Published: Sunday 29 February 2004

simple remedy: A protein of sheep's red blood cells can become the perfect remedy for brain tumours, as per researchers from B C Roy Postgraduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Kolkata. During experiments, the protein, called T11TS/SLFA-3, increased rats' survival time by 350 days -- a significant part of the creatures' lifespan of three years.

bitter sweet find: Scientists from Pune-based National Chemical Laboratory have established that extracts of neem leaves can undo the damage caused by diabetes. As per their findings, just 16 weeks of treatment can decrease cholesterol level and reverse retinal damage.

bone of happiness: Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, have developed a method to completely disinfect bones of cows. The development will mean availability of cheap, and more significantly, safe bones required for transplants. Worldwide, more than a million bone transplants are done each year, using animal grafts. But these contain proteins, which can cause infections.

small wonders: Scientists from the New Delhi-based Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology have identified microorganisms that can be help produce biodegradable plastics, as they produce polyhydroxyalkanoates -- materials similar to synthetic polymers (currently used to make plastic), but which can easily decompose.

high on banana: Scientists from the Tamil Nadu-based National Research Centre for Banana have discovered that a banana's peel contains 11 per cent alcohol. What's more, they have developed the technology to extract the alcohol. It would be soon transferred to the industry.

green thar: Recent analysis of an elephant fossil discovered in the Thar suggests that a few thousand years ago the great desert was green. The fossil belongs to Elephas maximus. "The preferred ecosystem of the elephant is said to be thick forests. Therefore, we speculate that the desert was once fertile," says B S Paliwal, a geologist at the Jai Narain Vyas University of Jodhpur, who discovered the fossil.

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