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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Hormones & Behaviour (BIME10020)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
This course focuses on the hormonal regulation of behaviour. The brain and the periphery interact in complex neurohormonal networks to control several core, motivated behaviours like eating, drinking, social and sexual behaviour. These behaviours are essential to life, share overlapping control systems and common underlying neurophysiological principles. In addition understanding these systems in health, we will address how these systems are altered in, for example, obesity. The course will be integrative in nature, highlighting commonalities in system control of diverse behaviours.
Course description Course Description
Most of the behaviours we and other animals engage in are necessary for life or its propagation. Eating is a clear example, as are the social and reproductive behaviours that produce offspring and ensure their care. Many of these motivated behaviours are initiated and controlled by complex patterns of neurohormonal signalling that are, in turn, sensitive to the external environment and the body's physiological state.
This course focuses on social, maternal and eating behaviour. These behaviours share overlapping control systems and common underlying neurophysiological principles. In addition understanding these systems in health, we will address how these systems are altered in obesity.
The course will be integrative, highlighting commonalities in system control of diverse behaviours. We will discuss the behavioural roles of oxytocin and vasopressin, two evolutionarily-ancient hormones involved in water balance and maternal and social behaviour, and look at vasopressin's roles in social recognition. We will also examine oxytocin¿s role in appetite control, and other key homeostatic hormones like leptin and ghrelin. We'll also discuss the crucial role of pituitary hormones in a range of behaviours, and issues around food reward and food addiction.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  28
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 24, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 6, External Visit Hours 4, Formative Assessment Hours 3, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 153 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) None
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 80 %, Coursework 20 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Feedback Feedback will be available throughout the course in many forms:
The instructors will give individual written feedback summarising your formative and summative assessments within 15 working days of the assignment. Written feedback from the final exam will be made available by the course administrator as soon as possible, and an individual, face-to-face feedback session will take place early in semester 2, after ratification of your final mark by the Exam Board
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)1:30
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To understand how the hypothalamus controls essential physiological behaviours via neuropeptide release in the brain and periphery and via sensitivity to peripherally-released signals.
  2. To understand the central neuronal circuitry involved in these conserved and inter-dependent physiological behaviours.
  3. To understand contemporary approaches to investigating these systems and the scientific controversies surrounding the interpretation of relevant studies.
  4. To develop generic skills - critical analysis of scientific literature, the ability to perform independent library-based research, and the ability to present controversies in a clear and balanced fashion.
Reading List
Reading list
Lee, HJ, et al. Oxytocin: the great facilitator of life. Prog Neurobiol 2009; 88(2): 127-151.
Leng & Sabatier. Oxytocin - The Sweet Hormone? Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2017 28(5):365-376.
Ludwig M, Leng G. Dendritic neuropeptide release and peptide dependent behaviours. Nat Rev Neurosci 2006; 7(2): 126-136.
Müller et al. Ghrelin. Mol Metab. 2015; 4(6):437-60.
Perelló & Dickson. Ghrelin signalling on food reward: a salient link between the gut and the mesolimbic system. J Neuroendocrinol. 2015; 27(6):424-34.
Rogers P. Food and drug addictions: Similarities and differences. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2017 153:182-190.
Rossini et al. Emergent synchronous bursting of oxytocin neuronal network. PLoS Comput Biol. 2008; 4(7):e1000123.
Sabatier et al. Oxytocin, feeding, and satiety. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2013; 4:35.
Wacker DW, Ludwig M. Vasopressin, oxytocin and social odour recognition. Hormones & Behaviour 2012; 61: 259-265.
Yeo GS, Heisler LK. Unraveling the brain regulation of appetite: lessons from genetics. Nat Neurosci. 2012 15(10):1343-9.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserProf Mike Ludwig
Tel: (0131 6)50 3275
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Allan
Tel: (0131 6)51 1514
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