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Indian Origin Scientist Kailash Sahu and team in US used Albert Einstein’s Theory to Weigh Stars

Kailash Chandra Sahu, an Indian-origin astronomer, led a group of scientists to weigh white dwarf stars using Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.

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Kailash Chandra Sahu
The Hubble Telescope hovering in space. Wikimedia
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  • A team of scientists in the US has successfully weighed the mass of a white dwarf star using Einstein’s predictions and theory
  • The group of scientists was led by an Indian-origin astronomer Kailash Chandra Sahu
  • This is the first time that the weight of a star has been measured using Einstein’s theory

US, June 10, 2017: Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity is a century old. Yet, every year new developments in scientific knowledge are emerging through this basic formulated theory by Einstein.

The theory of relativity has once again provided development in our knowledge of the cosmos. In the US, a group of scientists has measured the mass of a white dwarf star by using the century-old theory.

The group was led by an Indian-origin astronomer Kailash Chandra Sahu at the Space Telescope Science Institute. The team used the Hubble Space Telescope to calculate the mass. Sahu is also the lead author of the research paper.

ALSO READ: Albert Einstein’s Century-old Prediction Comes True: Third Gravitational Waves detected by Scientists

The essence of the study lies in the technicality used by the scientists. They observed the white dwarf star as it passed by a distant star. When the two stars closely aligned, scientists analyzed the deflection in the light of the distant star caused by the gravity of the white dwarf star. The deflection in the sky would appear offset by 2 milliarcseconds!

The deflection may be incredibly tiny but it helped the scientists calculate the dwarf’s mass.

Einstein had hypothesized that a ray of light from a different star passing by an object would bend due to the gravity pull of the passing object. The study is published in the journal called Science.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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What Triggers Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

IoPPN professor Carmine Pariante stressed that while the study's main finding is a useful addition to scant scientific knowledge about CFS

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CFS
Lauren Pestikas sits as she receives an infusion of the drug ketamine during a 45-minute session at an outpatient clinic in Chicago on July 25, 2018. VOA

Scientists exploring what may trigger a complex disorder known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have found clues in the way some people’s immune systems respond more actively to a health attack.

A severe illness characterized by long-term physical and mental fatigue, CFS is thought to affect up to 17 million people worldwide and around 250,000 people in Britain.

Sufferers are often bed-bound and unable to carry out basic daily activities like washing and feeding themselves.

The researchers used a drug known as interferon alpha to create a model of the syndrome and found that patients whose immune response to treatment was hyperactive or exaggerated were more likely to then develop severe fatigue.

CFS
Russell’s team used this knowledge and measured fatigue and immune system markers in 55 patients before, during and after treatment with interferon alpha.

“For the first time, we have shown that people who are prone to develop a CFS-like illness have an overactive immune system, both before and during a challenge to the immune system,” said Alice Russell of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), who led the work.

The condition, as well as research into it, is highly contentious, in part because its possible causes and range of debilitating symptoms are poorly understood.

Interferon alpha is used as a treatment for hepatitis C infection, and activates the immune system in the same way as a powerful infection. Many patients who receive interferon alpha experience extreme fatigue during treatment, and some continue to feel chronic fatigue for many months after the drug course is completed.

Vaccination, CFS
Biologist Jason Plyler prepares to test at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. VOA

Russell’s team used this knowledge and measured fatigue and immune system markers in 55 patients before, during and after treatment with interferon alpha.

They found that the 18 of those 55 who went on to develop a CFS-like illness had a hyperactive immune system before treatment, and an highly overactive response during treatment. “(This suggests) people who have an exaggerated immune response to a trigger may be more at risk of developing CFS,” Russell told reporters at a briefing about the findings.

Also Read: Regular Sleep in Childhood Leads to Healthy BMI Later

IoPPN professor Carmine Pariante stressed that while the study’s main finding is a useful addition to scant scientific knowledge about CFS – also known as myalgic encephalopathy (ME) – it offers few clues on how to treat, cure or prevent it.

“It’s a light in the fog,” he told reporters. “But a better understanding of the biology underlying the development of CFS is needed to help patients.” (VOA)