What you will study
Psychosis and dementia are substantial health concerns in today’s global society and will remain at the forefront of contemporary ‘issues’ in the brain and behavioural sciences for the foreseeable future. Schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are ranked amongst the very highest in terms of global burden of mental disorders, with between 11 (for dementias) and 17 (for psychoses) million disability-adjusted life years (or ‘DALYs’) lost because of these debilitating conditions.
Considering dementia alone, more than 47 million people worldwide currently live with dementia according to the World Health Organisation. With over 7 million new cases every year, the number is set to double by 2030 and triple by 2050. The scale of dementia is vast – there are more than three quarters of a million people living with dementia in England alone, one in six people over the age of 80 have dementia, and one in three people are set to develop dementia in the future.
This module draws on biological, psychological and social sciences to investigate psychosis and dementia, through a collection of guided readings (review articles, book chapters, research papers), commentaries, audiovisual recordings, as well as interviews and seminars centred around diagnosis, causes and interventions. You will be guided in your online studies, week-by-week via a study guide. You will also learn to apply critical appraisal skills to understand, analyse and present research on psychosis and dementia.
The material in each block will follow a common structural plan and coherent framework, with formative assessment. Block 1 focuses on dementia and Block 2 on psychosis, with the emphasis in core readings and commentaries addressing diagnosis, causes and interventions. Block 3 focuses on research methods and critical appraisal (with overviews of diagnostic systems, neuropsychological assessment and clinical trials, and examples based on sample papers in the field of psychosis and dementia).
You will use critical appraisal techniques to evaluate clinical and scientific research papers, and have the opportunity to apply your learning and demonstrate your critical appraisal, communication, and digital and information literacy skills by presenting a target paper of your choice, as a slidecast, for evaluation by your fellow students (peer review), and as part of the formal assessment process.
The module website will be the key hub for all your study resources, including core and supplementary readings, the module’s audiovisual collection, forums, externally-linked resources and RSS feeds to target journals available through the OU Library, representing research at the forefront of each discipline and allowing you to engage with the latest findings. Tutor group and module-wide forums and wikis will enable you to discuss aspects of dementia and psychosis along with the latest developments in the field with your fellow students as part of a postgraduate community. The core readings and commentaries address diagnosis, causes and interventions.
A targeted selection of ‘live’ sessions, recorded presentations and audiovisual materials, linked to assignments, will supplement and support learning outcomes for the module, providing you with an enhanced online learning experience. You will also undertake independent study to gain further understanding of the core topics and contemporary issues in mental health science by searching for, reading and evaluating materials (review articles, primary and secondary research papers) beyond those provided on the module.