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A Case of Seasonal Affective Disorder



Author:

David F. Dean
Department of Biology
Spring Hill College
ddean@shc.edu

Abstract:

“Melanie Johnson” is a 32-year-old accountant who has moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, from her hometown of Sarasota, Florida.  For the first time in her life, she has been experiencing periods of depression, lethargy, and excessive sleeping. Students read about these symptoms then answer a set of directed questions designed to teach facts and principles of anatomy and physiology using reference books, textbooks, the Internet, and each other as sources of information. The case has been used in both a sophomore-level course in human anatomy and physiology and a senior-level course in general physiology.

Objectives:
  • Understand the functional relationship between the retinas and the pineal gland.
  • Understand the effect of light on the production of melatonin.
  • Learn about physiological processes that are normally regulated by the diurnal secretion of melatonin by the pineal gland.
  • Understand the etiology and treatment of seasonal affective disorder.
  • Learn about the use and potential mis-use of melatonin in the treatment of disease states.
  • Understand that the functional state of the pineal gland can be altered by certain environmental influences other than exposure to light.
  • Learn about the histologic structure of the pineal gland.
Keywords: Pineal gland; melatonin; seasonal affective disorder; SAD; circadian rhythm; sleep disorder; depression; light deprivation
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Directed
Language: English
Subject Headings: Physiology   Anatomy   Psychology   Neuroscience  
Date Posted: 10/29/04
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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