Sunday November 17, 2019
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Health Emergency Declared in Delhi NCR as Pollution ‘Severe Plus’

EPCA said the air pollution has peaked to hazardous levels, which will have adverse health impact on all

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Health, Emergency, Delhi
The overall air quality index (AQI) rose to 459 on Friday morning. According to a CPCB official, the AQI reached "severe plus" or "emergency" category on late Thursday night, which is the first time since January this year. Pixabay

Pollution in Delhi NCR is of “severe plus” category, which is hazardous to health, prompting the Supreme Court-mandated panel Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) to declare public health emergency in the national capital region.

The air quality deteriorated to such levels that people, particularly children, elderly and those having respiratory problems, can be vulnerable.

The overall air quality index (AQI) rose to 459 on Friday morning. According to a CPCB official, the AQI reached “severe plus” or “emergency” category on late Thursday night, which is the first time since January this year.

EPCA said the air pollution has peaked to hazardous levels, which will have adverse health impact on all.

Health, Emergency, Delhi
The air quality deteriorated to such levels that people, particularly children, elderly and those having respiratory problems, can be vulnerable. Pixabay

According to EPCA, “current air quality is a combination of the accumulated toxins because of local pollution, which was further spiked due to cracker burning on Diwali night, combined with stubble burning and extremely adverse weather”.

It is also unlikely the quality of air will improve within a week, and according to the IMD, if at all air improves, it is difficult to predict improvement in air quality will lead to substantial reduction in pollution.

EPCA has called for urgent directions to implement Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), a policy measure to prevent worsening of air quality.

“Since pollution is in severe+ category, which is hazardous to health, schools have been advised to minimize exposure of children, as it will impact their health adversely. Also people are advised to minimize their personal exposure, which includes no exercise”, said Sambhavi Shukla, Programme Officer, Centre for Science and Environment.

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EPCA said it is imperative to take urgent steps to stop local sources of pollution, which includes local waste burning, as it will be an addition to the already polluted air. This encompasses stringent vigilance and punitive action against all cases of local pollution, from plastic and garbage burning to dust pollution.

In a public health emergency scenario, people are advised to stay indoors and if possible, cut down on outdoor activity as much as possible.

According to a senior official in the Central Pollution Control Board, during the ongoing health crisis triggered by bad quality air, people should avoid involvement in outdoor activities, which includes long exposure to outside air, and instead stay indoors for as long as possible.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced that all schools in the Capital will remain closed till Tuesday. (IANS)

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Immune Cells Become Active and Repair Brain While Sleep: Study

For the findings, researchers conducted the study on mice

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Sleep
Study suggests that the enhanced remodeling of neural circuits and repair of lesions during Sleep may be mediated in part by the ability of microglia to dynamically interact with the Brain. Pixabay

Researchers have found that immune cells called microglia, which play an important role in reorganising the connections between nerve cells, fighting infections, and repairing damage, are also primarily active while we sleep.

Microglia serve as the brain’s first responders, patrolling the brain and spinal cord and springing into action to stamp out infections or gobble up debris from dead cell tissue.

“This research shows that the signals in our brain that modulate the sleep and awake state also act as a switch that turns the immune system off and on,” said study lead author Ania Majewska, Professor at University of Rochester in the US.

In previous studies, Majewska’s lab has shown how microglia interact with synapses, the juncture where the axons of one neuron connects and communicates with its neighbours.

The microglia help maintain the health and function of the synapses and prune connections between nerve cells when they are no longer necessary for brain function.

For the findings, researchers conducted the study on mice.

The current study points to the role of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that signals arousal and stress in the central nervous system.

This chemical is present in low levels in the brain while we sleep, but when production ramps up it arouses our nerve cells, causing us to wake up and become alert.

The study showed that norepinephrine also acts on a specific receptor, the beta2 adrenergic receptor, which is expressed at high levels in microglia.

When this chemical is present in the brain, the microglia slip into a sort of hibernation.

Sleep
Researchers have found that immune cells called microglia, which play an important role in reorganising the connections between nerve cells, fighting infections, and repairing damage, are also primarily active while we Sleep and affects Brain. Pixabay

The study, which employed an advanced imaging technology that allows researchers to observe activity in the living brain, showed that when mice were exposed to high levels of norepinephrine, the microglia became inactive and were unable to respond to local injuries and pulled back from their role in rewiring brain networks.

“This work suggests that the enhanced remodeling of neural circuits and repair of lesions during sleep may be mediated in part by the ability of microglia to dynamically interact with the brain,” said study first author Rianne Stowell.

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“Altogether, this research also shows that microglia are exquisitely sensitive to signals that modulate brain function and that microglial dynamics and functions are modulated by the behavioural state of the animal,” Stowell said.

The study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. (IANS)