Posts Tagged ‘Science’

Dont copy my presentation please!

June 9, 2009

I found it quite odd when i saw people (scientists young and old) capturing every slide of the presentation.  I have not seen any object to that.

Finally, someone seems to have taken notice. Here is a notice from the organisers of an upcoming conference. It declares that everything presented in a conference is a copyright of the organisers and cannot be audio or video recorded.  While it is good that now the audience will be restricted to listening,  whether the organisers should have the copyright for a presentation is debatable.

Vegetarian Glucosamine?!!

May 31, 2009

In Seoul, you would mostly find Glucosamine tabs that are made from (or contain extracts from)  Shark cartilage or Crab shell or some such sea animal.  Now that is a problem if you are a vegetarian, aint it?

So i called up my sister and asked her to send me vegetarian glucosamine which many stores(US based) claim to have on their websites claim to have.  She promptly sent me the capsules a couple of weeks later. The following is written on the front label of this bottle:

“Glucosamine Chondroitin Formula” in bold font.  In small font below it is written:

“Vegetarian Capsules”

On one side of this label the following was written:

“NO: Yeast, corn, wheat, soy, gluten, milk, sugar, starch, preservatives or artificial color”

This was when i had my first doubt. I mean, if it had none of these vegetarian products then what was it made of?!

My friend then discovered the following on the other side of the label:

“Do not consume this product if you are allergic to shellfish” 

SHELL FISH . what ?!  How can a product be vegetarian if it has shell fish?!!!!!  Does any dictionary mention shell fish as vegetable? By the way, just in case you aren’t aware what a shell fish is …here is the image that i got from google images.

The bottle had the following brand names on it: BioChem, CountryLife, Renewable Energy. I dont know which one actually made the product , which one sold it and who is to be responsible.

So the next time you see a medicine with ‘vegetarian’  mentioned on it read carefully and find out the ingredients.

By the way, if you are wondering why one would need glucosamine; it is typically recommended for repairing  joints, bones, cartilages and such. If you are interested in details you can look here.

Ayurvedic medicine… scientific?

May 19, 2009

Well, i was sure that it was; most of it should be or could be proved. But today in a discussion with a colleague here from Iran (who is a doctor) i was not able to give examples of scientific papers published on Ayurvedic medicine. Ofcourse, when u know it works u dont bother to check if it was published in a scientific journal. I was sure atleast some would have been published but one never bothered to check. Well today i had too …
I googled for ‘journal of ayurveda’ and found this site…its an online International journal of ayurveda research.  The articles are yet to be available online but looks promising.

Here is an article in Nature journal about an energy-boosting drug which is traditionally known as arogyapacha.

Here is a news item in Nature journal mentioning that the Indian Govt. launched a scheme (in 1987) to place traditional medicine on a scientific basis.  

Here is an article in Phytotherapy Research on ayurveda in central nervous system disorders.

Here is a whole lot of indian journals (some international) on ayurveda specifically.

A journal by Kerala Ayurveda.

Here is an article in Nature Immunology that talks about the history of medicine in India ever since it acquired a rational approach in 1000 BCE.

Here is an article in Nature which talks about the anti-cholestrol drug developed from myrrh tree.

Here is an article on drugs for cardiovascular disorders.

Here is an article in Journal of Neuroscience on the treatment for Parkinsons disease based on Ayurveda.

And a whole bunch (~450) of articles for the key word Ayurveda in scholarly article search engine pubmed.

I also found something that was cautionary and published in the journal of the american medical association. This entire issue is about how many of the ayurvedic medicines actually have unacceptable amounts of toxic metals!

Well…now atleast i have convinced myself there is a lot of effort going on to provide scientific basis for ayurvedic medicine.

Its in my genes, what can i do about it?

May 8, 2009

Well, you can… a lot!
Just the other day i had posted on a scientific article in Nature journal about how a large number of indians (south asian) are succeptible to heart attack even if they had a perfectly healthy diet. And yes, it was shown that this was because they had it in their genes. Apparently, it is a gene mutation specific to south asians that is responsible.
But today, i saw this video on Edge, where Prof. Dean Ornish (UCSF) and author (Spectrum) spoke about his research on how gene expression itself can be changed by changing life style.
His words: “Recently, my colleagues and I have conducted research in areas as diverse as the effects of comprehensive lifestyle changes on telomeres, gene expression, coronary heart disease, and prostate cancer.

In terms of heart disease, we were able to show, for the first time, that it could be reversed by changing lifestyle, and these improvements occurred much more quickly than had once been thought possible. Usually within hours, and almost always within days to weeks, your heart can receive more blood flow. As a result, we found over a 90 percent reduction in the frequency of angina or chest pain. ”
For more details and lots of videos showing scientifically stimulating discussions on a whole range of topics visit

DST secretary in Nature Materials

May 7, 2009

I wanted to look up on publishing in Nature Materials. On opening the website i found this, surprisingly, interview with T. Ramasami, the DST (Dept of Science and Tech) secretary of India. His answer to the question “what prompted you to go back to india?” is interesting (and thoughtful). Read it here.

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