Four Web-Based Interactive Endocrine Case Studies for Use in Undergraduate Medical Education

Publication ID Published Volume
10579 May 10, 2017 13

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Introduction: It is increasingly important to provide medical students with structured and focused opportunities to link basic science with clinical application. This resource is a collection of four case-based exercises designed to help students self-evaluate their knowledge and develop a robust and well- integrated understanding of endocrine physiology and pathophysiology in the context of a representative range of endocrine disorders involving adrenal cortical, thyroid, and reproductive function. Methods: Each case opens with a brief vignette containing a patient presentation and a history of present illness. The student first formulates a differential diagnosis and then sequentially narrows the differential by selecting from lists of diagnostic tests; correct answers with feedback are provided at each step. A diagnosis is ultimately required, and the student may be prompted to propose a treatment plan. Results: End-of-course survey results from 128 first-year medical students suggest that the use of these interactive case studies was considered to be a worthwhile use of study time, and that knowledge gained in the correlate endocrine course was required to work through the cases. Students indicated that the levels of case and task complexity, along with feedback, were appropriate and helpful. Discussion: These cases provide a resource for meeting the need for including clinically relevant scenarios in the preclerkship years. Although these cases were designed for, and used by, first-year students, they are also suitable for more advanced students.


Zachow R, Schneider S, Lebeau R, Galt J. Four web-based interactive endocrine case studies for use in undergraduate medical education. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2017;13:10579.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this session, learners will be able to:

  1. Describe the predominant signs and symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, male hypogonadism, and Addison’s disease.
  2. Utilize the information provided in a focused patient presentation and history to develop a differential diagnosis.
  3. Explain the rationale for the most useful tests that will aid in narrowing the differential diagnosis, drawing upon relevant endocrine physiology and pathophysiology concepts commonly taught in preclerkship medical school curricula.
  4. Explain the contribution of particular physical exam and diagnostic test data to a final diagnosis, utilizing relevant endocrine physiology and pathophysiology concepts commonly taught in preclerkship medical school curricula.
  5. Propose an appropriate treatment plan for the purpose of restoring the normal physiologic state.


  • Endocrinology, Physiology, Pathophysiology, Case-Based Learning, Cushing's Syndrome, Addison's Disease, Hypothyroidism, Hypogonadism


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ISSN 2374-8265