Case Study #1
Lecture TTh 130-245p
Lab W 300-550p
Water Can Kill? Exploring Effects of Osmosis
Part I – Three True Stories
1. What sort of environment (hypertonic, isotonic, hypotonic) does consuming excessive amounts of pure water create in the body fluid that surrounds your cells? What effect would this have on your cells?
- A hypotonic environment would be created in the body fluid, as there would be a lower concentration of solutes outside of the cell than inside the cell. This would create the effect of water entering the cells at an abnormal rate, and the cells, eventually, would burst.
2. What types of symptoms did Jennifer, Cassandra, and James have in common? Which organ or tissue seems to have been most affected?
- Dizziness and headaches were symptoms in common with Jennifer and James. It could be assumed that Cassandra had similar symptoms, as there was swelling of the brain found during autopsy. The brain seems to be the tissue most affected by such conditions.
3. Keeping in mind your answers to questions 1 and 2, what do you think the immediate cause of death was for Jennifer, Cassandra, and James?
- Swelling of the brain, and bursting of the cells within was the most likely cause of death.
4. If you suspected that a patient’s symptoms were caused by the condition suffered by Jennifer, Cassandra, and James, what kinds of test would you run to confirm your suspicions?
- Tests should be run to see how much sodium is in the body, available for use. Electrolyte tests should give an idea of the concentration of salts.
5. Once you knew the cause of their symptoms, what kind of emergency treatment might you try for a patient like Cassandra or James if you were the doctor in charge of their care?
- Emergency treatment could involve a highly concentrated salt solution, some sort of dehydrator to bring the tonicity back to an isotonic one.
6. Why do you think doctors...
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