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It's Like Pulling Teeth

A Case Study in Physiology


Author(s)

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

Abstract

In this interrupted case study, a middle-aged man is having his wisdom teeth surgically removed. He decides to have a general anesthetic, but is unaware of the reaction he will have to halothane. His skeletal muscles go rigid and his body temperature rapidly increases. Students use their knowledge of nerve, synaptic, and muscle function to complete flow diagrams, and consider how each step in the flow diagram could produce maintained muscle contraction. The case is used in a one-semester animal physiology course taken by sophomore and junior science majors. It could also be used in a freshman general biology course or in an anatomy and physiology course.


Objectives

  • To review the physiology of nerves, chemical synapses, and skeletal muscle.
  • To consider and discuss how a foreign agent (halothane) can produce tetanus in skeletal muscle by acting on the nerves, the synapse, and the muscle.

Keywords

Halothane; neuromuscular system; muscle; tetanus; neurotransmitter, synaptic function; action potential; acetylcholine

Topical Areas

N/A

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Interrupted, Jig-Saw

Language

English

Subject Headings

Physiology  |   Biology (General)  |  


Date Posted

09/27/04

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