The neural and endocrine systems

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this module you should be able to:


  • describe the ascending sensory and descending motor tracts


  • identify the nociceptors and their action


  • outline the brainstem reticular formation function and its essential role in arousal


  • describe the noradrenergic and the dopaminergic pathways in modulating motor function, arousal and motivation


  • identify the role of the limbic system in memory and emotions


  • describe the role of the prefrontal cortex role in executive cognitive functions


  • list the involvement of various neurotransmitters in memory, drives and emotions


  • locate lesions depending on deficits in any of the above


  • describe the various disturbances of these functions with relevance to organic and non-organic (functional) psychiatry


  • apply your knowledge in clinical practice.


Module introduction

This module covers the information on the neural and endocrine systems required for the MRCPsych exam.


Initially we describe the various structures involved in daily functioning, from arousal to the more complex executive cognitive functions, showing how to locate lesions depending on any deficits in functioning. 


We then cover memory and emotions, describing how these develop within the neural and endocrine systems. We also provide essential information about the various hormones involved in hunger, thirst and sexual drives. 


Learning notes

We recommend that you make some notes as you work through this module.


The 'TrOn Notebook' facility can be accessed throughout the module (allowing you to make notes on each page), and these notes will be saved in your personal area 'My TrOn', for future reference. However, you will not be able to print these notes as one single document.


If you would prefer to make your notes in a separate document you may wish to download the 'learning notes' below. This downloadable Word document will allow you to keep a personalised record of your learning, which you can then save and/or print for future reference.


Download the learning notes document for this module

Continue to Section 1

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