Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Eye cancer Detection Using a Smartphone...

New report suggests that it will be easy to spot eye cancer if you have a smartphone. The camera on our smartphones can detect eye cancer generally found in children under the age of five, reveals a British non-profit organisation working in the field of childhood cancer. The flash from a smartphone camera can easily spot retinoblastoma (Rb), the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT), which works in the field of childhood cancer, said.
Retinoblastoma is a rare type of aggressive eye cancer that almost exclusively affects young children generally under the age of five. It develops as a tumor in the retina, eye's light-sensitive tissue, but can be diagnosed with just a smartphone. Children who have the disease often have a white glow around their pupils that shows up when photographed with a flash.
Retinoblastoma usually occurs in two forms - Genetic and 'Non-genetic' form. Approximately, 45 per cent of children with Retinoblastoma have the heritable form of the disease. The tumor is considered to be one of the less common cancers of childhood. In UK, it accounts for only about 3 out of every 100 cancers occurring in children under the age of 15 years. Between 50 and 60 children are newly diagnosed each year. Early detection of the cancer could save a child's vision, eyes and life.
Julie Fitzgerald, mother of a 2-year-old kid Avery whose life was saved with the help of smartphone, said that she just had this gut feeling that something was wrong with her son's eye as she had seen odd spots in his eyes in photos, and then took her son to the doctor who confirmed the presence of cancer. Since the operation, Avery has made a full recovery but unfortunately lost his eye to the disease.
Spotting a white flash in a child's pupil isn't a definitive diagnosis of retinoblastoma, but it's always worth following up, say doctors. When caught early retinoblastoma is very treatable. Current technology and chemotherapies can save the baby's life and vision.
Any patient with a white spot in the eye, squint or any type of shine in the eye balls should be taken to the eye doctor immediately for test, failing which it becomes dangerous and the child may lose his eyesight and it may even affect the brain. The retinoblastoma disease, once detected, can be cured with surgery, laser surgery, or by chemotherapy. But even after surgery, the eye sight will not be saved in these cases, warn doctors


As a diagnostic tool, smartphone cameras are so effective that the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) even ran an ad campaign last year centred on the trick. They put up posters of children's eyes that flashed white when photographed thanks to the use of reflective ink. CHECT said that with the average person spending hours of their life staring at their phone screen, they should put the devices to better use to look for the eye disease. Its another example of phones we carry in our pockets every day can be lifesaving devices.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Slow Learners Vs Fast Learners



    Why are some people able to master a new skill quickly while others take longer? This was the question posed by many. Now, researchers have discovered exactly what happens in the brain of these two types of learners and why children are so adept at picking up new abilities.

Scott Grafton and colleagues from the University of California, the University of Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins University measured the connections between different brain regions while participants learned to play a simple game. During the six-week learning period, the research team examined the participants’ brains with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to track something different than typical fMRI studies. This technique measures neural activity by tracking the flow of blood in the brain, highlighting which regions are involved in a given task. They discovered that the quickest learners show different neural activity in comparison with the slower ones.

The investigators compared the activation patterns of 112 anatomical regions of the brain and measured the degree to which they mirrored one another. The more the patterns of two regions matched, the more they were considered to be in communication. By graphing the communication between brain areas over time, the researchers were able to identify differences in the brains of people learning the quickest to those learning the slowest. What they found is that the brains of the fastest learners showed gradually decreasing activity in their frontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex, the parts of the brain that manage executive function our capacity for thinking and planning. The other learners’ brains, in contrast, appeared bogged down in over-thinking, which significantly slowed the learning process.

Frontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex are thought to be most responsible for executive function. Executive function refers to a set of mental traits associated with goal-setting and achievement. These traits include the ability to make and follow through with a plan, resist impulses, pay attention and learn from past experiences. The frontal cortex isn't fully developed until young adulthood, which might explain why it's easier for children to learn languages and other new skills. The frontal cortex is certainly useful for higher-order thinking and complex tasks, but when it comes to learning simple tasks quickly, executive function seems to be a hindrance.

According to the study, it’s useful to think of our brain as housing a very large toolkit. When we start to learn a challenging new skill, such as playing a musical instrument, our brain uses many different tools in a desperate attempt to produce anything remotely close to music. With time and practice, fewer tools are needed and core motor areas are able to support most of the behaviour.

This study offers new insight into what happens in the brain during the learning process and sheds light on the role of interactions between different brain regions. Most importantly, the findings suggest that slow learners activate unnecessary parts of the brain for a given task, which is similar to overthinking the problem.

The team investigated the learning process as the function of a complex, dynamic network involving various regions of the brain, rather than trying to find a single spot in the brain that was more or less active. The team used a technique known as dynamic community detection, a method that employs algorithms to determine which nodes are incorporated into these clusters and how their interactions change over time.

This allowed the researchers to measure how common it was for any two nodes to remain in the same cluster while subjects practiced the same sequence some 10 times. Through these comparisons, they found overarching trends about how regions responsible for different functions worked together. Additional studies will search through why some people are better than others at shutting down the connections in these parts of the brains.

Fast Learner
Speed of learning is not the only important factor, however. Retention, recall, and transfer are also critical. Students need to be able to accurately remember the information they learn, recall it at a later time, and utilize it effectively in a wide variety of situations. Here are some tips to improve your speed of learning:
  • Keep a positive attitude: If you want to be a quick learner, optimism should be one of the first things you learn.
  • Develop passion for learning: When learning a new programming language or playing tennis or swimming, you will learn fast if the interest is intense in the respective subject.
  • Trying trying and trying without getting bored or irritated is the key to learn new stuff.
  • Keep Learning (and Practicing) New Things.
  • Review your mistakes and the suggestions and comments from those instructing you.
  • Devoting time regularly and sincerely.
  • Utilize Previous Learning to Promote New Learning.
  • Avoid feeling anxious. The most common barrier to learning quickly is anxiety. Anxiety causes our thinking processes to slow down and we react with our emotions and desire to run or hide, rather than sitting down to calmly think through the task at hand.
  • Teach What You've Learned to Another Person.
  • Use relational learning, which involves relating new information to things that you already know.
  • Learn the difficult stuff at the start of the day: We have lots of energy at start of the day, but it gets depleted as we make decisions and resist temptations.
  • If you are trying to acquire a new skill or ability, focus on gaining practical experience. If it is a sport or athletic skill, perform the activity on a regular basis. If you are learning a new language, practice speaking with another person and surround yourself with language-immersion experiences. Watch foreign-language films and strike up conversations with native speakers to practice your budding skills.
  • Do more,Think less: If you want to learn anything new, stop thinking too much about it.
  • We must give all of our attention to one topic at a time. Taking on too many tasks at once weakens our ability to learn.
  • Focus on learning in more than one way. Instead of just listening to a podcast, which involves auditory learning, find a way to rehearse the information both verbally and visually.
  • If you want to start learning anything new, you should openly and honestly admit that you do not know it. When you admit, you send a signal to your brain that you want to learn something new.
          Anyways think like a child if you want to learn faster… Learn to switch off part of higher brains not needed for task in hand.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Is Gossiping Good For You??

Girl Gossip

Gossip lovers have a great time ahead. Gossip is an age-old form of human communication which serves as an early-warning system to alert the group of events that may happen and prepares the ground. Why do people engage in gossiping? What do they gain from it? Do only women do it?

A new study claims that the act of keeping a secret exerts not only an emotional toll, but also physical damage. According to new research from Columbia Business School, keeping a secret is similar to carrying physical weight which can sap you of your energy.
As part of the study, scientists performed a series of experiments to assess the effect secrets had on a subject's ability to judge the steepness of a hill. Those that dubbed their secrets as preoccupying judged the hill to be steeper than it actually was. A secret can preoccupy your mind and the more you think about it, the more you use personal, intellectual and motivational resources. 'This is the same kind of outcome we see when people are carrying physical burdens, seeing the world as more challenging, forbidding and extreme,' added Slepian, an adjunct assistant professor of negotiations at Columbia Business School and co-author of the study.

The defined a preoccupying secret as one that causes daily concern and may be related to more serious life-altering issues like money, sexual orientation or a health concern, the researchers said. According to the study, one of the best ways to gain back your productivity is to simply get the burden off of your chest. He said it's important to remember that revealing the secret to the wrong person could do more harm than good. For those without a confidant, anonymous hotlines provide a way to reveal the secret, while keeping your identity a secret.

Another option if you cannot state the secret out loud is to simply write it down. For example, posting the secret on an online message board or a website that shares submissions confidentially, or hand writing the secret in a personal journal can help, the researchers added. Either way, Slepian argues there may be both physical and psychological benefits to getting a secret off your chest.

It’s believed that gossiping is a woman thing. But modern men cannot keep a secret. Researchers found that, contrary to the assumption that women can't wait to spill the beans, it is men who are first to pass on confidential information. Thanks to social media, men no longer wait to see their mates in the pub and typically share a secret within three hours. While almost half of men admit to passing on the information within minutes of first being told about it, women will keep it to themselves for at least three and a half hours before passing it on.

Gossiping can also be therapeutic, the volunteers' heart rates appeared to increase when hearing gossip, but lowered again once they passed on the information to someone else. A problem shared is a problem halved indeed. When you indulge in this so called ‘futile’ act of gossiping, you will soon realise that your stress is reducing and a new energised you will be ready to take up a fresh round of activities. When you think about a secret, you use up motivational resources. This can drain you energy and make simple tasks appear difficult. Telling a secret to someone you trust can help restore motivation.


Used properly, gossip can actually help us learn more about ourselves, better gauge our position in society and possibly protect ourselves from harm. By hearing about the misadventures of others, we may not make the same mistake. Positive gossip, about people doing something well, had “self-improvement value” for participants, as an example of how they themselves could do better.The negative gossip had increased self-promotion value and self-protection concerns.When you gossip for social bonding, share information that uplifts and inspires people. That means gossip is an integral part of our communication. But always remember some secrets are better left untold.

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Friday, May 1, 2015

What is being Happy??

Be happy Always


We all want to be happy, don't we? Being happy is one of our goals for life. Modern science defines happiness as the positive range of emotions that we feel when we are content or full of joy. Happiness is anything that can bring a smile to someone's face.

Scientists have found that although our genes and circumstances matter, a huge proportion of the variations in happiness between us come from our choices and activities. Although we may not be able to change our inherited characteristics or the circumstances in which we find ourselves, we can be happy by the way we approach our lives.

To be happy is not the ultimate aspect of life. It is the fundamental aspect of life. If you are not happy, what else can you do with your life? Only if you are happy, can other great possibilities open up. The first thing you must do is transform yourself into a joyous being.

Happiness is a fleeting emotion. We are dynamic individuals with many layers to us that feel tons of different emotions in any given minute. Happiness is not something you capture, and many of us sought to find it in external things like money, cars, big houses etc., but the fact is these are merely things after all.

Having a positive attitude feels better than a negative one. Practice seeing yourself in a positive and confident light. Self-affirmations (list of positive statements about yourself and your self-image) are another simple and powerful tool to train your subconscious to see yourself in a positive light. 

True happiness, contentment and joy need to be nurtured, cultivated and practiced. Nobody is jolly and elated all the time, but some individuals are definitely more fulfilled than others. Following are some of simple tips which any one can follow to be happy. 
  • When you get up in the morning, the first thing you should do is smile. At whom No one. Simply, because you are awake. 
  • Be optimistic. You can influence your happiness in a multitude of ways. It's the totality of all you think, do and experience. 
  • Caring about others is fundamental to our happiness. Helping other people is not only good for them; it’s good for us too. Our relationships with other people are the most important thing for our happiness. People with strong relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. 
  • Learning affects our well being in lots of positive ways. It exposes us to new ideas and helps us stay curious and engaged. It also gives us a sense of accomplishment and helps boost our self-confidence and resilience. 
  • Positive emotions like joy, gratitude, contentment, inspiration and pride feel good when we experience them. They also help us perform better, broaden our perception, increase our resilience and improve our physical health. 
  • Our body and mind are connected. Being active makes us happier as well as healthier. It instantly improves our mood and can even lift us out of depression. 
  • Sleep More: You'll Be Less Sensitive to Negative Emotions 
  • Accept and embrace your habits, your personality, the way you talk, looks, your voice, and most importantly 'You'. This means Own yourself. 
  • Stop worrying about other’s petty judgments - You don't need anyone’s approval to be happy or to follow your heart. 
  • Feeling good about the future is really important for our happiness. We all need goals to motivate us and these have to be challenging enough to excite us, but also achievable. 
  • No matter where you are or what you are doing, always practice gratitude. I.e. Thankful to God and people around you. People who practice gratitude are happier, less stressed and less depressed. 
  • Surround yourself with Supportive People. Making a good friend causes an increase of happiness equal to tripling ones salary. 
  • Learn to say NO. No to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health. 
  • Practice patience. Keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in. When the time is right, it’ll happen. 
  • Stop comparison. Most people are miserable not because of what they don’t have. It is simply because they are comparing themselves with someone else. 
  • Change your approach and attitude. See if you can stop criticizing others and situations. Shift from fault-finding to appreciation-finding.
  • Happy people embrace mistakes as learning experiences and not judging themselves too harshly. 
  • Meditation is often touted as an important habit for improving focus, clarity, and attention span, as well as helping to keep you calm. 
  • Practice forgiveness for all who has wronged you. When we hold on to anger, resentment and fear towards people, they are actually occupying a space inside of us, blocking us from feeling truly happy and fulfilled.
  • Keep an inventory of memories that can immediately make you smile. Whenever you are in a negative frame of mind, consciously and deliberately pick up any leaf out of this inventory and dwell on it. Reminiscing those happy moments gives a balanced perspective to your situation.
  • Happy people are not afraid to push their boundaries and try new things.


        The great and terrible thing of life is the universality of real challenge and joy. Love, death, fear, ambition, stress, terror and joy are all integral parts of the human experience. So try to accept the challenge to live happily.

         Pursue happiness as a worthy ambition. Peace and calm is a concept worth striving for and acknowledging. You’re going to be fine.There is a lesson to be learned from every situation. No matter how unfortunate the situation may appear, recognize the beautiful lessons waiting to be discovered. 

         The best way for improving personal productivity is just be happier. Happy people accomplish more. Self-love is the greatest challenge and blockage to happiness. Take some time every day to look in the mirror and say “I Love you!” All that matters is just “YOU”, only you can make your life happier by the way you perceive and express yourself and the world. Just remember, we all have something within us that no one else can duplicate. I.e. we are unique.. Embrace it and let the confidence that you feel positively spread into other areas of your life. The world needs more people who have come alive instead of wondering if they can.…

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Is Dandelions Future Rubber Biotechnology?

dandelions
Dandelions often referred to as an annoying weed. But something good is found now. This undemanding plant has now becoming the focus of attention of the rubber-producing industry. Researchers have discovered that dandelions have key components that they can use for rubber production.

Dandelions are the common name of the plant Taraxacum. They are native to North America and Eurasia, but a few species have become global weeds. The rubbery stems of dandelions are packed with a sticky and milky fluid often referred to as latex. This fluid is produced by specialized cells within the dandelion stem that pump out globular particles filled with polyisoprene, the main component of rubber.

Researchers at the Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME) at Germany's Münster University discovered the protein contained within a fluid located in the plant. They demonstrated, using the example of Russian dandelion, Taraxacum kok-saghyz, there is one special protein (called rubber transferase activator) which plays a key role. If the formation of the protein is prevented then no rubber is formed.

The scientists assume that the protein is necessary for the formation of the rubber-producing protein complex. They also identified an important protein which plays a key role in the formation of the long polyisoprene chains. These polymers give the rubber its typical properties,its elasticity and resilience.

Rubber latex
The identification of a key protein in dandelions makes natural rubber's biotechnological production closer to reality. Rubber trees, growing mostly on Southeast Asian plantations, are sensitive plants - giving the optimal yield of raw rubber only under ideal atmospheric conditions, an equal distribution of rainfall and bright sunshine, with the absence of strong winds. They are also extremely sensitive to a plant disease that has devastated rubber plantations in the tree’s original habitat, South America.

On the other hand, Dandelion, are tough weeds, that grow, even in poor soil, and are not overly sensitive to a changing climate.  Russian dandelions can be cultivated from “marginal land,” previously unusable for agriculture.

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content.  As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather.  So this will be a new alternative.

While dandelions are quicker to grow than rubber trees, pulling dandelions out of the ground and bashing up the roots to extract latex involves more processing steps than does tapping the bark of a rubber tree. To bring down production costs, genetic modifications can improve rubber production in dandelions.

Unfortunately, there is a lot more work to be done before natural rubber can successfully be mass-produced without using harvested latex. Identifying certain key components used in rubber synthesis works as a major step forward when it comes to making the process possible. Yet in the future, the plants could be used in laboratory experiments to examine the role of the rubber found in them…


We can hope that the dandelions could put the rubber industry through a cost-cutting revolution, and one day, rubber plantations will be a thing of past, and unused sols will be covered by rubber producing yellow flowers.

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Who invented Selfie stick??




                  Everyone knows what a selfie stick is. The selfie stick is a small, articulated monopod with a clever bit of plastic attached that can reach where human arms can’t, would catch on. Do you have any idea when the first selfie stick was invented? In fact, the selfie stick was invented before selfies themselves even existed. Actually it was invented twice officially....

          Although you might think the selfie stick has been around for only a couple of years, an early selfie stick, perhaps the first, was invented in the 1980s by Hiroshi Ueda. Hiroshi Ueda, a photographer who worked as an engineer for camera company Minolta, came up with the idea after struggling to get pictures of himself and his wife together while they were in Europe. He called it “telescopic extender stick” so he could take shots of himself and his family using his film camera.









                     A telescopic extender for supporting a compact camera includes a head member to be attached to the camera, a grip to be held and a telescopic rod member connecting the head member to the grip. A screw member is supported by the head member in a manner that the screw member is rotatable about the axis perpendicular to an extending and collapsing direction of the telescopic rod. The grip can accommodate there in the telescopic rod when the telescopic rod is completely collapsed. The extender was patented in 1983 but it didn't become a commercial success, as it was thought to be an "unnecessary" invention.

      The same idea has been reinvented multiple times with the introduction of the digital camera, the smartphone camera, Bluetooth technologies, and then online photo sharing services. Modern versions of the extender stick allow a smartphone to be held aloft and use a remote trigger to take the photograph or video.

      Thirty years later selfie sticks are now hugely popular, Canadian toy and gadget inventor Wayne Fromm takes the credit for this. He developed the Quik Pod, a hand-held extendable selfie stick in the early 2000s. He was unaware of Ueda's earlier design, though he too came up with the idea during a European holiday.

     The main difference between Ueda’s extendable stick and its modern-day counterpart is down to the state of the technology available at the time. Unlike today’s smartphones, film cameras had no way of showing selfie shooters like Ueda what kind of picture he was taking, so to overcome the issue, one of the designs included a camera with a small mirror on the front, close to the lens. Another factor is the portability of mobile phone cameras - traditional cameras were simply too heavy to put on the end of a long pole.

      Aimed at the adventurous travellers, Fromm’s product is impervious to sand and water and has all sorts of extras, like quick-release heads - to avoid the indignity of answering calls with the selfie stick still attached. While consumers can now choose from a wide variety of selfie sticks, the inventor says his Quick Pod comes with unique features that the competitors don't have, including a quick release, built in mirror, and high-quality materials.
Besides popularity, selfie sticks continue to have their critics. They say selfie sticks are obnoxious and potentially dangerous.

     Sensing a new market, several companies have launched devices designed to streamline the selfie-taking experience. The selfie stick (produced by multiple brands), which enables users to position their smartphone beyond arms’ reach to get better photo angles.




       Long before digital cameras even existed, the selfie stick was kicking around. This figure shows 90-year-old photo of a couple seemingly taken from a camera mounted on the end of a stick. . Arnold Hogg is the first person in recorded history to make use of what we now call a selfie stick. In short, no one "invented" the selfie stick. It rose out of the primordial ooze, like our slithering forebears, in response to an unambiguous and universal need for it.

      Selfie stick is so brilliant that its designer is totally unimportant. It solves a complex problem, a problem that plenty of major technology companies have failed at solving, with the dumbest and most logical solution out there.


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Friday, April 17, 2015

Please Have a Nap Before Exams.

Power nap

Late night studies, gallons of coffee followed by anxiety attacks were the study tools for student’s day before exam. Students don’t worry , there  is a better tip for scoring … Take a short nap … The Researchers at Saarland University in Germany have found that a power nap of just 45 minutes can boost memory by five times. A short doze helps you to retain information you have learned and significantly improves recall, scientists said, meaning naps really could help students revising for exams.

The scientists said that during sleep, bursts of brain activity known as sleep spindles, a rapid series of peaks on EEG, play an important role in consolidating newly learned information.

For the sleep study, the researchers tested the memory of 41 volunteers who had been asked to remember specific words and word pairs. Then, half of the participants took an hour long nap while the others watched a DVD. Afterward, they were retested for their memory of the words. In addition to revealing that those who enjoyed a little snooze performed five times as well as those who hadn't, the results showed that the volunteers' post-nap memory was just as good as it had been before the nap.

The researchers examined brain activity to determine how naps seemed to improve memory. The hippocampus, a brain region known to play a role in memory consolidation, transfers learned information into long-term memory storage after the information is learned. Electroencephalogram (EEG) tests revealed that the brain's activity during sleep seems to supercharge the hippocampus's ability to consolidate information.

Professor Axel Mecklinger said a nap of just 45 minutes to an hour ‘produces a five-fold improvement in information retrieval from memory’

‘A short nap at the office or in school is enough to significantly improve learning success. Wherever people are in a learning environment, we should think seriously about the positive effects of sleep,’ says Axel Mecklinger.

“Strictly speaking, memory performance did not improve in the nap group relative to the levels measured immediately after the learning phase, but they did remain constant. A concentrated period of learning followed by a short relaxing sleep is all that's needed.”

Lack of sleep is known to increase the risk of some diseases like heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Sleeplessness at work is a big problem. Studies have affirmed that short naps can improve awareness and productivity. Napping can be seen as a quick reboot or boost for the brain. When you take nap longer than 30 minutes, you end up in deep sleep, that’s why you feel groggy and almost more tired while you take long naps.

The researchers still don't know why some memories are strengthened during a short nap while others aren't. Short naps were not associated with improvement in item memory, the ability to remember phone numbers, for example, or a friend’s name, the team says. According to the researchers, these findings suggest that a short nap can significantly boost associative memory, ability to recover a memory associated with a place or event, a link between items that are unrelated, such as the name of a person we have just met.

The most natural time to take a nap is in the afternoon sometime between 2 and 4pm. The advantages of napping include:

  • Increased alertness and focus
  • Higher energy levels throughout the day
  • Increased motor performance (such as reaction time) and reduced mistakes and        accidents
  • Decreased moodiness
Taking the right kind of nap depends on your goals. For the office a 10-20 minute offers light sleep, giving you a boost of energy, while an hour-long nap, which involves slow-wave rest, consolidates memory, good for students.

As our day wears on, even when we get enough sleep at night, our focus and alertness degrade. The naps are a great way to relieve stress and to boost mood and productivity.  A nap can rekindle your alertness and have your neurons back up and firing on high in as little as 15 to 20 minutes. This research suggests that a little midday shut-eye can bring a dramatic improvement in our ability to retain information.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Chameleons: Your Secret is out….!!!!

Chameleons
We know that the Chameleons are lizards that are part of the scientific family called Chamaeleonidae which can change their colour… How do chameleons change their colour? Swiss scientists have found the answer to this riddle.

Most people believe that Chameleons blend with nature to escape from predators … But is it really so??  Chameleon can run up to 21 miles per hour and can avoid most predators quite easily.  Therefore camouflage is their secondary function. Light, temperature, and emotional state commonly bring about a chameleon's change in colour. The chameleon will most often change between green, brown and grey, which coincidently often match the background colors of their habitat. The amazing features of chameleon are more. They also have parrot-like feet, eyes that can look in two different directions at once and long tongues and tails.

Earlier claim was that chameleons change their colour by manipulating specialized cells called chromophores that contain different colors of pigment. But latest version is something interesting and new. The newest study shows that chameleons have a mobile “lattice” of nanocrystals on the surface of their skin, which come together and disperse thereby shifting the wavelength of light reflected by the reptile. Researchers reveal chameleons use futuristic nanotechnology to carry out their extraordinary colour changes.


To discover how the chameleons switch from one colour to another, the researchers employed both quantum physics and in evolutionary biology. Scientists from University of Geneva studied the panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis), native to Madagascar, which has one of the most impressive colour displays in the chameleon kingdom. They studied the skin of the lizards using spectroscopy and have found that the lizards possess a layer of skin cells that contain floating nanocrystals. The tiny crystals called iridophores are roughly evenly spaced throughout the cell and this spacing determines the wavelength of light that the cells reflect. Iridophores contains nanocrystals made of guanine, one of the four key components of DNA.

The guanine nanocrystals are arranged in a lattice throughout the cell, the spacing of which determines the cell’s colour. I.e. chameleons switch colour from green to red by actively changing the spacing between these tiny cellular crystals. When the chameleon is calm, the crystals were found to be organised into a dense network, reflecting blue wavelengths most strongly. When excited, the chameleon was found to loosen its lattice of nanocrystals by about 30%, allowing the reflection of yellows or reds. The chameleons change the structural arrangement of the cells by relaxing or exciting the skin, which leads to a change in colour.

Besides the layer of iridophores an additional layer where the cells were much bigger and more chaotically organised is also spotted. This layer reflects infrared light which prevent the chameleon getting too hot in the tropical sun. I.e. why chameleon is really cool…

"Chameleons invented something completely new in evolution," Prof Milinkovitch of the university, said." They split the iridophores into two layers, one that is specialised for colour change... and one to reduce the amount of energy absorbed by the animal.

While the new study sheds some light on the chameleon, there's still a lot of confusion regarding the animal. The scientists are yet to work out how chameleons cause this change, but it could be due to cells shrinking or expanding, giving the crystals more or less space to fill. More investigations may need in this matter to unveil the mystery further…



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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Drink Water Eat Bottle…!!!

           
        The ever-growing pile of plastic water bottles can now be stopped. Edible Water bottles are on their way… Inspired by techniques from molecular gastronomy, the Ooho is a magical way to have your bottled water and eat it, too. Ooho is the biodegradable blob bottle that could help to eliminate one of the world’s biggest environmental threats- plastic pollution. 

          This will mark as the beginning of the end of plastic pollution. The Ooho orbs are meant to reduce carbon emissions thus ending epidemic plastic pollution. The Ooho bottle's composition has been likened to that of a jellyfish or a breast implant. Due to it being biodegradable, even if you didn't want to eat the bottle, throwing it away still wouldn't have a negative effect on the environment.

          Instead of creating a bottle and then filling it with water, the design student Rodrigo García González and his team has created an edible Ooho water bottle. This may look simpler on the surface, but they created thousands of prototypes before in an attempt to slowly perfect the prototype. They used a process that allows the bottle to take shape as it coalesces around the liquid.

         González and his team first took a frozen ball of water and dipped it into a calcium chloride solution, which formed a gelatinous layer. Then, the ball is soaked in sodium alginate, another solution made from brown algae extract, which encapsulated the ice in a second squishy membrane to reinforce the structure. Keeping the water in the algae solution for long periods of time allows the mold to become thicker and stronger. This refreshing drink of water doesn’t require a separate vessel like a bottle or a cup.

           

I.e. the water is encapsulated in a double gelatinous membrane. This double membrane protects hygienically the inside and allows locating between the two layers identification labels without any adhesive. . It is said to work like an egg yolk and holds its shape very well for being such a thin membrane. Thus final package is simple, cheap (2ct/unit), resistant, hygienic, biodegradable and even eatable. The method is adapted from a culinary technique known as spherification, the technique of shaping liquids into spheres, first pioneered in labs in 1946.

           Even though plastic offers a convenient solution, it generated enormous amount of waste and health hazard. Ooho is more like a fruit. One blob contains about 4cl of water, the equivalent of a sip. Several of these are packaged in a similar thicker membrane, like the skin of an orange. Therefore makes transporting the object more difficult than a regular bottle of water. Other challenges include figuring out how to make the bottle re-sealable which makes it a one-serving one-time-use item.

            Preparing these things at home also has a climate benefit, as it doesn't involve the fossil fuels and CO2 emissions of the bottle-manufacturing process. The Ooho is a simple and inexpensive alternative to plastic packaging. So simple, in fact, the designers predict that consumers will eventually cook them up in their own kitchens. Although the shape isn’t a typical water bottle, the designers are hopeful that they can scale their product for commercial distribution.

    In an ideal world, Ooho would replace the 50 billion plastic bottles that Americans consume each year. Of course Ooho is a valiant effort in the name of the environment. It signals the beginning of a new way to think about food packing.The Ooho is a creative, healthy, and earth conscience alternative to plastic water bottles. Made of natural ingredients Calcium and Brown Algae, it’s something cheap, sustainable, and durable. This will have a positive impact on the world. In fact the designers predict that consumers will eventually cook them up in their own kitchens.

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

A chemical Found in Ayahuasca would reverse Diabetes

Ayahuasca

   Every year more than 380 million people are affected by Types 1 and 2 diabetes worldwide . Diabetics are a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body's cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience polyuria (frequent urination), they will become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia). A new line of treatment for diabetes was found by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai …  They found a chemical  in ayahuasca has the potential to regenerate pancreas cells that have been lost to diabetes.

       Islets are clusters of cells scattered throughout the pancreas, which include cells that sense sugar in the blood. Within each islet are several types of cells, which work together to regulate blood sugar. One cell type is the beta cell. Beta cells sense sugar in the blood and release the necessary amount of insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. The loss of these cells means the body can no longer produce insulin, the hormone required to convert food into energy for the body’s cells. 

       Although many drugs exist to control the symptoms of diabetes, currently there is no reliable way to replace beta cells and cure the disease. So the best possible way is Beta cell regeneration. This can be done in two ways: stem cells- create stem cells and then transplant them or take a drug that makes your own beta cells grow. Even though the stem cell transplant research is promising, it involves an invasive procedure and it has difficulty in meeting massive demands.

        Currently, there are many medications/drugs that can control the symptoms of diabetes but there is no reliable drug or chemical that can successfully replicate the beta cells.The latest researchers show that a new drug called harmine triggered beta cell growth. Harmine occurs naturally in a number of plants around the world. It’s one of the ingredients in the psychoactive mixture ayahuasca, which is used by some indigenous people for religious purposes. It is found that be potentially used to regenerate lost pancreatic cells, which would then reverse diabetes.

       Loss of insulin-producing beta cells has long been recognized as a cause of Type 1 diabetes, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys beta cells. In recent years, researchers have concluded that a deficiency of functioning beta cells also contributes importantly to Type 2 diabetes. Thus, developing drugs that can increase the numbers of healthy beta cells is a major priority in diabetes research. This chemical is showing the most promising result in treatment of types 1 and 2 diabetes.

        Andrew Stewart, the director of the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City says, "In children and adults with type 1 diabetes, they have lost 99 percent of their beta cells, so they cannot make enough insulin. That's the cause of their diabetes."

      As humans develop, each cell divides into two, leading to many more cells in subsequent generations as organs form. In the case of beta cells in the pancreas, most of this multiplication comes in a burst during the first year of life and then declines during childhood, leaving a limited supply to last a lifetime. During this burst, about two percent of a child’s beta cells are dividing at any one time. The current study found that harmine re-creates roughly the same amount of beta cell division, both in cell and animal tests.

       To confirm that harmine would cause beta cell growth, the team took islets from the pancreases of deceased human organ donors. Then, they transplanted the islets into diabetic mice. They used far fewer than were necessary to cure the mice’s diabetes. Dosing the mice with harmine triggered the beta cells to multiply enough that they could restore the mice’s blood sugar levels to normal.

     Stewart cautions that harmine itself isn't the answer. Instead, harmine might inspire similar drugs that hone in on beta cells and leave the rest of the body, especially the brain, alone.

Ayahuasca
       The researchers identified dual-specificity tyrosine-regulated kinase-1a (DYRK1A) as the likely target of harmine and the nuclear factors of activated T cells (NFAT) family of transcription factors as likely mediators of human beta cell proliferation and differentiation. Using three different mouse and human islet in vivo-based models, they show that harmine is able to induce beta cell proliferation, increase islet mass and improve glycemic control. These observations suggest that harmine analogs may have unique therapeutic promise for human diabetes therapy. Enhancing the potency and beta cell specificity of these compounds are important future challenges.

     The researchers believe that beta cell regeneration will play a key role in ultimately curing type 1 diabetes and If successful, this early research could lead to drugs that restore beta cells in people with type 1 diabetes realizing the vision of a future free from insulin therapy.

    Beta cell regeneration is believed to be the answer and ultimate cure for diabetes, but we still have a ways to go.  The team’s discovery is another important step toward developing a medication that may someday reverse diabetes.


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