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Quit smoking gradually January 30, 2015 19:30

"Regular smokers experience an almost dementia-like condition in the early hours after quitting, as suggested by brain scans," says Professor Albert Gjedde, neuroscience researcher at the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen. In the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, Dr. Gjedde cites this uncomfortable sensation as being the culprit that keeps smokers going back for more cigarettes. "Smokers drift back into abuse, perhaps not to obtain a pleasant effect - that ship has sailed - but simply because the withdrawal symptoms are unbearable," he says.While nicotine is what makes cigarettes addictive, says Dr. Gjedde, smoking temporarily increases brain activity but after we stop, our brain's oxygen uptake and blood flow plummet even more, by as much as 17%. Dr. Gjedde says, antidepressants cease their effect on patients, although sensations of overwhelming discomfort can come into play when treatment is discontinued - just like what smokers experience.Quitting smoking gradually can reduce dependency over time, yet it's not certain how much and he says that smoking's effect on the brain is still not fully understood in many aspects. "The new findings suggest that it may be a good idea to stop smoking gradually, simply to avoid the worst withdrawal symptoms that make it so difficult to stick to the otherwise very sensible decision to stop smoking."By Premji

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Green tea to kill oral cancer cells January 30, 2015 19:22

A component found in green tea may be very effective at destroying oral cancer cells. The research from Penn State will become very useful in fighting oral cancer, as well as other types of cancer. Green tea, which has originated from China, is a very popular beverage throughout the world. Many claims have been made regarding the beneficial health effects of green tea. Green tea contains a myriad of enzymes, amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, sterols, related compounds, phytochemicals, and dietary minerals which helps in fighting against cancer, cardiovascular diseases and glycemic control. Many peer reviewed studies showed that green tea is effective against a specific type of cancer.Previous studies showed that epigallocatechin-3-gallate - EGCG - a compound found in green tea, killed oral cancer cells without harming normal cells. “EGCG is doing something to damage the mitochondria and that mitochondrial damage sets up a cycle causing more damage and it spirals out, until the cell undergoes programmed cell death,” said Lambert. “It looks like EGCG causes the formation of reactive oxygen species in cancer cells, which damages the mitochondria and the mitochondria responds by making more reactive oxygen species.”Researchers grew the normal and cancer cells on petri dishes and then exposed them to EGCG, the major polyphenol found in green tea, at concentrations typically found in the saliva after consuming green tea. “It plays an important role in mitochondrial function and in anti-oxidant response in lots of tissues in the body, so the idea that EGCG might selectively affect the activity of sirtuin 3 in cancer cells to turn it off and in normal cells to turn it on is probably applicable in multiple kinds of cancers,” Lambert associate professor of food science and co-director of Penn State’s Center for Plant and Mushroom Foods for Health said.“The problem with a lot of chemotherapy drugs - especially early chemotherapy drugs - is that they really just target rapidly dividing cells, so cancer divides rapidly, but so do cells in your hair follicles and cells in your intestines, so you have a lot of side effects,” said Lambert. “But you don’t see these sorts of side effects with green tea consumption.”By Premji

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Life insurance most preferred investment January 30, 2015 19:19

Life insurance has emerged as the most preferred investment option for Indian households. Seventy per cent of affluent population of the country, who hold investments other than cash, has put their money in life insurance, while 64 per cent among them have gone for fixed deposits, according to the DSP BlackRock India Investor Pulse Survey. Investments in other financial instruments like shares (46 per cent), equity mutual funds (33 per cent), fixed maturity plans (27 per cent), tax-free bonds (25 per cent) and so on. "Even though the larger current ownership is in insurance and fixed deposits, there is a growing awareness among the educated affluent category of investors in the country to move more money from cash and deposits to other form of investments like mutual fund and bond," said DSP BlackRock Executive Vice President, Head (Sales) and Co-Head (Marketing), Ajit Menon, while unveiling the survey report.Majority of Indians (56 per cent) feel their economy is getting better, way ahead of the global average of 22 per cent. The huge margin of positivity extends to their financial future with 81 per cent of Indian respondents feeling positive as compared to 56 per cent globally. Equities and bonds are also important asset classes accounting for 13 per cent and five per cent of the total value of saving and investment products.By Premji

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India - $4-5 trillion economy January 30, 2015 19:06

Is India really shining? After the new government has taken charge the economy of the country got revived and has attracted investment from all over. Prime Ministers determination and the innovative ideas such as Swach Bharath Abhiyan, Make in India, Digital India, etc has put the country in the map of fastest developing country. Even IMF has stated that India may over take China in the near future in terms of development.The government Friday said that the Indian economy has the potential to become a $4-5 trillion economy in the next 10-12 years. According to Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, the time was right to invest in India, as it is one of the best places to create wealth. "It's great time to invest in India. We are going to take India's $2 trillion economy to $4-5 trillion economy in the next 10-12 years," Sinha said at an event organised by the Indian Private and Venture Capital Association (IVCA). Sinha pointed out that the government wants to develop Mumbai as a global financial centre. "Why can't India become an international financial centre like Singapore and London? We want to make Mumbai an international financial centre," Sinha said. The minister assured foreign investors that tax issues will be addressed appropriately in the next budget and that the country was committed in facilitating the entry of foreign capital.By Premji

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Nehru was secular or not - Ravi Shankar Prasad January 30, 2015 18:21

A controversy has broken out after the ads on the Republic day have not carried the words Secular and Socialism in the picture of Preamble of the constitution. There was a much hallabol regarding this by various political parties blaming BJP. The original preamble does not contain the words Secular and Socialism. These words were included by the late Prime Minister Smt Indira Gandhi during the period of emergency after jailing all the opposition leaders and curtailing the media freedom. This was never discussed in the parliament and as such these words in the preamble does not have any sanctity.Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday asked the Congress to debate if Jawaharlal Nehru was a “secular person or not’’, because as Prime Minister he was a leading member of the Constituent Assembly along with Dr. Ambedkar and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad that had made the original preamble. “The constituent assembly which had eminent leaders as its members did not include socialist or secular in the original preamble in 1950. The Congress must reply to it if it believes that leading lights such as Pandit Nehru were secular or not,’’ Mr. Prasad said. Or the BJP, Mr. Prasad clarified, secular principle flows from the Indian ethos and “is a part of our proud cultural heritage and our DNA which reinforces the respect for each other’s state.’’ “When Prime Minister Narendra Modi says Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, it is being translated with action on the ground with inclusive development for all,’’ he added.By Premji

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Heavy drinking ups stroke risk January 30, 2015 18:02

More than two drinks a day in middle-age may raise your stroke risk more than traditional factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes, warns a study. Regular heavy drinking can raise blood pressure and cause heart failure or irregular heartbeats over the time with repeated drinking of alcohol, in addition to stroke and other risks. "For mid-aged adults, avoiding more than two drinks a day could be a way to prevent stroke in later age," said Pavla Kadlecova, statistician at St Anne's University Hospital's International Clinical Research Center in the Czech Republic.11,644 middle-aged Swedish twins were followed for 43 years and researchers compared the effects of an average of more than two drinks daily (heavy drinking) to less than half a drink daily (light drinking). They found that heavy drinkers had about a 34 percent higher risk of stroke compared to light drinkers.Heavy drinkers have the chance of increased stroke risk in their mid-life compared to well-known risk factors like high blood pressure and diabetes. At around the age of 75, blood pressure and diabetes take over as one of the main influences on having a stroke, the researchers found. "We now have a clearer picture about these risk factors, how they change with age and how the influence of drinking alcohol shifts as we get older," Kadlecova said.By Premji

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Single algae - Two biofuels January 30, 2015 17:54

Algae commercially grown to make fish food holds the promise as a source for both biodiesel and jet fuel, according to a new study. Researchers led by Greg O'Neil of Western Washington University and Chris Reddy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution exploited an unusual and untapped class of chemical compounds in the algae to synthesize two different fuel products, in parallel, from a single algae."It's far from a cost-competitive product at this stage, but it's an interesting new strategy for making renewable fuel from algae," said O'Neil, the study's lead author. An alga contains fatty acids that can be converted into fatty acid methyl esters, the molecules in biodiesel.O'Neil, Reddy and colleagues targeted a specific algal species called Isochrysis – dismissed, because growers demonstrated that they can produce it in large batches to make fish food. It is among only a handful of algal species around the globe that produce fats called alkenones. These compounds are composed of long chains with 37 to 39 carbon atoms, which the researchers believed held potential as a fuel source.Oil is a dark, sludgy solid at room temperature. The sludge is a result of the alkenones - precisely what makes the algae a unique source of two distinct fuels. The researchers devised a method to separate the FAMEs and alkenones in order to achieve a free-flowing fuel.By Premji

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Skyscraper project faces hurdles January 30, 2015 17:08

Chief Minister of Telangana, K Chandrasekhar Rao's dreams of skyscrapers around Hussainsagar is expected to start with the construction of a ground-hugging convention centre, Telangana Kala Bharathi, in the vacant land opposite Indira Park. 40 locations have been identified for construction of skyscrapers including the world's tallest tower at Sanjeeviah Park on the bank of Hussainsagar. Several hitches have aroused in the government's plans for taking over land for these projects.Skyscrapers are yet to be formalised, but the state government has proposed a 100-floor skyscraper on the TB and Chest Hospital premises at Erragadda for the Telangana secretariat. Offices housed in Buddha Bhavan, Burgula Ramakrishna Rao Bhavan and Text Book Printing Press has to be relocated before bulldozing them for skyscrapers. The Sailing Club and some other private organisations for which were given land on lease by the government and the Ranigunj bus depot cannot be taken over by the government as bifurcation of RTC is yet to be completed. Other locations at Kundanbagh, Patigadda, Youth Hostel, Raghava Sadan, Nursing colony, Dilkusha Guest House, Greenlands, New MLA Quarters and Electricity Bhavan face similar problems. Clearances such as No Objection Certificate (NOC) have to be obtained from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and the heritage characters of some buildings also need to be looked into by the state government.By Premji

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PM Modi - innovate for 'm-Governance' January 30, 2015 16:47

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked the country's IT experts to explore ways to provide as many services as possible through mobile phones to boost M-Governance (Mobile-Governance). For the first time the Prime Minister has used the micro-blogging site Twitter to address a large gathering. He said e-Governance is an essential part of the ambitious 'Digital India' project and underlined that the scale and speed of India's development journey requires maximum and smart utilisation of latest technology."I urge you to explore ways to provide as many services as possible through mobiles. Let us bring the world into our mobile phones," Modi said at the 18th national conference on e-Governance through Twitter. "While we look at e-Governance, let us think about 'mobile first' and thus give importance to m-Governance (mobile governance)," he tweeted."The Centre is committed to realising the dream of Digital India, with a vision to make India a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy"."I am also certain that technology and e-Governance will make processes simpler and remove several obstacles slowing the pace of work and progress"."We are actively working to create a robust digital infrastructure that would serve the interests of our citizens and transform their lives"."E-Governance is an essential part of our dream of Digital India. The more technology we infuse in governance, the better it is for India"."Scale & speed at which we have to take India's development journey requires maximum & smart utilisation of latest technology," he said stressing on the importance of use of technology.His series of tweets were shown live on a big screen at the Mahatma Mandir at Gandhi Nagar. Participants from varied fields, including top IT industry representatives, were present at the conference.By Premji

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Pakistan’s Proxy war continues January 30, 2015 16:40

Unsuccessful infiltration attempts along the international border for the past one month, prompted Pakistan Rangers on Thursday night resorted to mortar shelling on BSF border out posts (BOPs) in Arnia and R S Pura sectors. “Small arms fire from Pakistan side started around 8 pm which gradually shifted to mortar shelling on BSF posts in Arnia”. As many as eight BSF posts were affected, sources said, adding that the firing later spread to R S Pura sector.The BSF retaliated and the exchange of fire was so intense that Pakistan got what it deserves. Terrorist movement on Pakistan side of the international border increased early this month, making the BSF deploy additional troops. The BSF has foiled seven infiltration attempts in January alone.Security arrangements are tightened across the state following reports that terrorists may sneak into the state to attack soft targets like schools, civilian population and even vehicles playing on the national highway. Lt General H K Singh, General Officer Commanding of 16 Corps, which is guarding the Line of Control from Chhamb to Poonch sector in Jammu region, said that nearly 200 terrorists were waiting across the LoC looking for an opportunity to sneak in. Pointing out that the Army is maintaining highest degree of alert along the LoC, he said that nearly 15 of the total 44 terrorist training camps in PoK fall opposite their areas of operation in South of Pir Panjal.By Premji

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