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Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Vedas

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We studied a group of verbal memory specialists to determine whether intensive oral text memory is associated with structural features of hippocampal and lateral-temporal regions implicated in language processing. Professional Vedic Sanskrit Pandits in India train from childhood for around 10 years in an ancient, formalized tradition of oral Sanskrit text memorization and recitation, mastering the exact pronunciation and invariant content of multiple 40,000-100,000 word oral texts. We conducted structural analysis of grey matter density, cortical thickness, local gyrification, and white matter structure, relative to matched controls. We found massive gray matter density and cortical thickness increases in Pandit brains in language, memory and visual systems, including i) bilateral lateral temporal cortices and ii) the anterior cingulate cortex and the hippocampus, regions associated with long and short-term memory. Differences in hippocampal morphometry matched those previously documented for expert spatial navigators and individuals with good verbal working memory. The findings provide unique insight into the brain organization implementing formalized oral knowledge systems.

Concepts: Neuroanatomy, Brain, Cerebral cortex, Memory, Cerebrum, Hippocampus, Brodmann area 24, Vedas

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Sushruta is considered the “Father of Plastic Surgery.” He lived in India sometime between 1000 and 800 BC, and is responsible for the advancement of medicine in ancient India. His teaching of anatomy, pathophysiology, and therapeutic strategies were of unparalleled luminosity, especially considering his time in the historical record. He is notably famous for nasal reconstruction, which can be traced throughout the literature from his depiction within the Vedic period of Hindu medicine to the era of Tagliacozzi during Renaissance Italy to modern-day surgical practices. The primary focus of this historical review is centered on Sushruta’s anatomical and surgical knowledge and his creation of the cheek flap for nasal reconstruction and its transition to the “Indian method.” The influential nature of the Sushruta Samhita, the compendium documenting Sushruta’s theories about medicine, is supported not only by anatomical knowledge and surgical procedural descriptions contained within its pages, but by the creative approaches that still hold true today.

Concepts: Medicine, Ayurveda, Surgery, Plastic surgery, Sushruta Samhita, Rhinoplasty, History of India, Vedas

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Food is medicine and vice versa. In Hindu and Ayurvedic medicine, and among human cultures of the Indian subcontinent in general, the perception of the food-medicine continuum is especially well established. The preparation of the exhilarating, gold-coloured Soma, Amrita or Ambrosia, the elixir and food of the ‘immortals’ - the Hindu pantheon -, by the ancient Indo-Aryans, is described in the Rigveda in poetic hymns. Different theories regarding the botanical identity of Soma circulate, but no pharmacologically and historically convincing theory exists to date.

Concepts: Indian subcontinent, Soma, Hinduism, Immortality, Vedas, Indra, Sanskrit words and phrases, Hindu mythology

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Sarasvata ghrita (SG), a polyherbal formulation from ayurveda, an ancient medicinal system of India, has been used to improve intelligence and memory, treat speech delay, speaking difficulties and low digestion power in children.

Concepts: Medicine, Ayurveda, Surgery, Effects unit, Alternative medicine, Speech, Neem, Vedas

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Whereas the last Century of science was characterized by epistemological uncertainty; the current Century will likely be characterized by ontological complexity (Gorban and Yablonsky, 2013). Advances in Systems Theory by mathematical biologist Robert Rosen suggest an elegant way forward (Rosen, 2013). “R-theory” (Kineman, 2012) is a synthesis of Rosen’s theories explaining complexity and life in terms of a meta-model for ‘whole’ systems (and their fractions) in terms of “5(th)-order holons”. Such holons are Rosen modeling relations relating system-dependent processes with their formative contexts via closed cycles of four archetypal (Aristotelian) causes. This approach has post-predicted the three most basic taxa of life, plus a quasi-organismic form that may describe proto, component, and ecosystemic life. R-theory thus suggests a fundamentally complex ontology of existence inverting the current view that complexity arises from simple mechanisms. This model of cyclical causality corresponds to the ancient meta-model described in the Vedas and Upanishads of India. Part I of this discussion (Kineman, 2016a) presented a case for associating Vedic philosophy with Harappan civilization, allowing interpretation of ancient concepts of “cosmic order” (Rta) in the Rig Veda, nonduality (advaita), seven-fold beingness (saptanna) and other forms of holism appearing later in the Upanishads. By deciphering the model of wholeness that was applied and tested in ancient times, it is possible to compare, test, and confirm the holon model as a mathematical definition of life, systemic wholeness, and sustainability that may be applied today in modern terms, even as a foundation for holistic science.

Concepts: Holism, Sanskrit, Hinduism, Vedas, Rigveda, Upanishads, Vedic period, Brahman

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The term Kriyakala refers to the recognition of the stage of a disease’s progress, which helps to determine appropriate measure to correct the imbalance in Doshas (biological factors). It is a compound expression, comprised of Kriya and Kala, where Kriya means the choice to treatment (medicine, food and daily-routine) used to improve the disturbance in Doshas, and Kala refers to the stage of progress of a disease. Sushruta, an ancient Indian surgeon, has described the concept of Kriyakala in Varnaprashnadhyaya, an ancient Vedic Sanskrit text, which seeks to explain the incidence of Varnas in terms of Doshic disturbances. Varna, in modern parlance, may be described as an inflammatory process that may lead ulceration and chronic inflammation, promoting all stages of carcinogenesis. Abnormal interactions between Prakriti (genotype) and environmental factors vitiate the Doshas and impair immunity, which can lead to aberrant cell growth and cancer. Moreover, the interaction between vitiated Doshas and weak Dhatus (body tissues) manifests as cancers of a specific organ. Shatkriyakala (six stages of progress of a disease), on the other hand, provides a framework to assess the cancer and its pathogenesis in different stages. According to Ayurvedic concepts, all cancer therapies treat the affected tissues indirectly by eliminating vitiated Doshas, rejuvenating Dhatus and restoring immunity in cancer patients. The present review describes the six stages of Shatkriyakala in detail, with an emphasis on research areas to validate the concept of Shatkriyakala. This traditional knowledge can be utilized with modern technologies to detect predisposition for cancer or diagnose cancer in its early stages.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Medicine, Cancer, Oncology, Cancer staging, Sanskrit, Vedas

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Ayurveda entails a scientific tradition of harmonious living and its origin can be traced from ancient knowledge contained in Rigveda and Atharvaveda. Ayurveda is a traditional healthcare system of Indian medicine since time immortal. Several Ayurvedic medicines have been exploiting for treatment and management of various diseases in human beings. The several drugs have been developed and practiced from Ayurveda since ancient time to modern practice as ‘tradition to trend’. The potential of Ayurvedic medicine needs to be explored further with modern scientific validation approaches for better therapeutic leads.

Concepts: Medicine, Ayurveda, Science, Alternative medicine, Pharmacy, Traditional medicine, Vedas, Atharvaveda

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Ayurveda (Sanskrit: Ayus - life + Veda - knowledge) means the “True knowledge of life”. Ayurveda deals with a complete self-sustainable system of medicine. The Government of India through its Ministry of AYUSH is responsible for policy formulation, development and implementation of programs for the growth, development and propagation of Ayurveda.

Concepts: Policy, Implementation, Government, Public policy, Vedas

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In the past years, the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has undergone remarkable changes in all therapeutic modes. The present newfangled care in clinical research is to determine and to pick a new track for better treatment options for RA. Recent ethnopharmacological investigations revealed that traditional herbal remedies are the most preferred modality of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). However, several ayurvedic modes of treatments and formulations for RA are not much studied and documented from Indian traditional system of medicine. Therefore, this directed us to develop an integrated database, RAACFDb (acronym: Rheumatoid Arthritis Ayurvedic Classical Formulations Database) by consolidating data from the repository of Vedic Samhita - The Ayurveda to retrieve the available formulations information easily.

Concepts: Medicine, Ayurveda, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Alternative medicine, Herbalism, Traditional medicine, Vedas

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Mobile phone induced electromagnetic field (MPEMF) as well as chanting of Vedic mantra ‘OM’ has been shown to affect cognition and brain haemodynamics, but findings are still inconclusive. Twenty right-handed healthy teenagers (eight males and 12 females) in the age range of 18.25 ± 0.44 years were randomly divided into four groups: (1) MPONOM (mobile phone ‘ON’ followed by ‘OM’ chanting); (2) MPOFOM (mobile phone ‘OFF’ followed by ‘OM’ chanting); (3) MPONSS (mobile phone ‘ON’ followed by ‘SS’ chanting); and (4) MPOFSS (mobile phone ‘OFF’ followed by ‘SS’ chanting). Brain haemodynamics during Stroop task were recorded using a 64-channel fNIRS device at three points of time: (1) baseline, (2) after 30 min of MPON/OF exposure, and (3) after 5 min of OM/SS chanting. RM-ANOVA was applied to perform within- and between-group comparisons, respectively. Between-group analysis revealed that total scores on incongruent Stroop task were significantly better after OM as compared to SS chanting (MPOFOM vs MPOFSS), pre-frontal activation was significantly lesser after OM as compared to SS chanting in channel 13. There was no significant difference between MPON and MPOF conditions for Stroop performance, as well as brain haemodynamics. These findings need confirmation through a larger trial in future.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognition, Mobile phone, Radio, Vodafone, GSM, Mantra, Vedas