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Split My Brain

A Case Study of Seizure Disorder and Brain Function


Julia Omarzu
Department of Psychology
Loras College


This case study involves a couple deciding whether or not their son should undergo brain surgery to treat a severe seizure disorder. In examining this dilemma, students apply knowledge of brain anatomy and function. They also learn about brain scanning techniques and discuss the plasticity of the brain. The case was written for an introductory psychology course, but could be adapted for any course that covers brain anatomy, neurological disorders, or rehabilitation therapies.

  • Understand the basics of neuron activity in the brain.
  • Understand the symptoms of epilepsy.
  • Learn about basic tests used to view brain structures and activity.
  • Learn to use the Internet to research a rare neurological disorder.
  • Learn about basic brain anatomy and functional theories of the brain.
  • Gain awareness of brain “plasticity.”
Keywords: Brain structure; brain function; cerebral cortex; neuron activity; neurological disorder; seizure; epilepsy; Rasmussen Syndrome; Rasmussen encephalitis, hemispherectomy; brain plasticity; electroencephalogram (EEG); magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Dilemma/Decision, Discussion
Language: English
Subject Headings: Psychology   Physiology   Neuroscience   Anatomy   Medicine (General)  
Date Posted: 09/19/04
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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With this case students were grouped and mocked an interdisciplinary team. The team captain and students read the case together. Each team member was given a question to research in order to arrive at a logical conclusion. Students were permitted five weeks to complete the assignment.

Use of the case presented the opportunity to work together as a team and helped develop research skills. Students were able to chart data. Students were also able to assemble mock charts.

We cannot thank you enough for the use of the case studies.

Eva M. Brown, Instructor
Anatomy & Physiology
American Commercial College
San Angelo, TX

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