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Why Homeostasis Is Important to Everyday Activities


Brian J. Dingmann
Math, Science and Technology Department
University of Minnesota Crookston


In this case study, a college student named "Blake" winds up in the emergency room after he experiences a panic attack brought on by drinking a mixture of beverages containing caffeine and alcohol. His panic attack results in a severe episode of hyperventilation. The alcohol he has consumed has the added effect of making the situation worse by impairing Blake's perception and judgment. Through this case study, students learn about acid/base chemistry as they explore hyperventilation, the Bohr effect, the Haldane effect, and how alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine can affect the acid-base balance in the body. This case was originally designed for a flipped classroom, and the associated videos, including one developed by the author, contain foundational information to lead students through basic chemistry and help them connect daily activities to homeostasis and the Bohr effect. Originally written for a general biology course in which general chemistry concepts are discussed, the case could easily be modified for use in an anatomy and physiology course.


  • Describe the difference between an acid and a base.
  • Apply pH to blood chemistry.
  • Analyze and predict changes in oxygen binding affinity as it relates to the Bohr effect.
  • Compare and contrast the Bohr and Haldane effects.
  • Apply respiratory and metabolic acidosis to acid-base chemistry.


homeostasis; pH; acids; bases; Bohr effect; Haldane effect; caffeine; panic attack;, stimulants; energy drinks; alcohol

Topical Areas


Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division



Type / Methods

Flipped, Interrupted



Subject Headings

Chemistry (General)  |   Biology (General)  |   Physiology  |  

Date Posted


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Answer Key

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The following video(s) are recommended for use in association with this case study.

  • Acids, Bases and pH
    This video explains pH as the power of hydrogen and how increases in the hydronium ion (or hydrogen ion) concentration can lower the pH and create acids. The video also explains how the reverse is true. In addition, an analysis of a strong acid and strong base is included. Running time: 8:53 min. Produced by Bozeman Science, 2013.
  • Acid-Base Chemistry, pH, and the Human Body
    Created by the author specifically for this case, this brief video applies the definitions of acids, bases, and pH to a scenario in which blood chemistry is altered in our body. Running time: 4:07 min. Created by Brian J. Dingmann for the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, 2017.
  • Bohr Effect vs. Haldane Effect
    This video takes a close look at how some friendly competition for hemoglobin allows the body to more efficiently move oxygen and carbon dioxide around. Running time: 13:52 min. Produced by the Khan Academy, 2012.