Case Study – Gluten

This case study was created for distance learning and is a short exploration of how celiac disease affects the digestive system. This is not a long case, and should probably only take 20-30 minutes to complete. I plan to use it with breakout groups working together over Zoom or Google Classroom. The activity is presented as a Google slide document where students read about the case and answer questions directly in the document.

The case starts with Cecilia who is having digestive issues that had previously been diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome. Students are asked to suggest ways for Cecilia to figure out what types of foods are triggering her symptoms.

Students eventually explore the two methods use to diagnose celiac disease, a blood serum test and endoscopy. A 6 minute video explains the role of the immune system in the disease and how immune cells damage the villi of the cells found lining the small intestine.

Students then examine endoscope images that compare healthy mucosa to damaged tissue causes by the immune response. Finally, they are asked to create a meal plan and develop a written explanation for Cecilia’s younger sister who is also experiencing symptoms. This final synthesis requires students to summarize the causes, effects, and treatment of the disease.

I plan to use this with my honors anatomy students, though it could be modified of used with regular track classes. You could put this with the digestive system, but I plan to use it with the cell chapter and link it to surface area and absorption of nutrients.

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