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#26 - As advances in medical research and technology have

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Complete Question Explanation

Resolve the Paradox. The correct answer choice is (E)

The apparent paradox in this stimulus is that even though medical advances in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and illnesses have increased life spans and improved peoples’ overall health, recent decades have seen a “steady and significant increase in the rate of serious infections.” This situation is surprising, because we might think that if peoples’ overall health has improved, then the rate of serious infections would have been reduced, not increased.

Predictably, this is a Resolve the Paradox question. Our prephrase is that the correct answer choice will describe something that has caused this increase in the rate of serious infections, even in the presence of the medical advances that have increased lifespans and improved peoples’ overall health. Do not spend valuable time trying to predict what LSAC will choose to include as this cause. Simply move to the answer choices, on the lookout for an answer choice that provides this active connection.

Answer choice (A): This answer choice is an attempt to avoid the difficulty of the paradox by suggesting the medical advances are not as impressive as the stimulus would have us believe. The correct answer choice will bridge together the two sides of the paradox, rather than merely diminishing or explaining just one of the sides.

Answer choice (B): This answer choice explains why life spans have increased, but does nothing to explain why there has been a recent increase in serious infections, despite the medical advances.

Answer choice (C): This answer choice is closer to a correct response, because it at least discusses both the medical advances and the increase in serious infections. However, this choice is incorrect because it describes how the medical advances can help treat the serious infections, rather than explaining why the infections are occurring in the first place.

Answer choice (D): This is a very tempting answer choice, because the stimulus tells us that life spans have increased due to the medical advances, and we are products of a world in which the human population has been increasing steadily. However, the stimulus does not tell us that the population has increased, and neither does this answer choice. The answer choice tells us that a proportional relationship exists “as a populations increases.” It does not tell us that the population has increased.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice. This choice resolves the paradox by showing that the very medical advances that have increased life spans and improved overall health have a side effect—an increased susceptibility in patients following treatment to the increasingly prevalent serious infections.
botrosand@gmail.com
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I got the question down to either C or E but I chose C.

The paradox: increased life spans and more cures for diseases but you see increased critical diseases over the past years.

If you choose E, which states that these cures are causing the critical diseases, you have to make an assumption that these critical diseases do not lead to a lower lifespan, a lower lifespan would contradict the stim which states life spans have increased.

In C, which states that now these diseases are curable, you can have both increased critical diseases and a higher lifespan, solving the paradox.

Please show me what I'm missing.

Thank you!!!
Alex Bodaken
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botrosand,

Thanks for the question! Let me see if I can help.

You correctly identify the paradox here: while "life spans have increased" and "overall health has improved," there has been a "steady and significant increase in the rate of serious infections." Our correct response must account for this paradox.

Let me start with answer choice (C), which states: "The vast majority of serious infections are now curable, although many require hospitalization." This answer choice does address why people might be living longer: serious infections are now more curable than they used to be. But, crucially, this answer choice doesn't explain why there has been a "steady and significant increase in the rate of serious infections." Making infections more (or less) curable shouldn't effect their rate, and that is what we need to explain the rise of. Because this answer choice doesn't explain why the serious infection rate is increasing, it is incorrect.

Now let's move on to credited answer choice (E): "Modern treatments for many otherwise fatal illnesses increase the patient’s susceptibility to infection." Okay, does this address why "life spans have increased?" It does: it tells us that there are now modern treatments for many otherwise fatal diseases, which we can safely assume will increase life spans (after all, if something is made non-fatal, it guarantees it is no longer deadly, thus guaranteeing a person will live through it). And importantly, this answer choice does explain why the serious infection rate is increasing: these new treatments are making patents more susceptible to infection. So in answer choice (E), we have an explanation for both parts of the paradox and how they could fit together, making it our credited choice.

Hope that helps!
Alex