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Fearsome Giant Lizards Komodo Dragons found in Indonesia may be a source of a potent Antibiotic

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Hudo, a seven year old Komodo dragon, peers out from it's new home, Thursday, June 3, 2010, at the Cincinnati Zoo in Cincinnati. Hudo is seven feet long and weighs 100 pounds. The zoo is opening a new exhibit June 5 called Dragons that features the Komodo dragon and other lizards. (AP Photo/Al Behrman) VOA

Indonesia, April 21, 2017: Komodo dragons, fearsome giant lizards found in Indonesia, may be a source of a potent antibiotic. If so, researchers say the agent could be an answer to the growing, global health problem of antibiotic resistance.

Huge, toothy and aggressive, Komodo dragons are surrounded by filth in their daily lives. As a result, Barney Bishop, a biochemist at George Mason University near Washington, said Komodo dragons have developed what he called a “robust” immune system.

Bishop studies molecules produced by the immune system as a front-line defense against infection. That, he said, is the reason for the interest in Komodos.

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“They are known to eat carrion; they live in an unsanitary environment; they have been recorded to have up to 57 bacterial strains in their mouths,” some of which can cause disease, he said. “Yet the reptiles themselves are not harmed by these bacteria, whether it’s in their mouths or wounds inflicted by other lizards.”

Bishop and his colleagues, working with blood from Komodos, isolated peptides, or small proteins, produced by the reptiles’ immune systems. The peptides, Bishop said, seem to have remarkable anti-bacterial properties.

Artificial version tested

Researchers made artificial versions of these peptides and tested the most promising one — DRGN-1, or DRAGON-1 — in wounded mice and human skin cell cultures. They found the protein molecules exhibited three outstanding properties: They destroyed the outer layer of bacteria, dissolved biofilms — a sticky colony that microbes form to shield against antibiotics — and speeded up healing.

The work with Komodo dragon peptides was published in the journal Biofilms and Microbiomes.

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Bishop said, “Their peptides may offer some promise and some new insights or provide new templates for development of new therapeutics to treat infection.”

Bishop said the three-pronged action of DRGN-1, if made into an antibiotic, would make it unlikely that disease-causing bacteria could become drug-resistant.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, an agency of the U.S. Defense Department, paid for the research. The military is interested in the work because it may relate to bioweapons.

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Samples of blood for the study were taken from a 45.3-kilogram (100-pound) male Komodo dragon named Tujah who lives at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park in Florida.

Bishop said only a one-time sample of blood was needed because the peptides were artificially reproduced, so no animal was harmed for the study. (VOA)

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Eat According to Your Blood Type and See the Benefits Yourself!

When was the last time you thought about your blood type? Probably when you were thinking about donating blood. But what if we told you it should be of primary concern when deciding about your diet?

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Ayurvedic diet tips
Looking for a lifestyle shift? Try the Ayurvedic diet and see the benefits for yourself! Pixabay
  • Researches assert that blood group affects our health and well-being
  • Blood Type Diet focuses on the consumption of specific foods that aid bodily functions
  • Staying active, regular exercise and the right food consumption are key to a healthy lifestyle

New Delhi, August 24, 2017 : Exhausted after meager activity? Are you tired of your dull face? Do you suffer from recurring diseases? Are you trying to lose weight? Do you want to adopt a healthier lifestyle? You can change your diet, or begin a new work out. But there is nothing that you can possibly do to change your blood type. Wondering what is the connection between a healthy life and your blood type?

Various studies assert that our blood group is the primary genetic factor that affects our health and well-being to a large extent.

If your friend is having troubles gaining weight, while you struggle to lose some of it despite a healthy diet and regular exercise, it may be because of your blood type. Alternatively, it also interacts with our immune system altering our risk for several common diseases. According to the blood type, mood swings and temperament of the person may also fluctuate and vary between individuals.

How Does Blood Type Affect Our Health And Body

Determines susceptibility to specific diseases 

According to researches, people with certain blood groups are at a higher risk of some diseases. For example, individuals with blood type O are understood to be at a high risk of stomach ulcers but at a lower risk of heart diseases and blood type A is believed to have higher risk of microbial infections.

  • Reaction to stress

People with type O blood tend to overproduce adrenaline as a reaction to stress. Thus, they take longer to recompose following a stressful situation as they take a while to clear the adrenaline from their bodies.

  • Influence on gut bacteria

Different types gut bacteria are known to have been found in people of different blood types. For example, the micro-biome present in individuals with blood type A break down carbohydrates more efficiently than those with blood type O, who store carbs as fats in their bodies.

ALSO READ: Should we revive ancestral dietary lifestyle for good health?

Food fads are just that, fads. They come and go. Not everybody has the same primary nutritional requirement.

Deepika Dua Arora, a Dietitian at Mutation Diet Clinic, Gurugram asserts the complementary relationship between one’s blood group and the nutritional aspect. According to her, the blood group diet allows us to keep in check our hereditary medical troubles like cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, etc.

What Is Blood Type Diet?

The Blood Type Diet focuses on the consumption of specific foods that aid bodily functions like allow better digestion, increase the body’s energy level, prevent illnesses and diseases and additionally help lose weight.

blood type
A combination of healthy food and right exercise is necessary for a healthy body and mind. Pixabay

Dietitians strictly stress the importance of Rh factor while planning diets.

Rhesus factor is a category of protein present on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs). Individuals with Rhesus factor are Rh positive while those who lack the compound are Rh negative.

Rh factor plays an important role in diets as individuals with Rh negative blood type are more prone to lgE allergies than Rh positive.

Rh negative reacts with multiple foods like nuts, beans eggs among other things, thus, their diets must be planned accordingly. Individuals with Rh negative blood groups should consume more starch like brown sugar, poha, wheat burger, etc.

Right Food For Your Blood Type

An important concept to understand is that not everybody has the same primary nutritional requirement. In addition to this, there are several nutrients that are not absorbed by specific blood groups. Together, this can give rise to serious health problems. Thus, it is recommended to have food that is complimentary to one’s blood type.

We provide you with a list of foods that are great for specific blood types,

Blood Group: O

Garlic, Ginger, Lettuce, Broccoli, Okra, Onions, Turnip, Cherries, Plums, Figs, Berries (Raspberries, Cranberries, Gooseberries)

Individuals with blood type should consume more fermented foods – sandwich, dhokla, dosa, etc. Additionally, a good quantity of animal protein can also be consumed- – egg whites, fish, chicken.

  • Blood Group: A

Rice, Oats, Pasta, Pumpkin, Peanuts, Apricots, Figs, Lemons, Raisins,

Individuals with this blood type should consume more of wheat and roughage based vegetarian food- wheat bran, brown rice, brown poha, soya, besan chilla etc. They should avoid animal protein as it can prove to be unsuitable for them.

Blood type
Wheat and roughage based vegetarian food are good for people with type A blood. Pixabay
  • Blood Group: B

Green vegetables, Eggs, Low-fat dairy.

Individuals with this blood type should consume more milk products and animal proteins, however, wheat does not suit them much – paneer, eggs, fish, oat meal, and oat bran.

  • Blood Group: AB

Seafood, Yoghurt, Tofu, Goat Milk, Egg, Walnuts, Millets, Oats, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Beets, Cucumber, Plums, Berries.

Individuals with this blood type should consume combination foods that can prove to be extremely beneficial – rice + daal, chapati + daal, khichdi, dalia, brown rice (pulav) etc.

ALSO READ: Adopting these Ancient Food Practices Will Help You to Live a Healthy Life

Foods To Avoid According To Your Blood Type

As has been stressed repeatedly, consuming the right food helps prevent and cure chronic illnesses and certain diseases. It not only good for the body but for the soul, too.

This brings to light the need to avoid foods that are not compatible with your blood type in order to avoid health problems, weight issues, and stress.

  • Blood Group: O

Spinach, cabbage, eggplant, mushrooms, oranges, kiwi, strawberry coconut, green peas, peanut butter

Consumption of wheat starches is not good for individuals with this blood type.

  • Blood Group: A

Banana, coconut, cashew, papaya, pistachios, beer

Individuals with this blood type should avoid animal foods- chicken, fish, eggs. Additionally, oats are also not good for them.

Blood group
Oats and bananas are not suitable for individuals with blood group A. Pixabay
  • Blood Group: B

Corn, tomatoes, sesame seeds, peanuts

Individuals with this blood type should also avoid oats and animal foods- chicken, fish, eggs

  • Blood Group: AB

Whole milk, caffeine, alcohol, black tea, corn, coconut, mangoes, bananas

Individuals with this blood type must not starve themselves as the gap in between meals is not healthy for them.

4 Rules To A Healthier Life 

  1. Break the myth that one needs to have three meals in a day. Always have small, healthy meals throughout the day at regular intervals. This will manage insulin levels, keep hunger in check and supplement the body with a constant source of energy.
  2. Do not confuse thirst with hunger. This can add a few extra, unnecessary calories which might be difficult to be digested and processed by the body.
  3. Always read the label on food products. Calculate the calorie information provided to accommodate the product into your calorie allowance while on a weight loss schedule.
  4. If you think only food is going to lead you to a healthier life, you need to think again. Staying active and regular exercise are key to a healthy lifestyle.

 


 

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Can Flourishing Islamic State (ISIS) be Stopped in Afghanistan?

The truth about IS and Afghanistan is definitely no picnic

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Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016. The rise of IS in Afghanistan has become such a priority that U.S. and Afghan forces sometimes support the Taliban while battling IS, VOA
  • Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
  • Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
  • In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS

June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.

Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.

Confusion leads to mistakes

All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.

Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.

“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”

Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.

Confusing scenarios

Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.

“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.

In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.

IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.

Families displaced

IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.

Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.

“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.

ALSO READ: Flashback to Terror: 1993 Mumbai Blasts Judgement to Hail on June 27 After 24 Years

Recruiting unemployed youths

IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.

Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.

IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.

Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.

Darzab district

Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.

IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.

Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.

“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.

Hit-and-hide strategy

IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.

Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.

“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)

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Satellite sends First Quantum Signal to Earth

This is a big step towards achieving a secure and developed way to encrypt communications because ever-improving computer algorithms can not crack them

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Micius
Micius satellite. wikimedia
  • An orbiting satellite has sent the first entangled pair of photons to Earth
  • It is a big step towards achieving a secure and developed way to encrypt communications
  • They can not be cracked by ever-improving computer algorithms

June 18, 2017: It was reported by scientists today that an orbiting satellite has sent the first entangled pair of photons to Earth. It is a big step towards sending quantum keys from satellites — an approach that has been heralded as a secure and developed way to encrypt communications because ever-improving computer algorithms can not crack them.

A laser on China’s Micius satellite, which was launched last year and is dedicated to researches related to quantum satellite communications, spit out pairs of entangled photons from its position, 500 km above Earth. Then two telescopes on Earth – about 1200 km apart — had 5 minutes each day to look for them as the satellite passed over both telescopes. It was found that paired photons survived the journey through Earth’s atmosphere. They detected 1 entangled pair per second out of the 6 million sent in that time.

So how exactly does all this work?

A quantum key needs to be generated first by two people who are looking to communicate. Then, one person receives one of the entangled photons in the pair, the other person receives the other. When the received photons have measured the photons, they obtain bits of information strung together to create a key that they both have. That key can be used to encrypt and decrypt a message. The users can also share a portion of the key publicly to check if it has been compromised. In case if someone tries to intercept the communication at any point, they would then notice a difference between their strings.

Also read: NASA’s Curiosity rover finds a Wide Variety of Minerals in Martian Rocks

There is a certain set of problems as well. Caltech’s John Preskill believes even though it is an important proof of concept, the feat doesn’t address one of the biggest problems with quantum communications. Currently, these messages can’t be sent long distances. Photons, using an optical fiber to carry a quantum signal, can only make it about 100 km before the dissipation of the light.

Quantum systems are similar to optical telecommunications here on earth and need repeaters that are able to amplify the message so it can be passed long distances. But amplifying a quantum message in the same way optical ones are done would effectively result in the destruction of the information. That is why satellite-based communication are being eyed by researchers. The reported 500 km from space is an improvement over optical. Quantum signals were measured in another study published today from a satellite 38,000 km away to a single point. But in deploying a global network which would likely be able to combine optical fiber and satellites, the repeater problem still stands.

Preskill has predicted that it is more likely we will first come up with another form of encryption for communication. “There will be other ways of doing classical public key cryptosystems that we won’t know how to break with quantum computers,” he added.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang