Saturday, November 22, 2008

Green Chemistry: Indian college laboratories to go green

November 22, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 21: Chemistry labs in colleges and universities will not smell foul or emit dense chemical fumes posing danger to the health of students, if the Department of Science and Technology has its way.
The DST has formulated a concept what it calls "Green Chemistry" to protect the health of students and teachers and keep the environment free of chemical pollutants. The DST's move comes in the wake of ban on smoking in public places.
A task force set up by the DST has prepared a set of guidelines for all educational institutions across the country as part of the Central government's efforts to make chemistry learning ecologically and health friendly.
The chemistry lab tests now conducted in most of the colleges and universities in the country were introduced more than 50 years ago.Many of these experiments, particularly involving toxic chemicals like liquid bromine, potassium cyanide, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, are not at all safe to human health.
The DST held a series of meetings including in Hyderabad before arriving at the new guidelines in the form of a monograph. It wants to reduce or eliminate the use and generation of substances hazardous to human health and environment, in educational institutions.
The Andhra Pradesh State government has expressed its willingness to introduce the Green Chemistry concept. "We are holding talks with universities and the Board of Intermediate Education. We are seized of the issue and take a decision on the implementation of new guidelines after taking into consideration the suggestions from our educational institutions," Prof KC Reddy, chairman of AP State Council of Higher Education, told this correspondent.
According to the new guidelines, wherever practicable, synthetic methodologies should be designed to use and generate substances that posses little or no toxicity to human health and the environment.
Chemical products should be designed to preserve efficacy of function while reducing toxicity. The use of auxiliary substances like solvents and separation agents should be made unnecessary wherever possible and, innocuous when used.
Under the new guidelines tests with mercury, arsenic, cadmium, lead, bismuth and chromium salts, which are toxic, will be excluded from syllabus meant for the undergraduate general stream students. But these tests may be kept for students of honours course for demonstration only.
College managements should avoid lab experiments using organic solvents like ether, petroleum ether or ethyl acetate. Instead they should use ethanol and methanol. Institutions should use alternative reagents which are not only eco-friendly but also be easily available anywhere in the country in bulk quantities at very cheap price.
The guidelines assume significance as the conditions in many laboratories for doing inorganic analysis by conventional methods in the undergraduate level are at all not eco-friendly. The gases are toxic and causes health-hazards. Insufficiency of exhaust fans remain a big problem. Sometimes experiments are carried out in closed doors in hot and humid conditions. Moreover, most of the labs not properly
Students often fall victim of this bad infrastructure. The acid fumes, which are toxic, pollute the atmosphere.

Some notable guidelines

1. Direct use of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas generated from Kipp’s
apparatus must be avoided.

2. A better alternative for hydrogen sulphide in inorganic group
analysis is highly desirable and efforts should continue to find one.

3. Rampant use of concentrated acids like nitric oxide (HNO3),
hydrochloric acid (HCl) must be avoided.

4. Ammonia bottles must always remain tightly corked. Chemical tests
using concentrated acids or ammonia must be carried out in fume-
cupboard. The gases from the exhaust may be passed through alkali
solution (preferably lime water) for absorption. The nitrite or nitrate
salts of calcium may be used as fertiliser.

5. Fire extinguisher, first aid kit, eye shower should be kept ready in a
particular common place. Hand gloves, safety glasses, and aprons must
be made compulsory during lab work.

6. Use of chemicals like carbon tetrachloride, benzene should be
avoided and can be substituted by toluene or acetic acid in butanol.

7. Experiments involving conductometry, polarimetry, potentiometry,
pH metry, colorometry, polarography, spectrophotomery, requires
chemicals in very low concentrations and have no negative influence
on the health or environment, hence these experiments may not need
any change or alterations.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Take Orange Juice And Beat Cigarette Smoke-related Health Problems

November 21, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 20: A glass of lemon or orange juice four times a day will help prevent life-threatening lung disease, emphysema, in cigarette smokers and victims of second hand smoke.
A group of scientists from Dr BC Guha Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology has found that daily intake of vitamin C will help prevent emphysema, an irreversible disease characterised by destruction of the
lung alveolar cells causing enlargement of airspace. There's no effective
treatment and it will ultimately lead to morbidity and death. About 15 per cent of smokers suffer from the problem.
The team conducted work on guinea pigs, which are close to human beings in anatomical and physiological functions in certain aspects.
"Guinea pig lung has anatomical similarity with human lung and also the guinea pig lung shows cigarette smoke-induce pathophysiological response similar to that of human lung. If the results obtained with guinea pigs are extrapolated to humans, then 2 grams of vitamin C per day, preferably in divided doses 500 mg, 4 times a day, should prevent emphysematous lung damage in smokers," Dr Indu B Chatterjee, one of the researchers, told this correspondent.
At present doctors try to manage the problems caused by emphysema by giving bronchodilators and oxygen therapy. Globally, including India, one out of 75 persons suffers from this disease. About 95 of emphysema cases are caused by cigarette smoking. However, only 15 per cent of the smokers are afflicted by this disease.
"The mechanism of cigarette smoke-induced emphysema is not clear. Cigarette smoke contains about 4000 compounds and it is a conjecture how many of these are responsible for causing emphysema. We have isolated and characterised one single compound, p-benzosemiquinone, from cigarette smoke, which appears to be the major cause of cigarette smoke-induced emphysema in a guinea pig model," Dr Chatterjee said.
The team has also patented a special filter, which traps p-benzosemiquinone from the mainstream cigarette smoke. The smoke coming out of this filtered cigarette does not produce emphysema in a guinea pig model.
"We have delineated the mechanism of action of cigarette smoke and also p-benzosemiquinone and prevention of emphysema. Vitamin C, at a moderately high dosage, almost completely prevents cigarette smoke or p-benzosemiquinone-induced emphysema," Dr Chatterjee added.
Vitamin C, abundantly present in lemon, orange and other citrus fruits, is a strong antioxidant. The team has also determined the modulatory effect of vitamin C in preventing pathophysiological events.
The researchers exposed vitamin C-restricted guinea pigs to cigarette smoke (five cigarettes daily; two puffs per cigarette) for 21 days with and without supplementation of 15 mg vitamin C per guinea pig per day.
Damage to lung including lung injury was evaluated. "Exposure of guinea pigs to cigarette smoke resulted in progressive protein damage, inflammation, apoptosis and lung injury up to 21 days of the experimental period.
Administration of 15 mg of vitamin C/guinea pig/day prevented all these pathophysiological effects," Dr Chatterjee pointed out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chandrayaan-1 formally begins its two year mission to the earth's natural satellite

November 17, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 16: Chandrayaan-1 formally began its two year lunar mission on Sunday with the Indian Space Research Organisation switching on some of the scientific equipment including the terrain mapping camera and the lunar laser ranging instrument.
The terrain mapping camera took three-dimensional images of the lunar terrain, the first-ever spacecraft to do so. With the successful beaming back of images by the terrain mapping camera to the ISRO's centres, India became the first country in the world to have mapped the Moon in length, breadth and depth. Thus far only astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin have observed the Moon in three dimensions. Chandrayaan-1's images of the Moon are the first ones to be seen in 3D through lens.
According to ISRO director S Satish, the terrain mapping camera took "breathtaking pictures of the lunar panorama".
The pictures will be processed on Monday. This will give ISRO scientists what exactly lies hidden on the Moon, as this will be the first view of the Moon in three dimensions.
The lunar laser ranging instrument and terrain mapping camera are two of the 11 scientific instruments on board the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. The laser equipment was turned on when the spacecraft was passing over western part of
the Moon’s visible hemisphere.

"Preliminary assessment of the data from laser instrument indicates that the instrument’s performance is normal," he said. The instrument sends pulses of infrared laser light towards a strip of lunar surface and detects the reflected
portion of that light. With this, the instrument can very accurately measure the height of Moon’s surface features.
According to ISRO, the laser instrument will be continuously kept on and it takes 10 measurements per second on both day and night sides of the Moon. It provides topographical details of both polar and equatorial regions of the Moon. Detailed analysis of the data sent by LLRI helps in understanding the internal structure of the Moon as well as the way that celestial body evolved.
ISRO also turned on radiation dose monitor on Sunday. It might be recalled that the Moon Impact Probe symbolically carrying the Indian tricolour was ejected onto the lunar terrain on Friday.
The terrain mapping camera has been functional for quite some time now. It has already sent pictures of the Earth and the Moon, though from a longer range. Now it is taking pictures from a close angle formally heralding the beginning of the Chandrayaan-1's two year mission to the lunar world.
The pictures and other scientific data sent by Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft from lunar orbit have been received by antennas of Indian Deep Space Network at Byalalu. The spacecraft operations are being carried out from the Satellite Control Centre of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network at Bangalore.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

DRDO Golden Jubilee: The Next 50 Years

November 16, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 15: The successful test-fire of Shourya missile earlier this week has pushed India into a special league of nations with the most modern weaponry and striking power. It's indeed kudos to the scientific brain power of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, which is currently celebrating its golden jubilee year.
Shourya is just another feather in the cap of the DRDO. In the last five decades DRDO has indigenised technologies through constant research and improvement. The US imposed sanctions did not deter it from going ahead with its mission to make India a superpower.
Apart from developing the world lightest combat aircraft, the LCA, the laboratories attached to the DRDO have perfected the art of missile technology. They have also established India's superiority in electronic warfare systems by developing the state-of-the-art EW systems that would fool the enemy aircraft and missiles.
The Agni series of missiles have made India self-sufficient in defence
system. The Agni 5, under development, will have a range as far as 5,000 km, capable of hitting targets even in Europe. The DRDO is also planning to develop and produce super hypersonic missile systems that would fly quite low with super speed, seven to eight times the speed of sound. Shourya missile flew at five times the speed of sound. The next generation of missiles is an improvement over Shourya technology.
The DRDO was formed in 1958 from the amalgamation of the then already functioning Technical Development Establishment of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development and Production with the Defence Science Organisation. The DRDO was then a small organisation with 10 establishments or laboratories. Over the years, it has grown multi-directionally in terms of the variety of subject disciplines, number of laboratories, achievements and stature.
Today, DRDO is a network of more than 50 laboratories which are deeply engaged in developing defence technologies covering various disciplines, like aeronautics, armaments, electronics, combat vehicles, engineering systems, instrumentation, missiles, advanced computing and simulation, special materials, naval systems, life sciences, training, information systems and agriculture.
It is now backed by over 5000 scientists and about 25,000 other scientific, technical and supporting personnel. Several major projects for the development of missiles, armaments, light combat aircraft, radars and electronic warfare systems are on hand and significant achievements have already been made in several such technologies, according to DRDO.
The thrust areas include integral ram rocket engine, multi-target tracking capability, homing guidance using seeker and networking of radars.
The Agni series of missiles, brainchild of former President and eminent defence scientist DR APJ Abdul Kalam, gave India an edge over its neighbours. Agni is an intermediate range ballistic missile. Agni-I used solid propulsion booster and a liquid propulsion upper stage, derived from Prithvi, essentially to prove the re-entry structure, control and guidance.
The strap-down inertial navigation system adopts explicit guidance, which has attempted for the first time in the world. It uses all carbon composite structure for protecting payload during its re-entry phase.The DRDO has also developed, though in association with Russia, BrahMos, which is a supersonic cruise missile and can be used against ship and land targets. It has a range of up to 300 kms. The missile is
uniquely configured for installing in ships, submarines and aircraft and on ground vehicles.
Another missile, Prithvi, has higher lethal effect compared to any equivalent class of missiles in the world. Prithvi is a unique missile today having manoeuvrable trajectory and high level capability with field interchangeable warheads. This system is now being configured for launching from ship, increasing its capability as a sea mobile system.

DRDO Golden Jubilee: LCA Puts India Ahead

Light Combat Aircraft

Light Combat Aircraft is one of the major achievements of the Defence
Research and Development Organisation. The LCA developed by the
Aeronautical Development Agency, is the smallest light weight multirole
combat aircraft in the world.
This single-seat single-engine tactical fighter is among the best in the world.
It is also India's first modern fighter aircraft, designed specifically to meet the
requirements of the Indian Air Force.
The LC aircraft is a precision weapon launch platform with multirole
capability. It has a choice of three hard points below each wing, and one
under the fuselage giving it considerable flexibility to carry a variety of
missiles, bombs and rockets, as per mission requirements: air-to-air, air-to-
ground or air-to-sea. According DRDO, high manoeuvrability and carefree
handling capability of the aircraft combined with advanced cockpit, digital
avionics and weapon system interface give LCA very good point and shoot
capability with quick turn around time.
LCA is planned to replace the MiG series of aircraft currently operated by the
Indian Air Force. About 200 single seat fighters and 20 two-seat LCA
trainers are projected requirements of Indian Air Force for its squadron
service in the next decade. LCA Programme involves building and flight-
testing of two technology demonstrators - TD1 and TD2 (both already
airborne) and five prototype vehicles (PV to PV5), the last being a two-seat
trainer version, towards operational clearance including weaponisation.
A naval version of the LCA capable of operation from an aircraft carrier is
also under development. Two naval prototypes (NP1 and NP2) are proposed
to be built and flown to obtain clearance for deck operation.

LCA for Navy:

1. Aircraft carrier operation with ski-jump and arrested landing
2. Nose drooped for better cockpit vision
3. Additional aerodynamic features like LEVCON and fore plane to reduce
carrier landing speed
4. Maximum take off weight from carrier - 12.5 tons
5 External store carrying capacity from carrier - 3.5 tons
6. Strengthened Fuselage
7. Stronger undercarriage due to higher sink rate
8. Arrestor hook for deck recovery
9. Fuel dump system

LCA - Trainer

1. Operational 2-seater
2. Aerodynamic commonalty with naval versions
3. Design and layouts in 3-D
4. Marginally reduced internal fuel

DRDO Golden Jubilee: Achievements In The Last 50 Years

The DRDO laboratories spread across the country have been instrumental in
developing new technologies for the growth of the nation. They range from
defence equipment like light combat aircraft to missiles and medical facilities
like pace makers to artificial teeth and everyday utilities like water testing kit
to protective technologies for VVIPs in the form of bullet proof and land
mine proof vehicles.
The major technologies developed so far include:
1. Aluminium alloy material for small arms.
2. Active sensor based on induction-balanced principle for influence mine.
3. Free flight rocket launching technology.
4. Electronic fuses for artillery shells, bombs and mine.
5. Pre-fragmented, Incendiary and shaped charge warheads.
6. Fire/explosion detection and suppression system for missile
7. Fire extinguisher for candle smoke composition.
8. High altitude foam extinguisher.
9. Integrated fire and explosion suppression system for armoured fighting
10. Composite propellant, fuel rich propellants, protective liner for increasing
gun barrel life, combustible cartridge case.
11. Case bonded rocket motors.
12. Explosive detection kit.
13. Electro explosive device.
14. Air-borne telemetry receiving system for down range applications.
15. Electronic warfare systems, Falcon, Kaveri engine, Lakshya
16. Recovery parachute system for light combat aircraft
17. Abhay
18. Amphibious floating bridge and ferry system
19. Ajeya
20. Geo-environmental monitoring systems
21. High speed low drag aircraft bombs
22. Electronic warfare Samyukta communications
23. Battlefield surveillance radar
24. Weapon locating radar
25. Sangraha
26. Samyukta
27. 3D Car
28. Integrated weapon system simulation
29. Flameless ration heater, gloves and suit
30. Iron removal unit for ferruginous water
31. Multi-insect repellent spray
32. Rapid quantification and detection techniques for pesticides in fruits and
33. Technologies for dengue control
34. Transgenic tomato for abiotic stress
35. Agni series of missiles
36. Other missiles like Akash, Brahmos, Dhanush, Pinaka, Prithvi, and
37. Various types of warheads

DRDO Golden Jubilee: DRDO Laboratories Are Jewels In The Crown Of India

The Defence Development and Research Organisation is an umbrella
body of as many as 47 research, scientific, engineering and
technological development laboratories spread across the country. Each
of these laboratories is specialised in a particular research and
development area.
The following are the DRDO laboratories:

·1. Advanced Numerical Research & Analysis Group, Hyderabad
·2. Aerial Delivery Research & Development Establishment, Agra
·3. Armament Research & Development Establishment, Pune
·4. Center for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, Bangalore
·5. Center for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety, Bangalore
·6. Center for Military Airworthiness & Certification, Bangalore
·7. Centre for Air Borne Systems, Bangalore
·8. Combat Vehicles Research & Development Estt, Chennai
·9. Defence Agricultural Research Laboratory, Pithoragarh
·10. Defence Avionics Research Establishment, Bangalore
·11. Defence Bio-Engineering & Electro Medical Laboratory,
·12. Defence Electronics Application Laboratory, Dehradun
·13. Defence Electronics Research Laboratory, Hyderabad
·14. Defence Food Research Laboratory, Mysore
·15. Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (Deemed University),
·16. Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences, Delhi
·17. Defence Institute of Psychological Research, Delhi
·18. Defence Laboratory, Jodhpur
·19. Defence Materials & Stores Research & Development
Establishment, Kanpur
·20. Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Hyderabad
·21. Defence Research & Development Laboratory, Hyderabad
·22. Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
·23. Defence Research Laboratory, Tejpur
·24. Defence Scientific Information & Documentation Centre, Delhi
·25. Defence Terrain Research Laboratory, Delhi
·26. Electronics & Radar Development Establishment, Bangalore
·27. Field Research Laboratory
·28. Gas Turbine Research Establishment, Bangalore
·29. High Energy Materials Research Laboratory, Pune
·30. Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences, Delhi
·31. Institute of Systems Studies & Analyses, Delhi
·32. Institute of Technology Management, Mussorie
·33. Instruments Research & Development Establishment, Dehradun
·34. Integrated Test Range, Balasore
·35. Laser Science & Technology Centre, Delhi
·36. Mcrowave Tube Research & Development Center, Bangalore
·37. Naval Materials Research Laboratory, Ambernath
·38. Naval Physical & Ocenographic Laboratory, Cochin
·39. Naval Science & Technological Laboratory, Vishakapatnam
·40. Proof & Experimental Establishment, Balasore
·41. Research & Development Establishment, Pune
·42. Research Center Imarat, Hyderabad
·43. Scientific Analysis Group, Delhi
·44. Snow & Avalanche Study Estt, Chandigarh
·45. Solid State Physics Laboratory, Delhi
·46. Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory, Chandigarh
·47. Vehicle Research & Development Establishment, Ahmednagar

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chandrayaan-1: India's Moon Mission Puts Tricolour On The Lunar Terrain

November 15, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 14: India on Friday night literally hit the Moon when the TV-box sized Moon Impact Probe painted in Indian tri-colour landed on the lunar surface.
The formal landing of MIP at 8.31 pm, ejected from India's first-ever lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft now circling 100 km away from the Moon, marks India's legal presence on the Earth's only natural satellite.
Only the USA, former USSR and 17-nation European Space Agency have literally landed on the lunar terrain with their unmanned probes. India's MIP feat comes nearly 50 years after former USSR sent its probe to the Moon.
India, thus became the fourth nation in the world to land probes on the Moon. Though Asian giants China and Japan too had sent their Moon missions, they did not land probes or rovers onto the lunar soil. The MIP, painted in the Indian national flag, took about 25 minutes to descend 100 km from Chandrayaan-1 to hit the Moon surface.
The data gathered from the impact will enable the Indian Space Research Organisation to identify which are the "safe" spots on the Moon to land its next Moon Mission, Chandrayaan-2, scheduled for 2011.
ISRO spokesperson S Satish described the operation as "perfect". Earlier, ISRO scientists began the countdown to hurl the 34 kg probe from the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. The remote operation was carried out from the ISRO's deep space network at Byalalu near Bengaluru, with the ground support from ISRO’s telemetry, tracking and command network.
"The landing of the impact probe has an emotional significance for all Indians. The touching of the tricolour on the lunar surface signifies India’s presence on the moon," ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair said.

Earlier, the ISRO ground team activated a small thruster to eject the probe as the Chandrayaan-1 traversed from north to south in the polar orbit, crossing the lunar equator. The probe plunged at a speed of about five km per minute and hit the Moon surface at Shackleton crater near the lunar south pole at 88.9 degrees latitude and 0 degree longitude.
As the MIP started descending onto the Moon from Chandrayaan-1, the special equipment on it took video images of the lunar surface and transmitted data to the ISRO's centres.
"During the descent phase, it was spin-stabilised. The primary objective is to demonstrate the technologies required for landing the probe at a desired location on the Moon and to qualify some of the technologies related to future soft landing missions," Satish said.
The Moon Impact Probe essentially consists of honeycomb structure, which houses all the subsystems and instruments. It comprises the avionics and thermal control systems. The avionics system supports the payloads and provides communication link between MIP and the main orbiter, from separation to impact.
The mission envisages collecting all the instrument data during descent and ransmits to main orbiter, which in turn will transmit them to the ground station during visible phases. The mass spectrometer attached to the probe measured the constituents of lunar atmosphere during the descent.

Friday, November 14, 2008

World Diabetes Day: Lifestyle Changes Make Children Diabetic

World Diabetes Day -- November 14

November 14, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 14: Today is the World Diabetes Day. This year the World Health Organisation lays emphasis on childhood diabetes, which is becoming a major health hazard, both in developed and developing countries. India continues to occupy one of the top few slots in the world diabetes map, with fast changing lifestyles of Indians throwing up new cases almost every day.
What's horrifying is that even Indians living abroad are more prone to
diabetes than the native populations.
Since diabetes cannot be prevented and continues to afflict a person throughout his or her life, once affected, the World Health Organisation has sounded alarming bells on childhood diabetes. According to Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare statistics, the incidence of childhood diabetes has been steadily going up in the country. And the reasons are quite obvious: childhood obesity and increasing sedentary lifestyles even in young populations. Within the country Hyderabad ranks No.1 in diabetes, both adult and childhood, according to recent research findings.
The World Diabetes Day is observed as a mark of homage to Frederick Banting, who along with Charles Best discovered insulin in 1922. Frederick's birth anniversary falls on November 14. Insulin has been saving millions of lives world over every year.
There are 180 million diabetic patients in the world, as per WHO estimates, and of them 41 million are Indians. This number is likely to more than double by 2030 if no medical interventions were made at government or individual level. Almost 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries including India.
When it comes to diabetes in children, as many as five lakh children under the age of 15 are affected by Type 1 diabetes, requiring daily insulin injections. And the list has been going up by 70,000 new cases added to it every year. In India too, childhood diabetes has been increasing at a rate of three per cent per year. But the disease is spreading faster in schoolchildren at a rate of five per cent per year.
"Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by enabling individuals to lose seven to 10 per cent of their body weight, and by increasing their physical activity to a modest level. Regular exercise will also help a lot," says health expert Dr T Srinivasa Sarma.
Children with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar regularly to help control their diabetes, he suggesting.
A study by International Diabetes Federation projects 11 per cent of India's urban population and three per cent of rural populace as high risk groups.
"This mainly because of their sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity,
obesity, stress and consumption of diets rich in fat, sugar and high calories.
The most prevalent is Type 2 diabetes, which constitutes 95 per cent of the diabetic population in the country," points out Dr Jana Jayaprakashsai, senior diabetologist.
The economic burden of diabetes management on a family is quite high and many families do not afford the treatment cost. Overall, direct health care costs of diabetes range from 2.5 per cent to 15 per cent of annual health care budgets. As per WHO estimates, the costs of lost production may be as much as five times the direct health care cost.
"Because of its chronic nature, the severity of its complications and the means required to control them, diabetes is a costly disease, not only for affected individuals and their families, but also for the health systems.
Studies in India estimate that, for a low-income Indian family with an adult with diabetes, as much as 25 per cent of family income may be devoted to diabetes care. For families in the USA with a child who has diabetes, the corresponding figure is 10 per cent," points out a WHO release on the eve of World Diabetes Day.
While may diseases limit their damage to a particular part of the body, diabetes has damaging effect on almost every organ including limbs, eyes, heart, kidneys and nervous system. According to diabetologists Dr R Pradeepa and Dr V Mohan, "diabetes is the single most important metabolic disease which can affect nearly every organ system in the body. Some of the diabetes related complications are coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, neuropathy, retinopathy and nephropathy. People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to develop blindness, 17 times more likely to develop kidney disease, 30-40 times more likely to undergo amputation,
two to four times more likely to develop myocardial infarction and twice as
likely to suffer a stroke than non-diabetics.
According to Dr A Ramachandran, who has conducted a study on the incidence of diabetes in India, in urban areas, the prevalence staggers around 15 to 18 per cent. Also, in the rural areas the prevalence has been increasing.
"There's an increase in prevalence of diabetes from 2.2 per cent in 1989 to 6.4 per cent in Southern India. It is increasing in epidemic proportions. As of today, India is the headquarters for diabetes in the world," he added.

Types of diabetes

Doctors classify diabetes as Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is also
called diabetes mellitus. People suffering from this type of diabetes
need to take insulin. Those suffering from Type 2 or non insulin-
dependent diabetes do not require intake of insulin through external

Diabetes is a chronic disease associated with the problems with the
production and supply of insulin, an hormone produced by pancreas.
We need insulin to use the energy stored in food. When a person
develops diabetes he or she produces no or insufficient insulin (Type 1
diabetes), or his or her body cannot use effectively the insulin produced
(Type 2 diabetes).

Type 1 Diabetes:

According to the World Health Organisation, Type 1 diabetes is an
autoimmune disease that cannot be prevented. Globally it is the most
common form of diabetes in children, affecting around five lakh
children under 15.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is also increasing in children because of childhood
obesity and sedentary lifestyles. "Type 2 diabetes in children is
becoming a global public health issue with potentially serious
outcomes," says a WHO report on the eve of World Diabetes Day.

Diabetes - Warning Signs

It is quite easy to identify diabetes even without formal blood and urine
tests. Like any other disease, diabetes too has many symptoms. The
World Health Organisation has listed the following warning signs to
identify diabetes:
1. Frequent urination
2. Excessive thirst
3. Increased hunger
4. Weight loss
5. Tiredness
6. Lack of interest and concentration
7. Blurred vision
8. Vomiting and stomach pain (often mistaken as the flu).

India to develop super hypersonic missiles with Mac7 speed

November 14, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 13: India is developing a whole new family of missiles that are quite light in weight and capable of hitting targets with speeds ranging between 7410 km and 8645 km per hour.
According to Defence Research and Development Organisation chief controller (research and development) Dr VK Saraswat, these hypersonic missiles with such great speeds cannot be intercepted by enemies. They will fly at low altitudes of 30 mts and hit the target with great precision.
"The DRDO is spending Rs 50 crore to develop the hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle. The present-day missiles are quite bulky and weighs between 20 and 30 tonnes. Moreover, they fly quite high. We are looking at futuristic missiles with hypersonic speeds and flying low. They are also lighter in weight," Dr Saraswat told reporters a day after India successfully tested 600 km range surface-to-surface missile Shourya.
The DRDO, he said was looking for hypersonic missiles with Mac6 to Mac7 speed (six to seven times the speed of sound. Sound travels at a speed of 1235 km per hour). The new missile will be build using indigenous technology without any foreign collaboration. It will also double up as a long-range cruise missile.
Saraswat said the DRDO was also doing research to make the hypersonic missile as a launch vehicle for satellites. This will help DRDO improve its resources through commercial launch of satellites.
He said the success of Chandrayaan-1 and India's signing of 123 agreement with the USA had opened new avenues in aerospace and nuclear sector. India is going to open up market for 60,000 crore to Rs 70,000 crore in the next 10 years. "But the Indian industry should gear up to grab the opportunity by producing globally competitive projects. There will be eight to 10 new nuclear reactors coming up in the country opening 15 billion to 20 billion US dollars investment opportunities," he said.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

India to send Sun Mission Aditya in 2012

November 11, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 10: India will send its space mission to the Sun in 2012 to find out answers for how and why solar flares and solar winds disturb the communication network and play havoc with electronics back home on the Earth.
The Sun's corona as also its flares and winds create geomagnetic field disturbances on the Earth and often damage man-made satellites and spacecraft hovering up in the sky under intense sunlight.
After the successful launch of its moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, the Indian Space Research Organisation is now gearing up for the Mission Aditya, aimed at unravelling the secrets of the Sun, the father of our solar system. ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair on Monday announced in Bengaluru that ISRO was ready with its new space programme to explore the corona of the Sun in 2012.
Mission Aditya has been on the cards for quite some time now and it got a boost after the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1 lunarcraft into its designated orbit around the Moon.
The success of the Aditya Mission will not only solve some of the mysteries surrounding the Sun but also provide vital clues for ISRO on how to protect its satellites and spaceware from being damaged by hot winds and flares ejected out of the corona, the outermost layer of the solar atmosphere. The temperature in corona ranges between 8 lakh to 30 lakh Celsius. Material is ejected from the corona into space containing several billion tons of matter with speed ranging to several million miles per hour. Such material interacts with spacecraft and other man-made material in its path inducing electrical currents. They also damage power systems, disrupt communications and degrade high-tech navigation systems.
ISRO's Aditya Mission is a solar coronagraph or equipment that measures or studies the corona of the sun. Madhavan Nair said Aditya will study corona in visible and near infra red bands to "study the coronal mass ejection and consequently crucial physical parameters for space weather such as the coronal magnetic field structures,
velocity fields and their variability in the inner corona".
Unlike the Chandrayaan-1, which has entered the realms of the lunar world for observation as close as 100 km, Aditya will study the Sun riding piggyback on the Earth. It will weigh about 100 kgs and will have a near-earth orbit of 600 km.
ISRO has planned Aditya launch in 2012 in coordination with the solar maximum when the sunspots will be at the maximum. The last solar maximum occurs once in 11 years. Aditya Mission will cost about Rs 50 crore as against Chandrayaan-1's about Rs 400 crore. Like Chandrayaan-1 it will have a life span of two years and ISRO team hopes
to generate enough data during this period.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Chandrayaan-1 successfully manoeuvred to the right path

November 9, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 8: India on Saturday joined the select club of four Moon-faring nations when its first-ever lunarcraft, Chandrayaan-1, successfully entered the elliptical orbit of the Moon after a series of complex manoeuvres by a team of ISRO scientists based in Bengaluru.
Though India sent its unmanned mission to the Moon on October 22, the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft had been orbiting the Earth all along and only on Saturday evening, it successfully came off the gravitational pull of the human planet to enter the unknown realms of the lunar world. It is now orbiting at a distance of 500 km from the Moon when it is nearest, and 7,500 km when it is farthest, from the Earth's natural satellite.
"We will put the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft in the designated orbit of about 100 km away from the Moon in a couple of days. This is the first time that an Indian built spacecraft has broken away from the Earth’s gravitational field and reached the moon," ISRO's director (PR) S Satish told this correspondent from Bengaluru.
Only the United States of America, the erstwhile USSR, Japan and China have thus far sent their missions to the Moon. With Saturday's crucial manoeuvring of the orbit of the Chandrayaan-1, India enters the select Moon Club. When the Chandrayaan-1 is put in the designated orbit of 100 km away from the Moon, ISRO scientists back home
in Bengaluru will order the spacecraft to eject a probe onto the lunar soil. The probe carries the Indian national flag, a brainchild of former President APJ Abdul Kalam.
According to Mr Satish, the motor on the spacecraft was fired for about 805 seconds at around 4.51 pm to put Chandrayaan-1 into an elliptical orbit with 7,502 km aposelene (farthest from moon) and 500 km pericelene (nearest to moon).
Putting the spacecraft in the lunar orbit is a critical task and any minor mistake in ground command would have sent it farther deep into the Space, far away from the lunar world."Our scientific prowess is on the rise. We are proud of Chandrayaan-I. The very fact that it has been a success so far is a great achievement. The lunar mission will take a closer look at the north and the south poles, something which
has not been attempted before," Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Science and Technology, who is in Hyderabad to release his book, told this correspondent.
An ISRO official statement later said Chandrayaan-1’s liquid engine was fired when the spacecraft passed at a distance of about 500 km from the Moon to reduce its velocity to enable lunar gravity to capture it into an orbit around the Moon.
The spacecraft is now orbiting the moon in an elliptical orbit that passes over the polar regions of the moon. Chandrayaan-1 takes about 11 hours to go round the moon once in this orbit. "The performance of all the systems onboard Chandrayaan-1 is normal. In the coming days, the height of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft’s orbit around the moon will be carefully reduced in steps to achieve a final polar orbit of
about 100 km height from the moon’s surface. Following this, the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) of the spacecraft will be released to hit the lunar surface. Later, the other scientific instruments will be turned on sequentially leading to the normal phase of the mission," it said.
Since its launch, the liquid engine of Chandrayaan-1 has been successfully fired five times at opportune moments to increase the apogee (farthest distance from earth) height, first to 37,900 km, then to 74,715 km, later to 164,600 km, after that to 267,000 km and finally to 380,000 km. During this period, the Terrain Mapping Camera, one of the 11 scientific instruments of the spacecraft, was successfully operated twice to take the pictures, first of the Earth, and
then moon.