Stem Cells for Damaged Hearts
After a heart attack sometimes the heart muscle gets irretrievably damaged with disastrous consequences. Despite medical advances not much can be done for these patients. Stem cells have shown enormous promise in repairing organs after injury, using them in the heart itself, but have not yielded the expected results because very few of the transplanted cells survive in the heart. Now doctors at the Johns Hopkins Institute, USA have been successful in creating a sticky gel that functioned as a synthetic stem cell niche. It encapsulated stem cells while nurturing them and rapidly restored their metabolism. This has been hailed as a major discovery with enormous potential to help heart patients. What is more there’s improved heart function and increased number of blood vessels in the region of the heart attack offering a potential first step to a new way to heal human hearts after heart attacks. The findings have been described in the current issue of Biomaterials. Dr Roselle Abraham, assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is the lead researcher. She is married to another world-renowned authority, Dr Theodore Abraham. Both hail from Goa and graduated from the Goa Medical College. It is a proud moment for us Goans.
Francisco Colaco, Margao
On Making Air Bags Mandatory
This in reference to the letter ‘Air-bags must for all cars’ by Adelmo Fernandes ( NT Sept 30). Air- bags undoubtedly prove useful in saving the lives of both driver and occupants of a vehicle in the event of a crash or severe collision. On the other hand air -bags can also cause injury or even death if instructions are not carried our properly While children below the age of 12 years are prohibited from using the front seat, it is necessary for the occupants to keep a safe distance from the dashboard, and remain properly seated with seat belt fastened throughout. However, for an air bag to function effectively, there must be a collision of severe impact. For this to happen the speed of the vehicle must be around 200 kmph. This is hardly possible on busy city roads, especially in Goa, where due to the spurt in the number of vehicles and badly pot-holed roads, traffic virtually crawls for most part of the day. Car dealers in Goa are also not much in favour of air-bags as they add to the cost of the vehicle without being of much use except when driving on open roads at break-neck speeds. Therefore, making air bags mandatory for car manufacturers in India, hardly serves the purpose.
A F NAZARETH, Alto Porvorim
Demolition Sans Rehabilitation Is A Sadistic Act
The Goa government is taking great pride in the successful demolition of the Baina settlement. The displaced people without any roof over their heads are totally in disarray after this inhuman act. Even some shanties that they had put up as temporary shelter have been uprooted by the authorities. The government may take recourse justifying their act stating that they had fulfilled the legal formalities of serving them notices and given them time to vacate the premises as it was falling under the statutory coastal zone regulations (CRZ) norms. But our question is how the same government is employing double standards by pleading with the central government for the relaxation of the standards under CRZ for implementing certain tourism related projects? Some legislators from Karnataka who are in Goa to take stock of the situation have rightly alleged that this government which is so eager in rendering the hapless occupants homeless is protecting the premises of a liquor baron that also exists in violation of the same norms. That apart the occupants have alleged that they have been occupying the premises since the last 30-40 years. Moreover they are having the mandatory documents like the ration cards, voter cards, electricity and water connections justifying their claim that they are not illegal occupants. Isn’t it disgraceful that over the years the different governments have patronised these habitats as vote banks basking on their support? It is apparent that these settlements were pro-Congress and now that the rival BJP government rules the state, the task has been rendered simple for raging the shanties, with imminent fears that it may no longer garner votes for the ruling party. The very fact that the affected people have been residing in the said area for decades it is binding upon the government to rehabilitate the evacuated people by making alternate arrangement within the state. Boiling situations of this sort can only create ill will and repercussion across the border. We should learn to live in peace with our neighbours.
MICHAEL VAZ, MERCES