1. To begin your exploration, go to Cell Communication: The Inside Story, from
Scientific American. You should read the first three paragraphs and study the
introductory illustration.
Once you've read the first three paragraphs, go to page 6 of the PDF and read
"Getting a Line on Human Diseases."
As you are reading, you should think about answers to these questions:
• How are the two cells in the illustration communicating with one another?
• What are the messenger molecules? (e.g. hormones or neurotransmitters)
• Why might one cell need to communicate with another cell?
• How is our normal body functioning dependent upon cellular communication?
• What can happen when cell communication breaks down?
• What types of diseases occur as a result of a breakdown of cellular communication?
2. Now you will examine two diseases in which cellular communication has broken
down. Multiple sclerosis is a disease that results in a lack of correct nerve impulse
signaling. Diabetes is a disorder that results in a lack of correct hormonal signaling.
Use these resources to help you research multiple sclerosis and diabetes and answer
the questions on the Diseases of Faulty Cell Communication student sheet.
• Neuron Conversations: How Brain Cells Communicate
• About MS (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
Follow the sequence: "What is MS", "What causes MS"...through "Diagnosis"
• Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
Go to each of the sections under MS Information.
• Normal Regulation of Blood Glucose
• What is Insulin?
• Introduction to Diabetes
3. Now use these resources to help you research things that disrupt cell
communication and write your answers on the Factors that Disrupt Cell
Communication student sheet:
• Neuroscience for Kids: Heroin
• Endocrine Disrupters
Working with your group, research the impact of a genetic disease or external drug on
cellular communication. You should use the Researching Cell Communication student
sheet to help guide you in your research.
• The Spinal Cord
• NIH (NIDDK): Endocrine and Metabolic Disease
• EndocrineWeb.com
• e.hormone