Volume 17, Issue 2, 2017 April-June

Volume 17, No 2 Pages:
2017 April-June Articles: 6

Hydrological engineering for sustainable shifting agriculture in the Eastern tropical Himalayas: A conceptual discussion

Shifting agriculture has been regarded as the cause of degradation to most types of natural resources in the Eastern Himalayas. Attempts have been made by certain agencies to abolish the system or find alternatives but failed. Physical barriers arising from rugged topography along with the socio-economic conditions are the major hindrances for improved agricultural systems. Discussions on problems related to shifting agriculture and natural resources conservations have been made based on literature review and researches conducted in the region. Rainfall and vegetative cover being the major determinants of erosion intensity in the region, hydrological engineering model for on-farm soil conservation practices has been developed to control runoff, enhance rainfall interception and retain soil moisture and organic matter. Measures for on-site soil conservation include the use of locally available resources with the application of simple technology and economically inexpensive for the ignorant and poor marginal farmers.

Report of first dengue outbreak in Aizawl, Mizoram, northeast India: Epidemiological and entomological surveillance and observations

Outbreaks of dengue disease have been reported from many parts of India including northeastern States. There were reports of dengue disease outbreaks from Moreh town in Manipur during 2007-2008 and from Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh during 2012 from northeast India. The first outbreak of dengue-like fever in Mizoram was reported on 30th August from Tuikual North ‘C’ Mual, Aizawl, followed by consecutive outbreaks at 10 localities between August and December 2016 within Aizawl city. In these localities, epidemiological and entomological studies were conducted to identify the disease and its vector. Blood serums were collected from the patients for the serological confirmation and Aedes mosquitoes (adults and larvae) were collected for vector identification and confirmation. There were 580 (NS1=384, IgM=196) patients confirmed with the disease from 11 localities in Aizawl and Ae. aegypti were identified as a potential vector species. There was no predilection towards sexes and all age group are affected with a median age 30. Parameters of entomological study revealed high density of vector mosquito in the study areas. Public health actions pertaining to the prevention and control of the disease were implemented. As dengue is included among the notifiable diseases in India, government authorities should strengthen manpower, case management and laboratory support, and regularly organizing interactive co-ordination meetings at all levels to sensitize public through IEC and awareness programmes as well as source reduction of Aedes mosquito breeding.

In vitro and in vivo anti-inflammatory activity of Dillenia pentagyna Roxb. bark, a folklore medicine of Mizoram

Natural products have played an exceptionally important role in health care and prevention of diseases for thousands of years and are one of the greatest sources of medicine. Mizoram is a home to a rich variety of flora and fauna however; very less systematic survey and documentation were carried out to date. The plant diversity of Mizoram is not adequately studied as compared to other states of north east India. Dillenia pentagyna Roxb., known as kaihzawl in Mizo and dog teak in English, is one of the endangered plants that is yet to be explore. The Mizo communities use the decoction of D. pentagyna bark to treat different stomach ailments, inflammation and diabetes. In this perspective, the methanolic extract of the bark of D. pentagyna was evaluated for its anti-inflammatory properties. The extract showed the presence of flavanoids, triterpenoids, steroids, phenolics, saponins, fixed oils and others exerting varied pharmacological activities. The methanolic extract of this plant was found to contain active constituents such as betulinic acid and β-sitosterol which are found to actively interact with the inflammatory mediators and suppressed the inflammation when evaluated for its in vitro and in vivo anti-inflammatory activity. The present study suggests that the methanolic extract of D. pentagyna bark showed significant anti-inflammatory activity. This study also support the folkloric used of the plant in diseases related to inflammatory condition.

The making of oncology: Helminthology as the cornerstone

Cancer is multifaceted and multifarious disease. The diversity of cancer is complicated by so many types of carcinogens. Remarkably, helminth parasites are among the first well-established cancer agents. It started with the celebrated discovery of a roundworm Gongylonema neoplasticum (more famously, but wrongly, as Spiroptera carcinoma) by Johannes Fibiger, only to show that Nobel Prize selection can be a fallible operation. After almost a century of scepticism, it is now conceded that helminths, other than G. neoplasticum, are truly carcinogenic. For the first time in history, the International Agency for Research on Cancer finally proclaimed in 2009 that three flukes, Schistosoma haematobium (urinary blood fluke), Clonorchis sinensis (Chinese liver fluke), and Opisthorchis viverrini (Southeast Asian liver fluke) are Group 1, i.e. fully proven, carcinogens. The first is the leading cause of bladder cancer, while the latter two are of that of the bile duct (cholangiocarcinoma). This is the story of how they came to be.

The making of oncology: The trinity of true carcinogenic worms

Three flukes, Schistosoma haematobium (urinary blood fluke), Clonorchis sinensis (Chinese liver fluke), and Opisthorchis viverrini (Southeast Asian liver fluke) are, by official decree, Group 1 (fully proven) human carcinogens. Thus, they comprise a group of preventable carcinogens. But considering the situation of prevailing infection, from the lifestyle and food habits of people in the endemic regions, it is unlikely that they are eradicated in the near future. S. haematobium is transmitted by snails and infection is acquired from snail-infested water. C. sinensis and O. viverrini are both transmitted from eating fish. As medically important flukes, it is crucial to understand their biology, and this is an attempt to explain that in the light of the history of their discovery. Further, this is written with a hope that several facts, often erroneously presented in scientific literature, about these flukes are rectified.

A systematic list of mammals of Mizoram, India

A comprehensive systematic list of wild mammals of the state of Mizoram, northeast India, has been collated from historical records, primary and secondary information by incorporating reliable data after personal interview with elderly prominent hunters. A total of 126 species of wild mammals belonging to 32 families under 11 orders, including 8 primate species, 14 herbivores with angulates, among carnivores - 3 ursids, 2 canids, 8 felids, 19 lesser carnivores; and 5 fossoreal, 9 arboreal, 22 rodents, 35 chiropterans and 1 aquatic mammal are listed. Bats (Chiroptera) formed the largest group (28%) with 35 species under 7 families followed by carnivores (25%) with 32 species and rodents (24%) with 30 species. Furthermore, Cetacea, Proboscidae, Scandentia and Pholidota orders were represented by a single species each. The rats and mice family Muridae formed the biggest family with 16 species followed by the vesper bats family Vespertilionidae with 14 species. The list contains three critically endangered species including two locally extinct species, eight endangered species including two locally extinct species, 18 vulnerable species including one locally extinct species and 8 near-threatened species, i.e. a total of 37 threatened species. The list also provides the vernacular name, common English name and scientific name of each species, local status, IUCN (2016-3) threatened category, WPA schedule and CITES appendix were given. Five species were considered as locally extinct; habitat destruction and poaching being the major cause, and therefore, immediate conservative measures are suggested.