Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Smoking among Biggest Killers in India: Study


  • High blood pressure, high blood sugar, smoking and pollution are causing more deaths in India than under nutrition and other tropical diseases, according to a latest study by Lancet. It observed a significant increase in deaths over the past decade due to diseases associated with these health risk factors.
  • Between 1990 and 2013, deaths due to high blood pressure and cholesterol in India have more than doubled, whereas that from outdoor pollution has increased by more than 60% during the period. Deaths from alcohol have also increased by 97%, data collected through analysis of 79 risk factors showed.
  • The study, assessing the global disease burden, was conducted by an international consortium of researchers led by the University of Washington and included representatives from the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).
  • In 1990, childhood under nutrition was the topmost health risk causing around nearly 8.97 lakh deaths in India. However, the study shows it is no longer among the top ten health risk factors in the country. On the contrary, high blood pressure, which caused over 76 lakh deaths in 1990, was the most serious threat to the health of people with deaths increasing by 106% in 2013.
  • According to the study, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and indoor pollution together contributed to 3.3 million premature deaths in India in 2013.
  • The other major contributors to health loss in India are unsafe water sources and tobacco consumption.
  • Though the contribution of child and maternal under nutrition to health loss have dropped significantly since 1990, these are still substantial contributors to health loss in India, the study said.

Three astronauts return to Earth from International Space Station

  • Three astronauts returned safely to Earth from the International Space Station, aboard a Russian capsule which landed on the freezing Kazakhstan steppe, mission control said.
  • “There is landing!” flashed a Russian mission control centre message transmitted by NASA. Rescue teams rushed to recover the capsule carrying NASA US astronaut Kevin Ford and Russian flight engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin.
  • It was the first space mission for Russian astronauts, and the second for astronaut Kevin Ford, who was captain of the crew.
  • Russia’s space agency Roscosmos confirmed the landing.”The landing was completed as planned,” it said in a statement. “The crew is feeling good.
  • The Soyuz vessel landed upright and four workers were shown prying the hatch open to extract the three men.

On ground, satellite transport gets complex

  • In the business and science of Space, it is apparently not enough if you just keep building better spacecraft and bigger launch vehicles. The Indian Space Research Organisation says it must also keep improving many other less-known but related systems alongside.
  • Earlier, ISRO Satellite Centre literally rolled out its upgraded Satellite Transportation System or STS. It was used to move the 1,650-kg Astrosat, India’s upcoming space observatory, by road to the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, some 400 km away in Andhra Pradesh.
  • An ISRO official said today’s STS, loaded with sensors to track the satellite’s health and protect it from road shocks, is a far cry from the wooden crates of the 1970s.
  • The astronomy spacecraft was assembled at the ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC). At Sriharikota, it will be sent to space in late September along with six small “piggyback” satellites of three foreign customers.
  • About a month before the launch, ISAC folds the spacecraft up to safely fit it into a suitable STS. It then sends it off on one of its specially made trucks.
  • Explaining how the transit process itself is getting increasingly complex, the official said: “Earlier, when we transported satellites, the transit checks were mostly about temperature and vibrations. Over time, we improved the monitoring systems during travel by including many sensors.
  • The container temperature, vibration levels, humidity, contamination are all checked constantly to ensure that the spacecraft is not affected by these outside factors.”
  • While a normal passenger vehicle takes about eight hours to reach Sriharikota, the spacecraft’s well-guarded convoy travels at a slow 20 to 25 kmph, taking more than 24 hours to reach the launch centre.
  • ISAC’s System Integration Group is now designing the next generation of large STSs. They will take in the four-tonne GSAT-11 and a future six-tonne satellite double the present size and measuring around 12 metres x 5.3m x 4.2m.
  • The STS is a double-walled, metallic, heat-proof structure built to protect the spacecraft, which has many sensitive electronic and mechanical components, from atmospheric heat, dust, rain, humidity, radiation and changes of pressure. It comes with a suspension cradle and a special platform that keeps vibrations and shocks out.

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