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Health

Bengaluru | Feb 21, 2020
Study shows an increase in hypertension and obesity among school children

Obesity has become a global concern over the last four decades as the number of obese and overweight individuals has tripled since 1975. In 2016, about one in five children across the world, aged 5-19 years, were overweight or obese and half of them lived in Asia. The obesity epidemic, which was once prevalent in high-income, developed countries, has today soared in low- and middle-income economies, particularly in cities. A similar trend is observed in the case of hypertension—a major risk of obesity. In India, many studies have assessed the prevalence of obesity and hypertension and the correlation between them. However, recent data on this, particularly regarding children and adolescents from urban and rural areas, is scarcely available. Now, a recent study by researchers from India and the UK, published in the journal BMJ Open, provides some insights into the current prevalence rates for obesity and hypertension among adolescents in Northern India.

General, Science, Health, Society, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Feb 5, 2020
Playing “spot the difference” with two bacterial proteins

Researchers find familial dissimilarities in proteins from two species of Mycobacterium.

General, Science, Health, Society, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 30, 2020
Addressing the double whammy of diabetes and hypertension

Diabetes is a chronic, life-threatening disease affecting over 8.8% of the Indian population. These individuals often need specialised medical care and support to keep the blood glucose levels in check and ward off complications. Hypertension, a condition where the blood pressure is high, is also chronic and is known to affect about one in three adults in India. As both these conditions are chronic and life-threatening, they pose a significant burden on India’s healthcare system. But, what happens when they coexist in an individual?
A recent study, published in the Journal of Human Hypertension, highlights the plight of individuals in India, with both hypertension and diabetes.

General, Science, Health, Society, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 29, 2020
Combating hidden hunger with indigenous foods

Indigenous tribal communities usually reside in harmony with their environment and possess the knowledge, passed down to them by tradition, of the nutrient-rich food available in their surroundings. These traditional foods are rich in proteins and micronutrients. Globally, almost a billion people are dependent on these foods for adequate nutrition. However, despite this treasure of knowledge and proximity to the biodiverse environment, the tribal communities face widespread malnutrition. A diverse diet, consisting of the specific indigenous foods known and accessible to these communities would fulfil the micronutrient need. But because of reasons like easy access to markets, food security programs and other opportunity costs of accessing diverse food sources, tribal communities are transitioning towards monotonous modern diets, which may contribute to hidden hunger in them.
Dr Suparna Ghosh Jerath of the Indian Institute of Public Health-Delhi (IIPH-Delhi) realised the importance of studying and documenting this treasure trove of knowledge of indigenous foods and food habits and exploring the possibility of utilising this knowledge to address malnutrition in the tribal communities.

General, Science, Health, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 24, 2020
What causes tau to tangle?

In a recent study, researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Mohali, have studied the mechanism behind the phase separation of the tau protein fragment that forms characteristic aggregates associated with Alzheimer's disease.

General, Science, Technology, Health, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 22, 2020

Prostate cancer occurs when the cells of the prostate gland—a male reproductive organ—start growing abnormally due to the elevated level of androgens. Androgens are hormones required for development and maintenance of the male reproductive system. Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) is the most commonly used treatment against prostate cancer, wherein the androgen production is reduced or the receptors, which are required for androgen to function, are blocked with the help of drugs like enzalutamide and apalutamide.

General, Science, Health, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 20, 2020
Study cautions about the use of designer receptors to control the brain

Chemogenetics is a technique that uses chemicals to understand how neurons are activated. It manipulates genes to place the neurons under the control of special receptors called DREADDS. Short for Designer Receptors Activated by Designer Drugs, these receptors only bind to an inert chemical called Clozapine-N-Oxide (CNO). In a recent study, researchers from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, and Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bengaluru, point out specific flaws in this technique.

General, Science, Technology, Health, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 13, 2020
New blood-based test to diagnose TB within an hour

An international study, led by researchers from the USA, which also included researchers from India, have designed a point-of-care testing approach for individuals suffering from TB. The study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine and supported in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, proposes a rapid, cost-effective, and readily accessible triage test kit that can be used at the site of patient care.

General, Science, Health, Society, Policy, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 3, 2020

In a recent study, Dr Sachdev and an international team of researchers have shown that India’s mortality rate due to severe acute malnutrition is a fraction of the WHO estimates. This study is published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

General, Science, Health, Society, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Dec 31, 2019
A journey through the year for science in 2019

As Newton’s famous quote, “standing on the shoulders of giants”, this year, science has made considerable advances, building on many feats achieved in the past years. New discoveries, insights and inventions in the areas of astronomy, biology, medicine, paleontology and physics marked the year. Here is a selected pick of ten such breakthroughs in science witnessed in 2019.

General, Science, Technology, Engineering, Ecology, Health, Society, Policy, Deep-dive
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