Friday, January 15, 2010

Bridging from Pomegranites in the News to Technical Information

Bridging from ordinary articles about science up to technical information on the same topic is one of the main benefits of Reach Reading(TM). This post will review an example bridging from an article on Pomegranites found in today's news, up to the technical journal articles on the same topic.
Here's a link to the news article:

The article starts,"An acid found in pomegranates appears to block aromatase, an enzyme that converts androgen to estrogen, a hormone that plays a role in the development of breast cancer, the researchers wrote in the journal Cancer Prevention Research." It gives us a few clues.

Good: There are a few familiar items: acid, pomegranate, hormone, estrogen, breast cancer. Some might even be familiar with enzyme. A beginning step in Reach Reading
(TM) is to identify any words we don't know and define them. Granted this takes time, but, ultimately, it speeds up comprehension. It is important to use articles on topics of interest to the student when doing reach reading. I would have students bring in the initial science articles that they find in the newspaper or on line. Ah, there is another clue, "Journal of Cancer Prevention Research."

Jot down a few ideas about what you know already:

  • acid
  • pomegranate
  • hormone
  • estrogen
  • breast cancer
  • enzyme
Now, look up word you don't yet know, and find definitions for them. (Don't forget to get the complete reference for the definition. For example,
  • aromatase
Here's a link to one definition of, "aromatase." Check it out:

"Aromatase: An enzyme involved in the production of estrogen that acts by catalyzing the conversion of testosterone (an androgen) to estradiol (an estrogen). Aromatase is located in estrogen-producing cells in the adrenal glands, ovaries, placenta, testicles, adipose (fat) tissue, and brain."

The definition goes on and talks about breast cancer. You might want to come back to it later if it wasn't yet helpful, so, keep good track of where you got your information. Remember, we found this at: Accessed 14 Jan 2010.

Does the definition help you? If not, try another: The Wiki link has a drawing of aromatase. Then, a set of definitions related to hair loss gives another definition of, "aromatase": Soon enough, you'll find a definition that starts to make sense to you. Don't worry if you don't completely get it. Perhaps English isn't your first language. No problem, just keep going. You will catch on.

French: "L’aromatase est une enzyme du groupe Cytochrome P450 qui permet de convertir les androgènes surrénaliens comme la testostérone en œstrogène ..."

German: "Die Aromatase (CYP19A1) ist ein Enzym der Cytochrom-P450-Superfamilie. Seine Funktion ist die Aromatisierung von Testosteron zu Estradiol und von ..", or, "ein Enzym im menschlichen Organismus, durch dessen Wirkung Vorstufen des weiblichen Geschlechtshormons Östrogen in das aktive Hormon umgewandelt ...", or, "Ein Enzym, welches nach den Wechseljahren Androgene in Östrogene umwandelt. Aromatasehemmer blockieren das Enzym..."

Portuguese: A aromatase pertence ao grupo das enzimas do citocromo p450 e age como mediador da aromatização de andrógenos em estrógenos.

Perhaps reading definitions in other languages will help you, though, often the science words are cognates and are very similar to eachother in many languages.

Now, you try finding definitions for other words you don't know, for example, if you don't know, "androgen," you can look that up.

  • androgen
Then, we'll continue... The idea is to have fun with it. Don't feel it is a chore. Feel like you are on a treasure hunt in a video game, or, that you are making a great discovery. Enjoy the process of, "Reach Reading (TM)".

We can scan the article and see if a scientist is mentioned. Yes, there, in the next paragraph, "
Shiuan Chen." Looking further, I found this information via Google: "Requests for reprints: Shiuan Chen, Department of Surgical Research, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, 1500 East Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010. Phone: 626-256-4673, ext. 63454; Fax: 626-301-8972; E-mail:" The Chen article is on white button mushrooms, however: (Anti-Aromatase Activity of Phytochemicals in White Button Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) Shiuan Chen1, Sei-Ryang Oh1, Sheryl Phung1, Gene Hur1, Jing Jing Ye1, Sum Ling Kwok1, Gayle E. Shrode2, Martha Belury2, Lynn S. Adams1 and Dudley Williams1, so, let's keep looking.

(Notice first, however, that the article gives contact information for the authors: "1 Department of Surgical Research, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, California and 2 Department of Human Nutrition, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.")

But at the January 2010 issue of Cancer Prevention Research, http://cancerprevention, we find, " Lynn S. Adams, Yanjun Zhang, Navindra P. Seeram, David Heber, and Shiuan Chen. Cancer Prev Res 2010 3: 108-113. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-08-0225[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF] ." There is the original source for the abundance of articles found in the news today about pomegranate. The article itself will give you a mouthful, for example, "On consumption, pomegranate ETs hydrolyze, releasing ellagic acid, which is then converted to 3,8-dihydroxy-6H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran-6-one ("urolithin") derivatives by gut microflora, " where every other word (or nearly so) is an unknown...(so, we can go back to the definition game...) If you have breast cancer, or, know someone that does, you'll likely want to understand every word (Or, if not, you might want to bring a copy of the article to you doctor's office, so he or she will know, you've, "Done your homework.")

I hope that this has made, "Reach Reading (TM)" fun for you. If not, we'll try again another day. My students love it, but, perhaps not being with me in the classroom, but, rather. on-line, it might not come across as as much fun. Please give me feedback and ask me questions.

Dr. J

P.S.: Either men or woman can get breast cancer, so, I hope that you found the article of interest. Now that you are one of the world's few that knows about , "aromatase." perhaps you'd like to Reach Read
(TM) what it has to do with the prostate:
(c) 2010 J S Shipman

No comments: