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Abigail R. Wilson
Division of Biology
Kansas State University
From Twiggy to Tubby: The Progression of Insulin Resistance and Type II Diabetes

This case study explores the topics of diffusion, osmosis, membrane transport, and the physiological significance of glucose and insulin in the human body. The story begins with a high school athlete, Timmy, who is incredibly efficient at metabolizing carbohydrates for energy; this is where the reader is introduced to normal carbohydrate digestion and metabolism for energy within skeletal muscle cells. As Timmy enters college, he withdraws from sports and physical activity but continues to consume massive amounts of highly soluble carbohydrates, resulting in insulin resistance and ultimately type II diabetes. Throughout the case students are prompted with conceptual questions and interactive figures that require the application and transfer of information they have been introduced to. Originally written for intermediate and advanced physiology courses that cover foundational and complex concepts in science, the case is also appropriate for courses in intermediate biology, nutritional sciences, animal sciences, and exercise sciences.

I Hate Running!: And Lactate Is to Blame, Right?

This interrupted worksheet case study, developed for introductory or intermediate undergraduate physiology courses, aims to eliminate misconceptions that many students have about lactate, lactic acid, and changes in the body during exercise. The case begins with two fictional undergraduate students discussing the causes of muscle soreness; both of these characters have obvious misunderstandings about this issue that are likely to be shared by many students. As the case develops, students are presented with information in a variety of forms including flow charts and work through some of the chemical reactions that take place in actively contracting skeletal muscle cells to better understand the real cause of muscle soreness. By the end of the case, students will have explored this complex issue from multiple angles.