Kasturi Das

Independent journalist I Editor I Photography

Tai Chi Can Improve Survival Rate of Advanced Lung Cancer Patients By A Year

AsianScientist (May. 15, 2024) – Tai chi could significantly improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue in patients with advanced lung cancer, and improve their survival rate by a year, a new study has found. Patients with advanced lung cancer often experience sleep disturbances which can aggravate physical and psychological symptoms, resulting in decreased quality of life and survival.

To address these issues, researchers from the University of Hong Kong’s medical school investigated non-pharmac

Forests Can Trap Airborne Microplastics

AsianScientist (May. 08, 2024) – In recent years, microplastics have gained global attention due to their negative impact on the environment and human health. Microplastics have infiltrated every corner of our environment, from the depths of oceans to the air we breathe and even within cloud water. However, there is some good news. A recent study has found that forests potentially serve as a vital sink for airborne microplastics.

Airborne microplastics are tiny plastic particulates – less than

A Big Feat: Scientists Have Turned Skin Cells Into Limb Cells

AsianScientist (Mar. 27, 2024) – A new study has identified a mechanism that can turn skin cells into limb cells, opening possibilities for regenerative therapy.

In a collaborative study, researchers from Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, have identified proteins that can change fibroblasts, or skin cells into cells that behave like those found in developing limbs. This finding opens up possibilities for using these transformed cells in regenerative therap

Bullying Could Lead To Psychosis In Teens

AsianScientist (Feb. 29, 2024) – A new research conducted by the University of Tokyo showing a link between teenagers who get bullied and the early stages of psychotic episodes they experience.

The study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, found that bullied teens not only face a higher risk of experiencing early psychotic symptoms but also exhibit lower levels of a critical neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for emotion regulation. The finding suggests that this neurotransmitter, called

Climate Change In South China Sea Can Impact Global Weather

Asian Scientist Magazine (Feb. 22, 2024) — Climate change in the South China Sea and its surrounding areas could have “profound impacts” on both local and global climate patterns, a new study has found. The South China Sea, located in the eastern part of Southeast Asia, is a partially enclosed sea surrounded by Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

The South China Sea and its surrounding areas (SCSSA), which includes the Indo-Pacific Oceans, Southeast Asia, and t

HPV Myths Busted: Truth About Cervical Cancer in India

Akansha Singh*, a 34-year-old Delhi based Public Relations officer, found herself grappling with a shocking health revelation last year. Following a papsmear, Akansha was found to be positive for a high-risk strain of the Human Papillomavirus, commonly known as HPV. The virus had led to the development of precancerous cells in her cervix, which if left untreated, could progress to cervical cancer in the coming years.

Despite maintaining regular visits to her gynaecologist, Akansha had never und

Dog Ownership Can Cut Dementia Risk By 40% In Older People

Asian Scientist Magazine (Jan. 26, 2023) — Adding to the list of benefits of having a canine companion, a new study from Japan has found that having a dog can lower the risk of dementia in older adults. The study, published in Preventive Medicine Reports, found that dog owners over the age of 65 are 40 percent less likely to develop dementia.

The researchers claim that this is the first study to establish a clear link between dog ownership and a lowered risk of dementia.

People with dementia e

Masterchef India runner-up revives village school, fosters hope in Meghalaya

Call it cooking up a miracle. The ‘tribal chef of Meghalaya’—Nambie Jessica Marak—created ripples in the culinary world and became the first runner-up of Masterchef India 8. But what won the hearts of viewers was her rustic life in Meghalaya’s Upper Rangsa village, and her school, bustling with students in the nearby Nongrisan village. This school, abandoned and dilapidated, was revived a year ago by Nambie and her husband, Sunny Arokiadoss, giving hope to families that have had to migrate to As

Microplastics In clouds: Scientists Warn Of “Plastic Rainfall”

Asian Scientist Magazine (Dec. 01, 2023) —Microplastics exist everywhere around us – soil, oceans, rivers, and even in human placentas. Now scientists in Japan have discovered microplastics in cloud water, which could potentially contaminate crops and water through “plastic rainfall”. The study was recently published in Environmental Chemistry Letters.

In the study, researchers from Waseda University in Tokyo analyzed cloud water collected from mists shrouding the summit of Mount Fuji, the sout

Cherrapunji’s abundant rainfall is now in a premium gin

Meghalaya’s sister towns Cherrapunji and Mawsynram, receiving over 11,800 millimetres of rainfall annually, are the rainiest places on Earth. This perpetual monsoon not only draws over 1.5 million visitors to the State every year, but also presents an abundant resource — rainwater. For Shillong native Mayukh Hazarika, this rainfall sparked an unconventional ambition — to convert this copious downpour into a designer gin using regional botanicals.

Mayukh realised that several people visit Cherra

Treasures of a bygone era

An insatiable fascination for antiques recently had me making the rounds of Chickpet, one of Bengaluru’s oldest and bustling localities. I was in search of an antique shop, nearing its centenary. After three rounds around the busy market area located in the heart of the city, and manoeuvering through narrow alleys, with Google Maps for assistance, I finally spotted a black-and-white sign that said Balaji’s Antiques & Collectibles. The store was tucked inside an inconspicuous alley.

When I point

Ziro’s hills are alive with music

“Initiated in 2012 by musician Bobby Hano, and Menwhopause guitarist Anup Kutty, and hosted by the Apatani community, the Ziro Music Festival has become one of the most popular festivals for music and nature lovers over the last decade. The festival has been designed in a sustainable, environment-friendly way, keeping in consideration the core beliefs of the Apatanis that are rooted in Paganism. It is perhaps the first and only festival in India, made almost completely from locally sourced eco-f

Divided by borders, Lahore and Delhi are united in smog

The sister cities of Lahore, in Pakistan, and New Delhi, in India, share many things – food, culture, and now a pall of air pollution that hangs over the cities through much of the winter months. While New Delhi has consistently ranked as one of the most polluted cities in the world, in recent years Lahore has swiftly climbed up those rankings – sometimes overtaking New Delhi.

In both cities, the brunt of the problem falls hardest on children. In New Delhi, schools were ordered to shut in Novem

Cancer survivors take first steps towards conquering mountains

Swagatika Acharya and Dr Kunal Kumar Das may be poles apart when it comes to age, but not in spirit. The two recently climbed more than 11,800 feet to Dayara Bugyal in Uttarakhand. But that’s not their only achievement. 24-year-old Acharya and 71-year-old Das are both cancer survivors. The duo, along with six other survivors, embarked on this four-day trek organised by Apollo Cancer Centres and IndiaHikes, to prove to themselves and to others that there is life after cancer. The survivors, aged

Manipur landslide sparks ecological debate

Sixty-one people died and 18 were injured after a massive landslide hit the construction site of Tupul Railway station on June 30. The Tupul substation is situated in Manipur’s Noney district. The railway project, which is part of the Act East policy through the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), aims to connect with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.

The first landslide occurred at 12.30 am on June 30, and the second at 6 am. At least 79 people were affected, of which

Habitat changes may be causing sarus cranes to form breeding trios

A new study by K.S. Gopi Sundar, Swati Kittur and Suhridam Roy, at the Nature Conservation Foundation, details the discovery of a novel social unit among sarus cranes. The study has found that while breeding, sarus cranes, which typically mate for life, form trios to raise their chicks, in order to improve brood survival.

“Bringing in a third member to raise chicks is not a trivial matter, because cranes are highly territorial birds. They have synchronised behaviours like unison calls and behav

Fences of lemon trees keep elephants away from Assam farmers’ crops and homes

Six years ago, on a November morning, Sambhar Hazarika witnessed a sight that left him crestfallen. His farmland, located a few kilometres from his home, was plundered – the cowshed he had built was smashed to the ground and his crops devoured by a herd of elephants the previous night.

But this wasn’t an unusual sight. Hazarika, in his 60s, is one of the many farmers in Sauraguri chapori (riverine island in the Brahmaputra river basin), which lies roughly 23 km away from Assam’s Sivasagar city,

An artist captures the North-East in aerial embroidery

It is a bird’s-eye view of Loktak Lake that catches the eye—two lotus pickers rowing their boats on the freshwater lake, against a striking blue background surrounded by greens and pinks. Only this is neither a picture, nor a painting. It is a landscape created on a piece of cloth, with a myriad knots and minuscule stitches, secured by a wooden hoop.

Architect and urban planner Diti Baruah, who is from Assam, is a self-taught aerial embroidery artist who creates hyper-realistic landscapes focus

Black bears stray from Assam national park in unprecedented numbers

On the night of 15 December 2021, Suken Gayari got the shock of his life. The elderly resident of Daurebari village in Assam, northeast India, had just finished dinner and was about to retire for the night when he heard a loud thud in the kitchen. Gayari rushed towards the sound and found that the kitchen door had been broken. When he peeped inside, to his horror he saw a large black bear relishing a pot of leftover rice and curry.

“The bear also ate 18 eggs, and a few chicks that had hatched r

In Gujarat’s Amalsad, a ramshackle crematorium comes to life as a recreational space

When he first set his sight on the barren piece of land, with just a hut meant for cremation rituals perched precariously on top of a slope, Himanshu Patel knew what he had to do.

An Ahmedabad based architect, Patel was put in charge by a local trust to renovate a dilapidated crematorium in Gujarat’s Amalsad town. When we think of crematoriums, the first thought is a sense of uneasiness, a feeling of gloom. Patel wanted to challenge this thought.

“Amalsad is a small town, with no public areas

Doctor Who

ne of the first things Dr. Abhijit Neog asked Majumdar for was Stephen Antony’s registration number. When he keyed this into the National Medical Commission database, he discovered the profile of C. Stephen Antony from Malleshwaram, Bengaluru, very much a Batch of 2007 graduate of that city’s well-known St. John’s Medical College. Neog matched the information on the website with the estate management’s records. No issues there. But one of these details stood out like a sore thumb: the address. M

Meet Cyclist Ankit Arora Who Has Redefined The Meaning Of Slow Travel

A former journalist, 32-year-old Ankit Arora from Jaipur, is a pan-India cyclist who began his journey aiming for a Guinness World Record for the longest journey on a bicycle within a single country. But along his journey, that idea made way for a greater purpose. By Kasturi Das

Travel + Leisure India: You’ve been on the go for over 1,000 days now. How did it all begin?

Ankit Arora: I started my journey on August 27, 2017. I wanted to explore India for 150 days and eventually go back home, to
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