The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology along with some scientists from Japan and Germany have redefined the common perception that pancreatitis is caused by alcoholism. The study conducted over 13 years, involving scientists from 25 countries, states chronic pancreatitis among Indians is mostly genetic unlike in the case of Europeans and other Asians. CCMB director Dr Ch Mohan Rao, AIG managing director Dr D Nageshwar Reddy and others established the genetic basis of tropical calcific pancreatitis and identified the involvement of a gene named Spink1.
This gene produces a protein that inhibits the active trypsin inside the pancreas. They also identified the cathepsin B gene that regulates activation of trypsinogens in the pancreas. Project group leader Dr G R Chandak says that the involvement of this gene is different from the gene implicated in other types of chronic pancreatitis in western populations. Therefore, these scientists propose that in India, chronic pancreatitis has a different genetic basis and results of research conducted abroad cannot always be applicable to Indians.
The study points to the potential for development of a genetic screening test for susceptibility to chronic pancreatitis among Indians at an early age.
The study is being published in international science journal Nature Genetics.
Playing It Safe
After coming out openly with his stand in support of a united Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy kept his Independence Day speech non-controversial. He did not make any references to either Seemandhra or Telangana except for saying that "only a peaceful state can progress on the path of development". The CM also said that the per capita income of the state has stood above the national average for the last nine years. He requested the centre to grant national project status to the Polavaram and Pranahita-Chevalla irrigation projects.
It is not just politics that Telangana protagonists fight for all the time. Sometimes, they also take up environmental issues. Civil liberties leader, G. Haragopal, and chairman of all-party Telangana Political Joint Action Committee (TJAC), Professor Kodanda Ram, are demanding that commercial exploitation of the Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy Botanical Garden at Kondapur be halted. The two joined the Botanical Garden Walkers Association to raise their voice against destroying the pristine park environs in the guise of eco-tourism. There is a proposal to commercially explore 274 acres of forest land. Prof Kodanda Ram has demanded a public hearing by the Pollution Control Board. He has asked the government to preserve the flora and fauna in the botanical park or else the TJAC would hold protest meetings. Haragopal said there was a misinformation campaign by the PCB to project the forest land as rocky terrain which was unfair. Agitations start when people feel injustice is being done to them, warns Haragopal. It is heartening to see these leaders take up such basic issues again. It was Kodanda Ram who had filed a PIL in High Court against the Polavaram dam saying it would destroy acres of flora and fauna and uproot several tribals. Meanwhile, there are rumours that Kodanda Ram is flirting with the Congress and might be offered an electoral ticket.
Not So Fast
YSR Congress leader Y.S. Vijayalakshmi who has launched a protest in Guntur in support of a united Andhra Pradesh says her son Jaganmohan Reddy wanted to take up a fast in Chanchalguda jail. "But we were worried that the authorities would shift Jagan to a jail outside the state which would cause immense heartburn to his followers," says Vijayalakshmi. Many in the party felt that had Jagan taken up a fast, he could have scored highly on popularity ratings. However, senior party leaders have advised Jagan to wait for some time before taking up any such form of protest and not appear too anti-Telangana.
Vijayalakshmi says that ever since the decision came, "Jagan has been spending sleepless nights in jail, worrying what fate will befall the people of Seemandhra. In fact he wanted to go on a fast in prison but I told him that I will do it on his behalf." Vijayalakshmi says that the centre is behaving like a father who gives away all his wealth to one son and asks the other to fend for himself. "How will the people of Seemandhra get jobs, good education, water and who will guard their interests in Hyderabad?" asks Vijayalakshmi.
The Only Constant
Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao is a worried man. Ever since the Congress announced its decision to form the state of Telangana, many of its leaders are being wooed by the Congress. TRS Medak MP Vijayashanti has even met with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Her tiff with KCR over the Medak parliamentary seat led to her exit. Having stepped out of the party, Vijayashanti now says that the TRS can hope to win 10-12 Assembly seats at the most in the 2014 general elections. This is the number the party was hoping to bag in terms of Lok Sabha seats and about 70-75 Assembly seats as per its in-house surveys. And the going was indeed good for the TRS till Sonia Gandhi decided to bite the bullet in announcing the state's bifurcation. Now, many leaders in the TRS are wondering why they should stick around because in all likelihood, KCR might merge with the Congress. If he does so, then these leaders fear that they will be reduced to the classic "na ghar ka, na ghaat ka" situation. They all quote the Praja Rajyam example. When Chiranjeevi merged his party with the Congress within a span of two years of launching it, many of its senior leaders lost not just the respect of voters who elected them but were reduced to nobodies in the ruling party. Last heard, the moody TRS chief was planning to go on a bus yatra. But with KCR, changing plans are the only constant.
The rupee might have reached 64 a dollar mark and the aam aadmi might be wondering what worse fate the jittery economy now holds. But for the richie rich, it does not seem to matter. Actor Balakrishna's second daughter Tejaswini is getting married and the family is sparing no cost. The actor has hired Tollywood art director Anand Sai to prepare a mandap that will be, hold your breath, suspended in the air. It will be decorated with flowers which are being imported from Bangkok. To keep the wedding mandap afloat, a 120-foot crane will be used. Contrast the pomp of this forthcoming wedding with that of Ram Gopal Varma's daughter Revathi. RGV was the most simply dressed man at the wedding which saw only about 200 guests in attendance. He wore a pair of trousers and shirt as always and did not try to hog the limelight at all. Very few from the filmi crowd were present since RGV's daughter did not want a starry stampede at her wedding. RGV played the perfect host receiving guests at the entrance. His films might be getting weirder by the day, but one has to respect RGV for the simplicity he retained in his only child's marriage.
Those Big Boots
Anyone who's seen the trailers of Zanjeer must be wondering how Ram Charan Tej could ever fit into the legendary Amitabh Bachchan's shoes. For one, he's only slightly taller than Govinda. And secondly, the promos look tacky. The less said about the Pinky item number by Priyanka Chopra, the better. But in Hyderabad, the actor's fans have been praying fervently that Ram Charan makes it in big bad Bollywood. His father Chiranjeevi often used to say that the Hindi film industry did not accord him the kind of respect he deserved. Let's hope jo baap ne nahi kiya, woh beta kar dikhayega. And maybe there’s a thin chance that Ram Charan's version of "yeh police station hai, tumhare baap ka ghar nahi" draws plenty of whistles at the box office.