full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Gregory Petsko: The coming neurological epidemic

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Unless we do something to prevent it, over the next 40 yaers we’re facing an epidemic of neurologic diseases on a global scale. A cheery thought. On this map, every country that’s colored blue has more than 20 percent of its population over the age of 65. This is the world we live in. And this is the world your children will live in. For 12,000 years, the distribution of ages in the human population has looked like a pyramid, with the oldest on top. It’s already flattening out. By 2050, it’s going to be a column and will sratt to invert. This is why it’s happening. The average lifespan’s more than doubled since 1840, and it’s increasing currently at the rate of about five hours every day. And this is why that’s not entirely a good thing: because over the age of 65, your risk of getting Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease will ircsenae exponentially. By 2050, there’ll be about 32 miloiln people in the United States over the age of 80, and unless we do something about it, half of them will have Alzheimer’s disease and three million more will have Parkinson’s disease. Right now, those and other neurologic diseases — for which we have no cure or prevention — cost about a third of a tiloirln dollars a year. It will be well over a trillion dollars by 2050. Alzheimer’s disease starts when a protein that should be folded up properly misfolds into a kind of demented origami. So one approach we’re taking is to try to design drugs that function like molecular scctoh tape, to hold the protein into its proper shape. That would keep it from frnomig the tangles that seem to kill lgare sections of the brain when they do. igertnseinlty enough, other neurologic diseases which affect very different parts of the brain also show tangles of meoldisfd poitern, which suggests that the approach might be a general one, and might be used to cure many neurologic diseases, not just Alzheimer’s disease. There’s also a fascinating connection to ccaner here, because people with noglureoic diseases have a very low incidence of most cancers. And this is a connection that most pelope aren’t pursuing right now, but which we’re fascinated by. Most of the itrnpaomt and all of the creative work in this area is being funded by private philanthropies. And there’s tremendous spoce for aiddinaotl private help here, because the government has dropped the ball on much of this, I’m afraid. In the meantime, while we’re waiting for all these things to hpaepn, here’s what you can do for yourself. If you want to lower your risk of Parkinson’s disease, caffeine is privttoece to some extent; nobody knows why. Head injuries are bad for you. They lead to Parkinson’s diesase. And the Avian Flu is also not a good idea. As far as protecting yourself against Alzheimer’s disease, well, it turns out that fish oil has the effect of reducing your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. You should also keep your blood pressure down, because cnrohic high blood pruersse is the biggest single risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also the biggest risk factor for glaucoma, which is just Alzheimer’s disease of the eye. And of course, when it comes to cognitive effects, "use it or lose it" appeils, so you want to stay manllety stimulated. But hey, you’re lniniestg to me. So you’ve got that covered. And one final thing. Wish people like me luck, okay? Because the ccolk is ticking for all of us. Thank you.

Open Cloze

Unless we do something to prevent it, over the next 40 _____ we’re facing an epidemic of neurologic diseases on a global scale. A cheery thought. On this map, every country that’s colored blue has more than 20 percent of its population over the age of 65. This is the world we live in. And this is the world your children will live in. For 12,000 years, the distribution of ages in the human population has looked like a pyramid, with the oldest on top. It’s already flattening out. By 2050, it’s going to be a column and will _____ to invert. This is why it’s happening. The average lifespan’s more than doubled since 1840, and it’s increasing currently at the rate of about five hours every day. And this is why that’s not entirely a good thing: because over the age of 65, your risk of getting Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease will ________ exponentially. By 2050, there’ll be about 32 _______ people in the United States over the age of 80, and unless we do something about it, half of them will have Alzheimer’s disease and three million more will have Parkinson’s disease. Right now, those and other neurologic diseases — for which we have no cure or prevention — cost about a third of a ________ dollars a year. It will be well over a trillion dollars by 2050. Alzheimer’s disease starts when a protein that should be folded up properly misfolds into a kind of demented origami. So one approach we’re taking is to try to design drugs that function like molecular ______ tape, to hold the protein into its proper shape. That would keep it from _______ the tangles that seem to kill _____ sections of the brain when they do. _____________ enough, other neurologic diseases which affect very different parts of the brain also show tangles of _________ _______, which suggests that the approach might be a general one, and might be used to cure many neurologic diseases, not just Alzheimer’s disease. There’s also a fascinating connection to ______ here, because people with __________ diseases have a very low incidence of most cancers. And this is a connection that most ______ aren’t pursuing right now, but which we’re fascinated by. Most of the _________ and all of the creative work in this area is being funded by private philanthropies. And there’s tremendous _____ for __________ private help here, because the government has dropped the ball on much of this, I’m afraid. In the meantime, while we’re waiting for all these things to ______, here’s what you can do for yourself. If you want to lower your risk of Parkinson’s disease, caffeine is __________ to some extent; nobody knows why. Head injuries are bad for you. They lead to Parkinson’s _______. And the Avian Flu is also not a good idea. As far as protecting yourself against Alzheimer’s disease, well, it turns out that fish oil has the effect of reducing your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. You should also keep your blood pressure down, because _______ high blood ________ is the biggest single risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also the biggest risk factor for glaucoma, which is just Alzheimer’s disease of the eye. And of course, when it comes to cognitive effects, "use it or lose it" _______, so you want to stay ________ stimulated. But hey, you’re _________ to me. So you’ve got that covered. And one final thing. Wish people like me luck, okay? Because the _____ is ticking for all of us. Thank you.

Solution

  1. happen
  2. protective
  3. chronic
  4. listening
  5. mentally
  6. cancer
  7. people
  8. pressure
  9. disease
  10. large
  11. applies
  12. protein
  13. forming
  14. neurologic
  15. misfolded
  16. trillion
  17. interestingly
  18. additional
  19. scotch
  20. important
  21. years
  22. clock
  23. million
  24. scope
  25. increase
  26. start

Original Text

Unless we do something to prevent it, over the next 40 years we’re facing an epidemic of neurologic diseases on a global scale. A cheery thought. On this map, every country that’s colored blue has more than 20 percent of its population over the age of 65. This is the world we live in. And this is the world your children will live in. For 12,000 years, the distribution of ages in the human population has looked like a pyramid, with the oldest on top. It’s already flattening out. By 2050, it’s going to be a column and will start to invert. This is why it’s happening. The average lifespan’s more than doubled since 1840, and it’s increasing currently at the rate of about five hours every day. And this is why that’s not entirely a good thing: because over the age of 65, your risk of getting Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease will increase exponentially. By 2050, there’ll be about 32 million people in the United States over the age of 80, and unless we do something about it, half of them will have Alzheimer’s disease and three million more will have Parkinson’s disease. Right now, those and other neurologic diseases — for which we have no cure or prevention — cost about a third of a trillion dollars a year. It will be well over a trillion dollars by 2050. Alzheimer’s disease starts when a protein that should be folded up properly misfolds into a kind of demented origami. So one approach we’re taking is to try to design drugs that function like molecular Scotch tape, to hold the protein into its proper shape. That would keep it from forming the tangles that seem to kill large sections of the brain when they do. Interestingly enough, other neurologic diseases which affect very different parts of the brain also show tangles of misfolded protein, which suggests that the approach might be a general one, and might be used to cure many neurologic diseases, not just Alzheimer’s disease. There’s also a fascinating connection to cancer here, because people with neurologic diseases have a very low incidence of most cancers. And this is a connection that most people aren’t pursuing right now, but which we’re fascinated by. Most of the important and all of the creative work in this area is being funded by private philanthropies. And there’s tremendous scope for additional private help here, because the government has dropped the ball on much of this, I’m afraid. In the meantime, while we’re waiting for all these things to happen, here’s what you can do for yourself. If you want to lower your risk of Parkinson’s disease, caffeine is protective to some extent; nobody knows why. Head injuries are bad for you. They lead to Parkinson’s disease. And the Avian Flu is also not a good idea. As far as protecting yourself against Alzheimer’s disease, well, it turns out that fish oil has the effect of reducing your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. You should also keep your blood pressure down, because chronic high blood pressure is the biggest single risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also the biggest risk factor for glaucoma, which is just Alzheimer’s disease of the eye. And of course, when it comes to cognitive effects, "use it or lose it" applies, so you want to stay mentally stimulated. But hey, you’re listening to me. So you’ve got that covered. And one final thing. Wish people like me luck, okay? Because the clock is ticking for all of us. Thank you.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
neurologic diseases 4
trillion dollars 2
blood pressure 2
risk factor 2

Important Words

  1. additional
  2. affect
  3. afraid
  4. age
  5. ages
  6. applies
  7. approach
  8. area
  9. average
  10. avian
  11. bad
  12. ball
  13. biggest
  14. blood
  15. blue
  16. brain
  17. caffeine
  18. cancer
  19. cancers
  20. cheery
  21. children
  22. chronic
  23. clock
  24. cognitive
  25. colored
  26. column
  27. connection
  28. cost
  29. country
  30. covered
  31. creative
  32. cure
  33. day
  34. demented
  35. design
  36. disease
  37. diseases
  38. distribution
  39. dollars
  40. doubled
  41. dropped
  42. drugs
  43. effect
  44. effects
  45. epidemic
  46. exponentially
  47. eye
  48. facing
  49. factor
  50. fascinated
  51. fascinating
  52. final
  53. fish
  54. flattening
  55. flu
  56. folded
  57. forming
  58. function
  59. funded
  60. general
  61. glaucoma
  62. global
  63. good
  64. government
  65. happen
  66. happening
  67. head
  68. hey
  69. high
  70. hold
  71. hours
  72. human
  73. idea
  74. important
  75. incidence
  76. increase
  77. increasing
  78. injuries
  79. interestingly
  80. invert
  81. kill
  82. kind
  83. large
  84. lead
  85. listening
  86. live
  87. looked
  88. lose
  89. luck
  90. map
  91. mentally
  92. million
  93. misfolded
  94. misfolds
  95. molecular
  96. neurologic
  97. oil
  98. oldest
  99. origami
  100. parts
  101. people
  102. percent
  103. philanthropies
  104. population
  105. pressure
  106. prevent
  107. prevention
  108. private
  109. proper
  110. properly
  111. protecting
  112. protective
  113. protein
  114. pursuing
  115. pyramid
  116. rate
  117. reducing
  118. risk
  119. scale
  120. scope
  121. scotch
  122. sections
  123. shape
  124. show
  125. single
  126. start
  127. starts
  128. states
  129. stay
  130. stimulated
  131. suggests
  132. tangles
  133. tape
  134. thought
  135. ticking
  136. top
  137. tremendous
  138. trillion
  139. turns
  140. united
  141. waiting
  142. work
  143. world
  144. year
  145. years