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The Science & Technology Weekly – 27 June – 3 July, 2016


Starting 4th April, 2016 we have a started a new initiative to post Science and Technology Compilation of all articles coming in leading news daily on a weekly basis. We look forward to simplify the preparation of aspirants by easing out their task in one of the most vague topics in UPSC preparation. The compilation will make aspirants aware with day to day happenings in the field of science and technology as well list out basics in brief.

  1. New method can kill cancer cells in two hours, shows study
  2. LG India claims their TV can repel mosquitoes
  3. New missile shoots down target aircraft
  4. Indian women facing early menopause: Survey
  5. Did WHO’s TB care advice cause more MDR-TB cases?
  6. A station in Himalayas to study climate change
  7. Deep space rocket booster tested


[1] New method can kill cancer cells in two hours, shows study


  • Researchers have developed a new, non-invasive method that can kill cancer cells in two hours, an advance that may significantly help people with inoperable or hard-to-reach tumours as well as young children stricken with the deadly disease.

What is the new method

  • The method involves injecting a chemical compound, nitrobenzaldehyde, into the tumour and allowing it to diffuse into the tissue.
  • A beam of light is then aimed at the tissue, causing the cells to become very acidic inside and, essentially, “commit suicide
  • Within two hours, up to 95 per cent of the targeted cancer cells are dead or are estimated to be dead

Cell suicide

  • Though there are many different types of cancers, the one thing they have in common is their susceptibility to this induced cell suicide.
  • All forms of cancer attempt to make cells acidic on the outside as a way to attract the attention of a blood vessel, which attempts to get rid of the acid. Instead, the cancer latches onto the blood vessel and uses it to make the tumour larger and larger.

How is it different from other method

  • Chemotherapy treatments target all cells in the body, and certain chemotherapeutics try to keep cancer cells acidic as a way to kill the cancer. This is what causes many cancer patients to lose their hair and become sickly.
  • However,this method is more precise and can target just the tumour.

[2] LG India claims their TV can repel mosquitoes


The Indian division of South Korea’s LG Electronics has developed a TV it claims can repel mosquitoes, which spread diseases such as malaria, Zika and dengue.


10-50m: Mosquito detects CO2 plume from person’s breath. 5-10m: Mosquito sees person. 20cm: Mosquito detects thermal plume.



[3] New missile shoots down target aircraft


  • A new generation Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM), developed by India and Israel, was successfully test-fired twice on Thursday from the Integrated Test Range off Odisha Coast, significantly boosting India’s efforts to fill gaps in its air defence capabilities.

Who developed it

  • It is developed by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for the Indian Air Force.
  • Many Indian industries like BEL [Bharat Electronics Ltd], L&T [Larsen & Toubro], BDL [Bharat Dynamics Ltd], and Tata group of companies besides other private industries have contributed to the development of a number of subsystems which have been put into use in this flight test.

Features of this

  • MRSAM system provides reliable air defence at medium ranges.
  • Capable of intercepting incoming aerial threats up to a range of 70 km, MRSAMs could be deployed in sensitive air force stations, the national capital and also for protecting other sensitive installations such as nuclear plants.
  • The MRSAM is the land version of LRSAM (long range surface to air missile) that DRDO and IAI are developing for the Navy.


[4] Indian women facing early menopause: Survey


  • Nearly 4 per cent of Indian women experience signs of menopause between 29 and 34 years of age, says a recent survey conducted by The Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC). The figure goes up to 8 per cent in the case of women between 35 and 39 years of age.

What is the normal age of reaching menopause

  • Women around the world normally reach menopause between 45 and 55 years of age, with a mean age of around 51 years.

What could be the reason behind early menopause

  • One of the culprits could be Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) — a condition when the ovaries stop functioning normally before the age of 40. The cause of POF goes undetermined in majority of the cases, but changing food habits, work culture with increased stress are some of the reasons.
  • A woman’s body is going through so many changes today because of the atmosphere and lifestyle requirements, which is why cases of premature ovary failure in young adults are being seen.
  • Lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking, thyroid or auto-immune diseases, exposure to radiation like chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and poor nutrition can also cause premature menopause. Along with this, genital tuberculosis can also lead ovaries to fail.
  • Multiple studies, meanwhile, have shown that the age of menopause can be inherited.
  • Also, a strong association has been observed between siblings, twins, mothers and daughters. Further, menopause seems accelerated in women whose mothers experienced early menopause or premature ovarian failure.
  • The study concluded that though heredity does play a role, the extent remains to be identified.


[5] Did WHO’s TB care advice cause more MDR-TB cases?


  • Between 1993 and 2002, the World Health Organisation violated sound medical care by urging low- and middle-income countries to follow less expensive, largely untested and ineffective treatment protocols to treat people with multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB), says a paper published on June 21in the Health and Human Rights Journal.

What was the main reason for this

  • Cost factor was the main consideration for the WHO to not recommend the available standard of care used successfully to treat MDR-TB cases in rich countries.
  • For most of the 1990s, donors and governments were told “not to treat MDR-TB patients” but instead focus on preventing the emergence of such cases. “Weak health systems in poor countries, lack of capacity to implement complex health interventions, and even scientifically disproven ideas that drug-resistant strains would not be as transmissible” were the rationalisations forwarded by the WHO for this policy.

Difference between policy in developed and underdeveloped countries

  • In the late 1980s, outbreaks of MDR-TB were reported all over the U.S, most notably in New York City. In the early 1990s, New York City successfully prevented transmission of MDR-TB by treating patients with recently acquired disease promptly, appropriately, and completely — ideally, with directly observed therapy (DOT).
  • In 1995, MDR-TB outbreak was reported in a slum area in Lima, Peru. Even as the guidelines for treating drug-resistant TB were drawn up by the WHO, the global health body advised the Peru government to use an “untested standardised therapy.” And unlike in the case of New York City, no drug sensitivity testing was involved. So patients received drugs to which they were already resistant to. “Unsurprisingly, only 48 per cent achieved cure and a significant number died. Many acquired further drug resistance.
  • Moreover despite second-line drugs becoming available in 2002 for treating MDR-TB patients in low- and middle-income countries, the WHO guidelines on treatment of MDR-TB patients were not rewritten till 2006.


[6] A station in Himalayas to study climate change


  • A team of glaciologists from the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Goa, has scaled over 4,500 metre to set up a research station on the icy terrain.

Why it is being done

  • Glaciologists are studying Himalayan glaciers to understand the impacts of climate change in the polar climate and its connection to the Indian monsoon.
  • The scientists will be looking into various aspects of climate change and the present status and future stability of glaciers from the Himalayas.

Feature of this station

  • The station would have several automated research facilities to detect the changes in glaciers, and glacial melt-water.
  • The newly established station would be one of the few high-altitude research facilities in the Himalayas that would help the scientists to study the region throughout the year.

[7] Deep space rocket booster tested


NASA has performed its second and last test-fire of a rocket booster for the Space Launch System (SLS), a powerful engine that may one day launch astronauts to Mars.

Features of this

  • NASA on Tuesday performed its second and last test-fire of a rocket booster for the Space Launch System (SLS), a powerful engine that may one day launch astronauts to Mars.
  • This is the last time the booster will be fired in a test environment before the first test flight of SLS with NASA’s Orion spacecraft, known as Exploration Mission-1 in late 2018.
  • On this first flight, the SLS will launch the Orion spacecraft to a stable orbit beyond the moon to demonstrate the integrated system performance of Orion and the SLS rocket prior to the first crewed flight.
  • The test aims to see how the motor performs in cold temperatures — a targeted 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.5 degrees Celsius). The first full-scale booster test in March 2015 showed the booster performed adequately at 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 C) — the highest end of the booster’s accepted propellant temperature range.
  • The SLS will also carry 13 tiny satellites to test innovative ideas. These small satellite secondary payloads or ‘CubeSats’ will carry science and technology investigations to help pave the way for future human exploration in deep space.
  • SLS’ first flight, referred to as Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), provides the rare opportunity for these small experiments to reach deep space destinations, as most launch opportunities for CubeSats are limited to low-Earth orbit.
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  • Silent killér

    Thanks sir g