SCI-ART LAB

Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

Q: I read that some parents are begging in some parts of the world other parents to get their kids vaccinated. Why is this so?

Krishna: Yes, this is true. In some places some parents are refusing to get their children vaccinated. In a global village, this will have very severe consequences. Some diseases that can be controlled through vaccination will go out of control now.
The reasons are: religious beliefs, fear that 's spread by false or misleading media reports, negligence, false propaganda by Taliban and other terror groups, celebrities speaking against vaccines, some companies producing substandard vaccines that are actually spreading diseases than controlling them, and failure of control mechanisms.

If some children don't get vaccinated, other children who come in contact with them and whose immune system cannot cope with the infections for various reasons  will become susceptible. That is why their parents are begging the parents of these children  to cooperate. 

Read this article for more information ...
vaccine-woes

Q: There is evidence of paranormal. But still  why doesn't science accept it?

Krishna: Okay, if you have real evidence that can be  held up to scientific scrutiny, let us see it. 

We have a List of prizes for evidence of the paranormal - Wikipedia but none of the prizes were claimed till now! Why?  Anecdotal evidence is not accepted in science. You can weave a story and try to convince ordinary people but scientists are too smart to fall prey to these gimmicks. Read here why ...

science-and-the-paranormal

Q: What makes you sure there is no such thing as paranormal activity?

I myself ‘investigated’ a few claims and found them to be totally false based on false perceptions, imaginations, Illusions and what not.

science-and-the-paranormal

Q; Do ghosts really enter (possess humans

science-and-the-paranormal

If somebody behaves strangely, they will have to be assessed for mental conditions by genuine doctors, not fake ones, and then treated for those conditions. Period!

science-and-the-paranormal

Q: I bought some natural vegetable hair dyes but they are not working for me. What could be the reason?

Krishna: Yes, there are some natural vegetable hair dyes that claim to cover grey hair fully. Like indigo leaf powder. Using natural hair dye to cover gray completely is unrealistic. Only things that dye hair naturally are:1. Henna or mehendi which gives you red/orange, not black, tinge 2. Coffee that gives hair a very light brown colour. You  have to treat your hair multiple times with a coffee rinse and seal in the color with apple cider vinegar 3. Indigo leaf powder 4. Beetroot juice 5. Sage 6. Black walnuts 7. Tea.

But these things don't work properly too. For instance, henna needs lemon juice to dye hair darker. Lemon juice releases the red dye from henna.

The reason is  natural vegetable dyes' colours don't get released or even if they get released they don't stick to hair properly without assistance from other chemicals like paraphenylenediamine (commonly referred to as PPD), barium peroxide, citric acid etc. But some people are allergic to PPD. Indigo leaves can dye red henna dyed hair black but they need some help too. 

So dyeing your hair fully with only natural colours is unrealistic. We still don't have the right products and technologies. There is no natural colour that can dye hair completely without any assistance right now.  But even light covering with natural products is better than complete cover with harmful chemicals.

Q: Is poison different from venom?

Krishna: People use the words poison and venom  interchangeably because once in the body, the chemicals do similar damage, attacking the heart, brain or other vital organs. But the terms do mean very different things.

Venomous creatures bite, sting or stab you to do their damage, while you have bite or touch poisonous critters to feel their effects. That means venomous organisms need a way in, like fangs or teeth. All octopuses are venomous, along with some squid, plenty of snakes, spiders, and scorpions, a few lizards, vampire bats, slow loris ( Nycticebus kayan). Some fish, including lion fish, use spines to sting attackers with venom. The Brazilian frogs are venomous amphibians. When attacked, Iberian ribbed newts push out their own ribs  so that spikes on the ends jab a predator with toxin.

Poisonous organisms take a more passive approach, often lining the skin or other surfaces with toxic chemicals. Poisons can either be brewed from scratch inside the animal or acquired through diet. Cane toads  naturally secrete poison they make in glands behind their ears. Poison dart frogs  generate a highly poisonous alkaloid skin coating they derive from munching on ants. Mama frogs pass the chemical  on to tadpoles via egg sacs, so if you take a young poison dart frog out of its natural habitat, it will actually lose toxicity.

Having to digest unsavory foods to survive may be what drove some organisms to evolve poisons, which are primarily used to defend against predators. By contrast, venoms evolved for defense, offense—or both. Some organisms even use venom in mating. The male platypus shoots his toxin out of tiny, prickly foot barbs to paralyze rival suitors. Venoms derive from enzymes. For example, spider venom originated from a harmless hormone—the spider version of insulin. 
Because the toxins get delivered in different ways, venoms tend to be larger compounds that must be injected to break through skin, while poisons are usually smaller chemicals that can be absorbed.
The toxicity of both poisons and venoms varies dramatically across species in nature. But both venom and poison can kill you in truly horrifying and painful ways.
Q: Your report on microplastics is alarming (main page of science simplified). Are we responsible for this mess? What are microplastics in the first place? Will there be health implications? How can we avoid this problem?

Krishna: Yes, we are responsible for this mess! New research provides evidence of something scientists have suspected since microplastics were first detected in seafood, salt and bottled water: People are eating plastic particles, and excreting at least some of them.

Microplastics include fragments smaller than five millimeters (the diameter of a grain of rice) that result from the breakdown of larger debris, such as bottles, in the environment. They are also made up of fibers shed by synthetic fabrics, and plastic beads added to some cosmetics. They have turned up everywhere from the seafloor to farm soil to the air around us making it almost certain people have been ingesting them. But until now there were no direct samples from humans showing this was happening. Now we have evidence. 

The scientists analyzed the stools for microplastics ranging in size from 50 micrometers (almost twice the diameter of a human skin cell) to five millimeters. These microplastics were found in almost all the stools tested from people in all continents! They also detected nine of the 10 common types of plastic polymers they looked for—notably polypropylene (used, for example, in bottle caps), polyethylene terephthalate (used in drink bottles) and polystyrene (used in food containers).

The work, presented October 23, 2018 in Vienna at United European Gastroenterology Week, an annual meeting of specialists in digestive health.

The researchers also hope to look for smaller sizes of plastic—which are the most likely to be able to penetrate the gut lining and enter the circulatory system and other organs, such as has been found to happen with other nanosize, man-made particles.

Research is still being conducted and we now know that some of the plastic is being excreted. However, that part that is not excreted and chemicals associated with plastics are the most worrisome. 

How can we avoid this problem? Stop using plastic. Especially bottles for water, plates for eating, other

plastic utensils,  plastic straws,  plastic carry bags, plastic toys, plastic water pipes  ............ all plastic. 

Q: Do they take entire eye balls for eye donation?

Krishna: No, they don't, at least now. This is what an eye doctor RM of AIIMS told us...

There are two ways of retrieving eyes for donation after death.

  1. Taking out the whole eye (known as enucleation or whole globe method). From this specimen, the required tissue is cut in the laboratory. However, this technique is cosmetically poor and this was one of the reasons of low eye donation rates in the past. This method has now largely been replaced by the following method.
  2. Taking out only the corneoscleral button (or cap), which is the central transparent area (cornea) and a rim of surrounding white tissue (sclera). In practice, only these two tissues are required from the entire eye for transplantation. This method is also much more cosmetically acceptable. After the specimen is removed, a transparent plastic conformer is placed to cover the rest of the structures of the eye of the deceased donor, making this method cosmetically acceptable to people.

The corneoscleral buttons (retrieved either directly or via whole globe method) are placed in a liquid storage medium. This provides nutrition and keeps the cells healthy. Various times limits (in days) have been described with different media, but the earlier the eye is used, better are the results.

This is exactly what happened when we donated the eyes of my mother ...

As soon as the death of my mother was declared by the doctors attending her, we contacted LV Prasad eye hospital, Hyderabad and I gave my consent for her eye donation.

A lab technician and a doctor from the eye hospital came to my home within 15 minutes, as soon as we reached our home with my mother's body. They took my written consent. Then they cut and removed the corneas of my mother’s body, put them in a solution in a small box - like the contact lense box, plastic lenses were placed on her eye balls where holes were formed, then took her blood samples to test for infections [tests for common infectious diseases (HIV, Hepatitis B/C, Syphilis) are done on the blood sample that is collected from the donor at the time of eye retrieval. A rapid test method is used and the results are available within hours]. Then they gave me a certificate of appreciation.

I was glad I donated my mother’s eyes. I couldn’t donate my dad’s eyes because of hepatitis infection and septicemia he had. But I pledged my eyes and other organs too. That is the best ritual we follow after somebody’s death in our family.

The best ritual to follow after death

Do you follow rituals after your loved one's death?
Want to know the best ritual to follow after he breathed his last breathe?
His vital organs to bequeath
Despite your agonized seethe.

His heart can beat life into another person
His lungs can become another one's crucial garrison
His liver and kidneys can nurse in
A body that seems to worsen!

His eyes can show light
To another person's life's fight
To his loved ones' delight!
Your donation becomes a noble ritual to cite!

(Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa's poem based on the same theme)

Please donate your eyes and your loved ones' without any hesitation. The corneas go waste and get burnt or degrade unnecessarily. If they can be put to good use, give sight to someone, that would be the best gift you can give to the people. 

Q: Don't environmentally protected states/countries hamper industrial and economic development?

Krishna: That is a myth. You have to balance economic growth with ecology. Otherwise we will have to face a disaster. What is the use of people getting rich if they can't breathe good air, eat good food, drink clean water, can't live without protection from pollution, can't live a healthy life, and die of diseases at a young age?

Reckless Industrial growth destroys our planet and makes it inhospitable. We don't have another Earth to go to if that happens.

Think about that.

Q: In your article Lab scientists versus internet scientists you mention that there is misinformation all over the net. How can we avoid it and get only genuine science information?

Krishna: There is more wrong information or misleading information than the right one on the net. This is a fact, we , the scientific community, is fighting about. And most people don’t know what is a genuine site to search for the right information and what is a fake one. Just because a fraction of people can negotiate the maze, it doesn’t make the net safe for the lay man. 

Learning from others is only a small part of real scientists. Original research work is their major work. They learn from their own work most of the time.

While lab scientists are 80% lab based and 20% genuine net based, internet scientists are 100% fake net based and 0% lab based.

If you really want to learn how to differentiate genuine information from the fake one, read this article:

how-to-trust-science-stories-a-guide-for-common-man

Q: Can I still wear contact lenses if I have dry eyes?

Krishna: Your eyes feel more dry when you wear contact lenses. You will get irritation if your eyes are dry and after sometime you feel like removing them.

However, recent technologies (like soft contact lenses) that contact lense manufacturers have developed to reduce contact lense-induced dry eye symptoms help a lot.

Features like Moisture Seal technology, silky smooth surface, material that attract water and retain it by binding to moisture for a long time, large-diameter rigid gas permeable lenses that cover the entire corneal surface to help keep the front surface of the eye from drying out make you fell less uncomfortable.

Contact lense -related dry eyes can be solved with ‘occasional use’ of eye drops. Consult your eye doctor for more information on this.

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