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

Q: Why are doctors withdrawing aspirin recommendations?

Krishna: Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) or Aspirin still works for head aches! :)

Latest news is ... it can even be used in TB treatment (1).

I know your Q is directed towards clot prevention.

There’s never been any good evidence that aspirin works for primary prevention. It works very well for secondary prevention, but not primary. What is the difference?

Primary prevention: giving the drug to healthy people to stop them ever getting sick. Aspirin does not work for this- if you give a whole bunch of healthy people aspirin, it doesn’t reduce the risk of them getting a heart attack or a stroke to any significant extent.

Only thing is earlier experts thought it would work even for primary prevention because of the general properties of aspirin.  But Aspirin's side effects on GI tract like bleeding is making people to have a rethink.  In the absence of clear data, they erred on aggressive intervention. Now as more data shows that it might be on balance causing more harm, the general recommendation changes along with it. Other recommendations such as a healthy lifestyle of good diet and exercise are considerably better or more effective strategies.

Secondary prevention: giving the drug to people who have already had the condition, to prevent it from recurring. It does this very well: if you have ever had a heart attack or a stroke, then aspirin reduces the risk of this happening again.

Aspirin keeps platelets from clumping together, thus helping to prevent or reduce blood clots. During aheart attack. Blood clots form in an already-narrowed artery and block the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.

That is why we say science is highly flexible. When new data arrives or when we have a better understanding of a problem, we change our  thinking.

Q: Why causes excess heat in the body?

Krishna: Most probable cause is hyperthyroidism. High amounts of T4, T3, or both during hyperthiroiddism can cause an excessively high metabolic rate. This is called a hypermetabolic state. When in a hypermetabolic state, you may experience a rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, elevated blood pressure, nervousness, restlessness, hand tremours, weakness, itching, nausea and vomiting. You may also sweat a lot and develop a low tolerance for heat. Hyperthyroidism can also cause atrial fibrillation, a dangerous arrhythmia that can lead to strokes, as well as congestive heart failure.

If you have any of these symptoms and are suffering for several days, please consult a medical doctor immediately.

I must also add that the human body regulates temperature by keeping a tight balance between heat gain and heat loss. Your temperature regulation system is more analogous to the operation of a home furnace, as opposed to the function of an air conditioner. Humans regulate heat generation and preservation to maintain internal body temperature or core temperature. Normal core temperature at rest varies between 36.5 and 37.5 °Celsius (°C), which is 97.7 to 99.5 °Fahrenheit (°F). Core temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus (in the brain), which is often called the body’s thermostat. The hypothalamus responds to various temperature receptors located throughout the body and makes physiological adjustments to maintain a constant core temperature. For example, on a hot day, temperature receptors located in the skin send signals to the hypothalamus to cool the body by increasing the sweat rate. 
During all types of exercise the body’s ability to thermoregulate is challenged. Heat is produced as a bi-product of metabolism (metabolism is defined as all of the reactions that occur in the human body). However, the human body is only 25% efficient, therefore you lose approximately 75% of energy as heat. During exercise, heat is produced mainly from working muscle contractions and core temperature can go above 40 °C (104 °F). 

Excess heat can be lost through the processes of conduction, convection, radiation, and evaporation. If any of these systems are unable to cope or if the systems fail to control the heat, the body's temperature raises. In humans, body heat is regulated to provide a normal temperature of 37° C (98.6° F). The brain stem, specifically the thermostatic region of the hypothalamus, is the centre of temperature regulation. When it becomes deranged, as during infections, heat is conserved unnecessarily and the temperature can exceed the normal range and we get fevers. 

Although most often associated with infection, fever is also observed in other pathologic states, such as 

cancer, coronary artery occlusion, and disorders of the blood. It also may result from physiological stresses, such as strenuous exercise or ovulation, or from environmentally induced heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Q: Do some foods produce excess heat in the body?

Krishna: I have found one paper (2) that says Chilli peppers can do more than just make you feel hot; the active chemical in peppers can directly induce thermogenesis, the process by which cells convert energy into heat. Researchers have found that capsaicin can create "heat" in a more direct manner by altering the activity of a muscle protein called SERCA. Normally, muscle contraction initiates following the release of a wave of calcium ions from a compartment called the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR); SERCA then actively pumps the calcium back into the SR (using ATP energy), causing muscle relaxation and renewing the cycle.

Capsaicin, however, can attach to SERCA and "uncouple" this pumping activity; that is, the protein still burns ATP energy but doesn't use it to pump calcium. Instead, all the ATP energy is given off as heat. This uncoupling, known as thermogenesis, is one important method of staying warm and is most often seen in hibernating animals.

I must also add that according to ayurveda some foods produce excess heat in the body. However, almost all the doctors I spoke to said modern medical system doesn't recognize such a thing as categorization like hot foods or cold foods. 

Q: Is eating food cold bad? My mother says so. She also says the food tastes good if you eat it hot.

Krishna: Okay, ask people not to eat ice creams and deserts then and see the results!

You will be surprised to hear this: I always eat food cold (normal room temperature), not hot. I didn't see anything bad ever happening to me because of this. Unlike several people, I feel comfortable eating cold food because we live in a hot region. I get a nauseating feeling if I eat hot food!

If the food is in good condition, it doesn't make any difference whether you eat it hot or cold.

I spoke to some experts regarding this and they all agreed with me. Whatever others might say, there is no evidence to show that hot food is better than cold food. Do animals have their food hot? Are they facing any problems because of eating cold food?

According to some studies, our taste perception is enchanced as the temperature of food and beverages increases, explaining why beer is more bitter and ice cream is sweeter when consumed warm. According to the researchers, the reaction of TRPM5 in our taste buds is much more intense when the temperature of food or fluid is increased, sending a stronger electrical signal to the brain and resulting in an enhanced taste. So your mother is right in that sense.

But I think, taste is a perception, don't ice creams taste like heaven even if they are very cold? If you eat food piping hot, how do you taste things with severe hotness affecting your mouth? I can't! For me atleast it doesn't make any difference if you eat food hot or cold. I am immune to all these things. 

Q: Should alternative facts and controversies be taught in science classrooms?

Krishna: Only genuine science should be taught in science classes. Period.

Q: I underwent cataract surgery one year back. My natural lenses have been removed and  artificial ones were attached in their place. Since then black looks like  violet to me.  Why is this? 

Krishna: In human adults, the eye lense absorbs  most of UV-B and all of UV-A (295-400 nm), and therefore only visible light reaches the retina. 

What you experience now is because sometimes the artificial lense replacements don’t filter out UV rays . Our natural lenses filter UV rays and when they are replaced during cataract surgeries, you see different hues and colours like whitish blue or whitish-violet or  blackish-violet. This has been reported by some people. There is a blue shade seen if non tinted IOL is implanted during surgery. That is because natural crystalline lens is slightly yellow tinted which absorbs blue light to some extent.

However, you have to also understand that, it's not the lens of the human eyes which sees anything, it only Focus light Rays and a bit filtering done. It's the Cones of the human retina which photosynthesis the colours of the light spectrum and visual cortex does the rest. Now making the eyes Aphakic don't give retina any extra capabilities to synthesise ultra violet part of the light spectrum. Some Aphakic claim to visualise more of a blueish violet colours just because of over stimulation of the Cones due to uninterrupted passage of the light rays.

I remember,  both of my mother's natural eye lenses were replaced with artificial ones during her cataract surgery and since then during nights in semi darkness and near darkness her eyes used to shine very brightly like cat's eyes and anybody who didn't know why this happened used to get scared! I had to explain to them the reason and that my mother 's not 'possessed'! 

Q: Sometimes when I suddenly stand up from a sitting position, I feel giddy. Why is this?

Krishna: When I was young I too faced similar problems. This is called Orthostatic hypotension or postural hypotension in medical parlance. It is a form of low blood pressure that happens when you stand up from sitting or lying down. Orthostatic hypotension can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded, and maybe even faint. It usually lasts for a few seconds to a few minutes. However, long-lasting orthostatic hypotension can signal more-serious problems, so it's important to see a doctor if you frequently feel lightheaded when standing up.

Signs and Symptoms include - feeling lightheaded or dizzy after standing up, blurry vision, weakness, fainting (syncope), confusion, and nausea.

Reasons - it is triggered by mild dehydration, low blood sugar or overheating. Dizziness or lightheadedness may also happen when you stand after sitting for a long time. If these symptoms happen only occasionally, there's likely no cause for concern.

It's important to see your doctor if you experience frequent symptoms of orthostatic hypotension because they can signal serious problems. It's even more urgent to see a doctor if you lose consciousness, even for just a few seconds.

Q: Why do the Sun and Moon appear bigger during the rising and setting? 

Krishna: This just is an illusion. There are many explanations for this illusion. Some scientists say that 

illusion is linked to the mechanism that produces everyday size-distance perception, a genetically determined brain process that allows us to translate the planar images that fall on the retina into a view of rigid objects moving in space.  So the moon illusion results from what happens when the mechanism operates in an unusual situation. In normal perception, when rigid objects move in depth (distance), the angular size of the light image stimulating our eyes grows or shrinks. The brain automatically translates this changing stimulation back into the perception of rigid objects whose position in depth is changing.

When the moon is near the horizon, the ground and horizon make the moon appear relatively close. Because the moon is changing its apparent position in depth while the light stimulus remains constant, the brain's size-distance mechanism changes its perceived size and makes the moon appear very large.

Q: Isn't belief in evolution also a matter of faith?

There is tons and tons of evidence you can find in favour of evolution. Go through it, analyse it scientifically and only when you are fully convinced, then trust what scientists say.

And don’t try to equate established science with religion without fully understanding what science really is.

Q: Can scientists without doing research on a particular and another topic other than their own fields talk or write about it?

Krishna: One student who believed in ghosts once told me this after reading my article on paranormal ( Science and the paranormal  )

'You are not an expert in these things. You didn't do research on ghosts. You are  as good as I am with regard to these things. Why should I trust you when you say ghosts don't exist?'

And this 's my reply to him : In science there is a thing called scientific method which establishes facts of science. It is common to all the fields and all scientists are trained in it. Once trained, a scientist knows whether a fact in any field is scientifically established or not if s/he thoroughly analyses the methods and methodologies  for arriving at a particular conclusion.  

So as a  trained scientist when I go through all the research papers on paranormal, I can understand and realize what facts are established and whether these facts are based on genuine evidence or not. Only when I am fully convinced about the genuineness of the facts I write about them and bring them into the public domain.

Now you are equating yourself with me. If I give a story to you, can you establish its genuineness  or facts about it using scientific analysis like I do? You can't! That is why you believe all the stories on ghosts you hear or read without investigating them thoroughly and think they exist. There lies the difference between you and a scientist.

 I did  some research myself on the paranormal, established the genuineness of the facts using thorough analyses and then only wrote about it. I gave references too and  shown videos done by experts.

That is why most people give weightage to scientists' or experts' talks or write ups if they follow scientific way of doing things.

However, I must warn you if I just express my simple opinions without following any scientific methods, you need not trust me. 

Q: Why do you sometimes feel uncomfortable after taking flu vaccines?

Krishna: Sometimes you can feel ill after getting the flu vaccine. But you didn’t get the flu from the vaccine. The most likely reason for aches and flu-like symptoms is that the flu vaccine worked! It stimulates the immune system to make the appropriate antibodies, and causes a bit of inflammation, and that can cause uncomfortable symptoms. Another explanation is that you actually got sick, either from the flu virus you picked up prior to getting the vaccine, or from a completely different virus all together.

The side affects of vaccines are much simpler and manageable than actually suffering from flu.

Q: What is the explanation of Rahu and Ketu in science?

It is based on mythology and vedic astrology, and has an explanation that Rahu and Ketu denote the points of intersection of the paths of the Sun and the Moon as they move on the celestial sphere. Therefore, Rahu and Ketu are respectively called the north and the south lunar nodes. Eclipses occur when the Sun and the Moon are at one of these points .

Q: Why can't science stop death?

Q: Is there a definite answer to the Q why living beings die in science?

Krishna: In order to stop death, first you need to understand it completely. The processes of life systems. Like I said earlier several times Science is still in an infant stage. It takes time for it to understand entire life processes. When once we understand them, may be we can control death. Why medical science is already doing that. Haven't we increased the life span of human beings? If you take  severely diseased persons to  hospitals, several lives are being saved and prolonged. 

I think we have reached the intermediate stage. To reach a final stage, it takes time.

More research into specific molecular changes in aging is needed. This may show us if there are key molecular components that are the first to break down, and whether that breakdown leads to the subsequent cascade of failure. If there are such key components, we would have clear targets for interventions and repair, possibly through nanotechnology, stem cell research, or gene editing. We can try that.

Obviously, there is extensive molecular turnover during the life of a cell. And after two cycles of division, two of the granddaughter cells will have none of the original DNA molecular constituents of the original cell. There are two types of continuous change that are difficult to fit into the framework of "age": molecular replacement and incremental structural change (genetic mutation, cellular conjugation, virus invasion, etc.). At what point does molecular substitution or genetic change cause the cell to become "new" again? It may be that the concept of "newness" and "age" is a model for describing generated structures (animal birth from egg, manufactured products, nations created by revolution), that simply does not generalize to all of biological life.

Through automated time-lapse microscopy, scientists followed repeated cycles of reproduction by individual cells of the model organism Escherichia coli, which reproduces without a juvenile phase and with an apparently symmetric division. They have shown that the cell that inherits the old pole exhibits a diminished growth rate, decreased offspring production, and an increased incidence of death. The researchers concluded that the two supposedly identical cells produced during cell division are functionally asymmetric; the old pole cell should be considered an aging parent repeatedly producing rejuvenated offspring. These results suggest that no life strategy is immune to the effects of aging, and therefore immortality may be either too costly or mechanistically impossible in natural organisms (4).

If a dividing cell can differentiate between "troubled" molecules and "healthy ones", and asymmetrically divide so that one daughter cell gets all the good  molecules , that would help the long-term survival of the genes by concentrating problems in cells that are expected to eventually fail. That is biological surprises for you.

Scientists think death is the best thing to happen to living beings! Surprised to hear this?

It’s not that living things die; it’s that multicellular organisms die. According to experts ...

Every single-celled organism alive today has been in existence since life began over 3 billion years ago. This is because individual cells do not give birth, they divide. After cell division, the two cells that result are each as old as the single cell that preceded them. The cell does not become younger by dividing. (Although this may not be exactly true, see: [3]). 

However, when a cell divides, it must synthesize new components.  In general, cells don't double in size before they divide and the daughter cells are about 80% of normal size.  This is why cells undergo rapid synthesis after dividing.  Further, all cells are dynamic and constantly recycle their intracellular components and membranes.   Cells constantly renew themselves and are not very old.  This leaves us with cellular (and mitochondrial) DNA.  The error rate for DNA in viruses and human cells in 1 in 10e8/generation (division).  This means in 100 million generations the DNA, on average, is completely, but faithfully, replaced.  Unicellular organisms turn over pretty fast.  Even multicellular organisms typically have life spans in days to months, not years.  So, it's pretty likely that the DNA is "new" too.  

The strategy that multicellular organisms such as humans use to project themselves into the future is to create new cell colonies from a single undifferentiated cell rather than maintaining existing colonies indefinitely. The main reason is that reproduction is more flexible and robust than maintenance, and it provides a way of starting over with a “clean slate” and slightly different genes. Complex organisms accumulate billions of errors and problems over their lifetime. Most of these errors are fixed as fast as they happen, but life takes a toll and not all problems are reversible. It is like reinstalling Microsoft Windows every so often to fix accumulated system issues. Generating a new organism every so often from a single cell, tackles the issues of errors in living systems.

Given that biology has selected this strategy, evolution has optimized for producing the most successful offspring. Once the individual has reproduced, its only evolutionary role is to support the success of its offspring. Aging longer is just not something evolution has had a reason to optimize. And in fact given limited environmental resources, the offspring often do better if the older generation doesn’t stay around forever competing with younger generations for scarce resources.

In terms of what happens physiologically, there are two main contributors to aging.

The first is the accumulation of biological defects. Viruses and disease take a toll even after healing; UV rays slowly but inevitably damage DNA; and proteins, cell structure, and the neurons which hold memories all degrade over time due to thermodynamic molecular disruptions and invasions by other species.

The second is the aging process itself. The organism develops to maturity and ages in stages according to a genetically determined life plan. Muscles atrophy, bones brittle, and metabolism changes. But the life plan has never run more than 80 years until recently, and evolution only ever optimized the first 40 years or so. So humans are in new territory that is poorly understood, and which evolution has never had a reason to fine tune.

Can't nature fix these errors? Mutations are a problem evolution can fix. No matter how hard our genes try to help us survive, sometimes they're going to fail. These failures are often, as far as your genes are concerned, random. And that means our genes can't afford to get too invested in the survival of any individual. In the long term, the only way a gene can survive is to spread -- to copy itself through a population. So from a gene's-eye view, every investment in your survival is a potential trade-off with the creation and survival of your potential descendants. And, rather obviously, the more likely you are to die randomly, the less it makes sense for your genes to invest in your survival. Look at this from your genes' perspective. Your genes don't know about you specifically, their behavior is selected based on statistics. They don't want to invest in somebody who is, on average, dead. Younger people are, on average, more likely to be alive. So if your genes have to choose between investing in (on average) the survival and/or reproduction of young you versus old you, they'll pick young you.

And quite often they do have to choose. Early in development, for instance, you really need genes that allow lots of cellular proliferation. Your body can't grow without it. But too much cellular proliferation when you're fully-grown is a big problem. So it's a delicate balance, and what's good for you when you're a kid can be bad for you when you're grown up. There are other genes that manage these risks by switching genes on and off throughout your life, but that makes the network even more complex and failure-prone. You end up with an intricate genomic dance going on throughout your whole life. So it's hardly surprising that some genes end up helping you now and harming you later.

The less your genes care about you, the more likely it is that you're dead. And this has been going on throughout our evolutionary history, so we've accumulated all sorts of weird malfunctions that kick in late in our lives. The human genome is riddled with them, and most of the genes involved are also part of normal development and reproduction. These malfunctions cluster around a certain age: the age when evolution stops caring about us because, statistically speaking, we're already dead.

So mortality is an evolutionary prophecy that fulfills itself in a multitude of ways. And that's why there's no single key to eternal life. 

It may be possible to slow or stop some of the genetically determined aging processes. While this may not be good for an overpopulated planet and the living systems, it is sure to be popular with those that can afford the medical intervention. And with people who don't want to die, ever! Greed! At what cost?

So it is not good for any living system to live forever! Then why should we stop death perpetually in the first place, even if we can? Faulty systems run amok creating chimeras! Over populated Earth is a nightmare! New things must come and replace older ones for our (living beings) own survival. renewal is a must. No, we don't want to interfere with nature that much by conquering death, not now, not at any time! That doesn't make sense.

Q: Why does cold get worse during night?

Krishna: When we lie down our blood pressure changes, and we may experience increased blood flow to the upper part of our body including our head and nasal passageways. This increased blood flow can make the vessels inside our nose and nasal passageways even more inflamed. Increased blood flow also commonly causes congestion in pregnant woman.

A lying-down position also makes it more difficult to clear mucous from our nose and sinus cavities. For example, while we are standing up during the day, mucous is constantly running from our nose and sinuses into the backs of our throat and being swallowed. Most of the time we don't even notice this. At night, however, this mucous may pool or back up. Many people notice that their congestion starts to improve an hour or two after they get up in the morning. That's gravity doing its work.
Even if we aren't lying down in bed ready to sleep we tend to start lounging in a more relaxed supine position a couple of hours before bedtime. This is why you might notice your congestion getting worse not long after the sun goes down.

This also explains why people with conditions like a cold virus or allergies might feel their congestion increase at night. 

Q: Was there ever a time where something that goes against science was proven to be true?

  1. The scientific principles that govern this universe and run it.
  2. The process with which we study and try to understand things given in the first aspect.

Nothing can go wrong in the first one, if it does, this universe collapses and cannot exist. Nothing can go against this first aspect. Nobody can prove anything against it.

The second one can go wrong because of our inadequacies in studying and understanding of the working of this universe. Therefore, corrections take place all the while. That is improvement as our understanding gets better and better.

Q: How would we state the criteria for saying something is scientific or unscientific in minimum words for a layman?

Everything in this universe is scientific, because scientific principles strictly govern everything here. But unfortunately, human mind doesn’t go this route majority of the time and therefore, most peoples’ minds go against this universal science!

Q: Do experts like you know everything about science?

Krishna: Just now I took a science quiz on a US based site to test how much science I know. Know what? I got 100% in the test, I got all the answers right to the Qs posed. And the page told me that 's odd for a woman ( yes , the page asked my gender) - to answer all the Qs right! :) I laughed and laughed.

But the secret to my success 's the Qs were general, mostly biology based like  components and working of  general medicines, health, quite common, research based, general scientific method based queries, science facts and things like that  and ... what is more important is  I am a Ph.D. in science ( the page asked me my qualifications too) and read a lot about science and update my knowledge about scientific research every day. I am not surprised about the result.

But what if they asked me more about high grade Physics ( they asked me some physics Qs too but they 're general in nature and quite simple) or mathematics ( they asked me to do some calculations in maths too but they too were easy) ? Or something I have no knowledge about? What if I got only 50% of the answers right? I would have gone mad. I would have felt ashamed. 

But fortunately, you get only general Qs in these test quizzes and I think I know most of the general things in science.

I know 'some things' in science, but my knowledge is more than most people have. And what is more important is it is highly authentic. Does that make me an expert?  

I will leave the answer to your thinking.

Do experts know everything in science? NO! But we try to learn and put more efforts into that process than most people.

Q: Why are scientists making so much noise about black hole pictures? It doesn't make any difference to us!

Krishna: :) It is an important milestone in the history of science! It also denotes co-operation between scientists across the globe without which these pictures wouldn't have come into existence.

This also shows what human beings, especially the scientists,  can achieve despite their limitations. This black hole is very far away and small to our telescopes to capture the images. To take a picture of something so small and so far, we needed the biggest telescope we can possibly build. So, Event Horizon turned the entire Earth into a telescope! Like this...

to get this...

When you put two telescopes on opposite sides of the planet and make them function as one, you get a “lens” the size of the planet. The more telescopes, the better. They all act in unison, observing the same spot, recording everything. Then some incredibly smart people write some stunningly powerful programmes to run the data and piece them together.

Not to mention it is not a straight shot from us to Messier 87. There are other stars and galaxies in the way. We can “see through them” in a way. Every massive object has what’s known as gravitational lens. Light from behind it bends around and creates a ring of distorted images. We can aim our telescope onto that ring and record the distorted data. Then another programme written by another extremely smart group of people “flattens” it out and we see what’s hiding behind that galaxy. To get to Messier 87 they probably had to do it several times.

Isn't conquering the unachievable  a great thing? It undoubtedly is!

Just two days back I read an interesting story in the media. 

Stargazing tech could soon help detect cancer  - It’s usually used to observe stars millions of miles away, way, but stargazing technology could soon also be used to detect cancer, according to a new study. The United Kingdom Space Agency has granted £1 million of funding to experts to develop a portable 3D medical X-ray machine, based on stargazing technology. Researchers hope this will give doctors a more in-depth view of areas where tumours are growing, leading to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatments. The portable kit could also allow patients to be scanned in doctors’ surgeries, reducing the need for trips to hospitals.

Nothing in science is a waste. One field depends on the other. This knowledge will help us in some other way. 

Won't we get excited about it? Like hell, we do! Come share this thrill with us.

Q: How can I find DMIT's scientific proof?

Why is Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Analysis (DMIA) pseudo...

Oh, yes, people might say several things but they don’t stand up to genuine scientific scrutiny.

Q: What is a ghost in scientific terms and is there any explanation of the paranormal activities which are occurring around us in our day to day lives?

Explanation, yes, lots of it. If you are really interested in knowing the scientific explanations that debunk ghost theories, read them here:

Science and the paranormal



2. Mahmmoud et al. Capsaicin Stimulates Uncoupled ATP Hydrolysis by the Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium PumpJournal of Biological Chemistry, 2008; 283 (31): 21418 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M803654200

3. Stewert EJ, et al (2005). Aging and death in an organism that reproduces by morphologically symmetric division. PLoS Biology.


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