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Friday, 16 July 2010

Malaria-Proof Mosquito Created

Genetically altered mosquitoes that cannot infect humans with malaria have been created by US scientists. Led by Michael Riehle, University of Arizona entomologists introduced genetic modifications in mosquitoes in a way that renders them completely immune to the parasite, a single-celled organism called Plasmodium. Someday researchers hope to replace wild mosquitoes with lab-bred populations unable to act as vectors, i.e. transmit the malaria-causing parasite. "If you want to effectively stop the spreading of the malaria parasite, you need mosquitoes that are no less than 100 percent resistant to it. If a single parasite slips through and infects a human, the whole approach will be doomed to fail," said Riehle, a professor of entomology in the UA's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Riehle's team used molecular biology techniques to design a piece of genetic information capable of inserting itself into a mosquito's genome. This construct was then injected into the eggs of the mosquitoes. The emerging generation carries the altered genetic information and passes it on to future generations. For their experiments, the scientists used Anopheles stephensi, a mosquito species that is an important malaria vector throughout the Indian subcontinent. The researchers targeted one of the many biochemical pathways inside the mosquito's cells. Specifically, they engineered a piece of genetic code acting as a molecular switch in the complex control of metabolic functions inside the cell. The genetic construct acts like a switch that is always set to "on," leading to the permanent activity of a signalling enzyme called Akt. Akt functions as a messenger molecule in several metabolic functions, including larval development, immune response and lifespan

Four Days Old Baby Becomes India’s Youngest Organ Donor

Kishore Kumar is a young Revenue Inspector in Mahabubnagar District, Andhra Pradesh. His wife, Hymavathi, a school teacher, delivered a pre-term female baby on 8th July at Durgabai Deshmukh Hospital, Hyderabad. Although the infant was normal for two days, she developed complications, as a result of which, the doctors ventilated her, and informed the parents that the chances of survival of the child were remote. Unfortunately, the baby expired on the morning of 12th July. While the parents were still in a state of shock, uncle of the baby, (also named Kishore Kumar), who is a Reporter at Saakshi newspaper broached the subject of organ donation with his namesake. He took the initiative of calling MOHAN Foundation’s CEO, Mr. Raghuram and enquired if the child’s organs can be used. Mr. Raghuram mentioned to him that her heart valves and eyes can be used. Kishore Kumar, Saakshi Reporter, motivated his cousin and convinced him that the child’s organs can give life to other children, and that he should consider this option. He also spoke to other members of the family who responded positively as this was going to save lives of those unfortunate children that are suffering due to absence or underdeveloped heart valves, and give vision to two people. After obtaining a consent from the family, Mr. Raghuram, CEO of MOHAN Foundation swung into action and had the baby shifted to Innova Hospital, Secunderabad, where her heart valves and eyes were retrieved under sterile conditions.

Study Says Young Athletes With Diabetes can Still Perform

Diabetes affects performance of young athletes, but they can still manage a good performance, a new study has found. A participants' athletic prowess is sapped by low blood glucose, a condition known as hypoglycemia. Their cognitive abilities also suffer. "Our results show that those with diabetes can compete on equal ground provided they learn to manage their condition," said lead researcher Michael Riddell, associate professor in York's School of Kinesiology and Health Science, Faculty of Health. Researchers found that sport skill performance suffered only slightly during hyperglycemia. However results suggest the degree to which one's sport performance deteriorates depends on the individual. "This could be related to the level of blood glucose concentration, the rate at which glucose drops, and the individual's capacity to maintain focus in the face of all these factors," Riddell said. "Any obvious issues with performance - poor passing, failed free throws and serves - that are really out of the ordinary should be a warning sign to check blood glucose levels and add carbohydrates," he added.

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