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In this thirteenth English corner, you will find a contribution dealing with geriatrics. We would like to remind you that our aim is not to teach medicine but to familiarize readers with medical English as used by professionals and patients.
Dr. Grub : Good morning, Mrs. Frail. Thanks for coming to see me. I believe Dr. Smith talked to you about our study.
Mrs. Frail : Yes, that’s right. He said it would be a good idea if I took part. It’s about keeping healthy in old age, isn’t it?
Dr. Grub : Right. In fact, what we’re interested in is finding out how to improve nutrition in senior citizens like yourself, because malnutrition is a major problem since it can cause frailty and loss of autonomy. It’s very important to keep a healthy varied diet and sometimes elderly people find it difficult to do this.
Mrs. Frail : I know, I know. Sometimes, I really fancy a nice steak, but it’s so difficult to chew and swallow that I give up.
Dr. Grub : This is one of the aspects we’ll be looking at. Problems with dentures or missing teeth, problems with salivation et cetera. This is why we’re working with partners in the food industry to develop enriched foods with special textures and enhanced flavours for nursing-home residents and patients in geriatric units.
Mrs. Frail : Oh yes, that would be wonderful. Food just doesn’t taste the same anymore. In fact, it seems tasteless.
Dr. Grub : Yes, there are lots of factors involved – your senses of smell and taste diminish as you get older, and then a number of drugs that elderly people take can impair these senses, so we’re going to carry out a study to try to measure all of these factors and see if we can improve the health of older citizens by making food more nutritious and more tempting, because loss of appetite is a major problem too.
Mrs. Frail : It all sounds very interesting. What do I have to do?
Dr. Grub : First you’ll have to sign a consent form, which says you agree to take part in the study, and then we’ll ask you to fill in some questionnaires about your eating habits. We’ll need to check your weight and take some blood samples at various times to measure levels of vitamins, proteins and trace elements. After that, we’ll arrange an appointment with a dentist for a check-up.
Mrs. Frail : Is that all?
Dr. Grub : Not quite, as well as that, we’d like to do some experiments to see if you’re producing enough saliva, and then check your senses of taste and smell. And when we’ve done all that, we’d like you to join a trial to test some of our ideas to improve nutrition.
Mrs. Frail : It all sounds a bit complicated. Are you sure I’ll be able to cope?
Dr. Grub : Don’t worry, Mrs. Frail, you won’t be alone, there’ll be ten other residents taking part and there’ll be a team of specialists every step of the way to make sure there are no problems. There’s nothing that will cause you any distress or discomfort, except for the blood samples, perhaps, but you already know what that’s like. Is there anything else you’d like to know?
Mrs. Frail : It all seems clear enough, but I suppose I can ask questions later on if I need to.
Dr. Grub : Yes, of course.
Exercise. Find in the text a word or expression (in bold) equivalent to the words or expressions below:
- at every stage
- conduct a study
- essential minerals
- false teeth
- fix a consultation
- home for old people
- negatively affect
- not really
- old people
- intensified taste
- small quantity of blood for testing
- staying in good health
- stop trying
- take part in a study
- unpleasant feeling
- want to have
- when you are old
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