Prepare Prelims-2017-Day-50-Science & Tech

Mesentery, the New Organ Discovered in the Human Body

  • Irish scientists have recently identified a new human organ that has existed in the digestive system for hundreds of years.
  • Named as the mesentery, the organ connects the intestine to the abdomen and had for hundreds of years been considered a fragmented structure made up of multiple separate parts.
  • Mesentery is a fold of the peritoneum which attaches the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, spleen, and other organs to the posterior wall of the abdomen.
  • During the initial research, the researchers have found that the mesentery, which connects the gut to the body, was one continuous organ.
  • Better understanding and further scientific study of the mesentery could lead to less invasive surgeries, fewer complications, faster patient recovery and lower overall costs.



  • Recently, the government has referred the proposal to set up a hyperloop transportation system in the country to NITI Aayog.
    ·Hyperloop transportation system is a proposed mode of passenger and freight
    transportation that propels a pod-like vehicle through a near-vacuum tube at more than airline speed.
  • The concept of high-speed travel in tubes has been around for decades. However, due to lack of technology could not be tested. Concept was reintroduced by billionaire inventor Elon Musk, CEO the aerospace firm SpaceX.

·Musk’s Hyperloop consists of two massive tubes stretching between urban cities. Pods carrying passengers would travel through the tubes at speeds topping out over 700 mph.

NASA selects 2 missions to explore solar system’s asteroids

Aiming to find important clues to the earliest history of the solar system, NASA has announced two missions — one to explore Jupiter’s mysterious Trojan asteroids and the other to study a unique metal asteroid.

  • The missions, known as Lucy and Psyche, were chosen from five finalists and will proceed to mission formulation, with the goal of launching in 2021 and 2023, respectively.

About Lucy:

  • Lucy will visit a target-rich environment of Jupiter’s mysterious Trojan asteroids.
  • Lucy, a robotic spacecraft, is scheduled for October 2021 launch.
  • It is slated to arrive at its first destination, a main belt asteroid, in 2025.
  • From 2027 to 2033, Lucy will explore six Jupiter Trojan asteroids.
  • These asteroids are trapped by Jupiter’s gravity in two swarms that share the planet’s orbit, one leading and one trailing Jupiter in its 12-year circuit around the sun.
  • The Trojans are thought to be relics of a much earlier era in the history of the solar system, and may have formed far beyond Jupiter’s current orbit.
  • This is a unique opportunity because the Trojans are remnants of the primordial material that formed the outer planets, they hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system.
  • Lucy, like the human fossil for which it is named, will revolutionize the understanding of our origins.

About Psyche mission:

The Psyche mission will explore one of the most intriguing targets in the main asteroid belt – a giant metal asteroid, known as 16 Psyche, about three times farther away from the sun than is the Earth.

  • This asteroid measures about 130 miles (210 kilometers) in diameter and, unlike most other asteroids that are rocky or icy bodies, is thought to be comprised mostly of metallic iron and nickel, similar to Earth’s core.
  • The mission will help scientists understand how planets and other bodies separated into their layers – including cores, mantles and crusts – early in their histories.

Psyche, also a robotic mission, is targeted to launch in October of 2023, arriving at the asteroid in 2030, following an Earth gravity assist spacecraft maneuvre in 2024 and a Mars flyby in 2025.


  • Bedaquiline is the active substance in a TB drug which is also sometimes known by the trade name of Sirturo.
  • Bedaquiline has only been approved for use in patients who have MDR-TB and when options to treat this condition using existing drugs have been exhausted.
  • The drug is to be given in addition to the multidrug treatment regimen recommended by WHO.
  • How it works: Bedaquiline works by blocking an enzyme inside the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria called ATP synthase. This enzyme is used by the bacteria to generate energy. Without the ability to generate energy, the TB bacteria die and the patient’s condition can start to improve.
  • Side effects of this: Headache, dizziness, feeling sick, being sick, joint pain and increases in liver enzymes.

Astronomers discover ‘powerful cosmic double whammy’ with help of India’s GMRT

By combining data from several telescopes around the world including India’s Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in Pune, astronomers have discovered a cosmic double whammy unlike any ever seen before.

Key facts:

  • By combining data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in Pune and other telescopes, researchers found what happens when matter ejected by a giant black hole is swept up in the merger of two enormous galaxy clusters.
  • The two phenomenon have combined to create a stupendous cosmic particle accelerator. This cosmic double whammy is found in a pair of colliding galaxy clusters called Abell 3411 and Abell 3412 located about two billion light years from Earth.
  • Scientists determined that as the shock waves travel across the cluster for hundreds of millions of years, the doubly accelerated particles produce giant swirls of radio emission.
  • This discovery solves a long-standing mystery in galaxy cluster research about the origin of beautiful swirls of radio emission stretching for millions of light years, detected in Abell 3411 and Abell 3412 with the GMRT.
  • This result shows that a remarkable combination of powerful events generate these particle acceleration factories, which are the largest and most powerful in the Universe.

About GMRT:

The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), located near Pune in India, is an array of thirty fully steerable parabolic radio telescopes of 45 metre diameter, observing at metre wavelengths.

  • It is operated by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, a part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai.
  • At the time it was built, it was the world’s largest interferometric array offering a baseline of up to 25 kilometres (16 mi).

One of the aims for the telescope during its development was to search for the highly redshifted 21-cm line radiation from primordial neutral hydrogen clouds in order to determine the epoch of galaxy formation in the universe.

3D Graphene:

MIT researchers have found a way to print graphene as a porous 3D material that has five percent of the density of steel while being ten times stronger.

  • Although Graphene is one of the strongest materials known to man, but so far it hasn’t lent itself to practical use because it is extremely thin.
    ·Creation of the new porous, 3D form had less to do with the material itself and more to do with the unusual geometric configuration employed. This could lead to lighter, stronger materials with similar geometric features.


  • It is an allotrope of carbon in the form of a two-dimensional, atomic-scale.
    Properties of Graphene:
  • It is ultra-light yet immensely tough.
  • It is 200 times stronger than steel, but it is incredibly flexible.
  • It is the thinnest material possible as well as being transparent.

It is a superb conductor and can act as a perfect barrier – not even helium can pass through it.


  • It is a chemical found in Indian long pepper that could stop the production of an enzyme that is commonly found in tumours.
  • PL has shown activity against many cancers including prostate, breast, lung, colon, lymphoma, leukaemia, primary brain tumours and gastric cancer.

New fault in Indian Ocean may trigger quakes in future: study

Scientists have found a new plate boundary being formed on the floor of the Indian Ocean as a result of the largest earthquake that shook the Andaman-Sumatra region in 2012. Scientists warn that the new fault system could trigger more quakes in the future.

  • Researchers have found evidence for this plate on the floor of the Indian Ocean in the Wharton Basin.

How this plate boundary may have been formed?

  • A slip-strike quake occurs when two plates slide horizontally against one another.
  • Such quakes can be caused by deformations that occur in plates distant from fault lines as pressure builds up across a plate.
  • They can lead to inter-plate earthquakes and cause a plate to break, resulting in a new boundary and this in turn can lead to even more quakes.
  • It is this scenario that the researchers believe happened in 2012 when two earthquakes struck the Andaman-Sumatran regio (north-west part) of the Indian Ocean — the largest inter-plate earthquakes ever recorded.

Wharton Basin 

  • The marine area of the north east quarter of the Indian Ocean. It is named after William Wharton(1843-1905), Hydrographer of the Navy. Alternative names are Cocos Basin (after the Cocos Islands) and West Australian Basin.
  • It lies east of the Ninety East Ridgeand west of Western Australia.
  • It is of interest in relation to Indian Ocean floor movement and adjacent fracture zones and the relationship between the Indian and Australian plates and is one of a number of features of the Indian Ocean that has been studied extensively. However, its floor has not been charted since the 1960s and is not well known.

Measles-rubella vaccine

Three years after the national vaccine advisory body recommended the introduction of the measles-rubella vaccine (MR) in the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP), the vaccine is all set to be introduced from next month in five states and Union territories as a part of the basket of preventive medications that every child born in India is entitled to.

  • The UIP basket already has ten vaccines of which measles is one; once MR is introduced, monovalent measles will be discontinued.

About the disease:

Rubella, or German measles, is a contagious viral infection that causes a distinctive red rash. Though there are no statistics on its prevalence, the health ministry says the disease is endemic in India.

  • It spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and can also be passed on from mother to the newborn.

Experts say more than two lakh children in India are born deaf, blind, or with heart or brain damage every year due to the congenital rubella syndrome.

NASA aims to send spacecraft to giant ‘metal’ asteroid

NASA is preparing to send a spacecraft to a giant “metal” asteroid that may tell scientists the secret of how our solar system was formed.

Key facts:

  • The mission is called “Psyche”. It is focused to know whether the asteroid, called “16 Psyche” and thought to be made of iron and nickel, could be part of what was an earlier planet perhaps as large as Mars.
  • Psyche robotic mission will launch in October 2023 and will arrive at the asteroid in 2030, following an Earth gravity assist spacecraft manoeuver in 2024 and a Mars flyby in 2025.

About 16 Psyche:

’16 Psyche’ is the only known object of its kind in the solar system. It is nearly three times farther away from the sun than is the Earth. The asteroid measures about 210 kilometres in diameter.

Scientists believe that the asteroid might have lost its outer core through a series of collisions and the mission could shed light on how planets and other masses broke up into cores, mantles and crusts years ago.

Global partnership launched to prevent epidemics with new vaccines

A global coalition to create new vaccines for emerging infectious diseases, designed to help give the world an insurance policy against epidemics was recently launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The coalition is named- Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

About CEPI:

CEPI, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, is a “public-private coalition that aims to derail epidemics by speeding development of vaccines”.  

  • With an initial investment of US$460m, CEPI – the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations will seek to outsmart epidemics by developing safe and effective vaccines against known infectious disease threats that could be deployed rapidly to contain outbreaks, before they become global health emergencies.

CEPI will initially target the MERS-CoV, Lassa and Nipah viruses, which have known potential to cause serious epidemics. It aims to develop two promising vaccine candidates against each of these diseases before any epidemic, so these are available without delay if and when an outbreak begins. CEPI will also scope out potential support for vaccines against multiple strains of the Ebola and Marburg viruses, and Zika.

India to launch standby navigation satellite

India is planning to launch one of its back up navigation satellites this year as a replacement to IRNSS-1A satellite, whose three atomic clocks have failed.

  • Each of seven satellites has three clocks. The clocks are important to provide precise data.

What is an atomic clock?

An atomic clock is a clock that uses the resonance frequencies of atoms as its resonator. The resonator is regulated by the frequency of the microwave electromagnetic radiation emitted or absorbed by the quantum transition (energy change) of an atom or molecule. The advantage of this approach is that atoms resonate at extremely consistent frequencies.

Vampire star caught in the act by ASTROSAT

  • India’s first dedicated space observatory, ASTROSAT has captured the rare phenomenon of a small six-billion-year-old vampire star preying on a bigger celestial body. 
  • The vampire star phenomenon is observed when smaller star sucks material (mass and energy) out of the bigger companion star, causing its eventual death. 
  • It is also called a blue straggler as small star becomes bigger, hotter and bluer, giving it the appearance of being young, while the ageing companion burns out and collapses to a stellar remnant. 
  • Astrosat is India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory launched in September 2016.

It is one of the major scientific missions of ISRO after the highly acclaimed Chandrayaan-I and Mangalyaan.

ISRO Successfully Tests C25 Cryogenic Upper Stage of GSLV MkIII

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully ground tested its indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage for GSLV MkIII on January 25, 2017.
  • The cryogenic stage designated as C25 was tested for a duration of 50 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Mahendragiri demonstrating all the stage operations.
  • The performance of the Stage during the test was as predicted. This is the first test in a series of two tests.  The next test is planned for flight duration of 640 seconds.  
  • The 50 second test is a significant milestone in the development of indigenous cryogenic propulsion technology.
  • The successful hot test of the stage in the first attempt itself demonstrates ISRO’s ability to work in new areas like cryogenic technology.
  • The development of C25 cryogenic stage began with the approval of GSLV MKIII, the next generation launch vehicle of ISRO, capable of launching 4 ton class spacecraft in Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
  • The vehicle consists of two solid strap-on motors (S200), one earth storable liquid core stage (L110) and the cryogenic stage upper stage (C25).

The C25 stage was conceptualised, designed and realised by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC).

The C25 stage is the most powerful upper stage developed by ISRO and uses Liquid Oxygen (LOX) and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) propellant combination.  The stage carries 27.8 tons of propellants loaded in two independent tanks.

Cryogenics is the study of substances at very low temperature – at minus 150 degrees Celsius and less, in which gases like oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen turn liquid. Cryogenic engines are called so because they use liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as fuel. The extremely cold temperatures make these liquids tricky to operate.

A clinical trial using technology to minimise hair loss due to Chemotherapy

  • The Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Parel has started a clinical trial using technology to minimise hair loss due to chemotherapy.
  • The initiative, the first such in India, is expected to address the loss of self-esteem and confidence that many cancer patients, especially women, face and reduce cancer-related trauma.
  • The process uses a scalp cooling technique to restrict chemotherapy medication from reaching the scalp, thus reducing hair fall.
  • The machine has two scalp coolers, which are essentially specialised inner silicon caps containing coolants at temperatures of up to minus 4 degrees centigrade.
  • The technique is widely used in the U.K.
  • The machine circulates the coolant in the caps, reducing its temperature and consequently blood supply to the scalp.
  • As chemotherapy medication is given intravenously and circulated through the blood, the scalp gets less blood and thus less of the medication.
  • This reduces damage to hair follicles and preserves hair. But, experts say reduction in hair loss may vary from person to person.
  • Chemotherapy medication works best on fast-dividing cells.
  • Since cancer cells divide rapidly, the medicines attack those cells, but other cells like those in the blood, mucosal lining and hair follicles also come under attack.
  • This is why patients suffer from reduced blood count, mouth ulcers and hair loss during chemotherapy. But of all the side-effects, hair loss has the worst impact on women.

The most common side-effects of using scalp coolers are headache and cold.

Highly pungent capsicum varieties have higher antioxidant property

  • A team of Indian researchers from the School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University and other institutions has successfully decoded the molecular basis of extreme fiery hot (pungency) property of Bhut jolokia (Capsicum chinense)which is native of northeast India; Bhut jolokia has the highest pungency level in the world.
  • In the study, many varieties belonging to  chinense, C. frutescens, C. annuum were studied and comparative analysis carried out for pungency, vitamins and other metabolites. The high level of pungency and vitamins was found to be positively correlated with high antioxidant activities — the higher the pungency of the capsicum variety the higher was its antioxidant property.“Pungency and vitamin C show high correlation, and these two along with other metabolites have high antioxidant activity,”
  • “The capsicum Bhut jolokia [popularly known as ghost chilli] has more anticancer property compared with other capsicum varieties,”
  • “The scavenging property is useful in humans and animals as it neutralises the free radicals which are otherwise harmful,”
  • Seventeen varieties of  chinense species had high pungency of over 0.9 million scoville heat unit, which is higher than what has been previously reported.
  • While earlier studies have looked at antioxidant property of capsicum, the studies were limited to a few varieties.
  • But for this study the researchers examined 136 varieties of capsicum from northeast India belonging to three species — 63 varieties of  chinense,17 varieties of C. frutescens and 56 varieties of C. annuum.

Maximum pungency was seen in C. chinense varieties followed by C. frutescens; C. annuum had the least pungency.

India superbug resistant to available antibiotics?

  • A woman in the U.S. died after being infected by a superbug during her visit to India, say doctors who found that the “nightmare” bacteria was resistant to all available antibiotics.
  • The infection was caused by carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), a multidrug-resistant organism associated with high mortality.

About Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae:

  • Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae(CRE) or carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) are Gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to the carbapenem class of antibiotics, considered the drugs of last resort for such infections.
  • They are resistant because they produce an enzyme called a carbapenemase that disables the drug molecule.
  • The resistance can vary from moderate to severe.

Enterobacteriaceae are common commensals and infectious agents.

New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1 (NDM-1):

  • An enzyme that makes bacteria resistant to a broad range of beta-lactam antibiotics.
  • These include the antibiotics of the carbapenem family, which are a mainstay for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.
  • The gene for NDM-1 is one member of a large gene family that encodes beta-lactamase enzymes called carbapenemases.
  • Bacteria that produce carbapenemases are often referred to in the news media as “superbugs” because infections caused by them are difficult to treat. Such bacteria are usually susceptible only to polymyxins and tigecycline.
  • NDM-1 was first detected in a Klebsiella pneumoniaeisolate from a Swedish patient of Indian origin in 2008.
  • It was later detected in bacteria in India, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Japan.
  • The most common bacteria that make this enzyme are Gram-negative such as Escherichia coliand Klebsiella pneumoniae, but the gene for NDM-1 can spread from one strain of bacteria to another by horizontal gene transfer.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR):

  • Antimicrobial resistance(AMR) is the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication previously used to treat them.
  • This broader term also covers antibiotic resistance, which applies to bacteria and antibiotics.
  • Resistance arises through one of three ways: natural resistance in certain types of bacteria; genetic mutation; or by one species acquiring resistance from another.
  • Resistance can appear spontaneously because of random mutations; or more commonly following gradual buildup over time, and because of misuse of antibiotics or antimicrobials.
  • Resistant microbes are increasingly difficult to treat, requiring alternative medications or higher doses—which may be more costly or more toxic.
  • Microbes resistant to multiple antimicrobials are called multidrug resistant (MDR); or sometimes superbugs.
  • Antimicrobial resistance is on the rise with millions of deaths every year.

A few infections are now completely untreatable because of resistance.

A thumb imprint is enough to help detect jaundice

  • When a person has jaundice, the bilirubin gets deposited on the skin surface.
  • Gold nanoclusters that have been functionalised [using chitosan and mercaptopropionic acid] show yellow luminescence under UV light.
  • But when copper salt (copper sulphate) is added to it, the yellow luminescence gets quenched or reduced.
  • When bilirubin is added to the medium, the copper preferentially interacts with it, forming a complex and the luminescence of the gold nanoclusters gets restored.
  • This quick test has been developed by team of IIT Guwahati.
  • They just need a thumb imprint for detecting hyperbilirubinemia, a condition in which the amount of bilirubin in the blood is in excess and turns the sclera of the eye, urine and even the skin yellow.
  • Hyperbilirubinemia is commonly seen in people with jaundice and newborns. A person is said to have jaundice when the bilirubin concentration in the blood typically exceeds 12 ppm in adults and 50 ppm in a newborn.
  • While visual observation of yellow colour of the sclera and/or urine is routine for detecting jaundice, it is confirmed by a blood test.

About Bilirubin:

  • Bilirubin is a yellow compound that occurs during the body’s clearance of waste products that arise from the destruction of aged red blood cells.
  • Levels of Bilirubin in blood are normally below 1.0 mg/dL and levels over 2-3 mg/dL typically results in jaundice.

High Bilirubin levels may be due to excess red blood cell breakdown, new born jaundice, thyroid problems, liver diseases such as cirrhosis or hepatitis or blockage of the bile duct.

Breeding crops to increase nutrition value

  • Biofortification is the idea of breeding crops to increase their nutritional value.
  • This can be done either through conventional selective breeding, or through genetic engineering.
  • Biofortification differs from ordinary fortification because it focuses on making plant foods more nutritious as the plants are growing, rather than having nutrients added to the foods when they are being processed.

It has proposed as a strategy to counter malnutrition ‘Nutrition gardens’ (botanical gardens with plants considered rich in vitamins, iron, iodine etc.)

New mosquito-borne disease

  • University of Florida researchers have identified a patient in Haiti with a serious mosquito-borne illness that has never before been reported in the Caribbean nation.
  • Known as “Mayaro virus,” it is closely related to chikungunya virus and was first isolated in Trinidad in 1954. Most reported cases, however, have been confined to small outbreaks in the Amazon. Whether this case signals the start of a new outbreak in the Caribbean region is currently unknown.
  • “While current attention has been focused on the Zika virus, the finding of yet another mosquito-borne virus which may be starting to circulate in the Caribbean is of concern

The symptoms of Mayaro fever are similar to those of chikungunya fever: fever, joint pain, muscle pain and rashes. Abdominal pain is also a feature of Mayaro fever, however, and joint pain can last longer.

Japanese scientists have said that silicon is likely to be the mystery element

  • Japanese scientists have said that silicon is likely to be the mystery element in the inner core of the earth.
  • This could solve one of the biggest secrets of the planet.

Consensus has long been that centre of the planet comprises:

  1. Iron-85%
  2. Nickel-10%
  3. Sulphur, Oxygen and Silicon-5%
  • But Japanese scientists have found that iron nickel alloys mixed with silicon were able to sustain pressure and temperature found in the inner core of the earth.
  • Data for the mixed material observed with X-rays matched seismic data namely sound velocity, or seismic waves obtained for the inner core.
  • Finding could reveal if earth was rich in oxygen before photosynthesis.
  • Oxygen has been listed as another potential candidate for mystery element in the inner core.

About the Layers of the Earth

  • Earth is composed of three main layers: outer layer, mantle and core.
  • Outer layer is solid where creatures reside.
  • Mantle is composed of hot magma and other semi solid materials.

Core is composed of outer layer of liquid iron and nickel and inner layer – a hot dense ball of mostly iron.

In Madagascar, Rift Valley fever follows trade routes

Rift Valley fever is an emerging viral disease that is threatening public health and has already had a substantial economic impact. Two publications have revealed that in Madagascar, cattle trading is the main trigger factor for epidemics, and that between two outbreaks, the virus persists in some parts of the island.

  • Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a viral zoonosis that primarily affects animals but can also infect humans.
  • RVF virus is a member of the Phlebovirus genus. The virus was frst identifed in 1931 in the Rift Valley of Kenya.
  • This disease of wild and domestic ruminants, which is caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes, affects Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and certain Indian Ocean islands.
  • It leads to substantial economic losses, since in addition to causing abortions and killing young cattle, sheep and goats, it results in bans on live animal trading, a vital source of income for livestock farmers and exporting countries.
  • It is also a public health risk, as it can be transmitted to humans, primarily during the slaughter and butchery of contaminated animals. No cases of contamination between humans have yet been observed.

The Paperfuge

  • Engineering scientists at Stanford University have build an ultra-low cost human powered blood centrifuge separating blood into individual components in 1.5 minutes.
  • It is created from 20 cents of twine, paper and plastic and is called a paperfuge.
  • It can spin at speeds of 1,25,000 revolutions per minute and exert centrifugal forces of 30 thousand Gs.

It is the fastest spinning object driven by human power. It has the potential to enable precise diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as malaria, HIV and TB.

Deworming Programme in India:

  • India carries the highest burden of worm infestation and 64 % of Indian population less than 14 years of age is at risk of Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH) or worms’ infestation.
  • Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH) interferes with nutrients uptake in children; can lead to anaemia, malnourishment, and impaired mental and physical development.
  • According to a study, the infected children cannot concentrate on their studies and they find very hard to put up their daily activities.
  • In this context, National Deworming Day is a commendable step that will go a long way in ensuring healthy India. On India’s glorious record sheet of eradicating Polio, Guinea worm, Small pox, Maternal and neonatal tetanus, this may become yet another entry.
  • However, we must remember that the cycle of parasitic infections cannot be broken with m drugs alone. Proper hand washing and sanitation play an important role in preventing such n diseases.
·According to WHO, STH or parasitic worms are among the most common infections worldwide.
·It lives in human intestines and consume nutrients meant for the human body.
·They produce thousands of eggs each day, which are passed in faeces and spread to others in areas used for public toilet.

The Bio-Indicator Lidar Instrument

  • The Bio-Indicator Lidar Instrument, or BILI is a fluorescence-based lidar, a type of remote-sensing instrument similar to radar in principle and operation.
  • Instead of using radio waves, however, lidar instruments use light to detect and ultimately analyse the composition of particles in the atmosphere.
  • Although NASA has used fluorescence instruments to detect chemicals in Earth’s atmosphere as part of its climate-studies research, the agency so far hasn’t employed the technique in planetary studies.
  • It is a sensing technique that the US military currently uses to remotely monitor the air to detect potentially life-threatening chemicals, toxins, and pathogens.
  • The beauty of BILI is its ability to detect in real-time small levels of complex organic materials from a distance of several hundred meters
  • Therefore, it could autonomously search for bio-signatures in plumes above recurring slopes – areas not easily traversed by a rover carrying a variety of in-situ instruments for detailed chemical and biological analysis.

This can be used to detect signatures of life on Mars.

Rare Elizabethkingia infections

  • Elizabethkingia is a genus of bacteria commonly found in the environment worldwide.
  • It has been detected in soil, river water and reservoirs.
  • It has caused meningitis in newborn babies and meningitis or bloodstream and respiratory infections in people with weakened immune systems

Acute Encephalopathy

Dr. Jacob John, a scientist and virologist, had investigated the mystery disease that proved fatal for many 15-year old children in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. The scientist has now raised ethical issues about the way the research has been published.

  • Study found evidence of a link between a fruit in Jamaica, the ackee (from the same family as litchi) and a disease called acute encephalopathy in Jamaicans.
    · According to the research there is close clinical similarity between ackee poisioning and the Muzaffarpur illness, where litchi consumption and skipping the evening meal could result in very low blood glucose and acute encephalopathy, leading to seizures and coma, and death in many cases.
    ·This is particularly so in the case of young children as they have limited hepatic glycogen reserves. Hypoglycin A and methylene cyclo propyl glycine (MCPG), which are naturally present in litchi fruit, make the condition worse.
    ·The toxins block enzymes involved in normal glucose metabolism and this results in an inability to synthesis glucose leading to acutely low level of blood sugar.
  • The build-up of other metabolic by-products could also have an adverse effect (encephalopathy) on the child. These two cause death in many children.
  • According to study, it was under-nourished children who were affected by the disease. Children in poor rural families, typically of labourers working in litchi orchards were the ones at risk.
  • In view of this study, the Government of Bihar has already introduced some interventions such as asking parents to restrict litchi consumption by children, making sure no child goes
    to bed without eating a meal, measuring blood glucose level and infusing 10% dextrose immediately on admission to the hospital.

About Encephalitis

  • Encephalitis is the inflammation of the brain.
    ·It is mostly caused by a microorganism (bacteria, virus or parasite).
    ·In a few cases, the offending agent can be any toxic compound

What is Frankenfixation?

  • Frankenfixation refers to the use of genetic modification to fix carbon dioxide into the soil.
  • It derives from term popularised by critics of genetically modified foods, ‘Frankenfoods’. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute recently oversaw an effort to piece together an artificial metabolism from the bits and pieces of biosynthetic pathways that were once scattered across the three kingdoms of life.
  • What they found was a novel pathway based on a new CO2-fixing enzyme that is nearly 20 times faster than the most prevalent enzyme in nature responsible for capturing CO2 in plants by using sunlight as energy.

Were such pathways to be perfected, new species of plants, trees or entirely new organisms, could be grown that are specifically designed to take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and hold off the looming crisis of rising global temperatures.


  • Wolbachia is a natural bacterium present in up to 60% of all the different species of insects around us, including some mosquitoes.
    ·Wolbachia is safe for humans, animals and the environment. It is a naturally occurring bacterium already found in the environment in many insect species.
  • Research on it to control Dengue: It is not usually found in the Aedes
    aegypti mosquito, the primary species responsible for transmitting human viruses such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. For many years scientists, have been studying Wolbachia, looking for ways to use it to potentially control the mosquitoes that spread human diseases.

World’s most heat resistant material found

  • Scientists have identified materials that can withstand temperatures of nearly 4,000 degrees Celsius, an advance that may pave the way for improved heat resistant shielding for the faster-than-ever hypersonic space vehicles.
  • Researchers from Imperial College London in the UK discovered that the melting point of hafnium carbide is the highest ever recorded for a material.

Tantalum carbide (TaC) and hafnium carbide (HfC)

  • Are refractory ceramics, meaning they are extraordinarily resistant to heat.
  • Their ability to withstand extremely harsh environments means that refractory ceramics could be used in thermal protection systems on high-speed vehicles and as fuel cladding in the super-heated environments of nuclear reactors.
  • However, there has not been the technology available to test the melting point of TaC and HfC in the lab to determine how truly extreme an environment they could function in.

The researchers developed a new extreme heating technique using lasers to test the heat tolerance of TaC and HfC.


A malaria vaccine that mimics a mosquito bite yielded encouraging results in human trials. The positive results of the trial have raised hopes for thwarting a parasite that kills a child every two

  • PfSPZ uses a live, immature form of the malaria parasite called sporozoite, to stimulate an immune reaction in humans.
  • PfSPZ is being developed against the Plasmodium falciparum mosquito-borne parasite, by far the deadliest type.
  • The developers of PfSPZ are aiming for efficiency of about 80-90% protection lasting for six months to a year.

·The ability to complete an immunisation regime in 10 days will facilitate the use of PfSPZCVac in mass vaccination programmes to eliminate the malaria parasite and to prevent malaria in travelers.

Scientists use ‘pregnancy fluid’ to strengthen weak bones

  • UK-based researchers have found that stem cells harvested from pregnant woman’s amniotic fluid can be used to strengthen weak bones.
  • Amniotic fluid is the protective fluid that surrounds baby in the uterus and helps it to develop inside the mother’s womb.
  • It also contains stem cells that are the building blocks of other tissues.

Key Details:

  • Bones are constantly formed in body with cells called osteoclasts which break down old bone and form new bones.
  • However, incase due to brittle bone disease, osteoporosis process becomes lazy leading to fracture bones.
  • The researchers collected the amniotic stem cells from material left over from screening tests during pregnancy.
  • Then they injected these cells into diseased mice having fractured bones due to brittle bone disease (a genetic disorder that results in fragile bones that break easily).
  • It was found that mice injected with these cells have 78% fewer fractures.
  • Thus, the amniotic stem cells can be used to improve strength, plasticity, and structure of bones.

Potential Application: This discovery can help treat astronauts who lose bone mass in space. It is said that astronauts can lose 2.5% of their bone density for every month in space. It can also help babies with genetic diseases and elderly people.


A large population in Odisha’s Nuapada district suffering from crippled backbones on account of consumption of high fluoride-laced water.

  • Fluorosis is usually caused by a high level of fluoride in drinking water.
  • The earth’s crust has a high content of fluoride and so does the bore well water in endemic areas which is often used as a source of water.
    ·Regular intake of products manufactured with high-fluoride containing water may also cause fluorosis.
  • Vegetables and foods grown in endemic areas may also be high in fluoride content.
    ·Fluoride is also found in toothpaste and other dental products. These may be harmful to people already exposed to high fluoride levels.

Epsilon rocket launches Japanese ERG mission

  • Japan’s Epsilon rocket conducted its second flight Tuesday, orbiting JAXA’s ERG satellite to study Earth’s radiation belts.
  • It is a solid fueled rocket launched by Japan to study radiation belts around earth.
  • This function will be performed by the payloade. satellite – Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace (ERG) satellite.
  • The satellite is aimed to study earth’sVan Allen Radiation Belt and for that purpose the orbit of the satellite had to be very elliptical.
  • Keeping in mind this requirement the satellite will have a perigee of 350 kilometers and apogee of 30,000 kilometers

More Details:

  • The ERG satellite carries instruments dedicated to the study of plasma, particles, waves and fields in Earth’s radiation belts.
  • Earth’s radiation belts were discovered by James Van Allen’s experiments aboard the first US satellite, Explorer 1, in 1958 although their existence had previously been theorized by other scientists. As a result, the belts are known as the Van Allen belts.

Earth has two permanent radiation belts, the inner and outer Van Allen belts, although NASA’s Van Allen Probes, or Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), which were launched in August 2012, showed that a third belt can form and dissipate.

Low Level Jets (LLJ) and Atmospheric Rivers (AR)

LLJ is a region of relatively strong winds in the lower part of the atmosphere. Specifcally, it often refers to a southerly wind maximum in the boundary layer, common over the Plains states at night during the warm season.
* It is formed during a cold night after a warm day where dry winds prevail, as these conditions lead to temperature inversion with high pressure at the ground level and low pressure above.
* This sharp pressure gradient results in formation of winds with great speed at lower levels.
* In the North American Great Plains a southerly low-level jet helps fuel overnight thunderstorm activity.
* Both AR and LLJ affect highly sensitive regions such as Antarctic and Arctic.
* Rainfall from Low Level Jets (LLJ) occurs mostly in summer whereas Atmospheric Rivers produce rainfall in winters too.
* Atmospheric Rivers is mostly an extra tropical phenomenon, whereas LLJ can occur in both tropical and extra tropical regions.

Black carbon and Brown Carbon

  • Black Carbon is inorganic in nature consisting of soot particles that directly come out of combustion processes.
  • Brown Carbon or organic carbon comes from complex organic reactions in the airborne atmospheric particles.
  • It includes tar, products from biomass burning, compounds given off by vegetation.
  • Both Black carbon and Brown carbon absorbs sunlight and thus in turn warms the atmosphere

Black rice gains popularity in Assam

  • A variety of Black rice or purple rice recently has gained popularity in Assam.
  • It was recently sown by the local farmers for the first time in Barak Valley.
  • It is also known as world super food because of its high nutrition value, unique texture and intriguing nutty äavor.
  • It is known for its powerful disease-fighting antioxidants and also contains dietary fiber, anti-inflammable properties.

It has the ability to help stop the development of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and even weight gain.

New Super heavy element in the atomic table

  • The Super heavy element 117 has been
    officially named “tennessine”.
  • The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) which validates the existence of newly discovered elements and
    approves their official names – gave its final approval to the name “tennessine”.

The specific spelling of tennessine was chosen because the new element is classified as a halogen.

India’s first laser technology-based advanced AVMS RTO check-post

  • Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupanidedicated India’s first laser technology-based advanced AVMS RTO check-post at Shamlaji of Aravalli district on Friday.
  • The check-post is equipped with advanced ray technology.
  • This decision has been taken with a view to eliminate irregularities and interventions done by middle-men. 
  • People about various pro-people steps taken by this government for all-round development of poor and tribal people, such as schools in tribal areas of the state, forest authority letters to Vanbandhus and assistance to sickle cell anemia patients etc.

State government is committed for strict implementation of ban on hookah bars and liquor prohibition to make our youth free from evil of bad habits.

All about E-Cigarettes

  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), also called e-cigarettes, personal vaporizers, vape pens, e-cigars, e-hookah, or vaping devices, are products that produce an aerosolized mixture containing flavoured liquids and nicotine that is inhaled by the user.
  • Although they are projected as ‘tobacco cessation’ products by various sellers, the lack of concrete evidence in support of this claim make them a serious public health threat
  • This is coupled with the absence of any regulatory approval for their use.
  • This is especially the case when one considers the increasing import of e-cigarettes into the country.
  • As e-cigarettes contain nicotine and not tobacco, they do not fall within the ambit of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA), which mandates stringent health warnings on the packaging and advertisements of tobacco products.
  • Most e-commerce websites sell e-cigarettes as therapeutic products which enable people to quit smoking.
  • They do not even mention health warnings.
  • E-cigarettes are not meant for non-smokers.
  • Other dangers posed by e-cigarettes, which do not feature in the health warnings, are the possibilities of the product exploding (incidents have been reported globally) and accidental consumption of the liquid inside the e-cigarette, which leads to death.
  • The current unregulated sale of e-cigarettes is dangerous for a country like India where the number of smokers is on the decline (WHO Global Report, 2015)
  • It increases the possibility of e-cigarettes becoming a gateway for smoking by inducing nicotine addiction and perpetuating smoking by making it more attractive, thereby encouraging persons to become users of tobacco as well as e-cigarettes.
  • The Indian government has been slow to respond.
  • Since the first declaration of its intention to ban e-cigarettes containing nicotine in 2014, only Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Punjab have implemented the ban.
  • The State governments are adopting different routes: Punjab has classified nicotine as a poison, while Maharashtra treats it as an unapproved drug.

Lack of a uniform approach in dealing with this public health problem will not only jeopardise the health of the people, but will also enable the sellers of such products slip through the holes.

India has joined UNICEF-WHO network

  • India is among nine countries that will be part of a global health network focused on improving the quality of care for new mothers and babies and strengthen national efforts to end preventable deaths of pregnant women and newborns by 2030.
  • The nine countries are India, Bangladesh, A Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.
  • Through the new ‘Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health’, supported by World Health Organisation (WHO), UN International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners, the countries will work to improve the quality of care mothers and babies receive in their health facilities, a statement from WHO said.
  • The Network aims to strengthen national efforts to end preventable deaths by 2030, as envisioned by the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.

Countries will do that by strengthening capacity and motivation of health professional to plan and manage quality improvement, improving data collection and increasing access to medicines, supplies, equipment and clean water.

Tests for Moon Landing of Chandrayaan-2

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has started a series of ground tests for testing the performance of sensors and actuators for soft landing of the Lander on the lunar surface.  
  • Special tests for new systems in Lander have been identified and a Lander Sensors Performance Test over artificial craters created in Chitradurga district in Karnataka, has been conducted.
  • Lunar Terrain Test facility is ready for Lander drop test and Rover mobility tests.
  • ISRO is working towards the launch of Chandrayaan-2 during the first quarter of 2018.
  • The Chandrayaan-2 comprises of indigenous Orbiter, Lander and Rover.
  • After reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander housing the Rover will separate from the Orbiter.
  • After a controlled descent, the Lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a Rover.

The instruments on the rover will collect data for analysis of the lunar soil.

Mapping dolphin proteins may benefit human health

  • Mapping all the proteins found in the dolphin genome could pave the way for finding a new way to treat some common diseases that affect humans, say researchers.
  • “Dolphins and humans are very, very similar creatures.
  • “As mammals, we share a number of proteins and our bodies function in many similar ways, even though we are terrestrial and dolphins live in the water all their lives.
  • A genome is the complete set of genetic material present in an organism.Although a detailed map of the bottlenose dolphin ( Tursiops truncatus ) genome was first compiled in 2008, recent technological breakthroughs enabled the creation of a new, more exhaustive map of all of the proteins produced by the dolphins’ DNA.


  • Studies have recently revealed a protein, known as vanin-1, may help the marine mammals protect their kidneys. Humans produce vanin-1, but in much smaller amounts.
  • Researchers would like to gather more information on whether or not elevating levels of vanin-1 may offer protection to kidneys.
  • “There’s this gap in the knowledge about genes and the proteins they make. We are missing a huge piece of the puzzle in how these animals do what they do.

Vanin-1 is just one example of how genomic information about this mammalian cousin might prove useful. There may be hundreds of other similar applications.

ISRO launches 104 satellites: How important is this ton?

  • The PSLV-C37 will inject into orbit 104 satellites from 7 countries, nearly 3 times the highest number flown by a single mission currently. A ‘flock’ of 88 will get to work to map every inch of the planet in super high resolution, creating images of limitless potential.

Why is this launch significant?

  • The rocket is carrying almost 3 times the record number of satellites launched in a single mission — Russia’s Dnepr rocket carried 37 payloads in June 2014. In January that year, American company Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket flew with 34 satellites; the Dnepr had carried 32 payloads in November 2013. On June 20 last year, ISRO’s PSLV-C34 launched 20 satellites.

What challenges do so many satellites present?

  • No great technological leap is involved. Smaller and lighter satellites have made it possible for rockets to carry more of them. The number of satellites that can be loaded on a rocket is restricted only by the space available and the carrying capacity of the launch vehicle in terms of weight. But satellites have to be stacked together in certain configurations so that they can be ejected in desired orbits without disturbing the flights of others or colliding with each other. This requires lot of engineering innovations.
  • Rockets often use ‘container’ satellites for a bunch of sub-satellites. After the container is injected, it fires the sub-satellites into their respective orbits. Both the Dnepr and Antares rockets had container satellites. In the ISRO launch, however, each satellite will be ejected independently from the rocket.

Will the satellites be released in one go or one after the other?

  • The Cartosat-2 series satellite will be the first, and the two Indian nano-satellites, INS-1A and INS-1B will follow. The other satellites, including the 88 ‘Dove’ satellites, will then be released in pairs over a period of 10 minutes. At the time of separation from the rocket, the satellites will be travelling at more than 7.5 km per second.

But why do rockets need to be packed with so many satellites?

With an ever-increasing number of space-based applications, the demand for satellites is growing rapidly. The number of rocket launches, however, have remained limited. Additionally, it makes sense to pack more on a single rocket because of cost considerations.

Why India needs the rubella vaccine?

Why is the measles-rubella vaccine being administered to children?

  • Buoyed by the elimination of polio six years ago and maternal and neonatal tetanus and yaws in 2016, India has set an ambitious target of eliminating measles and controlling congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), caused by the rubella virus, by 2020.
  • While two doses of measles vaccine given at 9-12 months and 16-24 months have already been part of the national immunisation programme, it is the first time that the rubella vaccine has been included in the programme. Since the rubella vaccine will piggy-back on the measles elimination programme, there will be very little additional cost.
  • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “a single dose of rubella vaccine gives more than 95% long-lasting immunity.” All children aged nine months and 15 years will be administered a single dose of the combination vaccine.

Measles Statistics:

  • Measles is highly infectious and is one of the major childhood killer diseases.
  • Of the 1,34,000 measles deaths globally in 2015, an estimated 47,000 occurred in India.
  • The introduction of the second dose of the measles vaccine and an increase in vaccine coverage have led to a sharp decline in deaths in India — from an estimated 1,00,000 deaths in 2010 to 47,000 in 2015.
  • Unlike measles, rubella is a mild viral infection that mainly occurs in children.
  • But a woman infected with the rubella virus during the early stage of pregnancy has a 90% chance of transmitting it to the foetus.

The virus can cause hearing impairments, eye and heart defects and brain damage in newborns, and even spontaneous abortion and foetal deaths. Of the 1,10,000 children born with CRS every year globally, an estimated 40,000 cases occur in India alone.

JCVI Syn-3.0:

  • It is the First Self-Replicating, Synthetic Bacterial Cell Constructed by J. Craig Venter Institute Researchers.
  • This contains just 473 genes, making it the smallest genome of any organism that can be grown in laboratory media.
  • The research to construct the first minimal synthetic cell at JCVI was the culmination of 20 years of research that began in 1995 after the genome sequencing of the first free-living organism.
  • Species chosen for research: Mycoplasma genitalium was choosen as it was the species with the smallest number of genes known at the time when research began.

This species is characterised by the lack of a cell wall. It is one of the smallest genomes of free-living organisms.

Diet high in sugar linked to Alzheimer’s disease

  • A diet high in sugar could lead to Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study that has found a link between sugar consumption and the brain impairment.
  • According to researchers from the University of Bath and King’s College London, the study offers the first evidence to explain why abnormally high blood sugar levels, or hyperglycaemia, have an impact on cognitive function.
  • When levels of sugar pass the threshold, they restrict the performance of a vital protein, which normally fights the brain inflammation associated with dementia, researchers said. Brain samples of 30 patients were used in the study.

What is Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Alzheimer’s disease(AD), also known as just Alzheimer’s, is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time.
  • It is the cause of 60% to 70% of cases of dementia.
  • The most common early symptom is difficulty in remembering recent events (short-term memory loss).
  • As the disease advances, symptoms can include problems with language, disorientation (including easily getting lost), mood swings, loss of motivation, not managing self care, and behavioural issues.
  • As a person’s condition declines, they often withdraw from family and society.
  • Gradually, bodily functions are lost, ultimately leading to death. 
  • Although the speed of progression can vary, the average life expectancy following diagnosis is three to nine years.

Signs and Symptoms

Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of cognitive impairment related to Alzheimer’s disease. Some people with memory problems have a condition called mild cognitive impairment (MCI). In MCI, people have more memory problems than normal for their age, but their symptoms do not interfere with their everyday lives. Movement difficulties and problems with the sense of smell have also been linked to MCI. Older people with MCI are at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s, but not all of them do. Some may even go back to normal cognition.


  • For the first time, astronomers have discovered seven Earth-size planets orbiting a single nearby star – and these new worlds could hold life.
  • This cluster of planets is less than 40 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius, according to NASA and the Belgian-led research team who announced the discovery.
  • The planets circle tightly around a dim dwarf star called Trappist-1, barely the size of Jupiter.
  • Three are in the so-called habitable zone, the area around a star where water and, possibly life, might exist.

Scientists said they need to study the atmospheres before determining whether these rocky, terrestrial planets could support some sort of life.

What is Exoplanet:

  • Exoplanet refers to any planet that is outside our Solar System.
  • They are generally part of star systems.
  • There are some “rogue” exoplanets, which are not attached to any star system.
  • The first exoplanet was detected in 1995.

Aditya L1

Aditya L1 is an Indian solar observation satellite to be placed at the Sun-Earth Lagrangian point L1.

The major scientific objectives of the mission are to achieve a fundamental understanding of the physical processes that heat the solar corona, accelerate the solar wind and produce Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs).

Originally the mission design started as a small LEO satellite carrying only a coronagraph as a payload. In order to get the best science from the Sun, continuous viewing of the Sun is preferred. A Satellite placed in the halo orbit around the L1 Lagrangian point of the Sun-Earth system has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/ eclipses. Based on the technical studies, it was found that PSLV-XL 

developed at ISRO has the capability to launch a satellite which can be placed at a halo orbit around L1 point.

More Details:

  • The first point, L1, lies between Earth and the sun and gets an uninterrupted view of the sun and free from the occurrence of eclipses.
  • India’s Aditya Satellite is placed at L1 point.
  • L2 with the Earth, moon and sun behind it, a spacecraft can get a clear view of deep space and it has a protection for radiation feld from
  • The James Webb Space Telescope will move into L2 point in 2018.
  • The third Lagrange point, L3, lies behind the sun, opposite Earth’s orbit. For now, science has not found a use for this spot.
  • Points L4 and L5 are stable and lie along Earth’s orbit at 60 degrees ahead of and behind Earth and dust and asteroids tend to accumulate in these regions due to its stability.

Asteroids that surround the L4 and L5 points are called Trojans and Earth’s only known Trojan asteroid, 2010 TK7 is found in the region.


  • The Andromeda Galaxy also known as
    Messier 31, is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth.
  • It is the nearest major galaxy to the Milky.
  • It received its name from the area of the sky
    in which it appears i.e the constellation of Andromeda.
  • It is the largest galaxy of the Local Group,
    which also contains the Milky Way, the Triangulum Galaxy, and other smaller galaxies.
  • It is visible to the naked eye on moonless nights.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD) is a mental disorder of the neurodevelopmental 
  • It is characterized byproblems paying attention, excessive activity, or difficulty controlling behavior which is not appropriate for a person’s age.
  • These symptoms begin by age six to twelve, are present for more than six months, and cause problems in at least two settings (such as school, home, or recreational activities).
  • In children, problems paying attention may result in poor school performance.
  • Although it causes impairment, particularly in modern society, many children with ADHD have a good attention span for tasks they find interesting.
  • The factors can contribute include Genes, Cigarette smoking, alcohol use, or drug use during pregnancy, Exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy etc.
  • Though there is no cure for ADHD, currently available treatments can help reduce symptoms and improve functioning.

Secure Hash Algorithm-1

  • A collaboration between Google’s research unit and a Dutch institute cracked a widely used cryptographic technology SHA-1.
  • This technology that has been one of the key building blocks of internet security, is known as Secure Hash Algorithm 1 or currently used to verify the integrity of digital files and signatures that secure credit card transactions as well as Git open-source software repositories.
  • Researchers were able to demonstrate a “collision attack” using two different PDF files with the same SHA-1 fingerprint, but with different visible content.

Moving forward, it’s more urgent than ever for security practitioners to migrate to safer cryptographic hashes such as SHA-256 and SHA-3.

GoI has invoked emergency for manufacture of Coronary Stents

Coronary stent:

  • Acoronary stent is a tube-shaped device placed in the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart, to keep the arteries open in the treatment of coronary heart disease.
  • It is used in a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
  • Stents reduce chest pain and have been shown to improve survivability in the event of an acute myocardial infarction.

Similar stents and procedures are used in non-coronary vessels e.g. in the legs in peripheral artery disease.

GSLV’s cryogenic upper stage tested successfully

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s quest for having the most powerful and world-class launch vehicle to take heavier satellites weighing about 4 tonnes to predetermined geosynchronous orbit crossed the final hurdle on Friday evening when the Propulsion Research Complex at Mahendragiri, situated about 60 km from here, successfully ground-tested indigenously developed GSLV MK III’s cryogenic upper stage C-25.

Details on cryogenic upper stage of the GSLV:

The cryogenic upper stage of the GSLV is the large C-25, which is the most difficult component of the launch vehicle to be developed. It will be powered by the indigenously developed CE-20 engine.

  • “The long duration cryogenic C-25 Developmental State propellant system test is a great milestone in the country’s space history as it is capable of producing a thrust of 20 tonnes.
  • This is the endurance test of the propulsion stage to prove its capability to withstand the rigours of extreme environments in terms of vibration, shock and low temperature to qualify it for actual flight duration.
  • With this test, the ISRO has demonstrated that India has got the capability of designing, fabricating and evaluating indigenously developed GSLV through a range of test facilities.

For the upper stage alone, more than 200 multiple engine tests were conducted to validate the efficiency of C-25.

Scientists develop high-quality graphene from soybean

  • Scientists from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have made world’s strongest material graphene commercially more viable by using soybean.
  • They have developed a novel “GraphAir” technology which eliminates the need for such a highly-controlled environment.
  • Previously, graphene was grown in a highly-controlled environment with explosive compressed gases, requiring long hours of operation at high temperatures and extensive vacuum processing. 
  • The technology grows graphene film in ambient air with a natural precursor, making its production faster and simpler. 
  • Soybean oil breaks down into a range of carbon building units when heat is applied. It makes it essential for the synthesis of graphene films.
  • This ambient-air process for graphene fabrication is fast, simple, safe, potentially scalable, and integration friendly.

Graphene & Applications:

  • The potential applications of graphene include water filtration and purification, renewable energy, sensors, personalised healthcare and medicine, to name a few.
  • Graphene has excellent electronic, mechanical, thermal and optical properties as well.

Its uses range from improving battery performance in energy devices, to cheaper solar panels.

NASA’s Dawn mission has found evidence of organic material on Ceres

  • NASA’s Dawn mission has found evidence of organic material on Ceres.

About Ceres:

  • Ceres is a dwarf planet and the largest body in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.


  • Scientists discovered the material in and around a northern-hemisphere crater called Ernutet.
  • Organic molecules are novel to scientists because they are necessary, though not sufficient components of life on Earth.
  • The discovery makes it to the growing list of bodies in the solar system where organics have been found.
  • Organic compounds have been found in certain meteorites. They have also been inferred from telescopic observations of several asteroids.
  • Ceres shares many commonalities with meteorites rich in water and organics – in particular, a meteorite group referred to as carbonaceous chondrites.
  • This discovery further strengthens the connection between Ceres, these meteorites and their parent bodies.

This is the first clear detection of organic molecules from orbit on a main belt body.

Cognitive Computing

  • Cognitive computing is the simulation of human thought processes in a computerized model. Cognitive computing involves self-learning systems that use data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing to mimic the way the human brain works.
  • The goal of cognitive computing is to create automated IT systems that are capable of solving problems without requiring human assistance.
  • Cognitive computing systems use machine learning algorithms. Such systems continually acquire knowledge from the data fed into them by mining data for information.
  • The systems refine the way they look for patterns and as well as the way they process data so they become capable of anticipating new problems and modeling possible solutions.
  • Cognitive computing is used in numerous artificial intelligence (AI) applications, including expert systems, natural language programming, neural networks, robotics and virtual reality.

The term cognitive computing is closely associated with IBM’s cognitive computer system

Tissue of marine creatures in deepest ocean

  • Scientists for the first time have found high levels of human-made pollutants, including chemicals that were banned in the 1970s, in the tissues of marine creatures dwelling in the deepest oceans of the Earth.
  • These chemicals were discovered after sampling amphipods from the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana and Kermadec trenches, which are over 10 km deep and 7,000 km apart.
  • Scientists found presence of extremely high levels of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the organism’s fatty tissue.
  • These POPs include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) which are commonly used as electrical insulators and flame retardants.
  • These banned pollutants are invulnerable to natural degradation and persist in the environment for decades.
  • They may have been released into the environment through industrial accidents.
  • Pollutants may have found their way to deep trenches through contaminated plastic debris and dead animals sinking to bottom of ocean.
  • Here they were consumed by amphipods and other fauna.
  • These sampled amphipods had levels of contamination similar to that found in Suruga Bay, one of the most polluted industrial zones of the north-west Pacific.

Thus, this research shows that the remote and pristine oceanic realm which was earlier considered safe from human impact is not safe.

Novel rubber like material-‘Thubber’

  • Scientists have developed novel rubber like material called ‘thubber’ which has high thermal conductivity and elasticity.

More Details on Thubber:

  • Thubber is an electrically insulating composite material that exhibits an unprecedented combination of metal-like thermal conductivity, elasticity similar to soft, biological tissue.
  • It consists of a soft elastomer with non-toxic, liquid metal micro droplets suspended within it.
  • This semi-liquid form allows the metal to deform with the surrounding rubber at room temperature.
  • When it is pre-stretched at room temperature, it stretches up to 6 times its initial length.
  • During this phase, liquid metal micro-droplets form into elongated pathways through which heat can easily travel through.
  • Alongside the material is electrically insulating.

In developing wearable computing and soft robotics, industries like athletic wear and sports medicine and in advanced manufacturing, energy, and transportation, thubber can be used.

Deadly Ebola virus using antibodies from horses

  • In a first, scientists have developed an effective, rapid and economical treatment for the deadly Ebola virus using antibodies from horses.
  • The post-exposure treatment made with antibodies from horses could be used in the next Ebola outbreak.
  • This is a cost-effective treatment that can be used in low-income countries in Africa where equine production facilities are already in operation for producing snake-bite antivenin.

It’s the first time that equine antibodies have been shown to work effectively against Ebola infection. 

  • The development of monoclonal antibodies were used in the UK to treat infected health workers returning from Africa.
  • The down side is that monoclonal antibodies require considerable investment for scale-up and manufacture, and are expensive.
  • Equine antibodies are a considerably cheaper alternative, with manufacturing capacity already in place in Africa.
  • Antibodies from vaccinated horses provide a low-cost alternative, and are already in use for rabies, botulism and diphtheria.
  • Scientists have also developed experimental Ebola vaccine made using an Australian virus called Kunjin, that might also help in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.

ISRO Collaborates with Drishti Lifesaving to Study Killer Rip Tides

  • The phenomenon of ‘killer rip tides’ is being studied by ISRO in collaboration with a private lifeguard agency appointed by the Goa government to safeguard its beaches.
  • Rip tides are one of the most common causes for drowning in the shallow waters off Goa’s popular coastline.
  • The study Ripex 2017 is being conducted by a team of scientists at Space Applications Centre, ISRO Ahmedabad, along with Drishti Lifesaving, a private agency appointed by the state tourism ministry to maintain a lifeguard force.

“Rip currents are one of the most common problem-causing currents witnessed along Goa’s coast with a higher rate of incidents recorded at Calangute, Baga, Anjuna and Colva beaches.


  • Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India is successfully implementing Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) scheme since 2010. The scheme covers students in the age group of 10-32 years and has five components. The first component, INSPIRE Award aims to motivate students, in the age group of 10-15 years and studying in classes 6 to 10, to pursue Science and a career in Research.

The INSPIRE Award – MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge) is being revamped and executed by Department of Science & Technology and National Innovation Foundation-India to align it with the action plan for “Start-up India” initiative launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. The scheme aims to help build a critical human resource pool for strengthening, expand science and technology system and increase the research & development base on the same by inviting students from all government and private schools throughout the country and enabling them to send their original & creative technological ideas/innovations on the same.

MIT researchers have developed a small battery that runs on stomach acids

  • MIT researchers have developed a small battery that runs on stomach acids and is capable of powering e-pills to monitor patient health.
  • The small system can generate enough power to run small sensors or drug delivery devices that can reside in the gastrointestinal tract for long periods of time.
  • For this battery, researchers used idea of very simple type of voltaic cell, lemon battery that produces electric current between the two electrodes stuck in a lemon due to its citric acid.
  • To replicate it, the researchers attached zinc and copper electrodes to the surface of their ingestible sensor.
  • The zinc emits ions into the acid in the stomach to power the voltaic circuit.
  • It can generate enough energy to power a commercial temperature sensor and a 900-megahertz transmitter to wirelessly transmit the data to a base station located 2 metres away, with a signal sent every 12 seconds.
  • The current prototype of the device is a cylinder about 12 millimetres in diameter and 40 millimetres in length.
  • Researchers are anticipating to make the capsule about one-third that size.
  • It offers a safer and lower-cost alternative to the traditional batteries used to power such devices.
  • It can also help in manufacturing new generation of electronic ingestible pills.
  • This could enable novel ways of monitoring patient health and treating disease.

White Dwarf Pulsar

  • Astronomers have located an elusive white dwarf pulsar.
  • This is the first of its kind to be discovered in the universe. It is housed in an exotic binary star system 380 light years away from Earth.
  • Researchers identified the star AR Scorpii (AR Sco) as the first white dwarf version of a pulsar.
  • Fresh data shows that AR Sco’s light is highly polarised, showing that the magnetic field controls the emission of the entire system.
  • This is a dead-ringer for similar behaviour seen from the more traditional neutron star pulsars.

The white dwarf pulsar has eluded astronomers for over five decades.

What is a Pulsar?

  • They are what is known as the “lighthouses” of the universe.
  • These are rotating neutron stars that emit a focused beam of electromagnetic radiation that is only visible if you’re standing in it’s path.
  • Referred to as pulsars, these stellar relics get their name because of the way their emissions appear to be “pulsating” out into space.
  • Pulsars are types of neutron stars which are the dead relics of massive stars.
  • They are highly magnetized, and rotating at enormous speeds.

Astronomers detect them by the radio pulses they emit at regular intervals.

Telemetry and Telecommand Processor

  • ISRO has indigenously developed Telemetry and Telecommand Processor. Its production will commence with the help of the Indian industry.
  • Processor’s indigenous development was taken as part of Make in India, replacing expensive imported equipment.
  • TTCP will be used in Integrated Spacecraft Testing of Low Earth Orbit, Geostationary Orbit and Interplanetary Spacecraft, ISRO said.
  • This system is configurable to meet uplink and downlink requirements of both CCSDS (Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems) and ISRO standards.
  • Number of multiple clients can remotely access this system for data and monitoring.
  • Spacecraft Checkout Group of ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) is responsible for integrated spacecraft testing to ensure the flight worthiness of the spacecraft built at ISAC.
  • Pointing out that during the testing, ground systems will communicate to spacecraft via the same uplink and downlink signals.
  • This is because as in space, the spacecraft typically use ISRO formats for telemetry and telecommand (downlink and uplink), for which indigenous equipment are being used.
  • However, the interplanetary spacecraft use an international standard known as CCSDS, and presently equipment are being imported for telemetry reception and telecommand transmission requirements.
  • This indigenously developed Processor was successfully deployed for the first time in checkout of GSAT-19, which is scheduled to be launched shortly.

All About GSAT-19

GSAT-19E is an Indian communications satellite scheduled by the Indian Space Research Organisation for launch aboard a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III on 20 January 2017.

The GSAT-11

  • The GSAT-11 with its lift-off mass of about 5600 Kg is the heaviest communication spacecraft to be launched in the year 2017.
  • GSAT-11 is planned to be launched using Ariane-5 launch vehicle.
  • GSAT-11 is a multi-beam satellite with 32 user beams and 8 hub beams operating over India in Ka/Ku bands employing frequency reuse technique.
  • It will provide higher capacity for interactive applications using VSAT terminals compared to older generation three tonne INSAT/GSAT spacecrafts.
  • GSAT-11 will provide much faster uplinks for a host of communications and broadcasting services, including direct-to-home (DTH television).
  • With a dry mass of 2.1 tonne, the spacecraft will provide 10 GHz of bandwidth, which will be equivalent to about 220 transponders of 36 MHz.
  • The advanced satellite will employ a new I-6Ksatellite bus. It will be configured with two-sided large solar array panels generating 11 KW of power.

Helium is the second most abundant element in the Universe

  • Helium is the second most abundant element in the Universe
  • It belongs to a six-member group of elements called the noble gases.
  • These are so-called because of an apparent ‘aloofness’ that prevents them from easily forming compounds with other elements.
  • Since earning their ‘noble’ reputation, some of these gases have shown signs of reactiveness under extreme conditions.
  • One can actually split the noble gases up into two groups, with krypton, xenon, and radon considered to be relatively reactive, and argon, neon, and helium considered to be very unreactive.
  • Researchers have found ways to pair up helium with other elements in the past, but until now, the result has always been less than concrete.
  • One of the most common examples of helium interacting with other elements refers to van der Waals forces – attractive or repulsive forces that don’t require conventional covalent or ionic bonds to form.
  • It’s known that very weak van der Waals forces exist between helium and other atom.
  • At extremely low temperatures, helium can form van der Waals molecules – very weakly bound clusters of atoms or molecules – but they cannot be sustained for long.
  • Helium’s staunch stability is due to its closed-shell electronic configuration – its outer shell is complete, which means there’s no room for it to bond with other atoms by sharing electrons.
  • Being one of the most abundant elements in the Universe, responsible for forming stars and gas giant planets, helium could play by very different rules out in space and deep within our planet.
  • The researchers have just found the first evidence yet of that weird behaviour.
  • The researchers used a ‘crystal structure-predicting’ computer model to predict that under extreme pressures, a stable helium-sodium compound could form.
  • They then physically created the never-before-seen compound, Na2He, in a diamond anvil cell experiment.
  • This allowed them to subject helium and sodium atoms to pressures of around 1.1 million times Earth’s atmospheric pressure.
  • “These findings were so unexpected, scientists and their colleagues struggled for more than two years to convince science reviewers and editors to publish their results.
  • Based on this, sodium will easily bond with helium gas to form a stable Na2He compound under pressures up to 10 million times higher than the level they achieved it at.
  • The compound appears to form without any chemical bonds to hold it together.
  • Helium atoms do not actually form any chemical bonds, yet their presence fundamentally changes chemical interactions between sodium atoms, forces electrons to localise inside cubic voids of the structure, and makes this material insulating.
  • Here’s the crystal structure of Na2He – a solid formation of alternating sodium and helium atoms, with electrons shared in the voids between them.
  • Chemists have made a number of these ‘rule-breaking’ discoveries recently, with separate teams creating the world’s first sample of metallic hydrogen, and a carbon molecule with six – not four – bonds last month.

This helium compound is a breakthrough.

NASA telescope spots most extreme blazars yet

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has identified the farthest gamma-ray blazars, a type of galaxy whose intense emissions are powered by supersized black holes. Light from the most distant object began its journey to us when the universe was 1.4 billion years old, or nearly 10 percent of its present age.

Key Facts

  • These luminous galaxies, known as blazars are the most distant ever detected and are expected to shed light on the cosmic evolution of black holes.
  • Blazars constitute roughly half of the gamma-ray sources detected by Fermi’s Large Area Telescope (LAT).
  • Astronomers think their high-energy emissions are powered by matter heated and torn apart as it falls from a storage, or accretion, disk toward a supermassive black hole with a million or more times the sun’s mass.
  • Two of the blazars that the team detected boast black holes of a billion solar masses or more.

About Blazars 

  • Blazars are among the brightest objects in the universe thanks to emissions powered by supersized black holes.
  • The most distant of the newly discovered blazars started to emit their light when the universe was just 1.4 billion years old.
  • Previously, the most distant blazars detected by Fermi emitted their light when the universe was about 2.1 billion years old.
  • Blazars are similar to all active galaxies, acquiring energy from matter falling toward a central supermassive black hole.

A small part of this infalling material becomes redirected into a pair of particle jets, which blast outward in opposite directions at nearly the speed of light.

CRISPR Variant Produces Tuberculosis-Resistant Cows


  • A team of researchers from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Northwest A&F University in Shaanxi, China, has successfully utilized an innovative form of the genome-editing technique CRISPR to insert a new gene into the cow genome, rendering the animals much more resistant to tuberculosis.  

What is CRISPR-Cas9?

  • CRISPR-Cas9 is a genome editing tool that is creating a buzz in the science world. It is faster, cheaper and more accurate than previous techniques of editing DNA and has a wide range of potential applications.

How does it work?

The CRISPR-Cas9 system consists of two key molecules that introduce a change (mutation?) into the DNA.

These are:

  1. an enzyme? called Cas9. This acts as a pair of ‘molecular scissors’ that can cut the two strands of DNA at a specific location in the genome so that bits of DNA can then be added or removed.
  2. a piece of RNA? called  guide RNA (gRNA). This consists of a small piece of pre-designed RNA sequence (about 20 bases long) located within a longer RNA scaffold. The scaffold part binds to DNA and the pre-designed sequence ‘guides’ Cas9 to the right part of the genome. This makes sure that the Cas9 enzyme cuts at the right point in the genome.

What are the applications and implications?

  • CRISPR-Cas9 has a lot of potential as a tool for treating a range of medical conditions that have a genetic component, includingcancer?, hepatitis B or even high cholesterol. 
  • Many of the proposed applications involve editing the genomes ofsomatic? (non-reproductive) cells but there has been a lot of interest in and debate about the potential to edit germline?(reproductive) cells.
  • Because any changes made in germline cells will be passed on from generation to generation it has important ethical implications. 
  • Carrying out gene editing in germline cells is currently illegal in the UK and most other countries. 
  • By contrast, the use of CRISPR-Cas9 and other gene editing technologies in somatic cells is uncontroversial. Indeed they have already been used to treat human disease on a small number of exceptional and/or life-threatening cases.

Indian children died after ‘eating lychees on empty stomach’

  • Lychees contain toxins that inhibit the body’s ability to produce glucose, which affected young children whose blood sugar levels were already low because they were not eating dinner.
  • They woke screaming in the night before suffering convulsions and losing consciousness as they suffered acute swelling of the brain.
  • Researchers examining sick children admitted to hospital in Muzaffarpur between May and July 2014 found a link to an outbreak of sickness that caused brain swelling and convulsions in children in the Caribbean.
  • That outbreak was caused by the ackee fruit, which contained hypoglycin, a toxin that prevents the body from making glucose. Tests then showed that lychees also contained 
  • This led health officials to tell parents to make sure young children got an evening meal and limit the number of lychees they were eating.

Children suffering symptoms associated with the outbreak should be rapidly treated for hypoglycaemia, or low blood sugar.

Cyber Swachhta Kendra:

Extending the ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign to the cyber world, the government has launched the Cyber Swachhta Kendra–Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre for analysis of malware and botnets that affect networks and systems.

  • This is a part of MeitY’s Digital India initiative aimed at creating a secure cyber space by detecting botnet infections in India and to notify, enable cleaning and securing systems of end-users to prevent further infections.

With the growth in digitalization and proliferation of broadband and mobile internet, security of end users’ systems is vital for enhancing their trust in ICT and online transactions.

Arctic vault receives new seed deposits

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault

  1. It is a gene bank built underground on the isolated island in a permafrost zone some 1,000 kilometres from the North Pole
  2. It was opened in 2008 as a master backup to the world’s other seed banks, in case their deposits are lost
  3. It is the world’s largest repository built to safeguard against wars or natural disasters wiping out global food crops
  4. The vault has opened nearly 10 years after a “doomsday”
  5. The reconstituted seeds will play a critical role in developing climate-resilient crops for generations

Rare luminous nebula poses cosmic puzzle

  • Astronomers have spotted an enormous, glowing blob of gas in the distant universe, with no obvious source of power for the light it is emitting.
  • Enormous Lyman-alpha nebula” (ELAN), it is the brightest and among the largest of these rare objects, only a handful of which have been observed, the researchers said.
  • The newly discovered nebula was found at a distance of 10 billion light years in the middle of a region with an extraordinary concentration of galaxies.
  • Researchers found this massive overdensity of early galaxies, called a “protocluster,” through a novel survey project.

The newly discovered ELAN is known as MAMMOTH-1.

Scientists discover material that conducts electricity but no heat


  • Scientists have identified a metal that conducts electricity without conducting heat – an incredibly useful property which may pave the way for systems that convert waste heat from engines and appliances into electric power. According to researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and University of California, Berkeley in the US, electrons in vanadium dioxide can conduct electricity without conducting heat.
  • The findings could lead to a wide range of applications, such as thermoelectric systems that convert waste heat from engines and appliances into electricity, they said.
  • For most metals, the relationship between electrical and thermal conductivity is governed by the Wiedemann-Franz Law, which states that good conductors of electricity are also good conductors of heat. That is not the case for metallic vanadium dioxide, a material already noted for its unusual ability to switch from an insulator to a metal when it reaches 67 degrees Celsius.
  • The discovery is of fundamental importance to understand the basic electronic behaviour of novel conductors.
  • Using results from simulations and X-ray scattering experiments, researchers were able to tease out the proportion of thermal conductivity attributable to the vibration of the material’s crystal lattice, called phonons, and to the movement of electrons.
  • They found that the thermal conductivity attributed to the electrons is ten times smaller than what would be expected from the Wiedemann-Franz Law.
  • “For electrons, heat is a random motion.
  • Normal metals transport heat efficiently because there are so many different possible microscopic configurations that the individual electrons can jump between,”.
  • The amount of electricity and heat that vanadium dioxide can conduct is tunable by mixing it with other materials.
  • When the researchers doped single crystal vanadium dioxide samples with the metal tungsten, they lowered the phase transition temperature at which it becomes metallic.
  • At the same time, the electrons in the metallic phase became better heat conductors.
  • This enabled researchers to control the amount of heat that vanadium dioxide can dissipate by switching its phase from insulator to metal and vice versa, at tunable temperatures.

Such materials can be used to help scavenge or dissipate the heat in engines, or be developed into a window coating that improves the efficient use of energy in buildings.

Metallic hydrogen, once theory, becomes reality

  • Scientists have created atomic metallic hydrogen which is the rarest material on the planet.
  • Hydrogen is squeezed at a pressure greater
    than the pressure at the centre of the earth.
  • At this extreme pressure solid molecular hydrogen breaks down and the tightly bound molecules dissociate to transform into atomic
    hydrogen, which is a metal.
  • The metallic hydrogen could act as a superconductor at room temperatures.
  • It can be used to increase the effectiveness of electric cars, energy production and storage, and transportation system by making
    magnetic levitation of high-speed trains possible, more effcient.
  • When metallic hydrogen is converted back
    to molecular hydrogen, the energy released during the process can be used as powerful rocket propellant and has high specific
    impulse among all other propellants.


NDMA prepares States to deal with Heat Wave 2017

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

  • National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is an agency of the Ministry of Home Affairs whose primary purpose is to coordinate response to natural or man-made disasters and for capacity-building in disaster resiliency and crisis response.
  • NDMA was established through the Disaster Management Act enacted by the Government of India in December 2005.
  • The Prime Minister is the ex-officio chairperson of NDMA. The agency is responsible for framing policies, laying down guidelines and best-practices and coordinating with the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) to ensure a holistic and distributed approach to disaster management

Heat wave:

  • A Heat Wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season in the North-Western parts of India. Heat Waves typically occur between March and June, and in some rare cases even extend till July.
  • The health impacts of Heat Waves typically involve dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.

Health Impacts of Heat Waves

The health impacts of Heat Waves typically involve dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke. The signs and symptoms are as follows:

  • Heat Cramps: Ederna (swelling) and Syncope (Fainting) generally accompanied by fever below 39*C i.e.102*F.
  • Heat Exhaustion: Fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and sweating.
  • Heat Stoke: Body temperatures of 40*C i.e. 104*F or more along with delirium, seizures or coma.
  • This is a potential fatal condition

Reeling Under Encephalitis Outbreak:

  • The death of 19 Juang tribal children from acute malnutrition in inaccessible hamlets in the Nagada hills of Jajpur District and that of 60 undernourished children because of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) caused by Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in tribal dominated Malkangiri district is in news once again putting Odisha government in the dock.
  • Malkangiri ranks among few districts with lowest per capita income in Odisha and its share to Gross State Domestic Product (GDP) is one of the lowest.

Japanese Encephalitis

Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) is a flavivirus related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile Virus. It spreads through culex mosquito. The first case of JEV disease was documented in 1871 in Japan. JE is a public health problem in the South East Asian region and India. Its outbreak was reported for the first time in Rourkela, Odisha in 1989.


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