topics covered.
Acquisition of the ability to describe in an essential, complete and appropriate way the organization of the subdivisions of the central and peripheral nervous system and the immediate relationships between the functional activity of the nervous components and the peripheral areas of innervation. Use of specific language (nomenclature and terminology) of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology in an appropriate, autonomous and meaningful way. Demonstration of understanding of acquired knowledge through oral communication and graphic representations.
Essential theoretical knowledge of the structure of neurons and the organization and function of the various neuronal systems acquired from advanced academic-level neuroanatomy and neurophysiology textbooks and from publications in international journals useful for the development, deepening and continuous updating of knowledge.


Knowledge of citology, histology and human anatomy


General organization, parts of central nervous system; surface anatomy, interconnections. Basic neuroembryology (even numbered course). Spinal cord: segments, laminae (local circuitry). Ascending, descending, modulatory pathways. Spinal nerves and ganglia.
Brain Stem: pathways, brainstem and cranial nerve nuclei, reticular formation; modulatory systems.
Cerebellum: parts, nuclei and connections, cerebellar cortex.
Diencephalon: thalamus and connections; hypothalamus: main nuclei, connections, neuro-endocrine interactions.
Basal Nuclei: striatum and globus pallidus (dorsal and ventral), subthalamic n., substantia nigra: major circuits.
Telencephalon: cerebral cortex, cortical areas and connections.
Limbic structures.
Afferent systems: spino-bulbo-thalamo-cortical, spino-thalamo-cortical, spino-cerebellar, trigeminal pathways. Modulatory pathways.
Motor systems: direct and indirect (extrapyramidal) pathways. Autonomic nervous system: afferents and efferents; higher, premotor and preganglionic centers; autonomic ganglia and notes on the enteric nervous system; regulatory circuits.
Gustatory and olfactory receptors, pathways, cortical areas.
Eye: tunics, dioptric systems, accessory organs; retina; visual and other pathways.
External and middle ear, tubes, mastoid apparatus. Bony and membranous labyrinth, organ of Corti. Cochlear nuclei and connections, auditory pathways.
Vestibular receptors, vestibular nuclei and connections.
Meninges. Cerebral ventricles, choroid plexuses and cerebrospinal fluid circulation. Vascularization and microcirculation of the brain, blood-brain barrier, circum-ventricular organs.

Notes on the anatomical and functional organization; neurons and glial cells. notes on higher functions: language, associative cortices, memory.
Membrane potential.
Action potential.
Second messengers.
Sensory system.
The perception of pain (and the placebo effect for the uneven numbered course)
Visual function.
Auditory function.
Vestibular apparatus.
Motor systems.
Motor and non-motor changes in Parkinsons’ disease (uneven numbered course).
Autonomic Nervous System.
Hypothalamic pituitary axis and responses to stress.
Learning and memory.

Teaching Methods

Teaching will take place in the form of plenary Lectures. Class discussion will be regularly prompted by faculty, in order to facilitate comprehension of specific subject areas and to clarify doubts and perplexities on the information acquired.

During teaching sessions, and especially so over the last quarter of the course duration, time will be dedicated to answering and discussing Students’ questions or requests, e.g. reviewing specific content areas. The teacher will also be available for meetings and / or explanations on request, via e-mail contact.
Teaching will be made available in-person (in the Classroom) and, at the same time, on-line: “mixed mode”. For each semester, each student may opt (irretrievably) for either: (a) in-person, or: (b) on-line teaching for the Course. Depending on space availability in the in-person teaching sessions, Students may be assigned to a part-time shift (rota).

Verification of learning

For the Course’s final assessment (examination), each Student will be interviewed and expected to successfully discuss a number of topics out of the Course’s contents and subjects covered in teaching sessions. Each Student ought to show at least a basic, elementary knowledge of each topic proposed. Students will be allowed to briefly sketch or draw simple illustrative schemes to facilitate the discussion.
The assessment will take into account the Students’ overall, comprehensive knowledge of the Course’s themes, their specific logical and communication skills, and their use of proper terminology. The Student’s rating will be assigned on the basis of each Student’s discussion and specific answers. Each Student will be approved if her/his overall rating will be not lower than 18 (out of a: 30 points maximum rating).
For the specific educational needs related to the epidemiological situation, it is possible that the oral examination in presence for the verification of knowledge may be replaced by different verification methods using the computer aids authorized by the University.
Details on the elements taken into account for the final grade are as follows:

Quality of knowledge, skills, competences possessed and/or manifested:
a) appropriateness, correctness and congruence of knowledge, skills and competences.

Management of the interview:
a) Expressive capacity;
b) Appropriate use of the specific language of the discipline;
c) Logical skills and consequentiality in the connection of contents;
e) Ability to connect different topics by finding common points and establishing a coherent general design, that is, taking care of the structure, organization and logical connections of the expository discourse;
f) Ability to synthesize.

Consequently the final judgement will be:
a) Sufficient (18 to 20/30)
Little acquisition of theoretical knowledge, superficial level, many gaps. Modest communicative abilities, but still sufficient to support a coherent dialogue, logical capacity and consequentiality in fitting the subjects of elementary level; poor capacity of synthesis and rather stunted ability of graphical expression, lack of interaction with the teacher during the interview.
b) Moderate (21 to 23)
A moderate acquisition of knowledge but lack of expatiation, a few gaps; communicative abilities more than sufficient to support a coherent dialogue; acceptable mastery of the scientific language, logical capacity and consequentiality in fitting the arguments of moderate complexity, good enough capacity of synthesis and acceptable ability of graphical expression.
c) Good (24 to 26)
A rather large wealth of knowledge, moderate in-depth, with small gaps; satisfactory mastery of the communicative abilities and meaningful scientific language; dialogical ability and critical thinking well detectable, good capacity of synthesis and more than acceptable ability of graphical expression.
d) Outstanding (27 to 29)
A very extensive wealth of notions, high in-depth, with marginal gaps; remarkable ability in communicating and high mastery of scientific language; remarkable dialogical capacity, good competence and relevant aptitude for logical synthesis, high capacity of synthesis and graphical expression.
e) Excellent (30)
A wealth of very extensive and in-depth knowledge, irrelevant gaps, high capacity and high mastery in communicating through the scientific language; excellent dialogical ability and marked aptitude to make connections among different subjects, excellent ability to synthesize and very familiar with the graphical expression.

The maximum mark cum laude is attributed to the candidates clearly above average, and whose notional, expressive, conceptual, logical limits, if any, as a whole are completely irrelevant.


-- Anastasi ed altri, Trattato di ANATOMIA UMANA, Vol. 3, EdiErmes
-- Vercelli - Boido Bertini e A.A.V.V. Neuronatomia funzionale, Idelson-Gnocchi.

Additionally recommended textbooks:
-- Felten, Shetty - Atlante di neuroscienze di Netter, Elsevier Masson.
-- Fitzgerald, o: Fitzgerald ed altri autori, NEUROANATOMIA, o: Neuroanatomia con riferimenti funzionali e clinici, varie case editrici tra cui: Elsevier.
-- Brodal, The Central Nervous System, 5th Edition 2016 - Oxford University Press

-- Kandel, Schwartz, Jessel: Fondamenti delle Neuroscienze e del Comportamento, Ambrosiana.
-- Purves e AAVV: Neuroscienze, Zanichelli.

More Information

Further information
Methods of receiving students: by appointment agreed upon request by e-mail.
For the e-mail address, please consult the website of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery or the address book of the Unica website.

Questionnaire and social

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