Chennai: Capsaicin, the compound responsible for chillies’ heat and also used in creams sold to relieve pain if taken in high doses can kill prostate cancer cells. Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, have worked out a process wherein the compound responsible for chillies’ heat can be put to yet another effective use.
In this study, researchers Ashok Kumar Mishra and Jitendriya Swain found that, in high doses, the compound causes cell membranes to come apart.
About 10 years ago, researchers reported that capsaicin can kill prostate cancer cells in mice while leaving healthy cells unharmed. But translating that dose for humans would require them to eat a huge number of chili peppers per day.
So the researchers tried to gain a deeper understanding of capsaicin’s effects so it might be harnessed in the future for new medicines. The scientists were able to detect how the compound interacts with cell membranes by monitoring its natural fluorescence.
The study showed that capsaicin lodges in the membranes near the surface. Add enough of it, and the capsaicin essentially causes the membranes to come apart.
The findings appeared in The Journal of Physical Chemistry B.
The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) on Friday said its researchers undertook a major restoration project at the famous Chilika Lake – the largest brackish water body in Asia and the first Ramsar site of India – located in Odisha to help in tripling the population of the Irrawaddy dolphins while also benefitting over 2 lakh fishermen.
According to IIT-M, its intervention in the year 2000 and continuous monitoring since then has benefitted over 200,000 fishermen living in 132 villages as it resulted in a seven-fold increase of fish catch and tourists to co-exist with the lake ecosystem with minimal disturbance to the environment.
Due to the successful restoration, the lake was removed from the threatened list (Montreux record) 1st from Asia. Chilika Development Authority also received the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award and Evian special prize 2002 for outstanding achievement.
In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, an international treaty for the conservation of wetlands. The Chilika lagoon is over 4,000 years old and spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha.
The highly productive ecosystem of the lake supports the livelihood for fishermen and also acts as drainage for Mahanadi river basin. The lake was in a degraded condition and included in the threatened list (Montreux Record) by Ramsar Convention in 1993. This warranted urgent action for restoration of the lake.
The hydrodynamic regime of the lagoon was affected due to shifting of the mouth towards the northeast and subsequent reduction of seawater into the lake. Consequently, the ecology, biodiversity and economy of the area were also affected. The present study deals with the intervention carried out in October 2000 to open the mouth 18 kms south of the shifted mouth, IITM said.
“The Chilika Lake has restored with a cost of Rs 10 crore by opening the mouth and other related works in six months’ time which has resulted in fish catch worth Rs 100 crore and revenue of Rs 35 crore due to tourism every year,” R. Sundaravadivelu, Institute Chair Professor, Department of Ocean Engineering, IIT-M said. (IANS)
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-Madras) have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to convert brain signals of speech impaired humans into language, the Institute said on Monday.
The researchers can potentially interpret nature’s signals such as the plant photosynthesis process or their response to external forces.
Electrical signals, brain signals, or any signal in general, are waveforms which are decoded to meaningful information using physical law or mathematical transforms such as Fourier Transform or Laplace Transform.
These physical laws and mathematical transforms are science-based languages discovered by renowned scientists such as Isaac Newton and Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier.
“The output result is the ionic current, which represents the flow of ions which are charged particles. These electrically driven ionic current signals are worked on to be interpreted as human language meaning speech. This would tell us what the ions are trying to communicate with us,” said study researcher Vishal Nandigana, Assistant Professor, Fluid Systems Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras.
“When we succeed with this effort, we will get electrophysiological data from the neurologists to get brain signals of speech impaired humans to know what they are trying to communicate,” Nandigana added.
The researchers are working on how these real data signal can be decoded into human languages such as English, and if the real data signal can be interpreted as a simple human language that all human beings can understand.
Brain signals are typically electrical signals. These are wave-like patterns with spikes, humps and crusts which can be converted into simple human language, meaning speech, using Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning algorithms.
This enabled the researchers to read the direct electrical signals of the brain.
They tested this concept by getting experimental electrical signals through experiments in the laboratory to get signals from nanofluidic transport inside nanopores.
The Indian Institute of Technology, IIT-Madras on Monday said its researchers have developed algorithms that enable novel applications for artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and deep learning to solve engineering problems.
The researchers are going to establish a start-up to deploy their AI Software called ‘AISoft’ to develop solutions to engineering problems in varied fields such as in thermal management, semiconductors, automobile, aerospace and electronic cooling applications.
“We tested AIsoft and used it to solve such thermal management problems. We found it to be nearly million-fold faster compared to existing solutions currently used in the field,” said Vishal Nandigana, Assistant Professor, Fluid Systems Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering.
“Our AI works on any generalised rectilinear and curvilinear input geometry. Our research saves the computational time, which is the bottleneck to solve most engineering problems, Nandigana added.
The researchers utilised a data-driven AI and a deep learning model to arrive at solutions for engineering problems after training the AI with data sets.
These prior data sets can be from existing big data in the relevant engineering industry where there are lots of experimental data available.
Also, if data is not available for training the AI, it can be generated using commercially-available CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) software on small independent pieces of the full-blown problem.
This idea is new and is only now being looked at by a few research groups across the world. Most of these research groups use Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) or C-GAN (conditional generative adversarial network) to solve engineering problems.
They have also developed hardware products using graphics processing unit (GPU) and multi-threading processing to solve thermal management problems in thermal and electronic cooling industries.