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随身英语

Doctor Pigeon will see you now 鸽子医生可以见您了

有些动物可以用它们的知觉来识别人类的疾病,鸽子就是其中之一。《随身英语》与大家分享科学家们对鸽子视觉记忆力研究的最新发现。

课文内容

词汇: medicine 医药

Next time you see a pigeon flying around, look at it with some respect - it might be able to help with the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.

A recent study has shown that these birds could be trained to detect breast cancer from images as accurately as humans.

It's all about their visual memory - these birds have plenty of it even if their brains are very small. Professor Edward Wasserman from the University of Iowa, a co-author of the study, says: "Pigeons can distinguish identities and emotional expressions on human faces, letters of the alphabet, misshapen pharmaceutical capsules, and even paintings by Monet versus Picasso."  And Wasserman adds that the birds' visual memory capacity is equally impressive, with a proven recall of more than 1,800 images. 

So how did the scientists find out about the amazing ability of these birds? They taught different pigeons to distinguish microscope images of cancerous and non-cancerous tissue and rewarded them with food every time they got it right.

It didn't take long to get good results. After two weeks of training in 'pigeon medical school', the 'students' recorded 85% accuracy as they managed to identify cancerous tissue from images they had not seen before.

But pigeons are not the only animals showing potential to help human diagnosis. A team at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has shown that a dog can be trained to smell urine samples of patients to identify thyroid cancer. It lay down where it could smell cancer and turned away if not. The animals got it right in 30 cases out of 34.

So don't dismiss the abilities of these animals. They might be much more intelligent than you think.

词汇表

diagnosis  诊断
treatment  治疗
disease  疾病
to detect  检测
breast cancer  乳腺癌
accurately  精确地
brain  大脑
to distinguish  区分,鉴别
misshapen  畸形的
pharmaceutical capsules  药用胶囊
recall  记性
microscope images  显微镜图像
cancerous  癌症的
non-cancerous tissue  非癌症的组织或细胞
accuracy  准确性
urine samples  尿液样本
thyroid  甲状腺
to dismiss  不予理会,不予考虑

测验与练习

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。

1. What makes pigeons good at identifying cancerous tissue?

2. What kind of medicine can pigeons spot?

3. What was the incentive for the birds to identify the correct image during the research?

4. True or false? Pigeons got the correct answer in 30 cases out of 34.

5.Which three verbs in the text mean 'to indicate what something is'?

2.  请你在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处

1. I was relieved when the doctor told me the tests revealed that I had __________ tissue.

cancerous      thyroid      non-cancerous      human disease 

2. According to researchers, pigeons can distinguish human __________.

alphabet      brains      smell      states of mind

3. My doctor asked me to produce __________ to test if I have a kidney infection.

a urine sample      a pigeon      microscope images      a diagnosis

4. Ann had to take a pill a day for a whole week. It was a good __________ but she had to follow it properly or she would not be cured.

diagnosis      treatment      ability      pharmaceutical capsule

5. With new computer models, we can predict the weather __________.

accurate      accurately      right      rightly

答案

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。

1. What makes pigeons good at identifying cancerous tissue?
According to the study, the birds' visual memory.

2. What kind of medicine can pigeons spot?
Pigeons can distinguish misshapen pharmaceutical capsules from the normal ones, says Professor Edward Wasserman from the University of Iowa.

3. What was the incentive for the birds to identify the correct image during the research?
A reward in the form of food.

4. True or false? Pigeons got the correct answer in 30 cases out of 34.
False. A dog used for research by a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences team was trained to identify patients with thyroid cancer and got it right in 30 cases out of 34.

5. Which three verbs in the text mean 'to indicate what something is'?
The verbs are: to detect, to distinguish and to identify.

2.  请你在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处

1. I was relieved when the doctor told me the tests revealed that I had non-cancerous tissue.

2. According to researchers, pigeons can distinguish human states of mind (as they can distinguish emotional expressions on human faces).

3. My doctor asked me to produce a urine sample to test if I have a kidney infection.

4. Ann had to take a pill a day for a whole week. It was a good treatment but she had to follow it properly or she would not be cured.

5. With new computer models, we can predict the weather accurately.

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