So I’m Peter Ralston from UCSF and I’ve
had the pleasure of teaching at OLLI for now this is the third year. This course
that I have is designed for people who are interested in their brains — and I
think this is not it’s not unreasonable to say most of us are interested in our
brains — has no prerequisites whatsoever. I’ve had people take this course in the
past whose feel has been history or literature or law or mathematics —
whatever — or business: you do not need to know anything about science to take this
course. It’s my job to try to introduce things which are relevant to the course.
I start with the discussion of how nerve cells — the cells of our brains and spinal
cords communicate — and then how drugs act on these cells. More than half of all
prescription drugs that all of us take and a lot of over-the-counter drugs act
on the nervous system, and with an understanding of how nerve cells work
you’ll have an understanding of how the drugs — which I’m sure everybody in this
room including me are taking — and that’s I think useful information to have. So
I encourage you if you’re interested in the brain to take this course. I’ll do my
best to see that you finish it with an understanding of issues like stroke,
disorders of movement, and the future therapies that are being developed now.
This is a major transition in medicine as I’m sure you know just from reading
the newspapers. There’s a huge amount of new information and new therapies so
it’s a course that I think will end on an upbeat note. Things are better and
they’re getting better and I hope that you will take the course and find out
about what goes on inside your own brains. So thank you.