Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.Perhaps because I’m a hypochondriac, I have great faith in medicine. Whenever I pop a pill, I do so in the full confidence it will work. To my horror, I now discover that’s terribly mistaken in the case of many generic drugs and, particularly, those made in India. A large number are actually ineffective and a few even harmful.
© Provided by HT Digital Streams Limited Our faith in Indian generic medicines is often misplaced. They frequently don’t work. Sometimes, no matter how many tablets you take, they will not treat the disease or infection (Shutterstock)This is the key message of a book to be published next week called Bottle of Lies: Ranbaxy and the dark side of Indian Pharma. According to its dust jacket, its author, Katherine Eban, “relies on over 20,000 FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) documents and interviews with over 240 people to show how fraud and treachery are deeply entrenched in much of the (generic drugs) industry in India and raises troubling questions about some of its biggest names – Wockhardt, Dr. Reddy’s, Glenmark and RPG Life Sciences”.
At the core of this book is its research into the shameful story of Ranbaxy. In 2013, in a well-covered court case in America, the company pleaded guilty to seven charges of selling adulterated drugs and paid $500 million in fines. This is what Eban concludes of Ranbaxy’s approach to testing drugs before they are sold – “You had to test the drugs to see if they were properly formulated, stable and effective. The resulting data was the only thing that proved the medicine would cure instead of kill. Yet Ranbaxy was treating data as an entirely fungible marketing tool … it was an outright fraud that could mean the difference between life and death … the company manipulated almost every aspect of its manufacturing process to quickly produce impressive-looking data that would bolster its bottom-line.”
Often generic drugs manufacturers – not just Ranbaxy – produce medicines of higher quality for European and American markets, where regulation is tighter, whilst blithely selling inferior and ineffective drugs in India. Dinesh Thakur, the man who blew the whistle on Ranbaxy, told Eban: “Testing the drugs for India was just a waste of time … because no regulators ever looked at the data … (companies) just invented the dossiers on their own and sent them to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). What was needed for the DCGI was not real data but good connections.”
Eban’s book is full of hair-raising accounts of visits by US FDA regulators to manufacturing plants in India where fraud, insanitary conditions and deliberately poor standards of manufacturing are revealed. In the microbiology laboratory of one plant, where they were testing for microbes and bacteria, the actual samples didn’t exist: “They were testing nothing. The entire laboratory was a fake.”
If even a quarter of what Eban reveals is true, it is frightening. It means our faith in Indian generic medicines is often misplaced. They frequently don’t work. Sometimes, no matter how many tablets you take, they will not treat the disease or infection. If it’s of any comfort, that’s also true of many Chinese generic drugs.
In September 2014, Dinesh Thakur, who is clearly one of Eban’s main sources, sought a meeting with Harsh Vardhan, both then and now our health minister, to alert him to the problem. He was granted five minutes but Harsh Vardhan was more interested in the office television screen showing news from Kashmir than what Thakur had to say. Finally, Harsh Vardhan asked “Thakur to send whatever it was he wanted to say in writing”. But when Thakur did, “he never received a response”.
As a last resort, in 2016, Thakur petitioned the Supreme Court. He moved a PIL or public interest litigation. His argument was that “India’s regulation system was not just broken but unconstitutional”. Raju Ramachandran was his lawyer. But the judges refused a hearing. In just 15 minutes.
So what does this mean? Neither the executive nor the judiciary are bothered about this deplorable situation. You and I may keep taking generic drugs believing they’re efficacious, but we’re being made fools of. And the authorities simply don’t care.
Karan Thapar is the author of Devil’s Advocate: The Untold Story
The views expressed are personal
Much of the technology common in daily life today originates from the drive to put a human being on the Moon. This effort reached its pinnacle when Neil Armstrong stepped off the Eagle landing module onto the lunar surface 50 years ago.
As a NASA airborne astronomy ambassador and director of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Manfred Olson Planetarium, I know that the technologies behind weather forecasting, GPS and even smartphones can trace their origins to the race to the Moon.
October 4, 1957 marked the dawn of the Space Age, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first human-made satellite. The Soviets were the first to make powerful launch vehicles by adapting World War II-era long-range missiles, especially the German V-2.
From there, space propulsion and satellite technology moved fast: Luna 1escaped the Earth’s gravitational field to fly past the Moon on January 4, 1959; Vostok 1 carried the first human, Yuri Gagarin, into space on April 12, 1961; and Telstar, the first commercial satellite, sent TV signals across the Atlantic Ocean on July 10, 1962.
The 1969 lunar landing also harnessed the expertise of German scientists, such as Wernher von Braun, to send massive payloads into space. The F-1 engines in Saturn V, the Apollo program’s launch vehicle, burned a total of 2,800 tons of fuel at a rate of 12.9 tons per second.
Saturn V still stands as the most powerful rocket ever built, but rockets today are far cheaper to launch. For example, whereas Saturn V cost US$185 million, which translates into over $1 billion in 2019, today’s Falcon Heavy launch costs only $90 million. Those rockets are how satellites, astronauts and other spacecraft get off the Earth’s surface, to continue bringing back information and insights from other worlds.
The quest for enough thrust to land a man on the Moon led to the building of vehicles powerful enough to launch payloads to heights of 21,200 to 22,600 miles (34,100 to 36,440 km) above the Earth’s surface. At such altitudes, satellites’ orbiting speed aligns with how fast the planet spins – so satellites remain over a fixed point, in what is called geosynchronous orbit. Geosynchronous satellites are responsible for communications, providing both internet connectivity and TV programming.
At the beginning of 2019, there were 4,987 satellites orbiting Earth; in 2018 alone, there were more than 382 orbital launches worldwide. Of the currently operational satellites, approximately 40% of payloads enable communications, 36% observe the Earth, 11% demonstrate technologies, 7% improve navigation and positioning and 6% advance space and earth science.
One of the Vanguard satellites in Florida in 1958. Credit: NASA
Space missions – back then and even today – have strict limits on how big and how heavy their equipment can be, because so much energy is required to lift off and achieve orbit. These constraints pushed the space industry to find ways to make smaller and lighter versions of almost everything: Even the walls of the lunar landing module were reduced to the thickness of two sheets of paper.
From the late 1940s to the late 1960s, the weight and energy consumption of electronics was reduced by a factor of several hundred at least – from the 30 tons and 160 kilowatts of the Electric Numerical Integrator and Computer to the 70 pounds and 70 watts of the Apollo guidance computer. This weight difference is equivalent to that between a humpback whale and an armadillo.
Manned missions required more complex systems than earlier, unmanned ones. For example, in 1951, the Universal Automatic Computer was capable of 1,905 instructions per second, whereas the Saturn V’s guidance system performed 12,190 instructions per second. The trend toward nimble electronics has continued, with modern hand-held devices routinely capable of performing instructions 120 million times faster than the guidance system that enabled the liftoff of Apollo 11. The need to miniaturise computers for space exploration in the 1960s motivated the entire industry to design smaller, faster and more energy-efficient computers, which have affected practically every facet of life today, from communications to health and from manufacturing to transportation.
Global network of ground stations
Communicating with vehicles and people in space was just as important as getting them up there in the first place. An important breakthrough associated with the 1969 lunar landing was the construction of a global network of ground stations, called the Deep Space Network, to let controllers on Earth communicate constantly with missions in highly elliptical Earth orbits or beyond. This continuity was possible because the ground facilities were placed strategically 120 degrees apart in latitude so that each spacecraft would be in range of one of the ground stations at all times.
Because of the spacecraft’s limited power capacity, large antennas were built on Earth to simulate “big ears” to hear weak messages and to act as “big mouths” to broadcast loud commands. In fact, the Deep Space Network was used to communicate with the astronauts on Apollo 11 and was used to relay the first dramatic TV images of Neil Armstrong stepping onto the Moon. The network was also critical for the survival of the crew on Apollo 13 because they needed guidance from ground personnel without wasting their precious power on communications.
Several dozen missions use the Deep Space Network as part of the continuing exploration of our solar system and beyond. In addition, the Deep Space Network permits communications with satellites that are on highly elliptical orbits, to monitor the poles and deliver radio signals.
Looking Back at Earth
Getting to space has allowed people to turn their research efforts toward Earth. In August 1959, the unmanned satellite Explorer VI took the first crude photos of Earth from space on a mission researching the upper atmosphere, in preparation for the Apollo program.
Almost a decade later, the crew of Apollo 8 took a famous picture of the Earth rising over the lunar landscape, aptly named “Earthrise.” This image helped people understand our planet as a unique shared world and boosted the environmental movement.
Understanding of our planet’s role in the universe deepened with Voyager 1’s “pale blue dot” photo – an image received by the Deep Space Network.
People and our machines have been taking pictures of the Earth from space ever since. Views of Earth from space guide people both globally and locally. What started in the early 1960s as a US Navy satellite system to track its Polaris submarines to within 600 feet (185 meters) has blossomed into the Global Positioning System network of satellites providing location services worldwide.
Images from a series of Earth-observing satellites called Landsat are used to determine crop health, identify algae blooms and find potential oil deposits. Other uses include identifying which types of forest management are most effective in slowing the spread of wildfires or recognising global changes such as glacier coverage and urban development.
As we learn more about our own planet and about exoplanets – planets around other stars – we become more aware of how precious our planet is. Efforts to preserve Earth itself may yet find help from fuel cells, another technology from the Apollo program. These storage systems for hydrogen and oxygen in the Apollo Service Module, which contained life-support systems and supplies for the lunar landing missions, generated power and produced potable water for the astronauts. Much cleaner energy sources than traditional combustion engines, fuel cells may play a part in transforming global energy production to fight climate change.
We can only wonder what innovations from the effort to send people to other planets will affect earthlings 50 years after the first Marswalk.
Jean Creighton is planetarium director, NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassador, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
thanks : the wire
dedicated by: Kavignar Thanigai.
Most of the people keep their toothbrush within their reach, on top of their washbasin, while others considering the hygiene factor, store it inside their medicine cupboard. But are you able to protect your toothbrush from disease-causing germs? We all know that our bathroom is filled with disease-causing germs and when you place your toothbrush there, chances are that millions of germs are breeding on your toothbrush. And the same germs on your toothbrush go directly inside your mouth. We tell you the right place to store the toothbrush…
What is the most hygienic place?
You can debate all day about it and still won’t be able to reach the right conclusion because almost every place is filled with germs and bacteria. The air contains million of microorganism that can lead to serious health issues. But one thing is for sure that keeping your toothbrush in your washroom is not hygienic at all.
When you store your toothbrush in the washroom, you are exposing it to germs like toilet plume. Toilet plume are referred to as aerosolized cloud of microscopic particles, which spread in the air when you flush the toilet.
Though it is not very much clear how far the toilet plumes can reach, but if your toothbrush is on the counter near your toilet seat, it is probably in its range. However, there is not much evidence to prove that toilet plumes cause dangerous disease. But it can lead to food poisoning.
The right way to store it
Always keep your toothbrush in a place that allows it to dry between uses. This is one of the reasons why it is not recommended to place your toothbrush inside the medicine closet. The enclosed and humid surrounding are an excellent spot for the burgeoning of germs and bacteria.
You can consider keeping it in a stand in your bedroom.
-Don’t share your toothbrush with anyone.
-Rinse it well after use
-Don’t let the head of someone else’s toothbrush touch yours.
-Change your toothbrush after three to four months.
thanks: E times june 9 2019
dedicated by: Kavignar Thanigai
Gomathi Marimuthu, a middle distance runner from Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, won India’s first gold medal in the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships at the Khalifa Stadium in Qatar on April 22.
Marimuthu emerged from the back to take the lead position in the final few seconds of the 800-metre event. She finished with her personal best of 2 minutes, 2.70 seconds.
The 30-year-old developed an interest in athletics in school and was encouraged by her father, a farm labourer, who used to cycle 5 km daily to drop her for training.
She started training professionally when she got into college and also received a job at the Income Tax department in Bengaluru.
In 2013, she reached the finals of the 800m event at the Asian Championship in Pune. However, in September 2016, she lost her father to colon cancer. Marimuthu told TNIE,
THANKS : MSN NEWS
DEDICATED BY KAVIGNAR THANIGAI.
thanks to :ariea bendix
dedicated by: KAVIGNAR THANIGAI.
thanks to Mirror
The four most likely cradles of life outside our solar system have been identified by scientists.
They contain so-called ‘K’ stars, whose planets may have just the right atmospheres to be harbouring aliens.
K stars are dimmer than our Sun, but brighter than the faintest stars, known as ‘M’ stars’ or red dwarfs.
“I like to think that K stars are in a ‘sweet spot’ between Sun-like stars and M stars,” said planetary scientist Dr. Giada Arney, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre.
This dramatically narrows down the number of worlds that maybe habitable, according to astronomers.
The search for extraterrestrials faces major challenges – one of which is there are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy alone. Scientists can’t investigate them all.
Dr. Arney and colleagues believe K stars are the most promising candidates to be orbited by planets that have the essential ingredients for organisms – either primitive or advanced.
Firstly, they live a very long time – 17 to 70 billion years, compared to 10 billion years for the Sun. This would enable plenty of time for life to evolve.
They also have less extreme activity in their youth than M stars – which also happen to be the most common in the universe, making up three-quarters of them.
One M star, named TRAPPIST-1, is known to host seven Earth-size rocky planets. But their turbulent development presents problems – despite shining for up to a trillion years.
Stellar flares – explosive releases of magnetic energy – are much more frequent and energetic from young M stars than young Sun-like stars.
M stars are also much brighter when they are young, for up to a billion years after they form, with energy that could boil off oceans on any planets that might someday be in the habitable zone.
The study published in Astrophysical Journal Letters said ‘biosignatures’, or signs of life, on a hypothetical planet orbiting a K star would include oxygen and methane.
The gases like to react with each other in an atmosphere implying something is producing them quickly – quite possibly life.
A computer model simulating the chemistry and temperature of a planetary atmosphere showed these are likely to be richest around a K star.
Dr. Arney said: “When you put the planet around a K star, the oxygen does not destroy the methane as rapidly, so more of it can build up in the atmosphere.
“This is because the K star’s ultraviolet light does not generate highly reactive oxygen gases that destroy methane as readily as a Sun-like star.”
This stronger signal has also been predicted for planets around M stars. But their high activity levels might make them unable to host habitable worlds.
K stars can offer the advantage of a higher probability of simultaneous oxygen-methane detection – without the disadvantages that come along with an M star host.
Additionally, exoplanets around K stars will be easier to see than those around Sun-like stars – simply because K stars are dimmer.
Explained Dr. Arney: “The Sun is 10 billion times brighter than an Earthlike planet around it.
“So that is a lot of light you have to suppress if you want to see an orbiting planet. A K star might be ‘only’ a billion times brighter than an Earth around it.”
Her research also suggests nearby K stars that may be the best targets for future observations.
We don’t have the ability to travel to planets around other stars due to their enormous distances from us.
So we are limited to analysing their light to search for a signal that life might be present.
By separating this into its component colours, or spectrum, scientists can identify the constituents of a planet’s atmosphere, since different chemicals emit distinctive ones.
Dr. Arney added: “I find that certain nearby K stars like 61 Cyg A/B, Epsilon Indi, Groombridge 1618, and HD 156026 may be particularly good targets for future biosignature searches.”
An ancient Chinese discipline, tai chi has been adopted as an effective and beneficial tool for both mind and body.
Consisting of a series of slow, fluid movements and deep breathing, tai chi is a form of exercise that places emphasis on stretching and strength training. It incorporates the idea of yin/yang by having the physical element of one’s body complement their mental self-awareness.
Tai chi is also popular because it’s a low-impact form of exercise. Thus it’s suited for individuals who have trouble with mobility, particular elder adults. In fact, Harvard Medical School has declared that it boosts the same benefits as regular exercise(1).
Types of tai chi
There are five different tai chi styles that can be adjusted to better suit one’s personal fitness level.
- Yang style : This type is better suited for beginners. It focuses on relation and slow movements.
- Wu style : Practiced very slowly, this form focuses on micro-movements.
- Chen style : This is a more advanced and physically demanding form of tai chi. It uses both slow and fast movements that include kicking and crouching.
- Sun style : Similar to chen style but less physically demanding.
- Hao style : A less popular and practiced form of tai chi, hao style places emphasis on internal strength and development.
A lot of individuals have begun to use this martial arts because of its ability to boost overall health. Read on for the benefits that adopting tai chi can bring.
Alleviated fibromyalgia symptoms
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes chronic muscle pain and fatigue.
According to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, tai chi can be used as tool in managing the symptoms of fibromyalgia, particularly fatigue and pain.
Better sleep quality
If you’re battling with insomnia, signing up for tai chi can help ensure restful sleep in both young adults and the elderly (2, 3).
Boosted heart health
Exercise can help to strengthen cardiovascular health and tai chi is no different.
Aside from lowering blood pressure, it also helps to ease inflammation and strengthen blood vessels (4).
Enhanced cognitive ability
Aside from its slow, steady movements, tai chi is regularly adopted by older adults because of its effect on their cognitive capabilities.
According to a systematic review published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, tai chi helped to improve memory and operative skills.
Improved mental health
As it places a strong emphasis on meditation and deep, focused breathing, tai chi has been credited as being a natural stress reliever (5).
The controlled breathing helps to promote a self-awareness and this can increase patience and, according to one study, alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Lowered risk of falling
Tai chi is also popular amongst the elderly because it lowers the risk of falling.
In improving balance and motor function, one study revealed that practicing for 12 to 26 weeks one to three times weekly reduced the frequency of falls by 43%. Another study also revealed how tai not only reduced the risk of falling in people with Parkinson’s disease but it also improved their balance.
With the above-mentioned benefits, one would likely include tai chi in their fitness resolutions. In fact, the ageless Halle Berry cited learning a new martial art as one of her 2019 fitness resolutions.