Category Archives: Atmosphere

Psychiatric disorders effective remedy: Yoga

Yoga – the 5,000-year-old Indian meditative practice – may have positive effects on major psychiatric disorders, including depression, schizophrenia and sleep problems, according to a review of over 100 studies.A systematic review of the exercise on major clinical psychiatric disorders by Indian origin researchers found yoga has positive effects on mild depression and sleep complaints, even in the absence of drug treatments, and improves symptoms associated with schizophrenia and ADHD. The review focusing on 16 high-quality controlled studies looked at the effects of yoga on depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, sleep complaints, eating disorders and cognition problems.However, yoga has become such a cultural phenomenon that it has become difficult for physicians and patients to differentiate legitimate claims from hype.

Yoga_2Researcher P Murali Doraiswamy, professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University Medical Center, US, explained that the emerging scientific evidence in support of yoga on psychiatric disorders is “highly promising” and showed that it may not only help to improve symptoms, but also play ancillary role in the prevention of stress-related mental illnesses.The review found evidence from biomarker studies showing that yoga influences key elements of the human body thought to play a role in mental health in similar ways to that of antidepressants and psychotherapy.One study found that the exercise affects inflammation, neurotransmitters, oxidative stress, lipids, growth factors and second messengers.While there has been an increase in the number of medications available for mental health disorders, many of which can be life saving for patients.Poor compliance and relapse as well as treatment resistance are growing problems, and medications are expensive and can leave patients with significant side effects.





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Stupefying fact: Bio-Fuels cause pollution

Green schemes to fight climate change by producing more bio-fuels could actually worsen a little-known type ofbiofuels air pollution and cause almost 1,400 premature deaths a year in Europe by 2020.The report said trees grown to produce wood fuel – seen as a cleaner alternative to oil and coal – released a chemical into the air that, when mixed with other pollutants, could also reduce farmers’ crop yields.Growing biofuels is thought to be a good thing because it reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Biofuels could also have a detrimental effect on air quality. There would be a similar impact wherever biofuels were produced in large quantities in areas suffering air pollution, including the United States and China.Poplar, willow or eucalyptus trees, all used as fast-growing sources of renewable wood fuel, emit high levels of the chemical isoprene as they grow, the study said. Isoprene forms toxic ozone when mixed with other air pollutants in sunlight.Large-scale production of biofuels in Europe would have small but significant effects on human mortality and crop yields.The report estimated that ozone from wood-based energy to meet the European Union’s 2020 goal would cause nearly 1,400 premature deaths a year, costing society USD 7.1 billion.The European plan would also would reduce the annual value of wheat and maize production by USD 1.5 billion since ozone impairs crop growth.



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A new star with 2 planets in galaxy

For the first time, scientists have observed the birth of two giant planets emitting gas as they orbit their parent star. Seen by Earth’s largest radio telescope, vast streams of gas flowing through a gap in a disc of material around a young star seem to support theories of how the planets grow.The Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile’s Atacama desert reaches farther beyond the skies than any other radio telescope. Vast streams of gas are flowing across a gap in the disc of material around a young star, The European Southern Observatory (ESO) observed.Astronomers studied the young star HD 142527, over 450 light-years from Earth, which is surrounded by a disc of gas and cosmic dust – the remains of the cloud from which the star formed.

New starThe study result was published in the journal Nature. The dusty disc is divided into an inner and an outer part by a gap, which is thought to have been carved by newly forming gas giant planets clearing out their orbits as they circle the star.The inner disc reaches from the star out to the equivalent of the orbit of Saturn in the Solar System, while the outer disc begins about 14 times further out. The outer disc does not surround the star uniformly, instead, it has a horseshoe shape, probably caused by the gravitational effect of the orbiting giant planets.According to theory, the giant planets grow by capturing gas from the outer disc, in streams that form bridges acrossthe gap in the disc. “Astronomers have been predicting that these streams must exist, but this is the first time we have been able to see them directly.The gap in the dusty disc was already known and also discovered diffuse gas remaining in the gap, and two denser streams of gas flowing from the outer disc, across the gap, to the inner disc.The observations answer another question about the disc around HD 142527. As the central star is still forming, by capturing material from the inner disc, it would have already been devoured, if it was not somehow topped up.


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Lowest Indian temperatures in a Decade

Low tempDelhiites today pulled put more woollens from their winter wardrobe as morning temperature plummeted to the seasons lowest of 2.7 degree Celsius. Today’s minimum is four degree Celsius below normal and down from yesterday’s 4.4 degrees Celsius. Yesterday, the maximum was 12.7 degree Celsius.Fog in the early morning hours slowed down traffic. On Tuesday, the minimum had dipped to four degree Celsius, the previous lowest for the season. On Wednesday, the city witnessed the coldest day in 44 years when maximum plummeted to 9.8 degrees.The weatherman has predicted similar weather conditions for tomorrow with temperature between four and 15 degrees.


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A story of an Indian Beach & a Man

Unsafe waters made tourists ignore its beaches, till Yathish Baikampady changed the way they are maintained and manned. Till about four years ago, Panambur was just another stretch along the Mangalore beach. The two-km stretch was quite similar to what neighbouring Tannirbhavi is today: A deserted place where you could set up your folding chairs in a shaded grove near the beach, have a picnic, and spend a lazy day.

Mangalore beachBut, today, Panambur is brimming with life. There are three shacks, and six lifeguards on patrol. It is barely 9 am, and at least 200 people have been to the beach in the past two hours. It is not even the tourist season. You could mistake it for Goa. If Mangalore’s beaches had not been exploited for commercial activities earlier, it was not because no one had thought about it, but because its waters are much rougher than that of Goa or Kerala. While everyone knew what the problem was, no one had thought of a solution, until Yathish Baikampady came along. The 48-year-old Baikampady had been a manager at State Bank of India for more than 25 years, when he stumbled upon an opportunity to clean up Mangalore’s beaches. What started as a clean-up exercise quickly led to a larger opportunity that led to Panambur shedding its image of being an unsafe beach. Mangalore may not have been much of a tourist attraction because of its rough waters, but other Indian beaches that draw crowds are not necessarily safe either. In 2011, 28,859 people were recorded to have died due to drowning (not including deaths from capsized boats) in India. It is in this sphere that Baikampady’s company Panambur Beach Tourism Development Project has made a difference. His love affair with the sea comes from his roots: He belongs to a local fishing community called the Mogaveeras. But, for a large part of his life, his tryst with the sea had remained confined to childhood memories. In the 1980s, he found himself a bank job, and continued with it for 25 years. In 2008, Mangalore’s municipal corporation was floating a tender to privatise the beach. This meant the beach would be run by a private organisation that would be responsible for its upkeep. The private player could organise events—such as concerts and game shows—to generate revenues, and run beach shacks. It, however, could not raise parking fees for vehicles and would have to share a portion of the revenue with the municipal corporation.This was when Baikampady decided to look at the new opportunity as a full-time job, and quit his job at the bank. He bid for, and won, the municipal tender. He proposed that the government does not have to spend any money; he would pay the municipality 15 percent if he made profits. Although he is still using a trial-and-error method—he is yet to make profits—he has won a similar tender (for 10 years) for Someshwar beach.


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Mumbai – World’s Dirtiest City

mumbai-slumsIndia’s commercial capital, Mumbai, has been named among the world’s ‘dirtiest’ cities, ranking last in the ‘cleanest streets’ category, a global survey of 40 key tourist cities has found. According to TripAdvisor’s Cities Survey, Tokyo grabbed the first place while Mumbai ranked last in the list of ‘cleanest streets’.Similarly in the category of ‘ease of getting around’, Mumbai ranked at the last position while Zurich stood at first place, the survey revealed the cities with rudest locals, dirtiest streets and worst shopping.It found that Moscow was home to world’s least-friendly locals. The Russian city ranked last in a number of categories, including ‘friendliest locals’. Tokyo was the most highly decorated world city, ranking number one for best taxi services, friendliest taxi drivers, best public transportation, cleanest streets and safety. New York City took out the top spot for shopping, but travelers felt the city’s streets could use a sweep with the Big Apple ranking 28 out of 40 for cleanliness. “New York City’s global reputation as a shopping mecca was reinforced by the opinions of the TripAdvisor community worldwide.The survey, completed by more than 75,000 people, looked into how travelers and locals viewed 40 key tourist cities around the world.


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White nose Bats may fight AIDS

Studying the immunology of bats with white-nose fungus – who sometimes suffer in the same way that humans with AIDS do – could help in the development of treatments for the deadly disease, scientists say.Carol Meteyer, a scientist for the US Geological Survey, peered through a microscope at hundreds of little bats and noticed that they had managed to survive the white-nose fungus that had killed millions of other bats hibernating in caves.However, they had succumbed to something else that had left their tiny corpses in tatters, their wings scorched and pocked with holes.

LMeteyer realised that the bats were killed by their own hyper-aggressive immune systems in a struggle to fight off the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. Meteyer had stumbled upon a phenomenon never before seen in mammals in the wild – a similar finding had been observed only once before – in people with AIDS. Now scientists hope studying the immunology of bats might help in the development of treatments for AIDS.When bats hibernate in winter, their heart rates slow and their immune systems all but shut down, making them vulnerable to the cave-dwelling fungus Geomyces destructans that causes white-nose and eats away skin, connective tissue and muscle. It’s not natural. It’s cellular suicide. It comes out in a huge wave, going out to those areas of infection and kills everything. For AIDS patients, after antiretroviral treatment improves patients’ health, their restored immune systems can launch an exaggerated attack against any previously acquired infection the treatment didn’t catch, causing extensive damage. Scientists now hope to study the immunology of bats to try to uncover findings that can assist the development of treatments for AIDS. Meteyer envisions a day when “we can look closely at the mechanism driving this intense response in bats and potentially get insight into this phenomenon in humans.


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