Health

New discovery about asthma

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Everyone knows that you taste with your mouth.

Recently, scientists found out something really surprising. We can also taste bitter tastes with our lungs and airways.

These muscles relax when we taste something bitter.

That’s the opposite of what scientists thought would happen. They thought the muscles would tense up, to “warn us” that the bitter taste was poisonous.

However, when they fed some non-toxic bitter foods to mice and some humans, their airways relaxed and opened wide. Wider, in fact, than any medicine can make them open up.

This is an important discovery for people with asthma. People with asthma have trouble breathing because their airways become tight and narrow. Asthma medicine makes those airways relax and open up.

It won’t be enough for people with asthma to simply drink or eat something bitter, however. In order to get a large enough dose, those compounds would need to be inhaled.

So researchers have a lot more work to do on this discovery, to turn it into medicine for people with asthma. However, it’s a good start towards a stronger, more effective medicine.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

Writing/Discussion Prompt
When eating bitter foods, our airways widen. This is different from what scientists expected. Pretend you are a scientist. Can you think of any reason why someone’s airways would widen when eating these types of foods? If bitter foods don’t make our airways shrink, which types of foods do you think would?

Reading Prompt
Do you know anyone who has asthma? Do you know of any non-medicinal remedies that work?

Primary
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Junior
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: “However”
However is a word that is almost always preceded or followed by a comma. This is because “however” is a word that interupts a sentence. Today’s article has two examples of this:

“It won’t be enough for people with asthma to simply drink or eat something bitter, however.”

“However, it’s a good start towards a stronger, more effective medicine.”

Make full sentences by joining two sentence parts with the word “however.” Be sure to put a comma before and after it.

I have ball hockey after school                               I’m not very upset about it

I didn’t bring my lunch to the office                     tomorrow will be a better day

I can’t go to the library tonight                               my brother will be there