Hormones in the Body
Up to the beginning of the twentieth century, the nervous system was thought to control all communication within the body and the resulting integration of behavior. Scientists had determined that nerves ran, essentially, on electrical impulses. These impulses were thought to be the engine for thought, emotion, movement, and internal processes such as digestion. However, experiments by William Bayliss and Ernest Starling on the chemical secretin, which is produced in the small intestine when food enters the stomach, eventually challenged that view. From the small intestine, secretin travels through the bloodstream to the pancreas. There, it stimulates the release of digestive chemicals. In this fashion, the intestinal cells that produce secretin ultimately regulate the production of different chemicals in a different organ, the pancreas.
Such a coordination of processes had been thought to require control by the nervous system; Bayliss and Starling showed that it could occur through chemicals alone. This discovery spurred Starling to coin the term hormone to refer to secretin, taking it from the Greek word hormon, meaning “to excite” or “to set in motion.” A hormone is a chemical produced by one tissue to make things happen elsewhere.
As more hormones were discovered, they were categorized, primarily according to the process by which they operated on the body. Some glands (which make up the endocrine system) secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream. Such glands include the thyroid and the pituitary. The exocrine system consists of organs and glands that produce substances that are used outside the bloodstream, primarily for digestion. The pancreas is one such organ, although it secretes some chemicals into the blood and thus is also part of the endocrine system.
Much has been learned about hormones since their discovery. Some play such key roles in regulating bodily processes or behavior that their absence would cause immediate death. The most abundant hormones have effects that are less obviously urgent but can be more far-reaching and difficult to track: They modify moods and affect human behavior, even some behavior we normally think of as voluntary. Hormonal systems are very intricate. Even minute amounts of the right chemicals can suppress appetite, calm aggression, and change the attitude of a parent toward a child. Certain hormones accelerate the development of the body, regulating growth and form; others may even define an individual’s personality characteristics. The quantities and proportions of hormones produced change with age, so scientists have given a great deal of study to shifts in the endocrine system over time in the hopes of alleviating ailments associated with aging.
In fact, some hormone therapies are already very common. A combination of estrogen and progesterone has been prescribed for decades to women who want to reduce mood swings, sudden changes in body temperature, and other discomforts caused by lower natural levels of those hormones as they enter middle age. Known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), the treatment was also believed to prevent weakening of the bones. At least one study has linked HRT with a heightened risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. HRT may also increase the likelihood that blood clots—dangerous because they could travel through the bloodstream and block major blood vessels—will form. Some proponents of HRT have tempered their enthusiasm in the face of this new evidence, recommending it only to patients whose symptoms interfere with their abilities to live normal lives.
Human growth hormone may also be given to patients who are secreting abnormally low amounts on their own. Because of the complicated effects growth hormone has on the body, such treatments are generally restricted to children who would be pathologically small in stature without it. Growth hormone affects not just physical size but also the digestion of food and the aging process. Researchers and family physicians tend to agree that it is foolhardy to dispense it in cases in which the risks are not clearly outweighed by the benefits.
27. The word engine in the passage is closest in meaning to
28. The word it in the passage refers to
(B) small intestine
29. The word spurred in the passage is closest in meaning to
30. To be considered a hormone, a chemical produced in the body must
(A) be part of the digestive process
(B) influence the operations of the nervous system
(C) affect processes in a different part of the body
(D) regulate attitudes and behavior
31. The glands and organs mentioned in paragraph 3 are categorized according to
(A) whether scientists understand their function
(B) how frequently they release hormones into the body
(C) whether the hormones they secrete influence the aging process
(D) whether they secrete chemicals into the blood
Paragraph 3 is marked with an arrow [→]
32. The word key in the passage is closest in meaning to
33. The word minute in the passage is closest in meaning to
34. Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage? Incorrect answer choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
(A) Most moods and actions are not voluntary because they are actually produced by the production of hormones in the body.
(B) Because the effects of hormones are difficult to measure, scientists remain unsure how far-reaching their effects on moods and actions are.
(C) When the body is not producing enough hormones, urgent treatment may be necessary to avoid psychological damage.
(D) The influence of many hormones is not easy to measure, but they can affect both people’s psychology and actions extensively.
35. The word tempered in the passage is closest in meaning to
36. Which patients are usually treated with growth hormone?
(A) Adults of smaller statue than normal
(B) Adults with strong digestive systems
(C) Children who are not at risk from the treatment
(D) Children who may remain abnormally small
37.Which of the following sentences explains the primary goal of hormone replacement therapy?
These sentences are highlighted in the passage.
(A) The quantities and proportions of hormones produced change with age, so scientists have given a great deal of study to shifts in the endocrine system over time in the hopes of alleviating ailments associated with aging.
(B) A combination of estrogen and progesterone has been prescribed for decades to women who want to reduce mood swings, sudden changes in body temperature, and other discomforts caused by lower natural levels of those hormones as they enter middle age.
(C) HRT may also increase the likelihood that blood clots—dangerous because they could travel through the bloodstream and block major blood vessels—will form.
(D) Because of the complicated effects growth hormone has on the body, such treatments are generally restricted to children who would be pathologically small in stature without it.
38. Look at the four squares that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage.The body is a complex machine, however, and recent studies have called into question the wisdom of essentially trying to fool its systems into believing they aren’t aging.Where would the sentence best fit?Click on a square to add the sentence to the passage.
39. Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.
The class of chemicals called hormones was discovered by two researchers studying a substance produced in the small intestine.
The term hormone is based on a Greek word that means "to excite" or "to set in motion."Researchers are looking for ways to decrease the dangers of treatments with growth hormone so that more patients can benefit from it.
Hormones can be given artificially, but such treatments have risks and must be used carefully.Hormones can affect not only life processes such as growth but also behavior and emotion.
Scientists have discovered that not only the nervous system but also certain chemicals can affect bodily processes far from their points of origin.Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may increase the risk of blood clots and heart disease in middle-age women.
38. third square
39.1) Scientists have discovered that not only the nervous system….
2) Hormones can affect not only life processes…..
3) Researchers are looking for ways to decrease the dangers of ….