Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bone marrow registry

Bone marrow is the fluidy substance present in side the bones.This is an important organ which produces blood cells and is home for stem cells. Stem cells are the progenitor cells of all the cells that are present in our body and have the capacity to transform into any cell. Though present in small numbers in the normal marrow they can proliferate as the need arises. For many sufferers from life threatening conditions like leukemia [blood cancer] the only hope is to get these cells from a compatible donor. The compatibility is determined by a process called tissue matching or HLA matching. Unlike blood group testing, HLA typing involves lot of sophistication and is therefore expensive.

So,how will the sufferer find a donor whose HLA type matches with his HLA? Here in lies the major problem of enlisting the donor and this enlistment is called bone marrow registry. It is estimated that to get one match one needs to have 20,000 donors registered. An intending donor who wants to donate his bone marrow need not apprehend that his bone marrow will be taken out. Neither at the time of registration nor at the time of transplant will one will put a needle into his bone. What is done is that at the time of registration a sample of his blood[5ml] or his saliva/buccal swab] is taken and his HLA is typed. When it is found that his HLA type matches with that of one who is in need, he will be called to donate. Even at this time, which may come once in his life time or not at all,he will be given some injections to mobilize the stem cells from his bone to his blood and these cells are harvested by a specialized machine by a process called pheresis. He will have spend a day in the institution and there by saving a life or giving the recipient a prolonged disease free life.
In countries like China, Germany and the US,there are established registries with large number of donors and getting a match is not very difficult. But in our country there are very few registries with very small numbers of donors

Keeping this dire need in mind, and the knowledge of many young lives being lost[an estimated 50,000 deaths every year], Bangalore medical college alumni association has launched a massive donor registration programme. The cost of HLA typing which normally costs more that 10,000 Rs is being offset by the funds raised by the alumni and the details as to how and what of the whole process can be got from visiting the dedicated website bonemarrow

I request all of you who read my blog to spread the word around and involve in this noble cause

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Many years ago, I was a trustee of Bangalore Hospice Trust which runs a hospice for the terminally ill cancer patients. Fund raising is an important and needed activity of the trust. Even now it is so. There used to be an yearly exhibition of art and hospice would get material from donors for sale which included many paintings, some known and  some unknown. One such painting, on 4by4 canvass depicting the two Rajasthani men was on display. The trustees decided to sell it for Rs 20,000. During the three days of show it went unsold and went back to its place in one of the rooms.Next year too the same story repeated. In the third year the chief trustee decided to bring the price down to Rs  15000 and expected it to be sold. Two days went by and no sale. That is when I made the offer of Rs 10,000 which is all I could afford. The last day and the last minute went by and no one bid for it and the painting became mine! Since then it has occupied a pride of place in my sitting room and many a uncomfortable guest has asked me the origins of this painting. But who is the painter? There is the name of the painter called Arohi Singh in the corner? Who is she?

These two men have entertained my friends, relatives and I,all these years and the money spent on this has really been worth it

Friday, May 8, 2015

Appreciation of music

You should have an ear for music or he has an ear for music. What these phrases mean? do they mean that you have a special aptitude to appreciate music. Yes, that is what they mean. What is this special aptitude? Does it need training or is it instinctive?

In bygone days [I believe even now in some], south Indian bramhin families would get their children, girls in particular, trained in classical karnatic music.This had two purposes.One is that the parents genuinely believed that these girls achieve proficiency in music that it adds value to their future lives and the other more practical belief that it is a value addition in the marriage market!

Be that as may, let us get back to the assumption that training makes one appreciate music much better than one when is not trained.It is true that some training helps in recognition of the nuances such as the voice,rhythm, cadence, construction etc.If one such listener concentrates too much on these aspects there is fear of his losing the essence of the music. Take for example the singing of late Gangubai, Her voice is shrill and manly and a person who determines the singing by the melody would think her music below par. But she succeeded in touching the very depths of your heart by the sheer quality and exuberance and that is the secret of many great singers. They went to ones heart and brain has little to say.

In conclusion, I feel of knowledge of music when complimented by instinct will make one appreciate music much better than knowledge alone. In this a person who has no knowledge but has instinct is better off!

Salman and after

I don't go to movies especially the Hindi movies which are mostly song and dance gibberish. Most are far removed from reality and are huge commercial successes. This success is like the success of the ongoing IPL matches.The success in terms of gate attendance,TV viewership,money made by the advertisement for mostly useless products, reflect the taste and trends of modern India.So is with cinema. The status of the bollywood actors and actresses too reflect this taste, The huge popularity of Salman Khan is one such example.

This man, some thirteen years ago, while drunk, ran over the footpath and killed one and injured many.Adding insult to injury, he ran away from the scene.He has money and clout and he used this and kept the case going on all these years in the lower court. The lower court 3 days ago, announced him guilty and awarded him 5 years in jail.

You might have thought that justice is done at last.Wait, he got bail from the higher court in super quick time and one of the best legal brains, who commands lot of respect in the legal spheres, Mr Harish Salve represented him!

A horde of admirers, both from the cinema and politics, made a dutiful pilgrimage to this actor's home.Watching the scene on television, I had the surrealistic feeling of watching people paying homage to a great war hero!

What do you call this? Mass sycophancy,hysteria,misplaced loyalty?

All this drama goes to show that this country there are two laws.One for the wealthy and another for the poor

I am very disappointed with Mr Salve.