Let’s Talk Science: Grafting, milk, and hair loss

Image via Biodidac

Image via Biodidac

By Chitwan Khosla, Features Editor

Science is about questions and looking for their answers. If Newton hadn’t wondered and looked for why the apple fell to the Earth instead of going up, we might have never found out about gravity. So, like Newton, this section is a quest to find answers in the field of science, logic, and theories. If you have a question about science that you’d like answered, send it to Chitwan at features@theotherpress.ca 

What is meant by grafting?

Grafting is method of asexual reproduction for plants induced by human-interference. Farmers and gardeners cut a part at an angle—usually diagonally—of a plant or tree that they want to cultivate or grow. The addition is called the scion and is then placed over the other tree or plant which is rooted. The rooted plant is called the stock which is also cut at almost the same angle as the scion so that the scion fits over it perfectly.

Then with the help of a piece of cloth, wire, or rope, the two plants are tied together. Over the course of time, the vascular tissues of plants help these two different plants join and become a single plant. When the graft starts growing, the support is also removed. It is a very popular and an important technique used all across the world. It is vital for sustaining fruit orchids; Extension.umn.edu, a website dedicated to gardening and farming, informs that, “Fruit trees cannot be reproduced ‘true’ to the original cultivar from seed. They can only be reproduced by grafting.”

Grafting helps in producing hybrid varieties with very minimal costs and also helps farmers use the same high-quality rooted stock multiple times. Another use of grafting is that it produces clones with very low risk of immediate changes in the genetic structure of the plant. Other than in artificial reproduction, grafting is also widely used in repairing the damaged parts of plants and trees.

Is milk a complete food?

No, milk is not a complete food, or meal in any sense. Mother’s milk, which is very important for humans and all mammals, though, is a complete food but only for infants. It is like a life-saving nectar for them because feeding it protects them against numerous diseases and health issues. The Natural Resources Defense Council claims that the risk of childhood cancer in children below the age 15who have been breastfed is eight times less than in children who haven’t.

When we talk about us as adults, it is very obvious that our bodies, activities, and energy needs are different than as children and everyone needs to have an appropriate diet. Milk is a very healthy and essential part of a balanced diet, but it shouldn’t be mistaken for a meal substitute. It has essential vitamins and calcium but also lacks certain nutrients our bodies need. Vitamins A, B6, and E, and minerals like iron are not found in sufficient amounts in milk. Also, vitamin C is completely absent in it. However, it is a great source of protein, B12, and calcium which is especially great for vegetarians.

What is the primary cause of hair loss?

There is no single cause of hair loss, although your family doctor or grandmother might have told you many times that diet and stress play a key role, and they would have been right.

In the case of diet, a deficiency of some vitamins and overuse of a few others can trigger hair loss. Lack of protein, vitamin B12, iron, and excessive vitamin A are some factors behind hair loss. Stress is another aspect. Both physical and mental stress negatively affect your body by changing your hormone levels. Illness, accidents, pregnancy, menopause, and fatigue also add to the problem. Over-styling your hair damages it from roots to tips, thereby causing them to shed. Chemicals in styling gels, hair dyes and colours, sprays, and heat from hair styling products, are murderers of your beautiful hair. Sleep is a very important and yet often ignored factor behind this problem. Lack of sleep causes changes in hormonal balance. Further, scalp infections or oiliness may lead to rapid hair loss in some, especially in men. You can also blame your genes for it. Many a time, it is a hereditary issue. Hair loss is also a side effect of certain medicines but also depends on your body’s reaction towards different medications. Another prominent factor for hair loss is weather. You might have noticed that hair fall is much more visible in rainy seasons than drier ones. Moisture loosens the hair follicles, making the hair break apart easily.

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