Can the fetus in the womb listen?

Health Care 373 Comments

Amarnath Yatra starts from: 29th June to 13th August.

There is a lot of research in modern medicine, which suggests that we should name our child before he or she is born, talk to the baby and make the baby listen to the music. It is said that between 12–16 weeks the baby is ready to listen and respond to the external stimuli. This has led to the concept of ‘conscious pregnancy’ based on Abhimanyu concept.

It may be true in the West to look for western evidences and try to prove whether it is true or not, but as Indians we have enough Vedic evidence that it is true. There are three instances in Vedic literature I know of, that prove this. Vedic proof not only relates to the fact that the fetus can hear but even provides evidence that the fertilized egg too can hear.

As per the Vedic literature, the first evidence is the incidence of pigeon ova listening to Shiva in Amarnath cave, second is the birth of Sage Ashtavakra and the third is the birth of Abhimanyu in Mahabharata.

The birth of immortal pigeons:
In the tale of Amarnath Cave, the cave was chosen by Shiva for narrating the secrets of immortality and creation of Universe to Parvati. To ensure that no living being could hear the Immortal Tale, he created Rudra named Kalagni and ordered him to spread fire to eliminate every living thing in and around the Holy Cave. Then, He started narrating the secret of immortality to Parvati. But by chance, one egg which was lying beneath the Deer skin remained protected. It is believed to be non living and more over it was protected by Shiva–Parvati Asana. The pair of pigeons which were born out of this egg became immortal having heard the secret of immortality (Amar Katha).
Birth of Sage Ashtavakra (Stories from Mahabharata): Long ago, there was a learned Rishi Uddalaka. One of his disciples Kahoda, pleased his Guru exceedingly with his devotion. So impressed was Uddalaka, that when Kahoda finished his studies, he married his daughter Sujata to him. Sujata became pregnant. She was in the habit of sitting near her father and husband while they were teaching. Her unborn child attained mastery over the Vedas by listening to his grandfather. Kahoda was not equally skilled as his Guru and made a number of mistakes while reciting the scriptures. Unable to bear these errors, the child started correcting them from his mother’s womb! Humiliated before his disciples, Kahoda cursed his son, saying, “As you insulted your father, may you be born with eight bends in your body!” Accordingly, the child was born with his body crooked in eight places, and was named Ashtavakra (one with eight deformations).
The birth of Abhimanyu: As an unborn child in his mother’s womb, Abhimanyu learned the knowledge of entering the deadly and virtually impenetrable Chakravyuha from Arjuna, his father. He overheard Arjuna talking about this with his wife Subhadra. Arjuna explains to Subhadra in detail, the technique of attacking and escaping from various vyuhas (an array of army formation) such as Makaravyuha, Kurmavyuha, Sarpavyuha etc. After explaining all the vyuhas, he explains about the technique of cracking Chakravyuha. Arjuna explains to her how to enter the Chakravyuha. When he was about to explain how to exit from the Chakravyuha, he realizes that Subhadra is asleep and stops expounding on the Chakravyuha further. As a result, the baby Abhimanyu in the womb did not get a chance to learn how to come out of it.
Dr KK Aggarwal
Group Editor in Chief

July 1 is doctor’s day. Wish your doctor a happy doctor’s day

Health Care 472 Comments

Go and wish your doctor “Happy Doctor’s Day”

July 1 is Doctor’s Day.  Call your doctor or your doctor friends and wish them a Happy Doctor’s Day.  Medicine is a noble profession. Among all professions, medicine is the only profession which can be regarded as next to God.
 “Doctors treat, but God heals” is a well-known saying. Doctors thus serve as the messengers of God. A doctor cannot refuse treatment. It is a doctor’s duty to attend to a patient in emergency regardless of caste, creed, race or the financial status of the person.

This principle has been very well-personified in our mythology too. Ramayana cites the story of Vaidya Sushen, who treated Lakshmana with the famed Sanjivani booti. He was called to see the unconscious Lakshmana during the war between Lord Rama and Ravana. Despite the fact that he was a royal physician in the kingdom of Ravana, Sushen made the decision of treating Lakshmana. This illustrates the ethical duties of a physician.  Likewise, if a person sentenced to death by hanging falls ill, it is the duty of a physician to treat him until the day of his hanging.

 The concept of Family Physician or the General Practitioner of the olden times is fast vanishing in this age of super specialization. Every day new specialties are coming up. What was once the domain of a family physician has been now divided among different specialties. This has created a gap in communication between patient and doctor often leading to litigations. To avoid this, look for a Family Physician, who will be your guide in all health matters and also coordinate your care when specialists are involved.

Doctors too should respect the prefix ‘Dr.’ before their name
Very few professions have the privilege of prefixing an honor before their name and medical profession is one of them. We, as doctors, are allowed to prefix ‘Dr.’ before our names and we must respect this honor.

Diwan, Rai Bahadur, Rotaries, Lion, Justice etc. are other sets of prefixes given by the society to distinguished people.  Even the Prime Minister of India, President of India, Member of Parliaments, MLAs, Councillors have no such privilege. Likewise, Padma Awardees too have no such privilege. They cannot write Padma Shri Dr. XYZ but can only write Padma Shri Awardee Dr. XYZ.

There is no law in India, which allows doctors to write prefix ‘Dr.’ before their names. It is a precedence which has been accepted and honored by the society. The prefixes Dr., Diwan, Rai Bahadur etc. distinguish the privileged persons from the rest of the population. These prefixes indicate that the main duty of these people is towards the welfare of the society. For example, people are aware as to whom to contact when in trouble. It can be any one with a ‘prefix’.

It is the Vedantic principle of “welfare of the society” which makes doctors special and different in the society. The day this aspect of welfare is lost, society may not accord us the same respect as they have been doing so till now.
The principles involved in acting towards the welfare of the society includes giving 10% of our time to charity; not charging any fee from those who cannot afford;  charging less from the middle class and charging normal from people who can afford and where reimbursements are available. Probably, this is the reason that in every hospital even today we have multiple systems of patients and policies starting from Free Wards, General Wards, Concessional Semi Paying Wards and Fully Paid Wards. Many hospitals have even come out with another category of Deluxe where one can charge more from people where money is not a problem. It is the rich who has to pay for the poor in the welfare system.

Let us ( we the doctors) resolve on Doctor’s Day, July 1, 2011 to commit some portion of our time for the welfare of the society.

Amaranth Yatra Special

Social Health Community 235 Comments

Making a safe visit to mountains

The snow–build Amarnath Shiva Lingam is situated at an altitude of 13700 ft (5486 m) and is regarded as one of the most sacred places in India.

The Yatra demands good health and physical fitness. People with problems of hypertension, diabetes, heart ailments, epilepsy and asthma should consult their doctor before planning for the Yatra. One should start the physical fitness program several weeks before starting the journey. Walking regularly is the best way to prepare. One should take appropriate quantities of the right medicines for a wide variety of ailments.

Preventing mountain sickness

  • An altitude over 3,000 meters (9,843 feet) is usually defined as high altitude.
  • Acute Mountain Sickness depends on the elevation, the rate of ascent and individual susceptibility.
  • Most visitors suffer from some symptoms that will generally disappear through acclimatization in several hours to several days.
  • Symptoms are worse at night and include headache, dizziness, lethargy, loss of appetite, nausea, breathlessness and irritability. Difficulty sleeping is another common symptom, and many travelers have trouble sleeping for the first few days
  • Acute mountain sickness (AMS) can be very serious, with the most serious symptoms being high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE), which can be fatal. Symptoms of HAPE include weakness, shortness of breath, even at rest, impending suffocation at night, and a persistent productive cough with white, watery, or frothy fluid. Symptoms of HACE may include headache, ataxia, weakness, hallucinations, psychotic behavior, coma and loss of memory. Both approach and strike at night and can be fatal! Immediate descent is the surest treatment.
  • A gradual ascent allows the body to acclimatize to higher altitudes and the decreased oxygen supply.
  • The formula is to give a night halt between 7000 to 10,000 feet, night halt for every 1500 feet climb and full day halt for every 3000 feet climb thereafter.
  • One should avoid exercise in the first few days. Only attempt to do half of your activities on the first day while your body is working to acclimate to higher altitude oxygen conditions.
  • No alcohol should be consumed in the first few days.
  • No smoking should be done on the journey
  • One should drink enough water each day so that the urine runs clear.
  • One should eat enough calories. Low cal diets at high altitudes can sabotage health. A well–nourished body can adjust to changes better than an undernourished one can.
  • One should take high carbohydrate diet. One should avoid taking tranquilizers and sleeping pills. These will depress the respiratory drive and limit oxygen intake.
  • Some medication also helps to prevent AMS, like acetazolamide and nifedipine.

Dr K K Aggarwal
Group Editor in Chief

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