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We offer a range of biology, medicine and health courses at undergraduate level that include teaching on dementia-related subjects.


Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology (BSc)

One of the most challenging problems in modern biology is to understand the behaviour of both animals and humans in terms of brain mechanisms and evolutionary principles.

By combining studies of major topics in experimental psychology and neuroscience, our Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology BSc course, accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), provides a broad background in this exciting field of behavioural science.

Topics covered include cognitive processes, perception, abnormal psychology and the action of drugs on the nervous system.

Biology (BSc)

The Biology BSc at Manchester includes units related to animal behaviour, learning, memory and sleep patterns, where students learn how the brain functions in health and disease and how brain function underlies how animals sense and respond to their environment.

Students who specialise in Biology with Science and Society are encouraged to consider how neurological function and the action of drugs on the nervous system affect people living with dementia and its societal impact.

Biochemistry (BSc)

The cause of dementia is frequently linked to the fundamental properties of proteins within the brain.

Our Biochemistry BSc students study how proteins fold up and function 'normally', and how this process can go wrong, leading to disease.

Basics of protein folding are introduced in Year 1, when students learn about folding of the brain protein beta-amyloid that form clumps called 'plaques' in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. These plaques kill the brain cells, leading to the disease. Final-year courses further explore the links between biochemistry and dementia, including units, which look in detail at mechanisms of protein folding and assembly. Lecturers on this unit are also actively involved in research developing novel therapeutics for Alzheimer's.

Nursing (BNurs)

Students taking one of our BNurs courses specialise in either child, mental health or adult nursing. Students in all three fields take part in a Dementia Friends session early in their training.

Nurses in the adult and mental health fields go on to focus on dementia care in a number of specific taught sessions and will gain experience of working with people living with dementia on a variety of practice placements.

Student nurses develop skills and knowledge in areas such as recognising and understanding dementia, developing communication skills, working in partnership with people with dementia and their families/carers, and the delivery of holistic, person-centred care.

Speech and Language Therapy (BSc)

Dementia training is embedded across our Speech and Language Therapy BSc course, as this is a core client group for speech and language therapists who support individuals with communication impairments and feeding and swallowing difficulties.

Our students receive training and awareness in Year 1 within anatomy and neurology lectures and are introduced to case studies and use of 'life stories' from a visiting specialist clinician.

In Year 2, teaching includes dementia related to acquired neurological disorders and, in Year 3, specific sub-types are described in more detail through a day-long workshop with a clinical expert in the field regarding case management. Some students will chose to carry out more detailed study in this field as part of their final year project.

Clinical placements occur in each year, when students may be supporting adults with Dementia. NICE guidance and the National Dementia Strategy are presented to students.

Neuroscience (BSc)

Neuroscience is the study of the brain and nervous system and how they work to generate behaviour, perception, movement, thought, memory and other key functions.

In particular, there have been major advances in our understanding of the biology of higher brain function and the pathogenesis of a variety of neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Students on our Neuroscience BSc course spend their first year studying fundamental principles such as human physiology, drug mechanisms (pharmacology), principles of neuronal function and molecular biology.

They then go on to specialise in their second and final years by learning about hormones (endocrinology), sleep, biological clocks, learning and memory and how the brain develops.

Biomedical Sciences (BSc)

On our Biomedical Sciences BSc course, we cover what Alzheimer's disease is, the different types, the symptoms patients have and some possible genetic causes.

We also talk about the pathological changes that occur in the brain (including the abnormal accumulation of amyloid plaques and tangles). However, the main focus is to discuss whether inflammation can play a key role in the disease.

Inflammation is the process that occurs in the body after an infection or during injury, but we also now know that inflammation can occur in diseases where there is no infection (called sterile).

Students learn about the evidence suggesting that inflammation occurs in Alzheimer's disease and whether this is a bad thing or not.

Medicine (MBChB)

The foundations for the understanding of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases are laid within the first two years of our Medicine (MBChB) course, which focuses on the scientific basis of medicine.

As part of this, all students must complete a second-year unit of integrated learning around neuroscience and mental health.

In Year 4, as part of the Mind and Movement unit, students are placed in clinical areas that will give them experience of mental health and neurodegenerative disease.

One week of this unit's theoretical learning is devoted to a case of dementia. Following the principles of our course, this is an integrated case that addresses intended learning outcomes for the social and behavioural factors associated with dementias, as well as the neuropathology and clinical management of the condition.

The week of learning includes case discussions and is supported by a package of e-learning resources external resources. The week also includes activities such as an exercise in prescribing for dementia in general practice.

In this way, students are prepared for other opportunistic clinical encounters with patients with dementia and neurodegenerative disease within the course, in a range of settings.

Undergraduate-level CPD units

Our Advanced Nursing Practice and Leadership MSc includes units that can be taken individually as both undergraduate (Level 6) and postgraduate (Level 7) continuing professional development (CPD) courses.

This includes the Dementia: A Person-centred Approach to Enhancing Care, Support and Wellbeing unit, which is suitable for any staff engaged in the care and support of people who are living with dementia and/or their supporters/carers. The unit equips practitioners with a critical, person-centred understanding of dementia and enables them to apply this understanding to bring about changes to enhance the care, support and wellbeing of people who are living with dementia.

Teaching explores topics including the causes of dementia, identifying dementia, the impact on the person from a range of factors such as cognitive impairment, physical and mental health, and the physical and care environment. It also considers specific approaches to dementia care such as biographical work, meaningful activities and how behaviours can be seen as communication.