New search

Diana Colgan
Undergraduate Student
Department of Biology
Kean University
A Tradesman’s Journey Back from a Cerebral Incident 

This directed case study tells the story of a middle-aged man with hypertension and hyperlipidemia who experiences an ischemic cerebrovascular accident. The case provides an opportunity for students to integrate the brain's functional anatomy related to control of speech and body movement, and to examine how disruption of the brain's blood supply can have systemic effects. Students learn the anatomy of the brain's blood supply and explore the neural integration of upper motor neurons in the quadriceps reflex. Group discussion is used to teach the post-stroke symptoms of hemiparesis (primarily in the lower extremity), dysphasia, and alien hand syndrome. The case was originally developed for upper-level undergraduate biology majors following their coursework in anatomy, physiology, and neuroscience. The case is also appropriate for any upper-level college undergraduate or graduate course that covers the cardiovascular system, structure and function of the brain's cerebrum, and the brain's blood supply (circle of Willis and the general supply of each cerebral artery).


Headaches, Mood Swings, and Dropping Things: Differential Diagnosis of a Nervous System Disorder

This interrupted case study walks students through the stages of determining a diagnosis for a neural condition/disease in a 62-year-old female. The case includes the medical history, presenting signs and symptoms, pre-diagnoses, evaluation/observations, testing, analysis of the results from testing, narrowing the differential diagnosis, and the final diagnosis. In order to successfully complete the case, students will need to learn about the epidemiology, signs and symptoms, pathophysiology, diagnostic testing, and results of testing of several neural conditions/diseases including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Guillian-Barre syndrome, Huntington’s disease, hydrocephalus, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, primary amebic meningoencephalitis, and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis. Students will create a table encompassing the characteristics of these diseases, completing it with the information provided in each stage to narrow down the diagnostic possibilities until the final diagnosis. By the end of the activity, students will understand that overlapping characteristics among these neural conditions/diseases increases the difficulty of reaching a final diagnosis. This case should be beneficial for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a future career in the allied health professions.