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Hibernation on demand


Date: April 23, 2005
Level: Harder (Try the easier lesson.)
Downloads: This Lesson (Word Doc) | Class Handout (Word Doc) | Class Handout (PDF)

Listening (2:04 - 243.1 KB - 16kbps)

THE ARTICLE

Scientists in America have succeeded in placing mice into a type of suspended animation, or enforced hibernation. They used a technique that could one day improve the treatment of trauma and disease in humans or even put astronauts to sleep for long voyages to other planets. Mark Roth, researcher at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, says this is not science fiction fantasy: “We think this may be a latent ability that all mammals have—potentially even humans—and we’re just harnessing it and turning it on and off, inducing a state of hibernation on demand.” He predicts the technique will revolutionize medical practice: “there will be clinical benefits and it will change the way medicine is practiced, because we will, in short, be able to buy patients time.”

The mice were exposed to a mixture of oxygen laced with hydrogen sulfide, a gas responsible for controlling our metabolism. Respiration in the rodents dropped from 120 breaths per minute to fewer than ten and body temperature dropped to as low as eleven degrees Centigrade. With metabolism almost at a standstill, cellular activity slows to a crawl and the body requires minimal oxygen. The resultant hibernation-like state, if successful in humans, could be used for patients awaiting organ transplants, the treatment of severe blood loss, cardiac arrest, and in cancer care. Exposure to fresh air returned the mice’s normal bodily functions and metabolic rates with no side effects. Clinical trials with humans could start within five years.

WARM UPS

1. CHAT: Talk in pairs or groups about: hibernation / mice / trauma and disease / sleep / voyages to other planets / science fiction / suspended animation… For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

2. SCIENCE FICTION BRAINSTORM: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with science fiction. Share your words with your partner / group and talk about them.

3. SPACE JOURNEY: Students A have spent five years on a space rocket to Saturn, half spent in hibernation. They loved rocket life (and hibernation). Get together and discuss all the great things you experienced. Students B are simple humans and want to know all about life on the rocket. Make a list of questions for the students who lived on the rocket. Students A and B pair up and talk about the journey into space.

4. ANIMAL FUNCTIONS: Hibernation is a basic survival function for many animals. Which of the following animal abilities would you like scientists to make available for humans:

hibernation / the longevity of tortoises (150 years) / the sonar of a bat / the speed of a cheetah / the hearing of a dog / flight / breathing underwater like fish / changing colors like a chameleon / others?

5. THE FUTURE: What will scientific breakthroughs allow us to do in the future? Look at the following list and talk about the possibility or impossibility of these things happening, when they might happen, and the benefits. Change partners and repeat the activity, using the ideas you previously heard and talked about.

BREAKTHROUGH

  1. Downloading skills into directly the brain (Matrix style)
  2. Cars that can fly though the air.
  3. Backpack jets that enable individuals to fly.
  4. A cure for all diseases.
  5. Time travel
  6. Colonies on other planets
  7. Life spans extended beyond 200 years old
  8. Artificial intelligence
  9. Cloning to bring back dinosaurs
  10. World’s energy needs provided by air and water

LIKELIHOOD

  • Never
  • Not in my lifetime
  • By the end of the century
  • No time soon
  • Within the next fifty years
  • Before the decade’s out
  • One day
  • I’ll live to see it

 


 
 

PRE-READING IDEAS

1. WORD SEARCH: Use your dictionary / computer to find word partners (collocates), other meanings, synonyms or more information on the words ‘science’ and ‘fiction’.

2. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true or false:

  1. Scientists have successfully put human beings into hibernation.  T / F
  2. One day, astronauts could be put to sleep for long voyages into space.  T / F
  3. Humans may have a latent ability to hibernate.  T / F
  4. Hospital patients will be able to buy time using their credit cards.  T / F
  5. The heartbeat in test mice dropped to below ten beats per minute.  T / F
  6. The body temperature in test mice dropped to below freezing.  T / F
  7. When our metabolism slows down, we need more oxygen.  T / F
  8. There are many side effects involved with enforced hibernation.  T / F

3. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

(a)

type

controlling

(b)

trauma

form

(c)

latent

stopped

(d)

harnessing

adverse

(e)

clinical

dormant

(f)

laced with

shock

(g)

respiration

medical

(h)

at a standstill

breathing

(i)

cardiac arrest

mixed with

(j)

side

heart attack

4. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

(a)

suspended

to sleep

(b)

the treatment of

laced with hydrogen sulfide

(c)

put astronauts

benefits

(d)

latent

to a crawl

(e)

clinical

animation

(f)

a mixture of oxygen

transplants

(g)

almost at

ability

(h)

cellular activity slows

trauma and disease

(i)

patients awaiting organ

metabolic rates

(j)

normal bodily functions and

a standstill

 

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. QUIZ READ: Test your general knowledge and common sense. Circle which word you think is correct from the words in bold:

Hibernation on demand

Scientists in America have succeeded in placing mice / wolves into a type of suspended animation, or enforced vacation / hibernation. They used a technique that could one day improve the treatment of trauma and disease in humans or even put astronauts to sleep for long voyages to other suburbs / planets. Mark Roth, researcher at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, says this is not science fiction fantasy: “We think this may be a latent ability that all mammals / reptiles have—potentially even humans—and we’re just harnessing it and turning it on and off, inducing a state of hibernation on demand.” He predicts the technique will revolutionize medical / literary practice: “there will be clinical benefits and it will change the way medicine is practiced, because we will, in short, be able to sell / buy patients time.”

The mice were exposed to a mixture of oxygen laced with hydrogen sulfide, a gas responsible for controlling our metabolism / digestion. Respiration in the rodents dropped from 120 breaths per minute to fewer / more than ten and body temperature dropped to as low as eleven degrees Fahrenheit / Centigrade. With metabolism almost at a standstill, cellular activity slows to a sprint / crawl and the body requires minimal oxygen. The resultant hibernation-like state, if successful in humans, could be used for patients awaiting organ / piano transplants, the treatment of severe blood loss, cardiac arrest, and in cancer care. Exposure to fresh air returned the mice’s abnormal / normal bodily functions and metabolic rates with no side effects. Clinical trials with humans could start within five years.

2. TRUE/FALSE: Check your answers to the T/F exercise.

3. SYNONYMS: Check your answers to the synonyms exercise.

4. PHRASE MATCH: Check your answers to the phrase match exercise.

5. QUESTIONS: Make notes for questions you would like to ask the class about the article.

6. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.


 
 

POST READING IDEAS

1. QUIZ READ: Check your answers to this exercise.

2. QUESTIONS: Ask the discussion questions you thought of above to your partner / group / class. Pool the questions for everyone to share.

3. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.

4. STUDENT-GENERATED SURVEY: In pairs/groups write down 3 questions based on the article. Each student surveys class members independently and reports back to their original partner/ group to compare their findings.

5. ‘SCIENCE’ / ‘FICTION’: Make questions based on your findings from pre-reading activity #1. Ask your partner / group your questions.

6. DISCUSSION:

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. Was there anything in the article that excited you?
  3. What do you think of the research mentioned in the article?
  4. Do you like science fiction?
  5. Do you think science fiction always becomes science fact?
  6. What do you think of being able to hibernate?
  7. Would you like to hibernate for the weekend or the winter?
  8. Would you like to be put to sleep and go on a long space voyage?
  9. What do you think when scientists unveil yet another miracle study?
  10. Do you think hibernation for humans is dangerous?
  11. What animals do you know of that hibernate?
  12. In which other ways do you think we may one day be able to copy animals?
  13. Are you interested in medicine and scientific research?
  14. Would you volunteer to undergo clinical testing in the hibernation project?
  15. What do you think medicine will be like fifty years from now?
  16. How might hibernation be useful in our lives?
  17. Are there any medical or technological developments you are excited about?
  18. Would you like to be a scientist?
  19. Did you like this discussion?
  20. Teacher / Student additional questions.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find information on suspended animation. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. HIBER-SALON: It is the year 2030. You are the owner of a hibernation salon – the latest fashion. Write an advertisement outlining the services and benefits of your hiber-salon. Try to “sell” your salon in your next class.

4. 2100: Write an article about how technology in the year 2100 will make our daily lives different from today. Compare your ideas with your classmates in your next lesson.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

  1. Scientists have successfully put human beings into hibernation.  F
  2. One day, astronauts could be put to sleep for long voyages into space.  T
  3. Humans may have a latent ability to hibernate.  T
  4. Hospital patients will be able to buy time using their credit cards.  F
  5. The heartbeat in test mice dropped to below ten beats per minute.  T
  6. The body temperature in test mice dropped to below freezing.  F
  7. When our metabolism slows down, we need more oxygen.  F
  8. There are many side effects involved with enforced hibernation.  F

SYNONYM MATCH:

(a)

type

form

(b)

trauma

shock

(c)

latent

dormant

(d)

harnessing

controlling

(e)

clinical

medical

(f)

laced with

mixed with

(g)

respiration

breathing

(h)

at a standstill

stopped

(i)

cardiac arrest

heart attack

(j)

side

adverse

PHRASE MATCH:

(a)

suspended

animation

(b)

the treatment of

trauma and disease

(c)

put astronauts

to sleep

(d)

latent

ability

(e)

clinical

benefits

(f)

a mixture of oxygen

laced with hydrogen sulfide

(g)

almost at

a standstill

(h)

cellular activity slows

to a crawl

(i)

patients awaiting organ

transplants

(j)

normal bodily functions and

metabolic rates

QUIZ READ:

Hibernation on demand

Scientists in America have succeeded in placing mice into a type of suspended animation, or enforced hibernation. They used a technique that could one day improve the treatment of trauma and disease in humans or even put astronauts to sleep for long voyages to other planets. Mark Roth, researcher at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, says this is not science fiction fantasy: “We think this may be a latent ability that all mammals have—potentially even humans—and we’re just harnessing it and turning it on and off, inducing a state of hibernation on demand.” He predicts the technique will revolutionize medical practice: “there will be clinical benefits and it will change the way medicine is practiced, because we will, in short, be able to buy patients time.”

The mice were exposed to a mixture of oxygen laced with hydrogen sulfide, a gas responsible for controlling our metabolism. Respiration in the rodents dropped from 120 breaths per minute to fewer than ten and body temperature dropped to as low as eleven degrees Centigrade. With metabolism almost at a standstill, cellular activity slows to a crawl and the body requires minimal oxygen. The resultant hibernation-like state, if successful in humans, could be used for patients awaiting organ transplants, the treatment of severe blood loss, cardiac arrest, and in cancer care. Exposure to fresh air returned the mice’s normal bodily functions and metabolic rates with no side effects. Clinical trials with humans could start within five years.

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