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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 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 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 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...

Abnormal Psychology in the Hundred Acre Wood
In 2000, Sara E. Shea and co-authors published "Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood: A neurodevelopmental perspective on A.A. Milne" in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. That article gave provisional "diagnoses" to Christopher Robin and...

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...

Are You Blue? What Can You Do?
This case study introduces students to treatment alternatives for depression using a jigsaw method in which groups of students are divided up so that each member of the “home group” becomes the “resident expert” in one of five p...

Brain Workouts
This directed case study follows two college roommates, Darrell and Anthony, who have just returned to school after winter vacation. They share that their ageing fathers are concerned about their declining faculties and are amused by their fathers' eff...

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...

Escape from Planet Soma
In this case, students assume the role of a fictitious space explorer captured by aliens. To win their release, they must correctly explain the neurophysiology underlying some of the punishments used by the aliens to deter attempts at escape. The purpo...

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...

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...

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...

How Do Scallops Swim?
Scallops are bivalve mollusks that live on the seabed. This way of life makes them susceptible to predation and so they have evolved the ability to escape by swimming. This interrupted case study is based on a few observations and simple experiments wh...

I Can Quit Anytime I Want
This “clicker case” explores the biological basis for the temporary euphoria that accompanies drug use as well as certain aspects of the biological basis of drug dependency. The case is called a clicker case because it is designed for use w...

I Can See Clearly Now
This series of mini cases focuses on the cortical areas associated with vision and visual perception. Each case depicts a breakdown in visual perception that may be traced to damage in an area or areas of the visual system and is based upon an actual c...

It Takes a Lot of Nerve
In this two-part case study on the nervous system, students learn about neural pathways. The case scenarios are drawn from real life and require students to explain the physiological mechanisms at work. The first scenario is designed for freshmen level...

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...

Lee Family Problems: The Yin and Yang of Membrane Physiology
This interrupted case study follows "Elaina Lee" and her family through a series of medical mishaps. Elaina suffers a reaction to an overdose of an herbal remedy prescribed to her while studying abroad in Africa. Upon returning home, she feels unwell a...

Michael's Story
This interdisciplinary case study introduces us to the Greens, a family with a recently diagnosed autistic child. Autism is one of several disorders grouped within the acronym ASD, or autism spectrum disorders. Autistic children have problems with comm...

Mini Cases in Movement Disorders
This collection of six short cases focuses on brain areas and neurotransmitters involved in the control of movement. Students are divided into working groups and given one or more of the case descriptions. Each scenario depicts a breakdown in the motor...

Mini Cases in Psychoactive Drugs and Their Effects on the Brain
Designed for an upper-level psychology class titled Brain & Behavior, this series of mini-cases can be used in any undergraduate course that covers the major classes of commonly abused legal and illicit psychoactive drugs from a biological...

Nature or Nurture
This case explores the question of whether gender identity is determined strictly by genetics (nature) or social variables (nurture).  It is based on a true story about a man who was raised as a girl and later rejected the female gender identity.&...

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...

Sonic Hedgehog
In this case study about a baby born with the genetic condition holoprosencephaly, students explore the “Sonic hedgehog” gene, signal transduction, and the ethics of body and tissue donation. The assignment involves students writing an info...

Speak Up!
This series of mini cases focuses on language deficits (aphasias) and their likely organic causes (problems in specific brain areas). Students read one of the six cases, which are based on actual cases reported in the literature, and connect the sympto...

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 Campus Coffee Shop
Since caffeine is a widely used substance, especially by college age students, this case on the effects of caffeine on the human body serves as a real-world connection to many students’ lives. The case is divided into sections covering background...

The Case of the Malfunctioning Neuron
This flipped case study tells the story of Joyce, a biology student who notices the development of some unusual symptoms (foot slapping and slurred speech) in her mother. In an effort to understand the cause, Joyce views a documentary-style trigger vid...

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 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 Tired Swimmer
Annie is on a college swimming scholarship. Recently she has been feeling tired and her times have been getting slower. She has also noticed that her vision is often blurred. Concerned, she goes to see her doctor over the mid-term break and is referred...

To Be or Not to Be ... an Inhibitory Neurotransmitter
Jessica and George are students struggling to understand the forces which control ions moving across membranes.  For the nervous system in particular, ions create the electrical signals neurons use to communicate with one another.  Jessica is...

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 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...

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....