Uric acid is a compound made of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, and is one of the components in urine. High amounts of uric acid in the blood could lead to many debilitating medical conditions such as diabetes and gout. However, detecting the compound in living cells without damaging the cells can be quite a challenge. Now, scientists from Visva- Bharati Santiniketan, West Bengal, Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology, Howrah and University of Calcutta, Kolkata have devised a novel way of detecting uric acid without disrupting the cell.
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While open defecation has well known health risks, toilets with sewage pits come with their own drawbacks. One of them is the contamination of ground water due to sewage leachate -- the water that seeps into the soil from the pit and has extremely toxic levels of nitrates, ammonium and organic carbon. These toxins are known to contaminate ground water making it unfit for drinking. Now scientists have designed a twin-pit toilet system that reduces the levels of nitrates, ammonium and organic carbon in the sewage water before it is being absorbed by the ground. This treated water, the researchers say, have low levels of toxins, making it safe and saving water bodies from contamination due to sewage.
Escherichia coli, commonly called E. coli, is a bacteria that can be found in the gut of many warm blooded animals, including humans. Although many strains of the bacteria are harmless, a few strains of E. coli are pathogens that causes diseases like food poisoning, urinary tract infections and pneumonia. A little known fact however, is that E. coli is also responsible for infections of the eye leading to conditions like conjunctivitis and keratitis.
A new study at IISc looks to uncover the secret behind the development of drug resistance in TB causing bacteria by testing the efficacy of various commonly available antibiotics. The researchers have found that a combination of commonly available antibiotics along with Augmentin, fights the development of resistance among TB bacteria. This study might throw light on developing new class of drugs that can help contain the spread of deadly tuberculosis, claim the researchers.
Social Capital is the various networks a person can form throughout his life time, with his relatives, friends, co-workers etc, which could become economically valuable. This could be someone from your network offering you a job or a loan or just an edge in a job interview, higher the number of people in your network, higher is the chance of you getting help from one of them. Now, researchers from the University of Iowa and University of British Columbia have looked at the effects of social capital on child nutrition in India.
The body’s immune system is one of the robust defense mechanisms. Now, scientists are exploring to use our immune system to fight some of the deadliest diseases including cancer by understanding how immunotherapy works and how drugs that are based on immunotherapy help our body fight cancers. In a recent study, researchers are working on understanding how Yervoy, a common immunotherapy drug against cancer, works in fighting against the disease. They are also looking at manufacturing similar cost-effective drugs that promise to bring down the cost of cancer drugs.
Foot and Mouth Disease is a highly infectious viral disease affecting hoofed animals like cattle, deer, sheep and goats. The disease is often fatal, mostly affecting domesticated animals and causing huge losses to their owners. The contagious nature of the virus quickly destroys entire herds. The culprit behind the disease, the Foot and Mouth Disease Virus (FMDV) or picornavirus, tweaks the cells of the infected animals and forces it to make copies of the virus.
Cyanide is any chemical compound that contains a carbon atom triple bonded to a nitrogen atom, called a cyano group. Some of the cyanide compounds are known to be extremely toxic with the ability to cause death within minutes. In a recent study, scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, North Maharashtra University and SV National Institute of Technology have developed a novel sensor that can detect the tiniest amounts of cyanide.
Foodborne diseases, caused by Salmonella, are responsible for 1 in 10 illnesses globally. Treating Salmonella infections using traditional antibiotics is turning to be a challenge because of the development of drug resistant strains. Now, a new study at IISc has developed nanotechnology based nanocarries using silica that can deliver very small dosage of antibiotics to the affected cells, thus hitting the right target. Using laboratory experiments, the researchers found that these nanocarries performed much better than conventional antibiotics in all stages of the infection. The design of these nanocarries are generic, and can be used for delivering different antibiotics, they claim.
Malaria, a deadly mosquito borne disease, kills about half a million people around the world, every year. Developing countries face a challenge in accurately diagnosing malaria in early stages due to the need of sophisticated diagnostic devices and skill. A new study at IISc has developed a technique to test for malaria with very small quantities of blood samples using laser light. By holding a single RBC using a pair of 'optical tweezers', this technique can detect malarial parasites in the RBCs even at an early stage, say the researchers. The researchers claim this technique can help save many lives if commercialised on a larger scale.