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Mary A. Sides
Biology Instructor
Biology Department
McLennan Community College
Differential Diagnosis and Treatment of an Autoimmune Response 

There are a number of medical disorders that mimic each other and accordingly prove problematic for diagnosis, including autoimmune disorders (rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus), bacterial infections (syphilis), and arthropod borne parasitic infections (Lyme disease). This interrupted case study was designed to familiarize students with the various types of laboratory tests used to differentiate and diagnose such diseases. The storyline follows "Jamie," a biology graduate student, as she experiences a variety of disease signs and symptoms, including chronic fatigue, aching joints,  and her loss of ability  to perform routine lab procedures like pipetting. The case describes Jamie's medical history, laboratory testing, initial diagnosis, preliminary treatment, and long term complications. To work through the case study students must define terminology, analyze data in the form or test results, and use critical thinking skills to apply the information. This case study is appropriate for any college level science or medically related course.