MED-VK30-03
Early Life: The Key to Preventing Lifelong Physical and Mental Disease
Cursus informatieRooster
CursusMED-VK30-03
Studiepunten (ECTS)3
CategorieB2 (Tweede jaar bachelor)
VoertaalEngels
Aangeboden doorRadboud Universiteit; Faculteit der Medische Wetenschappen; Geneeskunde;
Docenten
Docent
C.M. Bruinhof, MSc
Overige cursussen docent
Docent
L.C. Michel
Overige cursussen docent
Examinator
prof. dr. C. de Weerth
Overige cursussen docent
Contactpersoon van de cursus
prof. dr. C. de Weerth
Overige cursussen docent
Collegejaar2023
Periode
KK2  (06-11-2023 t/m 28-01-2024)
Aanvangsblok
KK2
Onderwijsvorm
voltijd
OpmerkingDoelgroep GNK - BMW - THK
K2 week 10 en K3 week 1
Inschrijven via OSIRISJa
Inschrijven voor bijvakkersNee
VoorinschrijvingNee
WachtlijstNee
PlaatsingsprocedureOp basis van loting
ToelichtingOp basis van loting
Cursusdoelen
After completing this course the student will:
  1. be able to critically analyze recent literature on the course subjects by reflecting on the literature, drawing his/her own conclusions, and commenting on them in writing and orally.
  2. have knowledge and understanding of the effects of early environment and experience on longterm physical and mental development, the (biological) processes underlying these effects, and the possibilities to prevent negative health outcomes by early caregiving and preventive interventions;
  3. be able to communicate a preventive message for specific stakeholders in early life development in an innovative, goal-directed, and efficient manner
Inhoud
The prenatal and early postnatal years are a time during which neurobiological and behavioral development proceeds at a breathtaking pace. Development in this period is highly sensitive to environmental influence. There is increasing evidence that early environment and experiences, both prenatal and postnatal, importantly shape long-term physical and mental health outcomes. This course focuses on the effects of early experience on physical and mental development and health. Special attention is given to the quality of the early environment, which can range from high quality nutrition and care, to harsher environments such as those of preterm infants, or infants receiving poorer diet and care. The quality of the early environment plays a key role in the development of resilience to stress, as well as in the emergence of physical pathologies such as obesity and psychopathologies such as depression.

The course looks at psychobiological processes in the prenatal and postnatal development and covers a range of topics: stress, prematurity, parent-child interaction, fathers, attachment, colic (excessive crying), neglect and abuse. Lectures and literature include a series of biological markers and mechanisms that are thought to underlie the effects of the environment on the child’s physical and mental health, such as epigenetic processes, telomere length, breast milk composition, and gut microbiota.

Examples of questions to be addressed in this context are: Do stress, depression, and anxiety during pregnancy affect fetal development? Is the key to understanding the worldwide epidemic of noncommunicable diseases found in early life? Is it possible to reduce a preterm infant’s stress and positively affect his/her health? How and by what processes do early parent-infant interactions and attachment affect later health? How does stress in early life get ‘under the skin’? Do gut bacteria affect the development of the brain?

Next to theoretical lectures on the topic, the course includes two types of assignments related to the study goals:
 
1) critically reading scientific literature
2) designing prevention and communication materials (factsheets and short films)

In 1) students learn to think critically about the literature as well as reflect on improvements for research in the field. This type of critical thinking is a highly needed skill for all potential future courses and career paths of students.
In 2) students learn how to use evidence-based factsheets and 1-2-minute films with attractive, bite-size, messages to communicate research findings on one of the topics covered in the lectures to diverse stakeholders (e.g., parents, policymakers, professionals). The goal is to learn how to efficiently share knowledge that can be key in preventing future physical and mental health problems. Communication skills learned in the course can be later applied in other realms such as in one-to-one communication with patients and in presentations given for different audiences.

Toetsing

Leerdoel (1)
Individual paper assignments: submitting 6 discussion points and discussing them during lectures. The first 6 mornings of the course students individually read the review paper assigned for that day and then submit 1 discussion point via Brightspace on this paper. By submitting high quality weekly assignments, a maximum of 10 points can be earned for the final grade. Anonymized discussion points are used to discuss the papers with students during the lectures. In this way, critical thinking about the papers will be shared and stimulated.
This assignment is part of the final grading and is rewarded with a maximum of 10 points.

What is a good quality discussion point?
The discussion point should not be self-evident or superficial, so that it cannot be answered simply by reading the paper. It should be clear that the student has read the whole paper carefully and has thought about it. This can be demonstrated by adding a (short) explanation to the discussion point. As explained in the rubric, the grading of the discussion points is based on their quality. Examples of good and bad points will be given in the course manual.

Group paper assignments: preparing a presentation on a critical analysis of an empirical paper assigned for that day (4 assignments in total). The students will work in groups and analyze the paper using a series of guiding questions. Together, they will design a short presentation that includes a discussion on positive and negative aspects of the publication, plus ideas for future research on the topic. The next day, groups will present their results and the paper will be discussed in the whole group.

Leerdoelen (2) and (3)

Group assignment ‘the perfect factsheet’: students will work in small teams investigating what makes a factsheet with a preventive message an effective medium of communication and which elements are essential for its success. Results will be presented and discussed.

Individual factsheet: making a factsheet with a preventive message based on the content of the lectures, the papers that were discussed, and extra literature. This assignment is part of the final grading and is rewarded with a maximum of 10 points.

Group assignment ‘the perfect film’: students will work in small teams investigating what makes a short film with a preventive message an effective medium of communication and which elements are essential for its success. Results will be presented and discussed.

Group final assignment films: making two 1–2-minute films with a preventive message based on the content of the lectures, the papers that were discussed, and extra literature. This assignment is part of the final grading. Each film is rewarded with a maximum of 10 points (grade is the mean of the two films).

To make the factsheet and the films, the students first need to choose a message (e.g. ‘shaking a baby can lead to brain damage’, ‘elective C-section is related to different microbial gut colonization’, ‘skin-to-skin contact leads to better health outcomes in preterm infants’, etc.) and a stakeholder group (e.g. parents, family physicians, neonatologists, nurses, midwives, policymakers, etc.). They will then make a factsheet (individual) and two films (group) with a preventive message that is based on scientific research. The films can have a humorous element or not, be animated or acted, in Dutch or English, color or black-and-white; in sum: students are free to choose what they think will work best.

What are the criteria for good quality factsheets and films?

1) The message is clear and to the point and can be easily remembered.
2) The factsheet/film has a good fit with the intended target group.
3) The factsheet/film immediately catches the attention so that the viewer does not scroll away.
4) The factsheet is attractive, clear, not too busy, and the language is clear. The film is around 1 minute long, and never longer than 2 minutes (type: TikTok, Instagram, WhatsApp film).
5) The content is based on scientific research; a reference list is presented separately.
6) The goal of the factsheet/film is for the stakeholder group to change their behavior in a positive way that contributes to prevention of physical or psychological problems in the fetus/infant and later in life. The factsheet/film is expected to induce this change.

Module opzet (3EC)

In total, over the 2 weeks 13 hours are planned for theoretical lectures, 11.5 for other student-teacher joint activities, and 50.5 for independent student activities, and 13 for lectures. The teacher is present for 24.5 of the 80 hours of the course.

Teaching methods
The course starts with an introductory lecture and during the first six days, the teacher gives theoretical lectures on the topics of the course. These days also contain time for individual paper assignments related to the lectures. Students receive short individual feedback on their discussion points and are encouraged throughout the course to develop their critical reading and writing skills further. Some of the discussion points are also discussed during the lectures to deepen the students’ understanding on the topic. Students also work individually to make a factsheet with a preventive message. Group activities take place throughout the course. One group activity is to critically analyze papers, another is to make presentations on these papers and on making factsheets and short films. Finally, student groups also make two short films with a preventive message. Students also peer review each other’s factsheets and films orally and by voting. During the final meeting, all films will be presented and discussed to learn about how preventive messages can best be brought over to society. Small prizes for the best factsheets and films will be given. See Course schedule below for details.
 
Rubrics for examination

The final grade is built up of the following examination activities:
a) the individual paper assignments (N=6, 21h, 35% of final grade),
d) the individual factsheet assignment (N=1, 7h, 15% of final grade)
e) the group film assignments (N=2, 26.5h, 50% of final grade)

The maximum score on each of these parts is 10 points, and the minimum is 6 points. Lectures, joint activities, and group activities are obligatory; active participation and discussion are stimulated.

a) Individual paper assignments (N=6; maximum of 10 points for all assignments: 6 x 1.67 = 10.02, rounded off to 10). Only points submitted in English and before the daily deadline are accepted.
Quality of discussion point Self-evident, or unclear, unstructured, superficial point, shows lack of reflection 0.80 Shows reflection on the paper, clearly and succinctly written 1.20 Elaborated, well-structured point showing high understanding of the paper; very well and succinctly written 1.67
 
 

b) Individual factsheet assignment (N=1; maximum of 10 points for this assignment)
Factsheet message Not so clear, difficult to remember 0.7 Clear, to the point, and can be easily remembered 1.4 Extremely clear, to the point, and very difficult to forget 2
Factsheet target group Factsheet does not fit intended stakeholder group well 0.7 Factsheet tailored to  intended stakeholder group 1.4 Factsheet expected to be precisely right for the intended stakeholder group 2
Factsheet visuals (layout and pictures) Not so successful; viewers may tend to scroll away (e.g. too busy, not attractive) 0.7 Attractive; immediately catches the attention; viewers will most probably read the whole factsheet 1.4 Extremely attractive visuals; catches the attention from the very beginning; viewer very unlikely to scroll away 2
Factsheet text Unclear, too much or too little, jargon, too difficult 0.4 Understandable, right amount of explanation 0.7 Very comprehensible, attractive style, easy to follow 1
Factsheet scientific basis Shaky scientific basis; very few references and from single studies (poor reference list presented separately) 0.7 Firmly based on scientific research, including some reviews or meta-analyses (good reference list is presented separately) 1.4 Strong scientific basis, high quality reviews and meta-analyses included (excellent reference list is presented separately) 2
Factsheet success in changing behavior Not expected to bring about a behavioral change in the target group 0.4 Expected to be moderately successful in inducing a positive behavioral change in the target group 0.7 Expected to be highly successful in inducing a positive behavioral change in the target group 1
 
 

c) group film assignments (N=2; maximum of 10 points for each film; grade is the mean of the scores)
Film message Not so clear, difficult to remember 0.7 Clear, to the point, and can be easily remembered 1.4 Extremely clear, to the point, and very difficult to forget 2
Film target group Film does not fit intended stakeholder group well 0.7 Film tailored to  intended stakeholder group 1.4 Film expected to be precisely right for the intended stakeholder group 2
Film visuals and audio Not so successful; viewers may tend to scroll away 0.7 Attractive; immediately catches the attention; viewers will most probably watch the whole film 1.4 Extremely attractive visuals and audio; catches the attention from the very beginning; viewer very unlikely to scroll away 2
Film duration Significantly shorter or longer than 1 minute 0.5     1 minute long 1
Film scientific basis Shaky scientific basis; very few references and from single studies (poor reference list presented separately) 0.7 Firmly based on scientific research, including some reviews or meta-analyses (good reference list is presented separately) 1.4 Strong scientific basis, high quality reviews and meta-analyses included (excellent reference list is presented separately) 2
Film success in changing behavior Not expected to bring about a behavioral change in the target group 0.4 Expected to be moderately successful in inducing a positive behavioral change in the target group 0.7 Expected to be highly successful in inducing a positive behavioral change in the target group 1



 
Werkvormen
Cursus
AanwezigheidsplichtJa

Toetsen
Tentamen
Weging1
ToetsvormTentamen
GelegenhedenBlok KK2, Blok KK3