Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Resignations by YSR Congress legislators: Advantage YS Jaganmohan Reddy

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 23: Legislators loyal to YSR Congress Party president YS
Jaganmohan Reddy wanted to kill two birds with one stone, when they
submitted their resignations to their Assembly membership.

Though they know that their resignations will not bring down the Congress
government immediately, the Jagan camp is sure that it will definitely put the
ruling party on political tenterhooks. Secondly, the Jagan loyalists are sure of
retaining their seats in the by-elections given the immense popularity their
young leader enjoys among the masses in districts. The Odarpu (condolence)
yatra undertaken by Jaganmohan Reddy has been receiving unprecedented
response from people, particularly women and the youth.

If all the legislators, who resigned, retain their seats and return to the
Assembly as YSR Congress Party members, the ruling party will be in
definite trouble. It's strength in the House will be on real test. The Jagan
camp's strategy is also to keep the political pressure building on the ruling
party while the Central Bureau of Investigation goes on with its probe into
the wealth amassed allegedly through illegal means by Jaganmohan Reddy.

The resignations are seen as a tactical move to put pressure on the Congress
so that the country's prime investigation agency, often dubbed by the
Opposition as Congress Bureau of Investigation, does not cross the
Lakshman rekha (arrest of Jagan) as part of its investigation. This is quite
clear when Jaganmohan Reddy's mother and Pulivendula legislator
Vijayamma dashed off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh alleging
that the "CBI is being prompted" by the Centre to conduct raids on the assets
of Jagan and of those who had invested in his firms.

The Jagan camp's decision to resign has not been taken on the spur of the
moment. It has been there on the minds of these legislators ever since
Jaganmohan Reddy returned to the Lok Sabha from Kadapa with a never-
before-attained majority. Vijayamma, too romped home from Pulivendula
Assembly constituency, which her husband Rajasekhar Reddy once
represented. But the legislators were waiting for some political opportunity to
justify their resignation.

The naming of late chief minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy has come in as a
god-sent opportunity for the Jagan group to hurry through the resignations.
This will help them gain sympathy from the public, as YSR is still viewed as
a messiah. The loyalists now plan a bus yatra to districts to explain the
circumstances leading to their resignations. And if Vijayamma accompanies
them, the Jagan camp will only gain politically, making the electoral
prospects of the ruling party even bleak.

Semecarpus anacardium: Marking nut controls white patches

Syed Akbar
Leucoderma or white patches is a skin condition whose occurrence is shrouded in mystery. 
Despite the advancement in medical sciences it’s not still clear what exactly triggers 
leucoderma. Research has been going on the world over to understand the medical mechanism 
that triggers this skin problem, and find a permanent cure through medication.

Ancient Indian medical texts have described the problem of leucoderma in detail and have 
suggested that Semecarpus anacardium is a natural remedy. Though the skin problem does go 
completely through Semecarpus, it helps in keeping it under check. Semecarpus anacardium 
is known as bhilavan in Hindu and Urdu and as marking nut in English.

A number of health benefits have been attributed to this herb by Ayurveda and Unani 
doctors. It is also practiced by tribals and those following the forest medicine. The 
health benefits include control of white patches on the skin, piles, cough, nervous 
problems, infertility in men, healing of wounds, and relief from joint pains, baldness 
and enlargement of spleen.

As is the case with many herbs, Semecarpus should be used with caution, particularly when 
it is consumed internally. It may create health issues in young children, pregnant and 
lactating women and the elderly.

============
Home remedies
--------------------

Those suffering from piles may take Semecarpus tonic readily available in herbal stores. 
Alternatively, one can prepare extract from the Semecarpus fruit at home. Take the fruit, 
wash it properly and boil it in a little quantity of water. A tablespoon of this 
decoction can be taken. In case of juice obtained from Semecarpus fruit, a few drops are 
sufficient.

The oil obtained from Semecarpus fruit can be mixed with coconut oil and applied on white 
patches, wounds, and skin portions affected by acne, ringworm and eczema. The oil can be 
applied on the scalp for treatment of alopecia or baldness.

The oil of Semecarpus can be applied on swollen and painful joints for relief from 
arthritis.

The juice obtained from Semecarpus can be applied on cracked heels for relief from pain.
A little quantity of Semecarpus tonic is used internally every day for treatment of 
paralysis.

Commiphora wightii: Guggulu reduces body weight

Syed Akbar

Commiphora wightii or guggulu is used widely in homes in India, mainly to drive away evil 
spirits. It is also used for religious ceremonies. Apart from its use for religious 
purpose, guggulu is a natural medicine to reduce the body weight. It is a natural remedy 
for people suffering from overweight and obesity. The gum latex of this plant has several 
medicinal properties and many people burn it as incense for a feeling of goodness.

In English guggulu is known as Indian Bedellium and the plant is cultivated in many part 
of the country. Readymade capsules of guggulu are available in herbal stores and several 
weight loss programmes include it as part of the obesity treatment therapy.

It should be taken in small quantities for better results. In excess quantity it will 
cause health problems like irritation, skin rashes, loose motions and headache. Pregnant 
women should not use guggulu as it may cause miscarriage. Guggulu therapy is not 
recommended for children too.

Herbal doctors recommend guggulu for health issues like urinary disorders, haemorrhoids, 
high blood cholesterol and rheumatic pains. It is believed that guggulu reduces the blood 
cholesterol levels and burns excess fat, keeping the body healthy.

-----------------
Home remedies
-----------------

Readymade guggulu capsules are available in herbal stores. Follow the course for weight 
reduction. Alternatively, one may take small quantities of guggulu gum latex twice a day 
to reduce the body weight, burn fat and control blood cholesterol levels.

Herbal doctors recommend smoke of guggulu for earache. According to them, one should take 
a small piece of guggulu gum latex and burn it. The smoke can be directed towards the ear 
in which there’s pain. Guggulu smoke therapy helps in giving relief from earache.

Guugulu extract can be mixed with sesame oil and gently massaged on the affected parts of 
the body for relief from rheumatic pains and swelling of joints.

A little piece of guggulu gum, ginger and honey can be taken to control the body weight 
and fight obesity.

Nalgonda district turning into arid from semi-arid region

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 16: Here's one more bad news for Nalgonda. After
fluoride and uranium contamination of ground water, Nalgonda district
is fast turning into a dry land. Scientists at the city-based International
Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics have found that
Nalgonda district has turned arid from a semi-arid region.

After digging into climate data of four decades and studying the failure
of crops, Icrisat scientists have noticed that the number of "growing
cycle" particularly for the rabi season has come down by 15 days. This
means no crop of duration more than 100 days will be able to survive
during the rabi in the district. If a crop is of 115 days duration either the
yield will fall or the crop fails.

Alarmed at the change in climate pattern in Nalgonda, the Indian
Council of Agricultural Research has decided to take up a full-fledged
study in 100 select districts all over the country. Scientists of ICRISAT
and ICAR attribute the problem in Nalgonda district to climate change.

"The problem is very serious," Icrisat director-general Dr William D
Dar said while describing the climate change pattern in Nalgonda
district. "The impact is more during the rabi season," he added.

Icrisat principal scientist Dr Suhas P Wani said climate and agricultural
data from 1972 onwards revealed that there's a gradual progression
from semi-arid climate to arid climate in Nalgonda. "Without realising
the change in the climate pattern, farmers continue with old agricultural
practices. The crop failed in three of the last five years causing heavy
loss to farmers," Dr Suhas said adding that there's a drastic impact on
farming. Such a phenomenon has not been observed in neighbouring
districts.

Another district, he said that could be compared with Nalgonda is
Parbani in Maharashtra. "Unless remedial measures are not taken
farmers may not be able to grow sorghum in the district," he warned.

ICAR deputy director-general Dr AK Singh said data on 100
vulnerable districts in the country would be ready by early 2012.

Icrisat on Tuesday held a roundtable meeting on climate change and
rain-fed farming systems. Scientists and private players attending the
roundtable noted that in the last 60 years Asia has been witnessing
"unusual events". Analysis of historical weather data in the continent
shows there have been high intensity rains with the number of rainy
days coming down and temperatures going up.

The experts, however said they had been geared up with appropriate
technologies to meet the challenge of climate change. Varieties
resistant to drought and high temperature have been developed and
farmers need to adopt them to improve productivity despite change in
climate pattern.

Crop holiday takes ICAR by surprise; fears that crop holiday in AP may spread to other States

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 23: The Indian Council of Agricultural Research fears that
the crop holiday declared by farmers in some villages of East Godavari
district will turn contagious and spread to all parts of the country.

"The situation is serious and we are addressing the issue. It may spread to
other areas in the country," said ICAR deputy director-general Dr AK Singh.
Taking a cue from their counterparts in East Godavari, farmers in parts of
Kurnool, Khammam and Nellore districts have already announced their
intention to go in for a crop holiday this khariff, and extend it to rabi too.

The ICAR has sent an expert team to East Godavari for a first hand
assessment of the problem. The team found that farmers have been suffering
losses because of poor returns and imbalance between input cost and the
revenue they earn from the yield. The Mohan Kanda panel on crop holiday
also deputed its team to the district. The ICAR team has already submitted its
report to the Centre, while the Mohan Kanda committee is busy preparing its
report.

"What is worrying is that farmers want to continue the crop holiday during
rabi season too. This is really a trouble situation. Rabi is the season when
farmers except some good returns. They want extend the crop holiday from
khariff to rabi season too. The argument of farmers is that the more they sow
the more the loss; the lesser they sow the lesser the loss; and no sowings and
no loss," Dr MV Rao, former special director-general ICAR said. Dr Rao is
member of the Mohan Kanda panel.

Dr B Venkateswarlu, director of Central Research Institute for Dryland
Agriculture, said farmers do not need any technological intervention, but a
change in government policies. "We have submitted our report to the
government. The Centre and the State will definitely do something to help
farmers," he said adding that the situation is quite "serious".

Dr Singh pointed out that there's no surplus production of food grains in the
country and if stocks have piled up with farmers, it's because of lack of
purchasing power by poorer sections. "The production target is as per the
population of the country. The poor do not have money to purchase enough
grains and this leads to piling up of grains with farmers," he clarified.

The senior agricultural scientists deliberated the agricultural scenario in the
country and the impact of climate change on crops, at a national conference
on sustainable agriculture and climate change here on Tuesday. They said
India has been identified as one of the countries that will have greater
challenges from global warming which will have an impact on food security.

India upgrades its nuclear reactors for tsunami, earthquake threats


Syed Akbar
Indian nuclear reactors will get a facility that automatically shuts them down in case of a devastating earthquake, as part of the ongoing upgrade of safety features that is being implemented after the nuclear disaster in Japan.
The other safety features include options for power sources for cooling the plant including harnessing solar power and use of nitrogen gas from liquid nitrogen tanks to control pressure. There will also be shore protection structures to protect nuclear power plants from tsunamis.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is reinforcing safety features of nuclear reactors during natural calamities like earthquakes and tsunamis. The timeframe for the upgradation is about one year.
This follows the recommendations of the task forces set up by the NPCIL. Though the interim reports were submitted in April, the final reports are yet to be readied. The reports were sought after the damage to the Fukushima reactors inJapan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March.
The NPCIL says the Indian scenario is different from that of Japan. The location of tsunamigenic faults in the Indian context and seismic map shows that there will not be simultaneous occurrence of earthquake and tsunami.
“The safety features of nuclear power plants in the country are designed for earthquake with a return period of 10,000 years. The effects of earthquake, cyclone, storm surge and tsunami have been considered while designing the plants. But in view of the task force recommendations, safety measures are being further upgraded,” said the NPCIL report on safety.
Officials have designed computer simulations to measure the height of sea waves if an earthquake of 9 magnitude strikes at the Makran or Sumatra faults. If an earthquake hits Makran, it may create a tsunami on the west coast. If it occurs in the Sumatra region — like the one in December 2006 —the east coast is vulnerable.
The nuclear power plants located on the coast are linked to the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services in Hyderabad for prompt tsunami alerts.
For instance, the Madras Atomic Power Plant located on the east coast has a tsunami alert system. Even if an earthquake of 9.2 magnitude in the Sumatra region triggers a tsunami, it will take at least three hours to reach the nuclear plant. With the Incois setting off an alert within a few seconds, officials will have sufficient time to attend to the emergency.

Indians growing taller, but slower

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 18: Indians are growing taller at a much slower pace
than people in European countries. According to city scientists, men in
India have turned taller by 0.50 cm and women by 0.22 cm in the last
10 years. This is in contrast to the decadal secular increase in height in
Europe by one centimetre for men and 0.70 cm for women.

A research study by the clinical division of the city-based National
Institute of Nutrition has revealed that the average height of adult men
and women in the country is 165 cm and 152 cm respectively. The NIN
team comprising Dr Raja Sriswan Mamidi, Dr Bharati Kulkarni and Dr
Abhishek Singh has gone through the anthropometric data of around
70,000 men and about 1.19 lakh women in the age group of 20 to 49
years to arrive at the finding.

Given the fact that India has made impressive progress on the
economic and health front, the average increase in height of Indians
should have been much more. "The secular increase in height has been
modest in India in spite of impressive economic growth," the scientists
noted.

An interesting finding by the NIN team was that people who consumed
milk daily had put in more height. The team also found some difference
in the height of people living in different States and linked the regional
differences to the varying quantum of milk consumed.

The scientists noted that milk consumption helped both men and
women in gaining height, though the increase in height was a littler
more in men. This shows that dietary intake also influences the overall
increase in the height of both men and women.

The NIN's is the first study on adult height and associated secular
trends in relation to socio-economic factors based on a nationally
representative sample.

Virus load: New DNA probe to tell doctors the number of copies of virus in hepatitis B patients

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 21: City scientists have designed a new DNA probe that
could accurately tell doctors the number of copies of virus in hepatitis B
patients for easy monitoring of the disease.

This is the first indigenously developed DNA probe for detection of "viral
load" (number of copies of the virus) in hepatitis B patients. It has 100 per
cent sensitivity result and can detect all sub-types of hepatitis B virus.
Further, the new DNA probe will cut down the cost of diagnostic tests as it is
designed in the country.

"During diagnosis of hepatitis B virus, chances are that certain sub-types are
not detected. Moreover, for the virus to be detected it has to be present in
certain number. Our DNA probe saves money for patients and help doctors to
change the treatment modalities as it tells them whether or not the patient is
responding to the treatment," said senior scientist Dr MN Khaja.

Dr Khaja and other city scientists Dr Naresh Yalamanchili, Dr Syed
Rahmatullah, Dr Madhavi Chandra, Dr Vishnupriya Satti, Dr Ramachandra
Rao and Dr M Aejaz Habeeb are part of the team that designed the new DNA
probe. They are from the Centre for Liver Research and Diagnostics, Owaisi
Hospital and Research Centre, and Department of Genetics, Osmania
University. Since the probe does not skip any of the virus varieties present in
the patient, it will give the exact viral load he or she is suffering from.

The higher the viral load the greater the severity of the disease. Hepatitis B
positive patients are put on six or 24 weeks of treatment regimen and during
this period the viral load is accessed at regular intervals. If the viral load
comes down, it means the patient is responding to the treatment. If the patient
is not responding, the doctor will change the treatment mode. The city team's
DNA probe helps in this process.

Soft music helps surgeons perform operations better; music in operation theatre gives better coordination

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 20: Dr Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna, MS
Subbulakshmi, Ustad Bismillah Khan and other great musicians and singers
have one thing in common in operation theatres: they inspire surgeons,
anaesthesiologists and nursing staff to perform surgeries more skilfully and
with better coordination.

The practice of listening to music in operation theatres while performing
surgeries is fast catching up in the country with more and more doctors and
paramedical staff playing soft classical instrumental music, ghazals and even
filmi songs. Doctors in some hospitals have made special arrangement to
listen to their favourite music, while a few corporate hospitals have set up
operation theatres and catheter labs with inbuilt speakers. In some hospitals,
patients, who are put on local or regional anaesthesia, are asked before hand
which type of music they would prefer in the operation theatre.

According to Dr N Ranga Bhashyam, senior gastroenterologist and former
honorary surgeon to the President, playing slow classical music in operation
theatre gives a sedative effect to patients, lessens irritation and provides a
sense of calmness to doctors. "Playing music during childbirth has a great
impact on the patient. Even violent people in mental hospitals can be
controlled through slow music of instruments like flute, violin and veena," he
adds.

Dr J Shiv Kumar, cardiologist, says he plays music in his cath lab to keep the
blood pressure and heart beat of his patients under control. "Any music
including rock gives a definite impact in theatre. It is fast catching up here as
many doctors believe that it gives them enough confidence," he adds.

Cancer surgeon Dr P Raghuram points out that playing soft instrumental
music soothes the mind of the surgeon. "The volume must be low and the
music should be only in the background. It encourages organised thought,
improves concentration and dexterity of surgeons In some theatres pop music
is played, but it detracts the attention," he says.

According to senior urologist Dr Kim Mammen, who conducted a study on
the impact of music on surgical staff, playing music in operation theatre
helped in "reducing the autonomic reactivity of theatre personnel in stressful
surgeries allowing them to approach their surgeries in a more thoughtful and
relaxed manner."

Dr Kim said they found that instrumental music was the most sought after
type of music, followed by FM radio, ghazals, English country, English
classical and Indian classical.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Resignations by legislators loyal of YS Jaganmohan Reddy: Pressure on the ruling Congress

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 23: Legislators loyal to YSR Congress Party president
YS Jaganmohan Reddy wanted to kill two birds with one stone, when they
submitted their resignations to their Assembly membership.

Though they know that their resignations will not bring down the
Congress government immediately, the Jagan camp is sure that it will
definitely put the ruling party on political tenterhooks. Secondly,
the Jagan loyalists are sure of retaining their seats in the
by-elections given the immense popularity their young leader enjoys
among the masses in districts. The Odarpu (condolence) yatra
undertaken by Jaganmohan Reddy has been receiving unprecedented
response from people, particularly women and the youth.

If all the legislators, who resigned, retain their seats and return to
the Assembly as YSR Congress Party members, the ruling party will be
in definite trouble. It's strength in the House will be on real test.
The Jagan camp's strategy is also to keep the political pressure
building on the ruling party while the Central Bureau of Investigation
goes on with its probe into the wealth amassed allegedly through
illegal means by Jaganmohan Reddy.

The resignations are seen as a tactical move to put pressure on the
Congress so that the country's prime investigation agency, often
dubbed by the Opposition as Congress Bureau of Investigation, does not
cross the Lakshman rekha (arrest of Jagan) as part of its
investigation. This is quite clear when Jaganmohan Reddy's mother and
Pulivendula legislator Vijayamma dashed off a letter to Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh alleging that the "CBI is being prompted" by the Centre
to conduct raids on the assets of Jagan and of those who had invested
in his firms.

The Jagan camp's decision to resign has not been taken on the spur of
the moment. It has been there on the minds of these legislators ever
since Jaganmohan Reddy returned to the Lok Sabha from Kadapa with a
never-before-attained majority. Vijayamma, too romped home from
Pulivendula Assembly constituency, which her husband Rajasekhar Reddy
once represented. But the legislators were waiting for some political
opportunity to justify their resignation.

The naming of late chief minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy has come in as a
god-sent opportunity for the Jagan group to hurry through the
resignations. This will help them gain sympathy from the public, as
YSR is still viewed as a messiah. The loyalists now plan a bus yatra
to districts to explain the circumstances leading to their
resignations. And if Vijayamma accompanies them, the Jagan camp will
only gain politically, making the electoral prospects of the ruling
party even bleak.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Harvesting ovaries, testes from dead wild animals: CCMB develops embryos from ovaries of dead endangered animal

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 12: Ever wondered that a dead animal could give life to young ones. Scientists at the city-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology have developed a major technique that could help generate young animals using the eggs and sperm of dead endangered or wild animals.
The CCMB’s technique will also help protect endangered or wild animals from possible extinction by perpetuating their generation. It involves harvesting of eggs and sperm from dead wild animals and cryopreservation for use in future to generate stem cells and propagate endangered species through cloning.
As endangered animals face the threat of extinction, harvesting of eggs and sperm from the dead ones is a major step forward in conserving scores of rare wildlife species for future generations. The CCMB team has not only obtained the egg cells (oocytes) from the ovaries of the dead animals, but also successfully fertilised them in laboratory to produce embryos.
"Our research is quite unique as we are utilising testes and ovaries of dead endangered animals, which otherwise would have gone waste. Using them we have produced embryos. But we could not move to the next step of transferring the embryos from the laboratory to the animal womb for want of permission. We have successfully demonstrated that ovaries and testes of even the dead animals can be used to produce their offspring at a later date," Dr S Shivaji, CCMB scientist incharge of Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES).
The oocytes would have implications in conservation of endangered animals since they can be cryopreserved. These oocytes could be used to generate embryos, which in turn could be useful to make young ones by embryo transfer. The embryos could also serve as a source for stem cells, while embryonic cells could also be used for nuclear transfer to generate young ones by cloning, Dr Shivaji said.
The CCMB scientists involved in the research project were Dr Brahmasani Sambasiva Rao, Dr Yelisetti Uma Mahesh, Uthanda Raman Lakshmikantan, Komjeti Suman and Katari Venu Charan, besides Dr Shivaji. Oocytes rescued from spotted deer and black buck have been cryopreserved at LaCONES. An ovary may yield as many as 30 eggs depending on the age of the dead animal.
"The ability to rescue gametes from endangered or wildlife species and to subsequently produce viable embryos holds tremendous potential as a means to increase the population size of endangered or wildlife species," Dr Shivaji said adding that its difficult to obtain oocytes from live animals as it is an invasive process for which the government may not give permission.
Application of reproductive biotechnologies for the preservation of endangered mammalian species is limited by several factors such as the lack of availability of species-specific biological material required for a better understanding of the fundamental biology of the male and female gametes.
"It is in this context that rescue of gametes from wild or endangered animals that have died unexpectedly is a worthwhile research tool for understanding the fundamental physiology of the species concerned and also for development of species-specific protocols for application of new emerging assisted reproductive technologies in endangered species," Dr Shivaji pointed out.

Garlic improves insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes, says IICT study

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 11: One may find it hard to connect the humble garlic with increasing the efficiency of insulin, but research by a team of scientists from the city-based Indian Institute of Chemical Technology has revealed that raw garlic is the best natural medicine for type 2 diabetes.
Regular intake of raw garlic cloves will help in not only improving insulin sensitivity but also attenuating metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome relates to health problems like obesity, decreased power of insulin and those related to the heart. Raw garlic will thus also help in bringing down one's body weight.
"Our work is interesting as it recommends diabetics to consume raw garlic to reduce insulin resistance," says Dr Sanjay K Banerjee, scientist, Division of Pharmacology, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology.
Stating that type 2 diabetes mellitus, characterised by peripheral insulin resistance, is a major lifestyle disorder of the 21st century, Dr Sanjay said it is for the first time that studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of raw garlic on insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes mellitus. Earlier, raw garlic has been reported to reduce plasma glucose levels in animal models of type 1 diabetes mellitus.
Dr Sanjay said the hypoglycemic (lowering sugar level) effect of garlic is due to the presence of allicin and sulphur compounds. The IICT-CSIR study showed that reduction of body weight gain after garlic consumption could be responsible for improving insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes.
"Raw garlic homogenate (grounded and mixed) has been the major preparation of garlic subjected to intensive scientific study, as because it is the commonest way of garlic consumption. Our study demonstrates that raw garlic homogenate is effective in improving insulin sensitivity while attenuating metabolic syndrome and oxidative stress," he pointed out.
Dr Sanjay's team comprised Raju Padiya, Tarak N Khatua, Pankaj K Bagul and Madhusudana Kuncha. They selected male Sprague Dawley rats and divided into three groups. One of the groups was fed with fructose as well as raw garlic for eight weeks. The rats fed with raw garlic showed significantly reduced serum glucose, insulin, triglyceride and uric acid levels, as well as insulin resistance.
Allicin is the major bioactive compound in raw garlic paste. When garlic is chopped or crushed, allinase enzyme, present in garlic, is activated and acts on alliin (present in intact garlic) to produce allicin. For best results one should take raw garlic as cooking it will inactivate the enzyme that converts alliin to allicin. However, garlic power can be used.

Faeces of wild and endangered species to tell if the animal is pregnant; CCMB develops technology on faecal steroid hormone assay

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 15: In a major effort to conserve wild and rare animals from extinction, scientists at the city-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology have perfected the art of finding whether or 
not an endangered animal is pregnant by measuring steroids present in the faeces.
Using the faecal matter to find out if a wild animal is carrying is a non-invasive process and thus the animal is not subjected to painful daily blood tests. Just collect the faeces in the morning, subject it to some chemical process and the result is out.
"To know whether an animal is pregnant through assisted reproductive technology, we need to analyse the blood samples on daily basis. For this we need to collect blood from the animal every day. Since the animal is wild, it should be put on sedation before collecting the sample. Sedating wild or endangered 
animals to sedation may reflect on its health. Our method of using faecal steroid hormones eliminates the need for blood analysis," observes CCMB senior scientist Dr S Shivaji.
Assisted reproductive technology is one of the methods adopted worldwide by scientists to keep the numbers of endangered species going up. In this technology, the female animal is brought to "heat" 
or ovulation through artificial methods like using hormones. Later, sperm harvested from a male animal is 
inseminated artificially. Once this process is over, it is difficult to monitor whether the task has resulted in 
pregnancy.
Even in cases of artificial implant of embryo developed in petridish, the animal has to be monitored for pregnancy. Analysis of faecal steroid hormones will do away with the hazardous process of sedating 
the animal on daily basis to collect blood samples. "There's the problem of pseudo pregnancy in cats, whether big cats or domestic cats. We can rule out pseudo pregnancy too through our tests," Dr Shivaji added.
The faecal steroid hormone study was first conducted by CCMB team on Asiatic lion, which is listed as a critically endangered species with a couple of dozen wild population left in the Gir forests. They 
successfully monitored the induction of oestrus and ovulation in the Asiatic lion using non-invasive faecal steroid assay.
"In addition to captive breeding, assisted reproduction using techniques such as semen collection, semen
cryopreservation, in vitro fertilisation, artificial insemination and embryo transfer could also facilitate propagation of the rare and endangered animals," he added.

Radiation for cell phones, cell phone towers: Cancer experts say they are as "harmful" as a cup of coffee or talcum powder

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Three months ago newspapers and TV channels the world over created a major public scare when they carried reports linking cell phones to cancers in human beings. They quoted the “deliberations” of the International Agency for Research on Cancer held in Lyon, France in the last week of May.
But now health experts debunk the concerns saying they were based on the “hyped or exaggerated” portrayal in the media of the carcinogenic potential of cell phone use. They also accuse the media of reading of isolated parts of the discussions from the IARC meeting. The IARC, which is controlled by the World Health Organisation, has not officially published its full deliberations and a complete report (monograph) is expected only next year.
This “isolated” reporting has only created unnecessary fears in the common man and triggered wide debate in India, which is fast emerging as a major cell phone hub in the region. Almost everyone in the world is exposed to radiofrequency-electromagnetic frequency (RF-EMF) of 30 kHz to 300 GHz from a variety of sources including cell phones, Bluetooth-enabled products, induction heaters, high-powered pulsed radar, mobile-phone base stations, broadcast antennas, and certain medical devices.
What had really happened at the IARC meeting, according to experts is there were suggestions to declare radiofrequency from cell phones as a “possible carcinogen”, and the meeting agreed to include RF-EMF in the list of items (Group 2B) that could possibly cause cancers after it failed to muster proper scientific evidence.
Cancer expert Dr Gopala Kovvali compared the possible harm that a cell phone would cause to that of a cup of coffee or pickled vegetables, a mouth-watering dish in India. He said cell phone use is no more dangerous than pickled vegetables, which too fall under class 2B carcinogens. Other items in the Group 2B include Styrofoam cups, automobile exhaust and common medications like valium.
That it was unnecessary media hype became clear after the IACR panel comprising 30 scientists from 14 countries officially released a summary of the deliberations in the Lancet Oncology Journal. The panel delved into as many as 40 studies but found "limited evidence" of radiofrequency-electromagnetic frequency carcinogenicity. It noted that similarly, studies examining mechanisms of carcinogenesis provided "only weak mechanistic evidence relevant to RF-EMF-induced cancer in humans."
“The evidence was reviewed critically, and overall evaluated as being limited among users of wireless telephones for glioma (a malignant type of brain cancer) and acoustic neuroma (cancer of nerve that links ear to the brain), and inadequate to draw conclusions for other types of cancers,” the team reported. The WHO, however, has not conducted any study of its own.
And this brings to debate what constitutes a “possible carcinogen” and is cell phone alone in this category? The IARC considers vegetable pickles and coffee too in its list of “possible carcinogens”. IARC has a long list of items that are definitely carcinogenic in nature and those that possibly cause cancers. At present IARC has placed radiofrequency from wireless phones in the Group 2B (possible carcinogens).
Consider this. Way back in 1991, coffee was placed in the Group 2B. The note against coffee in the IARC list says “there’s some evidence of an inverse relationship between coffee drinking and cancer of the large bowel; coffee drinking could not be classified as to its carcinogenicity to other organs”. In other words it means, as far as large intestine is concerned coffee is cancerous, but it is safe for other body parts.
Dr Gopala, who is also the executive editor of the Journal of Carcinogenesis, pointed out that after reading and seeing media reports he was “editorially excited” that a new source of cancer in humans was found. “I was sure that I could show the reports to my family and convince them to give up cell phones and save a huge amount of money. When I realised that the reports suggested that radiofrequency-energy from cell phones was not considered any more carcinogenic than coffee, as both are now in the company of other 
class 2B carcinogens, I gave up the idea, lest I be asked to give up coffee, as I am used to caffeine without which my brain freezes!”
What many had missed was that the studies that were discussed at the IARC meeting were conducted 11 years ago, much before the world caught up with the 3G technology. As Dr Gopala noted the old type of cell phones emitted 100 times more radiofrequency than the modern wireless instruments. In their over enthusiasm some enterprising researchers used “anatomical models” of human beings to drive home their argument that cell phone causes damage to the brain, particularly in children. Anatomical models cannot always reflect the true studies.
As Dr Gopala clarifies “looking at the pictures on TV of the brain that was impacted by the wicked RF energy coming from the cell phones, I was remorseful to have ever used the cell phone. I was especially saddened to hear that the brain of a child was more vulnerable to the harmful effects of the RF-EMF. Little did I know then that these conclusions were based on the anatomical models of humans”.
Incidentally, the IARC last week published a research report which says regular users of mobile phones were not statistically significantly more likely to have been diagnosed with brain tumors compared with nonusers. Children who started to use mobile phones at least 5 years ago were not at increased risk compared with those who had never regularly used mobile phones. No increased risk of brain tumors was observed for brain areas receiving the highest amount of exposure. The absence of an exposure–response 
relationship either in terms of the amount of mobile phone use or by localization of the 
brain tumor argues against a causal association.

============
Fact box
---------------------

* Cancer experts say radiofrequency and electromagnetic waves that come out of a cell phone are as “dangerous” as a cup of coffee. This is because the International Agency for Research on Cancer lists both coffee and cell phones under Group 2B. It regards both as “possibly causing” cancers. Other items in the IARC’s Group 2B of possibly causing cancers include vegetable pickles, polystyrene foam cups, automobile exhaust and common medications like valium (prescribed for anxiety disorders).

* The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a WHO body, did not declare that cell phone causes cancers. It did not find any strong evidence to link cancers with the use of cell phone. But newspapers and TV channels reported that the IARC studies had linked cancer to cell phones. In fact, IARC has not conducted any study on its own.

* IARC is now busy preparing a monograph on the proceedings of its  working committee consisting of 30 scientists from 14 nations. The full report will be ready next year. Whether the full report links cell phone to cancers and upgrade RF-EMF from “possible carcinogen” to “carcinogen” category is to be seen. However, IARC’s preliminary summary published in the Lancet Oncology journal says
there’s no proper scientific evidence that use of cell phone causes cancer of the brain.

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