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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Iron cooking vessels help combat iron deficiency.

A new study adds to the evidence that iron cooking vessels are a cheap and effective way to fight iron deficiency – the most common nutritional disorder in the world. Recent surveys have shown that in some poor areas of northern China there is a relatively low prevalence of anaemia. The scientists that the regionally specific use of iron pots and also combustion of rice vinegar and fermented cabbage in large quantities might be responsible for the lower prevalence of iron deficiency. Vinegar and acidic fermented foods are known to increase the rate at which iron leeches from the pots.

To test their idea, the scientists used either aluminium or iron vessels to cook three frequently cooked regional dishes. The researches found that with all three dishes, the amount of iron that the body could absorb was significantly higher when iron cooking vessels rather than aluminium vessels were used. Moreover, the researchers also found that the available iron content was significantly higher in both the fermented and vinegar cooked fresh cabbage than in the vinegar-free fresh cabbage.

CANCER PATIENTS LAUGH THEIR WAY TO HEALTHY LIVING

Laughter , they say , is the best medicine and increasingly doctors are agreeing that you can actually laugh away your ills, if it compliments treatment and changes in lifestyle.

To help cancer patients and their relatives, over 8500 members of the 68 laugh clubs of Ahemdabad [Gujarat, India] have decided to start a laughter club in the Community Cancer Detection Center at Varanasi .The center has hospice for the terminally ill cancer patients.

Studies have indicated that there is a strong correlation between cancer, stress and certain food habits. The LC members would help these patients to cope better with the disease as laughter relieves anxiety and stress. The LC exercises also promote breathing . As laughing helps in distressing it has a positive effect on immunity. It is thus good for all patients and not only for cancer.

A NEW SOFTWARE FOR ORISSA’S UNLETTERED

A team of experts in Orissa have developed a new software that would enable the uneducated to send email. One does not need to be computer literate or has to use the keyboard. He or she needs to speak the message in the mother tongue and provide the email address leaving the rest to the computer.

The computer will automatically write what you speak before it in Oriya and can translate it and take the message to the place destined by the user. A team of 18 students of Utkal University who developed this software after two and a half years of hard work with the IT professionals.

Skeletal remains of dinosaurs found in Poland dinosaurs

Polish geologists have unearthed the skeletal remains of several dinosaurs that roamed the territory of what is now south-central Poland more than 200 million years ago, Polish Radio reported on Tuesday.

The prehistoric bones were reported to be well preserved in sandstone and were discovered by a Polish geologist working in a mine in Przysucha, near Radom, 100km south of the capital, Warsaw.

Reaching up to four metres in length and known as scelidosaurs, the dinosaurs were relatively small bipedal creatures with bony scales and studded backs which lived during the late Triassic and early Jurassic period.

Geologists say they lived along the shores of a shallow sea that covered most of southern Poland during the Jurassic period. - Sapa-DPA

AMERICAN ROADMAP FOR DEVELOPMENT

Say what you will about the US, but among the most admirable thing in this country is its road system known as Inter-State Highways. The expanse and majesty of these ribbons of concrete is as vital as it is speedy and convenient and it has been celebrated in prose.

Since India is now into its first major modern road project in the form of the 13000 km's Golden Quadrilateral , its instructive to see how the Great American Interstates came into being

In 1919, General John Pershing, who had been impressed by the european system of interstate highways during his assignment as the commander of American Forces in World War I , sent a young army colonel named Dwight Eisenhower on coast- to-coast drive from Washington DC to San Francisco as a part of the study to see how quickly US forces could move across the country in case of a war.

But between the depression and the war, very little progress was made on the Pershing plan , with the US rail lobby exercising its dominance over the auto mobile industry .

It wasn’t until Eisenhower himself became the President in 1953 that he laid out the great American road map. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 provided $25 billion to build an extended network of 66,000km to handle the projected traffic till 1976.

It involved nationwide design standards, including a minimum of two lanes in each direction, 12ft lane width , 10ft paved shoulder and capable of handling speeds of 50-70 mph. The Federal government met 90% of the construction costs primarily paid by the fuel taxes. The rest oft the cost and unkeep was left to the state government. The effect of the new freeways was stunning.

They relived the pressure of the American cities ,and created a whole new ethos, besides spreading out jobs and business. They also engendered a culture of long distance driving that endures to this day, as a result to which many critics say that US has to fight to keep fuel prices low. Still, it is commonly acknowledged that the Inter State changed US landscape for the better. But what continues to grow American Inter State system is that successive governments have spend billions more on up gradation, expansion and upkeep.

A PROTEIN THAT HELPS THE GROWTH OF HAIR Protein that helps in growth of hair

A researcher at the University of Michigan noticed stubble on the shaved skin of experimental mice in his laboratory, instead of the tumors he had originally expected to see. David Van Mater had stumbled on the discovery that beta-catenin, a signaling protein involved in embryonic development and several types of cancer also triggers changes in adult mouse hair follicles that lead to the hair development.

The discovery will be published in the latest issue of Genes and Development. Other researches have shown that beta-catenin and other genes are important for normal development of hair follicles in embryos and even after birth. What’s new about our study is that a brief activation of beta-catenin in resting hair follicles could be enough for triggering a series of changes in the hair follicles, A Dlugosz said.

The study used genetically altered mice. By adding a set of genes to fertilize mouse eggs, the researchers created a new strain of trans-genetic mice with an inducible form of beta-catenin in their skin cells and hair follicles. Van Mater induced beta-catenin signaling activity by applying a chemical to the shaved areas on the transgenic mice and matched control mice with normal beta-catenin genes.


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