Think you’ve tried everything to battle obesity? This new discovery is for you

The research adds weight to the evidence that eating is a surprisingly complex biological behaviour.

If you are tired of trying every means to fight obesity, then this new discovery might help you to rethink. Cells in the brain that may help control the hunger impulse have been discovered in a development, which could lead to new treatments for obesity, reports the Independent.

The research adds weight to the evidence that eating is a surprisingly complex biological behaviour. According to Alexander Nectow, who published a paper about the study in the journal Cell, two new populations of cells have been identified in the brain that potently regulates appetite.

The area of the brainstem under scrutiny is the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), where the two types of cells are located. It is thought new drugs to treat obesity by controlling hunger messages that prompt people to seek out and consume of food could be targeted at those cells.

Dr Nectow, an associate research scholar at Princeton University, found that the DRN section of the brain becomes activated in hungry mice. This was discovered when images were taken using a pioneering technique called iDisco. Imaging other mice that were given more than their normal amount of food showed a different pattern of DRN activity. This showed that neurons in this part of the brain clearly had a function in feeding behaviour.

It is thought new drugs to treat obesity by controlling hunger messages that prompt people to seek out and consume of food could be targeted at those cells. (Shutterstock )

Further research is needed to ascertain which types of neurons that make up the DRN are involved in the process. “There are two possibilities when you see something like that,” Dr Nectow said. “One is that the cells are just along for the ride – they are getting activated by hunger but they’re not actually driving the food intake process,” he continued.

Young e-cigarette users more likely to become tobacco users, says new study

The study also looked at other factors that influence smoking, including smoking susceptibility, having friends or family members who smoke, age, sex, family affluence, ethnic group and school.

A recent UK study suggests that teenagers who have tried an e-cigarette are more likely to go on to smoke tobacco cigarettes.

The study was led by the University of Stirling along with researchers from the Unversities of St Andrews and Edinburgh, and ScotCen. The team looked at pupils at four Scottish secondary schools aged between 11 and 18 years old, surveying the participants in 2015 and then again 12 months later.

They found in the initial 2015 survey that among the 2,125 pupils who had never smoked a cigarette, 183 (8.6%) said that they had tried an e-cigarette and 1,942 had not.

In the 2016 survey, 74 (40.4%) of those who had tried an e-cigarette in the initial 2015 survey went on to smoke a cigarette in the following 12 months – compared to only 249 (12.8%) of young people who had not tried an e-cigarette.

The team found in the initial 2015 survey that among the 2,125 pupils who had never smoked a cigarette, 183 (8.6%) said that they had tried an e-cigarette and 1,942 had not. (Shutterstock)

The results remained statistically significant even after the team had taken into account other factors that influence smoking including smoking susceptibility, having friends or family members who smoke, age, sex, family affluence, ethnic group and school.

“Uniquely, we also found that e-cigarette use had a greater impact on the odds of cigarette experimentation in young never smokers who had a firm intention not to smoke and/or whose friends didn’t smoke. Traditionally, this is the group of young people least likely to take up smoking,” commented Dr Catherine Best, research fellow at the University of Stirling.

Sally Haw, professor of Public and Population Health at Stirling, also added that, “The greater impact of e-cigarette use on young people thought to be at lower risk of starting smoking is of particular concern” and now recommends further research to understand better how experimenting with e-cigarettes may influence smoking attitudes.

The findings can be found published online in the British Medical Journal’s Tobacco Control journal.

Read these new rules before going in for a 'stem cell cure'

Read these new rules before going in for a 'stem cell cure'
Considering the mushrooming of stem cell clinics offering “cures” for conditions ranging from diabetes to autism across the country, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) have come up with guidelines on who can conduct research in this sphere, when and how. Moreover, the draft, for the first time, provides guidelines for cutting-edge gene editing techniques.Giving a three-page list of conditions for which stem cells can be offered, the draft omits conditions such as motor neuron disease, mental retardation or muscular dystrophy . It makes it clear that doctors should stick to their specialty. “Doctors cannot criss-cross areas of specialization,” said ICMR deputy director general Dr Geeta Jotwani. “At present, there are orthopaedic surgeons who offer so-called stem cell therapy for neurological problems or vice-versa. We are now clearly saying that only clinicians with subject domain can offer clinical trials.”

The 40-page draft is available on the ICMR and DBT’s websites, and is open to public comments and concerns till July 31. “Stem cells have a lot of potential in disease management. Our last guidelines came out in 2013, but a lot has changed since then, making us feel the need to update our guidelines. We want to encourage people to do research in stem cells, but at the same time want to ensure nothing unethical is carried out,” ICMR director general Dr Soumya Swaminathan told TOI.

On the mention of gene editing techniques, she said, “We want our researchers to take up work in this field. US researchers have been working on gene editing for cancer, HIV, etc, but we in India haven’t yet come to that point. We have included CRISPR-Cas9 (gene editing tool) in the guidelines, but only for research in somatic (normal or non-reproductive) cells.”

The guidelines mainly seek to curb malpractice. Dr Jotwani said stem cells are only offered as clinical trials in the West, but are offered as therapies in India. “We have received many complaints. Now on, all institutions carrying out research must register with the National Apex Committee for Stem Cell Research and Therapy .”

A senior Mumbai doctor said, ” An autologous stem cell extraction (using a person’s own stem cells) and processing doesn’t take the sort of money–almost Rs 10 lakh–being charged from patients. This kind of exploitation should stop” The guidelines also state that stem cell research can only be carried out in laboratories and institutions that comply with GLP (good laboratory practice) and GMP (good manufacturing practice).

Incidentally, ICMR had asked doctors of the 500-odd clinics doing stem cell work in India to report progress. None did within the December 2016 deadline.

“There is no conclusive work on stem cells to prove that they can help patients with conditions like Duchenne muscular dystrophy , mental retardation or autism,” said Dr Vrajesh Udani, head of paediatric neurology, Hinduja Hospital.

7 New Fried Desserts to Enjoy While The Monsoon Season Lasts

While the rain makes the weather breezy and beautiful, it also comes with an intense craving for fried foods. The change in weather prompts a change in our menu with summery snacks giving way to inventive and innovative fried food items. But why should we restrict ourselves to tea time savouries? There’s a lot out there to satisfy your sweet tooth too. The magnificent monsoon lends itself to a rainbow of the most delicious fried desserts. Crisp on the outside, moist and sweet on the inside, these desserts will leave you drooling and tempt you to run to your kitchen. Here’s a list of 8 unusual fried desserts that will satisfy your cravings instantly.

7 New Fried Desserts to Enjoy While The Monsoon Season Lasts

1. Chocolate Jalebi 

 

As the weather shifts from the scorching heat to pleasant skies, we all get that tingly feeling in our tummies craving for something hot and crispy. Since we’re surrounded by tons of sweets, how do we pick which dessert would be perfect for the season? It is next to impossible to resist the chocolate jalebi! A lovely combination of your favourite fried Indian dessert jalebi and chocolate.

How To Make: Add a cup of flour, one tablespoon baking soda, a cup of water and a little bit of color (orange) in a bowl, mix it well and pour it into a frying pan to make jalebis with the help of a cheesecloth. Once they’re ready, dip them in a bowl of melted chocolate and serve hot.

 

2.  Fried Ice-Cream

The epitome of soul food – ice-cream! Admit it or not, we all have a soft corner for ice-cream in our hearts. This time around, try the fried ice-cream. You are sure to get addicted.

How To Make: Scoop 6-8 balls of vanilla ice-cream and freeze it further for an hour. After freezing, dip the balls in whipped egg whites one by one and further cover them with some crushed biscuits. Deep fry the ice-cream and enjoy.

 

3. Deep Fried Cookie Dough

 

Deep fried cookie dough is one of the best fried desserts you could have asked for. Cookies always manage to lift our mood and trust us, fried cookie dough is even better. Every single bite will leave you craving for more.

How to Make: Add 1 stick of butter, ½ cup of brown sugar, 2 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 egg, 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour, ½ tsp salt, 1 cup milk and lots of chocolate chips in a bowl to make the cookie dough. Mix them well to make cookie batter and leave it to freeze for an hour. For frying, coat the cough dough balls with corn flakes or bread crumbs and fry away.

 

4. Banana Balls

 

The great part about bananas is that they can be eaten with or without experimentation. To add a quirky twist to the fruit, we can fry the bananas pieces. Banana balls serve as the perfect snack for your evening coffee or tea.

How To Make: Cut bananas into small pieces and mix it with brown sugar to make a paste. Add a little bit of flour, cardamom powder, desiccated coconut powder and baking soda and coat the bananas with this mix. Make little balls and fry them for tea-time.

5. Cake Fries

What could be better than sizzling and crispy French fries? Well, nothing really but now you can enjoy fries for dessert! These fries are made with ingredients that are used to bake a cake. This is probably one of the most unusual and inventive desserts that can be served at your weekend gathering. Serve them with a dark chocolate dip or plain maple syrup.

How To Make: Add 3 eggs, 2 cups of milk, ¼ cup of granulated sugar, 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt. Whisk everything together for a smooth batter. Add the batter to a funnel with a large hole in order to make funnel cake strands and fry these strands to have the yummy cake fries!

6. Fried Chocolate and Coconut Modak

Sweet dumplings but covered with chocolate? Now, that sounds exquisite. Usually, modak is eaten during festivals keeping us away from it for a long time. To satisfy your needs, this famous Indian dessert can now be made with a chocolaty twist.

How To Cook: Take a bowl and saute one cup of shredded coconut for about 7-8 minutes. In a separate bowl, melt ¼ cup of milk and chocolate side by side. Once its melted, add the chocolate to shredded coconut and keep it aside. For the batter, take a bowl and add 1 cup all-purpose flour, ¼ cup of wheat flour, ¼ cup of suji, ½ cup of milk, 1 tsp oil, and a pinch of salt for tasting. Mix all of them together to make the dough and keep them aside for 20 minutes. Roll little puris, fill the chocolate and coconut mix in the center and shape them like a modak (tear-drop shaped) which can then be deep fried and enjoyed.

 

7. Fried Donut Holes

 

Donuts have been around for years. They are a beloved American snack but are enjoyed all over the world. These donut holes originate from donuts – the portion that is cut out to make the rings. These sweet treats can be easily made at home if one is in the mood to experiment!

How To Make: In a bowl, add 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 5 tablespoon cold butter, and ¾ cups of milk. Whisk them together to make a smooth batter. Make little balls and fry them into a pan. Once they’re out of the pan, roll them in a bowl of sugar. You can even glaze them if you like and serve with jam or caramel sauce.

 

8. Apple Fritters

 

This fruity dessert that can easily satisfy your sugar cravings. This dessert gives you everything that you are looking for to enjoy the nippy weather. They are best served warm and crispy and give you a beautiful fruity taste.

How To Make: In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups of flour, ¼ cups of granulated sugar, 2 ¼ baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt. In another bowl, whisk together ¾ cups of milk, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoon butter and ½ tsp vanilla. Gently fold the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Cut the apples into circular slices and dip them in the batter. Fry them in a pan for a few minutes and enjoy the hot and crispy fritters!
Alright, we know you’re already tempted to try them. So, get going.

Govt may spend over Rs20,000 crore on six new IITs

The central government is looking to spend above an amount of Rs 20,000 crore to build six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) it first announced in 2015, at least two government officials said.

Of this, Rs7,000 crore will be spent in the first phase ending in March 2020 and the rest over the next four years ending in March 2024, the officials said on condition of anonymity.

IIT Kharagpur, Main Building, Kharagpur, West Bengal

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New IITs incur less expense in the first couple of years as they operate from temporary premises with limited staff, research work, course and students. The union human resource development ministry, the officials said, is in the process of moving the expenditure finance committee (EFC) to get approval for the first phase. After this, it will ask the EFC to approve the rest.

In December 2015, the Union cabinet cleared the proposal to open six new IITs in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Goa and Jammu and Kashmir. The six IITs now operate from makeshift campuses in these states.

“Unlike institutions like IIMs, IITs need much more funds to be established because of the multi-disciplinary and research nature of the IITs. Hopefully, the EFC will give a go-ahead following which new IITs will scale up their operation—both from academic and infrastructure points of view,” said one of the two officials cited above.

During the 11th Five Year Plan, which ended in march 2012, the previous UPA government had estimated to spend over Rs6,000 crore for eight new IITs. But delays in land procurement, construction and inflation pushed up costs to Rs14,000 crore.

The additional money was approved following months of deliberations after the NDA government came to power in 2014. The eight IITs are now open in Gandhinagar, Bhubaneswar, Hyderabad, Indore, Jodhpur, Ropar, Mandi and Patna. “This time, we are trying our best not to face cost escalation. It was a problem last time and we have learned from that experience,” said the second of the two officials. This official said land procurement was a key challenge last time, delaying construction and pushing up costs.

“Land for six new IITs has already been procured and states’ cooperation this time is good. Once the EFC approval comes, things will pick up,” the official said.

A professor from an older IIT closely associated with the establishment of new IITs said timely funding is key, and before that, states must give land to the HRD ministry for the purpose. The last time, he said some states could not provide land even after five years. Besides, in some cases, land was allocated without forest clearances leading to legal hassles, the professor said.

“Cost escalation problem arises when it’s not planned properly. While delays in construction and land procurement leads to more expense, it also hampers the IITs educationally. An IIT has its own brand value but it has to be properly supported; else, that brand equity gets hampered.

The upcoming new education policy must make it clear that new higher educational institutions should not be delayed beyond a certain time limit. Else, the intention of establishing IITs and similar institutes gets diluted. It’s not just a finance issue, but also a bigger academic issue,” said Narayan Ramaswamy, partner education practice at consulting firm KPMG.

A fresh coat of paint, better plumbing and drinking water: How 5 teachers gave a Rajasthan school, and its students, a new life

When she joined the Girls’ Upper Primary School (GUPS) in Alwar’s Shivaji Park in December 2016, Hemlata Sharma, 47, had been teaching for 27 years. This was her first posting as head teacher and never before had she been so appalled by the condition of the school.

Classrooms leaked in the rain, plaster peeled off the wall. The entire building was in a state of disrepair and housed just 100 students from classes 1 to 8.

Sharma took up a challenge to bring the school back to life before the next academic session in July and roped in four other teachers for support.

Pleasing seating areas, space for interaction: The old school now is all bright and cheerful (HT Photo)

Within four months, things changed – the walls were painted in bright colours, the classrooms spruced up and a lawn laid out in front. An underground rainwater recharge tank, an RO plant for drinking water, and new furniture in all classrooms were also added. Leakages were plugged.

Just 15 days after schools opened, enrolment went up to 202. Some admissions were pending clearance for lack of Aadhaar and birth certificates.

Sharma was also determined to do something about Rajasthan’s high school dropout rate. The 2016 Annual Status of Education Report survey of schooling and learning levels in rural India ranks the state among the top three with the highest dropout rates in children aged 11 to 14 (5% among all-India average of 3.5%). To get more children to her school, she turned to her family for donation to start repairs.

A garden has been laid out for the children to play in. (HT Photo)

“I asked my sisters, brother and father for money and collected Rs 40,000 from them. After that I went to my teachers,” said Sharma, who added Rs 11,000 from her savings into the school renovation kitty.

Manju Rani Sharma, who retired on May 31, donated Rs 21,000 as a parting gift to the school. Three other teachers – Sanika Sharma, Sashi Singhal and Kavita Sharma – also donated to take the teachers’ contribution Rs 51,000.

After collecting about Rs 1 lakh, the teachers began work. For changing the infrastructure, Sharma met district Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan officials, who, impressed by her efforts, sanctioned Rs 2 lakh more.

Sanika Sharma, who will retire in June next year, said they approached philanthropists in town for furniture in classrooms and free uniforms for students.

On June 8 this year, the teachers distributed among 170 students a new uniform set and a pair of shoes and socks.

Clean water, waste disposal – the school has now got new, upgraded facilities. (HT Photo)

“It was on that day that I proposed to my colleagues that teachers should wear uniform to school to enforce discipline – and the teachers agreed,” said Sharma.

Now the students wear brown trousers and skirts and light brown shirts, and the teachers wear off-white salwar and dupatta and maroon kurta.

Two teenagers who passed Class 12 recently come in regularly to teach junior school students to make up for shortage of teachers. “Parul and Priyanka, twin daughters of school management committee president Kusum Rohilla, are coming to school since June 22 after two of the five teachers got transferred out,” the head teacher said.

The two girls are in the first year of college.

Recently, Imran Khan from Alwar, who was lauded by PM Narendra Modi at London’s Wembley Stadium in 2015 for creating apps for the benefit of students, got the school four computers and a printer.

New smartphone app offers non-invasive test for diabetics

British scientists have developed a new smartphone app that can help measure and monitor blood glucose levels without using a drop of blood, a finding that can transform lives of millions of people with diabetes. The app — called as Epic Health — replaces the need for diabetics to prick their fingers several times a day.

The app, suitable for both Type 1 and 2 diabetics, works by placing a fingertip over the camera lens of a smartphone and capturing a series of close-up images that convey information about the user’s heart rate, temperature and blood pressure to respiration rate and blood oxygen saturation, the researchers said.

“The app uses a simple protocol which prompts the user to take a noninvasive test and this allows us to capture the vital information in a systematic way which produces the most consistent results,” Dominic Wood, founder of the app, was quoted as saying to the express.co.uk.

“This is a massive driver of prevention,” and even targets, “everyone yet to be diagnosed with or in the general risk of diabetes when it’s still preventable”, Wood added.

Importantly, the Epic app can measure insulin resistance level — a key way of determining whether someone is pre-diabetic. It does this by measuring the variation in the patient’s pulse which is related to blood glucose concentration. This would allow someone to alter their lifestyle to avoid developing full-blown Type 2 diabetes, the researchers said.

“The prospect of a non-invasive app that monitors blood glucose levels without a drop of blood and without even an accompanying piece of technology is an exciting one,” said Dan Howarth from Diabetes UK. The app, which has been in development for three years, will undergo clinical trials in the coming months.

It will be available to download, free of charge, by the end of the year, the researchers said.

New biomarkers may help detect brain injury faster

Researchers have identified inflammatory biomarkers which can be used to develop a test that can help detect whether the brain has suffered injury in the first hour of accident.

The test can be used on the side of a sports pitch or by paramedics to detect traumatic brain injury — which leads to very early alterations in inflammatory proteins — at the scene of an accident, as well as improve clinical interventions, the researchers said.

“Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability among young adults and, according to the World Health Organization, by 2020 this will become the world’s leading cause of neurological disability across all age groups,” said Lisa Hill from the University of Birmingham in the Britian.

The study identified three inflammatory biomarkers — known as CST5, AXIN1 and TRAIL — of traumatic brain injury.

While CST5 identified patients with severe traumatic brain injury within the first hour of injury, AXIN1 and TRAIL were able to discriminate between brain injury and uninjured patient controls in an hour.

“Early and objective pre-hospital detection of traumatic brain injury would support clinical decision making and the correct triage of major trauma,” added Valentina Di Pietro from the University’s Institute of Inflammation and Ageing.

Moreover, correct diagnosis of traumatic brain injury, which is one of hardest diagnosis to make in medicine, would allow clinicians to implement strategies to reduce secondary brain injury at an early stage, the researchers said.

Currently, no reliable biomarkers exist to help diagnose the severity of traumatic brain injury and identify patients who are at risk of developing secondary injuries that impair function, damage other brain structures and promote further cell death.

“In addition, this has potential implications for drug development, as novel compounds could be given immediately after injury and potentially commenced at the roadside, if there was sufficient confidence in the diagnosis of traumatic brain injury,” Pietro said.

For the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, blood samples were taken from 30 injured patients within the first hour of injury prior to the patient arriving at hospital.

New York eatery tops world’s best restaurants 2017; India fails to make the list

At the annual World’s 50 Best awards held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, the list of the top 50 restaurants in the world was revealed. According to the list, Eleven Madison Park, New York triumphed as a foodie’s heaven beating last year’s number one, Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. The Italian delicacy dropped down to second place. El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, took the third spot.

According to Bloomberg, Chef Daniel Humm said, “I never in my wildest dreams thought that I could find myself in this position. Cuisine has given me everything: I left school at 14 and pursued a craft that no one believed in at the time. Everything I have learned has been from food: languages, culture. I have traveled the world and met Will, who is my best friend as well as my business partner. It is unbelievable.”

This is the first time that a restaurant from the US has won since Chef Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in Yountville, California, bagged the title in 2003 and 2004. All other winners have been European.

Famous food scientist and chef, Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant Dinner at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London made the top 50 at number 36.

Here’s the complete list of winners:

1. Eleven Madison Park (New York, USA)

2. Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)

3. El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain)

4. Mirazur (Menton, France)

5. Central (Lima, Peru)

6. Asador Etxebarri (Axpe, Spain)

7. Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)

8. Maido (Lima, Peru)

9. Mugaritz (Errenteria, Spain)

10. Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)

11. Blue Hill at Stone Barns (New York, USA)

12. L’Arpège (Paris, France)

13. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée (Paris, France)

14. Restaurant Andre (Singapore)

15. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy)

16. D.O.M. (São Paulo, Brazil)

17. Le Bernardin (New York, USA)

18. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)

19. Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark)

20. Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)

21. Alinea (Chicago, USA)

22. Quintonil (Mexico City, Mexico)

23. White Rabbit (Moscow, Russia)

24. Amber (Hong Kong)

25. Tickets (Barcelona, Spain)

26. The Clove Club (London, UK)

27. The Ledbury (London, UK)

28. Nahm (Bangkok, Thailand)

29. Le Calandre (Rubano, Italy)

30. Arzak (San Sebastian, Spain)

31. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen (Paris, France)

32. Attica (Melbourne, Australia)

33. Astrid y Gastón (Lima, Peru)

34. De Librije (Zwolle, Netherlands)

35. Septime (Paris, France)

36. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (London, UK)

37. Saison (San Francisco, USA)

38. Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain)

39. Relae (Copenhagen, Denmark)

40. Cosme (New York, USA)

41. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (Shanghai, China)

42. Boragó (Santiago, Chile)

43. Reale (Castel Di Sangro, Italy)

44. Brae (Birregurra, Australia)

45. Den (Tokyo, Japan)

46. L’Astrance (Paris, France)

47. Vendôme (Cologne, Germany)

48. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)

49. Tegui (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

50. Hof Van Cleve (Kruishoutem, Belgium)

MSBSHSE new evaluation pattern: Class IX students will not have oral tests in languages

Class IX students will no longer have to take oral examinations in languages and write internal assessments in social sciences, according to the new evaluation pattern announced by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE).

In a circular issued on Thursday, the MSBSHSE announced the new evaluation pattern for Class IX students as per the new curriculum.

The circular states that students will have to attempt a theory examination for all three languages and social sciences for 100 marks. Currently, the subjects have 20 marks allotted to orals/assignments and 80 marks for theory.

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“Oral exams for languages and the 20 marks-assignments in social sciences have been scrapped. We came across instances of schools inflating internal marks for their students to increase their overall score. The move is aimed to stop this practice,” said an official from the education department.

The new pattern would come into effect from the 2017-18 academic year.

The official said that from the next academic year, the same marking pattern will be implemented for Class X.