Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Neurology and Ophthalmology

UM LEVEL 04 - Years 4, 5 in Modular UG or PG Cert Course



DEPARTMENT Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

DESCRIPTION The study-unit builds upon the neurosciences, principally neuroanatomy and neurophysiology (Years 1&2). It addresses clinical neurology, integrated with pathological and therapeutic correlates.

Study-unit Aims:

1. To introduce clinical neurology to students who have already acquired proficiency in clinical neuroanatomy, clinical neurophysiology, general pathology and basic clinical methods;
2. To present an integrated approach involving the clinical disciplines, pathology and clinical pharmacology as a reflection of actual day-to-day clinical practice;
3. To provide guidance for the acquisition of knowledge of the theory of neurology and its application in a clinical setting;
4. To provide an order of priority and a theoretical complement to the acquisition of clinical skills;
5. Provide details on the mode of action and clinical use of various classes of drugs used in specific neurological conditions including: epilepsy, Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s and other movement disorders;
6. Use formal lectures and tutorials to enhance case based learning and provide an understanding of drug safety.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. apply the knowledge gained through the study of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology to clinical neurological practice;
2. access information sources and carry out an appropriate literature search;
3. critically appraise published medical literature;
4. use information technology including hospital based electronic sources such as iSoft, PACS and census databases;
5. show an understanding of the basic principles involved in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics specifically drugs used in various neurological conditions including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other movement disorders;
6. describe the various scientific principles underlying the actions and uses of these specific classes of drugs in the clinical setting;
7. recognize the importance of understanding the mode of action and clinical use of these classes of drugs;
8. list the clinical principles involved in the selection of these classes of drugs to the individual patient;
9. predict and outline the concept of individualized drug therapy in use of these classes of drugs;
10. describe the aetiology, risk factors, pathogenesis and morphology of infections and tumours of the central nervous system and eye infections;
11. outline the clinical consequences and complications of infections and tumours of the central nervous system and eye infections;
12. describe the types of laboratory tests available for clinical diagnosis of infections and tumours of the central nervous system and eye infections.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. communicate with a patient by taking a structured neurological history;
2. carry out a comprehensive neurological examination;
3. perform fundoscopy and interpret the findings in a clinical context;
4. assess a patient’s mental status;
5. plan and interpret appropriate investigations;
6. match appropriate drugs to a specific clinical context;
7. assess psychological and social factors and the impact of illness;
8. devise and discuss the rationale and practicalities of a basic management plan, including rehabilitation;
9. discuss the theoretical aspects of diagnosis, possible complications and management options;
10. show an understanding of the knowledge of the mode of action of drugs to specific clinical scenarios in the use of drugs used in specific neurological conditions including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other movement disorders;
11. show an understanding of the basic pharmacological principles in prescribing decisions for these classes of drugs;
12. predict inter-patient variability with respect to drug response in these classes of drugs;
13. explain the selection of differing drug therapies in these drug classes for the individual patient;
14. interpret common symptoms and signs in terms of possible underlying pathology in infections and tumours of the central nervous system and eye infections;
15. correlate the use of simple diagnostic laboratory tests with clinical and morphological features of disease;
16. choose the appropriate laboratory tests to confirm diagnosis and interpret the result;
17. choose the best antibiotic therapy for microbiological infections.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Textbooks as suggested for the whole three-year teaching programme in Medicine. Specific Neurology text books will be suggested in due course:

1. Clinical Medicine. Parveen Kumar & Michael Clark, Saunders, 8th Edition, 2012. Chap 22, Neurological Disease. Jarman P ed.
2. Macleod's Clinical Examination. Graham Douglas, Fiona Nicol, Colin Robertson. Churchill Livingstone. 12th Edition, 2009.
3. Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine. Murray Longmore, Ian Wilkinson, Edward Davidson, Alexander Foulkes, OUP. 8th Edition, 2010.

Pathology Text Books as suggested for All Pathology teaching Year 1-5.


Systematic Pathology (and Haematology)
1. Muir’s Textbook of Pathology, Ed by DA Levison, R Reid, AD Burt, DJ Harrison, S Fleming, 14th Edition, ISBN 9780340740620, Hodder Arnold, 2008.
2. General and Systematic Pathology, P Bass, S Burroughs, N Carr, C Way, 3erd Ed, Master Medicine, ISBN-10: 0080451292, ISBN-13: 978-0080451299, Churchill Livingstone, 2008.

1. Medical Microbiology and Infection, T Elliott, H Osman, M Gill, T Warthington, 4th Edition, ISBN-10: 1405129328, ISBN-13: 978-1405129329, Blackwell, 2007 [also a Kindle edition, 2012]
2. Clinical Oriented Cases in Microbiology, Hilary Humphreys & William Irving, 2nd Ed, ISBN 0198515855, Oxford University Press, 2004
3. Basic Concepts of Infection Control

Alternative texts:

1. General and Systematic Pathology, JCE Underwood, 5eth Edition, ISBN-10: 0443068887, ISBN-13: 0443068881, Churchill Livingstone, 2009
2. Robbins Basic Pathology, V Kumar, A K Abbas, N Fausto, JC Aster, 9eth Edition ISBN-10: 1437717810, ISBN-13: 978-1437717815, Saunders, 2012
3. Notes on Medical Microbiology (Paperback), MC Timbury, C McCartney, B Thakker, KN Ward, ISBN 0443071640 or latest edition, Churchill Livingstone.

Additional Resources:

1. Pathology Illustrated, R Reid, F Roberts, E MacDuff, 7eth Edition, ISBN-10: 0702033766, ISBN-13: 978-0702033766, Churchill Livingstone, 2011.
2. Robbins and Cotran Review of Pathology, EC Klatt, V Kumar, 3rd Edition, ISBN9781416049302, Saunders, Elsevier, 2010.

Reference Texts:

1. Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease, V Kumar, A K Abbas, N Fausto, J C Aster, 8eth Edition ISBN-10 1416031219, ISBN-A3 1416031215, Saunders, Elsevier, 2009
2. Medical Microbiology, Greenwood D, Slack RCB, Peutherer JF, Barer MR, 17eth Edition, ISBN-10: 0443102090, ISBN-13: 978-0443102097, Churchill Livingstone, 2007.

Online resources:
creation of online library (VLE) with recorded lectures

Recommended Clinical Pharmacology text books:

1. Humphrey P. Rang HP, Dale MM, Ritter JM, Flower R. Rang & Dale's Pharmacology. Churchill Livingstone. 6th Ed.
2. Grahame-Smith D, Aronson J. Oxford Textbook of Clinical Pharmacology and Drug Therapy. Oxford University Press. 3rd Ed.
3. Bennett PN, Brown MJ. Clinical Pharmacology. Churchill Livingstone. 10th Ed.
4. British National Formulary. Pharmaceutical Press.


1. Brunton L, Lazo J, Parker K. Goodman & Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. McGraw-Hill Medical. 11th Ed.
2. Waller DG, Renwick AG, Hillier K. Medical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Saunders. 3rd Ed.

Lecture notes

1. Reid JL, Rubin PC, Walters MW. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (Lecture Notes). Blackwell. 7th Ed.
2. Neal MJ. Medical Pharmacology at a Glance. Wiley-Blackwell. 6th Ed.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Teaching Methods:

1. Classroom-based integrated teaching sessions aimed at imparting basic principles of neurology and ophthalmology. Most of the sessions are case-based and multidisciplinary. The programme of lecture/seminars is designed to address common clinical problems, disease processes, ancillary investigations and priorities in management/rehabilitation, and are topic based. These will be recorded and stored in an online library (VLE).

2. Tutorials: interactive small group teaching sessions aimed to focus on neurological examination, clinical methods, communication and interpretation of investigative data. These sessions will be problem oriented, based on a structured syllabus (listed below), and to be spread out over one year in the 4th year (most should take place during their neurology clinical placement). The lecturer will only moderate the sessions which are prepared and presented by the students themselves. Whenever possible real patients are involved in teaching. Separate pathology sessions are also delivered.

3. Clinical attachments: specific consultant physicians.


General aim: Test both presence of knowledge and its practical application.

One two-hour paper divided into two sections: This will include 15 stem questions with 5 MCQs each which carry 30% weighting of the overall mark and 5 SAQs which carry 70% weighting of the overall mark.

Objectives of the written examination are twofold: to assess the ability to think critically about diagnosis, pathology and management, including pharmacological aspects and to ensure that the candidate has a satisfactory base of factual knowledge.

The examiners shall determine and document the correct answers to both sections at the time that the papers are set. The multiple-choice paper shall be marked on the ‘negative-marking’ principle, awarding one mark for every correct answer and deducting one mark for every incorrect answer. The weighting of each section is subdivided proportionately.

The Neurology exam is to be held at the end of 4th year to allow for all students to have seven sessions of small group teaching.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study & Placement

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
MCQ & Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Josanne Aquilina
Nicola Aqulina
Christopher Barbara
Marija Cauchi
Charmaine Chircop
Thomas Fenech
Martin Francalanza
Martin Galea
Ruth Galea
Jan Janula
Maria Mallia
Franco Mercieca
Janet Mifsud
Charles Scerri
Malcolm Vella
Norbert Vella


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2022/3. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.