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Mary Keeper’s Aching Head


Brent J.F. Hill
Biology Department
University of Central Arkansas


In this problem-based learning case, students read about a 41-year-old woman who is suffering from recurring headaches. Working in small groups, the students analyze a variety of information and then formulate a diagnosis. This case study was developed for a two-semester anatomy and physiology course that is aimed at sophomore and junior level undergraduate students. These students are typically biology or health science majors who are pre-med, pre-nursing, or pre-physical therapy.

  • Learn the difference between a primary and secondary endocrine pathology.
  • Understand how negative feedback loops influence thyroid hormones, LH, and FSH levels.
  • Understand the physiological function of thyroid and parathyroid hormones.
  • Learn that pituitary adenomas affect hormone secretion from the pituitary gland.
Keywords: Endocrinology; endocrine pathology; thyroid gland; hyperthyroidism; hyperparathyroidism; Graves disease; Graves’ disease; thyroid hormones; LH; FSH; TSH; parathyroid hormones; pituitary adenoma; hormone secretion; pituitary gland
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Problem-Based Learning
Language: English
Subject Headings: Physiology   Medicine (General)   Nursing  
Date Posted: 05/15/06
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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I stumbled on the website and case quite by fortuitous accident while looking for a good “hook” or “grabber” for the study of the endocrine system in my junior/senior anatomy and physiology classes at Wilmington High School. Years ago, I had the idea that medical case reports could play a valuable teaching role in teaching A&P to high school students and have modified several published medical case reports (making them into comprehensible abstracts) for that purpose. I think this one is great and can’t wait to try it out with my students.

Richard W. Fardy
Science Department
Wilmington High School
Wilmington, MA 01887

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