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Taking It on the Chin

A Case Study on the Nervous System



Co Authors:

Stephanie DeMarco
Department of Biology
Villanova University

Caitlyn Woods
Department of Biology
Villanova University

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

Abstract:

In this interrupted case study, students follow the story of Mr. Gower, who must have a root canal. All goes well at the dentist's, but that night Mr. Gower feels tired and light headed. In the morning, his jaw is stiff and he has no appetite. Over the next several days, his health continues to deteriorate. The case presents information describing Mr. Gower’s problems and symptoms, which the students analyze to determine what is wrong. The case was developed for use in an animal physiology course that is taken by sophomore and junior science majors. It could also be used in an anatomy and physiology course.

Objectives:
  • To understand nerve function.
  • To understand the function of chemical synapses.
  • To understand the difference between excitatory and inhibitory effects on a postsynaptic cell.
  • To understand synaptic integation, postsynaptic potentials, threshold, and spike initiation.
  • To understand the effect of changes in excitatory and inhibitory activity on the postsynaptic response.
  • To determine how Mr. Gower’s problem can produce the observed response in motor neurons.
Keywords: Nervous system; nerve function; synaptic physiology; chemical synapse; postsynaptic cell; synaptic integation; postsynaptic potential; spike initiation; motor neuron; clostridium tetani; tetanus; lockjaw
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  
Date Posted: 05/16/05
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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