BEST IELTS General Reading Test 429

BEST IELTS General Reading Test 429

IELTS General Reading Test

A. A condition that causes children to dislike being hugged and sometimes reject all physical affection is closer to being understood following research into the part of the brain responsible for our senses. Scientists at Northwestern University, Illinois, and the University of Edinburgh explored fragile X syndrome, a condition associated with hypersensitivity to sounds, touch, smells and visual stimuli that can result in social withdrawal or anxiety. Hypersensitivity is a condition in which the person affected responds in an excessive way to contact with the world around them. Some sufferers are even hypersensitive to material on their skin.

B. The scientists found that critical phases in the brain’s development may be wrongly timed in people with the condition. This may result in delayed communication between certain neurons in the brain. By recording electrical signals in the brains of mice, bred to exactly copy the effects of the condition, the researchers found that connections in the brain’s sensory cortex were late to develop fully.

IELTS General Reading Test

The study, published in the journal Neuron, found that normal neural connections in the sensory cortex occur much earlier than previously thought: in the first week of pregnancy in mice, which is equivalent to the middle of the second trimester (or fifth month) of pregnancy in humans. In fragile X syndrome, the mistiming also has a domino effect, causing further problems with the correct wiring of the brain. The hope is that by understanding how and when the functions of the brain are affected in fragile X syndrome, a therapy may become possible.

C. There is a “critical period” during development, when the brain is very plastic and is changing rapidly,’ saidAnis Contractor, from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. ‘All the elements of this rapid development have to be coordinated so that the brain becomes wired correctly and therefore functions properly.’ People with the syndrome have cognitive problems as well as sensory problems that make them physically weaker. ‘They have tactile defensiveness,’ Dr Contractor said.

IELTS General Reading Test

‘They don’t look in people’s eyes, they won’t hug their parents, and they are hypersensitive to touch and sound. All of this causes anxiety for family and friends as well as for the fragile X patients themselves.’ Peter Kind, who led the study at the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘We know there are key windows during which the brain develops, both in the womb and afterwards. The general principle is that if these time windows have shifted, then that could explain the cognitive problems.’

D. Professor Kind said that this could be demonstrated by the fact that a child with a cataract (a medical condition in which the lens of the eye becomes less and less transparent) that was not corrected would become permanently blind in the affected eye, whereas an adult would be able to regain their sight after an operation.

IELTS General Reading Test

‘We’ve learnt that these changes happen much earlier than previously thought, which gives valuable insight into when we should begin therapeutic intervention for people with these conditions,’ he said. ‘It also has implications for the treatment of autism since the changes in the brains of people with fragile X syndrome and autistic people are thought to significantly overlap.’ Autism, as many people know, is a disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they make sense of the world.

E. Fragile X syndrome is as common as cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that commonly affects the lungs and causes breathing difficulties, and that affects about 1 in 4,000 males and 1 in 8,000 females worldwide. The Fragile X Society believes that there are many people who have the fragile X syndrome but have never been diagnosed. It shows up in early infancy and progressively worsens throughout childhood, causing intellectual disability as well as social, language and behavioural problems.

IELTS General Reading Test

F. Fragile X syndrome is caused by a gene mutation on the X chromosome – one of the two chromosomes that determine the gender or sex of a person. The mutation interferes in the production of a protein called fragile X mental retardation protein. Fragile X is so-named because the X chromosome appears broken or kinked. Tim Potter, of the Fragile X Society, said: ‘We welcome any research that helps us understand fragile X and which may open the way to reversing the effects or preventing them ever happening.’

IELTS General Reading Test

Reading Passage 1 has six paragraphs, A-F.

Choose the correct heading for paragraphs A, 8, C, D and F from the list of headings below. Write the correct number, i-ix, next to Questions 1-5.

List of Headings

i. How fragile X syndrome was discovered

ii. The genetic basis of fragile X syndrome

iii. Fragile X syndrome and developmental delays in the brain

iv. New treatments for fragile X syndrome

v. The comparative frequency of fragile X syndrome

vi. Research into understanding fragile X syndrome

vii. Reasons for the increase of fragile X syndrome

viii. Other conditions related to cognitive development

ix. Examples of the symptoms of Fragile X syndrome

IELTS General Reading Test

1. Paragraph A           

2. Paragraph B           

3. Paragraph C           

4. Paragraph D           

5. Paragraph F

IELTS General Reading Test

Complete the summary of paragraphs A and B below.

Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.

People with fragile X syndrome are extremely sensitive to sensory (6) _______ Some sufferers are even (7) ________ to clothing. The condition is the result of connections within the (8) _______ of the brain not being made at the right time. Instead, the (9) _______ of people with the condition establish connections later than should happen, which is normally in the second (10) ________ of pregnancy in humans. By understanding how the brain’s (11) ________ are affected, scientists hope to develop a treatment.

IELTS General Reading Test

Complete the title of Reading Passage 3.

Choose the correct letter, A. B, C or D.

Study reveals common bond of children who

A. are autistic.

B. hate to be hugged.

C. have incomplete X chromosomes.

IELTS General Reading Test


BEST IELTS General Reading Test 429

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IELTS General Reading Test

1. vi

2. iii

3. ix

4. viii

5. ii







12. B

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