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ACT Reading Test - 4

Reading Questions

DIRECTIONS: The passage in this test is followed by several questions. After reading the passage, choose the best answer to each question. You may refer to the passage as often as necessary.

" A Squirt of Stem Cell Gel Helps Brain Injuries"

1 Scientists have developed a gel that helps brains recover from traumatic injuries. It has the potential to treat head injuries suffered in combat, car accidents, falls, or gunshot wounds. Developed by Dr. Ning Zhang at Clemson University in South Carolina, the gel is injected in liquid form at the site of injury and stimulates the growth of stem cells there.

2 Brain injuries are particularly hard to repair, since injured tissues swell up and can cause additional damage to the cells. So far, treatments have tried to limit this secondary damage by lowering the temperature or relieving the pressure at the site of injury. However, these techniques are often not very effective. More recently, scientists have considered transplanting donor brain cells into the wound to repair damaged tissue. This method has so far had limited results when treating brain injuries. The donor cells often fail to grow or stimulate repair at the injury site, possibly because of the inflammation and scarring present there. The injury site also typically has very limited blood supply and connective tissue, which might prevent donor cells from getting the nutrients they require.

3 Dr. Zhang's gel, however, can be loaded with different chemicals to stimulate various biological processes at the site of injury. In previous research done on rats, she was able to use the gel to help re-establish full blood supply at the site of brain injury. This could help create a better environment for donor cells. In a follow-up study, Dr. Zhang loaded the gel with immature stem cells, as well as the chemicals they needed to develop into full-fledged adult brain cells. When rats with severe brain injuries were treated with this mixture for eight weeks, they showed signs of significant recovery.

4 The new gel could treat patients at varying stages following injury, and is expected to be ready for testing in humans in about three years.

Ravindran, Sandeep. "A Squirt of Stem Cell Gel Heals Brain Injuries." Popular Science. 2009. Web. 20 Dec 2013.
ref: http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-09/squirt-stem-cell-gel-heals-brain-injuries

1. According to the passage, what most likely prevents doctors from being able to transplant donor brain cells into the wound to repair the damaged tissue after an injury?
A) High temperature in the brain caused by the injury.
B) Pressure around the brain due to swelling caused by the injury.
C) Inflammation and scarring present at the injury site.
D) The cells cannot grow and stimulate repair at the injury site.


2. What most likely prompted Dr. Zhang�s research?
A) The failure of donor cells being transplanted into the injury site led Dr. Zhang to research the success of stem cells combined with chemicals to replace the brain cells needed.
B) Dr. Zhang was saddened by the many losses she had seen in relation to brain injuries.
C) Dr. Zhang wants to be famous for discovering a treatment to help brain injury patients survive and recover.
D) Dr. Zhang noticed that lowering the temperature and relieving pressure to the injury site were unsuccessful, so she decided to come up with a replacement therapy.


3. As it is used in the passage, immature most likely means:
A) unintelligent
B) not yet developed
C) fully developed
D) suppressed


4. How many weeks were the lab rats tested with the gel?
A) two weeks
B) five weeks
C) twelve weeks
D) eight weeks


5. According to the passage, how will the gel be administered in human patients?
A) Immediately and only once
B) Given in a series of treatments
C) Immediately after the injury and once more
D) For three months, once a month


The Difficult Journey

The wagon train departed bright and early this morning. I was disappointed that I had to tell my friends goodbye, but I had chosen to remain here in Denver. By that point, we had already been traveling for several long months. I was sorry to leave St. Louis, but I heard there was gold in California. It was June when we had first left St. Louis and it was October when we got to Denver. I had made the difficult decision that I would not be continuing onward with the rest of the families on the wagon train.

When we left St. Louis, we were extremely excited, because we were planning on traveling all the way to the ocean. We would journey to California. But that was not to be for my family. Almost immediately, we stumbled upon the first major problem of our trip. Our very first day on the road, a wheel flew right off of our wagon. The wheel was badly cracked, which meant we were unable to repair the damage ourselves. Since we were not terribly far from St. Louis at that point, John rode all the way back there on his horse. He returned to the wagon train with a brand new wheel; however, that took nearly an entire day while the other families waited.

After that, we struggled with yet another problem. There was an awful rainstorm, and with it came so much mud that the oxen pulling our wagons were unable to get the wagons moving again. We had to wait for the rain to stop completely and for the mud to dry before we could continue onward. Because of this, we lost an additional two days. We were unbelievably exhausted and it had been a mere two weeks, but we kept on traveling. Unfortunately, we then had to stop once more because the Brown family fell ill. We waited a few days for them to recover, but they eventually gave up and turned back.

Every single day, we faced very difficult work, but we still persevered. Nevertheless, by the time we arrived in Denver it was just too much to handle. We had decided then that we were going to leave the wagon train. That night, we informed the wagon master of our plans.

The wagon master asked us to change our minds, and told us, "We've overcome the worst, now." However, I knew our trip would certainly not be getting any easier. The mountains we had just crossed were only the beginning. It had already been such hard work to get where we were now, and I knew it would be even more difficult to reach the ocean in California. That is when we decided the best option was to remain here in Denver.

Today, I have gone off to hunt for a new job. There are several jobs in the mines, and I hope to fill one of the positions. Then, we will be able to get our own home. I am extremely thankful that living in a tent beside the covered wagon is over. Instead, we will have a permanent place where we can live.

Although I will greatly miss my friends, I will not miss all the troubles and hardships we endured. I wrote a letter to a friend I made on the trip. I wanted him to know we are doing well although I miss him.
ref: http://teacher.depaul.edu/Documents/

6. Which event happened first?
A) The train left the station.
B) The narrator's family decided to stay in Denver.
C) The narrator's family set out to look for gold in California with a wagon train.
D) The narrator went to look for a new job.


7. Which event happened last?
A) The train left the station.
B) The narrator's family decided to stay in Denver.
C) The narrator's family set out to look for gold in California with a wagon train.
D) The narrator went to look for a new job.


8. Based on the passage, it is safe to assume that John is

A) lazy
B) diligent
C) indolent
D) tireless


9. According to the passage, why did the narrator decide not to travel to California?
A) He found out that there was no gold there.
B) His family got sick and needed a doctor.
C) The rest of the people on the wagon train were tired of them.
D)The journey had already been difficult and the narrator felt like it would get worse.


10. The point of view from which the story is told can best be described as:
A) First person narrator who tells the story of him and his family trying to travel to California but deciding to stop in Denver instead.
B) Third person narrator who tells the story of him and his family trying to travel to California but deciding to stop in Denver instead.
C) First person narrator who tells the story of how he joined a wagon train only to be kicked out by vicious trail-riders.
D) Third person narrator who tells the story of how he joined a wagon train only to be kicked out by vicious trail-riders.




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