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August 8, 2009

PRINT:  13-Page Class Handout
LISTEN: MP3 (1:53 - 884KB)
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Scientists Find A Reason For Itching

Scientists in the USA have found a type of nerve cell may be the reason we itch. The team from Washington University suggested itchiness was from specific cells. They also believe itching is not a minor form of pain. For decades, many in the medical community have put itching in the pain category. The researchers said they think itching is a completely different and unique sensation. Their decades-long research was on mice. It focused on how the brain reacted to itching and pain. They discovered an “itch gene”, called GRPR. The mice were injected with a chemical to kill this gene. The rodents were still able to feel pain, suggesting the two feelings are different.


The new research has great potential for cures and treatments of itches and itching-related diseases. There are over 50 illnesses in which itching leads to a poor quality of life. In some cases, the itching can be unbearable for the sufferer. Severe itching can lead to excessive scratching, which results in bleeding and infection. Lead researcher Dr. Zhou Feng Chen said: "This finding has very important therapeutic implications. We have shown that particular neurons are critical for the itching sensation but not for pain….[These] can be explored or identified as targets for future treatment or management of chronic itching." He said cures for humans are still many years away.


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. ITCHING: Walk around the class and talk to other students about itching. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

scientists / nerve cells / forms of pain / unique sensations / genes / rodents / treatments / illnesses / quality of life / unbearable / bleeding / infection / cures

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. PAIN: Complete this table about pain. Share your answers with your partner(s).  Change partners and share what you heard.

Pain

How bad is this?

Your experiences

Remedies

Physical

 

 

 

Mental

 

 

 

Emotional

 

 

 

Financial

 

 

 

Muscle

 

 

 

Back

 

 

 

4. CURES: Students A strongly believe scientists will find cures for all our problems; Students B strongly believe the opposite.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. TREATMENTS: What treatments are most important to you? Place these in order – most important at the top. Talk about your list with your partner. Change partners and share what you heard.

   _____  itching

   _____  coughing

   _____  sleepiness

   _____  feeling blue

   _____  headache

   _____  hangover

   _____  diarrhea

   _____  sunburn

6. ITCHING: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘itching’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

American scientists now know exactly why people itch.

T / F

b.

The researchers think that itching is not a kind of pain.

T / F

c.

The research team said mice have made us itch for many decades.

T / F

d.

A special chemical made mice itch so much that they died.

T / F

e.

The research is good news for those who suffer from itching diseases.

T / F

f.

There are many illnesses that make people’s lives miserable.

T / F

g.

The research is important because it focuses on itching and not pain.

T / F

h.

New medicines to stop itching will be in pharmacies from next year.

T / F

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

1.

type

a.

indicated

2

suggested

b.

leads to

3.

minor

c.

feeling

4.

unique

d.

possibilities

5.

reacted

e.

kind

6.

potential

f.

one-of-a-kind

7.

unbearable

g.

vital

8.

results in

h.

small

9.

critical

i.

responded

10.

sensation

j.

intolerable

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

1.

Scientists in the USA have found

a.

unique sensation

2

itching is not a minor

b.

implications

3.

a completely different and

c.

and treatments

4.

how the brain reacted to

d.

to feel pain

5.

The rodents were still able

e.

many years away

6.

great potential for cures

f.

a type of nerve

7.

itching leads to a poor

g.

scratching

8.

Severe itching can lead to excessive

h.

form of pain

9.

very important therapeutic

i.

itching and pain

10.

cures for humans are still

j.

quality of life

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

Scientists in the USA have found a ____________ of nerve cell may be the reason we itch. The team from Washington University suggested itchiness was from ____________ cells. They also believe itching is not a ____________ form of pain. For decades, many in the medical community have put itching in the pain category. The researchers said they think itching is a completely different and ____________ sensation. Their decades-long research was on mice. It ____________ on how the brain reacted to itching and pain. They discovered an “itch ____________”, called GRPR. The mice were injected with a ____________ to kill this gene. The rodents were still able to feel pain, suggesting the two feelings are ____________.

 

 

 

specific
different
type
gene
minor
focused
chemical
unique

The new research has great ____________ for cures and treatments of itches and itching-related diseases. There are over 50 ____________ in which itching leads to a poor ____________ of life. In some cases, the itching can be unbearable for the sufferer. Severe itching can lead to excessive ____________, which results in bleeding and infection. Lead researcher Dr. Zhou Feng Chen said: "This finding has very ____________ therapeutic implications. We have shown that particular neurons are critical for the itching ____________ but not for pain….[These] can be explored or identified as targets for ____________ treatment or management of chronic itching." He said cures for humans are still many ____________ away.

 

 

sensation
illnesses
future
scratching
potential
years
quality
important

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

Scientists in the USA have found a type of nerve ________________ reason we itch. The team from Washington University suggested itchiness was from specific cells. They also believe itching is ________________ of pain. For decades, many in the medical community have put itching in the pain category. The researchers said they think itching is ___________________ and unique sensation. Their decades-long research was on mice. __________________ brain reacted to itching and pain. They discovered an “itch gene”, called GRPR. The mice ________________ a chemical to kill this gene. The rodents were still able to feel pain, suggesting the two feelings are different.

The new research has ________________ cures and treatments of itches and itching-related diseases. There are over 50 illnesses in which itching ________________ quality of life. In some cases, the itching can be unbearable for the sufferer. Severe itching can lead to excessive scratching, ________________ bleeding and infection. Lead researcher Dr. Zhou Feng Chen said: "This finding has very important therapeutic implications. We have shown that particular neurons ________________ itching sensation but not for pain….[These] can be explored or identified as targets for future treatment or management of chronic itching." He said ________________ are still many years away.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘nerve’ and ‘cell’.

nerve

cell

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

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

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • type
  • specific
  • minor
  • unique
  • focused
  • injected
  • great
  • poor
  • severe
  • finding
  • critical
  • humans

STUDENT ITCHING SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about itching in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

ITCHING DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘itching’?

c)

Do you itch a lot?

d)

What do you do to stop itching?

e)

What do you think of this new research?

f)

What do you think of the fact that doctors thought itching was a kind of pain?

g)

Do you think the results found in mice will be similar for humans?

h)

How would your life change if there was no more itching?

i)

Are you itching to do something at the moment?

j)

What do you think the idiom ‘seven-year itch’ means? Is it true?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What kind of illnesses do you know of that involves itching?

c)

How can itching lead to a poor quality of life?

d)

Can you remember a time when you had a really unbearable itch?

e)

What does Dr. Zhou Feng Chen say about the future?

f)

Would you like to be a researcher?

g)

How would you describe the sensation of itching?

h)

What do you think the idiom ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ mean? Do you like this idiom

i)

What do you think the idiom ‘itchy feet’ means? Have you ever had itchy feet?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Dr. Zhou Feng Chen?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

Scientists in the USA have found a (1) ____ of nerve cell may be the reason we itch. The team from Washington University suggested itchiness was from specific (2) ____. They also believe itching is not a minor form of pain. For decades, many in the medical community have put itching (3) ____ the pain category. The researchers said they think itching is a completely different and (4) ____ sensation. Their decades-long research was on mice. It (5) ____ on how the brain reacted to itching and pain. They discovered an “itch gene”, called GRPR. The mice were injected with a chemical to kill this gene. The rodents were still (6) ____ to feel pain, suggesting the two feelings are different.

The new research has (7) ____ potential for cures and treatments of itches and itching-related diseases. There are over 50 illnesses in which itching leads to a poor quality of life. In some cases, the itching can be unbearable for the (8) ____. Severe itching can lead to excessive scratching, which results (9) ____ bleeding and infection. Lead researcher Dr. Zhou Feng Chen said: "This finding has very important therapeutic implications. We have (10) ____ that particular neurons are critical for the itching sensation but not for pain….[These] can be explored or identified (11) ____ targets for future treatment or management of chronic itching." He said cures for humans are still many years (12) ____.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

typo

(b)

typed

(c)

types

(d)

type

2.

(a)

sells

(b)

cells

(c)

cell

(d)

sell

3.

(a)

in

(b)

up

(c)

out

(d)

on

4.

(a)

uniquely

(b)

uniqueness

(c)

unique

(d)

unicity

5.

(a)

focus

(b)

focal

(c)

focused

(d)

focusing

6.

(a)

ability

(b)

able

(c)

could

(d)

capable

7.

(a)

great

(b)

greatly

(c)

greatness

(d)

greats

8.

(a)

suffer

(b)

suffering

(c)

suffers

(d)

sufferer

9.

(a)

on

(b)

in

(c)

to

(d)

of

10.

(a)

showed

(b)

shows

(c)

showing

(d)

shown

11.

(a)

was

(b)

has

(c)

as

(d)

pas

12.

(a)

away

(b)

about

(c)

around

(d)

always

WRITING

Write about itching for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

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 out more about itching. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. ITCHING: Make a poster about itching. Include different types of itch and ways of stopping them. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. RESEARCHER: Write a magazine article about a medical researcher. Include an imaginary interview with him/her. What are their thoughts on medical science and the future?

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to Dr. Zhou Feng Chen. Ask him three questions about itching. Give him three suggestions on what he could research and find cures for next. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

F

b.

T

c.

F

d.

F

e.

T

f.

T

g.

T

h.

F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

type

a.

kind

2

suggested

b.

indicated

3.

minor

c.

small

4.

unique

d.

one-of-a-kind

5.

reacted

e.

responded

6.

potential

f.

possibilities

7.

unbearable

g.

intolerable

8.

results in

h.

leads to

9.

critical

i.

vital

10.

sensation

j.

feeling

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

Scientists in the USA have found

a.

a type of nerve

2

itching is not a minor

b.

form of pain

3.

a completely different and

c.

unique sensation

4.

how the brain reacted to

d.

itching and pain

5.

The rodents were still able

e.

to feel pain

6.

great potential for cures

f.

and treatments

7.

itching leads to a poor

g.

quality of life

8.

Severe itching can lead to excessive

h.

scratching

9.

very important therapeutic

i.

implications

10.

cures for humans are still

j.

many years away

GAP FILL:

Scientists find a reason for itching

Scientists in the USA have found a type of nerve cell may be the reason we itch. The team from Washington University suggested itchiness was from specific cells. They also believe itching is not a minor form of pain. For decades, many in the medical community have put itching in the pain category. The researchers said they think itching is a completely different and unique sensation. Their decades-long research was on mice. It focused on how the brain reacted to itching and pain. They discovered an “itch gene”, called GRPR. The mice were injected with a chemical to kill this gene. The rodents were still able to feel pain, suggesting the two feelings are different.

The new research has great potential for cures and treatments of itches and itching-related diseases. There are over 50 illnesses in which itching leads to a poor quality of life. In some cases, the itching can be unbearable for the sufferer. Severe itching can lead to excessive scratching, which results in bleeding and infection. Lead researcher Dr. Zhou Feng Chen said: "This finding has very important therapeutic implications. We have shown that particular neurons are critical for the itching sensation but not for pain….[These] can be explored or identified as targets for future treatment or management of chronic itching." He said cures for humans are still many years away.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - a

3 - b

4 - c

5 - c

6 - b

7 - d

8 - a

9 - b

10 - d

11 - c

12 - a

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