Functional Organization of the Human Nervous System

Functional Organization of the Human Nervous System



Tuesday & Thursday, 2:30 pm – 3:45 pm, 214 Langley Hall

J. Patrick Card, Ph.D.

Department of Neuroscience

Month /


/ Topic


/ 27 / Specialization of Function – What We Owe to Dr. Spurzheim
29 / Studying Brain Organization & Function – The Heirs of Cajal and Golgi
Sept / 3 / The Trilogy of Voluntary MovementFrom Hughlings Jackson to Gordon Holmes to Kinnier Wilson
5 / Dr. Parkinson’s DiseaseThe Basal Ganglia and “The Shaking Palsy”
10 /

Dr. Huntington’s Disease – The Trouble with Trinucleotide Repeats

12 /
Professor Brodal’s Stroke – Brain Plasticity and Recovery of Motor Function
17 / Dr. Williams Syndrome, Autism, & SavantsDevelopmental Plasticity and the Determination of Behavior
24 /

Baron Constantin von Economo’s Encephalitis –Neurobiology of Consciousness

26 /

Johnny Can’t Get Up in the Morning – The Temporal Organization of Behavior


/ 1 / Mother’s Little Helper – Addiction, Motivation and Reward
3 / Dr. Pavlov’s DogsConditioning and Procedural Learning
8 / The Strange Case of H.M. – The Neural Basis of Episodic Memory
10 / Phineaus T. Gage Frontal Lobe, Executive Function & Working Memory
22 / The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat – The Brain and Categorization
24 /
Mrs. T’s Incomprehensible Bed Partner – Brain, Body Image and Self
29 / Stanford’s BinetBrain Organization and the Neurobiology of Intelligence
31 / Dr. Johnson’s Aphasia – Language and the Brain
Nov / 5 / Dr. Hunter’s Heart Attack – Emotional Memory & the Autonomic Nervous System
7 /

The Visions of Hildegard – Migraine and Anomalies of Sensory Processing

12 /
14 / Bleuler’s Dementia Praecox – Schizophrenia and the “Fragmented Mind”
19 / Mr. Forrestal’s Leap – The Neurobiology of Depression
21 /
Julius Caesar’s Brain Storms – Epilepsy and Empire
26 /
Alois Alzheimer’s Disease – The Inevitable Affliction of Aging?
28 /


/ 3 /
Dr. Prusiner’s Little Particles – Prions, Kuru, and Mad Cows
5 / AIDS – The Neurology of our Modern Plague
9 /
FINAL EXAMINATION (MONDAY; 2:00 – 3:50 am; A214 Langley Hall)

General Information

•NS 1000 and NS 1011 – or equivalent – are mandatory prerequisites.

•Students not listed in the class register should see Dr. Card after the first class.

Organization and Expectations

•Course Philosophy:

-To examine the biological basis of nervous system disorders and, thereby, provide greater insight into the functional organization of the nervous system.


-Use clinical cases of CNS dysfunction to demonstrate localization of function.

-Consider how the clinical symptoms of the disorder predict pathology.

-Use the pathology and dysfunction associated with each disorder to gain an understanding of how systems function under normal circumstances.

•Course Materials:

-There is no formally assigned text, but your notes from NS 1011 will be of great help in refreshing your memory on the organization of different systems.

-I maintain a course website that can be accessed through the following address: This website is used to distribute all materials associated with each lecture topic, including required readings that should be read in anticipation of each lecture.

-You are responsible for the content of all required reading assignments directly relevant to the material presented in lecture.


-The final grade will be based upon performance on four exams (25% each).

-Examinations will be administered in class. An essay format will be used.

-The final examination will be comprehensive.

-Classroom participation and continuous improvement in performance during the term will reflect favorably in assignment of the final grade.

-You are expected to take all of the examinations at the scheduled times. You must contact Dr. Card to explain the circumstances that prevent you from taking an examination before it is administered. It is preferable that you speak with him directly but, at a minimum, you must leave a message on his machine (412-624-6995).

Academic Integrity and Special Accommodations.

•Academic integrity: All students in this course are expected to adhere to the University of Pittsburgh academic integrity guidelines. You can obtain a copy of these guidelines from the CAS Dean’s Office (140 Thackeray Hall) or from the CAS web page. Violations of these guidelines may result in a zero score for an examination or a failing grade for the course.

•Special accommodations for disability: If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both Dr. Card and Disability Resources and Services (216William Pitt Union,412-648-7890) as early as possible in the term. DRS will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.