Topic outline

Mechanism of Disease - How to come from risk factors to basic concepts?

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A disease is an abnormal physiological condition that affects part or all of an organism. It means that something has gone wrong with the normal body functions and/or processes. Diseases are linked with ‘symptoms’ and ‘signs’ – where a symptom is a manifestation of disease apparent to the patient himself, while a sign is a manifestation of disease that the physician perceives. The sign is objective evidence of disease; a symptom, subjective.

To determine the use of medicines for the treatment of diseases (pharmacotherapy), four concepts are important:

  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Mechanism described at a physiological and a molecular level
  • Target responsible for the medicine’s action (in this context: organ, part, tissue that is to be affected by the medicine).

These are described in more detail in the book below.

Special Populations

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This lesson will introduce briefly the process of medicines discovery and development, including in special populations.


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