Pulse Beat

Whole Herbs as Drugs

A recent study, led by Dr Mark Moss, head of psychology at Northumbria University, found that the smell of rosemary boosts our ability to recall past events and remember what to do in the future, thanks to a compound that gives the herb its distinctive scent. Rosemary boosts long-term memory and the ability to do simple sums. It is still not known if this could help treat dementia.

Psychosis and Inflammation 

Inflammation seems to be everywhere now—as a cause of atherosclerosis and what have you. The latest addition to this long list is psychosis. Stressful life events and emergence of psychosis is now the in thing in psychiatry circles. What science requires is a mechanism connecting psychological stressors with functional changes that drive behaviour. Recent studies connect psychosis with inflammation in the brain. These studies provide a mechanism for how trauma can increase the emergence of psychosis. My personal observation is that this premise of the causal connection is still in its infancy. More needs to be known in this field before we connect the two as cause and effect, lest we repeat the same mistake that we have been making in the past.

Zika Virus

It is Zika everywhere. Already new tests for rapid diagnosis have come out and vaccines are pouring out. See the timing. How quickly things move, if there is money in the field. Poor Zika, which was sleeping since 1947, has got a shot in the arm. The editorial of British Medical Journal (BMJ) dated 12 February 2016 talks about the tests already. Fiona Godleee, the editor-in-chief writes: “And The BMJ has joined other organisations such as the Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in an initiative to share data on Zika.” These names are there wherever there is an opportunity to make good money. The story of over-treating every fever as malaria, which at one stage was thought to be a necessary evil, is coming up to haunt us. Let us not repeat that with Zika. Writes Ms Fiona: “But with this success come other challenges, notably the harms caused by presumptive over-treatment of fever as malaria.” 

Turmeric Can Improve Your Mood

We all know how powerful a drug turmeric can be against cancer with its plentiful supply of tyrosine kinase receptor-blockers. New research now tells us that it might even be a mood elevator. There is hope that regular use of turmeric might even go as far as preventing depression, a very common malady in society today.



Largest Meta-analysis of Anti-depressants 

The largest-ever meta-analysis of anti-depressant trials was published in the British Medical Journal on 28 January 2016. Researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration reviewed 70 trials (involving 18,526 subjects) to find—counter to the initially-reported findings—that anti-depressants doubled the risk of suicide and aggression in subjects under 18 years of age. The authors feel that this risk has been deliberately under-reported. The same finding should hold good for adults on anti-depressants. A study published in  the January issue of the journal Stroke found that anti-depressants may increase the risk of micro-bleeds in the brain. Both SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRI (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) anti-depressants can disrupt natural clotting mechanisms and lead to increased adverse bleeding incidents and prolonged bleeding. 


Clinton wins two of first three Super Tuesday races

Democrat Hillary Clinton on Tuesday scored two of the first three Super Tuesday contests


Democrat Hillary Clinton on Tuesday scored two of the first three Super Tuesday contests, garnering an early advantage over Bernie Sanders, who won his home state of Vermont, according to multiple media projections.
On the Republican side, New York billionaire Donald Trump was projected by all major US cable news to win handily in Georgia.
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article


‘Bridge of Spies’: The True Story is Even Stranger Than Fiction

Hollywood loves the smoke and mirrors of espionage. For decades, it has made a dirty, dangerous business look glamorous on silver screens.


"Bridge of Spies," the cold-war epic directed by Steven Spielberg, contends for six Academy Awards Sunday, including best picture. The brilliant Briton Mark Rylance got the Award as best supporting actor. He plays the Soviet spook who the FBI knew as Col. Rudolf Abel before and after his arrest in New York in 1957. Tom Hanks stars as the noble lawyer James Donovan, who defended the mysterious colonel up to the Supreme Court. In 1962, at the behest of the CIA, Donovan handed his imprisoned client over to the Russians in exchange for the captured pilot of a U20132 spy plane shot down over Sverdlovsk. The swap took place at the Berlin bridge connecting communist East Berlin to the West 2014 thus the title.


The movie tries to be true to life. But it reconstructs five grim years in two hours and twenty-one minutes. As it often is, the truth was stranger than its fictional portrayal.


I've written on American intelligence over three decades, as a reporter for The New York Times and as the author of histories of the CIA (Legacy of Ashes) and the FBI (Enemies). I see Rylance, an actor's actor, as the heart of the film. He bears an astonishing resemblance to Abel; his silence and cunning captures the essence of espionage. A gray man in a gray suit slips through the shadows in a black-and-white world carrying encrypted secrets.


Now to the story's facts and fictions:

J. Edgar Hoover had been on the warpath against Soviet spies for a decade when a drunken KGB courier walked into the U.S. Embassy in Paris in April 1957. Reino Hayhanen feared for his life, having fouled up to a fare-thee-well. He had taken $5,000 intended for the American Communist underground in New York, gone on a bender, and bought a one-way ticket to Paris. The CIA station chief delivered him to the custody of the FBI in New York. After the defector dried out, he gave the Bureau its first deep look inside a Soviet spy operation in the United States. Hoover's nightmare came to life.


Hayhanen told the agents an astounding story. He had a legend 2014 a false identity 2014 and a forged American passport when he boarded the Queen Mary for New York. He served as a courier carrying money and encoded microfilm messages sent to and from Moscow. Many messages were hidden in hollowed-out coins, secreted in New York's parks and sidewalks. (A trick nickel makes a cameo appearance in the movie.) Hayhanen named his top superior as the first secretary of the Soviet delegation to the United Nations 2014 who had just left New York, never to return 2014 and his main contact as Col. Abel, alias "Emil Goldfus," an artist with a studio in Brooklyn.


The FBI's Edmund J. Birch led a squad trailing the artist. Carrying a hiddencamera in a briefcase outside a Manhattan restaurant, he got a clear shot 2014 "one beautiful picture of his face," Birch remembered. Haynahen identified the face as Abel's. The FBI watched the suspect around the clock. He never did anything suspicious. The evidence was hearsay.


The Bureau wanted to make an espionage case but they lacked clues. Hoover was livid. On his orders, without a warrant, and outside the law, his agents grabbed Abel, tossed his apartment, and found extensive evidence of spy craft.


But unless the FBI broke Abel, the illegally seized evidence was likely to be inadmissible in court. He was initially charged under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the immigration statute that the Justice Department used when an espionage case could not be made.


FBI agents grilled him for more than two years 2014 first in a broiling prison for illegal immigrants outside McAllen, Tex., on the Mexican border, at "a wetback camp, in a wire cage," said the FBI's Ed Gamber, who interrogated Abel for six weeks and later testified in court. "He was a gentleman, he was polite; he was a nice guy." And he never broke. Then teams of FBI agents braced him at the Atlanta federal penitentiary, one of the toughest prisons in the United States. "I'll talk with you about art, mathematics, photography, anything you want to talk about, but don't ask me about my intelligence background," Abel said. "I have not said anything, and I'm not going to now."


Playing Abel in "Bridge of Spies," Rylance has a great line eliding that silence in three words. If he cooperated, he asks, "Would it help?" History suggests not.


In real life, prosecutors persuaded a federal judge to allow use of the evidence they had seized. Abel was quickly convicted and sentenced to thirty years. Donovan almost immediately won an appeal before the Supreme Court, which granted an extraordinary 90 minutes for argument. He cited the Constitution's ban against warrantless searches and jailing, arguing that Abel's arrest and imprisonment were an affront to American justice.


Anyone who follows the court may be shocked to read that, after long deliberation, only five justices sided with the government. The minority of four wrote: "This is a notorious case, with a notorious defendant. Yet we must take care to enforce the Constitution without regard to the nature of the crime."


President Dwight D. Eisenhower was outraged. "We would have to expose all our intelligence sources and methods in order to obtain a conviction," Eisenhower fumed at a National Security Council meeting attended by Vice President Richard M. Nixon in May 1960, seven weeks after the decision2013 and shortly after the U20132 pilot, Francis Gary Powers, was shot down. "About all the FBI can do is keep spies under surveillance."


The only thing of import Abel ever said to the FBI was an insult: "American intelligence walks in baby shoes." And he had a point. Not until the end of the cold war did the CIA and the FBI learn that the man they knew as Abel was an entirely different person.


He was born in 1903 in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, as Willie Fisher, the son of a Bolshevik. He went to the Soviet Union, became a committed Communist, and was given training, a legend, and a role in Moscow's spy network before World War Two. He came to the United States after the war and worked in silence, undetected, for nearly a decade. And he lived on for nearly a decade after the great swap, dying on November 15, 1971.


Twenty years on, the Soviet Union itself ceased to exist. And today another colonel trained by its vicious spy service rules in the Kremlin.


Hollywood would never greenlight that movie. No one would believe the script.


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