Dealing with the Disintegration of Central Control
Department of Biological Sciences
Western Illinois University
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 any of a variety of human health-related courses, particularly human anatomy and physiology. It presents an actual case of a boy who begins to show the first signs of a pituitary tumor at the age of 11. The case chronicles his symptoms and medical conditions (and crises) through age 45. By examining the effects of pituitary disruption and tracing them back to their hormonal causes, students gain an understanding of the role of the pituitary in controlling a variety of hormones as well as the cascade of effects triggered by high-level pituitary hormones.
- To present a story of pituitary disruption, and thus bring the list of pituitary functions to life.
- To see the effects of the pituitary on a variety of physiological functions.
- To introduce students to problem-solving and working from data to theory.
KeywordsEndocrinology; endocrine pathology; pituitary gland; hormonal dysfunction; homeostasis; luteinizing hormone; LH; follicle-stimulating hormone; FSH; tumor; pituitary adenoma; acromegaly; diabetes insipidus
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type / MethodsInterrupted
Subject HeadingsPhysiology | Anatomy | Biology (General) | Medicine (General) |
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