बुधवार, 17 जनवरी 2018

From the plague to polio ... 10 diseases you (wrongly) thought were gone (PART 1 )

पूरी दुनिया में कहीं भी आज भी लेप्रोसी (कोढ़ )और तपेदिक के मामले देखने को मिलते हैं। प्लेग के आज भी साल भर में तीन हज़ार मामले सामने आ जाते हैं।अलबत्ता स्माल पॉक्स (चेचक )के बारे में ही आप ऐसा ले देकर कह सकते हैं के इसका उन्मूलन हो चुका है। 

स्कारलेट फीवर (लोहित ज्वर )एक संक्रामक ज्वर है जिसमें शरीर बहुत तपता है और त्वचा पर चकत्ते निकल आते हैं और जिसकी छूत एक से दूसरे व्यक्ति को लग जाती है  योरोप में बना हुआ है  स्कर्वी (विटामिन -C की कमी से होने वाला एक रोग है जिसमें मसूढ़ों से खून आने लगता है )भी कायम है विश्व  के कई हिस्सों में। रोगों का उन्मूलन एक दिवास्वप्न ही बना हुआ है। 

आइये एक विहंगम दृष्टि डालते हैं उन रोगों पर जिनका ख़ात्मा हुआ मान लिया गया था :

(१ )प्लेग :साल २०१७ में अमरीका में इसके १६ मामले दर्ज़ हुए थे -जबकि युनाइटिड किंडम (U.K)में स्कर्वी और स्कारलेट फीवर के मामले बढ़े रहे  हैं  . 

जिन हालातों में दुनियाभर के लोग आज जीवन यापन  कर रहे हैं वे हालात और रोज़ ब रोज़ नै- नै दवाओं का अवतरण रोगों के इस सांप सीढ़ी जैसे खेल का नियंत्रण करता लगता है।रोग शमन और रोगों का फैलाव सहजीवन हो जाता है। 
चौदहवीं सदी में इसी प्लेग ने जिसे तब ब्लेक डेथ कहा जाता था योरोप के तकरीबन ६०% लोगों का सफाया ही कर दिया था। 

प्लेग के वेक्टर्स फैलावनहार मूषक और गिलहरी पर पोषित परजीवी पिस्सू रहे हैं.यह पक्षहीन कीट -फ़्ली -पशुओं और मनुष्यों के शरीर में बसेरा बना लेता है। 

भले दवाओं ने  ,टीकों (वैक्सीन्स )ने इसके प्रकोप को धूमिल किया लेकिन इसका उन्मूलन मान लिया गया हो नहीं पाया है। यह जब तब मुंह उठा लेता हैं। अमरीका जैसे विकसित देशों में आज भी साल में इसके दो से दस तक मामले प्रकाश में आ जाते हैं। २०१७ में इसके १६ मामले दर्ज़ हुए। 

अन्यत्र यह रोग कायम है विश्व स्तर पर इसके एक से तीन हज़ार मामले साल भर में सामने आ जाते  हैं। अफ्रिका ,दक्षिणी अमरीका और भारत का आप धड़ल्ले से नाम ले सकते हैं। इनमें भी मडागास्कर ,पेरू और भारत शीर्ष पर हैं। 

(२ )रूबेला -जर्मन मीज़ल्स -यह एक बेहद संक्रामक रोग है जो विषाणुओं से फैलता है जिसमें लसिका ग्रंथियां फूल जातीं हैं तथा त्वचा पर छोटे छोटे लाल दाने या चकत्ते उभर आते हैं। बच्चों को ही यह निशाने पर लेता है। अमरीका में इसे रूबेला कहा जाता है। 


उन गर्भवती माताओं के मामले में यह गर्भस्थ के लिए जन्म पूर्व की विकृतियों की भी वजह बन सकता हैं जिनमें माताओं को इसका प्रतिरोधी टीका नहीं लगा है। गर्भावस्था में माँ को इसकी छूत लगने पर गर्भस्थ माँ के पेट में ही मर सकता है। 

१९७० में रूबेला का टीका सामने आया। इसके चलन प्रचलन के बाद अनेक विकाशशील देशों से तकरीबन इस रोग का सफाया होता दिखा। अप्रैल २०१५ में अमरीकी क्षेत्र को इस रोग से मुक्त मान लिया गया जहां लगातार पंद्रह बरसों तक रूबेला उन्मूलन अभियान चला है। 
जहां टीकाकरण सबको उपलब्ध नहीं है उन देशों में इसका संक्रमण अभी भी मौजूद है। इस मामले में अफ्रिका और दक्षिण पूरबी एशिया का नाम लिया जा सकता है। एक लाख दसहज़ार शिशु जन्म से ही यहां " कंजेनिटल  रूबेला सिंड्रोम "से ग्रस्त पैदा हो रहे हैं। 

(३ )लेप्रोसी (कोढ़ ):दीर्घावधि रोगी  के संपर्क में रहने वालों को आज भी इस रोग की छूत  लगती है। स्नायुओं (नसों ,नर्व )तथा चमड़ी की कोशिकाओं को यह रोग नुक्सान पहुंचाता  है। इलाज़ न मिलने पर असरग्रस्त त्वचा  का घाव    विरूपण भी हो जाता है। इसे इसीलिए कुष्ठ रोग भी कहा जाता है क्योंकि इसमें शरीर के असर ग्रस्त अंग गलके गिर भी सकते हैं।मदर टेरेसा को  कुष्ठ रोगियों  की सेवा के लिए विश्व भर में जाना गया है।आपने भारत को ही अपनी कर्मभूमि बनाया था। 
आपके बारे में एक किस्सा मशहूर है। आप कलकत्ता के एक अमीर के द्वार पर गोद  में एक शिशु को लेकर पहुंची। द्वार खटखटाया और कहा इसकी परवरिश के लिए कुछ देने की कृपा करें। अमीर ने उनेक आगे बढे हुए हाथ पे थूक दिया जिसे स्वीकार करते हुए आपने कहा -ये तो मेरे लिए था अब इसके लिए भी तो कुछ दो। कहते हैं वह अमीर कालान्तर में सब कुछ छोड़कर कुष्ठ रोगियों अन्य गरीब गुरबों की सेवा में जुट गया। उसे बेहद की आत्मग्लानि हुई। 

डैपसोन दवा के १९४५ में सामने आने पर इस रोग का जमकर मुकाबला किया गया लेकिन जल्दी ही इसका जीवाणु दवा रोधी साबित हुआ दवा का ही भक्षण करने लगा -इसे कहते हैं अनुकूलन। 

१९७० आदि के  दशक में इसी दवा प्रतिरोध ने अनेक और दवाओं के अन्वेषण को जन्म दिया। बेशक गत तीन दशकों में कुष्ठ रोगियों की संख्या में बेहद कमी आई है। १९८५ के बावन लाख (52 lakh ) मामलों के मुकाबले दुनियाभर में २०१३ में घट के दो लाख सोलह  हज़ार मामले ही दर्ज़ हुए हैं। लेकिन भारत के कुछ इलाकों ,ब्राज़ील और इंडोनेशिया में आज भी यह  रोग एक समस्या ही बना हुआ है  . अस्सी फीसद से भी ज्यादा मामले यहीं दर्ज़ हो रहे हैं। 

(४ )गाउट (गठिया या एक प्रकार का जोड़ों का दर्द ):आर्थराइटिस ही है यह एक प्रकार की जिसमें जोड़ों के भीतर युरिकेसीड (uric acid )और युरेट्स(urates ) के क्रिस्टल ही बन जाते हैं। पाचन के स्वाभाविक उप -उत्पाद हैं ये अम्ल और ये अवांछित क्रिस्टल।इस रोग में असरग्रस्त जोड़ में दर्द के अलावा संक्रमण सोजिश और लाली लिए दुखन भी होती है।एक विस्तृत लेख गाउट पर अलग से इस चिठ्ठे पे पूर्व में लिखा जा चुका है। 

पहले मिश्र देश के राजा -महाराजा शराब के साथ विलासिता पूर्ण अतिरिक्त कैलोरी वाला  भोजन लेते थे उनमें ही इस रोग के मिश्र देश में सबसे पहले दर्शन हुए थे।इसीलिए इसे 'किंग्स- डिजीज' भी कहा गया है।

ज़ाहिर है भ्रष्ट  खानपान  और जीवन शैली इसके मूल में रही है आज भी यही आलम है। इसीलिए विकसित देशों में इसका प्रकोप है। तिरासी लाख (83 lakh )अमरीकी ,उत्तरी अमरीका की ४ %  वयस्क (बालिग़ ) आबादी इससे ग्रस्त है।योरोप में ग्रीस इसका शिखर छू रहा है जहां २०१० में इससे वहां की आबादी का ४. ७ ५ % ग्रस्त था। 

(ज़ारी )

मूल आलेख आपके लिए अंग्रेजी में भी दिया जा रहा है :

Story highlights

  • Leprosy and TB are all still prevalent around the world
  • Plague still affects up to 3,000 people a year
  • To date, smallpox is the only disease to have ever been eradicated
(CNN)This year, the United States has recorded 16 cases of plague, while recent figures have revealed that in the UK, cases of "19th-century" diseases such as scurvy and scarlet fever are on the rise.
Changes to our living conditions and the development of medicines have affected the rise and fall of diseases, but they seldom disappear. To date, smallpox remains the only disease to have ever been eradicated.
More about 'Unseen Enemy'
Go to CNN.com/unseenenemy for more stories and resources about epidemics, pandemics and the CNN Films documentary, "Unseen Enemy."
Here are some often-forgotten diseases that still exist -- despite our best efforts to control them.
    Plague
    Circa 1656, a plague doctor in protective clothing.
    In the 14th century, plague -- known as the Black Death -- killed an estimated 60% of the European population. Plague is spread by fleas living on rodents, such as rats and squirrels, but the development vaccines and antibiotics, and improved living conditions, have curtailed the spread of the disease
    Plague is rare in developed countries today, with roughly two to 10 cases reported in the United States annually, where there have been 16 cases so far this year.
    But the disease persists elsewhere. The WHO reports 1,000 to 3,000 global cases of plague every year. Africa, South America and Asia have the greatest number of cases -- particularly Madagascar, Peru and India.
    Rubella
    The virus, which is passed to babies in the womb from unvaccinated mothers, can cause multiple birth defects as well as fetal death when contracted by women during pregnancy.
    Rubella vaccinations first became available in 1970, helping many developed countries come close to eliminating the disease and in April 2015, the Americas became the first region to eliminate rubella, after a 15-year vaccination campaign.
    But the infection remains in countries with low immunization coverage, particularly in Africa and south-east Asia. An estimated 110,000 babies are born with Congenital Rubella Syndrome every year.
    Leprosy
    Circa 1200, a leper covered in sores approaches a man, making a gesture of supplication.
    Leprosy is a contagious disease transmitted by prolonged contact with infected people. It causes damage to nerve and skin cells resulting in disfiguring sores and permanent disabilities.
    The first breakthrough in leprosy treatment came in 1945, with the drug dapsone, but bacteria soon became resistant. This lead to the development of a successful multidrug therapy in the 1970s.
    The number of global leprosy cases has dropped significantly in the last 30 years, from 5.2 million in 1985 -- but there were still 216,000 cases in 2013. The disease is still a problem in parts of India, Brazil and Indonesia where more than 80% of cases occur.
    Gout
    Circa 1800, a  man rests his foot, with his slipper slit to accommodate a foot swollen from gout.
    Gout is a type of arthritis caused by the build up of uric acid or urates -- a natural by-product of digestion -- inside joints. This can lead to pain, swelling and redness. First identified by the Egyptians, Gout was once known as the "disease of kings" because of its links to excessive food and alcohol consumption.
    Unhealthy lifestyles and obesity have caused dramatic increases of gout in developed countries, with the condition now affecting an estimated 8.3 million North Americans -- nearly 4% of the adult population -- according to one study.
    The prevalence of gout varies significantly around the world -- at 4.75% Greece has the highest rate in Europe, according to a 2010 study.       


    Killer fruit? Lychee cause of mysterious disease that plagued Indian town

    Every year since 1995, a mystery illness has plagued the town of Muzaffarpur in Bihar, India.
    Around May and June each year, large numbers of young children would start showing signs of fever. They'd have seizures and convulsions, before slipping in and out of consciousness.
    In 2014, hundreds of children were admitted to hospital exhibiting symptoms of this illness, branded locally as "chamki ki bimari," or "tinsel disease." Of 390 admitted for treatment, 122 died.
      Teams of researchers and medical experts searched exhaustively to find the cause, but to no avail. Until now.
      A new report, published in The Lancet Global Health medical journal on Tuesday, claims to have discovered what's behind the devastating disease: the unassuming lychee, otherwise known as litchi.
      Heat, humidity, malnourishment, the monsoon and pesticides have all been considered at one stage to be contributing factors to the illness -- said to resemble encephalitis symptomatically, a disease that causes inflammation of the brain.

      Killer fruit?

      Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and India's National Centre for Disease Control compared test results of children who had developed the mysterious illness, and children who had not.
      A fruit vendor offers lychees to customers from his roadside stall in Amritsar, India.
      Analysis of blood and spinal fluid samples showed no signs of infection or exposure to chemicals and insecticides.
      However, most of the children who had fallen ill had eaten lychee fruit recently. They were also six times more likely to have visited a fruit orchard in the last 24 hours, the study said.
      Muzaffarpur, Bihar, is the largest lychee farming region in India.
      According to the study, parents reported that children in the affected villages spent most of the day eating lychees from the surrounding orchards, often returning home in the evening "uninterested in eating a meal."
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      The results said that children who fell ill were twice as likely to have skipped dinner, which, according to the researchers probably resulted in "night-time hypoglycaemia."
      When their blood sugar level dropped, the body would start to metabolize fatty acids to produce a necessary boost of glucose.
      However, urine samples showed that two-thirds of the ill children showed evidence of exposure to toxins found in lychee seeds -- found in higher levels in unripe fruits.
      In the presence of these toxins "glucose synthesis is severely impaired," the study said, leading to dangerously low blood sugar and brain inflammation in the children.

      'Unidentified genetic differences'

      The Indian government issued a statement Wednesday advising children to henceforth "minimize litchi fruit consumption" in affected areas, and eat an evening meal during the "outbreak period."
      However, the researchers said there are still some questions surrounding the mystery. For example, while orchards surround many villages in the area, typically only one child in each village develops the illness. The report suggests it may be something to do with genetics.
      Indian moonshine deaths raise concerns over food safety 03:37
      "The synergistic combination of litchi consumption, a missed evening meal, and other potential factors such as poor nutritional status, eating a greater number of litchis, and as yet unidentified genetic differences might be needed to produce this illness," the study said.
      However, it added that similar outbreaks had been reported in another lychee cultivation areas in West Bengal, and also beyond India in parts of Vietnam and Bangladesh.
      Previous research had focused on pesticides rather than the fruit itself, but "the findings of our investigations might help to shed light on the cause of illness in the Bangladesh and Vietnam outbreaks," the study said.

      Why your sex drive is in low gear

      Story highlights

      • Low desire can have many causes, such as side effects of medication or one's body image
      • Changes to your relationship -- even positive ones, such as pregnancy or a new baby -- can drain libido
      (CNN)As a sex therapist, the No. 1 complaint I hear from both women and men is low libido. They visit me on their own or as couples, perplexed by the seemingly inexplicable drop in desire, either their own or that of their partner.
      Many people are hopeful that this decrease in sex drive has a simple cause and therefore a simple solution. While that's true in some cases, low libido is more often the complex result of several intertwining factors.
      Low desire can have many causes, whether biological influences such as the side effects of medication, psychological factors such as body image or relational triggers such as being angry with your partner. Addressing the problem means viewing it through multiple lenses at once, taking what we call a bio-psychosocial-relational approach. Here's a look at some common factors that can contribute to low libido.

        Biology

        "Not tonight, dear. I have a headache." There's more truth to this stereotypical excuse than you might expect. In fact, a wide range of biological and physical concerns can drain your desire, including pain, lack of sleep, disability and injury.
        "Illness often impacts sexual desire," sex therapist Rachel Needle said. "Depending on the illness and the impact both physically and emotionally, you might have trouble getting in the mood to be sexual. In addition, the medications used to treat many conditions can lead to sexual side effects that can impact your desire to be sexual."
        Hormonal issues can also play a role. The female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone plummet at menopause, but they can also fluctuate during breastfeeding, leading to low libido and decreased vaginal lubrication. The male sex hormone testosterone can fluctuate over time.

        Psychology

        It's well-known that mental health can impact libido: If you're feeling stressed out, depressed or anxious, sex is probably the last thing on your mind. "Under any stress, sexual desire can be the first to suffer," sex therapist Deborah Fox said. "Busy schedules, work deadlines, untreated depression and feelings resulting from unresolved conflict in your relationship all can lead to a drop in libido." 
        Another surprising factor in low desire: adult attention-deficit disorder.
        "Erotic desire begins in our brains," sex therapist Lisa B. Schwartz explained. "Some adults with ADD have a hard time quieting their minds long enough to think about being sexual or are unable to identify the feeling of being turned on. Other ADD-related issues that can impact desire include making time, planning and, for some, tolerating the routine of sex."
        The way you feel about yourself can have an effect on sexual desire, too. "Research shows that our body image impacts how we experience sex," sex therapist Jennifer Valli said. For instance, author and researcher Thomas Cash found that women who were focused on their body image during sex reported having orgasms 42% of the time, but women who weren't body-conscious climaxed 73% of the time.
        Interestingly, you might be avoiding sex without realizing it. "If we look at sex not from a performance model but from a pleasure model, you may see that you have been looking at pleasure as a luxury and putting it at the bottom of your list of things that you think you deserve," sex therapist Tammy Nelson said. "Avoiding sexual pleasure can feel similar to avoiding eating a cookie: It gives you a feeling of having control over your own urges and needs." Similarly, you might reject sexual pleasure if it triggers feelings of past trauma or abuse.

        Cultural and social

        If your cultural or religious background frowns upon premarital sex or your sexual orientation, for example, it may be difficult to have a healthy enjoyment of sex.
        "Negative societal and familial messages around identity and orientation can have a negative impact on sex drive," sex therapist Yamonte Cooper said. "Sex drive or expression can either be suppressed or hidden out of fear of confirming societal and familial beliefs steeped in bias and religiosity. It is difficult to entertain a sex drive when you are living a life of fear."  

        Relationships

        Multiple studies have found a positive correlation between general relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction. "I see this in my practice all the time," sex therapist Emily deAyala said. "Both women and men are guilty of buying into the idea that men should want to hop into bed at any time, but if the relationship is suffering, sex may not feel as good. It's like sitting down to a wonderful meal with a nasty cold. Just as food seems less appealing when the sense of smell is dulled, sex doesn't feel as satisfying when our emotions are out of whack or our relationship is suffering."
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        Changes to your relationship -- even positive ones, such as pregnancy or a new baby -- can drain your libido, too. "These life transitions affect hormones, but they can also bring psychological changes," sex therapist Stephanie Buehler said. "New mothers sometimes complain of feeling 'touched out' after caring for an infant all day, so the last thing they want is to have sex with their partner."
        Likewise, men and women can both find their interest in sex drops when they are trying to have a baby. "The longer the couple tries, the more discouraged they may become, which can lead them to avoid sex," Buehler said. "Couples trying for a pregnancy often complain that sex becomes 'mechanical' or 'robotic,' leading to low drive."
        Because the causes and influences can be myriad, the best way to address low desire is to make an appointment with a sex therapist. Working alone or with your partner, you can get to the root of the problem and then approach low libido from multiple angles, using strategiestailored to your specific concerns.

        मंगलवार, 16 जनवरी 2018

        हरियाणा सरकार का प्रशंशनीय कदम है यह

        हरियाणा की जेलों (कारवासों )में कैदी गाय की सेवा करें इसमें बुरा क्या है। सेवा से ही मेवा है। सनातन धर्म की मान्यता है गाय के शरीर में ३३ करोड़ देवी देवताओं का वास है। गाय की हर चीज़ पूज्य है उपादेय है। गोबर और गौ मूत्र भी अखाद्य नहीं है पंचगव्य में इनका इस्तेमाल होता है। पंचगव्य गौ दुग्ध ,गौ धृत ,गौ दुग्ध से तैयार दधि (दही ),गोबर ,गौ मूत्र को एक सुनिश्चित मात्रा में मिलाने से तैयार  होता है।

        धर्म में शास्त्र को ही प्रमाण माना गया है यज्ञ बिना पंच  गव्य के संपन्न नहीं होता है। गीता में  भगवान् ने स्वयं को यज्ञ बतलाया है ,'होता 'भी हव्य सामिग्री भी यज्ञ करता भी और उससे प्राप्त चरु को भी। भगवान् राम की उत्तपत्ति (दशरथ नंदन राम )का जन्म पुत्रेष्टि यज्ञ का ही परिणाम है। अग्नि देव यज्ञ संपन्न होने पर स्वयं चरु(प्रसाद )लेकर उपस्थित होतें हैं।  भगवान् के जन्म की लीला देखने के बाद तमाम देवता जो विभिन्न भेष भरके इस उत्सव की शोभा देखने आये थे इस चरु में ही विलीन हो गए थे। राम के शरीर से ही सभी ऊर्जा प्राप्त करते हैं। विश्व की सभी आत्माएं उसी राम का शरीर हैं जो सबमें रमण करता है सब को आनंद देता है। गीता में भगवान् कृष्ण स्वयं कहते हैं मैं सभी आत्माओं का आत्मा यानी परमात्मा हूँ। सभी आत्माएं मेरा शरीर हैं।  

        चैनलियों को ये शास्त्र प्रमाण समझ में नहीं आएगा -यह वैसे ही है जैसे कोई मनोविग्यानी आत्मा के अस्तित्व को नकारते हुए कहे -अगर आत्मा का अस्तित्व है तो लाओ उसे लेब में। प्रयोगशाला में। 

        आत्मा पांच भूतों का जोड़ घटा नहीं हैं इनसे परे अशरीरी है देही है आत्मा देह नहीं है देह भौतिक है पंच भूतों की निर्मिति है ,आत्मा यानी देही इनसे परे है। आप उसे प्रयोगशाला में कैसे लायेंगे ?और फिर भौतिक साधनों से अभौतिक आत्म तत्व को कैसे देखियेगा ,जानिएगा। इसीलिए कहा के शास्त्र ही प्रमाण है। निर्दोष और अकाट्य है शास्त्र प्रमाण। भौतिक साधनों की सीमाएं हैं। चाहे वह रेडिओ -दूरबीन हो या दूसरे छोर पर इलेक्ट्रॉन  माइक्रोस्कोप या गामा रे अन्वेषी। लार्ज हेड्रॉन कोलाइडर हो या कोई अन्य साधन अभी तो उन कणों की ही टोह नहीं ली जा सकी हैं जो शेष द्रव्य कणों को  द्रव्यमान प्रदान करते हैं मॉस इम्पार्ट करते हैं। चैनलिये इसे जाने भी कैसे। गाय की महिमा तो बहुत बारीक बात है। हम हरियाणा सरकार के इस कदम की खुलकर और बेहद की प्रशंशा अनु-शंशा करते हैं सेवा व्यक्ति को शालीन निरहंकारी बनाती है। गाय की पूँछ पहकडके तो लोग वैकुण्ठ पहुँच जाते हैं वैतरणी को पार कर जाते हैं। कैदियों को और कुछ नहीं तो सेवा का सुख ज़रूर मिलेगा। 

        शीषक :हरियाणा सरकार का प्रशंशनीय कदम है यह 

        सोमवार, 15 जनवरी 2018

        75% of India's air pollution-related deaths are rural, study finds


        • Exposure to pollution particles is roughly equal in rural and urban areas
        • However, rural Indians are disproportionately affected by air pollution, researcher says
        (CNN)Rural Indians, who make up about two-thirds of the country of 1.3 billion people, are disproportionately at risk of breathing polluted air, according to new research.
        India's air pollution has been making headlines for years, with attention focused on Delhi, the capital, once named the most polluted city in the world by the World Health Organization.
        Yet research published Thursday by an international team of scientists, including experts from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and the Health Effects Institute, estimates that 75% of air pollution-related deaths in India during 2015 came in its rural areas.
          "Air pollution is a national, pan-India problem. It's not limited to urban centers and megacities, and it disproportionately affects rural Indians more than urban Indians," said Chandra Venkataraman, a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, who was a member of the working group that conducted the study.
          The study found that exposure to the smallest and most dangerous airborne pollution particles, known as PM2.5, was roughly equal across rural and urban India. Part of the reason for the higher proportion of deaths in rural areas, though, is that about two-thirds of the population still lives there rather than in cities, the scientists say.
          The findings are the result of a comprehensive, state-by-state analysis of the sources of air pollution and what impact it has had on health in India.
          "This put all the pieces together," said Milind Kandlikar, a professor who studies air pollution at the University of British Columbia. He was not involved with the new research. "It moves from sources to human health effects. And it does this across the entire country."
          In 2015, over a million deaths could be attributed to air pollution in India, the study says: about 25% of the total deaths linked to air pollution around the globe.
          India's air pollution problem has steadily worsened over the past 25 years, as its economy has grown.
          According to the new research, residential biomass burning is the largest individual contributor to air pollution across India, with many poor residents relying on burning wood, crop residue or cow dung to heat homes or to cook food.
          The study also highlighted other sources of pollution, such as crop burning in parts of northern India -- an annual affair at the onset of winter that contributes to the toxic haze that settles over Delhi as temperatures drop -- and transport emissions.
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          Based on their findings, the researchers say that, unless Indian authorities commit to aggressive energy efficiency targets and clamp down on biomass burning, air pollution deaths could rise to as many as 1.6 million across the country by 2030.
          Aggressive and concerted policy action, on the other hand, could help India avert as many as 1.2 million air pollution-related deaths by the middle of this century.
          "I think we're starting to see the signs that things will start to get better," said Michael Brauer, a professor at the University of British Columbia who studies the links between human health and the environment and one of the scientists who led the study. "I think there's an understanding of what the solutions need to be. It's not rocket science, and more importantly, we know how to do this."

          Reference Material :http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/15/health/india-air-pollution-study-intl/index.html

          Expert unlocks mechanics of how snakes move in a straight line

          Snake research could advance robotics to move through narrow tunnels after a disaster


          Snakes are known for their iconic S-shaped movements. But they have a less noticeable skill that gives them a unique superpower.
          Snakes can crawl in a straight line.
          University of Cincinnati biologist Bruce Jayne studied the mechanics of snake movement to understand exactly how they can propel themselves forward like a train through a tunnel.

          "It's a very good way to move in confined spaces," Jayne said. "A lot of heavy-bodied snakes use this locomotion: vipers, boa constrictors, anacondas and pythons."

          His study titled "Crawling without Wiggling" was published in December in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

          Snakes typically swim, climb or crawl by bending their spine into serpentine coils or using the leading edges to push off objects. An extreme example of their diversity of movement gives the sidewinder rattlesnake its name.

          Jayne, a professor of biological sciences in UC's McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, already has unlocked the mechanics of three kinds of snake locomotion called concertina, serpentine and sidewinding. But the straightforward movement of snakes, called "rectilinear locomotion," has gotten less attention, he said.

          This coordination of muscle activity and skin movement was first examined in 1950 by biologist H.W. Lissmann. He hypothesized that the snake's muscles combined with its loose, flexible and squishy belly skin enabled it to scoot forward without bending its spine.

          "It's been almost 70 years without that type of locomotion being well understood," Jayne said.

          Jayne and his graduate student and co-author, Steven Newman, tested Lissmann's hypothesis using equipment unavailable to researchers in the 1950s. Jayne used high-definition digital cameras to film boa constrictors while recording the electrical impulses generated by particular muscles. This produced an electromyogram (similar to an EKG) that showed the coordination between the muscles, the snake's skin and its body.

          For the study, Newman and Jayne used boa constrictors, big-bodied snakes known for traveling in a straight line over the forest floor. They recorded high-definition video of the snakes moving across a horizontal surface hashed with reference marks. The researchers also added reference dots on the sides of the snakes to track the subtle movement of their scaly skin.

          When the snake inches forward, the skin on its belly flexes far more than the skin over its ribcage and back. The belly scales act like treads on a tire, providing traction with the ground as the muscles pull the snake's internal skeleture forward in an undulating pattern that becomes fluid and seamless when they move quickly.

          The snake's muscles are sequentially activated from the head toward the tail in a remarkably fluid and seamless way. Two of the key muscles responsible for this extend from the ribs (costo) to the skin (cutaneous) giving them their name costocutaneous.

          "The vertebral column moves forward at a constant rate," Newman said. "One set of muscles pulls the skin forward and then it gets anchored in place. And opposite antagonistic muscles pull on the vertebral column."

          The advantage of this kind of motion is obvious for a predator that eats rodents and other animals that spend time underground.

          "Snakes evolved from burrowing ancestors. You can fit in much narrower holes or tunnels by moving this way than if you had to bend your body and push against something," Newman said.

          The study was supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

          Jayne said Lissmann's 1950 description largely was correct.

          "But he hypothesized that the muscle that shortens the skin was the mechanism that propels a snake forward. He got that wrong," Jayne said. "But given the time he conducted the study, I marvel at how he was able to do it. I have tremendous admiration for his insights."

          Industry has tried to mimic the limbless, serpentine movements of snakes in robots that can inspect pipelines and other underwater equipment. Newman said robots that can harness a snake's rectilinear motion could have profound applications.

          "This research could inform robotics. It would be a big advantage to be able to move in straight lines in small, confined spaces. They could use snake-like robots for search-and-rescue in debris and collapsed buildings," Newman said.

          Rectilinear locomotion is low gear for snakes that otherwise can summon surprising speed. They only use it when they are relaxed. The researchers observed that snakes reverted to traditional concertina and serpentine motions when they were startled or prodded to move.

          An avid cyclist, Jayne has studied the physiology and biomechanics of cycling in a lab in Rieveschl. He has ongoing studies of riders' cardiovascular fitness. He measures their oxygen consumption in one minute per kilogram of body weight to learn more about how cyclists can increase their muscles' ability to burn lactase.

          But he has always been most fascinated by snakes. His work has been published in more than 70 journal articles, most of them examining some aspect of snake behavior or biology. Most recently, Jayne has studied snake locomotion, particularly the amazing ability of some to climb trees.

          Jayne teaches vertebrate zoology and human physiology and biomechanics at UC.

          Jayne's lifelong interest in snakes has given science keen insights into many previously undocumented behaviors. He studied crab-eating snakes in Malaysia and is testing the acuity of snake vision in his own makeshift optical lab at UC.

          By testing the limits of its mobility, Jayne can learn more about the snake's complex motor controls. This can shed light on how humans can execute coordinated movements.

          "What allows them to go in all these different directions and deal with all of that three-dimensional complexity is they have a diversity or plasticity of neural control of the muscles," Jayne said. "Even if the animal had the physical strength to do something, it wouldn't necessarily have the neural control."

          Jayne wants to learn more about how this refined motor control contributes to a snake's amazing contortions.

          "They move in so many fascinating ways. Is that because they have such an incredible diversity of motor patterns that the nervous system can generate?" he said.

          "Even though all snakes have the same body plan, there are fully aquatic snakes, snakes that move on flat surfaces, snakes that move in a horizontal plane, snakes that climb. They go everywhere," he said. "And the reason they can go everywhere is they have so many different ways of controlling their muscles. That's pretty intriguing."

          Four Types of Snake Movement:
          Serpentine: Also called lateral undulation, this is the typical side-to-side motion used by snakes over rough ground or in the water.

          Concertina: Snakes coil into alternating curves before straightening themselves to propel themselves forward.

          Sidewinding: Snakes bend in waves both side to side and in a vertical plane to lift the body to form just a few contact points with the ground. This helps rattlesnakes traverse hot sand or climb dunes.

          Rectilinear: Specialized muscles move the belly skin of a snake, propelling it forward in a straight line. This allows snakes to slip through burrows not much bigger than they are.
          Story Source:
          Materials provided by University of CincinnatiNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

          Journal Reference:
          1. Steven J. Newman, Bruce C. Jayne. Crawling without wiggling: muscular mechanisms and kinematics of rectilinear locomotion in boa constrictorsThe Journal of Experimental Biology, 2017; jeb.166199 DOI: 10.1242/jeb.166199