Disorders of the Nervous System
Brain: A Case Study of Seizure Disorder and Brain Function".
Julia Omarzu, Loras College. State University of New York
at Buffalo's National Center for Case Study Teaching.
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 techniques and discuss the plasticity
of the brain.
The case was written for an introductory psychology course, but
could be adapted for any course that covers brain anatomy,
neurological disorders, or rehabilitation therapies.
"A Need for Needles: Acupuncture - Does it Really Work?". Sarah G.
Stonefoot and Clyde F. Herreid, University at Buffalo. State
University of New York at Buffalo's National Center for Case Study
In this case students evaluate
information about the use of acupuncture and consider the
possibilities of alternative therapies at the same time
questioning their effectiveness. To complete the case, students
collect information from Internet sources and journal
publications, with an emphasis on carefully evaluating the
credibility of information they collect.
The case would be suitable for
introductory level courses in biology and science.
Case Study in Brain Death". Rosemary Martin,
Australian National University. State University of New York at
Buffalo's National Center for Case Study Teaching.
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, including organ donation.
With some modifications, the
case could be used in a neurobiology or psychology course, or in
a philosophy or ethics course.
Search for the Right Answer: Fetal Tissue Research and
Parkinson's Disease" Anne Fourtner, Charles Fourtner, and Clyde
Herreid, University at Buffalo. State University of New York at
Buffalo's National Center for Case Study Teaching.
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 ethical
questions surrounding the use of fetal tissue in research
programs, and the sociological implications of an aging
This case is appropriate for
undergraduate general biology, general medicine, neuroscience,
public health, and sociology courses.
in Movement Disorders". Antoinette R. Miller, Clayton State
University. National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science.
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 system that can be traced (at least in part) to some
brain area or areas. Useful for a variety of courses,
including physiological psychology and neurobiology, these cases
are intended to give students an opportunity to apply knowledge
gained from readings and lectures to real-life situations
inspired by patient cases described in the literature.
These cases are appropriate
for undergraduate physiology, neuroscience, and psychology
Clock?". DE Allen.
Thinking Toward Solutions: Problem-Based Learning
Activities for General Biology.
Allen, D. E. and Duch, B. J. (1998). New York: Saunders College Publishing,p
Stage 1: The
of melatonin are discussed along with seasonal affective disorder. Students investigate specific tests done
in a case study of seasonal affective disorder including back of
the knee illumination. Also, the
melatonin does not help one character adjust to time-zone change. The students conjecture why and if he
should use melatonin on another business trip.
CNN Video Clips
"Religion and Health": Biology 8th Ed. CNN Ed 2004 (2:09)
Andrew Newburg, of the University
of Pennsylvania, is using brain-imaging techniques to study what
happens to the brain during deep meditation or prayer. Comparing
subjects' brains before and during these activities shows both
activate the brain's frontal lobe, while dampening activity in the
area that provides a sense of self. Meditation also triggers
changes in the hypothalamus, which can affect heart rate, blood
pressure, and release of hormones, including cortisol. Newburg
says that while his studies suggest that meditation and prayer
could be good for health, he would not advise patients to engage
in these activities solely for the health benefits. (Student
worksheet provided on CD)
"Brain fitness": Biology 8th Ed. CNN Ed 2004 (2:16)
can slow the loss of brain tissue that is associated with aging.
Researchers at the University
studying the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) results of people
over age 55 found a correlation between fitness level and memory
loss. Certain brain areas were shown to deteriorate more slowly in
people who are more fit. New York University
researchers found that glucose regulation is associated with
memory function. In those with poor glucose regulation, the
hippocampus, which is involved in memory, tends to be reduced in
size. The worksheet includes the URL for the National Institute on
Topic: "Treating Huntington's disease": Genetics 1st
Ed. CNN Ed 2003 (0:00)
Topic: "Conquering depression": Biology 7th Ed. CNN Ed
A woman who suffered from
depression describes her symptoms. If untreated about 15
percent of those suffering from depression will kill
themselves. Treatments include antidepressant drugs and talk
therapy. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) successfully treats many
with severe depression, but causes amnesia. The newest
treatment involves application of strong magnetic fields to the
skull. Results are similar to those for ECT but without the