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Able Lawrence
Works at SGPGIMS
Attended SGPGIMS
Lives in Lucknow
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Able Lawrence

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Barn Owl Tyto alba visits our home 
The jungle babblers were unusually noisy with their non-stop crying yesterday. It was so striking I even made a recording of their incessant cries without realizing the cause. That was until I got a phone call from my neighbour +Ajay S that an owl was sitting on the palm tree next to the kitchen!! And not just an owl, but a pair of barn owls. They were surrounded by the babblers who were taking turns to come keep the vigil. What a lucky break, getting these elusive birds in broad daylight. 
These are strictly nocturnal owls that hide during daytime. Whole families can be seen hunting after dark. They are seen near old buildings, ruins, barns and buildings with service ducts that can be used as daytime hiding places besides hunting in grasslands. 
If you love birds and birding posts, check our my collection. 
https://plus.google.com/collection/QSO9a
Link to the recording of the Jungle babbler (Turdoides striata) mobbing calls http://www.xeno-canto.org/265465
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+Able Lawrence Very interesting and awesome post,as always! Thanks for sharing and have a great new week! My best and warmest wishes to you, my dear friend! 👍
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Ebola vaccine trial stopped after clear demonstration of efficacy 
The outbreak of Ebola had led to a race to get a vaccine and two candidate vaccines were under development. The Canadian vaccine (manufactured by Merk) has passed the test with flying colors and the results were so conclusive the trial has been stopped in its present form.
The vaccine trial used a cluster randomization strategy since cases were already dwindling when the vaccine was ready. Primary and secondary contacts were given vaccine either immediately or after three weeks (the time gap was randomized) and the goal was to reduce cases of Ebola occurring after ten days (assuming that vaccine takes that much time). All 13 cases of Ebola occurred in the delayed vaccine group while none of the immediately vaccinated cluster developed the disease after ten days.  Among those who got vaccine at some point, no cases occured after six days which suggests that the vaccine efficacy kicks in about six days and an overall efficacy of 75%. 
The recombinant vaccine is based on vesicular stomatitis virus. 
_Efficacy and effectiveness of an rVSV-vectored vaccine
expressing Ebola surface glycoprotein: interim results from
the Guinea ring vaccination cluster-randomised trial_
http://www.thelancet.com/pb/assets/raw/Lancet/pdfs/S0140673615611175.pdf
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Unusual clinical trial in Guinea offers promise for stopping epidemic
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Able Lawrence

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Connecting the dots of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: study links the interferons to defective apoptosis clearance and autoimmunity 
Lupus is the classic systemic autoimmune disease where our body's immune system torments multiple organs of the body from skin to kidney and brain. The hallmark of lupus is the formation of antibodies to chromatin and DNA, specifically to products of apoptosis or programmed cell death, and these antibodies then form immune complexes with chromatin and DNA and get deposited in skin, kidneys and other organs. Under normal circumstances, the end products of apoptosis are immune privileged, they are so efficiently cleared by tissue macrophages (Marginal zone macrophages in lympho nodes for example), so that immune system does not even get a look in. The mechanism by which the bodies of patients with Lupus failed to clear these apoptotic cell material was not known. While single gene defects that interfere with this process can cause lupus, none were found in the majority of patients. In the meantime, gene expression studies pointed at another culprit, namely the expression of signature of type I Interferons (of the kind used to treat patients with Hepatitis C infection) and the DNA/RNA containing immune complexes can induce the production of type I interferons by activating specialized antigen presenting cells called plasmacytoid dendric cells (pDCs) through toll like receptors 7 and 9 (TLR7 and TLR9) and the drugs that block this the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are key drugs in lupus therapy. However, the mechanism by which these differing abnormalities worked together was unclear until now. 
In this paper publshed in the Journal of Clinical Investigations, Hao Li et al have connected the dots linking these different pathways. They have demonstrated how Type I interferons can themselves cause decreased clearance of apoptotic material and this defective clearance can cause breakage of tolerance and cause autoantibodies and lupus life disease. Type I interferons act on Marginal Zone Macrophages indirectly through Marginal zone B cells that express Lymphotoxin Beta. In the presence of Interferon, these cells migrate inside the follcles and in the absence of Lymphotoxin beta signaling the Marginal zone macrophages are depleted and are less functional. In their place there is accumulation of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) in the marginal zone and increased formation of germinal centers inside the follicles. Lymphotoxin beta acts through MKL1 to induce expression of MARCO which along with SIGN-R1 are important for clearance of apoptotic cell material. Decreased MKL1 and MARCO expressing Marginal zone macrophages and increased pDCs were found not only multiple animal models of Lupus but also in Lupus patients spleens showing that this is a common pathway in both animal and human lupus. Blocking Interferon protected the animals showing that it is where it all begins. Once there is decreased apoptosis, and breakage of tolerance to chromatin, immune complexes can further stimulate type I interferon production and perpetuate the vicious cycle. Interestingly Lymphotoxin beta from B cells is important for the proper functioning of marginal zone macrophages. The study provides a unified picture of how Lupus can be initiated and perpetuated by type I interferon signaling in susceptible individuals in the absence of any major genetic defects in any of the systems. #lupus

Interferon-induced mechanosensing defects impede apoptotic cell clearance in lupus
http://www.jci.org/articles/view/81059
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It's beyond me !
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Able Lawrence

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Like people, song sparrows more aggressive in cities 
Birds in urban environments responded more aggressively to the calls of of potential rivals (speakers playing the songs) in cities than rural areas. Aggression correlated with availability of food showing that birds were more possessive of nutrient rich territories. When food was supplemented to rural birds, they also turned aggressive supporting the relationship of the aggression to availability of food. 
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They are more knowledgeable.
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Legacy of archaic hominins in living homo sapiens 
4-5% of all non-African humans harbour Neanderthal DNA while remnants of other archaic humans reside in significant amount in humans from across the world. Most notable are the Denisovan DNA in melanesians and evidence of DNA multiple african hominins in people of African origin. While the quantity of DNA might be small, they have had significant impact on human biology from adaptation to disease risk. One such gene EPAS1 that encodes Hypoxia-inducible factor-2alpha (HIF-2alpha) is a remarkable example of a gene that has allowed us to stretch our habitable zone while others involved in immune response (and probably adaptive 10,000 years ago) increase risk of allergy. #evolution  
From skin disorders to the immune system, sex with archaic species changed Homo sapiens.
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☺
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Shame!
Minnesota dentist, Walter James Palmer identified as the hunter who lured a beloved lion which was collared and part of a research project. Palmer has prior cases of poaching against him in the United states. 
Zimbabwe authorities name the hunter said to have lured the popular lion out of a wilderness park so it could be killed and its head removed as a trophy.
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So sad 
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Which types of galaxies are most likely to harbor life? 
The large eliiptical galaxies with many older stars and low levels of star formation are best suited for life as the others have too many supernovae explosions and gamma ray bursts. 
Looking at how quickly stars form can nail down the galaxies that should be best for life – and our own doesn't come out on top
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What about the roughly 50% of stars that have escaped galaxies (according to a result a few months ago)?
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Able Lawrence

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Genetically engineered rice variety cuts methane emissions by 99%
Methane contributes 20% of greenhouse effect and the major sources of methane are rice fields and the gut of cattle. Methane emissions are related to the flooding of paddyfields which creates the anoxic environment where bacteria in the roots produce the gases. Since it is the carbohydrates that are converted to methane, reducing the methane emissions also increase the rice yield. The crucial gene came from barley. If you love posts on ecology check out the collection. https://plus.google.com/collection/45eAW
A transgenic strain produces 99% less methane and has higher yields
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Genetically engineered rice variety cuts methane emissions by 99%
Methane contributes 20% of greenhouse effect and the major sources of methane are rice fields and the gut of cattle. Methane emissions are related to the flooding of paddyfields which creates the anoxic environment where bacteria in the roots produce the gases. Since it is the carbohydrates that are converted to methane, reducing the methane emissions also increase the rice yield. 
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Vaccination of chicken selects for more severe (viral) Marek's disease in chickens 
Vaccines save many lives and prevent disability around the world but evolutionary response of viruses can have unintended effects. Mareks disease is a deadly viral infection among chicken. Usually infection by the virus kills the chicken before it can even spread it very far and there is a widely available and widely used vaccine available for Marek's disease that is used in chickens. This vaccine while protecting the chickens from dying doesn't prevent infection. In such a scenario, natural selection favors less virulent viral strains that allow the chickens to live longer to enable spread but vaccination turns it on its head by favoring more severe viral strains to dominate which increase mortality among the unvaccinated chicken (The vaccinated chicken are still protected attesting to the benefits of vaccination). 
A controversial paper suggests vaccination may trigger evolution in pathogens
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+Charles-A Rovira Indeed this gives an incentive for everyone to get vaccinated. The effect comes precisely because the vaccine protects from death without limiting transmission. Other vaccines that do this include the Injectable polio vaccine, hence the emphasis on the less effective oral vaccine that actually reduces transmission by providing immunity in our gut. 
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Advance in "in situ hybiridization" technique expected to improve AIDS virus research 
AIDS virus is notoriously impossible to eradicate and claims of eradication (such as through bone marrow transplantation or gene therapy needs verification and methods of detecting hidden virus would improve the search for cure. Traditional in situ hybridization is prone to false positive due to non-specific binding of probes. Now a new technique that relies on three different probes increases specificity many folds. Essentially the long probe is split into two smaller half and along with a bridging third probe which is required for the flourescent signal reduces the probability of false positives. 
[Although details were not found, it might work like this. When you put two flourophores where the emission maxima of one is close to the absorption wavelength of another, you get FRET or flourescent resonant energy transfer which is an efficient way to verify adjjacency of the molecules]
'Molecular microscope' finds hidden AIDS virus in the body
http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2015/07/molecular-microscope-finds-hidden-aids-virus-body
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Nice. :)
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Four-legged snake from Cretaceous is the missing link for snake evolution 
Snakes evolved from four-legged ancestors and the missing link fossil has been found. 
Fourl legs too many?
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6246/374.full
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+Franz - Josef Diehl It is not a photo and it's not mine either. It's an artist impression of a fossil missing link in snake evolution. 
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Spot-bellied eagle owl 
Found in densely forested areas, these are closely related to the fish owls. They are nocturnal and are known to take large prey like pheasants, peafowls, even mammals as big as jackals whom they can kill rapidly with their very powerful talons. Probably requiring large territories they are seen in very low densities. Their very long horns give them a particularly ferocious look. They are seen along the foothills of Himalayas and into the East in Myanmar as well as in the shola forests of south India and Sri Lanka. 
 
The spot-bellied eagle-owl (Bubo nipalensis), aka the forest eagle-owl is a large bird of prey with a formidable appearance. It is a forest-inhabiting species found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
Via
Rare Species Fund | Global Conservation | Public Education
www.RareSpeciesFund.org
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Ni
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Work
Occupation
Doctor; Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology
Skills
Rheumatology, Immunology, Statistics, Bird Photography, Google+
Employment
  • SGPGIMS
    Additional Professor, Clinical Immunology, 2011 - present
  • SGPGIMS
    Associate Professor, Clinical Immunology, 2008 - 2011
  • SGPGIMS
    Assistant Professor, Clinical Immunology, 2004 - 2008
  • Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences
    Assistant Professor, Rheumatology and Immunology, 2004 - 2004
  • SGPGIMS
    Specialist Registrar, Clinical Immunology, 2000 - 2003
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Lucknow
Previously
Kerala - Kozhikode - Chandigarh - Kochi - Thiruvananthapuram
Story
Tagline
Physician, Rheumatologist and Immunologist, Closet Geek, Mad about Birds, Photography,technology, statistics, physics, and food. Wanna be philosopher.
Introduction
Additional Professor, Department of Clinical Immunology, SGPGIMS, Lucknow
Bragging rights
Volunteered for Live vaccine Phase I trial
Education
  • SGPGIMS
    DM Clinical Immunology, 2001 - 2003
  • PGIMER
    MD Internal Medicine, 1997 - 2000
  • Kozhikode Medical College
    MBBS, 1989 - 1995
  • Sainik School Kazhakootam SSKZM
    1982 - 1989
  • St Mary's High School
    1977 - 1982
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
A L Thoppil
Apps with Google+ Sign-in
  • Babbel
A very enjoyable experience. Good Bollywood themed entertainment show which you will enjoy more if you know the filmy dialogues and songs from old Hindi films. The Culture gully was also interesting and novel, although it could have been bigger with more regions covered. The Kerala stall was a disappointment, what with the "Boat Bar" ignoring all the good things in Kerala for the Keralites penchant for the small peg.
Public - in the last week
reviewed in the last week
Tasty but very spicy. Those who like excessively spicy Indian food would love it though.
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
Within walking distance of Metro and the Business design center. Breakfast buffet was good. Wifi didnt work
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
We had veal schnitzels and Pig in a blanket. Both awesome.
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
30 reviews
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Excellent dinner buffet with good variety. Almost everything is good with a balance of flavors, not overly spicy like other places (Just right). Desserts also good. Avoid over-eating starters. Best eatery in Lucknow at this time
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
It was worth every penny of it. For best value, book online in advance and reach on time. Leave somewhat early, even the London tube can breakdown. (It happened twice during my four days in London).
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
Bought two items from their online store. Total fraud. Over several weeks one item still remains pending. The other was totally damaged and they dont have a return policy other than trying to force customers to accept them. They dont even email an order confirmation Their call center does not work. Here is a link to a facebook page of aggrieved customers. Buy at your peril
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago