Week 1: Introduction to Neuroanatomy

Published by Brenda I. Belcher

Mar 27, 2021

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Week 1: Introduction to Neuroanatomy

The human brain is organized into the cerebral cortex, brainstem, subcortical structures, and the cerebellum. These anatomical structures are made of inter-connected elements that create distributed and highly inter-connected circuits. It is in these circuits where cognition, behavior, and affect are processed.

—Camprodon, J. A., & Roffman, J. L. (2016, p. 6)

By using a combination of psychotherapy and medication therapy, psychiatric nurse practitioners (PNP) are positioned to provide a very unique type of care to patients with psychiatric disorders. To be successful in this role, you must have a strong theoretical foundation in pathophysiology, psychopharmacology, and neuroscience. This foundation will help you assess, diagnose, and treat patients as you relate presenting symptoms to theoretical neuronal functioning.

This week, as you begin to study psychopharmacology, you will explore the basic functional unit of the nervous system, the neuron. You will review the structure of the neuron and you will examine the anatomy of the central nervous system and consider the functionality of the different structure and outward (phenotypic) expression of their activities. You will analyze these concepts as you complete your short answer assessment for this week.  

Reference:
Camprodon, J. A., & Roffman, J. L. (2016). Psychiatric neuroscience: Incorporating pathophysiology into clinical case formulation. In T. A. Stern, M. Favo, T. E. Wilens, & J. F. Rosenbaum. (Eds.), Massachusetts General Hospital psychopharmacology and neurotherapeutics (pp. 1–19). Elsevier.  

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Describe the functions and structures of the central nervous system
  • Describe the different structures that make up the neuron
  • Explain the function of neurons in intracellular communication

Learning Resources

Required Readings (click to expand/reduce)

Camprodon, J. A., & Roffman, J. L. (2016). Psychiatric neuroscience: Incorporating pathophysiology into clinical case formulation. In T. A. Stern, M. Favo, T. E. Wilens, & J. F. Rosenbaum. (Eds.), Massachusetts General Hospital psychopharmacology and neurotherapeutics (pp. 1–19). Elsevier.  

Required Media (click to expand/reduce)

Psychopharmacologic Approaches to Treatment of Psychopathology(3m) Optional Resources (click to expand/reduce)

Pathopharmacology: Disorders of the Nervous System: Exploring the Human Brain

Dr. Norbert Myslinski reviews the structure and function of the human brain. Using human brains, he examines and illustrates the development of the brain and areas impacted by disorders associated with the brain. (15m)

Introduction to Advanced Pharmacology

In this media presentation, Dr. Terry Buttaro, associate professor of practice at Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences, discusses the importance of pharmacology for the advanced practice nurse. (6m)


Assignment

Practicum Manual Acknowledgment

The Practicum Manual describes the structure and timing of the classroom-based and practicum experiences and the policies students must follow to be successful in the nurse practitioner (NP) specialties.

Click here and follow the instructions to confirm you have downloaded and read the entire MSN Nurse Practitioner Practicum Manual and will abide by the requirements described in order to successfully complete this program.


Optional Discussion Forum: PMHNP Study Support Lounge

The PMHNP Study Support Lounge is offered throughout the course as a place of academic refuge, where you can ask questions, offer insights, and interact with your peers. Your Instructor may also weigh in to provide global feedback to the group based on trends, common problems, and common strengths in student posts.

As a peer, you are encouraged to provide constructive, helpful feedback to your peers. Advanced practice nurses always benefit from the feedback of others. Your Study Support Lounge posts may be procedural (“How do I attach a Kaltura video to a Discussion post?”), conceptual (“How does this relate to the other therapy approaches we have studied?”), or analytical (“What do these diagnostic results actually mean in the context of this specific patient case?”). Although not mandatory, this is an opportunity to interact and study together as you navigate the assignments, so you are highly encouraged to take part in this activity. Full participation in activities like these is a statistically significant predictor of success. To Participate in this Optional Discussion:PMHNP Study Support Lounge


Assignment: Short Answer Assessment

  • Review the Learning Resources for this week in preparation to complete this Assignment.
  • Reflect on the basic function and structure of the neuron in relation to the central nervous system.
  • Reflect on the inter-connectedness between neurons and the central nervous system, including the pathway and distribution of electrical impulses.
  • Reflect on how neurons communicate with each other and review the concept of neuroplasticity.

To complete:

Address the following Short Answer prompts for your Assignment. Be sure to include references to the Learning Resources for this week.

  1. In 4 or 5 sentences, describe the anatomy of the basic unit of the nervous system, the neuron. Include each part of the neuron and a general overview of electrical impulse conduction, the pathway it travels, and the net result at the termination of the impulse. Be specific and provide examples.
  2. Answer the following (listing is acceptable for these questions):
    • What are the major components that make up the subcortical structures?
    • Which component plays a role in learning, memory, and addiction?
    • What are the two key neurotransmitters located in the nigra striatal region of the brain that play a major role in motor control?
  3. In 3 or 4 sentences, explain how glia cells function in the central nervous system. Be specific and provide examples.
  4. The synapse is an area between two neurons that allows for chemical communication. In 3 or 4 sentences, explain what part of the neurons are communicating with each other and in which direction does this communication occur? Be specific.
  5. In 3–5 sentences, explain the concept of “neuroplasticity.” Be specific and provide examples.
By Day 7

Submit your Assignment. 

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