Brain and Behavior


Faculty from eight UNC departments and divisions will present material on the pathophysiology, presentation, course and treatment of the major diseases of the mind, nervous system, and structures of the head and neck. Participating departments include: Otolaryngology, Ophthalmology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Radiology, Pathology, Psychiatry and Pharmacology.

Instruction formats and materials include:

  1. Lectures on features and clinical assessment of the major disorders.
  2. PowerPoint presentations corresponding to the lecture material.
  3. Assigned textbook readings.
  4. Demonstrations of aspects of the neurological and psychiatric examinations. Patient interviews.
  5. Laboratory sessions in neuropathology.
  6. Supplemental materials in the Course Resources section of the electronic syllabus.

The overall learning objectives for each Department are given in their individual syllabi. The learning objectives for lectures and labs are given for each presentation.

ENT: Diseases and Disorders of the Head & Neck



Study of the head and neck covers diverse topics, and will be presented to you in a series of lectures from clinicians in the divisions of Neuro-otology and Skull Base Surgery, Oncology, Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Rhinology and Allergy and Pediatrics, within the Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery. Although each of these clinicians works in a specialized, tertiary care practice, Otolaryngology has many direct applications to primary care and common diseases.

Policy on Use of the Forum: Dr Carol Shores will check the forum daily for questions during the otolaryngology lecture week. She has clinic on Tuesday and operates on Thursday and on these days questions will not be answered until evening. You may also e-mail questions to specific lecturers or Dr Shores. Please be succinct and specific.

Objectives and Goals

  1. Recognize the signs and symptoms of diseases of the nose and sinuses.
  2. Form a differential diagnosis for neck masses in the pediatric and adult population.
  3. Learn how to evaluate patients with ENT emergencies.
  4. Become familiar with the various causes for voice and airway problems.
  5. Learn how to evaluate patients with hearing loss.
  6. Recognize the presenting signs and symptoms of a patient with head and neck cancer.
  7. Understand common pediatric ENT problems.
  8. Become familiar with the evaluation of the dizzy patient.

Basic Ophthalmology



Many physicians are not familiar with basic ophthalmic examination techniques and diagnostic skills. Additionally, ophthalmologists have a vocabulary that is not intuitive to those in other medical fields, and they often rely on specialized instruments to examine and diagnose their patients. A general understanding of ophthalmology can allow physicians in any medical specialty to comfortably diagnose common conditions and be able to distinguish potentially sight (and occasionally life) threatening conditions from those less urgent. This course is designed to give a solid introduction to basic ophthalmic principles through lectures, assigned reading and a hand-on skills lab.

Objectives and Goals

  1. Learn how to evaluate visual complaints and take an appropriate ophthalmic history
  2. Learn how to perform a basic ophthalmic examination
  3. Become familiar with common ocular disorders
  4. Become familiar with the correct use of the direct ophthalmoscope
  5. Learn to recognize “sight threatening” conditions


Neurology: Disorders of the Nervous System


Information about disorders of the nervous system will be presented in a series of lectures by faculty from the Departments of Neurology, Pathology, Radiology and Neurosurgery along with lectures paralleling specific topics from faculty in Pharmacology.

Ojectives and Goals

  1. Recognize the symptoms and physical signs of diseases of the nervous system.
  2. Become familiar with the causes and presenting features of mental status change.
  3. Recognize and describe the features of common movement disorders.
  4. To be able to evaluate patients with sudden alterations in neurological function.
  5. To describe the differential features of headache and chronic pain.
  6. Describe differential features of seizures by category.
  7. Define the characteristics of inflammatory and demyelinating CNS disorders.
  8. Become familiar with the common sleep disorders
  9. Become familiar with the evaluation of patients with stroke.
  10. Describe the features of neurological disorders involving the lower motor neuron system.
  11. Describe special aspects of the neurological examination in infants and young children.
  12. Develop a preliminary understanding of the major therapies for the above conditions.



The Neuropathology segment of the Neurosciences course is designed to provide second-year medical students with an overview of the pathology of nervous-system diseases. Material will be presented in a lecture format, using PowerPoint presentations, and in a case-based laboratory format. The PowerPoint presentations will be available online prior to the lectures.

The laboratory cases are representative of common clinical presentations that you are likely to encounter in medical practice. The case-related questions are designed to help you assimilate what you are learning from your textbook and lectures and to give you experience in solving clinical problems using this newly acquired information. The inclusion of radiologic scans in the laboratory exercises is to help you conceptualize the anatomic and morphologic basis (gross pathology) of neurological diseases.

Objectives and Goals

  1. Develop an understanding of the concept of the neurodegenerative diseases;
  2. Become familiar with the classification and pathology of neurodegenerative diseases;
  3. Develop an understanding of the blood-brain barrier, brain edema, and the consequences of an intracranial mass;
  4. Develop an understanding of hydrocephalus and its various causes;
  5. Become familiar with the pathology and pathogenesis of CNS infections.
  6. Become familiar with the lesions associated with traumatic brain injury;
  7. Develop an understanding of the concept of selective CNS vulnerability to ischemia;
  8. Become familiar with the causes and consequences of brain ischemia, intracerebral hemorrhage, and subarachnoid hemorrhage;
  9. Become familiar with common brain neoplasms and their natural history;
  10. Become familiar with the classification and pathology of common CNS malformations;
  11. Become familiar with the pathology of common perinatal brain diseases;
  12. Develop an understanding of the concept of a demyelinating disease and become familiar with the pathology and pathogenesis of common white-matter diseases.



This course is designed to introduce medical students to fundamental concepts of psychiatric illness. The course is directed to the student not going into psychiatry more than students that are ultimately going to be psychiatrists. All of us practicing medicine encounter emotional illness in our patients and ourselves. The key is to be able to recognize and initiate appropriate treatment. More than 30% of patients presenting in primary care “disguise” their real emotional concern or disorder in a somatic chief complaint. Therefore, if you practice primary care medicine without psychological mindedness, you’ll be treating the wrong disorder in a third of your patients.

As we proceed, you’ll note symptoms in yourself, family, or friends. Some will represent emotional illness. We all have some symptoms of some psychiatric disorders but it is only when dysfunction in work and relationships occur that it becomes a psychiatric illness.

Objectives and Goals:

  1. To recognize common psychiatric disorders by criteria established in the diagnostic and statistical manual (DSM-IV) and establish boundaries between these disorders.
  2. To understand broad treatments of this disorder.
  3. To perform an adequate mental status exam.
  4. To establish criteria to provide safety for psychiatric patients.
  5. To understand the relevance of psychiatry in all branches of medicine. This course focuses on the student not going into psychiatry.
  6. To interview a patient in a careful and empathetic way.

These goals will be accomplished in large group sessions using didactic lectures; patient interviews; and film. We have deleted formal lectures about several topics because of time constraint (i.e., gender identity, impulse, HIV, sleep, and adjustment disorders).