Scientific breakthrough may help our soldiers in Siachen

Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel which obstructs the flow of blood through the circulatory system. It may lead to pulmonary embolism, stroke, and even limb amputation.

For many years, DIPAS researchers were trying to find the root cause behind Thrombosis and recently they stumbled upon ‘Calpain’ and came to the conclusion that this is one of the reason behind the aliment. The finding came as a boon for many Indian soldiers who are guarding the nation in high altitude braving rough weather while risking life, especially at Siachen Glaciers.

The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram Range in the Himalaya mountains where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends. It falls from an altitude of 5,753 m (18,875 ft) above sea level. Statistic of the National Medical Journal of India collected from November 1998 to February 2000 revealed that more than 20,257 cases of thrombosis were reported in India and in most cases it was found Indian soldiers are the worst sufferers. The number of such cases after 2000 is yet to be declared by the union government.

It was learnt that the research on thrombosis was led by DIPAS’s director Dr. Shashi Bala Singh in assistance with scientist Dr. Zahid Ashraf and their work is considered a key step towards understanding such disorders. Their study in the genomics lab of DIPAS with the help of proteomic analysis of platelets and animal models led to the finding of ‘Calpain’, which they claimed significantly contributes to Thrombosis under hypoxic conditions (low Oxygen conditions).

On the context of Proteomics analysis, a DIPAS official said, ‘It is the study of proteins,
particularly their structures and functions. We have found that many soldiers, who were posted at high altitude, had developed an increase in Calpain activity, which led to Thrombosis. The finding was based on the examination of 600 soldiers during their posting at extreme altitudes.’ DIPAS off cials now feel that the findings could throw light on the treatment for such conditions. It was learnt that Major General Velu Nair, Dean Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune, is now supervising this study along with DIPAS researchers.
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