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Pain and Aspirin

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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.

By the end of this free course you should have achieved the following learning outcomes.

  • demonstrate general knowledge and understanding of some of the basic facts, concepts and principles relating to the development of medicines. In particular:
  • the science behind the development of some drugs to achieve particular tasks;
  • 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;
  • be able to express unit concepts in an objective and factually correct way.
  • receive and respond to information obtained from text and models, as well as from numeric, pictorial and audio sources;
  • communicate information clearly, concisely and correctly.
  • (if you obtain a model kit) construct and manipulate models of molecules.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 9 hours
  • Updated Wednesday 24th April 2013
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under Biology
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Pain and aspirin


Unit image

In this unit 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 unit 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 course that this unit comes from.

This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course Learn about molecules, medicines and drugs which has been partly funded by the Wolfson Foundation in collaboration with The Royal Society of Chemistry and you can study just for interest [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , or study for credit.

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