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Psychological Intervention Strategies for Dissociative Amnesia

Dissociation is a term used to describe a variety of phenomena that occur when one part of consciousness (the conscious mind) leaves the body and interacts with other parts of the brain, such as the unconscious or subconscious. These interactions are called “dissociated” because they involve a separation from the usual patterns of thinking and feeling that normally go on within the person’s normal awareness.

The word “amnesia” comes from the Greek words amenos meaning “without memory” and ameros meaning “free.” This means that there is no recollection of what happened before the event which caused the loss of memory. The person is still able to learn new information.

Dissociation is a separation from reality which can be mild or severe. If a person feels a sense of no fear, no pain and not being in danger when an event occurs which would otherwise be traumatic this is called a “dissociative state”. Dissociation is a defense mechanism that the brain uses to protect itself from intense or prolonged emotional trauma.

Dissociation and amnesia are two separate things. Amnesia is the inability to recall memories while dissociation is a separation of memory, identity, consciousness or awareness. Dissociation can be defined as a loss of connection to reality, while amnesia is the inability to remember.

It is a normal part of life to sometimes forget experiences that are less important. But in dissociative amnesia, you forget experiences that are very important or significant in your life. Some people experience dissociative amnesia only once in their lives while others have it more often.

Dissociative amnesia is rare and affects both children and adults. The person experiencing the disorder will have sudden and unexpected gaps in their memory with no apparent reason. In some cases, the person might not remember the event that occurred only a few minutes ago.

If left untreated the disorder can become permanent.

Types of dissociative amnesia

There are three main types of dissociative amnesia: localized, selective and generalized.

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Localized amnesia

This is the most common form of dissociative amnesia. The patient has a gap in his memories for a particular period of time that is localized to a particular place. Usually the person can remember things that happened before or after the period of localized amnesia.

For example, the person may not remember what happened on a particular trip to Mexico, but he might remember other things such as his childhood or other events that occurred after he returned from the trip to Mexico.

Selective amnesia

Also called “closed-head injury” or “retrograde amnesia.” The patient has a gap in his memory for a particular period of time but the loss is confined to a specific area usually related to the injury. The patient may have periods of memory loss for longer or shorter periods of time that are confined to a specific area.

Generalized amnesia

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The patient has lost most or all memories of his life. He may not remember his family members or friends. The memory loss is not confined to a specific period of time or area.

This is the rarest form of dissociative amnesia.

The following are the main diagnostic criteria for dissociative amnesia:

Problems with episodic memory (not just memory in general) that are severe enough to interfere with daily life and that aren’t accounted for by alcohol or drug use, other general medical conditions or neurological problems.

The person is over the age of 18 and under 65 years of age.

The problems with the person’s memory are not due to the direct effects of drugs, alcohol or other medications and the problems cannot be due to the direct effects of a general medical condition.

Diagnosis criteria for dissociative amnesia (Dissociative fugue and depersonalization/derealization disorder are also included)

The patient displays impairment in the person’s memory that is sudden in onset and unexplained.

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The problems with the person’s memory are not confined to a specific area in which the patient has lost knowledge such as memory problems related to a specific accident or injury.

The person’s memory loss cannot be explained by the direct effects of alcohol, drugs or other medications not taken in toxic amounts or other general medical conditions.

The person’s memory loss is not due to normal forgetfulness that happens as a natural part of aging.

The person with a suddenly acquired and unexplained loss of memory has one or more of the following symptoms:

1. Inability to learn new information (anterograde amnesia).

2. The inability to recall stored memories from the past (retrograde amnesia).

3. A sense of confusion or disorientation about who one is (derealization).

4. A sense of detachment from one’s personal identity (depersonalization).

5. A sense of having a hold on one’s self (i.

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e. feeling that one is somehow not real).

6. Loss of personal memories (i.

e. memories about one’s past) in addition to an inability to learn new information (anterograde amnesia).

In some cases, the person may have a combination of retrograde amnesia and anterograde amnesia. In other words, the person may not only be unable to recall information from their past and unable to learn new information, but also unable to retain that information for any length of time.

The person may also experience periods of memory loss that are confined to a specific area. This can include the loss of certain skills, knowledge or even identity.

For example, a patient may have trouble remembering the events of their life or where they live (generalized amnesia) and at the same time forget how to drive, take care of their children or perform other common everyday tasks.

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Alternatively, a patient may have severely impaired memory of the events of their life but retain some knowledge and ability to perform certain skills or functions (specialized amnesia).

For example, they may have no memory of their family or childhood but know how to take public transportation and manage their finances.

In rare cases, a person may display symptoms of both generalized and specialized amnesia. In other words, their memory problems encompass not only their past but their present as well.

The symptoms of amnesia do not occur exclusively during the course of another mental health disorder or due to the direct effects of a drug or other medical condition.

The person’s amnesia is not a normal part of a cultural or religious practice.

The person’s amnesia cannot be explained by the normal effects of aging.

The person’s amnesia doesn’t occur exclusively during the course of a delirious disorder.

The amnesia symptoms are not due to normal memory loss that goes along with a major depressive disorder or other mental health condition.

The person with amnesia does not have a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia.

The person with amnesia does not have a learning disability or some other condition that might affect memory.

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The person with amnesia is not suffering from some other condition that might cause the loss of memory.

In cases of amnesia, it is important to rule out a number of causes. The most common cause is alcoholism or other drug abuse.

Other causes of memory problems include vitamin deficiencies, traumatic brain injury, side effects of medical treatment, side effects of prescription drugs, side effects of recreational drugs or abuse of drugs and alcohol.

A person’s memory can also be affected by a number of mental health disorders. These include, but are not limited to, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder.

Aura: A sensation that occurs just before a migraine headache, such as the flashing of lights, zigzag lines, blurred vision or twirling geometrical shapes.

Automatic behavior: The ability to perform certain tasks over and over without thinking about what you are doing, like driving to work or riding a bike.

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Automatic behavior is different from daydreaming because you don’t have conscious control over what you are doing.

Automatic behavior can be a result of lack of concentration and attention.

Binge eating: The rapid consumption of an excessive amount of food within a short period of time.

Binge eating differs from simple overeating in that with binge eating the person feels a loss of control over their behavior.

Binge eating can occur as a result of emotional problems or stress.

Binge eating can lead to obesity and other health problems.

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Black out: A loss of memory for events that occurred while a person was drinking alcohol.

Blacking out is different from passing out because the person remains conscious and can walk and talk.

Black outs are usually short, typically lasting for a few minutes or less.

Black outs occur when a person drinks enough to raise their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.15% or higher.

Black outs can be dangerous because the person can perform complex actions yet have no memory of doing so later.

Bogginess: A non-technical term used to describe the haziness of vision that occurs in some people when they wake up.

Bogginess is also called sleep vision or morning haze.

Bogginess typically disappears within a few minutes after waking up.

Bogginess can make it difficult to perform complex visual tasks right after waking up.

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Breathalyzer: A device used by police officers to measure a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Breathalzyers measure a person’s breath composition and provide an estimate of the amount of alcohol in their blood stream.

Breathalzyers are not always accurate and can produce false readings in some circumstances.

Caloric restriction: A dietary regimen that involves eating fewer calories while still maintaining nutrition.

Caloric restriction is a type of diet that has been shown to extend life span in animals.

Cerebral palsy: A group of disorders that causes a person to have trouble with movement and posture.

Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal development of the brain and central nervous system.

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The type and severity of symptoms varies widely in cerebral palsy.

Higher intelligence and the ability to walk without assistance are possible in people with cerebral palsy.

Chemoprevention: The use of drugs to prevent the development of cancer.

There are few chemopreventive drugs that have been proven to be effective in treating people who already have cancer.

Chemopreventive drugs may help prevent other diseases that are caused by mutations in cellular DNA.

Cognitive reserve: The brain’s resilience when faced with a neurological insult such as a stroke.

Research on cognitive reserve has linked it to education level and complex mental activity such as reading, writing, and engaging in mentally challenging job duties.

Higher levels of cognitive reserve can limit the impact of neurological insults.

Cognitive therapy: A type of psychotherapy that aims to help people with anxiety disorders, including panic attacks.

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Cognitive therapy involves swapping irrational thoughts that lead to anxiety with more rational thoughts.

Cognitive therapy can be effective in helping people with panic disorder.

Concorde Fallacy: A common logical fallacy in which people conclude that a program being costly and inefficient means its cost effectiveness must get worse the longer it runs.

The fallacious assumption is that the longer a program runs, the more money is spent on it, when in reality costs generally stay the same and only additional benefits are accrued as time goes on.

A good example is flu vaccines. The initial cost of developing a vaccine may be high, but the cost of each additional vaccine is very low.

Confirmation bias: A type of cognitive bias in which a person looks for and focuses on information that confirms their beliefs while ignoring information that does not.

People with this bias often react to disconfirming information as a threat and engage in various avoidance tactics.

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People who have this bias can have very long term stable beliefs that are not justified by an objective evaluation of the evidence.

COPD: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. A group of respiratory conditions that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

COPD is caused by long term damage to the lungs and airways and is generally progressive over time.

COPD is the result of smoking or other inhalation of harmful dust, gases, and fumes.

Cross section: A statistical measurement that represents a single point in time.

The cross section of a population is the set of individuals that are represented at that single point in time.

Cystic fibrosis: A disease that causes a person to have abnormally thick and sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and digestive tract.

Cystic fibrosis is caused by a genetic mutation that typically becomes noticeable in childhood.

The median life span in the developed world for people with cystic fibrosis is 37 years.

D

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Darwin Awards: An annual award given to people who did something so idiotic that they removed themselves from the gene pool, thus improving it from an evolutionary standpoint.

The award was started as a parody of the Oscars.

Dark matter: Matter that is believed to make up about 23% of the Universe and is “dark” because it does not give off light.

Dark matter is inferred from gravitational measurements rather than observed directly.

Some theories in physics that attempt to explain everything in the Universe posit that dark matter is composed of exotic particles that interact only weakly with normal matter.

Decidophobia: The fear of making decisions. People with this condition can suffer from anxiety when they are faced with choices and often feel helpless when forced to make a decision.

Decision paralysis: A term for the condition that affects some people who suffer from decidophobia.

The condition arises when a person suffers from anxiety that prevents them from making any decision, no matter how small.

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Some psychologists believe the condition serves as a way for some people to avoid making a choice they might later come to regret.

Decision fatigue: The condition that occurs when people are faced with too many choices.

Decision fatigue has been shown to progressively worsen the more choices that are presented to a person and can even lead to severe effects, such as depression or “choice paralysis”.

Deep brain stimulation: A medical procedure in which an electrode is placed inside the brain and used to send signals that can modify a patient’s brain waves, in an effort to treat various psychological conditions.

Deep brain stimulation has been used to treat conditions such as major depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Dendrite: The branched part of a neuron that receives electro-chemical signals from other neurons.

The typical brain has around 100 billion neurons, with thousands of connections from each neuron.

Dendritic spines: Tiny branches that grow from a dendrite.

New dendritic spines grow when a new memory is formed and an electric signal from a neuron causes the expansion of the spine so that it can receive signals from the neuron.

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Dendritic spine loss: A condition that occurs with age in which the number of dendritic spines decrease.

The process by which new dendritic spines form is called “sprouting”.

Depersonalization disorder: A condition in which a person has a disconnect between their sense of self and their emotional feeling.

Depersonalization is a symptom of several medical conditions, drug use and mental illnesses.

Depth perception: The ability to judge the distance of an object, often measured in depth.

The brain relies on information from the two eyes to judge distance.

Depth perception is also enhanced by the action of the lens, which changes shape to focus objects at different distances.

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Depression: A mental condition in which a person experiences a loss of interest in activities, a lack of energy and persistent feelings of sadness.

About one in 10 people suffer from depression at some point in their lives.

Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States.

Depressive realism: The theory that people suffering from depression have a more accurate view of reality than people who are not depressed.

The term was popularized by an article in Psychological Review in 1995.

Derealization: A condition that causes a person to feel as though the world around them is not real and is somehow distant or vague.

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The condition often co-exists with anxiety and depression.

Derealization is most commonly a symptom of anxiety disorders.

Derealization can also be a symptom of schizophrenia.

Desensitization: The progressive decrease in responsiveness to a repeated stimulus.

The process of desensitization can be used to treat a phobia or fear.

In the treatment of a phobia, the patient is exposed to the object of fear.

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The initial presentations are done in a safe and controlled manner and then repeated until the fear subsides.

Desire line: A path that is frequently traveled.

It has been suggested that desire lines are created by a simple process of social influence that causes people to walk in the same place repeatedly.

Desire lines are also known as “desire paths”.

Determinism: The philosophical doctrine that all human actions are predetermined and that free will is an illusion.

Determinism is opposed to the philosophical doctrine of free will.

Detoxification: The process in which the body removes chemicals and drugs from the blood.

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Detoxification is sometimes used as part of a treatment for substance abuse.

Deviancy: Behavior that is outside the social norms of a particular society.

In sociology, “deviants” are people who participate in deviant behavior.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM): A handbook published by the American Psychiatric Association that is used to classify and diagnose mental disorders.

The DSM is currently in its fifth edition (DSM-V).

Diatom: A type of algae that has a cell wall made of silica.

Diatoms are important in global carbon cycling, as well as being used as indicators of water quality.

Dichroic glass: A type of glass that appears to change color as the viewing angle changes.

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The colors displayed by dichroic glass are a result of the glass itself being created using two or more layers of different colors of glass.

Differential reinforcement: A behavioral technique in which a greater amount of reward is given for successful responses than for failures.

The objective of differential reinforcement is to increase the desired behavior and decrease the undesired behavior.

Dihybrid cross: A type of genetic cross that is used to separate two traits that are controlled by two different genes.

In a dihybrid cross, two traits are analyzed independently and their combination is studied in the offspring.

For example, a dihybrid cross could be used to analyze the effects of two genes.

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The parents could each have a specific allele for the two traits (e.g. AA, Aa).

The offspring could each have two different alleles (e.g. Aa, aa) and their relative frequencies could be studied.

Dimorphism: The condition of having two distinct forms.

For example, the male and female forms of a human are different and are referred to as the morphs or forms of that species.

Dimorphism is also known as polymorphism.

Dinosaur: A member of a group of animals that roamed the Earth millions of years ago and became extinct about 65 million years ago.

Most dinosaurs were terrestrial and resembled today’s birds in many ways.

Dinosaur means “terrible lizard” in Greek.

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Dissociation: The process of separating or splitting a single entity into two or more separate parts.

Dissociation is the opposite of association.

Diversity: The condition or quality of having many different parts.

The opposite of diversity is homogeneity.

Diversity is a term that has come to represent racial, gender, religious, and other types of diversity in a society or group.

Divination: The process of attempting to predict the future or the unknown by supernatural means.

Divination is a type of supernatural prediction and is one of the main forms of superstition.

In divination, an interpreter or medium is used to relay information from the supernatural realm.

Divination can also involve the use of tools such as a reading crystal, tarot cards, or even animal innards.

DNA: Abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid.

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DNA is the building block of life that stores genetic information and passes it on from generation to generation.

DNA is a double stranded helix.

In a cell, DNA is found in the nucleus and is made of nucleotides.

DNA replication occurs during cellular mitosis.

DNase: Abbreviation for deoxyribonuclease.

DNase is an enzyme that breaks down DNA.

DNS: Abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid.

DNS is an enzyme that breaks down DNA.

Docking: The physical act of joining two separate things together.

Docking is often used in reference to spacecrafts being joined together or with a space station.

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The area where the two objects meet is called the docking port.

Docking is also used in reference to the human hand and another object such as a tool.

DNA testing: The process of determining the genetic composition of an organism by examining the proportions of its DNA components.

In humans, DNA testing can be used to establish paternity.

The test measures the probability of someone being the father of a given child based on statistical probability.

The testing is very accurate and is a major factor in family law.

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Doppler effect: The change in frequency and wavelength of waves produced by a source moving towards or away from the observer.

The Doppler effect is named after the scientist who first identified it.

An example of the Doppler effect can be heard when a vehicle sounding a siren approaches then recedes from you.

The pitch of the siren increases while approaching and then decreases while receding.

Dopamine: A neurotransmitter that affects the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.

Dopamine plays an important role in addiction and cravings.

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Drug: An item that changes the way a person, animal, or plant behaves or functions.

Drug abuse is the excessive use of drugs that can lead to addiction.

Dry ice: A form of carbon dioxide that is solidified under normal atmospheric pressure.

Dry ice sublimates or changes from a solid to a gas at -78.5 degrees Celsius or -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dry ice is used to transport biological materials in a frozen state.

Duck: A water bird with webbed feet, a broad flat bill, and offering shelter to smaller birds.

Duck eggs are a popular food source around the world.

Duct tape: A cloth based material with a waterproof shell that contains an inner plastic lining coated in rubber.

Duct tape is a multi-purpose tool usually used for repairs and first aid.

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Dwarf planet: A celestial object that is massive enough to be round but does not clear its orbit.

Pluto used to be classified as a planet but was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006.

Earth: The third planet from the sun and the center of the solar system.

Earth is the only planet that sustains life.

Earth is the only planet known to have liquid water.

Earth is the fifth largest planet.

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Earthquake: A sudden and sometimes violent movement of the earth’s crust.

Earthquakes are measured by their magnitude on the Richter scale.

Earthworms: A common worm found in soils throughout the world.

Earthworms mix soil as they burrow through it making it richer for other plants to grow in.

E. coli: A bacterium commonly found in the intestines of animals including the human digestive system.

Escherichia coli is the most well known strain of the bacteria.

Ebola: A type of hemorrhagic fever that causes organ failure and death in humans.

The virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Eclipses: An astronomical event where one celestial object obscures the light from another.

An eclipse can only occur when three bodies are aligned in a straight line.

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Eclipse: The moment when the moon’s shadow turns day into night.

Earthquakes: Earthquakes are sudden and sometimes violent movements of the earth’s crust.

Eddies: Eddies are circular or spiral currents in a flowing fluid.

Eel: A long fish found in fresh and marine environments.

The American eel is renowned for its long journey from freshwater to the Sargasso Sea and back.

Eels have a special organ that allows them to generate a small electrical charge.

Einstein, Albert: (1879-1955) A German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity.

Ejaculate: The fluid released during ejaculation.

Ejaculation: The expulsion of seminal fluid through muscular contractions.

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Electric eel: A South American freshwater fish that can generate a powerful electric shock.

The electric eel can reach 1.5m in length and weigh up to 9kg.

Electricity: An energy source generated by the movement of charged particles.

Electromagnetic spectrum: The range of all possible frequencies of electromagnetic radiation.

Elevator: A transportation system that moves people or goods between floors or levels.

The vertical moving platform in a building.

El Nino: The name given to the warm ocean current that flows from the Pacific Ocean to the Eastern Seaboard of South America.

El Nino is a periodic weather pattern that leads to droughts and floods around the world.

Emperor: The sole ruler of an empire.

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Emperor Charlemagne: (742-814) King of the Franks and the first Holy Roman Emperor.

Emperor: (China) The absolute ruler of China. The position has always been held by a member of the Qin family.

Empire: A group of nations or people ruled by one leader.

Empire State Building: A famous landmark in New York City.

The 102-story building is the tallest building in North America.

The building was designed by William F. Lamb.

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Empress: The wife or female companion of an emperor.

Enamel: The hard glossy covering of a tooth.

Endangered species: A type of animal or plant that is facing extinction.

Spider crabs are a type of crab that live in the waters around Great Britain.

English Channel: The stretch of water that separates England from the coast of France.

Enterobiasis: A type of worm infection that causes diarrhea and vomiting.

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Enterovirus: A virus that affects the gastrointestinal and central nervous system.

Enzymes: Proteins that speed up chemical reactions in the human body.

Escape artist: A performer who is able to get out of ropes or other restraints while in public view.

Escargot: The French word for land snails.

Escargot is served with butter and parsley.

Escherichia coli: A bacterium commonly found in the lower intestine of humans.

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Eskimo: (

1) A member of an indigenous people of northern Canada, Greenland, and Alaska.

(

2) An inhabitant of the Arctic regions.

Eskimo Pie: A type of ice cream made with cookie crumbs on a stick.

Estonia: A country in northeastern Europe bordered by Russia, the Baltic Sea, and Lithuania.

Eternal flame: A natural gas well that burns continuously.

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Eukaryotic cells: Cells that contain a nucleus and other structures within the cytoplasm.

Eunuch: A castrated man. During the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans they were used as court officials or bodyguards.

Eurasia: One of the seven continents. It is the largest of all the continents and it is located between the Arctic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

Europe: The second smallest continent in the world. It is located between the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.

The continent is home to more than 740 million people.

Eustachian tube: A tube that connects the middle ear to the nose. This tube equalizes air pressure on both sides of the eardrum.

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Eutrophication: A process that occurs when excess nutrients, usually from agricultural or urban runoff, cause algae and cyanobacteria to grow rapidly.

This process can lead to dead zones in a waterway.

Everglades: A subtropical wetland located in southern Florida. It is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist.

Excalibur Hotel: A luxury hotel located on the Las Vegas Strip.

Excavator: A heavy machine used to dig up rock.

Executive Order: An order given by the U.S. president that has the force of law.

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Exfoliate: To remove dead skin from the surface of the skin.

Expansion team: A sports team that joins a professional league. The team will play in a city that did not have a team before.

Expert: A person who has extensive knowledge in a particular field.

Explorer: A person who explores new places.

Exposure: The condition of being subjected to something.

Exposed: (

1) Brought out into the open.

(

2) Not hidden or concealed.

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Exterminator: A person whose job is to kill pests, such as insects or rodents.

Extermination: The killing of animals or insects, especially in large numbers.

Extinct: No longer alive or available.

Extinction: The state of being no longer available or alive.

Extinct Creature: A creature that is no longer available or alive.

Extinction event: A time period when a large number of species die out.

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Extrapolate: To predict what might happen in the future using what has happened in the past.

Extraterrestrial: Anything that originates from outside Earth.

Extraterrestrials are also called aliens.

Eye drops: A medicine used to soothe or dilute the eyes.

Eyeliner: Makeup or a substance that is used to make the outline of the eyes darker to make them seem bigger.

Facial hair: Hair that grows on or around a person’s face.

Faded: (

1) Not having as much color or brightness as it once had.

(

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2) Out of style.

Fahrenheit: A temperature scale in which water boils at 212 degrees and freezes at 30 degrees. Invented by physicist Daniel Fahrenheit.

Fair: An event during which attractions, such as rides, games, and shows, are available.

Fair trade: A system in which goods are traded between companies or individuals so that no one is gaining an unfair profit at the expense of the other.

Fall: The season between summer and winter. It occurs on the same calendar dates every year in the Northern Hemisphere from September through December. In the Southern Hemisphere, this season is called Spring.

Fallout: Radioactive debris that has fallen to the ground after a nuclear explosion.

Fame: An amount of public recognition or approval.

Familiar objects: Everyday objects that have been given a new use.

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Fantasy: A genre of fiction that uses magic and other extraordinary phenomena as a main plot device.

Farmer’s market: A public market where people can buy items such as fruit, vegetables, and other foods that have been grown locally.

Farmers: People who live and work on farms.

Fascism: A type of government in which a single authoritarian ruler has complete control over the government and society.

Fashion accessory: An object that is used primarily to enhance one’s appearance.

Fast food: Food that can be prepared in a short amount of time and is served quickly after ordering.

Fatalities: Deaths.

Father: A male parent.

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Fatwa: An Islamic law that is considered to be binding by the person or group that issued it.

Fauna: The animals that live in a particular region or time period.

Febrile: Related to fever.

Feign: To pretend.

Feint: Also known as a mock attack. An attack that is not intended to be successful, but rather to fool an enemy into relaxing their guard.

Feldspar: A group of common minerals that are important for making ceramics and glass.

Fellatio: Stimulation of the male genitals by the mouth.

Female: The gender that produces ova or eggs which can combine with the male’s gametes to produce offspring.

Feminine: Having the qualities that are traditionally associated with women.

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Femininity: The quality of being a woman.

Feminism: a social and political movement that advocates equal rights for women.

Fencing: A sport in which individuals compete by trying to hit one another with a sword.

Fertile: Capable of producing offspring.

Fertilizer: A substance added to soil to help plants grow.

Fiber optics: A technology that uses glass strands as a medium for transmitting light which can produce a clearer image than metal wires.

Fibula: The outer bone of the lower leg.

Fiche: A credit card sized plastic card with a magnetic strip on the back used for storing computer data.

Ficus: A type of tree.

Fidel Castro: (1926—) Cuban revolutionary and politician. After leading a communist revolution in Cuba he became the president of Cuba’s new government.

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Fidelity: Loyalty to someone or something.

Field trip: A trip that students take supervised by teachers from their normal school environment to a place related to the subject they are studying.

Fifth column: An element working within a group that undermines it to aid an enemy.

Filament: A thin threadlike strand.

File sharing: The process of transferring computer files from one computer to another using the internet.

Fillings: Materials used to fill cavities or holes, to restore a broken object, or for decorating other objects.

Fingerprints: Subtle markings on the pads of your fingers.

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Fissile: Capable of being split.

Fission: The splitting of a single nucleus into two often producing two nuclei with smaller atomic weights.

Flank: The side section of an army or any military group.

Flatulence: Wind or to pass wind.

Flax: A plant that produce fibers from which linen is made.

Flexibility: The quality of being able to bend.

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Fluctuations: Unpredictable changes in behavior.

Fluke: A random stroke of good luck.

Flunky: An individual who does menial jobs for another, often in a patronizing way.

Flying buttress: A buttress used to support a wall above a door or window.

Foal: A young horse or donkey.

Focal length: The distance between the lens and the focal point.

Folk music: Music typically played or sung by common people.

Folklore: The traditions, myths and beliefs of a culture or a group of people.

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Food Chain: A chain of who eats what in an ecological community.

Foot: A unit of measurement that is equal to a little more than a yard or a meter.

Foreman: The man in charge of a group of workers; the boss.

Forest: A large area covered by trees and other woody vegetation.

Fossil fuel: A fuel such as coal, oil or natural gas formed in the earth from the decayed remains of living things.

Fossil fuels: Fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas formed in the earth from the decayed remains of living things.

Fraction: One part of a whole quantity.

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Framework: The structure or skeleton of something.

Freedom fighter: A person who fights for the freedom of their country from an outside oppressor.

Frivolous: Not serious.

Fructose: A type of sugar found in fruit.

Fruit: The ripened reproductive body of a seed plant.

Fuel: A substance that can be burned to produce energy.

Fulcrum: The support or axis on which a lever turns.

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Functional literacy: The ability to read and write with comprehension.

Fundamentalist: A person who follows the original teachings or fundamental principles of a religion.

Fungicide: A chemical used to kill fungi.

Fungus: A group of organisms such that are not plants and not animals, which lack chlorophyll and get their food by absorbing nutrients from the host or medium in which they live.

Furnishings: Household items that are for comfort or decoration.

Fusion: The merging of two or more things into a single entity.

Fusion reactor: A machine that produces energy by fusing hydrogen into helium.

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G Gains: Something that is learned or earned.

Gaffe: An awkward social mistake.

Galaxy: Island Universes, huge group of stars, some of which are grouped into clusters.

Gallop: To move at a fast pace while each foot is brought up in turn and lands on its side before coming down flat.

Games console: A machine that plays games such as a television or a computer.

Gas giant: A huge planet that is mainly made up of gaseous matter.

Gather: To accumulate or collect items together.

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Gauge: A measure of the diameter of a shotgun barrel.

Gauge: To measure the diameter of a shotgun barrel.

Gauge: To measure the thickness or size of something.

Gauntlet: An armored glove, usually metal that covers the arm and wrist.

Gecko: A type of lizard native to Australia.

Gel: A substance which is semi-solid but soft and moldable like a liquid.

General: An officer of high rank in the military.

General Election: Where all eligible voters can vote for their candidates of choice.

Generator: An electrical device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.

Genre: A category of art or literature, for example the novel is a genre within the larger category of literature.

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Gigabyte: Measure of computer storage equal to one billion bytes.

Glacier: A very large mass of ice that is moving, often but not always formed by the snow on mountain tops.

Glass: A brittle, hard, solid substance that will easily break if hit with enough force.

Glitch: An error in a machine or system.

GMP: Abbreviation for good manufacturing practices.

GMP: Good Manufacturing Practice.

Gnome: A mythical being that dwells in the earth and has magical powers.

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