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The Tired Swimmer

A Case Study on the Nervous System

Co Authors:

Allison Russo
Department of Biology
Villanova University

Morgan Falk
Department of Biology
Villanova University

Philip J. Stephens
Department of Biology
Villanova University


Annie is on a college swimming scholarship. Recently she has been feeling tired and her times have been getting slower. She has also noticed that her vision is often blurred. Concerned, she goes to see her doctor over the mid-term break and is referred to a neurologist, who finds that Annie is suffering from something more than just fatigue. This interrupted case study takes students through a series of stages that describe Annie's problems and symptoms. Students use their knowledge of nerve and muscle physiology to fit the pieces together and determine what is wrong with Annie. The case was developed for use in a one-semester animal physiology course that is taken by sophomore and junior science majors. It could also be used in an anatomy and physiology course.

  • To understand nerve and muscle function.
  • To understand the function of chemical synapses.
  • To understand the role of acetylcholine receptors.
  • To determine how the protagonist’s problem can produce a decline in nerve-muscle function.
Keywords: Nerve function; muscle function; acetylcholine receptor; chemical synapse; mammalian spinal cord; neuromuscular junction; myasthenia gravis
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Physiology   Neuroscience  
Date Posted: 06/10/05
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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