Borrowing the concept of ‘critical transitions’ from ecological sciences, researchers have analysed some historic financial market crashes of the past to reveal that there is no critical slowing down or ‘early warning signal’, as is believed, prior to such crashes. However, there could be some wild fluctuations before major market meltdowns, they say.
Until now, health research in developing countries like India has focused on highly pervasive infectious diseases and malnutrition. But, it is becoming increasingly important to study brain disorders as well, says an international team of neuroscientists.
We have all heard of Concorde aircrafts, which can fly faster than sound. When flying at max speed, these aircrafts generate what is called a 'shock wave' – a kind of disturbance that occurs in nature when a body is moving faster than sound. Imagine the high energy generated! Now imagine harnessing that energy to kill off micro-organisms.
Scientists from the Indian Institute of Science have attempted, for the first time, to use shock waves to treat biofilm infections in living organisms – things like tooth decay and sinusities, which involve a layer of micro-organisms growing on a living surface.
It is estimated that there are around 6 to 12 million Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infected people in India, most of them are unaware about the infection. This virus which spreads by direct contact with the bloodof infected persons can cause severe liver complications which may leadto cancer. Among many strains of the virus, HCV genotype 3a is the predominant strain of the virus found in the Indian sub-continent. The good news however is that we may soon have a vaccine against this strain of the virus.
According to Dr. Dipshikha Chakravortty, a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, Indian Institute of Science. “What makes this organism intriguing is its ability to sense and signal in any kind of environment. To top it all, their strategies and evasion mechanisms are extremely intelligent.” Salmonella can form a niche almost anywhere in the body and affect the region; it is even suspected to be an indirect cause of gall stones and abortions, says Chakravortty. The repercussions that follow even after treatment, like general weakness, depression etc., can continue throughout a patient's life. Chakravortty's research group has been committed to studying this group of microorganisms for the last eleven years.
Plants today cover around 30% of the Earth’s surface -- slightly over 4 billion hectares. Five hundred million years ago, they were the only living organisms on land. Despite having large natural laboratories in our own backyards, many aspects of plant biology remain a mystery, one of them being how leaf shape and growth are regulated at the molecular level. Until now, it was thought that all leaves grow by cell division towards the base of the leaf, with progressively less growth towards the tip - a process called 'basipetal' growth. In a recent finding, Utpal Nath and his graduate student Mainak Das Gupta from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore have discovered and classified four types of leaf growth and have also identified a molecular regulator in the leaf that is responsible for this diverse patterns of leaves that we see in nature today.
“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”
- Arthur Conan Doyle
We all are aware of the fact that organisms can live in diverse environment conditions like hot, cold and high salinity. However it is hard to believe that there are organisms which can survive in boiling waters of hot springs or in highly acidic environments. Archaea which look like bacteria in size and shape are these strange organisms, which can survive in such extreme environmental conditions. Archaea however differs from bacteria in their genetic and biochemical make up and was recognized as a domain of life distinctly different from other two domains bacteria and Eukaryota (plants, animals, fungi & protists).
Hepatitis C, a blood borne virus that infects the liver to cause diseases like cancer and liver cirrhosis, infects more than 130 people worldwide. While existing antivirals cure 90% of infected patients, there is currently no vaccine and more than 5 lakh people die each year due to chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. A major problem in the treatment of this disease is the growing drug resistance of the virus and the side effects of the antiviral therapy that limit the dosage that can be safely used.