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It's Like Pulling Teeth

A Case Study in Physiology



Author:

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

Abstract:

In this interrupted case study, a middle-aged man is having his wisdom teeth surgically removed. He decides to have a general anesthetic, but is unaware of the reaction he will have to halothane. His skeletal muscles go rigid and his body temperature rapidly increases. Students use their knowledge of nerve, synaptic, and muscle function to complete flow diagrams, and consider how each step in the flow diagram could produce maintained muscle contraction. The case is used in a one-semester animal physiology course taken by sophomore and junior science majors. It could also be used in a freshman general biology course or in an anatomy and physiology course.

Objectives:
  • To review the physiology of nerves, chemical synapses, and skeletal muscle.
  • To consider and discuss how a foreign agent (halothane) can produce tetanus in skeletal muscle by acting on the nerves, the synapse, and the muscle.
Keywords: Halothane; neuromuscular system; muscle; tetanus; neurotransmitter, synaptic function; action potential; acetylcholine
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Interrupted, Jig-Saw
Language: English
Subject Headings: Physiology   Biology (General)  
Date Posted: 09/27/04
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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