IELTS® Academic Reading Practice 65

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Ketamine

A Depression, or ‘major depressive disorder’, a state of extreme sadness or despair, is said to affect up to almost 20% of the population at some point in their lives prior to the age of 40. Studies have shown that this disorder is the leading cause of disability in North America; in the UK almost 3 million people are said to be diagnosed with some form of depression at any one time, and experts believe that as many as a further 9 million other cases may go undiagnosed. World Health Organisation projections indicate that depression may become the second most significant cause of disability’ on a global scale by 2020. However, such figures are not unanimously supported, as some experts believe that the diagnostic criteria used to identify՛ the condition are not precise enough.

B Depression is generally diagnosed when an individual is observed to exhibit an excessively depressed mood and/or ‘anhedonia’ – an inability to experience pleasure from positive experiences such as enjoying a meal or pleasurable social interaction – for a period of two weeks or more, in conjunction with five or more additional recognised symptoms. These additional symptoms may include overwhelming feelings of sadness; inability to sleep, or conversely, excessive sleeping; feelings of guilt, nervousness, abandonment or fear; inability to concentrate; interference with memory capabilities; fixation with death or extreme change in eating habits and associated weight gain or loss.

C Depression was originally solely attributed to chemical imbalance in the brain, and while anti-depressant drugs which work to optimise levels of ‘feel good’ chemicals – serotonin and norepinephrine – are still commonly prescribed today, experts now believe that onset of depression may be caused by a number, and often combination of, physiological and socio-psychological factors. Treatment approaches vary quite dramatically from place to place and are often tailored to an individual’s particular situation; however, some variation of a combination of medication and psychotherapy is most commonly used. The more controversial electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may also be used where initial approaches fail. In extreme cases, where an individual exhibits behaviour which Indicates that they may cause physical harm to themselves, psychiatric hospitalisation may be necessary as a form of intensive therapy.

D It has been over 30 years since a genuinely new type of drug for treating depression, or indeed any psychiatric illness, has come to market. Most antidepressants to date have been based on the “monoamine hypothesis”, which holds that depression is caused by low levels of a class of chemical messengers (the monoamine neurotransmitters: serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine) in the brain. Unfortunately, over a third of patients fail to respond to these drugs, and even when the drugs do work, it can take weeks or months for their effects to kick in. Hence the interest in a recent announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (fda) in America that it had approved a new drug for patients with “treatment-resistant” depression, defined as having not responded adequately to at least two previous antidepressants. Of particular note is that it is based on ketamine, a recreational drug. Esketamine, as the chemical is known, is branded as Spravato by its developer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a branch of Johnson & Johnson.

E Widely used as an anaesthetic, ketamine blocks specific chemical receptors, especially one for glutamate, the most abundant chemical messenger in the brain. Animal research in the 1990s implicated glutamate in depression. A small clinical trial in 2000 showed that not only did ketamine have antidepressant effects in humans, but it took hold within hours. Subsequent studies showed it worked on treatment-resistant depression.

F The main side-effect of ketamine is that it has hallucinogenic effects, such as out-of-body or “dissociative” experiences. There is some evidence suggesting the side-effects of esketamine, although similar, are slightly less severe. Nevertheless, the potential for abuse, together with elevated blood pressure and the dangers of wandering around in such a state, are why the fda has recommended a strict treatment strategy. This stipulates that the drug is administered under supervision, in a clinic or a doctor’s office. Patients should be monitored for at least two hours before they leave, record their experiences and not drive that day.

G In research and in clinics that give ketamine to patients able to pay around $3,000, the drug is administered intravenously. The new treatment is taken in the form of a nasal spray. Janssen says the cost of a one-month course will be between $4,720 and $6,785. Previous studies of generic ketamine suggest the effects of multiple doses last a few weeks, on average, but as long as a few months in some people.

H The trial data Janssen submitted to the fda was somewhat mixed, but the agency would probably have taken into account the wealth of information that already existed on ketamine’s effectiveness, says Carlos Zarate of the National Institute of Mental Health. That includes a trial he led, published in 2006. One of ketamine’s remarkable properties, says Dr Zarate, is that it has a “broad spectrum” effect, alleviating many of the different signs that can occur in depression, including anxiety and the inability to experience pleasure. For patients at acute risk of suicide, for which drugs can take too long to work, there is evidence that it might be a lifesaver by reducing suicidal thoughts.




This reading practice simulates one part of the IELTS Academic Reading test. You should spend about twenty minutes on it. Read the passage and answer questions 14-27.
Questions 14-20
The reading passage has eight paragraphs labelled A-H.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter A-H in boxes 14-20 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

14. The symptoms of a person suffering from depression

15. Studies carried out on the effects of newly developed treatments

16. The cost to the individual of drug therapy

17. A concern that the way in which depression is diagnosed is not sufficiently accurate

18. The negative reaction that a patient can have after taking prescribed anti-depressive drugs

19. Reference to significant benefits of Ketamine on mood symptoms

20. Details of treatment alternatives for worst case scenario depression

Questions 21-27
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 21-27 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE   if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE   if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN   if there is no information on this.

21. In order to be classified as depressed a patient must show 5 clinical signs.

22. Depression is caused by a chemical disproportionate mix of chemicals in the brain.

23. Traditionally prescribed anti-depressive drugs are not always effective.

24. A much lower dose of ketamine is given for depression compared with the dose necessary for standard antidepressants.

25. Ketamine used for treating depression in human also has a positive effect on animal behaviour.

26. Rather than affecting one of the “monoamine” neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine), as standard antidepressants do, Ketamine acts on glutamate.

27. Ketamine is often administered in a form other than orally.




Answer Sheet
1
N/A
2
N/A
3
N/A
4
N/A
5
N/A
6
N/A
7
N/A
8
N/A
9
N/A
10
N/A
11
N/A
12
N/A
13
N/A
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
N/A
29
N/A
30
N/A
31
N/A
32
N/A
33
N/A
34
N/A
35
N/A
36
N/A
37
N/A
38
N/A
39
N/A
40
N/A


Reading Passage Vocabulary
Ketamine


A Depression, or ‘major depressive disorder’, a state of extreme sadness or despair, is said to affect up to almost 20% of the population at some point in their lives prior to the age of 40. Studies have shown that this disorder is the leading cause of disability in North America; in the UK almost 3 million people are said to be diagnosed with some form of depression at any one time, and experts believe that as many as a further 9 million other cases may go undiagnosed. World Health Organisation projections indicate that depression may become the second most significant cause of disability’ on a global scale by 2020. However, such figures are not unanimously supported, as some experts believe that the diagnostic criteria used to identify՛ the condition are not precise enough.

B Depression is generally diagnosed when an individual is observed to exhibit an excessively depressed mood and/or ‘anhedonia’ – an inability to experience pleasure from positive experiences such as enjoying a meal or pleasurable social interaction – for a period of two weeks or more, in conjunction with five or more additional recognised symptoms. These additional symptoms may include overwhelming feelings of sadness; inability to sleep, or conversely, excessive sleeping; feelings of guilt, nervousness, abandonment or fear; inability to concentrate; interference with memory capabilities; fixation with death or extreme change in eating habits and associated weight gain or loss.

C Depression was originally solely attributed to chemical imbalance in the brain, and while anti-depressant drugs which work to optimise levels of ‘feel good’ chemicals – serotonin and norepinephrine – are still commonly prescribed today, experts now believe that onset of depression may be caused by a number, and often combination of, physiological and socio-psychological factors. Treatment approaches vary quite dramatically from place to place and are often tailored to an individual’s particular situation; however, some variation of a combination of medication and psychotherapy is most commonly used. The more controversial electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may also be used where initial approaches fail. In extreme cases, where an individual exhibits behaviour which Indicates that they may cause physical harm to themselves, psychiatric hospitalisation may be necessary as a form of intensive therapy.

D It has been over 30 years since a genuinely new type of drug for treating depression, or indeed any psychiatric illness, has come to market. Most antidepressants to date have been based on the “monoamine hypothesis”, which holds that depression is caused by low levels of a class of chemical messengers (the monoamine neurotransmitters: serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine) in the brain. Unfortunately, over a third of patients fail to respond to these drugs, and even when the drugs do work, it can take weeks or months for their effects to kick in. Hence the interest in a recent announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (fda) in America that it had approved a new drug for patients with “treatment-resistant” depression, defined as having not responded adequately to at least two previous antidepressants. Of particular note is that it is based on ketamine, a recreational drug. Esketamine, as the chemical is known, is branded as Spravato by its developer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a branch of Johnson & Johnson.

E Widely used as an anaesthetic, ketamine blocks specific chemical receptors, especially one for glutamate, the most abundant chemical messenger in the brain. Animal research in the 1990s implicated glutamate in depression. A small clinical trial in 2000 showed that not only did ketamine have antidepressant effects in humans, but it took hold within hours. Subsequent studies showed it worked on treatment-resistant depression.

F The main side-effect of ketamine is that it has hallucinogenic effects, such as out-of-body or “dissociative” experiences. There is some evidence suggesting the side-effects of esketamine, although similar, are slightly less severe. Nevertheless, the potential for abuse, together with elevated blood pressure and the dangers of wandering around in such a state, are why the fda has recommended a strict treatment strategy. This stipulates that the drug is administered under supervision, in a clinic or a doctor’s office. Patients should be monitored for at least two hours before they leave, record their experiences and not drive that day.

G In research and in clinics that give ketamine to patients able to pay around $3,000, the drug is administered intravenously. The new treatment is taken in the form of a nasal spray. Janssen says the cost of a one-month course will be between $4,720 and $6,785. Previous studies of generic ketamine suggest the effects of multiple doses last a few weeks, on average, but as long as a few months in some people.

H The trial data Janssen submitted to the fda was somewhat mixed, but the agency would probably have taken into account the wealth of information that already existed on ketamine’s effectiveness, says Carlos Zarate of the National Institute of Mental Health. That includes a trial he led, published in 2006. One of ketamine’s remarkable properties, says Dr Zarate, is that it has a “broad spectrum” effect, alleviating many of the different signs that can occur in depression, including anxiety and the inability to experience pleasure. For patients at acute risk of suicide, for which drugs can take too long to work, there is evidence that it might be a lifesaver by reducing suicidal thoughts.

 
IELTS Academic Reading Tips for Success
These are general tips that will appear on all reading questions.

Tips to improve your reading speed
To get a high score on the IELTS reading section, you need to have a fast reading speed. To have a fast reading speed, you need to improve your vocabulary and practice dissecting sentences. One strategy to dissect a sentence is to look for the subject and verb of the sentence. Finding the subject and verb will help you better understand the main idea of said sentence. Keep in mind, a common feature of a IELTS reading passage is to join strings of ideas to form long compound sentences. This produces large chunks that students have a hard time absorbing. Do not get overwhelmed by its length, just look for the subject and verb, the rest of the ideas will flow.


Keep in mind, having a slow reading speed makes skimming or scanning a reading passage more difficult. The process of quickly skimming through a reading passage for specific keywords or main ideas is a requirement for you to employ successful reading strategies to improve your IELTS reading score. In other words, skimming and scanning are critical skills to ensure you complete all questions in the allotted time frame.
IELTS Reading Strategies
Once you can read and comprehend a passage with a rate of, at least, 220 words per minute, you'll be ready to start implementing our strategies. All too often, students spend too much time reading the passages and not enough time answering the questions. Here is a step by step guide for tackling the reading section.

  1. Step 1: Read questions first

    One of the most common mistakes that candidates make when approaching the reading exam is reading every single word of the passages. Although you can practice for the exam by reading for pleasure, "reading blindly" (reading without any sense of what the questions will ask) will not do you any favors in the exam. Instead, it will hurt your chances for effectively managing your time and getting the best score.

    The main reason to read the questions first is because the type of question may determine what you read in the passage or how you read it. For example, some question types will call for the "skimming" technique, while others may call for the "scanning" technique.

    It is important to answer a set of questions that are of the same question type. You'll need to determine which question type you want to tackle first. A good strategy would be to start with the easier question type and move on to more difficult question types later. The Easiest question types are the ones where you spend less time reading. For example, the Matching Heading question type is an easier one because you only need to find the heading that best describes the main idea of a paragraph. An example of a difficult question type would be Identifying Information. For this question type, you'll need to read each paragraph to find out if each statement is TRUE, FALSE, or NOT GIVEN according to the passage.

    Here is a table that lists the difficulty levels for each question type. Use this table as a reference when choosing which question type you want to tackle first.


    Difficulty level Question Type
    Easy Sentence Completion
    Short answer
    Medium Matching Features
    Multiple choice
    Matching Headings
    Summary, Table, Flow-Chart Completion
    Difficult Matching Sentence Endings
    Matching Information
    Identifying Information (TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN)
    Identifying Viewer's claims (YES/NO/NOT GIVEN)

  2. Step 2: Read for an objective

    After you've read the questions for the passage, you will be able to read for an objective. What does this mean? For example, if you come across a question that includes the year "1896", you can make a note of when this year comes up in the text, using it to answer the question later on. There are two reading techniques that will help you stay on track with reading for an objective. The first one, skimming, is best defined as reading fast in order to get the "gist", or general idea, or a passage. With this technique, you are not stopping for any unfamiliar words or looking for specific details. The second technique, scanning, is best defined as reading for specific information. With this technique, you are not reading for the overall gist, but rather, specific information. Notice how each of these techniques has a specific objective in mind. This will help you find information more quickly.

  3. Step 3: Take notes

    As you're reading for an objective, you should also be making notes on the margins of the passage, placing stars next to key information, or underlining things that you believe will help you answer the various questions. This will make it easier for you to check back when you are asked certain things in the questions. Choose whichever note-taking system is right for you - just make sure you do it!

  4. Step 4: Answer wisely

    After you've read the questions, read the passage, and have taken any appropriate notes, you you should have located the part of the text where you where you need to read carefully. Then just read carefully and think critically to determine the correct answer.

IELTS Reading Question Types
 
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