Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker’s health, personal relationships, and social standing. It is medically considered a disease, specifically an addictive illness, and in psychiatry several other terms are used, specifically “alcohol abuse” and “alcohol dependence,” which have slightly different definitions. In 1979 an expert World Health Organization committee discouraged the use of “alcoholism” in medicine, preferring the category of “alcohol dependence syndrome“. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, alcohol dependence in general was called dipsomania, but that term now has a much more specific meaning. People suffering from alcoholism are often called “alcoholics“. Many other terms, some of them insulting or informal, have been used throughout history. The World Health Organization estimates that there are 140 million people with alcoholism worldwide.

The American Medical Association supports a dual classification of alcoholism to include both physical and mental components. The biological mechanisms that cause alcoholism are not well understood. Social environment, stress mental health, family history, age, ethnic group, and gender all influence the risk for the condition. Significant alcohol intake produces changes in the brain’s structure and chemistry, though some alterations occur with minimal use of alcohol over a short term period, such as tolerance and physical dependence. These changes maintain the person with alcoholism’s compulsive inability to stop drinking and result in alcohol withdrawal syndrome if the person stops. Alcohol misuse has the potential to damage almost every organ in the body, including the brain. The cumulative toxic effects of chronic alcohol abuse can cause both medical and psychiatric problems.

Identifying alcoholism is difficult for the individual afflicted because of the social stigma associated with the disease that causes people with alcoholism to avoid diagnosis and treatment for fear of shame or social consequences. The evaluation responses to a group of standardized questioning is a common method for diagnosing alcoholism. These can be used to identify harmful drinking patterns, including alcoholism. In general, problem drinking is considered alcoholism when the person continues to drink despite experiencing social or health problems caused by drinking.

Treatment of alcoholism takes several steps. Because of the medical problems that can be caused by withdrawal, alcohol detoxification is carefully controlled and may involve medications such as benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium).

People with alcoholism also sometimes have other addictions, including addictions to benzodiazepines, which may complicate this step.

After detoxification, other support such as group therapy or self-help groups are used to help the person remain sober.

Thombs (1999) states according to behavioral sciences alcoholism is described as a “maladaptive behavior”. He explains this must not be confused with “misbehavior”. Behavioral scientists explain that addicts have a behavior pattern that may lead to destructive consequences for themselves, their families and society. This does not label addicts as bad or irresponsible

Compared with men, women are more sensitive to alcohol’s harmful physical, cerebral, and mental effects

Signs and symptoms

Early signs

The risk of alcohol dependence begins at low levels of drinking and increases directly with both the volume of alcohol consumed and a pattern of drinking larger amounts on an occasion. Young adults are particularly at risk.

Long-term misuse

Alcoholism is characterized by an increased tolerance of and physical dependence on alcohol, affecting an individual’s ability to control alcohol consumption safely. These characteristics are believed to play a role in impeding an alcoholic’s ability to stop drinking.

Alcoholism can have adverse effects on mental health, causing psychiatric disorders and increasing the risk of suicide. The onset of depression is a common symptom.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as the amount of alcohol leading to a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08, which, for most adults, would be reached by consuming five drinks for men or four for women over a 2-hour period.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [NIAAA], men may be at risk for alcohol-related problems if their alcohol consumption exceeds 14 standard drinks per week or 4 drinks per day, and women may be at risk if they have more than 7 standard drinks per week or 3 drinks per day. (A standard drink is defined as one 12-ounce bottle of beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

Physical

Long-term alcohol abuse can cause a number of physical symptoms, including cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis,epilepsy, polyneuropathy, alcoholic dementia, heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, peptic ulcers and sexual dysfunction, and can eventually be fatal. Other physical effects include an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, malabsorption, alcoholic liver disease, and cancer. Damage to the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system can occur from sustained alcohol consumption. A wide range of immunologic defects can result and there may be a generalized skeletal fragility, in addition to a recognized tendency to accidental injury, resulting a propensity to bone fractures.

Women develop long-term complications of alcohol dependence more rapidly than do men. Additionally, women have a higher mortality rate from alcoholism than men.  Examples of long-term complications include brain, heart, and liver damage and an increased risk of breast cancer. Additionally, heavy drinking over time has been found to have a negative effect on reproductive functioning in women. This results in reproductive dysfunction such as an ovulation, decreased ovarian mass, problems or irregularity of the menstrual cycle, and early menopause.

Alcoholicketoacidosis can occur in individuals who chronically abuse alcohol and have a recent history of binge drinking.

Psychiatric

Long-term misuse of alcohol can cause a wide range of mental health problems. Severe cognitive problems are common; approximately 10 percent of all dementia cases are related to alcohol consumption, making it the second leading cause of dementia.

Excessive alcohol use causes damage to brain function, and psychological health can be increasingly affected over time. Social skills are significantly impaired in people suffering from alcoholism due to the neuro toxic effects of alcohol on the brain, especially the pre frontal cortex area of the brain. The social skills that are impaired by alcohol abuse include impairments in perceiving facial emotions, prosody perception problems and theory of mind deficits; the ability to understand humor is also impaired in alcohol abusers.

Psychiatric disorders are common in alcoholics, with as many as 25 percent suffering severe psychiatric disturbances. The most prevalent psychiatric symptoms are anxiety and depression disorders. Psychiatric symptoms usually initially worsen during alcohol withdrawal, but typically improve or disappear with continued abstinence. Psychosis, confusion, and organic brain syndrome may be caused by alcohol misuse, which can lead to a misdiagnosis such as schizophrenia. Panic disorder can develop or worsen as a direct result of long-term alcohol misuse.

The co-occurrence of major depressive disorder and alcoholism is well documented. Among those with co morbid occurrences, a distinction is commonly made between depressive episodes that remit with alcohol abstinence (“substance-induced”), and depressive episodes that are primary and do not remit with abstinence (“independent” episodes). Additional use of other drugs may increase the risk of depression.

Psychiatric disorders differ depending on gender. Women who have alcohol-use disorders often have a co-occurring psychiatric diagnosis such as major depression, anxiety, panic disorder,bulimia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or borderline personality disorder. Men with alcohol-use disorders more often have a co-occurring diagnosis of narcissistic or antisocial personality disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, impulse disorders or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Women with alcoholism are more likely to have a history of physical or sexual assault, abuse and domestic violence than those in the general population, which can lead to higher instances of psychiatric disorders and greater dependence on alcohol.

Social effects

The social problems arising from alcoholism are serious, caused by the pathological changes in the brain and the intoxicating effects of alcohol. Alcohol abuse is associated with an increased risk of committing criminal offences, including child abuse, domestic violence, rape, burglary and assault. Alcoholism is associated with loss of employment, which can lead to financial problems. Drinking at inappropriate times, and behavior caused by reduced judgment, can lead to legal consequences, such as criminal charges for drunk driving or public disorder, or civil penalties for tortuous behavior, and may lead to a criminal sentence.

An alcoholic’s behavior and mental impairment, while drunk, can profoundly affect those surrounding them and lead to isolation from family and friends. This isolation can lead to marital conflicts and divorce, or contribute to domestic violence. Alcoholism can also lead to child neglect, with subsequent lasting damage to the emotional development of the alcoholic’s children.

For this reason, children of alcoholic parents can develop a number of emotional problems. For example, they can become afraid of their parents, because of their unstable mood behaviors. In addition, they can develop considerable amount of shame over their inadequacy to liberate their parents from alcoholism. As a result of this failure, they develop wretched self-images, which can lead to depression.

Medications

In the United States there are four currently approved medications for alcoholism: disulfiram, two forms of naltrexone, and acamprosate. Several other drugs are also used and many are under investigation.

  • Acamprosate(Campral) may stabilize the brain chemistry that is altered due to alcohol dependence via antagonizing the actions of glutamate, a neurotransmitter which is hyperactive in the post-withdrawal   By reducing excessive NMDA activity which occurs at the onset of alcohol withdrawal, acamprosate can reduce or prevent alcohol withdrawal related neurotoxicity. A 2010 review of medical studies found that acamprosate reduces the incidence of relapse among st alcohol dependent persons.
  • Baclofen, aGABAB receptor agonist, is under study for the treatment of alcoholism. A systematic review concluded that there is insufficient evidence for the use of baclofen for withdrawal symptoms in alcoholism.
  • Benzodiazepines, while useful in the management of acute alcohol withdrawal, if used long-term can cause a worse outcome in alcoholism. Alcoholics on chronic benzodiazepines have a lower rate of achieving abstinence from alcohol than those not taking benzodiazepines. This class of drugs is commonly prescribed to alcoholics for insomnia or anxiety management.
  • Initiating prescriptions of benzodiazepines or sedative-hypnotics in individuals in recovery has a high rate of relapse with one author reporting more than a quarter of people relapsed after being prescribed sedative-hypnotics. Those who are long-term users of benzodiazepines should not be withdrawn rapidly, as severe anxiety and panic may develop, which are known risk factors for relapse into alcohol abuse. Taper regimes of 6–12 months have been found to be the most successful, with reduced intensity of withdrawal.
  • Calcium carbimide (Temposil) works in the same way as disulfiram; it has an advantage in that the occasional adverse effects of disulfiram, hepatotoxicity and drowsiness, do not occur with calcium carbimide.
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse) prevents the elimination of acetaldehyde, a chemical the body produces when breaking down ethanol. Acetaldehyde itself is the cause of many hangover symptoms from alcohol use. The overall effect is severe discomfort when alcohol is ingested: an extremely fast-acting and long-lasting uncomfortable hangover. This discourages an alcoholic from drinking in significant amounts while they take the medicine. A recent nine-year study found that incorporation of supervised disulfiram and the related compound carbimide into a comprehensive treatment program resulted in an abstinence rate of over 50 percent.
  • Naltrexoneis a competitive antagonist for opioid receptors, effectively blocking the effects of endorphins and opiates. Naltrexone is used to decrease cravings for alcohol and encourage abstinence. Alcohol causes the body to release endorphins, which in turn release dopamine and activate the reward pathways; hence when naltrexone is in the body there is a reduction in the pleasurable effects from consuming alcohol.
  • Naltrexone is also used in an alcoholism treatment method called theSinclair Method, which treats patients through a combination of Naltrexone and continued drinking.
  • Ondansetron, a 5HT3 antagonist, is effective in the treatment of alcoholism; the combination of ondansetron and naltrexone is superior than either treatment alone.

Dual addictions

Alcoholics may also require treatment for other psychotropic drug addictions. The most common dual addiction in alcohol dependence is benzodiazepine dependence, with studies showing 10–20 percent of alcohol-dependent individuals had problems of dependence and/or misuse problems of benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines increase cravings for alcohol and the volume of alcohol consumed by problem drinkers.

Benzodiazepine dependency requires careful reduction in dosage to avoid benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome and other health consequences.

Dependence on other sedative hypnotics such as zolpidem and zopiclone as well as opiates and illegal drugs is common in alcoholics.

Alcohol itself is a sedative-hypnotic and is cross-tolerant with other sedative-hypnotics such as barbiturates, benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines.

 

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Science and Technology – Trivia

Tiangong – 1:

Is China’s first Space Station Module that is the nation’s first step towards its ultimate goal of developing, building, and operating a large Space station as a permanent human presence in Low Earth Orbit. The vehicle was launched on Sep 29, 2012 aboard a Long March 2F Launch vehicle. Tiangong means Heavenly Palace. Tiangong – 1 orbits Earth at 330 to 370 kms with an inclination of 42 degrees.

Billion Acts of Green:

Is the largest environmental service and advocacy campaign in the World. A global campaign that inspires and rewards individual acts and larger organizational initiatives that help reduce carbon emissions and support sustainability. It’s a global referendum on the environment.

SAGA – 220:

ISRO has built the India’s fastest supercomputer in 2011 in terms of theoretical peak performance of 220 TeraFLOPS (220 Trillion Floating point operations per second). The super computer was built by Satish Dhawan Supercomputing Facility located at Vikram Sarabhai Space centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram at a cost of about Rs.14 crores. The new Graphic Processing Unit based supercomputer, is being used by the space scientists for solving complex aerospace problems.

Operation Shady RAT:

Is a massive advanced persistent threat (APT) – type attack campaign that has been ongoing worldwide for five years and has stolen intellectual property from 70 government agencies, international corporations, non profits, and others in 14 countries. The Shady RAT attackers also deployed a tool called HTran that helps disguise their locations. The attackers targeted cyber espionage hacks hid some of their activities behind digital images. They used stenography – A relatively rarely deployed technique for hiding malicious code or data behind image files or other innocuous – looking files.

MABEL:

The world’s fastest bipedal robot, with the ability to sprint at up to 10.9 kph. More specifically, MABEL is the world’s fastest “kneed’’ bipedal robot, which just means that it’s the fastest robot that can run in a similar manner to us humans. The project has been led by Jessy Grizzle, professor of electrical engineering in the Department of Electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan.

BVO and its related concerns:

BVO – Brominated Vegetable Oil is a synthetic chemical that is created when vegetable oil is bonded to the element bromine. It’s added as an emulsifier, to prevent the flavoring from separating and floating to the surface. Bromine is heavy, and it keeps the oil from floating to the top of water-based solutions, like soft drinks. In very high amounts drunk over a long period of time, BVO can build up in the body and cause toxic effects. High amounts of bromine can cause skin breakouts known as halogen acne. Can also result in loss of appetite and abdominal pain, fatigue, cardiac arrhythmias.

Captive Power Station:

Captive power station or captive generating plant is a power plant set up by any person to generate electricity primarily for his own use and includes a power plant set up by any co-operative society or association of persons for generating electricity primarily for use of members of such cooperatives society or association.

Industries, which consume a large chunk of the power generated and distributed by the utilities and also provide the larger portion of the revenue, have to compete in the global market for their products and services. Non-availability, poor quality and reliability of grid power along with exorbitantly high tariffs have a significant impact on the competitiveness of the industry. This led to the emergence of captive generation. Captive power today accounts for at least 20% of the total installed capacity in the country.

Science & Technology

Frequency Modulation:

Method of broadcasting electric signals that cannot travel very far on their own. In this method, the signal is imposed or ‘imprinted’ on a carrier wave whose frequency increases or diminishes with the frequency of the signal. FM transmission operates in 88 to 108 mega hertz frequency band, and is less susceptible to electromagnetic interference than Amplitude modulation.

Binary Chemical Weapons:

A BCW or munition is a chemical weapon in which chemical substances, held in separate containers, react when mixed or combined as a result of being fired, launched, or otherwise initiated to produce a chemical agent. The term binary refers only to the storage and deployment method used, not to the chemical structure of the substance.

Heavy water and its uses:

Heavy water (D2O), also called deuterium oxide, water composed of deuterium, the hydrogen isotope with a mass double that of ordinary hydrogen, and oxygen.

Uses:

As a neutron moderator in nuclear reactors.

For the preparation of deuterium.

As a tracer compound for studying various reaction mechanisms and.

Synthetic Seeds:

Synthetic seeds are defined as artificially encapsulated somatic embryos, shoot buds, cell aggregates, or any other tissue that can be used for sowing as a seed and that possess the ability to convert into a plant under in vitro or ex vitro conditions and that retain this potential also after storage.

VIKAS engine:

VIKAS engine/UH25 is a liquid fuelled rocket engine indigenously developed by ISRO, India. It is used in the PSLV and GSLV vehicles for space launching satellites. Vikas engines are employed in the second stage of India’s PSLV as well as the second and the four strap-on stages of the GSLV. The engine uses UH25 (a mixture of unsymmetrical di-methyl hydrazine and hydrazine hydrate) as fuel and nitrogen tetroxide as oxidizer with maximum thrust of about 725 kN.

Spamming:

Electronic spamming is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited messages (spam), especially advertising. As well as sending messages repeatedly on the same site. While the most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media.

Exabyte:

An Exabyte (EB) is a large unit of computer data storage, two to the sixtieth power bytes. The prefix exa means one billion billion, or one quintillion, which is a decimal term. Two to the sixtieth power is actually 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 bytes in decimal, or somewhat over a quintillion (or ten to the eighteenth power) bytes. It is common to say that an Exabyte is approximately one quintillion bytes. In decimal terms, an Exabyte is a billion gigabytes.

Saturn’s Titan:

Titan (Ty-tun) is the fifteenth of Saturn’s moons and is the largest. It is also the second largest moon in the solar system. Titan was named after the ancient race of giants in Greek Mythology. Titan was discovered in 1665 by the Dutch astronomer Christian Huygens. Titan was once thought to be the largest planet in the Solar system, but recent discoveries have shown that the Moon’s thick atmosphere hides a smaller rocky surface that is slightly smaller than Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede. Though it is only the second largest moon in the Solar System, it is still larger than the planets Mercury and Pluto.

Science & Technology – Trivia

Anabolic Steroids:

“Anabolic steroids” is the familiar name for synthetic variants of the male sex hormone testosterone. The proper term for these compounds is anabolic – androgenic steroids (AAS) – “anabolic” referring to muscle – building and “androgenic” referring to increased male sexual characteristics.

Anabolic steroids can be legally prescribed to treat conditions resulting from steroid hormone deficiency, such as delayed puberty, as well as diseases that result in loss of lean muscle mass, such as cancer and AIDS. But some athletes, body builders, and other abuse these drugs in an attempt to enhance performance and/or improve their physical appearance.

Some commonly used anabolic steroids are Nandrolone, Boldenone.

Quartz watches:

Quartz watches are more accurate than pendulum clocks. Quartz watches work in a very different way to pendulum clocks and ordinary watches. They still have gears inside them to count the seconds, minutes, and hours and sweep the hands around the clockface. But the gears are regulated by a tiny crystal of quartz instead of a swinging pendulum or a moving balance wheel. Gravity doesn’t figure in the workings at all.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about quartz is that it’s piezoelectric. That means if we squeeze a quartz crystal, it generates a tiny electric current. The opposite is also true. If we pass electricity through quartz, it vibrates at a precise frequency (it shakes an exact number of times each second). Inside a quartz clock or watch, the battery sends electricity to the quartz crystal through an electronic circuit. The quartz crystal oscillates at a precise frequency: exactly 32768 times each second. The circuit counts the number of vibrations and uses them to generate regular electric pulses, one per second. These pulses can either power an LCD display or they can drive a small electric motor, turning gear wheels that spin the clock’s second, minute, and hour hands.

Ultrasound or Sonography:

Ultrasound is a type of imaging. It uses high-frequency sound waves to look at organs and structures inside the body. Health care professionals use it to view the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, liver, and other organs. During pregnancy, doctors use ultrasound to view the fetus. Unlike x-rays, ultrasound does not expose you to radiation.

A device called a transducer is moved over part of the human body. The transducer sends out sound waves, which bounce off the tissues inside the body. The transducer also captures the waves that bounce back. The ultrasound machine creates images from the sound waves.

Computer Virus:

A computer virus is a program written to enter your computer systems surreptitiously and “infect” it by installing or modifying files or establishing itself in memory. Some viruses are benign and won’t harm the systems, while others are destructive and can damage or destroy the data. By installing an antivirus program and keeping it updated can be a remedy for this.

Stealth aircraft:

Are designed to avoid detection using a variety of advanced technologies that reduce reflection/emission of radar, infrared, visible light, radio-frequency spectrum, and audio, collectively known as stealth technology.

Stealth technology techniques:

The airplane can be shaped so that any radar signals it reflects are reflected away from the radar equipment. Hence, a stealth aircraft is made up of completely flat surfaces and very sharp edges.

The airplane can be covered in materials that absorb radar signals.

Karimnagar experiment for application of S&T for regional development:

In 1972, CSIR launched an experiment on application of S&T for rural development with emphasis on rural industrialization in the Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh. This model helped in setting up based on CSIR technologies and pertaining to speciality paper (275 kg/day), straw board (1t/day), modern rice mill (500 kg/hr), tanning unit (1t/day), a general engineering workshop and building material manufacture. The achievements were varied in magnitude. They provided important leads and had pointed out the pitfalls. The experiences gained from this experiment, however, brought out the general feasibility and desirability of replication of such a model in backward areas.

Science & Technology

What is Hepatitis E?

Hepatitis E is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis E virus: a non-enveloped positive-sense, single-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus.

The Hepatitis E virus is transmitted mainly through contaminated drinking water. It is usually a self-limiting infection and resolves within 4-6 weeks. Occasionally, a fulminate form of hepatitis develops acute liver failure, which can lead to death.

Globally, there are approximately 20 million incidents of hepatitis E infections every year.

What are Ocean floor polymetallic sulphides? Where is the largest occurrence of deposits reported?

Polymetallic suphides present on the ocean floor are typically composed of iron pyrite, but contain varying proportions of pyrrhotite, pyrite/marcasite, sphalerite/wurtzite, Chalcopyrite, bornite, isocubanite, and galena. Copper and zinc are the most likely metals to be recovered, but some deposits exhibit significant gold (0-20 ppm) and silver (0-1200 ppm) grades as well.

These are principally found along the earth’s major tectonic belts. Upto 40% of the known deposits occur at shallower depths in back-arc basins and on submarine volcanic ridges within 200 nautical miles of the coast.

What is ELISA? What is it used for?

ELISA is an abbreviation for “Enzyme – linked immune sorbent assay.”

An ELISA test uses components of the immune system and chemicals to detect immune responses in the body. The ELISA test involves an enzyme (a protein that catalyzes a biochemical reaction). It also involves an antibody or antigen (immunologic molecules).

ELISA tests are widely utilized to detect substances that have antigenic properties, primarily proteins (as opposed to small molecules and ions such as glucose and potassium). The substances detected by ELISA tests include hormones, bacterial antigens and antibodies.

What is HIV? What does it causes?

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency virus. HIV can destroy so many of our CD4 cells that our body can’t fight infections and diseases anymore. When that happens, HIV infection can lead to AIDS, the final stage of HIV infection.

What is e-mail?

Short for electronic mail, e-mail or email is a message that may contain text, files, images, or other attachments sent through a network to a specified individual or group of individuals.

P-8A Poseidon:

The P-8A Poseidon is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. It possesses an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in the future battle space. Capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations.

Biometric ATMs:

Biometric ATMs are self-service cash machines that use a biometric measure to identify customers and allow them to withdraw cash. The biometric check may be the only customer identifier used, or it may be used in conjunction with another format, such as a payment card, a mobile device or an additional security credential, such as a PIN. The biometric measures used will generally include palm or finger vein print biometrics, although they may also include other functionalities such as iris recognition.

Extra-vehicular Activity (EVA):

EVA is any activity done by an astronaut or cosmonaut outside a spacecraft beyond the Earth’s appreciable atmosphere. The term most commonly applies to a spacewalk made outside a craft orbiting Earth, but also has applied to lunar surface exploration (moonwalks).

Trivia – Science & Technology

Blue Gene Project:

Blue Gene is a supercomputer development project at IBM for a series of high-performance system-on-a-chip (SoC) architectures with minimal power demands. The series includes Blue Gene/L, Cyclops64, (formerly Blue Gene/C), Blue Gene/P and Blue Gene/Q.

Potential applications of the Blue Gene series include the stimulation of complex processes and phenomena such as space flight, wildfire behavior, cloud formation, storm evolution, and the effects of human activity on the earth’s climate.

ACTN3 Gene:

This code encodes a member of the alpha-actin binding protein gene family. The encoded protein is primarily expressed in skeletal muscle and functions as a structural component of sarcomeric Z line. This protein is involved in crosslinking actin containing thin filaments. An allelic polymorphism in this gene results in both coding and non-coding variants; the reference genome represents the coding allele. The non-functional allele of this gene is associated with elite athlete status.

The ACTN3 gene instructs the body to produce a specific muscle protein called alpha-actinin-3, which has been shown to contribute to the muscle’s ability to generate forceful, repetitive, muscle contractions.

INSPIRE programme:

“Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE)” is an innovative programme sponsored and managed by the Department of Science and Technology for attraction of talent to Science. The basic objective of INSPIRE is to communicate to the youth of the country the excitements of creative pursuit of science, attract talent to the study of science at an early age and thus build the required critical human resource pool for strengthening and expanding the S&T system and R&D base.

A striking feature of the programme is that it does not believe in conducting competitive exams for identification of talent at any level. It believes in and relies on the efficacy of the existing educational structure for identification of talent.

INSPIRE has three components:

  • Scheme for Early Attraction of Talent (SEATS)
  • Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE)
  • Assured Opportunity for Research Careers (AORC)

Kessler Syndrome with reference to space debris:

The prevalence of space debris increases the likelihood of cascading collisions, creating debris belts that render many orbits effectively unusable. This cascading effect, in which debris generation outstrips debris re-entry, is known as Kessler Syndrome.

With a low enough density the addition of debris through impacts is lower than their rate of decay, and the problem does not become significant. Beyond that is a critical density where additional debris can quickly upset the system and lead to additional collision. At a high enough density the rate of production is greater than decay rates, leading to a “cascade”, or chain reaction, that quickly reduces the on-orbit population to small objects on the order of a few cm in size, making any sort of space activity potentially catastrophic. This worrying possibility was called “Kessler Syndrome”.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids in our food:

These are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are important for a number of functions in the body. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are found in seafood, such as fatty fish (e.g., salmon, tuna, and trout) and shellfish (e.g., crab, mussels, and oysters). A different kind of omega-3, called ALA, is found in other foods, including some vegetable oils (e.g., canola and soy). Omega-3s are also available as dietary supplements; for example, fish oil supplements contain EPA and DHA, and flaxseed oil supplements contain ALA. Moderate evidence has emerged about the health benefits of consuming seafood.

Arsenic Bug and its significance:

NASA supported researchers have discovered the first known microorganism on Earth able to thrive and reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic. The microorganism, which lives in California’s Mono Lake, substitutes arsenic for phosphorous in the backbone of its DNA and other cellular components. This finding of an alternative biochemistry makeup will alter biology textbooks and expand the scope of the search for life beyond Earth.

Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous and sulfur are the six basic building blocks of all known forms of life on Earth. Phosphorous is part of the chemical backbone of DNA and RNA, the structures that carry genetic instructions for life, and is considered an essential element for all living cells.

 

Trivia

Leap Second:

A leap second is a second, as measured by an atomic clock, added to or subtracted from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) to synchronize atomic clocks with astronomical time to within 0.9 second. Without such a correction, time reckoned by Earth rotation drifts away from atomic time because of irregularities in the Earth’s rate of rotation. The Earth’s rotation around its axis, which determines the length of a day, slows down over time. But the atomic clocks we use to measure time tick away at almost the same speed over millions of years. So, leap seconds are a means to adjust our clocks to the Earth’s slowing rotation.

Maitri:

Is India’s second permanent research station in Antarctica. It was built and finished in 1989. Maitri was built in an ice free, rocky area on the Schirmacher oasis. It also serves as a gateway to one of the largest mountain chains in central Dronning Maud land, located south of Schirmacher.

MRI:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It is a procedure used in hospitals to scan patients and determine the severity of certain injuries. An MRI machine uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the body. A strong magnetic field is created by passing an electric current through the wire loops. While this is happening, other coils in the magnet send and receive radio waves. This triggers protons in the body to align themselves. Once aligned, radio waves are absorbed by the protons, which stimulate spinning. Energy is released after ‘’exciting’’ the molecules, which in turn emits energy signals that are picked up by the coil. This information is then sent to a computer which processes all the signals and generates it into an image. The final product is a 3-D image representation of that area being examined. Common reasons to get an MRI are for a sprained ankle or back pain. Also are very useful for examining the brain and spinal cord.

Mad Cow Disease:

Mad Cow Disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is a transmissible, slowly progressive, degenerative, and fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of adult cattle. Researchers believe that the infectious agent that causes mad cow disease is an abnormal version of a protein normally found on cell surfaces, called prion. For reasons still unknown, this protein becomes altered and destroys nervous system tissue – the brain and spinal cord.

Compact Disc:

A compact disc is a small, portable, round medium made of molded polymer (close in size to the floppy disk) for electronically recording, storing, and playing back audio, video, text and other information in digital form. Tape cartridges and CDs generally replaced the phonograph record for playing back music. Initially, CDs were read-only, but newer technology allows users for record as well.

Gene Therapy and its uses:

Gene Therapy is an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease. It is the treatment of disease by replacing, altering, or supplementing a gene that is absent or abnormal and whose absence or abnormality is responsible for the disease. It may use the genetic material, DNA, itself as the means of treatment.

Gene Therapy can be used to fix defective genes or to replace missing genes. Many diseases are the result of just one gene malfunctioning; sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, SCID, are all caused by one defective gene. To correct the problem, gene therapy is used to deliver genes that function correctly. Other diseases are the result of a missing gene; juvenile Paget’s disease- an extremely rare bone metabolism disorder. In those cases, gene therapy can be used to deliver genes to replace the missing one.

Trivia

MRSA Infection:

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It’s tougher to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus – or staph – because it’s resistant to some commonly used antibiotics. Garden-variety staph are common bacteria that can live in our bodies. Staph bacteria can also enter the body, invade the bloodstream through broken or damaged skin or medical procedures and can cause the onset conditions ranging from mild to severely life-threatening.

Maglev vehicles:

Maglev is a completely new mode of transport that will join the ship, the wheel and the airplane as a mainstay in moving people and goods throughout the world. In Maglev – which is short for MAGnetic LEViation – high speed vehicles are lifted by magnetic repulsion, and propelled along an elevated guideway by powerful magnets attached to the vehicles. The vehicles do not physically contact the guideway, do not need engines, and do not burn fuel. Instead, they are magnetically propelled by electric power fed to coils located on the guideway. Maglev is cheaper, faster, not congested, and has a much longer service life. It is very energy efficient. These vehicles emit no pollution and has further environmental benefits. They has major safety advantages over highway vehicles, trains, and airplanes.

Ginkgo Biloba:

Ginkgo Biloba is a natural herbal supplement. The leaves are generally used to make “extracts’’ that are used as medicine. It is used for blood circulation and memory loss due to brain conditions such as stroke, Alzheimer disease, and dementia. It is also used for thinking disorders related to Lyme disease and depression. Ginkgo biloba is one of the longest living tree species in the world.

Craig Venter:

Is an American biochemist, geneticist, and entrepreneur. He is known for being one of the first to sequence the human genome and the first to transfect a cell with a synthetic genome. Venter founded Celera Genomics, The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), and is now working at JCVI to create synthetic biological organisms.

Vegetable Gold:

‘Saffron’ obtained from the stigma of crocus sativus which is a showy purple colored flower is also known as vegetable gold. (or) “Vegetable Gold” is pipitzahoic acid, also called peresone. It is an extract of the perezia plant. It has mild laxative properties when ingested, and was once used as n herbal medicine.

CARTOSAT-2B:

It is an advanced Remote Sensing Satellite built by ISRO. Is mainly intended to augment remote sensing data services to the users of multiple spot scene imagery with 0.8 metre spatial resolution and 9.6 km swath in the panchromatic band. The multiple spot scene imagery sent by CARTOSAT-2B will be useful for village level/cadastral level resource assessment and maping, detailed urban and infrastructure planning and development, transportation system planning, preparation of large-scale cartographic maps, preparation of micro watershed development plans and monitoring of developmental works at village/cadastral level. Besides, its imagery can be used for the preparation of detailed forest type maps, tree volume estimation, village/cadastral level crop inventory, town/village settlement mapping and planning for comprehensive development, canal alignment, rural connectivity assessment, planning new rural roads and monitoring their construction, coastal landform/ land use and coral/mangrove mapping and monitoring of mining activities.