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English Detective #23-- Medical Research: new ways to look at healing: Oct. 8, 2013
October 07, 2013

English Detective # 23, Medical Research: new ways to look at healing: Oct. 8, 2013

The current investigation (Introducing this issue):

We hear so much bad news about cancer, chronic diseases, and health care issues. Have you ever wondered if there is any good news? Two medical researchers share new approaches that offer fresh hope for treating cancer and degenerative diseases.

In the first TED talk researcher Alan Russell holds out hope for treating degenerative diseases like diabetes earlier and thus preventing some of its worst damage. His research also shows it is possible to help damaged tissues re-grow and heal themselves, instead of just treating symptoms as the disease gets worse and worse.

Eva Vertes, who turned 20 years old the day after her talk, describes a new way of looking at cancer and some of the possibilities for new treatments that may come from this changed perspective. You can watch the talk and then take an interactive quiz all on the same page, or follow links to the TED site to read the transcript and to a pdf version of the comprehension worksheet.

There is also a discussion of some of the vocabulary, along with a crossword to practice it, and an essay and matching game on the Roots of Comparison and Contrast to illustrate and practice words from the Latin roots for comparison and contrast, similarity and difference.

Your First Clue: Vocabulary we’ll Emphasize in this Issue

assurance, attached, ceases, coincide, corresponding, differentiation, elimination, induce, inhibit, injury, integral, minimal, overlap, phase, portion, trigger, widespread.

Which words do you already know? Which are familiar (you have seen them, or can guess their meanings), but you’d like to know more about them? Which are completely new?

Notice how they are used in the readings and practice activities. Then try to use some of them yourself, in a sentence or two.

A few notes about new vocabulary words that might need more explanation:

Assurance can mean confidence, or it can refer to someone’s message of encouragement and confidence. Someone who is self-assured has lots a great deal of confidence in him/herself.

If a good student is worried about a test after a lot of studying, a friend can assure him that he will do well. If he hasn’t really studied, such an assurance would be false and unreliable.

Attachment is connection, physical or emotional. Nails attach pieces of wood to each other; staples or tape attach paper. An email attachment is a file sent with the email but not in its text.

To cease is to stop doing something. The poet Keats wrote about death (ceasing to exist): “When I have fears that I may cease to be...”

When two events coincide, they happen at the same time. (Two events can also overlap, with the second one starting before the first is finished. In that case they do not coincide completely.

A coincidence is two unlikely things happening together, apparently by chance or luck rather than by planning. “It was pure coincidence that she won the lottery on her birthday.”

To correspond has several different meanings: to have a similar position or function (the Greek letter ‘sigma’ corresponds to ‘s’ in the Latin alphabet), or to communicate by letter. (“Thomas Jefferson had a large correspondence with scientists in several countries.”)

Its adjective is ‘corresponding’: “The head of First National Bank’s home loan department arranged a meeting with the corresponding officials from other local banks and loan companies.”

An injury is a wound-- damage to the body.

To injure someone is (a more formal way of saying) to hurt them.

Integral comes from the word for ‘whole.’ We most often use it to discuss parts are needed for the whole to work together: “Please turn in your report. Your contribution is an integral part of our project.”

When someone does a minimal amount of work, they do very little. Minimal just means a very small amount.

To overlap is to partly cover or coincide, in space or time. Roof tiles overlap each other. If something happens before something else has finished, the 2 events overlap; when people have shared hobbies, their interests overlap.

A phase is a stage in development; something that changes over time. We talk about the “toddler phase” or “the phases of the moon” from new moon to full.

A portion is a part of something, especially the part of land or inheritance that will belong to a particular person or group. Sometimes we speak of the normal amount of food one person can eat at a meal as a portion (or a serving.) “Give him an extra portion, he’s a growing boy.”

A trigger is the lever that causes a gun to fire. Trigger is now used as both noun and verb for the immediate cause of some event. The American Civil War was caused by major disputes about slavery and states’ rights, but its trigger was the southern attack on a federal fort in South Carolina.

Widespread is simply spread over or covering a large area.

Several words in this issue are related to starting (induce, trigger), stopping (cease, eliminate-- to completely destroy or get rid of something) or limiting (inhibiting, somewhat like restricting in issue 21.)

You can practice these words, and the rest of this issue’s vocabulary, in the crosswords below.

Getting the whole story: this issue’s reading/listening practice:

Click here for Russell’s talk on Regenerating the Body.

Eva Vertes’ TED talk and an interactive comprehension quiz. (That page links to TED, where you can read the transcript of the talk. It also has a link to the Comprehension Worksheet pdf version.)

Follow the Clues (Vocabulary Practice):

Click here(or right-click to download) for the crossword and here for the answers.

Word Family Investigator:

Click here for the essay and practice on Latin roots for comparison and contrast.

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Coming in the next issue: Disease Fighters

In case you missed these: Earlier issues of English Detective have articles on a number of topics, plus practice with all 570 words from the Academic Word List. You can check them out with the link to the back issues page below (or find what words were practiced each issue here. or here for the most recent issues.

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