full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Marco A. Sotomayor: The surprising reason you feel awful when you're sick

Unscramble the Blue Letters

It starts with a tickle in your throat that becomes a cough. Your muscles begin to ache, you grow irritable, and you lose your appetite. It's official: you've got the flu. It's logical to assume that this miserable medley of symptoms is the result of the infection croiusng through your body, but is that really the case? What's actually making you feel sick? What if your body itself was driving this vicious onslaught? You first get ill when a pathogen like the flu virus gets into your system, itincefng and killing your clles. But this unwelcome intrusion has another effect: it alerts your body's immune system to your plight. As soon as it becomes aware of itfineocn, your body leaps to your defense. Cells called macrophages charge in as the first line of attack, searching for and destroying the viruses and infected cells. Afterwards, the macrophages release protein molecules called cytokines whose job is to recruit and oagrznie more virus-busting cells from your iunmme system. If this coordinated effort is strong enough, it'll wipe out the infection before you even notice it. But that's just your body setting the scene for some real action. In some cases, viusers srpaed further, even into the blood and vital organs. To aoivd this sometimes dangerous fate, your immune system must launch a soengtrr attack, coordinating its activity with the brain. That's where those unpleasant symptoms come in, starting with the surging temperature, aehcs and pains, and sleepiness. So why do we experience this? When the immune system is under serious attack, it secretes more cytokines, which tgergir two responses. First, the vagus nerve, which runs through the body into the brain, qkcluiy transmits the information to the brain stem, passing near an important area of pain poissecrng. Second, cytokines travel through the body to the hahtlpyuoams, the part of the brain rlpnobsseie for controlling temperature, thirst, hnegur, and sleep, among other things. When it receives this message, the hypothalamus pcdoures another molecule called prostaglandin E2, which gears it up for war. The hypothalamus sneds signals that instruct your muscles to contract and causes a rise in body temperature. It also makes you sleepy, and you lose your appetite and thirst. But what's the point of all of these unpleasant symptoms? Well, we're not yet sure, but some theorize that they aid in recovery. The rise in temperature can slow bacteria and help your immune system destroy pathogens. Sleep lets your body channel more eengry towards fhgtinig infection. When you stop eating, your liver can take up much of the iron in your blood, and since iron is essential for bacterial survival, that effectively starves them. Your reduced thirst makes you mildly dehydrated, diihisinnmg transmission through sneezes, coughs, vmoit, or drhreaia. Though it's worth noting that if you don't drink enough water, that dehydration can become dangerous. Even the body's aches make you more sensitive, drawing attention to infected cuts that might be worsening, or even causing your condition. In addition to physical symptoms, sickness can also make you irritable, sad, and cuefnsod. That's because cnkeytios and pntdiaraglson can reach even higher stcurrteus in your brain, disrupting the activity of neurotransmitters, like glutamate, endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. This affects areas like the limbic styesm, which oeverses eomnotis, and your cerebral cortex, which is ivoenlvd in ronaiseng. So it's actually the body's own immune response that causes much of the discomfort you feel every time you get ill. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work peclrftey. Most notably, millions of people worldwide suffer from autoimmune dsieases, in which the immune system treats normal bodily cues as threats, so the body atkctas itself. But for the majority of the hamun race, millions of years of evolution have fine-tuned the immune system so that it works for, rather than against us. The sompytms of our illnesses are annoying, but collectively, they sniifgy an ancient process that will continue barricading our bodies against the outside world for centuries to come.

Open Cloze

It starts with a tickle in your throat that becomes a cough. Your muscles begin to ache, you grow irritable, and you lose your appetite. It's official: you've got the flu. It's logical to assume that this miserable medley of symptoms is the result of the infection ________ through your body, but is that really the case? What's actually making you feel sick? What if your body itself was driving this vicious onslaught? You first get ill when a pathogen like the flu virus gets into your system, _________ and killing your _____. But this unwelcome intrusion has another effect: it alerts your body's immune system to your plight. As soon as it becomes aware of _________, your body leaps to your defense. Cells called macrophages charge in as the first line of attack, searching for and destroying the viruses and infected cells. Afterwards, the macrophages release protein molecules called cytokines whose job is to recruit and ________ more virus-busting cells from your ______ system. If this coordinated effort is strong enough, it'll wipe out the infection before you even notice it. But that's just your body setting the scene for some real action. In some cases, _______ ______ further, even into the blood and vital organs. To _____ this sometimes dangerous fate, your immune system must launch a ________ attack, coordinating its activity with the brain. That's where those unpleasant symptoms come in, starting with the surging temperature, _____ and pains, and sleepiness. So why do we experience this? When the immune system is under serious attack, it secretes more cytokines, which _______ two responses. First, the vagus nerve, which runs through the body into the brain, _______ transmits the information to the brain stem, passing near an important area of pain __________. Second, cytokines travel through the body to the ____________, the part of the brain ___________ for controlling temperature, thirst, ______, and sleep, among other things. When it receives this message, the hypothalamus ________ another molecule called prostaglandin E2, which gears it up for war. The hypothalamus _____ signals that instruct your muscles to contract and causes a rise in body temperature. It also makes you sleepy, and you lose your appetite and thirst. But what's the point of all of these unpleasant symptoms? Well, we're not yet sure, but some theorize that they aid in recovery. The rise in temperature can slow bacteria and help your immune system destroy pathogens. Sleep lets your body channel more ______ towards ________ infection. When you stop eating, your liver can take up much of the iron in your blood, and since iron is essential for bacterial survival, that effectively starves them. Your reduced thirst makes you mildly dehydrated, ___________ transmission through sneezes, coughs, _____, or ________. Though it's worth noting that if you don't drink enough water, that dehydration can become dangerous. Even the body's aches make you more sensitive, drawing attention to infected cuts that might be worsening, or even causing your condition. In addition to physical symptoms, sickness can also make you irritable, sad, and ________. That's because _________ and _____________ can reach even higher __________ in your brain, disrupting the activity of neurotransmitters, like glutamate, endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. This affects areas like the limbic ______, which ________ ________, and your cerebral cortex, which is ________ in _________. So it's actually the body's own immune response that causes much of the discomfort you feel every time you get ill. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work _________. Most notably, millions of people worldwide suffer from autoimmune ________, in which the immune system treats normal bodily cues as threats, so the body _______ itself. But for the majority of the _____ race, millions of years of evolution have fine-tuned the immune system so that it works for, rather than against us. The ________ of our illnesses are annoying, but collectively, they _______ an ancient process that will continue barricading our bodies against the outside world for centuries to come.

Solution

  1. processing
  2. confused
  3. signify
  4. spread
  5. infecting
  6. human
  7. involved
  8. avoid
  9. emotions
  10. stronger
  11. cytokines
  12. aches
  13. trigger
  14. energy
  15. hypothalamus
  16. coursing
  17. diseases
  18. prostaglandin
  19. diminishing
  20. responsible
  21. structures
  22. produces
  23. quickly
  24. diarrhea
  25. vomit
  26. sends
  27. symptoms
  28. cells
  29. viruses
  30. oversees
  31. attacks
  32. immune
  33. fighting
  34. system
  35. infection
  36. perfectly
  37. hunger
  38. organize
  39. reasoning

Original Text

It starts with a tickle in your throat that becomes a cough. Your muscles begin to ache, you grow irritable, and you lose your appetite. It's official: you've got the flu. It's logical to assume that this miserable medley of symptoms is the result of the infection coursing through your body, but is that really the case? What's actually making you feel sick? What if your body itself was driving this vicious onslaught? You first get ill when a pathogen like the flu virus gets into your system, infecting and killing your cells. But this unwelcome intrusion has another effect: it alerts your body's immune system to your plight. As soon as it becomes aware of infection, your body leaps to your defense. Cells called macrophages charge in as the first line of attack, searching for and destroying the viruses and infected cells. Afterwards, the macrophages release protein molecules called cytokines whose job is to recruit and organize more virus-busting cells from your immune system. If this coordinated effort is strong enough, it'll wipe out the infection before you even notice it. But that's just your body setting the scene for some real action. In some cases, viruses spread further, even into the blood and vital organs. To avoid this sometimes dangerous fate, your immune system must launch a stronger attack, coordinating its activity with the brain. That's where those unpleasant symptoms come in, starting with the surging temperature, aches and pains, and sleepiness. So why do we experience this? When the immune system is under serious attack, it secretes more cytokines, which trigger two responses. First, the vagus nerve, which runs through the body into the brain, quickly transmits the information to the brain stem, passing near an important area of pain processing. Second, cytokines travel through the body to the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for controlling temperature, thirst, hunger, and sleep, among other things. When it receives this message, the hypothalamus produces another molecule called prostaglandin E2, which gears it up for war. The hypothalamus sends signals that instruct your muscles to contract and causes a rise in body temperature. It also makes you sleepy, and you lose your appetite and thirst. But what's the point of all of these unpleasant symptoms? Well, we're not yet sure, but some theorize that they aid in recovery. The rise in temperature can slow bacteria and help your immune system destroy pathogens. Sleep lets your body channel more energy towards fighting infection. When you stop eating, your liver can take up much of the iron in your blood, and since iron is essential for bacterial survival, that effectively starves them. Your reduced thirst makes you mildly dehydrated, diminishing transmission through sneezes, coughs, vomit, or diarrhea. Though it's worth noting that if you don't drink enough water, that dehydration can become dangerous. Even the body's aches make you more sensitive, drawing attention to infected cuts that might be worsening, or even causing your condition. In addition to physical symptoms, sickness can also make you irritable, sad, and confused. That's because cytokines and prostaglandin can reach even higher structures in your brain, disrupting the activity of neurotransmitters, like glutamate, endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. This affects areas like the limbic system, which oversees emotions, and your cerebral cortex, which is involved in reasoning. So it's actually the body's own immune response that causes much of the discomfort you feel every time you get ill. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work perfectly. Most notably, millions of people worldwide suffer from autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system treats normal bodily cues as threats, so the body attacks itself. But for the majority of the human race, millions of years of evolution have fine-tuned the immune system so that it works for, rather than against us. The symptoms of our illnesses are annoying, but collectively, they signify an ancient process that will continue barricading our bodies against the outside world for centuries to come.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
immune system 7

Important Words

  1. ache
  2. aches
  3. action
  4. activity
  5. addition
  6. affects
  7. aid
  8. alerts
  9. ancient
  10. annoying
  11. appetite
  12. area
  13. areas
  14. assume
  15. attack
  16. attacks
  17. attention
  18. autoimmune
  19. avoid
  20. aware
  21. bacteria
  22. bacterial
  23. barricading
  24. blood
  25. bodies
  26. bodily
  27. body
  28. brain
  29. called
  30. case
  31. cases
  32. causing
  33. cells
  34. centuries
  35. cerebral
  36. channel
  37. charge
  38. collectively
  39. condition
  40. confused
  41. continue
  42. contract
  43. controlling
  44. coordinated
  45. coordinating
  46. cortex
  47. cough
  48. coughs
  49. coursing
  50. cues
  51. cuts
  52. cytokines
  53. dangerous
  54. defense
  55. dehydrated
  56. dehydration
  57. destroy
  58. destroying
  59. diarrhea
  60. diminishing
  61. discomfort
  62. diseases
  63. disrupting
  64. dopamine
  65. drawing
  66. drink
  67. driving
  68. eating
  69. effectively
  70. effort
  71. emotions
  72. endorphins
  73. energy
  74. essential
  75. evolution
  76. experience
  77. fate
  78. feel
  79. fighting
  80. flu
  81. gears
  82. glutamate
  83. grow
  84. higher
  85. human
  86. hunger
  87. hypothalamus
  88. ill
  89. illnesses
  90. immune
  91. important
  92. infected
  93. infecting
  94. infection
  95. information
  96. instruct
  97. intrusion
  98. involved
  99. iron
  100. irritable
  101. job
  102. killing
  103. launch
  104. leaps
  105. lets
  106. limbic
  107. line
  108. liver
  109. logical
  110. lose
  111. macrophages
  112. majority
  113. making
  114. medley
  115. message
  116. mildly
  117. millions
  118. miserable
  119. molecule
  120. molecules
  121. muscles
  122. nerve
  123. neurotransmitters
  124. normal
  125. notably
  126. notice
  127. noting
  128. onslaught
  129. organize
  130. organs
  131. oversees
  132. pain
  133. pains
  134. part
  135. passing
  136. pathogen
  137. pathogens
  138. people
  139. perfectly
  140. physical
  141. plight
  142. point
  143. process
  144. processing
  145. produces
  146. prostaglandin
  147. protein
  148. quickly
  149. race
  150. reach
  151. real
  152. reasoning
  153. receives
  154. recovery
  155. recruit
  156. reduced
  157. release
  158. response
  159. responses
  160. responsible
  161. result
  162. rise
  163. runs
  164. sad
  165. scene
  166. searching
  167. secretes
  168. sends
  169. sensitive
  170. serotonin
  171. setting
  172. sick
  173. sickness
  174. signals
  175. signify
  176. sleep
  177. sleepiness
  178. sleepy
  179. slow
  180. sneezes
  181. spread
  182. starting
  183. starts
  184. starves
  185. stem
  186. stop
  187. strong
  188. stronger
  189. structures
  190. suffer
  191. surging
  192. survival
  193. symptoms
  194. system
  195. temperature
  196. theorize
  197. thirst
  198. threats
  199. throat
  200. tickle
  201. time
  202. transmission
  203. transmits
  204. travel
  205. treats
  206. trigger
  207. unpleasant
  208. unwelcome
  209. vagus
  210. vicious
  211. virus
  212. viruses
  213. vital
  214. vomit
  215. war
  216. water
  217. wipe
  218. work
  219. works
  220. world
  221. worldwide
  222. worsening
  223. worth
  224. years