DEVELOPMENTAL AND AGING BRAIN

Second cycle degree in COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE AND CLINICAL NEUROPSYCHOLOGY (Ord. 2017)

Campus: PADOVA

Language: English

Teaching period: First Semester

Lecturer: CLARA CASCO

Number of ECTS credits allocated: 6


Syllabus
Prerequisites: none in particular
Examination methods: Consists in three parts:
PART 1 (in-class, individual evaluation): ability in Research Critique: will be evaluated ,as one in-class exam ,both the student presentation and critical contribution during the PRACTICAL WORK N. 1
PART 2 (at the end of the course, individual evalutation): consists of about 20 questions aiming at assessing the student theoretical knowledge regarding on the material presented in the Course Notes and in
during the lessons
PART 3: (at the end of the course, individual evaluation)consist in evaluating the students capability of solving the clinical problems and answer the questions relative to PRACTICAL WORK N.2
Course unit contents: The course consists of an introductory part in which I will address some basic concepts of plasticity in the developing brain. In particular, I will focus on the phenomenon of “rise and fall” of postnatal brain development, i.e. dendritic arborisation , axons growth, synapses growth , and on the basic aspects of plasticity in the adolescent and aging brain.
In the second part of the course I will develop further some fundamental concepts of neural plasticity, namely, mechanisms of neural plasticity and cortical reorganization, "experience expectant plasticity", "use-dependent plasticity" and "experience dependent plasticity".
In the third part of the course I will focus on two methods to induce plasticity in the human brain: perceptual learning and transcranical current stimulation

In the fourth part of the course I will describe the anatomical and neurophysiological bases of plasticity in the dorsal and ventral pathway of visual and auditory system as well as the development and aging of Magnocellular and parvocellular functions. This introductory session will be used as a framework to describe the plasticity phenomena in the developing and aging sensory system. In particular, for the developing sensory system, I will describe the effect of missing visual experience on cortical development. For the aging sensory system I will develop in detail the majors issues of neuropathology and sensory decline, plasticity mechanisms to compensate sensory decline and reversal of cognitive decline by inducing positive plasticity in sensory system.