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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
Bengaluru | Sep 19, 2019
High blood pressure? It could be in the air!

The leading cause of death in the world is not wars or famines but cardiovascular diseases, and worse still, we haven't fully understood what causes these ailments. Researchers believe it to be a mix of genetic factors, lifestyle changes, diet and environmental factors like air pollution, noise and our neighbourhood. In recent years, cases of high blood pressure and hypertension, which directly contribute to heart diseases, have increased, and those living in low and middle-income countries are the most vulnerable.  A recent study, published in the journal Epidemiology, aims to examine the associations between long-term exposure to ambient particulate air pollution, and prevalence of hypertension in adults from peri-urban India. 

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Bengaluru | Sep 17, 2019
 Bacterial remedy for the toxic pesticide Carbaryl

Carbaryl is one of the commonly used pesticides for agricultural as well as non-agricultural use. But like any other insecticide, higher concentrations of Carbaryl in the soil can have adverse effects on humans and other organisms. The need to completely remove it from the environment or break it down into less harmful substances is of primary importance. Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), and Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB), Delhi, have achieved a significant breakthrough in identifying bacteria which can clean up this pesticide from the environment and understanding exactly how the breakdown occurs.

General, Science, Technology, Engineering, Health, Society, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Sep 16, 2019
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds may not perceive visual changes in their surroundings, finds study.

The differences in a child’s response to visual changes could point beyond how the brain functions, how it remembers its surroundings and detects changes. It could also indicate the parents education level and their economic status, says a new study. The study, published in the journal Developmental Science, looks into how children from disadvantaged backgrounds perceive visual changes.

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Bengaluru | Sep 13, 2019
Study finds monkeys use gestures to communicate, just like apes.

Humans have evolved a complex system of communication expressed through language and primates are perhaps not far behind. Basic signals like facial expressions, gestures and vocalisations, used to share information, are used by humans and other primates. In a new study, researchers from the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru, have investigated and compared gestural communication in wild bonnet macaques (Macaca radiata), to those in other apes. 

General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive, Friday Features
Bengaluru | Sep 12, 2019
Researchers design a synthetic antivenom to treat snake bites from the Indian krait

The Indian krait is undoubtedly the deadliest of all venomous snakes in the country, and possesses the most lethal concoction of poisons. In a study, a multi-institute research team, led by the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad, have designed a synthetic antivenom with a nucleic acid aptamer which can diagnose Indian krait bites accurately and effectively.

General, Science, Ecology, Health, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Sep 11, 2019
Indians managing diabetes poorly, and many remain undiagnosed, finds study

India, the world’s capital of diabetes, has an escalating diabetes epidemic. Diabetes, a non-communicable disease, affects about 8.7% Indians today, and this number is predicted to hit 70 million by 2025 and 80 million by 2030. Although the exact reasons for this rapid rise in diabetes in the country are not yet clear, experts blame it on multiple factors. In a recent study, researchers from the USA, Germany and India have investigated the status of diabetic care among Indian adults. The findings, published in the journal BMC Medicine, present a grim picture of diabetes management in different states and socio-demographic groups in India.

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Bengaluru | Sep 10, 2019
https://gh.bmj.com/content/4/2/e001315.abstract

Antibiotics, drugs used to treat bacterial infections, have been pivotal in curing many bacterial diseases since its discovery in 1928. However, an emerging threat to using them is the rise of bacterial strains that are resistant to antibiotics. In a recent study, a team of researchers have used Drug Resistance Index (DRI) to measure the effectiveness of antibiotics against specific bacteria.

General, Science, Health, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Sep 9, 2019
Seeing climate change through the eyes of the Pikas

It’s getting tougher for the Royle’s pikas to survive in the Himalayas. But, these tiny, herbivores wouldn't move as they are particular about where they live. Restricted to rocky, mountainous terrains, they are now facing the wrath of rising temperatures and fluctuating environments. What would become of them in a few more decades? Can these fussy relatives of the rabbit find new homes and thrive? A new study by researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru and the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun tries to find out what the future holds for them, and that the findings are not good news.

General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Sep 6, 2019
Where did we Indians come from?

We have all heard of the Indus Valley Civilisation.It is well known for its granaries, drainage systems and systematically planned cities like Harappa and Mohenjodaro. However, not much is known about its rise and fall; although there are various theories. In a pair of new studies published in the journals Science and Cell, a consortium of international researchers, including those from India, have tried to decipher the origins of present-day Central and South Asian people. They have used recent advances in genetics to extract and analyse genetic material (DNA) from the remains of several ancient populations, including people from the Indus Valley Civilisation.

General, Science, Society, Deep-dive, Friday Features