Monday May 21, 2018

Science behind why monks and sanyasis have a shaved head

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BY ANIL K. RAJVANSHI

Baldness gives unhappiness to a person. People feel it as a sign of getting old and the person feels that because of his baldness his looks suffer. People will do anything and go to any length to get a good crop of hair on their head. Worldwide hair loss treatment industry is worth $ 3.5 billion/year.

However, new scientific evidence suggests that infrared (IR) radiation in solar energy is transmitted through bald head and may help in repair of neurons, their generation, and stop or reduce the ravaging affects of Parkinson’s disease.

In all ancient civilizations whether Greek, Egyptian, Indian etc. and in various religions, baldness or shaven head was identified with philosophers, monks and priests. Some say that it was done to differentiate such people from common folks. Thus a person with shaven head wearing an ochre robe is normally identified as a Buddhist monk or a Sanyasi.

The  ancients understood the power of solar energy on the bald head and hence the practice developed. Thus it is possible that our ancient tradition of invoking Gayatri Mantra and practicing Surya Namaskar could be traced to the understanding of beneficial effects of solar energy radiation on human body.

Bald human skull allows 10% of incident IR radiation to pass through it. IR radiation which has wavelength of 750-1500 nanometers is not visible to the naked eye and is the source of heat. On the other hand visible radiation has wavelengths in the range of 450- 750 nanometers.

Around 50% of solar radiation falling on earth is in the IR range. Nature uses this radiation very effectively since it helps in producing wind, evaporating sea water to form clouds and produce rain and to help the neurons function effectively in brain.

How the IR radiation helps in neuron repair and regeneration is still not fully understood. Some scientists say that IR, since it is mostly heat, helps in increasing the brains temperature and hence the activity of neurons while others say that the mitochondria, the engine which provides energy to cells gets repaired and energized by it leading to neuron repair and generation. Nevertheless the beneficial effect of IR on brain is evident and has been shown in human and animal trials.

Infrared light therapy nowadays is also being used and promoted as a powerful and noninvasive treatment for patients suffering strokes, head injuries and as an eye treatment.

The penetration of IR radiation into human brains is quite shallow and attenuates within 2-3 cms of entering the brain tissue but the blood flow in the brain allows the regenerated and repaired brain cells to be transported to different parts of brains.

Why are neurons affected by IR radiation? A possible explanation could be that during their firing they produce a feeble radiation in the IR range and by principle of equivalence they react positively to it.

So bald people, rejoice that nature and especially solar energy will help you in improving your brain and provide happiness since a supple and powerful brain is necessary for creating happiness. The main thing is to sit in the sun for 10-15 minutes everyday. Not only will your brain become better but you will also get much needed vitamin D.

(The author is the Director and Hon. Secretary Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI). He could be reached at  anilrajvanshi@gmail.com)

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New Study Shows That Elderly With Symptoms of Depression Are More Prone to Memory Problems

"Since symptoms of depression can be treated, it may be possible that treatment may also reduce thinking and memory problems," said study author Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, US.

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The researchers found that greater symptoms of depression were linked to worse episodic memory -- a person's ability to remember specific experiences and events.
representational image. pixabay

Depression may speed up brain ageing and lead to memory problems in older adults, suggests new research that offers hope of finding a new way to treat memory issues.

“Since symptoms of depression can be treated, it may be possible that treatment may also reduce thinking and memory problems,” said study author Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, US.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, also showed that older people with greater symptoms of depression may have structural differences in the brain compared to people without symptoms.

“With as many as 25 per cent of older adults experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important to better understand the relationship between depression and memory problems,” Zeki Al Hazzouri said.

The study involved over 1,000 people with an average age of 71.

The researchers found that greater symptoms of depression were linked to worse episodic memory -- a person's ability to remember specific experiences and events.
representational image, pixabay

At the beginning of the study, all the participants had brain scans, a psychological exam and assessments for memory and thinking skills. Their memory and thinking skills were tested again an average of five years later.

At the start of the study, 22 per cent of the participants had greater symptoms of depression.

The researchers found that greater symptoms of depression were linked to worse episodic memory — a person’s ability to remember specific experiences and events.

Those with greater symptoms of depression had differences in the brain including smaller brain volume as well as a 55 per cent greater chance of small vascular lesions in the brain, the findings showed.

Also Read: Trauma in Childhood is Linked to Negative Outcomes in Adulthood 

“Small vascular lesions in the brain are markers of small vessel disease, a condition in which the walls in the small blood vessels are damaged,” said Zeki Al Hazzouri.

“Our research suggests that depression and brain ageing may occur simultaneously, and greater symptoms of depression may affect brain health through small vessel disease,” Zeki Al Hazzouri added. (IANS)