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1 Lifestyle, health and risk

■ Activity 1.12: Heart transplant simulation

The following website provides an opportunity to simulate a heart transplant operation:

■ Activity 1.13: Analysis of changing mortality in

the twentieth century
Examine the trends illustrated by this graph.
Age-standardised mortality rates for selected broad disease groups, 1911–2003, England and Wales

mortality rate per 100 000 population





1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2003

Answer the following questions, using the information available to you in the graph, together
with your general knowledge of biology.
1 Which broad category of disease has remained the most common cause of death throughout
the past 100 years?
2 a Comment on the pattern of incidence of deaths due to infections with that for deaths due to
cancer in the 100-year period.
b What explanations can you suggest for this difference?
About 10% of the century was taken up with World Wars involving the UK. Print out a copy of
the graph above, and mark in these periods (1914–18 and 1939–45). Further, immediately after
the First World War there was an influenza pandemic (so called ‘Spanish flu’) which killed about
40 million people worldwide (of which there were about 152 000 deaths in England and Wales),
compared with the 10 million victims of the First World War.
3 Do you find any significant evidence of an impact of the above detailed events in the profiles
of mortalities shown in the graph?
4 a In the past 50 years, the death rate of which of the four disease categories declined most
b What factors are most likely to have contributed to this rate of decline, in your opinion?

Edexcel Biology for AS Dynamic Learning CD-ROM © Hodder Education 2008


5 Antibiotics became readily available in England and Wales during and after the Second
World War. Comment on their apparent impact on the incidence of deaths from infections.

■ Activity 1.14: Research a case of risk – prions

as disease agents
Proteins called prions are the agents that cause diseases known as ‘encephalopathies’, in which
brain tissue becomes spongy with holes where once groups of neurones occurred. The afflicted
organism – human (with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, CJD), sheep (with scrapie) or cow (with
bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE) – loses physical coordination. In humans, the patient
loses memory as well as body control, prior to death.
Prion proteins are normal components of brain cells, but in cases of infection, they show
subtle shape changes. How they cause loss of brain tissue is not known. The first ‘prion’ disease
to be understood was called kuru, and occurred among people of a Papua New Guinea tribe.
Their custom was to honour their dead by eating them; men ate muscle tissue, but women and
children received brain tissue. It was only the latter that developed kuru – from an ancestor that
had died with the condition.
Other prion diseases, such as scrapie in sheep, have a long history too, but until recently none
had appeared to ‘jump’ between species. Now it appears that the agent is able to cross the
‘species barrier’, particularly if nerve tissue is eaten. Farming practices involving the use of offal
from sheep or cattle as a supplement in manufactured animal feeds spread BSE among cattle,
with fatal consequences for livestock and humans. In the UK, 179 000 cattle were infected and
4.4 million were killed during the BSE crisis of the 1980s.
New variant CJD (vCJD or nvCJD) is a human disease linked to the eating of infected meat
products. At the height of the BSE crisis, it was feared that many UK citizens would succumb to
Consult the following website, which gives information about Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease:
Print out the following table and complete it, using information from this site.

Apart from consumption of BSE-

infected meat, give three other
possible causes of CJD.
What was the widely reported likely
total of deaths due to nvCJD, given
in the UK national press in the late
What was the total number of
deaths due to nvCJD between 1990
and 2006?
What was the estimate of total
number of UK cases made in 2004?
What is the likely total of cases in
the UK now estimated to be?
What were the annual death totals
due to nvCJD in the years listed here? 2000

Edexcel Biology for AS Dynamic Learning CD-ROM © Hodder Education 2008


■ Activity 1.15: Estimating your kilojoule intake

in snacks
A great deal of eating often goes on between meals. This activity is an enquiry into what
proportion of your daily requirements, in energy terms, is met in this way. If you and your peers
are able to share your data, wider trends in ‘snacking’ may emerge.
Make a list of all snacks you eat during a typical working day (that is, drinks, chocolate bars
and between-meal, fast-food snacks).
Then, using Table 1.8 Recommended daily intakes in the student’s book, together with Table 1.9
Food values of selected ‘fast food’ items, or a website such as that suggested below, work out what
percentage of your daily energy requirements are typically made up of snacks.

■ Activity 1.16: Dieting and essential nutrients

People are in danger of missing out on essential nutrients if they restrict their energy intake to
substantially less than the recommended daily intake, and eat only ‘low-fat’ products. This is
especially the case with those whose bodies are still growing and developing. ‘Low-fat teenagers
missing out on essential nutrients’ was a recent headline summarising this fact.
Can you enumerate the problems that this form of dieting generates?

Edexcel Biology for AS Dynamic Learning CD-ROM © Hodder Education 2008