From a flying insect to robotics: Here’s what you should know about biofluid mechanics

Biofluid mechanics describes the motions and forces of fluids in a range of biological systems: from cells in complex fluids, through respiratory flows and insect flight, to swimmers and paddlers.

What do the flapping wings of a bird and a swimmer’s flexible movement in the water have in common? The answer is biofluid mechanics. Though it’s generally not a topic of conversation amongst most people biofluid mechanics is everywhere in our daily lives, from the air we breathe or the flow of blood in our body, to the swimming of fish or plant circulation.

A special subject of fluid mechanics – biofluid mechanics describes the motions and forces of fluids in a range of biological systems: from cells in complex fluids, through respiratory flows and insect flight, to swimmers and paddlers.

It offers students the chance to apply engineering, mathematical, and physical principles of fluids to solve complex and multi-faceted problems (see eg Fig I for a non-exhaustive list of examples), primarily in biology and medicine, but also in aerospace and robotics.

Study of biofluid mechanics offers students the chance to apply engineering, mathematical, and physical principles of fluids to solve complex and multi-faceted problems (Sourced)

Lying at the interface of several disciplines, involving various scales and a wide range of physical systems, biofluid mechanics is inherently a multi-disciplinary field, addressing multi-scale and multi-physics phenomena, with an immeasurable impact to humans, the nature, and science and technology.

The study of blood flow through the heart and body, the flow of air in the lungs, the movement of swimming and flying animals through water or air, and the properties of complex biofluids are just some of the research topics currently being investigated, with many more advanced topics still under research.

The problems addressed in biofluid mechanics are often very complex, and therefore challenging.

Research approaches can encompass combined methodologies, including theoretical, experimental, and computational studies. Incorporation of innovative technologies, state-of-the-art imaging modalities, and high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods are often utilised in combination, in an effort to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the biological flows under investigation.

Strong collaborations with clinicians, biologists, and other scientists from multiple disciplines are also an integral part of the biofluid mechanics field that ensure discussions across different disciplines, and intellectual advancement towards our understanding of the physical world.

Ladies, having a baby in your 30s may ensure a long life for you

Women who conceive later in life tend to be well-off and educated and have healthier lifestyle, leading to longer life expectancies.

Looks like people, who are planning their family late, may breathe a sigh of relief. Earlier research said, conceiving after 30 may leave a first-time mother childless. But a new study, not only denies the fact, but also brings a good news for the older moms.

The study, by scientists at Portugal’s Coimbra University, said that women who became mothers later in life were more likely to live longer than those who gave birth in their teens and 20s, reports the Independent. “The most relevant result shows that women tend to live longer the older they are when they get pregnant (in particular, for the first child),” it said, according to a paper published in the Journal of Public Health.

Of several factors which determine women’s life expectancy, it said, “The most surprising factor is the age of women at pregnancy, which may provide evidence to promote pregnancy in the early 30s.” A second study, published in the journal menopause Menopause journal, also found that mothers, who gave birth at 33 or older, were three times more like to have certain DNA markers for longevity than mothers who gave birth younger.

But neither study provided an explanation as to why older mothers may live longer. The report further said that according to fertility expert Lord Winston, women who conceive later in life tend to be well-off and educated and have healthier lifestyle, leading to longer life expectancies.

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.

Everything you need to know about the deadly Blue Whale suicide game

The blue whale suicide game is prompting young people to end their lives.

Something macabre has been brewing on the internet, and it sounds like the perfect plot for a third rate horror film. A depressed youngster comes across a social media group called Blue Whales. The group encourages him to take his life. It also promises to make his exit from this world fun by turning the suicide into a thrilling game. After signing up, the youngster is assigned daily tasks for the next 50 days. It includes inflicting self-injury, watching horror movies, waking up at odd hours to wrap the task and even carving a whale shape on the arms. The task keeps getting tougher with each passing day. On the last (50th day), the game admin ask the youngster to commit suicide. Those who want to back out on the last day are threatened that their family members will be hurt if they don’t abide by the game rules. There is no exit.

Carving out a whale shape on the arm is one of the task assigned.

It seems that the deadly game that originated in Russia has taken the life of a 14-year-old boy in Andheri East, Mumbai. Manpreet Singh, who jumped off the terrace of a seven-storey building on Saturday, could be the first victim of the network.

This psychopathic game started in Russia four years ago on a social networking site called VKontakte. It has already claimed over 130 lives in Russia. It allegedly led to its first suicide in 2015. Philipp Budeikin, a psychology student claimed that he invented the game. Budeikin, who was thrown out of his university, said he was attempting to weed out the society by encouraging those who have no value to take their lives. Other reports claim that the mastermind behind the game, a postman called Ilya Sidorov, 26, was arrested in Moscow, Russia. He used to encourage teenagers to hurt themselves and eventually commit suicide.

What is worrying is that despite the common knowledge that the deadly game started and spread on VKontakte, which is a hugely popular site in Russia, no checks were brought in place to contain the network. One can easily create a VKontakte account . And once you log in, and search for #bluewhale, you come across psychotic, extremely depressing messages of young people desperately wanting to play the game and end their lives. Their profiles are as macabre as it can get. There are pictures of self-injury, ghosts and horrifying sketches of people bleeding and trying to kill themselves.

When this journalist created an account on VKontakte, and asked a few users about Blue Whale, she was sent a link to a page that claimed to add people to the Blue Whale network. The page was full of eerie sketches, including one that showed a bloodied male figure hurting himself with a knife. The curator of the page called Aisha Andrew chatted with her, and told her that there can be no looking back once a person begins the game. The first task that she was assigned was to carve ‘F57’ on her arm with a blade at 4:20 am and send a picture. Here are the screenshots of the chat:

Dr Pulkit Sharma, psychologist, says that we need to immediately ban access to such social networking sites. “It’s important to restrict such content. When a person is depressed, he or she is in a very fragile state of mind. Anyone who seems powerful to them and comes across as an anchor point, can have the potential to influence their mind. When you tell a depressed person that he can live, and there is hope, they don’t find such words to be realistic. But if someone tells him that he is fit to die, and there is nothing wrong is seeking liberation and suicide is an easier, logical way out, he immediately relates to it. Exposure to such content is extremely dangerous for depressed young people.”

Sharma says that the network seems to be a creation of a psychopath. “Such people believe that they are larger than life. They are on a special mission and they have a weird agenda that makes sense to them. They are fanatical and psychopathic. They see things in extreme, in black and white, the way the alleged creator of the Blue Whale network believes that if he eradicates depressed people, this world will be a happy place,” he says. Such a psychopathic mind could be an outcome of extreme childhood abuse, neglect and trauma.

Watch out for signs of depression and suicidal tendencies:

Feeling low most of the time

Withdrawal from favourite activities

Fear, anxiety, despair

Addiction to social media

Sleep disturbances

Irritability

Aggression

Lethargy

Sluggishness

Tiredness

From apple jalebis to macarons: Six places in Delhi where you can eat amazing desserts

Gulkand Ice Cream at Dramz Whiskey Bar & Lounge.

Who doesn’t like to tuck into a plateful of sinfully gooey chocolate cakes, especially on a rain soaked day? It’s the stuff dreams are made of where you can just stare at the downpour through the window, share a laugh with friends and chomp away to glory! If you are from the Capital and a dessert lover you probably already know of The Big Chill Cafe’s Banoffee Pie or Elma’s Bakery’s Red Velvet Cake. But they are not the only places where you can add an Instagram post and devour every bit of sugar you can lay your fingers on.

Here are a few other places where you can get a sugar high too:

The Artful Baker: Can’t afford a trip to France? No problem. Instead, make a trip to Khan Market to try out the Monte Cristo, a concoction of Belgian chocolate and hazelnut chocolate on a bed of almond sponge. You won’t be disappointed.

Apple Jalebis at Cafe Lota. (Source: Flickr/Anita)Apple Jalebis at Cafe Lota. (Source: Flickr/Anita)

Cafe Lota: Their apple jalebis with coconut rabdi– crispy apple fritters, dusted with cinnamon and served with a coconut dip is a must have. It goes well with a cup of Attikan coffee – a Chikmagalur roast.

Groghead: Their Groggy Chocolate Fondue – melted Swiss chocolate with dark rum and chocolate liqueur, served with fruits, marshmallows, jujubes, churros and the Apple Cider Cake – pound cake, mascarpone, apple cider glaze will give you dessert goals.

Sugarama Patisserie: Enjoy little blobs of sugary goodness at this quaint little bakery. The Belgian Chocolate and Peanut Butter macarons are a must-have.

Macarons at Sugarama Patisserie. (Source: Facebook/Sugarama Patisserie) Macarons at Sugarama Patisserie. (Source: Facebook/Sugarama Patisserie)

Dramz Whiskey Bar & Lounge: You will love their Gulkand Ice Cream – traditional ice cream flavoured with rose preserve and their Kesari Phirni – ground rice cooked in milk, flavoured with cardamon and saffron.

Sakura: Try the Black Sesame Seed Ice Cream and the Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream at Sakura. It will nearly give you a food-gasm. It’s that good!

Love your chicken juicy? You will definitely love this Whole Roast Chicken recipe

If you are a meat lover then you are definitely going to love this Whole Roast Chicken Recipe.

When it comes to Whole Roast Chicken, most people like to follow the age-old family recipes handed down to them by their grandmothers. But what about the ones who don’t have a secret family recipe to fall back on? We feel their disappointment, we do. But it’s nothing that you can’t work around. Family recipes are fine but in today’s world with gourmet food being the talk of the town, it’s just kind of silly to stick to just one.

We asked Chef Samta Gupta, Desi Roots, New Delhi, to share her recipe with us and she was more than happy!

Ingredients
1.5 – 2 kg – Whole chicken (insides cleaned)
3-4 – Boiled potatoes
1 cup – Steamed peas
1 cup – Mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp – Dijon Mustard
3-4 tbsp – Barbeque sauce
4-5 cloves – Garlic, grated
Rosemary – To taste
Worcestershire sauce – To taste
Balsamic Vinegar – To taste
Honey – To taste
Juice of 2-3 lemons
Salt – To taste
Ground black pepper – To taste

Method

Marination:
* Make sure when you get the chicken from the butcher shop, he has cleaned the insides of the chicken well. Based on your preference, you can either leave the skin on the chicken or remove it. If you leave it on, then the skin becomes crispy and the fat under it melts, thereby, adding more flavour to the dish; but if you are health conscious, then it’s advisable to get rid of it.

* Once you’re ready to marinate the chicken, place it in a bowl and add balsamic vinegar, mustard sauce, barbeque sauce, honey and lemon juice to it.

* Now, rub the chicken with garlic, salt and pepper and then add rosemary.

* Let the chicken stay in the marinade for at least 2-3 hours – the longer the better. You can also leave it overnight.

Roast:

* Boil the potatoes, take the skin off and cut them in half.

* Steam the peas. I usually pressure cook them (one whistle) and add a tablespoon of sugar in the water to sweeten the peas up.

* Place the marinated chicken in a nice serving dish.

* Stuff the chicken with the boiled potatoes, steamed peas and chopped mushrooms. If you’re doing this for the first time, don’t get stressed out. Just pack the vegetables in there.

* Whatever peas, potatoes and mushrooms are left after the stuffing, place it around the chicken ornamentally.

* Preheat the oven at 200°C for about 15-20 mins.

* Put the chicken into the oven and let it cook for about 45-50 minutes. Every oven has different heat settings so temperatures tend to vary – you will need to check for yourself when the chicken is done.

* Serve straight out of the oven with bread, some brown sauce, herb-garlic butter and mashed potatoes.

Note:
How to make Brown Sauce: Take some chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Pour in Worcestershire sauce, barbeque sauce, garlic and salt to taste. Add a blob of butter to make the sauce rich and creamy and then add a spoonful of corn flour mixed with water to thicken. You are good to go.

Here are some yummy ‘healthy’ recipes you can try without worrying about calories

Here’s a healthy version of Apple Cinnamon cake.

Every day, we are exposed to a host of celebrities and brand marketing initiatives — endorsing health-food brands, conducting workout and yoga workshops, organising marathons and cyclathons, and so on.

However, in their day-to-day lives, people also come up with ways, worthy of emulating to stay healthy and fit. HT Café speaks to a few such Mumbaiites who, in their own way, are doing their bit to build a better, fitter Mumbai.

Sarojini Jose

Sarojini Jose (HT PHOTO)

Sarojini Jose, a retired teacher, gives a quirky twist to health drinks. Talking about Chukku Kaapi, a ginger and jaggery-based drink, she says, “It is a cherished recipe that was passed on to me by my mother. Our ancestors were wise in teaching us kitchen cures for minor ailments. Instead of opting to pop the pill for cold and cough, this remedy is better,” adding, “Those who have had this drink tell me that they feel better immediately, that their throat is soothed and the congestion is relieved.” Being a diabetic herself, she is always coming up with new recipes that are safe for diabetics such as the Coconut Water with a Twist.

“I came up with this drink because having plain coconut water or serving it to guests was a little boring. Saffron was incorporated as a means to add natural food colour. And, for kids, juice means something sweet, so I added the honey,” she explains.

Coconut water with a twist

Ingredients:

1 glass coconut water

3-4 strands of saffron

1/2tsp basil seeds

Honey (optional)

Method:

Put the strands of saffron in coconut water and keep aside for an hour.Around the same time put the basil seeds in half a cup of water and let it soak. In an hour both the ingredients would be well-soaked. The coconut water would have an orange tinge and the basil seeds would now have a wispy white layer. If there’s excess water in the soaked basil seeds, drain them. Then add the soaked seeds to the coconut water and serve. If the coconut water isn’t sweet naturally, or if the drink is served for kids, add honey as needed.

Chukku Kaapi

Ingredients:

1inch piece dried ginger, well-pounded

1tsp palm jaggery

1/2tsp pepper

A handful of fresh basil leaves

Method:

Add all the ingredients to one large mug of water and bring the water to boil After the water boils, it will deepen in colour within a minute. Turn off the fire. Place a heavy lid on the pot and wait for two minutes. Serve piping hot.

Sangita Garg

The mother of six-year-old twins, practised medicine before she took the plunge to become Atta Girl. She churns healthy batters for idlis, dosas, appams, etc. Atta Girl is the brainchild of almost two years of self-discovery, patience and hard work. When asked why she opted for it, she says, “There came a point when I said, ‘I cannot see any sick patients anymore’, and I realised the root cause is the food that is being consumed. Also, I wanted to take up something that let me devote enough time to work as well as my kids. This seemed to be the most ideal job that served both purposes,” she adds.

Her batters comprise of 70% concentration of the cereal ragi (millets). She describes herself as a foodie and makes batters specifically for south-Indian dishes. She explains, “I love south Indian food. I make dosas and idlis every other day at home. So, it was the perfect choice”.

Ragi Idli Poha

Ingredients:

1tbsp ghee or oil , 1tsp mustard seed, 2-3 green chillies, finely chopped, 2 onions chopped

1/4tsp, turmeric powder, Few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves, Few curry leaves

2 potatoes, boiled and chopped, 100gm peas, boiled, 4-5 wholegrain idlis

Salt and lemon juice to taste

Method:

Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add green chillies and onions, and sauté Add the boiled peas and potatoes, and stir well for a few seconds. Add turmeric powder, and salt to taste.Break the idlis and crumble them in coarse pieces or cut them into small squares and mix it in the pan. Sprinkle some water and mix well again. Add some lemon juice and chopped coriander and serve hot.

Bonnie D’silva

Bonnie D’silva (Praful Gangurde)

Bonnie, a home-baker, started by taking orders for cakes and sweets from relatives and friends. She gained instant popularity. However, it was an order that she received from the mother of a one-year-old that changed the way she baked. This mum insisted that the cake for her kid should not include any sugar or artificial sweetener. She says, “I tried explaining to the lady that sugar not only sweetens but also adds a certain texture to the cake that cannot be substituted. But she insisted. After a lot of attempts I baked a wholewheat banana muffin where I used honey, apple stock and bananas to sweeten the cake.” Since then there has been no looking back. By experimenting frequently, she has come up with more dishes such as Apple and Cinnamon Yogurt Cake, Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies and Low-fat Cheesecake using hung curd and 70% Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters.

Oatmeal and Raisin Cookie

Oatmeal and Raisin Cookie (Praful Gangurde)

Ingredients:

115gm butter, 100gm brown sugar, 30gm honey, 140gm oats,

125gm wholewheat flour,1/2tsp cinnamon

1/2tsp baking soda, 100gm raisins

Method:

In a bowl, whisk together oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and raisins. Beat butter and brown sugar till light and creamy, and then add honey. Add the dry mix and stir till the mixture has combined well. Let the cookie dough chill in the refrigerator for around four hours. Preheat the oven at 160 degrees celsius, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop the dough onto the parchment and bake for 20 minutes.

Wholewheat sugar-free banana muffins

Ingredients:

4 bananas, ripe n 1/3 cup coconut oil (any other oil will also do)

1 egg ,1tsp vanilla extract ,1 1/2 cup wholewheat flour, 1tsp cinnamon powder,

1tsp baking soda, 1tsp baking powder, 1 cup walnut (optional)

Method:

Sift the wholewheat flour, cinnamon powder, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl. Walnuts, if used, should be mixed with the flour. Beat the egg with bananas and oil. Add the vanilla extract. Gently fold the dry mix together, do not over mix it. Fill the muffin tins and bake at 170 degrees Celsius for two minutes. Let it cool and serve.

Here’s why you should start including a handful of walnuts in your diet everyday

Walnuts also improve heart and brain health.

There are many benefits to eating walnuts. Past research has shown that they help you control your appetite, and also guard you against colon cancer. There’s one more reason to add walnuts to your nutrition plan. Daily serving of 57 grams or 1/2 cup of walnuts may keep your digestive system healthy, finds a study. According to researchers, a diet with walnuts led to an overall significant increase in the diversity of bacteria in the gut. From animal study, walnut consumption may be beneficial for digestive health by increasing the amount of good probiotic-type bacteria in the gut.

Lead researcher Lauri Byerley from Louisiana State University in the US said that gut health is an emerging research area, but we are seeing that greater bacterial diversity may be associated with better health outcomes, whereas low diversity has been linked to conditions such as obesity and inflammatory bowel disease.

The team analysed rats and were randomly assigned to a diet containing ground walnuts, equivalent to about two ounces (1/2 cup) (approx 56.69 grams) per day in humans, or a diet without walnuts for up to 10 weeks. Calorie and nutrient intake was similar between the two diet groups. Compared to those that did not consume walnuts, rats that ate a walnut-enriched diet saw an increase in beneficial bacteria including, Lactobacillus, Roseburia and Ruminococcaceae.

“The health of the gut is related to overall health in the rest of the body,” said Byerley. The study showed that walnuts change the gut, which could help explain why there are other positive health benefits to eating walnuts such as heart and brain health. The results of this study shed light on a new way that walnuts may be beneficial for health, but more research is needed to understand how these outcomes translate to humans. The research appears in journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Is life getting to you? Here are 5 effective ways to de-stress and let it go

Meditating for just 10 minutes every day can help you de-stress and prevent the mind from wandering.

Stress is an inescapable part of daily life. Yet, if you are persistently stressed over a period of time, it can increase risk of cardiovascular disease. But don’t get worked up just yet. Research also shows that how we deal with stress is more important than the level of stresswe face. To put it simply, irrespective of how many or how few stressful events a person faces, it is how they think of the event that matters. Those who experienced a greater spike in negative emotions had lower heart rate variability and may be at a higher risk for heart disease.

So, if you are keen to deal more effectively with stress (no, hitting the bottle is not a good idea), here are some things that you can do:

1) Meditation: It is for a reason that meditation is suggested as an effective tool to de-stress. It can help you identify and consequently avoid negative thoughts, as well as improve concentration. It can also help the mind to stop wandering. And the best part: it can be practised anywhere. You can try sitting cross-legged and focus on your breathing or visualise a happy scene or chant.

Meeting friends can offer you new perspective on your problems. (Shutterstock)
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2) Socialise: Misery enjoys company, and so does stress. Meeting and talking to friends and family about your life might offer a new perspective to your problems, and make them seem not so insurmountable. Several studies have shown that people with fewer family and close friends have shorter life expectancy, with loners experiencing the stress of loneliness equivalent to a lifetime of smoking.

Leafy vegetables and nuts are stress-busting foods. (Shutterstock)

3) Eat well: You can’t beat stress on an empty stomach. Instead, why not load up with stress busting foods such as leafy vegetables, oatmeal, yoghurt, nuts, chocolate and blueberries.

Sleep can help us manage difficult experiences. (Shutterstock)

4) Sleep it off: When you sleep, your mind works in putting things in perspective. Previous research by UC Berkeley suggested that sleep helps us manage difficult experiences and dreams help sort events.

Music can lower levels of stress hormones. (Shutterstock)

5) Listen to music: Change the soundtrack in your head by listening to music that you like. It can relax your mind and lower the levels of stress hormones. There are also meditation sound apps that play calming sounds that help you centre yourself.

You can eat healthy without ditching taste. Just follow these top 5 tricks

Olive oil is full of mono-unsaturated fats, which have fat burning properties.

Small changes in your food habits go a long way. Instead of going on a crash diet or adopting the latest health fad, it’s better to make healthy choices and modify your everyday meals. We get Indizza – The Delivery Kitchen’s head chef, Bijender Singh, to show you how.

1) Say yes to smart fats:

Use olive oil, grapeseed oil, avocados, and avocado seed oil for cooking, or as a salad dressing. These oils are rich stores of precious mono-unsaturated fats, which have fat burning properties.

2) Consume complex carbs:

There are many benefits of switching from simple carbohydrates to complex carbs. They contain more fibre and help boost metabolism. For instance, you can substitute all-purpose flour with whole wheat or multi-grain flour. Swap rice with brown rice or cauliflower rice. It’s light and fluffy, like couscous. It’s also tender.

3) Roast, bake and steam:

Home cooks can effortlessly opt for methods like baking, roasting or steaming, over frying. A dry-heat cooking method, baking requires little-added fat. And if you use a roasting rack, any fat will drain out during cooking.

Ditch white sugar for natural sweeteners like raw honey. (Shutterstock)

4) Go for natural sweeteners:

Who said you can’t eat dessert if you’re trying to eat healthy? Switch from white sugar to natural sweeteners like raw honey and jaggery as they are packed with nutrients that help with good digestion.

5) Make healthy dips and spreads:

Instead of using low-calorie mayonnaise or low fat spreads, go for a healthier option of using hung curd with simple seasoning. While other dressing and dips may make you feel bloated, hung curd is actually a cooling agent that also hydrates the body. It also acts as an antioxidant.