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Dr K K Aggarwal

True silence is the silence between thoughts and represents the true self, consciousness or the soul. It is a web of energized information ready to take all provided there is a right intent. Meditation is the process of achieving silence.

Observing silence is another way of deriving benefits of meditation. Many yogis in the past have recommended and observed silence now and then. Mahatma Gandhi used to spend one day of each week in silence. He believed that abstaining from speaking brought him inner peace and happiness. On all such days he communicated with others only by writing on paper.

Hindu principles also talk about a correlation between mauna (silence) and shanti (harmony). Mauna Ekadashi is a ritual followed traditionally in our country. On this day the person is not supposed to speak at all and observes complete silence all through the day and night. It gives immense peace to the mind and strength to the body. In Jainism, this ritual has a lot of importance. Nimith was a great saint in Jainism who long ago asked all Jains to observe this vrata. Some people recommend that on every ekadashi one should observe silence for few hours, if not the whole day.

In his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra talks in great detail about the importance of observing silence in day to day life. He recommends that everyone should observe silence for 20 minutes every day. Silence helps to redirect our imagination towards self. Even Swami Sivananda in his teachings recommends observation of mauna daily for 2 hours. For ekadashi, take milk and fruits every day, study one chapter of Bhagawad Gita daily, do regular charity and donate one-tenth of your income in the welfare of the society.

Ekadashi is the 11th day of Hindu lunar fortnight. It is the day of celebration, occurring twice a month, meant for meditation and increasing soul consciousness. Vinoba Bhave was a great sage of our country known for his Bhoodaan movement. He was a great advocator and practical preacher of mauna vrata.

Mauna means silence and vrata means vow; hence, mauna vrata means a vow of silence. Mauna was practiced by saints to end enmity and recoup their enmity. Prolonged silence as the form of silence is observed by the rishi munis involved for prolonged periods of silence. Silence is a source of all that exists. Silence is where consciousness dwells. There is no religious tradition which does not talk about silence. It breaks the outward communication and forces a dialogue towards inner communication. This is one reason why all prayers, meditation and worship or any other practice whether we attune our mind to the spiritual consciousness within are done in silence.  After the death of a person it is a practice to observe silence for two minutes. The immediate benefit is that it saves a tremendous amount of energy.

Silence is cessation of both sensory and mental activity. It is like having a still mind and listening to the inner mind. Behind this screen of our internal dialogue is the silence of spirit. Meditation is the combination of observing silence and the art of observation.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

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  • Mother/primary caregiver with active cavities
  • Parent/caregiver with low socioeconomic status
  • Prolonged breastfeeding or bottle-feeding (>12 months)
  • Frequent consumption of sugary beverages and snacks
  • Use of a bottle at bed time, especially with sweetened beverages
  • Use of liquid medication for longer than three weeks
  • Exposure to passive tobacco smoke
  • Children with special health care needs
  • Insufficient fluoride exposure
  • Visible plaque on upper front teeth
  • Enamel pits or defects

 

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  1. Depression is a major public health problem as a leading predictor of functional disability and mortality.
  2. Optimal depression treatment improves outcome for most patients.
  3. Most adults with clinical significant depression never see a mental health professional but they often see a primary care physician.
  4. A non–psychiatrist physician misses the diagnosis of depression 50% of times.
  5. All depressed patients must be specifically asked about suicidal ideations.
  6. Suicidal ideation is a medical emergency.
  7. Risk factors for suicide are psychiatric known disorders, medical illness, prior history of suicidal attempts, or family history of attempted suicide.
  8. Demographic reasons include older age, male gender, marital status (widowed or separated) and living alone.
  9. World over about 1 million people commit suicide every year.
  10. Seventy–nine percent of patients who commit suicide contact their primary care provider in the last one year before their death and only one–third contact their mental health service provider.
  11. Twice as many suicidal victims had contacted their primary care provider as against the mental health provider in the last month before suicide.
  12. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death worldwide and account for 1.2% of all deaths.
  13. In the US, suicidal rate is 10.5 per 100,000 people.
  14. In America, suicide is increasing in middle aged adults.
  15. There are 10 to 40 non–fatal suicide attempts for every one completed suicide.
  16. The majority of suicides completed in US are accomplished with fire arm (57%); the second leading method of suicide in US is hanging for men and poisoning in women.
  17. Patients with prior history of attempted suicide are 5–6 times more likely to make another attempt.
  18. Fifty percent of successful victims have made prior attempts.
  19. One of every 100 suicidal attempt survivors will die by committing suicide within one year of the first attempt.
  20. The risk of suicide increases with increase in age; however, younger and adolescents attempt suicide more than the older.
  21. Females attempt suicide more frequently than males but males are successful three times more often.
  22. The highest suicidal rate is amongst those individuals who are unmarried followed by those who are widowed, separated, divorced, married without children or married with children in descending order.
  23. Living alone increases the risk of suicide.
  24. Unemployed and unskilled patients are at higher risk of suicide than those who are employed.
  25. A recent sense of failure may lead to higher risk.
  26. Clinicians are at higher risk of suicide.
  27. The suicidal rate in male clinicians is 1.41 and that in female clinicians is 2.27.
  28. Adverse childhood abuse and adverse childhood experiences increase the risk of suicidal attempts.
  29. The first step in evaluating suicidal risk is to determine presence of suicidal thoughts including their concerns and duration.
  30. Management of suicidal individual includes reducing mortality risk, underlying factors and monitoring and follow up.
  31. Major risk for suicidal attempts is in psychiatric disorders, hopelessness and prior suicidal attempts or threats.
  32. High impulsivity or alcohol or other substance abuse increase the risk.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

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  1. Brushing helps in preventing the build-up of plaque and bacteria which can cause tooth decay and periodontal diseases.
  2. Floss every day as this helps clean the crevices where the brush cannot reach.
  3. Avoid sugary and starchy foods as sugar in such foods reacts with the bacteria in saliva to form an acid that erodes the tooth enamel leading to tooth decay.
  4. The tongue too harbors bacteria. Therefore, it is a good idea to invest in a tongue scraper and clean it each time you brush your teeth.
  5. Consult a dentist if your gums are inflamed or if they bleed. Do not ignore any pain in the teeth and/or gums.
  6. Get your teeth checked every six months. Dental cleaning and check-up twice a year is imperative.
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Smile is a sign of joy while hug is a sign of love. Laughter on the other hand is a sign of inner happiness.

Neither of them are at the level of mind or intellect. All come from within the heart. They are only the gradations of your expressions of your happiness.

It is said you are incomplete in your dress if you are not wearing a smile on your face.

Hug comes next… and laughter the last. Laughter is like an internal jogging and has benefits similar to meditation.

But be careful we must know when not to laugh. The most difficult is to laugh on oneself.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

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Tips from HCFI for malaria prevention

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Wellness | Tagged With: , , , | | Comments Off

  1. Malaria mosquitoes grow in fresh water collected in the house. It is therefore important to not let water stagnate in your house and the surrounding areas. Mosquito cycle takes 7-12 days to complete. So, if any utensil or container that stores water is cleaned properly once in a week, there are no chances of mosquito breeding.
  2. Mosquitoes can lay eggs in money plant pots or in water tanks on the terrace if they are not properly covered. If the water pots for birds kept on terraces are not cleaned every week, then mosquitoes can lay eggs in them.
  3. Using mosquito nets/repellents in the night may not prevent malaria because these mosquitoes bite during the day time.
  4. Malaria mosquitoes do not make a sound. Therefore, mosquitoes that do not produce a sound do not cause diseases.
  5. Wearing full sleeves shirt and trousers can prevent mosquito bites. Mosquito repellent can be helpful during the day.
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In a hospital practice, we all witness suffering all the time. When we were young, in medical college, quite often we were disturbed seeing the sufferings of the people. But, in our practice, we have learnt many spiritual prescriptions from our patients. These have not only helped us to heal our patients but also changed our perception to health and sickness.

I recall Swami Bodhanand, a disciple of Swami Chinmayananda, was once hospitalized under our care. When I asked him to give me a spiritual message, he told me only two words “Detached Attachment”. He said, “As a doctor you should behave like a lotus leaf. It is wet as long as a drop of water is there, but once the drop is out, the leaf is as dry as if the water was never there.” The message was that “we should be attached to our patients as long as they are with us. The day they die, we should be completely detached from them or else we will not be able to treat other patients”.

I saw another spiritual guru through our Chief Anesthetist. The fee he paid to me was a spiritual message “Suno Samjho Jano Karo – Hear Understand Wisdom and Do”. He said that hearing is different from listening, listening is different from wisdom and wisdom is different from doing. Unless you hear, understand what you have heard and implement, the learning has no value.

One of my Buddhist patients gave me a spiritual learning, which has helped me a lot in my routine clinical practice. He taught me the basic Buddhist message that there is suffering all over; there is a reason for every suffering and it is possible to maintain sufferings. This message fits into the main message of Hinduism and also the main teaching from Garud Purana.

In Hinduism, we know that the very fact that we are born in this life means that in our last life, we could not get liberation as Hinduism believes that after liberation you are not reborn. Not getting liberated in the last birth means that some sufferings were left in our life. The basic purpose of this birth, therefore, is to face sufferings. When the basic purpose of our birth is to face sufferings, then why suffer from these sufferings. Every time we suffer, we should thank God that he has reduced one more. The period in between two sufferings is called a happy period (Sukh). In fact that period is nothing but a period of rest given by God to us to prepare the body for next suffering. This as a concept of counseling helps my patients in managing most of their mental disturbances.

Sometimes not telling a patient that he is suffering from terminal cancer works. One of my patient’s father aged 83 years was found to have extensive cancer of the prostate. Medically, we all gave him three months’ to live. My patient did not have the courage to tell his father or the family members that he (the father) had extensive cancer. He took me into confidence and played a game with the family. We gathered all the family members and told them that with the surgery this cancer had been cured. A party was organized in the evening to celebrate the cure. The magic happened; he lived almost a symptom–free life for the next 9 years. I have tried this on many of my patients thereafter and it works. The probable explanation was loss of fear of death, a confidence in his doctor and faith in himself.

The way to live up to the age of hundred is to go on working in life. My great grandfather–in–law was 75 years old, when I got married. That year, he gathered all family members across the world and said that his purpose of life was over and, he would like a collective family photograph and like to quit the world. Nothing happened for a year and on 20th July next year, he again played behaved the same way. Family from across the world gathered but he remained alive for another year. This went on for three years. Suddenly, we played a spiritual trick on him and told everyone to convince him that he is going to live for 100 years as he has many more work of the family to be done. Every year, we gave him law students from within the family to be taught (he was a lawyer himself), or gave him the responsibility of finding a boy for some eligible girl in the family. We made him teach and search for suitable bride/bridegrooms for years together and he actually died at the age of 100 years. This is the beauty of positive attitude in life.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

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How to keep your memory sharp?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Wellness | Tagged With: , , , , | | Comments Off

  1. Manage your stress, especially pressures of deadlines and petty arguments.
  2. The biggest stress is an ongoing sense of extreme anxiety. This can be managed by deep breathing, meditation, yoga and by mindful approach to living.
  3. Get a good night’s sleep. The most common reason for poor sleep is difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep. Many drugs are used to treat insomnia, which can also impair memory.
  4. If you need a sleeping medicine, it should be used in the lowest dose for the shortest period of time.
  5. Get up at the same time in the morning.
  6. If you smoke, quit.
  7. If you do not drink, do not start.
  8. Alcohol makes it difficult to perform short term memory tasks such as memorizing list. Alcohol induces vitamin B1 deficiency, which can cause dementia.
  9. Protect your brain from injury as repeated minor head trauma can cause brain damage. Wear seat belt when riding in motor vehicle. Wear helmet while driving or riding motorcycle.
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