Economy
India's May trade deficit falls as exports, imports decline
India's trade deficit in May registered a three-month low at $10.41 billion -- nearly 8 percent lower than the figure for the same month last year at $11.24 billion, commerce ministry data showed on Tuesday.
 
Exports shrank by over 20 percent in May to $22.34 billion, continuing the declining trend for the sixth straight month, caused by the global economic slowdown, fall in crude oil prices and appreciation of the rupee.
 
The country's exports in May 2014 stood at $27.99 billion. Imports, too, declined 16.52 percent to $32.75 billion.
 
Oil imports dropped 40.97 percent in May to $8.53 billion. Non-oil imports also fell by 2.24 percent to $24.21 billion.
 
Gold imports, however, grew 10.47 percent to $2.42 billion in May.
 
India posted exports of $310.5 billion in 2014-15, that fell short of the fiscal's export target of $340 billion.

User

Call data can track economic change, unemployment
Mobile phone data can track economic change and provide rapid insight into employment levels as people's communications patterns change when they are not working, says a new study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
 
Without a commute or workspace, most people will make a higher portion of their calls from home -- and they make fewer calls, the study found.
 
The researchers believe the phone data closely aligns with standard unemployment measures, and may allow analysts to make unemployment projections two to eight weeks faster than those made using traditional methods.
 
"Using mobile phone data to project economic change would allow almost real-time tracking of the economy, and at very fine spatial granularities ... both of which are impossible given the current methods of collecting economic statistics," said study co-author David Lazer.
 
The study's starting point was an automotive plant in Europe that closed in 2006, leaving about 1,100 workers unemployed in a town of roughly 15,000 people.
 
The researchers found that in the months following layoffs, the total number of calls made by laid-off individuals dropped by 51 percent compared with working residents, and by 41 percent compared with all phone users.
 
The number of calls made by a newly unemployed worker to someone in the town where they had worked fell by five percentage points, and even the number of individual cellphone towers needed to transmit the calls of unemployed workers dropped by around 20 percent.
 
"Individuals who we believe to have been laid off display fewer phone calls incoming, contact fewer people each month, and the people they are contacting are different," said co-author Jameson Toole.
 
The study was published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
 
Having the information about the layoffs allowed the researchers to build an algorithm that, by analysing phone-use patterns, assigns a probability that someone has become unemployed.

User

Left in the Brain: Potentially Toxic Residue from MRI Drugs
Researchers raise alarms about unknown health risks of GE’s Omniscan and Bayer’s Magnevist, drugs injected to get better MRI pictures that contain the heavy metal gadolinium
 
With a family history of breast cancer, Marcie Jacobs decided in June 2001 that an MRI screening was her best preventive option. 
 
As is common with MRIs, Jacobs was injected beforehand with a contrast agent, a drug that helps sharpen the resulting images. But after a few of these treatments, she began noticing some strange cognitive effects. Jacobs began missing meetings. Over the next several years she had additional MRIs. The math skills that were crucial to her job as finance manager started deteriorating, she said.
 
Jacobs eventually wound up on disability. She stopped worrying about cancer – and started worrying about imaging drugs.
 
This month, two prominent experts in the radiology community joined in the concern, calling for more research into the possible health risks after three recent studies found that gadolinium, a potentially toxic metal, wound up in the brain tissue of MRI patients who used two different contrast agents.
 
Editorializing in the journal “Radiology,” Dr. Emanuel Kanal at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Michael Tweedle at Ohio State University, said the studies “called into question” the “safety of at least some” of these agents. The two urged radiologists to change their prescribing habits, although not to stop using the drugs because of their proven benefits to patients. (Related video.)
 
Nine gadolinium-based contrast agents are sold in the United States. The two in question, Omniscan, made by GE Healthcare, and Magnevist, manufactured by Bayer HealthCare, once dominated the contrast agent market. Both GE and Bayer, in statements, said they were monitoring the issue and noted the new studies had not found any clinical impact, such as brain injury.
 
As ProPublica has reported, contrast agents like Omniscan had been on the market for years when, in 2006, they were linked to a crippling, sometimes fatal condition called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, or NSF. The Food and Drug Administration put a “black box” warning on the drugs the following year, saying patients with kidney impairment may be at risk of NSF because they were unable to excrete the gadolinium. 
 
ProPublica first disclosed in 2009 that the agency ignored two of its own medical reviewers who wanted to ban Omniscan for patients with severe kidney disease. In 2010, the FDA did act, recommending that GE’s drug and two other agents shouldn’t be used in patients with impaired kidneys. The other drugs were Magnevist and Optimark, sold by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.
 
The new studies cited by Kanal and Tweedle have set off alarms because they show that even patients with healthy kidneys are retaining gadolinium from Omniscan and Magnevist. Estimates are that about one-third of the 20 million MRIs in the United States each year use one of the nine contrast agents.
 
Doctors now routinely screen MRI patients for kidney problems before injecting them with contrast agents, and scientists believe that NSF has essentially disappeared. The new studies don’t speak to the clinical effects, if any, of gadolinium in the brain. But in an interview, Kanal said the findings ought to make radiologists think twice about which agents to prescribe. 
 
“We can use an agent today that does not retain gadolinium in the brain to the degree that those other agents do,” he said, referring to Omniscan and Magnevist. Given that the alternatives are “at least as efficacious” as the other two, he asked, “Why are some still prescribing the agents that do accumulate in the brain over the other options?”
 
Jacobs has no medical proof, but she’s convinced the two drugs are behind her problems. 
As her symptoms worsened, Jacobs said she underwent a series of tests that found accumulated traces of gadolinium in her breast, thigh, liver and brain. Doctors were puzzled because she had no history of kidney disease and did not fit into the identified at-risk group… Continue Reading…
 
Courtesy: ProPublica.org

User

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)