Now, you can do more than just chew with areca

Nivedan Nempe

A pharmacist by profession, Nivedan Nempe wanted to try something new with areca nut. Knowing its antioxidant properties well, he came up with an idea to make tea out of it.

The 29-year-old entrepreneur will soon launch this product in the market.

‘Areca tea,’ a variety of tea made of areca nut, will be launched in the City in January. This variety is being promoted for its chemical-rich properties, content of antioxidants, proline (amino acids) and some digestive enzyme-enhancing agents.

The idea struck him while he studied the phyto-chemistry of areca nut. Speaking to Deccan Herald, he said the process began with the extraction of tannin from the nut.

“Areca nut has 30 per cent tannin (which is typical to any form of tea) and 13 per cent proline. When I came across these details and researched about it, I realised we could make tea out of it,” he said.

The medicinal uses of the tea are plenty, said Nempe, who claims it is better than green tea.

“Proline is known to have anti-ageing properties. This apart, areca nut is known to aid digestion. Having one cup of areca tea is as good as having two cups of green tea,” said Nempe.

Nempe, who hails from Mandagadde in Shivamogga district, is of the opinion that at a time when the ban on gutkha (which contains areca nut) has been bothering the crop growers, having a byproduct of this sort would address the issue.

Having seen the challenges that an agriculturist faces, Nempe said he wanted to do something for their well-being. “I went to Melbourne to pursue my master’s degree and travelled in six countries. I realised that earning money was not the only motive in life. I wanted to return to the country and give back something to my hometown. To ‘make in the country’ is the prime idea behind this,” he said. The manufacturing units have been set up in Shivamogga and Udupi districts. Nempe said the units would have senior citizens and physically challenged people as employees.

Plutonium-238 Is Produced In America For The First Time In Almost 30 Years


The recently created plutonium-238 oxide in a ‘hot cell’ at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Plutonium-238 is the fuel that is driving the Mars rover Curiosity across the Martian landscape. It flew the New Horizons spacecraft to Pluto and beyond, and is still powering the Voyager probe into the depths of space 38 years after it was launched. It’s a fuel that is in high demand and very short supply.

Last year, it came to light that there was only enough plutonium-238 to make three more batteries for NASA missions, a potentially devastating shortfall, and one that NASA has been working to remedy. Now, it seems like there is hope. This week, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that in collaboration with NASA, they have succeeded in producing plutonium-238, the first time the substance has been made on American soil in 27 years.

It’s been a long time coming. In 2013, funding for the project was secured, and the slow wheels of production started rolling. Now, two years later, the process has yielded 50 grams (1.8 ounces) of precious plutonium-238, the first to be made in the country since the Savannah River Plant closed down in 1988. It’s not a very large amount–the Mars 2020 rover, for example, needs about 8.8 pounds of the stuff to operate–but it’s a start.

Plutonium-238 is different from plutonium used in nuclear weapons and power stations, though it is still highly radioactive. As plutonium-238 decaysinto Uranium-234, it gives off huge amounts of heat, enough to be harnessed into electric energy in NASA’s nuclear batteries, called radioisotope thermoelectric generators or RTGs. The heat has an additional benefit of keeping scientific instruments warm enough to function in the frigid void of space.

Plutonium-238 started out as a byproduct of the nuclear bomb-making process, but eventually as nuclear weapons ceased to be manufactured, the supply dried up, first in the United States, then in Russia. There is now only about 77 pounds left in the United States, and only about half of that is still of high enough quality to be used on space missions. The DOE and NASA hope that next year they will be able to produce 12 ounces of plutonium-238, eventually scaling up to producing 3.3 pounds per year.

Study reveals arms race between Ebola virus and bats, waged for millions of years

The Ebola virus, isolated in November 2014 from patient blood samples obtained in Mali. The virus was isolated on Vero cells in a BSL-4 suite at Rocky Mountain Laboratories. 

Ebola virus and bats have been waging a molecular battle for survival that may have started at least 25 million years ago, according to a study led by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the University of Colorado-Boulder (CU-Boulder) and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) that published online today in the journal eLife. The findings shed light on the biological factors that determine which bat species may harbor the virus between outbreaks in humans and how bats may transmit the virus to people.

“We knew from our previous research that Ebola virus infects host cells by attaching its surface glycoprotein to a receptor called NPC1,” said study co-leader Kartik Chandran, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology & immunology and the Harold and Muriel Block Faculty Scholar in Virology at Einstein. “Here, we show how bats have evolved to resist Ebola infection and how, in turn, the virus could have evolved to overcome that resistance.” The other study co-leaders are Sara Sawyer, Ph.D., an associate professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at CU-Boulder, and John Dye, Ph.D., Viral Immunology Branch Chief at USAMRIID.

Outbreaks of Ebola virus disease among humans are thought to begin when a person comes into contact with a wild animal carrying Ebola virus (a member of the family of filoviruses). “Unlike HIV or influenza virus, Ebola virus stays hidden in an unknown natural reservoir between outbreaks,” said Dr. Dye. Prior research points to some types of bats as possible viral reservoirs, but little is known about how Ebola virus interacts with its presumed reservoir hosts.

To learn more, Dr. Chandran and his colleagues exposed cells from four types of African bats (two of them previously linked to Ebola) to several filoviruses, including Ebola virus. Cells from only one type of bat proved resistant to Ebola virus infection: the African straw-colored fruit bat, which is commonly hunted for bushmeat in West Africa and migrates long distances.

“We mapped this resistance to a single amino acid change in the NPC1 gene of this bat,” said Dr. Chandran. “This tiny change prevents Ebola from binding to the NPC1 receptor.” So the African straw-colored fruit bat—suspected as an Ebola virus reservoir in the recent Western African epidemic—was probably not guilty.

But that’s only half the story. The researchers showed that a single amino acid change in Ebola’s surface glycoprotein could overcome the resistance of African straw-colored fruit bat cells to infection. These findings hint at one way that a filovirus could evolve to better infect a host with receptors that are less than optimal. “There seems to be a low barrier for Ebola virus to multiply in cells of this type of bat,” said Dr. Sawyer. “One has to wonder why that has not happened.”

Interestingly, some non-Ebola filoviruses were able to infect cells from all of the types of bats tested, including the African straw-colored fruit bat. “Those viruses already had the amino acid change that allowed the mutated Ebola virus to infect straw-colored cells, so they didn’t have any problem binding to the different NPC1 receptors,” said Dr. Chandran. The authors propose that this genetic change in the glycoprotein sequences of some filoviruses may have evolved to counteract changes in the NPC1 sequences of their bat hosts.

The research team then genetically analyzed NPC1 in 13 bat species. They found that the part of the NPC1 receptor where Ebola virus attaches has evolved rapidly in bats—more quickly than in humans and other primates. This rapid evolution, the researchers concluded, was likely driven by a long-term co-evolutionary ‘arms race’ between bats and filoviruses. How long? “We discovered that a gene segment derived from a filovirus found its way into some bat genomes at least 25 million years ago,” said Dr. Chandran. This is almost twice the timespan that were thought to have been exposed to filoviruses.

“Identifying potential animal reservoir hosts for Ebola will provide a crucial guide for public health prevention and response programs going forward,” said Dr. Dye.

Curiosity rover finds biologically useful nitrogen on Mars

Curiosity rover finds biologically useful nitrogen on Mars
This self-portrait of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity combines dozens of exposures taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (Feb. 3, 2013), plus three exposures taken during Sol 270 (May 10, 2013) to update the appearance of part of the ground beside the rover. 

A team using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover has made the first detection of nitrogen on the surface of Mars from release during heating of Martian sediments.

The was detected in the form of nitric oxide, and could be released from the breakdown of during heating. Nitrates are a class of molecules that contain nitrogen in a form that can be used by living organisms. The discovery adds to the evidence that ancient Mars was habitable for life.

Nitrogen is essential for all known forms of life, since it is used in the building blocks of larger molecules like DNA and RNA, which encode the genetic instructions for life, and proteins, which are used to build structures like hair and nails, and to speed up or regulate .

However, on Earth and Mars, is locked up as (N2) – two atoms of nitrogen bound together so strongly that they do not react easily with other molecules. The have to be separated or “fixed” so they can participate in the chemical reactions needed for life. On Earth, certain organisms are capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen and this process is critical for metabolic activity. However, smaller amounts of nitrogen are also fixed by energetic events like lightning strikes.

Nitrate (NO3) – a nitrogen atom bound to three – is a source of fixed nitrogen. A nitrate molecule can join with various other atoms and molecules; this class of molecules is known as nitrates.

There is no evidence to suggest that the fixed nitrogen molecules found by the team were created by life. The surface of Mars is inhospitable for known forms of life. Instead, the team thinks the nitrates are ancient, and likely came from non-biological processes like meteorite impacts and lightning in Mars’ distant past.

Features resembling dry riverbeds and the discovery of minerals that form only in the presence of liquid water suggest that Mars was more hospitable in the remote past. The Curiosity team has found evidence that other ingredients needed for life, such as liquid water and organic matter, were present on Mars at the Curiosity site in Gale Crater billions of years ago.

“Finding a biochemically accessible form of nitrogen is more support for the ancient Martian environment at Gale Crater being habitable,” said Jennifer Stern of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Stern is lead author of a paper on this research published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science March 23.

The team found evidence for nitrates in scooped samples of windblown sand and dust at the “Rocknest” site, and in samples drilled from mudstone at the “John Klein” and “Cumberland” drill sites in Yellowknife Bay. Since the Rocknest sample is a combination of dust blown in from distant regions on Mars and more locally sourced materials, the nitrates are likely to be widespread across Mars, according to Stern. The results support the equivalent of up to 1,100 parts per million nitrates in the Martian soil from the drill sites. The team thinks the mudstone at Yellowknife Bay formed from sediment deposited at the bottom of a lake. Previously the rover team described the evidence for an ancient, habitable environment there: fresh water, key chemical elements required by life, such as carbon, and potential energy sources to drive metabolism in simple organisms.

The samples were first heated to release molecules bound to the Martian soil, then portions of the gases released were diverted to the SAM instruments for analysis. Various nitrogen-bearing compounds were identified with two instruments: a mass spectrometer, which uses electric fields to identify molecules by their signature masses, and a gas chromatograph, which separates molecules based on the time they take to travel through a small glass capillary tube—certain molecules interact with the sides of the tube more readily and thus travel more slowly.

Along with other , the instruments detected (NO—one atom of nitrogen bound to an oxygen atom) in samples from all three sites. Since nitrate is a nitrogen atom bound to three oxygen atoms, the team thinks most of the NO likely came from nitrate which decomposed as the samples were heated for analysis. Certain compounds in the SAM instrument can also release nitrogen as samples are heated; however, the amount of NO found is more than twice what could be produced by SAM in the most extreme and unrealistic scenario, according to Stern. This leads the team to think that nitrates really are present on Mars, and the abundance estimates reported have been adjusted to reflect this potential additional source.

“Scientists have long thought that nitrates would be produced on Mars from the energy released in meteorite impacts, and the amounts we found agree well with estimates from this process,” said Stern.

Lab-Grown Retina Cells Repair Monkeys’ Sight

Researchers transplant human-embryonic stem cell-derived retinal tissue into the retina of primate models.

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a genetic eye condition that results in damage to the retina. It has no cure; over time, a person with RP loses much or all of their vision.

 But scientists have gotten one step closer to finding a better treatment. Researchers at the RIKEN Institute in Japan have now succeeded in growing retinal tissue and transplanting that tissue into the retinas of rhesus monkeys with RP. Three weeks after the treatment, visual tests on two of the monkeys found their vision had improved.

In the study, published this week in the journal PNAS, researchers grew retinal tissue from stem cells and then transplanted the tissue into the retinal area of rats with advanced RP. The tissue grew and in some cases adhered to the cells already in the retina and formed connections—a key factor in the success of this approach.

Then, the researchers tried a similar approach on rhesus and macaque monkeys with end-stage RP. Similarly, the retinal cells grew and formed connections and synapses, allowing the new retinal tissue to connect and “talk to” the retinal cells already there. In order for a tissue graft like this to be successful, the cells need to not only grow and differentiate from stem cells but also connect to the cells already there to become one unit.

The researchers say that future studies will allow them to better understand how often the implanted retinal tissue is likely to form connections with the retinal cells already there. And while therapy like this for humans is still far out, they say that the monkey models will help them optimize for conditions that they would expect to see in humans.

Asthma drug appears to rejuvenate elderly brains, rodent study finds

We need this.


New research in rats has shown that a cheap drug used to prevent asthma attacks could also help our brains to fight the symptoms of old age – including memory loss, inflammation, and loss of cognitive performance.

The drug, known as montelukast, was given to rats over a six-week period and appeared to reduce brain inflammation, while at the same time encouraging the growth of new neurons. Scientists are now planning clinical trials in patients with dementia, to see if the drug has the same effect in humans.

Regardless of whether you develop Alzheimer’s disease, as you get older, your brain is unfortunately going to stop functioning as well as it does right now. Inflammation builds up, the production of brain cells slows down, and memory and learning abilities become impaired.

Scientists have long searched for a way to delay this ageing process, or reverse it altogether, but most of the research has focussed on finding ways to treat Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, rather than general cognitive ageing.

The study was led by Ludwig Aigner, from the Paracelsus Medical University in Austria, and it was inspired after he heard about a link between an inflammatory asthma molecule and more severe cognitive decline.

To test out the involvement between these two pathways, Aigner and his team decided to investigate montelukast, which is an off-patent drug that’s currently used to block inflammation in asthma and prevent asthma attacks.

They gave two groups of rats daily doses of montelukast for six weeks – one group of four-month-old rats and one group of 20-month-old rats, which is the human equivalent age of around 65 to 70 years old. These older rats didn’t have dementia, but they were showing signs of slowing down with age.

Throughout the treatment, the researchers then tested the two groups of rats on their ability to repeatedly find a submerged platform in a pool of water, and remember where objects in their cage had originally been placed.

The older rats initially struggled with both these tasks, but after taking the drug, their performance was much faster than their peers who had only received a placebo – and it almost matched the younger mice.

Further testing also showed that older rats who had been given montelukast also had more freshly grown neurons in their brains than the placebo rats, and had less obvious inflammation.

“The important thing is that while we saw effects on neurogenesis, we also saw effects on other systems in the brain,” Aigner told Ian Sample over at The Guardian. “The drug reduces neural inflammation in the brain. But we also looked at that blood-brain barrier and that is partially restored. We know in aged brains that the blood-brain barrier is leaky and that contributes to neural inflammation.”

The next step is to test the same drug in humans, and Aigner’s team plans to start with dementia patients. The fact that montelukast is already used to treat asthma means that there are less hurdles to overcome when it comes to using it in humans, but because the drug is off-patent it also makes it challenging for a company to recover the money needed to fund clinical trials.

Let’s hope that doesn’t hold the researchers back, because with a rapidly ageing population, we definitely need new ways to keep our brains younger for longer.

Statin scam exposed: Cholesterol drugs cause rapid aging, brain damage and diabetes

Statins, the widely prescribed class of drugs said to lower “bad” cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart problems, has recently come under fire after a study revealed that they destroy human health more than they work to improve it.

Sadly, many people take statin drugs, which are commonly known by brand names including Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor. Prescription drug spending in the U.S. shot up to about $374 billion in 2014, representing the highest level of spending since 2001. Statins undoubtedly made up a significant portion of this spending, and now consumers who take such drugs have much more to worry about than the dent it’s making in their wallets.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Physiology, states that statins’ “…impact on other biologic properties of stem cells provides a novel explanation for their adverse clinical effects.” Specifically, the study states that such adverse effects include advancing the “process of aging” and also notes that “…long-term use of statins has been associated with adverse effects including myopathy, neurological side effects and an increased risk of diabetes.” Myopathy refers to skeletal muscle weakness.

Statins make cells unable to repair properly, create nerve problems and destroy memory

Experts involved in the study suggest that the health problems associated with statins have likely been downplayed through the years. In reality, those taking such cholesterol-lowering drugs have been experiencing cataracts, fatigue, liver problems, muscle pain and memory loss. Simply put, the drugs have been found to tamper with cells in such a way that their primary purpose of reproducing and helping the body repair is thwarted. With that comes the onset of terrible health issues or the worsening of existing ones.

Professor Reza Izadpanah, a stem cell biologist and lead author of the published study, says, “Our study shows statins may speed up the ageing process. People who use statins as a preventative medicine for [health] should think again as our research shows they may have general unwanted effects on the body which could include muscle pain, nerve problems and joint problems.”

Despite health problems linked to statin drugs, FDA says people shouldn’t be scared of them

While the FDA notes on its web site that “Cognitive (brain-related) impairment, such as memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion, has been reported by some statin users” and that “People being treated with statins may have an increased risk of raised blood sugar levels and the development of Type 2 diabetes,” they also maintain its safety and effectiveness. The site directs people’s attention to the advice of Amy G. Egan, M.D., M.P.H., who is the deputy director for safety in the FDA’s Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products (DMEP). She says, “This new information should not scare people off statins. Their benefit is indisputable, but they need to be taken with care and knowledge of their side effects.”

Indisputable? Especially after this latest study, we beg to differ. What’s beneficial about accelerated aging, cells that don’t properly function, muscle weakness and memory loss?

The need to continually assess prescription drugs and older studies that tout their benefits

This finding demonstrates the importance of revisiting the so-called benefits of prescription drugs, something that hopefully continues so consumers can be fully informed and kept in the best health possible.

A similar eye-opening study involving the adolescent antidepressant Paxil recently made headlines when a reanalysis of an original study exposed errors and incomplete information. In reality, the drug was found not to be safe and effective for its intended demographic after all, a finding that Brian Nosek, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, says “signals that the community is waking up, checking its work and doing what science is supposed to do — self-correct.”

Seizures From Solving Sudoku Puzzles

This case report describes a patient who had hypoxia and posthypoxic intention myoclonus and subsequently developed clonic seizures while solving sudoku puzzles.

A 25-year-old right-handed physical education student was buried by an avalanche during a ski tour, resulting in 15 minutes of hypoxia. He developed posthypoxic intention myoclonus with involuntary myoclonic jerks of the mouth induced by talking and of both legs by walking. Both arms were unaffected. Weeks later when the patient was trying to solve sudoku puzzles, which he imagined in a 3-dimensional manner, he developed clonic seizures of the left arm associated with a right centroparietal seizure pattern on electroencephalography (Figure 1; eFigure in the Supplement). The unilateral clonic seizures stopped immediately when the sudoku puzzle was discontinued. To solve a sudoku puzzle, every digit from 1 to 9 must appear in each of the 9 vertical columns, in each of the 9 horizontal rows, and in each of the 9 boxes.

Quantum Theory Proves That Consciousness Moves To Another Universe After Death | TruthTheory

A book titled Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the Nature of the Universe, published in the USA, has stirred up the Internet, because it contained a notion that life does not end when the body dies, but your consciousness moves to another universe after death . The author of this publication, scientist Robert Lanza has no doubts that this is possible.

Beyond time and space

Lanza is an expert in regenerative medicine and scientific director of Advanced Cell Technology Company. Before he has been known for his extensive research which dealt with stem cells, he was also famous for several successful experiments on cloning endangered animal species.

But not so long ago, the scientist became involved with physics, quantum mechanics and astrophysics. This explosive mixture has given birth to the new theory of biocentrism, which the professor has been preaching ever since.

The theory implies that death simply does not exist. It is an illusion which arises in the minds of people. It exists because people identify themselves with their body. They believe that the body is going to perish, sooner or later, thinking their consciousness will disappear too. In fact, consciousness exists outside of constraints of time and space. It is able to be anywhere: in the human body and outside of it. That fits well with the basic postulates of quantum mechanics science, according to which a certain particle can be present anywhere and an event can happen according to several, sometimes countless, ways.

Lanza believes that multiple universes can exist simultaneously. These universes contain multiple ways for possible scenarios to occur. In one universe, the body can be dead. And in another it continues to exist, absorbing consciousness which migrated into this universe.

This means that a dead person while traveling through the same tunnel ends up not in hell or in heaven, but in a similar world he or she once inhabited, but this time alive. And so on, infinitely.soul

Multiple worlds

This hope-instilling, but extremely controversial theory by Lanza has many unwitting supporters, not just mere mortals who want to live forever, but also some well-known scientists. These are the physicists and astrophysicists who tend to agree with existence of parallel worlds and who suggest the possibility of multiple universes. Multiverse (multi-universe) is a so-called scientific concept, which they defend. They believe that no physical laws exist which would prohibit the existence of parallel worlds.
Painting-Multiverse-Rising_photo_mediumThe first one was a science fiction writer H.G. Wells who proclaimed in 1895 in his story “The Door in the Wall”.  And after 62 years, this idea was developed by Hugh Everett in his graduate thesis at the Princeton University. It basically posits that at any given moment the universe divides into countless similar instances. And the next moment, these “newborn” universes split in a similar fashion. In some of these worlds you may be present: reading this article in one universe, or watching TV in another.

The triggering factor for these multiplying worlds is our actions, explained Everett. If we make some choices, instantly one universe splits into two with different versions of outcomes.

In the 1980s, Andrei Linde, scientist from the Lebedev’s Institute of physics, developed the theory of multiple universes. He is now a professor at Stanford University.

Linde explained: Space consists of many inflating spheres, which give rise to similar spheres, and those, in turn, produce spheres in even greater numbers, and so on to infinity. In the universe, they are spaced apart. They are not aware of each other’s existence. But they represent parts of the same physical universe.

The fact that our universe is not alone is supported by data received from the Planck space telescope. Using the data, scientists have created the most accurate map of the microwave background, the so-called cosmic relic background radiation, which has remained since the inception of our universe. They also found that the universe has a lot of dark recesses represented by some holes and extensive gaps.

Theoretical physicist Laura Mersini-Houghton from the North Carolina University with her colleagues argue: the anomalies of the microwave background exist due to the fact that our universe is influenced by other universes existing nearby. And holes and gaps are a direct result of attacks on us by neighboring universes.

Soul quanta

So, there is abundance of places or other universes where our soul could migrate after death, according to the theory of neo-biocentrism. But does the soul exist?
maxresdefaultProfessor Stuart Hamerofffrom the University of Arizona has no doubts about the existence of eternal soul. As recently as last year, he announced that he has foundevidence that consciousness does not perish after death.

According to Hameroff, the human brain is the perfect quantum computer and the soul or consciousness is simply information stored at the quantum level. It can be transferred, following the death of the body; quantum information represented by consciousness merges with our universe and exist there indefinitely. The biocentrism expert Lanza proves that the soul migrates to another universe. That is the main difference from his other colleagues.

Sir Roger Penrose, a famous British physicist and expert in mathematics from Oxford, supports this theory, and he has also found traces of contact with other universes. Together, the scientists are developing quantum theory to explain the phenomenon of consciousness. They believe that they found carriers of consciousness, the elements that accumulate information during life, and after death of the body they “drain” consciousness somewhere else. These elements are located inside protein-based microtubules (neuronal microtubules), which previously have been attributed a simple role of reinforcement and transport channeling inside a living cell. Based on their structure, microtubules are best suited to function as carriers of quantum properties inside the brain. That is mainly because they are able to retain quantum states for a long time, meaning they can function as elements of a quantum computer.

If the patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says “I had a near death experience”‘

He adds: “If they’re not revived, and the patient dies, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body, perhaps indefinitely, as a soul.”

This account of quantum consciousness explains things like near-death experiences, astral projection, out of body experiences, and even reincarnation without needing to appeal to religious ideology.  The energy of your consciousness potentially gets recycled back into a different body at some point, and in the mean time it exists outside of the physical body on some other level of reality, and possibly in another universe.

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Engineers demo first processor that uses light for ultrafast communications