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En Garde! Animal Structures and What They Mean
In most animals, the drive to breed and produce offspring is strong. However, most males live their whole lives without having the chance to breed. The events leading up to mating can be very dangerous and also very costly to an individual. Some males ...

A Case of a Pheochromocytoma
“Rollie Hendrix,” a 35-year-old husband and father of three children, has been experiencing headaches and palpitations of increasing frequency and severity over the past six months. In addition, he has had periods of intense anxiety and pan...

A Case of Cerebrovascular Accident
"Samuel Dexter" is 52 years old, overweight, and a heavy smoker. He wakes one morning with weakness on his right side.  When he attempts to walk to the bathroom, he stumbles and then falls. His wife, who suspects he has suffered a stroke, calls 91...

A Case of Seasonal Affective Disorder
“Melanie Johnson” is a 32-year-old accountant who has moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, from her hometown of Sarasota, Florida.  For the first time in her life, she has been experiencing periods of depression, lethargy, and excessive sle...

A Case of Spinal Cord Injury
“Jason Hendrix,” a 21-year-old student majoring in economics, is injured in a serious motorcycle accident while on spring break in Florida.  Students read the short case scenario, which provides a brief clinical history of the patient ...

A Perfect Storm in the Operating Room
In this interrupted case study, a high school biology student shadows her uncle, an anesthesiologist, at a hospital for a school assignment. She witnesses a patient who has an unusual reaction to his anesthesia and nearly dies.  As they try to dia...

A Spill at Parsenn Bowl
Based on a real incident, this case features an older woman who has been injured on a ski slope. Her classic knee injury, often referred to as the “Terrible Triad of O’Donahue,” is complicated by her age, the altitude, and possible hy...

A Trip to the Eye Doctor
This directed case study follows a young woman, Samantha, on a routine visit to her eye doctor.  While at her appointment, Samantha receives preventative care and a visual acuity exam while learning more about the anatomy and physiology of her eye...

A Typical Cold?
In this problem-based learning case, a couple who has adopted a three-year-old toddler is concerned about the child’s health, in particular the fact that the boy wheezes when he breathes. Students work in groups to analyze a variety of informatio...

Am I a Girl, or a Boy?
A baby is born with ambiguous genitalia to parents from the Dominican Republic and is determined to be a female based on general appearance.  At the child's 12-year-old checkup, the parents and the child are distraught as they report to the pediat...

An Unusual Case of Animal Reproduction
This case study in human reproduction follows Andrea, a college biology student who discovers she is pregnant with twins, but is not sure who the father is. Students are presented with a variety of signs, symptoms, and physiological information that th...

Anyone Who Had a Heart
After undergoing a fertility procedure, a 37-year-old woman and her husband are expecting twins. The delivery goes smoothly, but it soon becomes apparent that, while the baby boy appears normal, the baby girl has a heart problem and is cyanotic. In thi...

Asthma Attack!
This interrupted case study follows the progress of a pediatric patient who experiences an acute asthma exacerbation brought on by an environmental trigger.  Students completing the case will synthesize their understanding of respiratory system an...

Bad Fish: Human Anatomy and Physiology Edition
In this version, developed for a course in human anatomy and physiology, the protagonist of the case, Dr. Westwood, survives an accidental poisoning-not once, but twice. Students read about each incident, applying what they learn in each part of the ca...

Black and Blue with Love
In this directed case study students follow a nurse practitioner and work with a diagnostics team to determine what is wrong with Tristan, an infant who comes to the clinic with multiple bruises. Students are given background and patient history, and a...

Brain vs. Spinal Cord
In this case study, students read about the injuries sustained by a young man hurt in a serious diving accident. To solve the case, they must determine the type of central nervous system injury described using their knowledge of the differences between...

Can a Genetic Disease Be Cured?
In this discussion case, parents must decide whether or not to enroll their sons in an experimental treatment program designed to alleviate the symptoms of muscular dystrophy. The case explores the genetics and physiology of the disease as well as the ...

Chemical Eric
This case study is designed to teach introductory biology majors about the role of the pituitary in controlling hormones. It could easily be applied or modified to fit a variety of other courses, including a non-majors introductory biology course or an...

Chemical Eric Can't See
This autobiographical case study presents the story of Eric as he learns that he has a genetic eye disease, which progresses to the point that he becomes legally blind. The story is true and, in this respect, similar to another case by the same author ...

Cracking the Case
In this directed case study, students shadow Dr. Lee in diagnosing two patients with osteoporosis. The students are given patient history and an initial panel of test results, which they discuss in small groups. After diagnosis, they are asked specific...

Dem Bones
In this case study, a forensic anthropologist must determine the age and sex as well as look for signs of trauma to a skeleton found in a shallow grave in a state park. Students simulate the actual procedures used in a forensics lab and learn to identi...

Ellen's Choice
This case encourages students to explore various aspects of alternative and complementary medicine that might be helpful in treating a woman who is suffering from scoliosis. The case was developed for use in a variety of settings, ranging from an intro...

Football Fanaticism
A fight in a college town bar between the football player of one team and a drunken fan of a rival team results in a serious spinal cord injury. Students working in groups read the case and research the questions associated with it, which they then dis...

I Heart Running: A Case Study on Tachycardia in Sam the Runner
"I Heart Running" is a case study in which students diagnose the cause of exercise-induced tachycardia in an otherwise healthy, 27-year-old female. The patient, Sam, is a long-distance runner and realizes that her exercising heart rate reaches over 200...

It’s a Crocodile! No, a Fish! No, a Dolphin!
It is not uncommon to hear creationists argue that evolution is not science because no one saw it happen, or for students to wonder how we can know anything about the physiology or behavior of organisms that went extinct hundreds of millions of years a...

Living on the Edge
This case study describes the daily osmotic struggle for survival faced by hummingbirds. The narrative is written from the viewpoint of a human observer who sees an Anna's hummingbird feeding on flowers outside of her window.  She notices that the...

Living the Sweet Life
In this directed case study, students help “Dr. Gupta” diagnose three patients in an endocrinology clinic who are having problems with blood glucose regulation. In Part I, students are given patient backgrounds and results from laboratory t...

Lost? Ask a Turtle
This case study examines the events surrounding the hatching and migration of loggerhead sea turtles, specifically what mechanisms they use to head towards the ocean (once hatched) and where and how they migrate once in the ocean.  The story is wr...

More Than Just a Cough: Exploring the Role of the Cytoskeleton in Fertility
This interrupted case study explores the role of cytoskeletal structures on human health, specifically on respiratory function, sperm motility, and female fertility. It follows the story of a couple struggling to conceive a child and the doctors workin...

Scorpion vs. Mouse
This flipped clicker case study explores the fascinating relationship between the Arizona Bark Scorpion (the most venomous scorpion in North America) and the Southern Grasshopper Mouse. Initially it would seem that the grasshopper mouse is no match for...

Shark Attack!
This case is based on the real-life incident of a boy whose arm was bitten off by a bull shark while swimming off the coast of Florida in the summer of 2001. After the boy’s arm was retrieved from the shark’s mouth, it was surgically reatta...

Split My Brain
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...

The Case of the Crying Baby
The parents of a six-week-old baby girl know there is something seriously wrong with their child, but it takes a number of frustrating visits to the pediatrician before they finally get a correct diagnosis. Once they do, the parents must decide whether...

The Case of the Jamaican Fisherman
Designed for a first- or second-semester Anatomy & Physiology course, this directed case study involves a 48-year-old Jamaican fisherman who suffered a cerebrovascular accident.  He was taken to a hospital, where he stayed for three days befor...

The Deep
This case study presents a fictional story in a realistic setting to teach aspects of human cardiovascular and respiratory physiology as they pertain to decompression sickness and its treatment options. Specifically, students learn about the partial pr...

The Game Changer
This interrupted case study traces the football career of Anthony "Tony Tonka Truck" Williams, and the types of brain  trauma that he suffers from youth league through high school, college and his draft into the pros. In order to be successful dur...

The Ice Hockey Injury
The high school ice hockey team is playing the last of three games in one day. The game gets rough and Rick, the star player, is slammed against the boards. Injured, he has to be  escorted from the ice. This interrupted case study follows Ricks he...

The Missing Link
The setting for this case study is a paleontological dig in East Africa, where “Sam,” an American undergraduate student, has unearthed part of what appears to be an ancestral human skull. Students read the case story and then, in the lab, t...

Under the Knife and Completely Aware
This case study is based on a newspaper article about the suicide of Sherman Sizemore shortly after he underwent an exploratory laparotomy (abdominal surgery).  After his surgery, Sherman experienced symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disor...

Up All Night
In this clicker case, students are introduced to George, an undergraduate student who has been experiencing some odd symptoms. His roommate convinces him to see a physician who recognizes that George's symptoms are consistent with diabetes mellitus; bu...

Uretero What?
This case study follows a woman faced with a series of difficult medical decisions. Students apply systems-level physiology as they explore a pregnancy with medical complications and discuss situations involving life-changing decisions prompted by mode...

Wake-Up Call
The main character of this case is Denise, who we first meet in the early morning hours as she wakes up in a cold sweat, gasping for breath. But it is her husband, Jeremy, who has been diagnosed with heart disease, not her. What’s going on? In th...

Wearing on Her Nerves
This case study is designed to integrate important aspects of the nervous and muscular system portions of an anatomy and physiology course. Students follow the story of “Kathy,” whose symptoms involve both sensory and motor components of th...

What Happened to 28 Days?
This clicker case introduces the human menstrual cycle and its associated misconceptions by following the story of Ann, a newlywed college student. Ann worries that she is pregnant and confides in her friend, Karen, a biology major. By following their ...

What Killed Leah Miller
An Amish infant suddenly dies and law enforcement officials suspect the parents of child abuse. But experts who advocate for the parents argue that an underlying genetic disorder common among the Amish may have resulted in the baby’s death. Stude...