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A Rough Semester

What's Wrong with Katie?

Co Authors:

Thomas E. Hynd
Biology Department
James Madison University

Elizabeth V. Berkeley
Department of Biology and Earth Science
Otterbein University

Janet C. Daniel
Biology Department
James Madison University

Justin W. Brown
Biology Department
James Madison University

Bisi T. Velayudhan
Biology Department
James Madison University


This interrupted case study tells the story of Katie, an active college sophomore who experiences flu-like symptoms.  She initially thinks that her illness is a result of the stress associated with the rigors of college; however, after visiting her university's health center and subsequent treatment with typical flu remedies, her symptoms worsen and multiply.  After several clinical tests, Katie is diagnosed with type II diabetes mellitus and given appropriate treatment. The case includes a lab component (which can be eliminated with minor modifications) in which students complete a urinalysis of a sample of Katie's "urine" by testing for glucose, hemoglobin and pH with commercially available urinalysis reagent test strips, and measure specific gravity with a refractometer. This case was designed for a one-semester, introductory physiology laboratory course taken mainly by sophomore/junior pre-nursing and health science students, but could also be used in a more advanced physiology course for biology students.

  • Develop critical thinking skills by analyzing and interpreting data.
  • Identify pertinent red flags in a medical history.
  • Interpret basic medical test results.
  • Understand how glucose and protein are processed by the kidney.
  • Understand the physiology of insulin.
  • Explain the pathophysiology and potential treatments of type II diabetes mellitus.
  • Describe how several commonly prescribed treatments of type II diabetes mellitus counter the underlying pathophysiology of the disease.
  • Understand that drugs have contraindications, which exclude them from being prescribed in certain patients.
  • Describe the physiologic relevance of hemoglobin A1c in treating type II diabetes mellitus.
Keywords: Kidney; urinalysis; diabetes; laboratory; diabetes; diabetes mellitus; insulin; glucose; lipid panel; cbc; Canagliflozin; SGLT2
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division, Clinical education
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: N/A, Interrupted, Laboratory
Language: English
Subject Headings: Cell Biology   Medicine (General)   Nursing   Pharmacy / Pharmacology   Physiology  
Date Posted: 3/18/2019
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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