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Neural & Pain Sciences

The Department of Neural and Pain Sciences offers the traditional courses in anatomy, neuroscience, pain and analgesia, pharmacology, and physiology that are part of the curriculum for dental students. A description of those courses follows:

BSCI 518ACourse Director: Norman CapraANATOMY

The course in human anatomy is devoted to the study of the structure and function of the body using a regional approach with an emphasis on functional and clinical relevance. It includes the study of the organs and muscles with their relationships, arterial supply, venous and lymphatic drainage, and innervation. Principles of body structure and function are studied with particular emphasis on the head and neck and major organ systems. A strong effort is made to correlate anatomy with other courses in the basic and clinical sciences of the dental curriculum.

BSCI 512NCourse Director: Dean Dessem

The neuroscience course includes a study of neuronal activity and functions ranging from molecular events to neuronal circuitry and neurophysiology. The activities of the nervous system presented include: nociception, discriminative touch and proprioception, special senses, somatic motor control and higher cortical functions. Clinical correlations and therapies are discussed to illustrate the importance of understanding the basis of these functions of the nervous system.

BSCI 521ACourse Director: Richard Traub

The program of instruction in pain and analgesia is a required course for second year dental students and serves as the basis for translational research conferences for second and third year students. The didactic portion is divided into three sections: the neurobiology of pain, science of acute and chronic pain conditions, and diagnosis and treatment of orofacial pain conditions. This is an intensive course emphasizing the latest theories of mechanisms underlying acute and chronic pain. The translational research conferences emulate a clinical situation in which a patient complains of orofacial pain simultaneously experiencing other medical/dental conditions. Students must differentiate signs/ symptoms leading to differential diagnoses and present a tentative treatment plan all the while emphasizing the underlying neurobiology of pain in diagnoses and treatment. The goal is to have students utilize their basic science knowledge as the foundation for diagnosis and treatment of craniofacial disorders.

BSCI 521PCourse Director: Richard Wynn

The program of instruction in pharmacology is divided into three phases. The first phase includes a thorough study of the basic concepts and principles in pharmacology. Emphasis is placed on the mechanisms of action, absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of drugs; therapeutic indications; common adverse reactions; and drug interactions. The second phase teaches oral therapeutics, drug interactions, and pain and anxiety control through the participation in the Conjoint Sciences program. The third phase, designed for graduate and postdoctoral students, provides in-depth coverage of current topics in analgesia, local and general anesthesia, dental therapeutics and dental toxicology.

BSCI 512PCourse Director: Norbert Myslinski

The fundamental principles of medical physiology are stressed in the predoctoral course to provide dental students with knowledge of the function of the principal organ systems of the body. Examples of pathophysiology are employed to demonstrate how clinicians apply their knowledge of physiology to the understanding of clinical problems and treatments.