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Science writer: The deterioration of cognitive faculties associated

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Science writer: The deterioration of cognitive faculties associated  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Mar 2019, 08:38
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Question Stats:

38% (03:00) correct 62% (02:44) wrong based on 117 sessions

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Science writer: The deterioration of cognitive faculties associated with Alzheimer’s disease is evidently caused by the activities of microglia—the brain’s own immune cells. For one thing, this deterioration can be slowed by some anti-inflammatory drugs, such as acetylsalicylic acid. Furthermore, patients with Alzheimer’s are unable to eliminate the protein BA from the brain, where it accumulates and forms deposits. The microglia attack these protein deposits by releasing poisons that destroy surrounding healthy brain cells, thereby impairing the brain’s cognitive functions.

Which one of the following, if true, most helps to support the science writer’s argument?

(A) The inability of Alzheimer’s patients to eliminate the protein BA from the brain is due to a deficiency in the brain’s immune system.
(B) Acetylsalicylic acid reduces the production of immune cells in the brain.
(C) The activity of microglia results in a decrease in the buildup of protein deposits in the brain.
(D) The protein BA directly interferes with the cognitive functions of the brain.
(E) Immune reactions by microglia occur in certain diseases of the brain other than Alzheimer’s.

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Re: Science writer: The deterioration of cognitive faculties associated  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Mar 2019, 02:35
Good question...Where do I start...?

Simplified argument : Brain's immune cells(microglia) attack proper brain cells along with not so useful deposits.

A)The protein BA is good, bad, ugly we do not know.Why they are formed is also irrelevant.
B)More acid = less production of immune cells(microglia) to attack the good cells(and the BA deposits).Hold
C)Somewhat mentioned in the argument.
D)If true, the attacks should increase the brain activity.But in reality the activity is reducing.Eliminate.
E)What happens with other diseases = irrelevant.

So B.
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Re: Science writer: The deterioration of cognitive faculties associated  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Mar 2019, 04:12
I would opt for AC "B" as well.

We are looking for a fact that would support our conclusion (Brains Immune System => Cognitive damages in relation to Alzheimer) and we find this fact in B as we are being told that one of the medications for Alzheimer functions by affecting the brains immune system by suppressing inflammations and thereby reducing the production of immune cells.
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Re: Science writer: The deterioration of cognitive faculties associated  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2019, 13:00
PowerScore Complete Question Explanation

Strengthen—CE. The correct answer choice is (B)

This stimulus can appear intimidating for students who may not be comfortable with science terminology. However, just as in reading comprehension, our focus is not on the exact scientific process described. We do not need any independent knowledge of Alzheimer’s or brain physiology in order to answer the question. We just need to focus on the internal logic of the argument as we would in any other stimulus.

The stimulus begins with the conclusion: The deterioration of cognitive functioning in Alzheimer’s patients is caused by the activities of microglia. The causal reasoning can be diagramed as follows:

Activities of microglia (cause) ----> Cognitive decline (effect)

The scientist supports the causal relationship by observing that Alzheimer’s patients are unable to eliminate a certain protein from their brain, where it builds up. Apparently, the microglia attack both the harmful deposits, as well as healthy brain cells, which causes the cognitive decline.

It isn't immediately apparent how the premise about acetylsalicylic acid (aka Aspirin) supports the conclusion that the activities of microglia are involved in the cognitive decline of patients suffering from Alzheimer's, which is precisely why answer choice (B) works so well: it connects that premise to the conclusion of the argument!

Answer choice (A): I understand why this seems like an attractive answer choice: it shows that the immune system is the very reason why patients cannot eliminate the protein BA from their brain, where it builds up and causes the microglia to attack the deposits. It's a vicious circle, if you will. However, this does not support the observation that the microglia specifically are responsible for the decline! Remember - the microglia are the brain's immune cells, not the brain's "immune system." We can blame the immune system for the buildup of deposits, but that doesn't establish that the microglia are responsible for attacking those deposits, thus causing cognitive decline.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. As mentioned earlier, the statement that certain anti-inflammatory drugs can slow cognitive deterioration had no direct relevance to the conclusion. If answer choice (B) is true, however, it does! If anti-inflammatory drugs both decrease the production of microglia, as stated here, and also help ameliorate the cognitive decline, as stated in the premise, it becomes even more likely that the microglia is involved in this cognitive decline. Answer choice (B) establishes correlates the decrease of microglia with the slowing of cognitive decline, which naturally supports a causal relationship between the two.

Answer choice (C): The stimulus already states that the microglia attack the protein deposits, and thus, we would expect them to also decrease the buildup of protein deposits in the brain. This does not provide additional information to support the argument and is therefore irrelevant.

Answer choice (D): This answer choice actually weakens the argument, because it suggests an alternative cause for the cognitive decline - it's not microglia, it's the protein itself, that causes the decline.

Answer choice (E): Even if microglia are active in patients whose brains have other diseases, we have no reason to suspect that the effects of this activity involve any cognitive decline.
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Re: Science writer: The deterioration of cognitive faculties associated   [#permalink] 09 Apr 2019, 13:00
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