Saturday, September 28, 2013

Health and Science Perception: E-Cigs: the newest leap in Science

I am sure you must have heard of the words E-mail, E-paper and heck even E-Dawn, but ever heard of E-Cigs?
People were seen loitering around in New York, with an E-Cigarette in their hand, and although they were smoking in the non-smoking zones of the area, there was hardly any puff of smoke seen. But how is this possible? How has science created such a marvelous achievement of creating a cigarette that is not the source of any sort of pollution? Simply marvelous I tell you, marvelous!
No smoke, no irritating smell of the smoke, no choking up due to the smoke, so a question definitely forms in one's mind of whether it is safe for the people around the E-Cigarette user.
The biggest advantage of this E-Cigarette is that it doesn't use the process of fire or combustion. So therefore it doesn't create any smoke and neither does it release toxins. It does however uses a battery, to create vapors of nicotine which are then directly inhaled by the user. So the users are not 'smoking' but are 'vaping' (creating vapors).
These vapors simply consist of water and propylene glycol (PEG), the same substances which are used to create theater smokes. It is still arguable however as to whether this vapor consists of other undiscovered harmful substances.
However that is not the major concern right now. Some people believe that this E-Cigarette should still be banned in the no-smoking zones, although it does not create smoke or burn tobacco.
Some scientists believe that the vapors do contain some carcinogenic material, and although E-Cigarette do appear to be clean in creating no smoke, it is still however harmful and not better than fresh, clean air.
New Jersey and Utah have banned its usage in the non-smoking zones, however in other areas people are still in a state of confusion as to whether to use it or not in non-smoking zones, since it doesn't make use of the tobacco.
  Scientists are still confused about the exact levels of nicotine and toxins that this device can emit, and are still in the progress of evaluating its effects.
I believe its best to avoid believing in such advertisements which encourage its use, and to avoid standing near these 'vaping' people, because the side effects of this device is still unknown.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Health and Science Perception: Sequencing of the Human Genome

You must have heard about the latest discovery of the scientists, their new super power read and to sequence the Human Genome. But what does it mean exactly?
First of all, you should know what a human Genome is. A human Genome simply means the traits or the qualities that you have inherited from both you parents through genes. Now you may wonder what are genes. Although they pronounce just like your old pair of jeans, it has a hell of a different meaning. Genes are actually parts of DNA which are stuck on a chromosome. This DNA is found inside the nucleus of the cells, while some of it can also be found in energy producing cellular components called the mitochondria.
Different species have different numbers of chromosomes, for example humans have 23 pairs, half of the set coming from your mother and the other half from your father. Strawberries have 7 while that of the female honey bee is 16 pairs and that pet goldfish of yours definitely has a different number.
In humans these 23 sets are further divided into 22 pairs of autosomes and one pair of allosome, that is sex chromosome. Males have X and Y as the allsome, and females have X and X, while this again could be entirely different for different species.
Further more each DNA consists of small units called nucleotides.
So what basically scientists do when sequencing is that they chop have pieces of the DNA, take out the gene and the coded information, process it to uncode the information and voila the Human Genome has been sequenced!
Scientists usually sequence one of your autosome chromosome, the one that is similar to both males and females, and one allosome which is different for both sexes. Obviously it is much more complicated than it sounds.
Much of the information is useless or has not been uncoded as yet, while the rest of the decoded information can be used to treat all kinds of diseases.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Health and Science Perception: Insecurities: Will they be the end of us?

Have you ever felt insecured? Have you ever felt that you are not good enough and that you have to do something about it to prove to that person that yes you are someone and you shouldnt be taken lightly?
I guess, at one time or the other, we all have felt insecured and unsure of the things we own, of the person we are related to. We feel that maybe we do not deserve to posses such things and obviously there are reactions of our actions that we do not intend on doing, but we do it anyway, I guess to prove to others that we do own or posses that thing.
For example, a common finding of our society is that we find children lacking confidence to do something, it could be anything, from scoring high grades, or topping up a notch on football or cricket field. And even if they do top in all these things they still feel a bit insecure, a bit shy maybe to acknowledge the fact that they are the champions in this field.
And hence they end up working extra hard for the things that they are good to achieve a gold medal, a trophy maybe, to prove to the world that they own this thing. But do we really need to prove to anyone that we are good enough? Isn't being just good, enough for ourselves or for the ones looking up to us?
Let's take another example, research has shown that people who end up in a relationship have to contantly to prove it to the world that their partner belongs to them and that anyone who is attracted to them should back off. We go into this insecurity that maybe we do not deserve to be with our partner and hence we try to mould ourselves into something that we are not, and become and entirely different person.
Ruled by insecurity, some people end up taking their lives, simply by the fact that they are not good enough, although, they might be masters in their field.
A word of encouragment, a simple pat on the back or clap on their success can change their their world upside down! No more suicide attempts, no more insecurities and say bye bye to trying to constantly prove to others that they are good enough.
Hey we all need encouragement in some way or the other to keep us going, so why not start today by saying a word of encouragment to others. If we do it to others today, they will do it for us when our time comes. These small increments of encouragment can and will create a nation that Quaid once wanted to see.