This science mela is part of Khwarizmi Science Society's National Science Movement 2016 and Beyond.
The cornea is the clear front of the eye and its clarity is important for the transmission of light to the retina for visual perception. The corneal surface is composed of an epithelium that is renewed by stem cells located at the periphery of the cornea, in a region known as the limbus. These so-called limbal stem cells can become deficient or dysfunctional as a result of many causes including chemical and thermal burns to the eye, hereditary causes such as Aniridia and Ectodermal Dysplasia, inflammatory diseases such as StevensJohnson Syndrome and Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid, and iatrogenic causes such as radiation therapy and topical chemotherapy. In the resulting disease of of Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency the corneal epithelium cannot be maintained resulting in chronic epithelial defects and the surface becomes replaced by the conjunctival epithelium and its blood vessels which surrounds the cornea and limbus resulting in visual loss. Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency is therefore a painful and blinding disease. It is difficult to manage at the best of times.
Dr. Sajad Ahmad has developed an animal free culture method for limbal stem cells that has been used to successfully regenerate the corneal epithelium in patients with unilateral chemical burns and restore their vision. He is currently collaborating with centres in Edinburgh (UK), Oslo (Norway), Harvard University (Boston, USA) and Dublin (Ireland) to develop this technique in those centers for future mulitcenter clinical trials. He will outline this method. He was also the first to differentiate human embryonic stem cells into the corneal epithelial lineage and he will discuss this approach and the opportunities this presents.
Out of a total Pakistani population of 180 million, almost 18 million Pakistanis are suffering from diabetes. This alarming situation urges Dr. Wajih Bukhari to apprise the Pakistani population of the ins and outs of this deadly disease.
Dr. Wajih Bukhari is a medical doctor and working as a Clinical research fellow at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia. He explains the causes of diabetes, its medical treatment and precautions. Different types of diagnostic tests are also discussed. This 60 minutes long series of digital board based lectures are a must watch for every Pakistani who wishes to know more about diabetes.
According to the most recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global warming due to climate change has been clearly linked to human activities, such as greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion (carbon dioxide), livestock production (methane), and extensive use of wood stoves in rural areas (black carbon). One of the most serious consequences of global warming is its impact on human health and welfare. This includes increases in vector borne diseases (malaria, dengue fever), heat waves, smog production, loss of surface water resources, and escalating incidences of severe storm events and changing rainfall patterns, causing major flooding in some regions, while creating drought-like conditions in other parts of the world. We must now shift our sole attention from mitigating climate change through initiatives taken in developed countries to dealing with adapting to its long term trends, especially in many developing countries, where climate change impacts are expected to be most severe within the next twenty to thirty years.
The Asian Tiger mosquito is generally associated with the spread of dengue fever; biting around the ankles and knees close to the ground in the daytime, rarely at night. Any source of stagnant water such as in the automobile tires, open containers, trash cans, holes in the tree trunks, broken vases, which gather rainwater, are an excellent breeding place for the tiger mosquito. The situation in Pakistan has deteriorated over the past years; solid steps are needed to bring hygiene conditions an integral part of our life styles. Vectors are breeding every where and so are the microorganisms. The entire picture is ultimately leading to the worst imaginable situation, where this year dengue, and in the years to come other dipterous related diseases will be there to welcome us. There is a dire need to make short and long term planning by including our environment as the major concerns of the future issues. Our research team, at the Department of Agro-entomology, has initiated work in this direction and we will be developing strategies to forecast the out breaks of mosquitoes and onset of disease. These steps will help in better management of mosquitoes through the development of potent plant extracts.