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A Pain in the Gut

A Case Study in Gastric Physiology



Co Authors:

John T. Ripple
Department of Biology
Villanova University

Stephen E. Marcaccio
Department of Biology
Villanova University

Daniel R. Sherman
Department of Biology
Villanova University

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

Abstract:

This interrupted case study in gastric physiology follows the story of Frank, a businessman under a lot of stress who has a car accident while driving home from work one night. Frank has low blood insulin levels and high blood sugar levels that his doctor believes may have contributed to the blurred vision he experienced immediately before the car crash. Frank subsequently develops stomach problems and is found to have high levels of bile in his blood. Students identify and interpret physical signs, symptoms, and medical data as they try to solve the connection between these complaints to formulate a diagnosis. The case was developed for use in a one-semester animal physiology course taken by sophomore and junior science majors. It could also be used in an anatomy and physiology course as well as a general biology course.

Objectives:
  • Describe the organs in the upper left quadrant of the abdominal cavity.
  • Describe the connection between the pancreatic and bile ducts in the abdominal cavity.
  • Describe how bilirubin is formed in the spleen by the breakdown of hemoglobin to form unconjugated bilirubin and then treated at the liver to form conjugated bilirubin.
  • Describe the circulation of bile within the body and through the digestive tract.
  • Synthesize medical data and form a hypothesis to diagnose physical problems.
Keywords: Diabetes; blood sugar; jaundice; bilirubin; bile; pancreas; cancer
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Discussion, Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Physiology   Biology (General)   Medicine (General)   Nursing  
Date Posted: 10/15/2013
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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