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Bengaluru | Oct 17, 2019
Living in Bengaluru not 'cool' anymore, shows study

Projected to be the third fastest-growing city in the world, Bengaluru's transformation from being the 'Garden City' to the 'Silicon Valley of India' has made it the modern face of the Indian economy. But all this development has come at a cost with the city losing 89% of its green cover in just forty years. Once known for its cool climate, it is now infamous for its horrible traffic and concrete buildings. Middle-class ghettos and affluent gated communities have replaced the famed lakes, and the gardens have been cleared for IT parks. Thanks to the exponential growth, poor urban planning and corruption, experts believe that the city is going to be unlivable in a few years. In a recent study, published in the journal Remote Sensing Application: Society and Environment, researchers at the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Albany, State University of New York, have explored the impact of increased urbanisation on Bengaluru. 

General, Science, Ecology, Health, Society, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Oct 16, 2019
Can a pill a day keep HIV away?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections are one of the most severe public health problems in India, with approximately 21 lakh HIV infected people reported in 2017. Sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender people, and people who inject drugs are at a higher risk of contracting the virus. Scientists across the world are exploring the possibility of a drug that can be taken daily to keep HIV infections at bay, which could help in reducing the spread of the disease and an overall prevalence, besides acting as a preventive measure for those under high risk. In a recent study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease, researchers evaluate if such a drug can act as a preventive measure in a developing country like India. 

General, Science, Health, Society, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Oct 15, 2019
Child mortality: India falls short of its targets as regional disparity looms, finds study

Child mortality is a leading cause of concern in many developing countries. Lack of necessary healthcare facilities has resulted in children's death due to infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and other complications related to preterm birth. However, most of these diseases are avoidable with inexpensive interventions like appropriate nutrition, breastfeeding and vaccination. A recent study, led by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA, and involving researchers from the UK, Switzerland, Canada and India, has provided some insights into how well India has fared in reducing child mortality. The study provides estimates of child mortality at a national, regional and state level in India and is published in the journal The Lancet Global Health.

General, Science, Health, Society, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Oct 14, 2019
Study shows how nurturing gut microbes can address malnutrition

The human gastrointestinal tract is inhabited by myriad microbes, which collectively form the gut microbiome. The interaction between the members of this internal 'ecosystem' can help us understand their organisation, growth, and how they react to what we eat. In summary, this tiny ecosystem in our gut determines our health. In a recent study, published in the journal Science, an international collaboration of researchers has investigated if these microbes hold a clue to the health of malnourished children.

 

General, Science, Health, Society, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Oct 4, 2019
Healthcare on the backburner in Bengaluru’s slums

In a recent study, researchers from the Bangalore Baptist Hospital, Bengaluru, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands and the University of Sheffield, UK, have attempted to find what ailments plagued the residents of Devarajeevanahalli.

General, Science, Health, Society, Policy, Deep-dive, Friday Features
Bengaluru | Oct 2, 2019
Local information on disease outbreaks help in the success of voluntary vaccination programs, suggests study

Human decision-making is critical to voluntary vaccination programs. In a recent study, published in PLoS Computational Biology, researchers from the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, have modelled the outcomes of such programs using game theory. Game theory is a branch of mathematics that studies how agents in an interaction make strategic decisions.

 

General, Health, Society, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Sep 30, 2019
Learning to read has added benefits to the brain, study finds

In the course of human evolution, our ability to read is a relatively newly acquired trait. Hence, it is highly unlikely that a region of the brain could have evolved specifically for reading, unlike much more ancient functions like seeing or hearing. But, how is it that we are capable of this unique feat that involves recognising words and interpreting their meaning? Reading requires the coordinated functions of several regions in the brain, particularly associated with visual sensory processing. In a recent study, an international team of researchers investigated the effects of reading on the visual system in the brain.This study was published in the journal Science Advances.

General, Science, Health, Society, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Sep 25, 2019
Have policies to conserve groundwater in Haryana and Punjab worsened Delhi's air?

The city of Delhi has been consistently ranked as one of the world's most polluted cities. As the monsoon ends, haze sets in, with Deepawali around the corner, bringing the entire city to a standstill with low visibility. Besides vehicular emissions, smoke from diesel generators and construction dust, a significant contributor to this problem is the practice of crop residue burning by farmers in Punjab and Haryana. A recent study, published in the journal Nature Sustainability, suggests that groundwater conservation policies, adopted by Punjab and Haryana, have changed the patterns of rice production. These policies, the researchers argue, have led to the concentration of crop residue burning into a narrower period, later in the season.

General, Science, Ecology, Health, Society, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Sep 24, 2019
When mechanics comes to the rescue of biology

The nucleus of the cell holds our genetic material and is a vital part of our cell. Apart from what they carry, how they look also plays a crucial role in diagnosing many diseases. In a recent study, researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, have developed a mechanical model to quantify the shape of the nucleus and predict the biochemistry within a cell. They have used this model to show how Hepatitis C virus changes the nuclear mechanics of cells affected by it. This study is published in the Biophysical Journal.

General, Science, Technology, Health, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Sep 20, 2019
India, an emerging hotspot for antimicrobial resistance in farm animals, finds study

Antimicrobials, a class of drugs used in humans and animals to treat diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, and parasites serve as a proxy for good hygiene and make up for the poor husbandry practices in animal farms in low and middle-income countries around the world. However, this dereliction comes with a considerable cost wherein, the overuse of these drugs has led to these microbes developing resistance against the very same drugs used to kill them.  Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in humans is linked to several animals, especially those that are raised for food. Despite this knowledge, it has received little attention in the world of animal science. A new study, published in the journal Science, has mapped the global trends of antimicrobial resistance in farm animals, with particular focus on developing countries, including India. 

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