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Driving Can Be Dangerous to Your Health

An Interrupted Case Study in Physiology



Author:

Philip J. Stephens
Department of Biology
Villanova University
phil.stephens@villanova.edu

Abstract:

In this interrupted case study, students read about an older woman named Barbara who becomes ill after driving with her husband 19 hours from Florida to visit their son’s family. Barbara experiences an asthma attack and then more serious breathing problems, which result in her admission to the hospital. Students are presented with a variety of signs, symptoms, and medical data relating to Barbara’s health, which they must interpret to solve this case in circulatory and respiratory physiology. Developed for use in a one-semester animal physiology course taken by sophomore and junior science majors, it could also be used in a human anatomy and physiology course as well as a course in general biology.

Objectives:
  • Describe what initiates an asthmatic episode.
  • Relate airway diameter to air flow.
  • Describe microcirculation at the capillaries as a balance between filtration and reabsorption, and explain how an edema is formed.
  • Understand how blood clots formed in one part of the body can be dislodged, enter the circulation as an embolism, and block blood flow to other parts of the body.
  • Demonstrate that changes in pulmonary blood flow can influence arterial blood gas levels, blood pressure, and heart rate.
  • Synthesize medical data and form a hypothesis to diagnose the problem.
Keywords: Pulmonary physiology; breathing; lungs; asthma; air flow; circulation; circulatory physiology; capillary; arterial blood; edema; blood clot; embolism; warfarin
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Physiology   Biology (General)   Medicine (General)  
Date Posted: 12/30/08
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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