Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Medical ‘Science’ Vs Our Body

The wisdom of the human body and not medical technology helps in healthy living

When doctors in Israel went on strike, in March 2000, the death rate fell significantly in Jerusalem City, while it did not change in the coastal city of Netanya where doctors worked as usual. Even when compared to the month of March in 1998 and 1999, the decline in death rate was noteworthy. A similar trend was reported from Los Angeles County in the 1970s and, possibly, also in Canada and Bogota (Columbia), a few years ago. Even in the field of drug trials, small studies seem to give striking benefit but, under further investigations, they do not deliver the degree of benefit initially touted by their clinical champions and marketers.

All is not well in our thinking on this subject. While life expectancy seems to have gone up in developed countries, mainly because of the change of mode of living and better standards of living, human life span has not gone up. Health expectancy—a word I coined to denote the number of years a new-born baby could expect to live without the help of doctors and medicines—seems to have come down in industrialised countries.

Hardly anyone in the West goes beyond the age of 10 without multi-vitamin consumption. In fact, health expectancy is quite high in some developing countries, like India, where people in villages live almost their full lives without any medical interventions; the life expectancy being 67 years. There is hardly a ‘well man’ in the West; routine screening makes life miserable, to say the least, despite the fact that the British Medical Journal avers that routine screening could seriously damage one’s health!

Modern quantum physics makes a mockery of future predictions in any dynamic system without the total initial knowledge of the organism. Doctors have been predicting the unpredictable. To predict man’s future, his doctor should have complete knowledge of his phenotype, genotype and his consciousness. That seems to be impossible in the present state of our knowledge.

Diseases originate in the human mind (consciousness), the seeds being negative thoughts like greed, jealousy, hatred, anger and depression. If sown in a genetically fertile soil (with the correct genetic pattern), the seeds could grow well into the final tree (disease) with all its ramifications when fed by the help of a conducive atmosphere, including tobacco and alcohol, which work like the best manure for the crop.

With quantum physics trying to understand human consciousness, time has come for modern medicine to divorce itself from the time-honoured reductionist logic of linear relations in dynamic systems. It is a pity that, after so many fantastic claims of advances in medical science, we have been able to eradicate only one disease: small pox.
Incidentally, it was eradicated without any advanced technology! Edward Jenner, credited to be the father of vaccination, had to have his method authenticated and refined with the help of a longitudinal study of the Indian system of vaccination practised for centuries with nearly 90% success rate, by a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London,

Dr TZ Holwell who spent many years in India to study the system of vaccination with attenuated virus!

To compound our confusion, we have been targeting raised blood pressure, sugar, fats, etc, as causes of diseases and trying to reduce and/or correct them, mostly with disastrous results. Proper audits of our interventions have shown that many of the technologies, not to speak of drugs, have done more harm than good. Many medical technologies have never been audited at all!

The directionless movement of mankind, where value systems have been ditched, has resulted in children shooting peers for petty jealousies. Let the wisdom of the human body play its part in the game of healthy living. It is the body’s wisdom that keeps us going, despite the medical industry’s efforts to make us their customers!

Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS.



Moreshwar Vanamali

3 years ago

I am sincerely trying to understand the main thrust and its implications of this article by an eminent medical specialist.
Probably, Dr. Hegde’s main thrust is against applying the empirical method of research of physical and social sciences to medical research and practice, for gaining true knowledge of the subject. The problem is not about the wisdom of medical practitioners applying the theory, but it is about the false (?) wisdom contained in the “thinking of the subject” obtained by the method of inquiry.
Dr. Hegde’s contention that even after the centuries of pursuing this kind of approach, the gains to humanity in terms of successful treatment and elimination of diseases is almost negligible. On the contrary , it has done more harm than good. I feel that a lot more evidence than what is provided by Dr. Hegde is required to make this contention acceptable.
What is the alternative? “Listen to the body” !
This, I find, the most difficult part to understand and appreciate, partly because there is a surreptitious attempt to include “mind” and “consciousness” in the concept of “body”. And so, the cardinal question is “ How does a medical researcher and practitioner ‘listen to the body’?
Moreshwar vanamali



In Reply to Moreshwar Vanamali 3 years ago

"I feel that a lot more evidence than what is provided by Dr. Hegde is required to make this contention acceptable."
- how will you get it in an environment where drug companies are all powerful and finance almost all research.
As for medical practitioner's "listening to the body" - the old system where every family used to have a "family doctor" (unlike today's frontline "specialists") who knew them and their lifestyle enabling better diagnosis even prevention.
Today's doctors in my opinion have abysmal diagnosis skills even after having technology the doctor's of the past couldn't even dream of.

Rajeev Juneja

3 years ago

Its nice to see such a different type of writing also included in Moneylife. Yes Dr Hegde is correct: we have become too shallow: just dealing with the symptome without bothering to rectify deeper causes.

Pulse Beat

Medical developments from around the world

Skin Diseases and Liver
Researchers discovered that the skin is capable of communicating with the liver. The discovery has surprised scientists and may help in our understanding of how skin diseases can affect the rest of the body. The discovery was made by Professor Susanne Mandrudp and her research group in collaboration with Nils Færgeman’s research group at the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Southern Denmark.

Truth about Low-fat Diets
A cardiology specialist registrar at Croydon University Hospital in London, Dr Aseem Malhotra, says that low-fat diet is actually a primary driver of both obesity and heart disease. Elimination of saturated and other healthy fats from the diets of millions of people worldwide has left them with more cardiovascular abnormalities—actually the opposite of what governments have long claimed.

Benefits of Family Doctors
Each one of us should have a family doctor who is a friend, philosopher and guide. When one is feeling off-colour, however trivial the symptom might be, one MUST consult the family doctor, to discuss health problems. Most of the time, the family doctor will assure you and boost your immune system with kind words which will be therapeutic. After all, the human body is immaterial—mental and spiritual. Matter is energy and energy is matter and so the mind and the body are but the same. A good doctor’s kind words will be an effective antidote to problems.

Science, Spirituality and the ‘Multiverse’
Science understands spirituality with the advances in quantum physics.
Robert Lanza, an American astrophysicist, has come up with the theory of ‘c’ or multiple universes. This has been supported by some other physicists also. Some readers might have read HG Wells’s Holes in the Wall, in which the author writes about similar stuff. There are poets who have sung in praise of this wonderful wonder called the World. Lanza also proposes that the possibility of the soul (aatman) transmigrating to the other world as soon as our bodies cease to breathe—called death. Soon after that, the soul, or aatman or, if you like, individual consciousness, migrates. So death becomes a part of life and not the end of it. Thornton Wilder, who wrote The Bridge of San Luis Rey, mentions two worlds: the world of the dead and that of the living similar to the concept of ‘Multiverse’.

Fear of Death
Fear of death is the greatest cause of anxiety that brings forth many psychosomatic illnesses for which the gullible public receives unnecessary treatment from the medical establishment. If the new scientific finding of the ‘Multiverse’ gets known, the fear factor could be reduced.

Eat More Spinach & Avocados
It is not only calcium that is essential for bone-building, although it does play a crucial role. Silicon and magnesium are equally, and primarily, responsible for increasing bone density. Foods that contain silicon include bell peppers, soybean, leafy green vegetables, beetroot, brown rice, oats, etc. Magnesium is found in nuts, such as cashew, almond and even peanut. Foods, like avocados, oatmeal, baked potatoes and spinach, also contain magnesium. Remember to add green, leafy vegetables to your diet, as they are rich in magnesium as well as calcium. Heavy intake of salt reduces the body’s calcium level as there is calcium-induced calcium loss in the kidneys, especially if calcium is taken as a drug in isolation. Excess salt intake makes our calcium requirement higher. Oral calcium is another dangerous thing. The calcium gets deposited on vessel walls and the heart, increasing the risk of heart attack.


Sensex, Nifty on a slow uptrend: Wednesday closing report

If the Nifty closes strongly below 6,310 the uptrend may pause

The Nifty on Wednesday closed marginally higher, with almost the same trading volume as yesterday on the NSE. After the weak opening, the market moved almost flat for most of the session only to move higher in the last hour of the session and close near the day’s high.


The BSE Sensex opened at 21,252 and moved in the from the level of 21,168 to 21,378 and closed at 21,338 (up 87 points or 0.41%) while the NSE Nifty which opened at 6,309 moved in the range of 6,288 and 6,350 and closed at 6,339 (up 25 points or 0.40%). The NSE recorded a volume of 52.94 crore shares.


Except for PSU Bank (down 0.19%) and FMCG (down 0.08%) all the other indices on the NSE closed in the positive. The top five gainers were Pharma (1.58%); Metal (0.95%); Energy (0.83%); Media (0.73%) and Realty (0.73%).


Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 32 ended in the green. The top five gainers were Sun Pharma (3.17%); B P C L (2.43%); Tata Steel (2.41%); Lupin (2.31%) and Hindalco (2.08%). The top five losers were Asian Paints (0.93%); State Bank of India (0.93%); A C C (0.79%); I T C (0.77%) and Cairn (0.71%).


Of the 1,507 companies on the NSE, 750 companies closed in the green, 656 companies closed in the red while 101 closed flat.          


A Reserve Bank of India panel has recommended that the central bank should start using a consumer-price inflation target to determine monetary policy. If this accepted then managing inflation take precedence over the bank's two other current main objectives of economic growth and financial stability. In a 130-page report released on Tuesday suggested a CPI inflation rate target within two percentage points above or below 4%. If accepted, the report's recommendation would bring India in line with global norms by placing less emphasis on wholesale price inflation, which India has used until now as its main indicator of price movements.


Finance Minister P Chidambaram said that developing economies will feel some impact from the US Federal Reserve's winding down of its stimulus but India is better prepared than last year. He also said "(for the) financial year 2013/14 that will end in March, we will be only about 5% (growth). But for the financial year 2014 -15, which is nine months of calendar 2014, we will cross 6%."


US indices closed mostly in the green on Tuesday.


The International Monetary Fund has raised its forecast for global growth this year as expansions in the US and UK accelerates, and urged advanced economies to maintain monetary accommodation to strengthen the recovery. The global economy will grow 3.7% this year, compared with an October estimate of 3.6%, the IMF said in revisions to its World Economic Outlook released in Washington. While it raised the outlook for advanced nations, the IMF said "downside risks remain," including financial-market volatility in emerging markets.


Except for KLSE Composite and Straits Times closing marginally lower all the other Asian indices closed higher. Shanghai Composite was the top gainer which rose 2.16%.


The Bank of Japan today pledged to maintain economic stimulus after a two-day monetary policy review. The BOJ said it will keep plans to increase the monetary base annually by 60 trillion to 70 trillion yen and maintained its inflation target for 2015.


European indices were trading lower and US Futures too were trading in the negative.


Bank of England officials indicated that they may maintain interest rates at a record low even if the jobless rate falls to a key level sooner than they had previously anticipated. UK unemployment, as measured by International Labour Organization methods, declined to 7.1% in the three months through November from 7.4% in the quarter through October, the Office for National Statistics said.


Euro zone government debt fell for the first time in nearly six years in the third quarter, data showed on Wednesday.


Debt in the 17 countries sharing the euro stood at 8.842 trillion euros ($11.98 trillion) in the three months to September, or 92.7% of the bloc's GDP, compared with 8.875 trillion euros, or 93.4%, in the previous quarter. The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said it was the first decline, in absolute terms, since the fourth quarter of 2007.


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