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Addiction and neural ageing

Introduction

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The material presented in this unit is taken from SD805 ‘Issues in Brain and Behaviour’ – a 60-point postgraduate course within the Frontiers in Medical Science strand of The Open University's M.Sc in Science Programme. SD805 consists of two topics that are of immense worldwide social, economic, ethical, and political importance – ‘Addiction’ and ‘Neural Ageing’. Of note is that in SD805, the term ‘neural ageing’ is used to mean ageing as it impacts upon the nervous system and behaviour – not the ageing of other body systems or organs. The material presented in this unit examines, at a Master's level of post-graduate scholarship, some of the biological and psychological issues underlying addictive behaviours and the ageing of the nervous system.

The aim of this unit is to present a short exploration of original research articles and detailed commentaries taken from SD805, within a framework that highlights the complex nature of addiction and neural ageing. The content of the material requires background knowledge and understanding at the level of a first degree in science or in a science-based subject. Open University students studying SD805 have access to a wide range of course materials, internet resources as well as tutor support. In this standalone unit the emphasis is therefore very much on your own assessment of the material to derive an academic understanding of the relevant issues being considered. Having read and critically evaluated the material, you should nevertheless be able to appreciate that a coherent scientific explanation of addiction and neural ageing requires the integration of information obtained from different levels of biological and psychological analysis.

This study unit is an adapted extract relevant to The Open University course SD815 Contemporary issues in brain and behaviour: psychosis and dementia [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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