How have the studies advanced our understanding of this aspect of neuroscience?

Feb 15, 2024

How have the studies advanced our understanding of this aspect of neuroscience?

Neuropharmacology Exam Guidance
This is a SEEN exam question. The topics, the question and the instructions (as they will
appear on the exam paper) are on the next page.
The basic premise of the exam is to read and analyse 2 scientific papers on one of the topics
we have covered in Neuropharmacology. You will then write an essay, including the
background to the topic, an analysis of the papers and a discussion of how they have
contributed to the topic.
You can prepare all of this in advance of the actual exam date.
Here’s what you need to do:
1) Pick your topic (see next page)
2) Pick your first paper from the selection provided by the member of staff who taught
that topic. You will find these papers in the folder with all the other teaching
materials for that topic. They will be under ‘Papers for Exam’.
3) Find your second paper. This should relate in some way to your first paper, but the
choice is yours. You could pick two papers which support each other’s observations.
You could pick two papers which contradict each other. You could pick two papers
which investigate different aspects of the same topic. Pick your papers so that you
can write a coherent essay on the topic, discussing both papers in depth. If they are
on unrelated aspects of the topic, this will be difficult – so think carefully about your
NB: This paper MUST be published in the last 10 years.
4) Read both your papers and try to make sense of them. What was the purpose of the
studies? What did they want to find out? How did they go about it? What did they
discover? Are their conclusions sound?
5) Plan how to write a coherent essay based on these papers. Remember it must
address the points a, b and c below (next page).
6) Attend the online the support session in Week 42, having selected and read your
papers, and discuss them with the relevant member of the module team. We will
help you with your analysis.

  • 50% Background (lectures, wider reading)
  • 25% Paper 1 analysis
  • 25% paper 2 analysis
    For a first-class answer, you MUST include the relevance of one other topic to your chosen
    topic (i.e. display an appreciation of the connections between different aspects of
    There is a word limit of 2,000 words. There is no 10% leeway. In-text citations do not
    count in the word limit.
    Topics – please indicate this number in the ‘notes’ section of your submission:
    General Topics
  1. Glutamate excitotoxicity
  2. Neurotransmitter release and disease
  3. Synaptic plasticity + memory
  4. Blood-brain barrier and CNS drug delivery
    Therapeutic/Non-therapeutic Application Topics
  5. Cellular Models of Disease
  6. Neurodegenerative diseases & animal models
  7. Neuroinflammation
  8. Endocannabinoids
  9. Drug addiction
    Seen Exam Question:
    For your selected topic (see above for reminder) critically evaluate the contribution of your
    TWO research papers to the field. Things to consider in your answer:
    • What is the endogenous neuropharmacology and/or underlying neuroscience? This
    will form the basis of your background
  • How does the system in question normally work? What is the evidence for
    this? How does it link with other aspects of Neuroscience?
    • In your paper analysis, what were they trying to find out? Why did they do this
    study? What model systems did they use? How did they do the study? What were
    their findings?
  • It is fine for you to paste the figures from the papers into your answer when
    you are discussing their results
    • How have these studies contributed to the field in general?
  • How have the studies advanced our understanding of this aspect of
    neuroscience? Have they demonstrated an effective treatment for a
    condition? Have they answered a fundamental question? How good is the
    study, is it well controlled, are its conclusions valid?
    • How do the two studies compare?
  • If you have picked two studies that contradict each other, which of the two
    do you think is right (and why)? If they back each other up, or one extends
    the findings of the other, explain why this is and how this strengthens the
    findings presented.
    It is expected that the essay will cover both relevant background knowledge from lectures
    and associated wider reading [50% of the essay marks] and relevant critical review and
    contextualisation of chosen papers [50% of the essay marks].
    You must either submit the two papers you have used in your analysis, or provide
    links/citations for them so that the person marking your submission can find them easily.

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