Medical developments from around the world
We do not know, as yet, how Ebola spreads. With more patients dying from the disease, empirical information is growing. Recent studies have shown that the spread of Ebola could resemble ‘flu-like illnesses’. This will make it more difficult to control the disease. There is also a suspicion that Ebola could have begun as a man-made virus, invented for germ warfare.
Turmeric is one of the many powerful therapeutic agents known in ancient Indian medicine. The pharmaceuticals industry now wants to get some extracts of the plant and patent it to make a drug. Following the Western model of taking the active ingredient to sell it as a drug, the industry was after curcumin in turmeric. But their efforts failed.
Now, a new study published in the Journal of Stem Cell Research and Therapy shows that whole turmeric extract contains, in addition to curcumin, a fat-soluble portion, called aromatic tumerone, and many other active ingredients. These have been shown to regenerate damaged brain cells in vitro and in vivo. In the article, titled, “Aromatic-turmerone induces neural stem cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo”, German researchers evaluated the effects of this turmeric-derived compound on neural stem cells (NSCs)—the subgroup of brain cells capable of continuous self-renewal required for brain repair. Brain cell repair was thought to be impossible, until recently.
When Indian laboratories started researching Ayurvedic compounds, they started by looking at the active ingredients and then studying if they have any effect on disease, they called it the ‘Golden Triangle Research’. Even then, I had objected and had explained to some of the leaders in the field that they were barking up the wrong tree. Herbal drugs work as a whole and not in bits and pieces. Reductionism is the bane of Western medicine. Why we want to import Western methods to Ayurvedic drugs is beyond my comprehension.
Science Could Also Be Wrong!
A paper published in Nature reported that ordinary mouse cells could be transformed into pluri-potent stem cells by a simple process of keeping them in an acidic environment. It was later discovered that the study’s results could not be replicated. A similar study conducted earlier, by a group of cancer specialists, had shown that 47 of the 53 studies on cancer could not be replicated. Interestingly, all those studies were funded by the pharmaceuticals industry. The comment by the editors of Nature, when they retracted the paper, is worth noting:
“Underlying these issues, often, is sloppiness, whether in the handling of data, in their analysis, or in the inadequate keeping of laboratory notes. As a result, the conclusions of such papers can seem misleadingly robust. Another contributory factor lies in selection bias behind the data presented, whether implicit because the experiment was not randomized or blinded, or explicit in the deliberate selection of data that, usually with honest good intentions, are judged to be representative.”
This assessment is far short of the truth. Greed for money, boosting citation indexes and awards are the main reasons that science has gone astray. In fact, this kind of science can only be called pseudoscience.
While Nifty may not decline sharply, chances of a strong immediate rally look unlikely
We had mentioned in last week’s weekly report that the indices may struggle to make fresh highs. The market opened higher but fell immediately. After an effort to stay in the positive, up to 11.30 am, finally the indices moved into the negative. The indices plunged into the negative and closed near the day’s low.
S&P BSE Sensex opened at 26,960 while CNX Nifty opened at 8,064. Sensex moved to the low of 26,727 after hitting a high of 26,995, while Nifty which also hit the high at the beginning of the session at 8,064 moved lower to hit the low of 7,986. Sensex closed at 26,753 (down 98 points or 0.37%) while Nifty closed at 7,992 (down 23 points or 0.29%). NSE recorded a volume of 66.73 crore shares. India VIX rose 5.07% to close at 13.5150.
The market may remain volatile this week ahead of the expiry of the October futures & options.
The Election Commission of India on Saturday, 25 October 2014, announced the schedule for General Elections to the Legislative Assemblies of Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir. The election polls in both the states will take place in five phases from 25 November 2014 to 20 December 2014. Poll results of both the states will be announced on 23 December 2014.
The recent move of the government, clearing defence projects worth Rs 80,000 crore, will be beneficial to the players in the sector. One such player, Pipavav Defence (5%) was among the top four gainers in the ‘A’ group on the BSE.
Jindal Steel & Power (7.90%) was among the top two losers in ‘A’ group on the BSE. The stock was pulled lower on the news that the Central Bureau of Investigation has begun a probe into how Congress leader Naveen Jindal's company got permission from the environment ministry under UPA Minister Jayanti Natarajan in 2013, to mine iron ore in Asia's largest sal forest in the Naxal-affected Saranda area of Jharkhand.
Gail (0.85%) was among the top three gainers in the Sensex 30 pack. The stock hit its 52-week high today. It is on the look-out for a strategic partner for its Rs 3,108 crore floating LNG import terminal at Paradip in Odisha.
Hindustan Unilever (4.75%) was the top loser among Sensex 30 stocks. It posted a net profit of Rs 988.16 crore for the quarter ended September 2014 as compared to Rs 913.80 crore for the September 2013 quarter. Its revenue increased from Rs 6,892.64 crore in September 2013 quarter to Rs 7,639.33 crore in September 2014 quarter.
US indices closed in the green on Friday.
The Asian indices trading today showed a mixed performance. Nikkei 225 (0.63%) was the top gainer while Jakarta Composite (0.96%) was the top loser.
China's economic growth will slow to 7.2% in the current quarter, down from the previous three months as domestic demand weakens, said Song Guoqing, an academic member of the People's Bank of China monetary policy advisory committee. The nation's economy will probably expand 7.3% next year, Song said at a forum in Beijing on 25 October 2014.
European indices were trading lower, while US Futures was also trading in the red.
European Central Bank said most lenders passed stress tests. It said however, that 13 banks in the eurozone — including four in Italy and two in Greece — showed shortfalls in their own money, or capital, after a review devised to uncover hidden problems and test their ability to withstand a sharp recession or other crisis.