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A Bad Reaction
This case involves the transfer of a food allergy to a patient who received a combined kidney and liver transplant from a donor who died as the result of an allergic reaction. In addition to learning about the various roles of immune cells, the physiol...

A Botched Botox Party in the Hamptons
This flipped case study explores how the topics of membrane structure, transport, and signaling via membrane-bound receptors are intimately associated with the paralysis of muscle targeted by botulinum neurotoxin. The case scenario revolves around a fi...

A Case in Point: From Active Learning to the Job Market
This case was developed for use in the first weeks of a course in order to show students how participating in active learning exercises in their classes can benefit them. It uses the fictionalized story of a manager of a scientific consulting firm who ...

A Case of Acute Pancreatitis
The pancreas is the source of the bulk of digestive enzymes that act upon the contents of the small intestine. The normal function of the pancreas can be studied in the context of acute pancreatitis, an inflammatory disease with a sudden onset. In this...

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 Diabetes Insipidus
“Amanda Richards,” a 20-year-old junior in college, is majoring in biology and hopes to be a pediatrician one day. For about a month, she has been waking up frequently at night to go to the bathroom. Most recently, she has noticed that she ...

A Case of Iron Deficiency Anemia
“Dolores Welborn,” a 28-year-old attorney, is pregnant with her first child. Lately she has been tiring easily and is often short of breath. She has also had periods of light-headedness, cramping in her legs, and a sore tongue. Students rea...

A Case of Neurocardiogenic Syncope
“Allison Jacobson” is a 19-year-old sophomore majoring in pre-med. The past few weeks she has been studying for finals. She feels tired, even though she knows she has been getting enough sleep at night. She also has frequent headaches, and ...

A Case of Pharyngitis
Seven-year-old “Jason Hornbuckle” has been complaining for the past 12 hours of pain when he swallows.  He also has a headache and has vomited twice.  His mother decides to take him to the pediatrician.  Students read a brief...

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 Case of Thrombocytopenia
“Carolyn Jones” is a 40-year-old professor of economics. The past week she has felt tried and weak. The past few days she has noticed small, red dots on her skin and gums.  Even more upsetting, she cut herself while making dinner and t...

A Case of X-linked Agammaglobulinemia
Though a normal, full-term baby at birth, starting at about 10 months of age “Billy DeWitt” has suffered a series of infections, including sinusitis, otitis media, and pneumonia. Students read a brief clinical history of the patient and a d...

A Case Study Involving Influenza and the Influenza Vaccine
This interrupted case study presents a discussion about the benefits of the influenza vaccine between Mary, a nursing student, and her coworker, Karen. Karen is not convinced by Mary’s arguments in favor of vaccination, and she counters with seve...

A Case Study of Memory Loss in Mice
This discussion case explores the scientific process involved in implementing an animal model in the study of Alzheimer’s disease. Students read a short paragraph describing a study in which the brains of “trained” mice were injected ...

A Difficult Pregnancy
This case study, about a developmentally disabled, 30-weeks-pregnant 19-year-old, presents some of the patient management issues that health care workers face. The case is used in a graduate level seminar for family nurse practitioner students going th...

A Family in Need: In-Class Case Study on Cancer Genetics
This case is designed as an in-class, problem-based learning activity for students to learn about several innovative medical applications of molecular biology. Students assume the role of a second-year medical student assigned to work with a pediatric ...

A Family in Need: Internet-Enhanced Case Study on Cancer Genetics
This problem-based learning case was designed for students to learn about several innovative medical applications of molecular biology. Students assume the role of a second-year medical student assigned to work with a pediatric oncologist who has just ...

A Healthy Retirement?
Nancy has been looking forward to her retirement and a chance to entertain and travel with her husband Jim. But she hasn’t been feeling well. She’s often tired, and recently she’s been experiencing a burning sensation in her lower che...

A Metabolic Storm
This "clicker" case presents the true story of a 20-year-old athlete who developed a life threatening reaction to anesthesia during a simple elective surgical procedure. His response was unexpected, but not unusual for individuals who possess an inheri...

A Need for Needles - Acupuncture
In this case study, students evaluate information about the use of acupuncture and consider the possibilities of alternative therapies while at the same time questioning their effectiveness. To complete the case, students collect information from Inter...

A Pain in the Gut
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 doc...

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 Recipe for Invention
In this case study, designed to help break down stereotypes about scientists and engineers, students research the personal and professional lives of researchers in their field. The case was designed for use in high school to graduate courses in a varie...

A Search for the Right Answer
In this role-playing case study on Parkinson’s disease, students learn about brain injury and brain repair mechanisms, the physical and psychological effects of a degenerative disease on a patient and her family, the ethics of fetal tissue resear...

A Sickeningly Sweet Baby Boy
When a newborn develops symptoms eerily similar to those of an older sibling who died shortly after birth, his Mennonite parents are understandably alarmed. They soon discover that their son has Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD), a recessively inherited...

A Simple Plan
This case study introduces students to Dr. E.L. Trudeau, who performed a seminal early experiment validating the germ theory of infection. Part I introduces Trudeau's Rabbit Island experiment, which is simple and easy for beginning or non-major student...

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 Yellow-Bellied Lawyer?
This interrupted case study tells the story of Michael, a Harvard law graduate with a stressful job and a seemingly heavy drinking problem. Students are provided with background information, medical history, and lab results in order to guide them towar...

African Illness: A Case of Parasites?
This case is based on a British patient presenting to a hospital with an array of symptoms after returning from an African safari. Students learn about potential causes of the symptoms based on the patient's potential exposure to parasites endemic to A...

Agony and Ecstasy
This “clicker case” follows Susan, an intern at a local hospital, who has admitted a patient she discovers has used the drug Ecstasy. The girl becomes delirious, and Susan begins to suspect that she may be suffering from water intoxication....

Agony and Ecstasy
This interrupted case study explores the scientific, legal, and societal complexities of repurposing an illicit substance, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), also known as "Ecstasy" or "Molly," into a clinically accepted medicine for treating po...

AIDS and the Duesberg Phenomenon
Renowned virologist and member of the prestigious National Academy of Science, Peter Duesberg has argued that AIDS is not caused by HIV, but is the result of recreational and anti-HIV drugs.  In this PBL case, students read Duesberg’s 1999 a...

All or Nothing
In this interrupted case study, students pose as an intern of a neuromuscular/skeletal specialist and discover how sarin and myasthenia gravis influence muscle function. Students are given background information about the patients and their situations,...

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...

Amber's Secret
This problem-based case focuses on the female menstrual cycle and early stages of pregnancy of an unwed teenager. Working in small groups, students identify the learning issues for each part of the story and research answers to their questions. They ar...

An End to Ulcers?
This “clicker case” teaches students about the scientific method by following the story of the discovery of the cause of human gastric ulcers by two Australian biomedical scientists. Students see how the researchers followed up an unusual o...

An Infectious Cure
This four-part interrupted case on phage therapy was developed for a freshmen non-majors course in molecular biology. The case begins with a story inspired by real events where Europeans imposed a treatment for cholera on the unwilling population of an...

An Unusual Case of Hypertension
This case study examines the interaction between the endocrine, cardiovascular and renal systems. The case narrative details Mr. Smith's high blood pressure that does not seem to respond to treatment. Although he takes good care of himself and follows ...

Andrea: The Death of a Diabetic
In chronicling the life and death of a woman who developed diabetes as a teenager, this case study explores such basic science topics as metabolism, hormones, cell receptors, eye anatomy, and immunology as well as issues in nutrition, exercise, stem ce...

Antibiotic Resistance
Resistance to antibiotics arose very shortly after these "wonder drugs" were first introduced.  This case study examines resistance to the most commonly used antibiotics, penicillin and its derivatives.  In particular, it examines a recent st...

Antibiotic Resistance in a Russian Prison
In this case study, students will have the opportunity to model the spread of tuberculosis and development of antibiotic resistance in a hypothetical prison environment. After reading a brief handout and viewing a short video, students play a simulatio...

Anxiety Doesn’t Work
This case study tells the story of Mo, an individual with social anxiety disorder who seeks mental health treatment. The purpose of this case is not to have students diagnose the central figure, but rather to help students gain insight into on...

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...

Baby Doe v. The Prenatal Clinic
This "clicker case" presents a fictionalized story about a couple ("John" and "Jane") whose new baby is born with Down syndrome; the parents are suing the prenatal clinic where Jane received her care, blaming the clinic for the baby’s condition. ...

Bad Blood
The ethics of human experimentation are explored in this case about the infamous syphilis studies performed at the Tuskegee Institute from the 1930s to the 1960s. Sponsored by the U.S. Public Health Service, 399 African American men with syphilis were ...

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...

Blake's Illness
Blake is sick.  With his background in the sciences and a little help from the Internet, he should be able to do a self-diagnosis.  Or can he?  As the case unfolds, students follow the course of Blake's illness.  Part I of the case ...

Bloodline: A Human Genetics Case
In this "clicker" case, based on a TV drama about a family secret that only knowledge of genetics can solve, students apply what they have read and heard about genetic diseases to determine familial relationships and predict the chance that a family me...

Born for Recovery: The Effects of Maternal Methadone Use on Neonates
This interrupted case study presents the story of "Jane Paul," a 27-year-old pregnant woman excited by the prospect of bringing a new life into the world. Jane had been using heroin for the past seven years, but when she learns she is pregnant, she goe...

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...

Bringing Home More than a Medal
This case study was inspired by the Zika virus outbreak that occurred around the time of the 2016 Olympic Games. Many athletes were fearful of attending because of the link between Zika virus infection and microcephaly in infants. This concern, however...

But I'm Too Young!
In this “clicker case,” students are introduced to Abby, a college student who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. As they follow Abby’s plight, students learn about basic cellular and genetic mechanisms that are responsible for c...

CAMEL Question: Can Applied Math Extend Life?
This directed case study examines differences between the exponential and logistic growth models in biology and how they are applied to solve real life problems. The narrative follows a student returning to the United States as he tries to assess his p...

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 ...

Chickens and Humans and Pigs, Oh My!
Influenza is a common topic in the popular press and a point of interest for many students.  This case study was written to promote interdisciplinary connections between upper division virology and immunology classes.  Students that participa...

Childbed Fever
This case describes the pioneering work of Ignaz Semmelweis and his efforts to remedy the problem of childbed fever in mid-19th century Europe.  Its purpose is to teach students about the scientific method by "dissecting" the various steps involve...

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...

Danielle's Difficulty
The incidence of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), including severe infection, has increased in both institutional settings and the general community. This case study presents the story of an elderly woman who spent time in a hospital and...

Dengue in the Landscape
This interrupted case engages students in issues contributing to the increase of dengue fever in Jamaica. The overall goal of the case is to make clear the connections between land use management and public health, specifically dengue fever. Students l...

Diabetes and Insulin Signaling
Cellular signaling, otherwise known as signal transduction, is the mechanism by which cellular context and environmental situation are used to regulate or adjust cellular behavior. Multicellular organisms use cellular signaling to coordinate responses ...

Diagnosis of a Congenital Disorder
This progressive disclosure case study explores the medically-related issues of a female infant born with the congenital disorder Sirenomelia, more commonly known as "Mermaid Syndrome." The case starts with a high-risk mother participating in prenatal ...

Differential Diagnosis and Treatment of an Autoimmune Response
There are a number of medical disorders that mimic each other and accordingly prove problematic for diagnosis, including autoimmune disorders (rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus), bacterial infections (syphilis), and arthropod borne ...

Disease Along the River: A Case Study and Cholera Outbreak Game
This case study centers on an active teaching game that simulates a cholera outbreak among five villages along a river, similar to the Haitian outbreak of 2010. By enacting the behaviors of fictional villagers, students learn how trade, travel, sanitat...

Does a One-Size Drug Dose Fit All?
The purpose of this case study is to make students aware that some patients may require individualized drug dosing regimens based on a variety of patient variables. The central classroom activity consists of small group work in which students analyze a...

Driving Can Be Dangerous to Your Health
In this interrupted case study, students read about an older woman named Barbara who becomes ill after driving with her husband 19 hours from Florida to visit their son’s family. Barbara experiences an asthma attack and then more serious breathin...

Drug Wars: An Epic Tale of Asthma and Bacterial Pneumonia
This case study is based on real events that the author experienced with her 10-year-old daughter. Although the names have been changed, all of the events (symptoms, diagnoses, treatments, types of healthcare professionals) are recorded exactly as they...

Earthquakes Damage Cells, Too
Cholera is a commonly explored disorder when teaching transmembrane transport. Expanding on this theme, this case study also introduces intracellular and extracellular signal transduction, the physiological basis of rehydration treatments, and provides...

East Meets West
Ying is sick and is progressively getting worse. His parents' clashing views on Eastern and Western medicine prevent them from agreeing on a course of treatment. As the case unfolds, students follow the progression of their son's illness. After a physi...

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...

Ethnomedicine in Latino Communities of Madison
This PowerPoint-delivered case study guides the reader, a hypothetical student intern with the City of Madison (Wisconsin) Public Health Department, as he/she assists a physician who was awarded a grant to investigate the use of herbal medicines by Lat...

Eyes Without a Face
Although blind since childhood as the result of an accident, Lucy has never given up hope that one day she might see again. So, when her ophthalmologist tells her about a study being conducted at the University Medical Center that might help her regain...

Facing the Pain
This interrupted case study in cardiovascular and nerve physiology focuses on Lynn, a married woman with a young child whose husband is often away from home traveling on business. Lynn is anxious and short-tempered. She is also overweight and appear...

Family, Culture, Medicine
This four-part problem-based learning case examines cultural conflicts between Western medicine and non-Western traditional healing practices. Students consider notions of cultural relativism and ethnocentrism through the lens of social institutions, i...

Feeling Detoxified
This case study uses the example of ionic foot baths to examine how placebo treatments can affect our health and wellness. Inspired by a student’s real visit to a spa, the story begins with a description of the experience of an ionic foot bath, a...

From Cow Juice to a Billion Dollar Drug, With Some Breakthroughs in Between
Before the discovery of insulin in 1921, being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes was a death sentence. Despite the successful management of diabetes with purified animal insulin, potentially severe side effects were abundant, and alternative ways to produ...

From Twiggy to Tubby
This case study explores the topics of diffusion, osmosis, membrane transport, and the physiological significance of glucose and insulin in the human body. The story begins with a high school athlete, Timmy, who is incredibly efficient at metabolizing ...

Genetic Testing and Breast Cancer
In this dilemma case, the central character, Kathy, must decide whether or not to be tested for known mutations in the breast cancer genes. Students assume the roles of members of Kathy’s book club and, using a jigsaw technique, explore the advan...

Giant Pandas, Hormones, and the Evolution of a Lazy Bear
This clicker case study looks at the role of hormone cascades in homeostatic control of metabolism in a charismatic organism, the Giant Panda.  The case explores how Giant Pandas have adapted to a nutritionally poor food resource, bamboo, through ...

Girl Pulled Alive from Ruins, 15 Days after Earthquake
This case examines the integrated physiological response to dehydration and starvation from the real-life report of a girl discovered 15 days after an earthquake devastated Port Au-Prince, Haiti, in January 2010. From the meager scientifically relevant...

Helicobacter pylori and the Bacterial Theory of Ulcers
This case is an account of the events that led Drs. Robin Warren and Barry Marshall to the bacterial theory of ulcers. The two physicians refused to accept the standard explanations for what they had observed and instead developed an alternative hypoth...

Hemophilia
This case deals with the genetics of the hemophilic condition that afflicted the royal families of Europe.  Students trace the pedigrees of the descendants of Queen Victoria and the passage of the recessive X-linked trait from ancestor to ancestor...

Hidden in Plain Sight
As nonliving entities, viruses face specific challenges when replicating in a host.  Avoiding the host immune system is something that every virus aims for in order to successfully reproduce itself and infect another host.  Many viruses repli...

Holes in the Matter
This case centers on a fictional group of young adults who studied abroad together in Scotland as college students. A number of them develop disease symptoms and die a few years after the trip. The cause of death is determined to be a prion disease. Ap...

Hot and Bothered
This interrupted case study is a story about Carrie and her infant daughter Hayden who share similar symptoms: weight loss, metabolic abnormalities, and endocrine glands that just won't quit - as well as autoimmune complications. Students will eventual...

How a Cancer Trial Ended in Betrayal
In this case study, students learn about the complexities and issues associated with clinical trials. After reading a newspaper story about a fraudulently conducted clinical trial involving a treatment for skin cancer, students simulate their own small...

Hunting the Ebola Reservoir Host
This one-hour introduction to the study of infectious diseases uses recent research on the Ebola reservoir host to motivate students to consider the characteristics of a viral host species and how it can be identified. Presented in the form of an inter...

Hyper-IgM Syndrome
Hyper-IgM syndrome is an X-linked genetic disorder more commonly affecting males than females. It is caused by the lack of heavy chain class-switching from IgM to other isotypes. Patients with hyper-IgM syndrome are susceptible to a variety of infectio...

Is That Pill You're Taking Safe?
This dilemma cased is based on the actual development, FDA approval, and market withdrawal of dexfenfluramine, a drug used in the late 1990s in combination with phentermine for weight loss. The case is set up as a mock trial, with students taking the r...

Is the Data Dirty or Clean?
This case study challenges students to differentiate between anecdotal evidence and science-based evidence related to human health. The case uses a "flipped" approach in which students watch two preparatory videos prior to attending class. The fir...

It’s All Greek to Me: Genetics Edition
Stephania and Nikolaus Stamos are concerned about their baby daughter. They take her to her pediatrician, who immediately notices that the once bright and active child is small for her age, pale, lethargic, and has a swollen abdomen. Students examine t...

It's Just Stress, Right?
Ellie is a struggling college student on the brink of failing her physiology course; not surprisingly, she exhibits many classic signs of stress. However, a visit to the health clinic reveals that she may be suffering from more than just stress. In thi...

I've Fallen Over and I Can't Get Up
Greg Myron is playing the last football game of his career as the high school’s star running back. As the clock counts down the final seconds, Greg rushes 70 yards down field until he is tackled out of bounds. When the kicking team comes out to t...

Josie
In this interdisciplinary case, students meet Josie, the main character, who suffers from a variety of symptoms. Students must grapple with the conflicting data presented, which ultimately leads them to a diagnosis of either porphyria or schizophrenia....

Kate-tastrophy
In this interrupted case, students examine the concept of unconsciousness and develop an understanding of how clinicians diagnose death. Developed for a freshman course in human biology, the case focuses on brain death, but raises related issues, inclu...

Living the Sweet Life
In this directed case study, students assist Dr. Gupta in his endocrinology clinic in diagnosing three patients having problems with blood glucose regulation. In Part I, students are given patient backgrounds and results from laboratory tests generated...

Magic Bullets
This clicker case was designed to teach students about basic enzyme structure, mechanisms of enzyme inhibition, and mechanisms of drug resistance. The story follows Oliver Casey, a patient afflicted with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML). CML is cause...

Make a Life to Save a Life
In this “clicker case,” students learn about meiosis through the real-life story of a couple who used pre-implantation genetic screening to select an embryo that was a genetic match for an older sibling with leukemia, and thus able to provi...

Mary Keeper’s Aching Head
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...

MDR Tuberculosis
In this case study on multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis, students consider ways in which to preserve health as a human right without subjecting already marginalized communities susceptible to the disease to further discrimination. Students learn ...

Morgan: A Case of Diabetes
This case teaches about the causes and effects of Type 2 diabetes by working through the various options available to a young Native American woman suffering from the disease. The case can be used in a variety of settings, including nutrition classroom...

Needles and Pins
This case, designed for medical students, dental students, and dental hygiene students, covers the steps involved in preventing and responding to accidental needle sticks in the clinical setting.  The case is particularly helpful for use with stud...

New Ways to Breathe
This case study follows a young cystic fibrosis (CF) patient named Lucas. Through Lucas's story and interactions between his parents and pediatrician, students learn about the scientific background and basis of CF. By reviewing email correspondence bet...

Not an Old Person's Disease
The overall goal of this case is to introduce students to the genetic basis of cancer while teaching them about melanoma. The fictional protagonist of the case is 20-year-old Judy. Fair-haired and fair-skinned, Judy covets the kind of suntan that her f...

Not Exactly...
This case study follows a young couple that is consulting with a genetic counselor about their plans to have a child. Because of their family history with cystic fibrosis, they are concerned about their chances of having a child with this genetic disea...

Not Just Another Day at the Beach
Students read about a case of melanoma that occurred over 10 years ago and then discuss issues faced by cancer patients and their families in making difficult medical decisions. Because the case presented is 10 years old, changes since then in the way ...

Oh, What a Difference a Carbon Can Make!
Sarah, trapped in the middle of a two-hour lecture on enzyme inhibition, attempts to escape by asking a question. She relates an old story she heard about some teenagers who drank from bottles of antifreeze marked "alcohol." Half of them died, but thos...

One Headache After Another: Biochemistry Edition
Topamax®, developed to treat epilepsy, is also used as a preventative for migraine. In this case study, students read about a woman experiencing a side-effect of Topamax and from there move to a review of acid-base balance in the human body. The ca...

One Headache After Another: Physiology Edition
Topamax®, developed to treat epilepsy, is also used as a preventative for migraine. In this case study, students read about a woman experiencing a side-effect of Topamax and from there move to a review of acid-base balance in the human body. The ca...

Osteoporosis
This directed case study focuses on the physiology of bone homeostasis and methods of prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. One of the overall purposes of the case is to show students that osteoporosis is not simply a disease that afflicts elderly ...

Patient Zero
Emerging diseases and potential pandemics make the news nearly every year. Students (and everyone else) may wonder where new infectious diseases come from, how scientists assess the risk of a pandemic, and how we might go about preventing one. This cas...

Pharmacogenetics: How Genetic Information Is Used to Treat Disease
In this clicker case, two teenagers are diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), a cancer of the bone marrow where there is an abnormal overproduction of lymphocyte precursors. The girls' reactions to treatment are very different, however, du...

Pharmacogenetics: Using Genetics to Treat Disease
This case study investigates the applications of genetics to medicine by exploring one of the first examples of a pharmacogenetic test to enter mainstream clinical practice. Pharmacogenetics examines how genetic variations in an individual correlate wi...

Resistance is Futile - Or Is It?
While the majority of people are prone to HIV infection, some individuals remain uninfected despite repeated exposure. This case study is based on the landmark paper by Paxton et al. (1996) that uncovered some of the mechanisms of protection against HI...

Resistance Is Futile, Or is It? The Clicker Version
This clicker case is an adaptation of a case by Annie Prud'homme-Généreux that was originally published by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science titled "Resistance Is Futile ... or Is It? The Immunity System and HIV Infec...

Retro Goes Modern
This case study considers the evolution of HIV from SIV, as well as the evolution of HIV within humans by mutation rate. It also discusses the immune evasion proteins NEF and VPU, and how anti-retroviral drugs act to stall viral replication. Finally, t...

Return of the Whoop!
This interrupted case study outlines the history of pertussis or whooping cough, a disease that in the early 1900s claimed the lives of more people than diphtheria, scarlet fever, and measles combined. Whooping cough continued to afflict and kill a lar...

Revolt on the Tuberculosis Ward
Monique is a 30-year-old Haitian woman with advanced pulmonary tuberculosis who has been transferred from a tuberculosis sanatorium to a large general hospital in Port au Prince after developing a secondary infection with Bacteroides fragilis ...

Running Off Track
This interrupted case study follows the course of Cara, a high school athlete training for the state championships in cross country. She suffers from polycystic ovarian syndrome and her prescribed medication (spironolactone) greatly diminishes the acti...

Sarah's Sickness
This story is based on the true account of a student who suffered years of misdiagnoses of her illness while she was in a professional school. As the case evolves, students follow the course of Sarah's illness. Part I of the case details the signs of h...

Saving Superman: Ethics and Stem Cell Research
This case explores the political and ethical issues associated with stem cell research. Students read the case describing Christopher Reeve’s accident and injuries and his advocacy for stem cell research along with background readings on stem cel...

Sex and Vaccination
This case study focuses on the controversy surrounding the decision by Texas Governor Rick Perry to mandate the compulsory vaccination of girls in the Texas public school system against the human papillomavirus (HPV) prior to entering the sixth grade. ...

Shannon and Jake
This case was developed to teach first-year medical students the basics of medical ethics. It describes a situation in which a family physician is treating a teenage patient for a sexually transmitted disease. Based on information she gives him, he is ...

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...

Sick on a South American Sugarcane Plantation
This case study familiarizes readers with a disease that affects millions of people in Central and South America while illustrating a relatively uncommon route of transmission.  The narrative is based on reports of oral transmission of Trypano...

Sickle Cell Anemia
In this case study on sickle cell anemia, students are introduced to some of the key researchers responsible for determining the molecular basis of the disease and learn about the functioning of erythrocytes as well as the notion that changes in the en...

Skinny Genes?
This case study introduces Megi, an active teenager who has recovered from anorexia nervosa.  The method of progressive disclosure is used to take students back in time as Megi recalls the physical and psychological aspects of her illness and t...

Sometimes It Is All in the Genes
Nancy, five months pregnant, agrees to a routine genetic test that indicates she carries the mutation for the fatal disease, cystic fibrosis. She convinces her husband to get tested and discovers that he too is a carrier. Knowing that there is a 25 per...

Sometimes Less is Better
“Ed Cramer” is a 47-year-old mechanical engineer who is being treated for venous thromboembolism. He was 45 when he first developed a blood clot in the lower part of his left leg and had to be hospitalized for five days. A year later, he de...

Spirituality and Health Care
In this medical ethics case, a fourth-year medical student making hospital rounds with an attending physician and several residents is asked by a family member of a patient to pray with her.  The case allows medical students to explore issues rela...

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...

Super Bug
Sam, a pre-med college student, routinely gets dialysis and develops a urinary tract infection. The infection is from a bacterium that the news media is calling a "superbug" from India. Sam does some internet searches to find out more information about...

The 1st New Disease of the 21st Century
This case study uses a PowerPoint (~1MB) combined with role-playing to present the epidemiology and pathophysiology of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Students learn about the etiology and pathophysiology of the disease, and then argue differ...

The Case of Baby Joe
This interrupted case study follows the declining health of an infant who suffers from recurrent infections and finally is diagnosed with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). The case was developed for use in an undergraduate upper-level immunology...

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 Case of the Newborn Nightmare
Three newborns left in the care of "Dr. Mark Maddison" have developed a mysterious rash. Under increasing pressure from hospital administrators and distressed parents, the doctor must diagnose and treat the infants. Students are given discrete pieces o...

The Challenge of Epilepsy
This case study was originally developed for undergraduate science students as part of an extracurricular competition, but it could also be delivered as a directed case. Accordingly two versions of the activity are included. Each version requires stude...

The Ebola Wars: Advanced Edition
This case study was written for upper level undergraduate and graduate students to review foundational aspects of virology and to examine Ebola virus infection in detail. Terry is a college student who travels to a West African clinic for the summer as...

The Ebola Wars: General Edition
This case study introduces students to viruses and is suitable for a general biology course. Terry is a college student who travels to a West African clinic for the summer as a volunteer. While abroad, Terry comes into contact with a patient infected w...

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 Haemophilus Vaccine
This case study focuses on a young mother whose child attends a day care center where there has been an outbreak of bacterial meningitis. The case explores the need for health care workers to provide relevant medical information and advice to patients,...

The Medicinal Use of Marijuana
Whether marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes has been contested for decades. The claims, counter-claims, issues, and judgments in this high profile controversy make it an excellent candidate for “intimate debate.” While simi...

The Mystery of the Blue Death
This historical case study describes the story of John Snow’s discovery of water-borne transmission of cholera in 19th-century London. Designed for use in a Global Health class, the case explores cholera outbreaks and their causes as well as mode...

The Plan: Ethics and Physician Assisted Suicide
This case study on physician-assisted suicide is used in a medical ethics course. The case itself is a short article published in 1991 in the New England Journal of Medicine in which Dr. Timothy E. Quill described his care for a patient suffer...

Thyroid Troubles
In this interrupted case study, students shadow an endocrinologist as she tries to determine what is wrong with Angela Barber. Angela is a middle-aged woman presenting with symptoms suggestive of a thyroid issue. Students are given background informati...

To Tell the Truth
This case was developed to teach first-year medical students about medical ethics as they apply to patient communication. Students receive an introductory lecture covering the basics of giving bad news and then are asked to apply what they have learned...

To Vaccinate, or Not to Vaccinate
The case was prompted by a newspaper story about a couple who refused on religious grounds to have their son vaccinated even though vaccination is a requirement for admission to the public schools. It explores the issues surrounding the necessity and c...

Too Many B Cells
Taylor's doctor notices she has swollen lymph nodes and an elevated white blood cell count on her routine annual exam and asks her to return for a follow-up flow cytometry test to rule out chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Students follow along as Ta...

Tragic Choices: Autism, Measles, and the MMR Vaccine
This case explores the purported connection between vaccines in general, and the MMR vaccine specifically, and autism. Students examine results from the 1998 Lancet article that ignited and still fuels the anti-vaccine movement; students are t...

Treating Ed
Ed is dying. How should his wishes for medical treatment be carried out? As the case unfolds, students explore the rights and responsibilities of doctors, patients, and patient representatives regarding difficult medical decisions. Specifically, studen...

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...

We Are Not Alone
This interrupted case study for the flipped classroom introduces the human microbiome from the perspective of one of its occupants, Heidi Helicobacter (Helicobacter pylori).  Heidi lives in the gut of Kristen, a college student, and discu...

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...

When a Gene Turned Off Is a Matter of Life or Death
When Jordan is diagnosed with brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme), his college plans are unexpectedly put on hold. This scenario is presented in order to teach students about gene regulation, as the efficacy of the drug Jordan receives for post-surg...

When Drug Sales and Science Collide
When "Jeff," a fictionalized drug representative, is placed on the Vioxx® account in 2001, he finds himself pulled between sales and science as he struggles to reconcile three original documents: a Merck marketing pamphlet, a graph from a scientifi...

When Good Antibodies Go Bad
This interrupted case study was designed for an upper level course in immunology where the topic of autoimmunity is discussed in detail.  The storyline follows a woman with Celiac Disease and the effects that this autoimmune disease has on her lif...

When Jenn Lost Her Nerve
In many physiology classes the frog neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is presented as the classic example of a chemical synapse, but many synapses show properties that are different. For example, in many chemical synapses there is a protein transporter in t...

When Work Makes You Sick
This case study was inspired by a real-life scenario, and follows the story of Roberto, a migrant farmworker whose health is impacted by the usage of pesticides on a farm.  With the help of a health care provider, Roberto becomes aware of the effe...

Which Came First, the Mutation or the Antibiotic?
This case study presents the story of Phil, an undergraduate majoring in biology, whose Russian cousin Dimitri has contracted tuberculosis (TB) from inmates at the prison where he works.  Phil learns that his cousin's failure to complete his antib...

Who Killed Yew?
The purpose of this case is to teach introductory college biology students the basic process of mitosis, focusing on the fundamental cellular processes that occur during each of the stages-prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase and cyto...

Why is Patrick Paralyzed?
This “clicker case” introduces students to a rare genetic disease in which an enzyme is deficient in a critical metabolic pathway—the first step in aerobic respiration. Based on a real-life situation, the case challenges students to m...

Why Was the 1918 Influenza So Deadly?
In this intimate debate, students examine the causes of the devastation wrought by the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic. Students consider whether the 1918 flu was exceptionally deadly because of its biology, or whether prevalent geopolitical-socioecono...

Woe to That Child
Alvin’s parents are worried about him. He has had a cough for almost a week, and he’s wheezing a lot more than they think is normal for a child with a cold, which is what their family pediatrician says he has. When they take him to the ER, ...

Yvette's Brave Battle
This case is based on the true story of a woman with choriocarcinoma, a rare type of rapidly dividing and metastatic cancer derived from cells of the placenta. The case begins with Yvette being admitted to a hospital due to neurological irregularities....

Zombie Attack!
Students assume the roles of CDC researchers who must determine how to most effectively stop an impending Zombie apocalypse. The story line leads students through the process of developing a mathematical model of a Zombie outbreak, which they then use ...