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What causes pain and how do we stop it? This free course, Pain and Aspirin, looks at how the human body responds to the release of certain chemicals and as a result feels pain. Pain can be reduced by inhibiting the formation of such chemicals and you will learn how the molecular structure of aspirin has been formulated to help in this process.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- demonstrate general knowledge and understanding of some of the basic facts, concepts and principles relating to the development of medicines
- demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the science behind the development of some drugs to achieve particular tasks
- demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how chemical bonding determines the properties of compounds and provides an explanation for the mode of action of drugs
- apply this knowledge and understanding to address familiar and unfamiliar situations
- express unit concepts in an objective and factually correct way.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Ouch – that hurts!
- 1.1 Why does it hurt?
- 1.2 How does it hurt?
- 1.3 The aspirin story
- 1.4 The molecules involved
- 1.5 Some chemistry involving esters
- 1.6 How does aspirin relieve pain?
- 1.7 Enzymes
- 1.8 Enter aspirin!
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Pain and aspirin
In this course you will find out that the sensation of pain is caused by the release of a chemical called prostaglandin that stimulates the nerve endings and sends an electrical message to the brain. Inhibiting the formation of prostaglandin reduces pain and we will see, by looking at the specific shape of the molecules involved, how aspirin can so inhibit the formation of prostaglandin. To make the most of the material of this course you will need to use an organic molecular modelling kit such as the one that is supplied by Molymod™ to Open University students who study the module that this course comes from.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course :.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 24th March 2016
Last updated on: Thursday, 24th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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