Monday November 18, 2019

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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Immune Cells Become Active and Repair Brain While Sleep: Study

For the findings, researchers conducted the study on mice

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Study suggests that the enhanced remodeling of neural circuits and repair of lesions during Sleep may be mediated in part by the ability of microglia to dynamically interact with the Brain. Pixabay

Researchers have found that immune cells called microglia, which play an important role in reorganising the connections between nerve cells, fighting infections, and repairing damage, are also primarily active while we sleep.

Microglia serve as the brain’s first responders, patrolling the brain and spinal cord and springing into action to stamp out infections or gobble up debris from dead cell tissue.

“This research shows that the signals in our brain that modulate the sleep and awake state also act as a switch that turns the immune system off and on,” said study lead author Ania Majewska, Professor at University of Rochester in the US.

In previous studies, Majewska’s lab has shown how microglia interact with synapses, the juncture where the axons of one neuron connects and communicates with its neighbours.

The microglia help maintain the health and function of the synapses and prune connections between nerve cells when they are no longer necessary for brain function.

For the findings, researchers conducted the study on mice.

The current study points to the role of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that signals arousal and stress in the central nervous system.

This chemical is present in low levels in the brain while we sleep, but when production ramps up it arouses our nerve cells, causing us to wake up and become alert.

The study showed that norepinephrine also acts on a specific receptor, the beta2 adrenergic receptor, which is expressed at high levels in microglia.

When this chemical is present in the brain, the microglia slip into a sort of hibernation.

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Researchers have found that immune cells called microglia, which play an important role in reorganising the connections between nerve cells, fighting infections, and repairing damage, are also primarily active while we Sleep and affects Brain. Pixabay

The study, which employed an advanced imaging technology that allows researchers to observe activity in the living brain, showed that when mice were exposed to high levels of norepinephrine, the microglia became inactive and were unable to respond to local injuries and pulled back from their role in rewiring brain networks.

“This work suggests that the enhanced remodeling of neural circuits and repair of lesions during sleep may be mediated in part by the ability of microglia to dynamically interact with the brain,” said study first author Rianne Stowell.

ALSO READ: Scientists Link ‘Brain Fog’ to Body Illness

“Altogether, this research also shows that microglia are exquisitely sensitive to signals that modulate brain function and that microglial dynamics and functions are modulated by the behavioural state of the animal,” Stowell said.

The study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. (IANS)