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Dr K K Aggarwal

All About Calcium Carbide

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Under PFA Section 44AA, the use of calcium carbide for artificial ripening of mangoes, apple, plum, banana is prohibited and can attract both imprisonment and fine.
  • Calcium carbide powder is usually kept wrapped in paper between the fruits (unripe mangoes) in a basket or box.
  • Once the basket of mango is closed from the top, calcium carbide absorbs moisture and produces acetylene gas, which accelerates the ripening process of fruits.
  • The health hazards are related to the gastrointestinal tract, kidney, heart, liver and brain and in long run cancer.
  • Calcium carbide 1kg is available for Rs. 25/– and is sufficient to ripe 10 tons of fruit.
  • How do we know that the fruit has been artificially ripened with calcium carbide?
    • It will be less tasty.
    • The aroma will be different
    • It is uniform in color.
    • The color of the mango changes from green to dark yellow.
    • It will have a shorter shelf life.
    • It will be overtly soft.
    • There may be black patches on the mango skin.
    • There may be multi color patches on the skin of the mango (Red, yellow, green patches)
  • How should artificially ripened fruits be handled?
    • Never eat off–season fruits, especially before time
    • Rinse all fruits in running tap water for few minutes before us

I want to live after my death

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In my workshops, whenever I ask delegates as to how long they want to live, the answer I get from most of them is 60, 70 or 80 years. While answering they forget that they are only talking about the death of the physical body but what about the mental, social, intellectual and spiritual bodies.

It is well known that the soul never dies and so do your Sanskars and good work done. The aim of life should be that one should live even after the death of his or her physical body. It is your good Karmas, which keep your memories alive even after your physical death.

It is equally true that your bad Karmas too can make people remember you after death but that is not the purpose of life. We would like to be remembered as Rama and not like Ravana after death.

In Vedic language your present is decided by your past and your future is decided by your present. To improve your future you need to work positively in your present.

When you start working positively in your present moment, you will start neutralizing your bad karmas. It is like washing a dirty shirt which will not become stain free in one washing. Only with repeated washings can it become stain free. Similarly washing away your bad karmas with good karmas will take time.

It is possible that even when one starts doing good Karmas, one may still suffer as the sum total of past karmas may not have been neutralized by that time.

For example, if a dacoit surrenders and wants to live a civilian life he may be pardoned to some extent but may still be jailed for some duration of time. In other word he may be pardoned from death sentence and given life sentence.

As per Bhagavad Gita, whatever your thoughts are at the time of death will decide the atmosphere you will get in your rebirth.

It also says that whatever will be your thoughts throughout your life will be your thoughts at the time of your death.

So do not expect that you can acquire positive thoughts at the time of death if you have been thinking negative throughout your life The gist is to start doing good actions in the present.

To screen or not to screen all young athletes with ECG to discover problems hiding within the heart

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA) (endorsed by the American College of Cardiology) and the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), both recommend a screening before sports participation, but the Americans favor a detailed medical history combined with a physical examination only, while the Europeans favor the addition of the 12–lead ECG.

The controversy was evident in the results of a poll conducted during a debate session at the AHA meeting last year, which were published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine by James Colbert, MD, of Harvard Medical School.

Of the audience members who voted –– an unscientific sample, to be sure –– 70% favored some type of screening for cardiac disease in young athletes. And in a scenario where screening was already a foregone conclusion, 60% said it should include an ECG. A similar online poll on the NEJM website was even more informative, showing that the differences in opinion exist on both sides of the Atlantic.

Of the 1,266 people who voted on the site –– again, not a scientific sample –– 18% didn’t want any mandatory screening, 24% wanted screening with a medical history and physical exam, and 58% favored screening that included an ECG. The percentage of voters who endorsed an ECG was higher among Europeans than among Americans (66% versus 45%), but that still indicates a substantial amount of controversy regardless of geography.


Is the origin of ISO Certification from the Vedas?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Whatever you say or do means you are ISO certified.

In mythology, truthfulness means that you do what you think or say. ISO therefore is a Vedic stamp for truthfulness.

You need ISO certification in Kalyug as majority being Kaliyugis will not be doing what they say or think.

In traditional old business times, people conducted their transactions on verbal assurances but today every one works on written agreements. The saying was “Prana Jaye per vachan na jaye”.

Cough Hygiene

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • When you cough or sneeze, you tend to expel out respiratory waste, which can be droplets (larger than 5 microns) or airborne droplet less than 5 microns; both have different implications.
  • Droplets remain suspended in the air only for a limited period and exposure of less than 3 feet is usually required for human to human transmission of droplet–borne respiratory organisms. In flu, this distance can be up to 6 feet. The examples of droplet infections are patients with meningitis, influenza, rubella (German measles) etc.
  • No precautions need to be taken by a person, who is 6–10 feet away from the patient but if a person is sitting or working even at a distance of 3–6 feet, the non–coughing person should wear simple mask.
  • In contrast, airborne droplet nuclei, which carry respiratory secretions smaller than 5 microns can remain suspended in the air for extended period and can cause infections to people who are standing even more than 10 feet away. The example of airborne droplet nuclei infections are TB, measles, chickenpox and SARS.
  • Patients with these diseases require to be placed in an isolation room and all those people who are looking after these patients must use a safe N95 mask.
  • In normal house with open windows, there is a constant exchange of air, which prevents spread of infections but in rooms with air conditioners (ACs) with no air exchange, the infections can spread from one person to another.
  • When sitting in an air conditioned atmosphere, the setting of the AC should be such that the same air is not circulated and fresh air is allowed to exchange. Split ACs, therefore, are more dangerous than the window ACs.
  • In an office with split AC installed, if one of the employees is suffering from any of the droplet nuclei disease, he/she can transmit infection to others. Therefore, patients with confirmed TB, measles, chickenpox and SARS should not be allowed to work in offices with split ACs.

Should there be a mourning room in the hospital?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In a survey conducted by Heart Care Foundation of India of 400 people from all walks of life, 90% of the people wanted that wishes of the dying person and dead body should be respected in the hospital setting. They said that doctors should be more compassionate and emphatic at the time of declaring a patient dead.

Unless people are expecting a death, death usually comes as a shock to the family members. It is expected that the relations may be in agony, pain and even anger. Every hospital should have a mourning room where the relatives should be made to sit, counseled and death declared.

After the death is declared, the treating doctors, nurses and hospital staff must sit with the patient’s relatives, counsel them, tell them about the sequence of events before death and also counsel them about how to handle the dead body. People also want to know the cause of death so that similar thing may not happen to another person in the family.

They also want to know if the body is infectious or not and what rituals to be avoided if the body is infectious. They also like to know about how to preserve the dead body till cremation.

They may also like to know whether a postmortem is required to know exact cause of death, which can help future family members of the family.

White Rice Most Dangerous

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • White rice is much more dangerous in terms of glycemic index than white bread. It has glycemic index of 102.
  • We often tell people not to take cola drinks but they eat white bread. The glycemic index for white bread is 100% and that for cola drink is 90%.
  • Traditional Indian drinks like Rooh Afza, Khas Khas may also contain more than 10% sugar.
  • The recommended sugary drink does not contain more than 2–3% sugar, which is the amount present in oral rehydration solution.
  • People leave a cola drink and take mashed potato which has glycemic index of more than that of a cola drink (102 versus 90).
  • Pizza has a glycemic index of only 86. So it is better to eat pizza than fried white rice or taking white bread.
  • Table sugar has a glycemic index of 84, while that of jam is 95.
  • French fries have a glycemic index of only 95.
  • To avoid refined carbohydrates in diet, if one has to choose than most dangerous is white rice, followed by white bread and then comes white sugar.
  • Most people add sugar in food and snacks because sugar is a preservative. Less the sugar, earlier the food will be spoiled.

Panchamrit body wash

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Panchamrit is taken as a Prasadam and is also used to wash the deity. In Vedic language, anything which is offered to God can also be done to the human body. Panchamrit bath, therefore, is the original and traditionally full bath prescribed in Vedic literature. It consists of the following:

  • Washing the body with milk and water, where milk acts as a soothing agent.
  • Next is washing the body with curd, which is a substitute for soap and washes away the dirt from the skin.
  • The third step is washing the body with desi ghee, which is like an oil massage.
  • Fourth is washing the body with honey, which works like a moisturizer.
  • Last step is to rub the skin with sugar or khand. Sugar works as a scrubber.

Panchamrit bath is much more scientific, cheaper and health friendly.

Food poisoning with rice dishes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Staph and Bacillus cereus can cause acute food poisoning within 6 hours of ingestion of food. B. cereus is likely when rice is the culprit.

  • B. cereus is able to persist in food processing environments due to its ability to survive at extreme temperatures as well as its ability to form biofilms and spores.
  • B. cereus has been recovered from a wide range of foods, including rice, dairy products, spices, bean sprouts and other vegetables.
  • Fried rice is an important cause of emetic–type food poisoning associated with B. cereus.
  • The organism is frequently present in uncooked rice, and heat–resistant spores may survive cooking.
  • Cooked rice subsequently at room temperature can allow vegetative forms to multiply, and the heat-stable toxin that is produced can survive brief heating such as stir frying
  • Two distinct types of toxin-mediated food poisoning are caused by B. cereus, characterized by either diarrhea or vomiting, depending on which toxin is involved. The diarrheal toxin is produced by vegetative cells in the small intestine after ingestion of either bacilli or spores. The emetic toxin is ingested directly from contaminated food. Both toxins cause disease within 24 hours of ingestion.
  • The emetic syndrome is caused by direct ingestion of the toxin.
  • The number of viable spores and vegetative bacteria that produce diarrheal toxin is reduced by heating, although spores associated with emetic toxin are capable of surviving heat processing.
  • Cereulide is heat stable and resistant to gastric conditions.
  • The ingested toxin itself may therefore cause disease despite sufficient heating to kill B. cereus.
  • The emetic syndrome is characterized by abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Diarrhea also occurs in about one–third of individuals. Symptom onset is usually within 1 to 5 hours of ingestion, but it can also occur within half an hour and up to six hours after ingestion of contaminated food.
  • Symptoms usually resolve in 6 to 24 hours.
  • Rice–based dishes in particular have been implicated in emetic toxin mediated disease, usually as a result of cooling fried rice dishes overnight at room temperature followed by reheating the next day.
  • The infective dose of cereulide required to cause symptoms is 8 to 10 micrograms per kilogram of body weight.

Forgetfulness and Age

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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By the time we cross 40, most of us suffer from minimal cognitive impairment and have a memory loss of very recent events or objects. This is age related and should not be confused with dementia.

This can also happen in patients who are vegetarians and vitamin B12 deficient. People often have difficulty in naming objects and name of the people.

Just as a computer hangs up while doing multiple tasks, so does the human mind. When you handle multiple projects at the same time, you may experience thought blocks, which is natural and not a sign of a disease.

When we introduce ourselves to a new person, we often tell our name first. It is possible that by the time you finish your conversation, the person may forget your name. Therefore, one should either introduce themselves last after the conversation is over or introduce oneself at the start and also at the end of the conversation.

Some people introduce themselves before the conversation and hand over their visiting card at the end of a conversation. This is also taught in how to market yourself.

As medical doctors, we face these difficulties quite often. People send SMSs without their names or call without telling their names. For example, I once got a call “Malhotra Bol Raha Hoon Pehchana Kya?” As a doctor, we may have had hundreds of Malhotras as our patients and it is not expected from us, especially, after the age of 40 to recall a person just by his surname. Unless we are given complete information by the patient on phone, mistakes can be made, especially, if it is a phone consultation. In any way, phone consultation needs to be avoided. Even Supreme Court in one of its judgments said that giving phone consultation may amount to professional misconduct on the part of the doctor.

Reduce liquids to reduce weight

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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When it comes to losing weight, cut down on liquid calories rather than food.

“Weight loss from liquid calories is greater than loss of calorie intake from solid food, as per Dr. Liwei Chen, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the LSU Health Science Center in New Orleans, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Body is able to self–regulate its intake of solid food. If you eat too much solid food at lunch, you’ll tend to eat less at dinner. But the same self–regulation is not in place for what you drink. The body does not adjust to liquid calories, so over time, you gain more weight.

Cutting back on calories from sugary drinks–by only one serving per day–can account for nearly two–and–a–half pounds of lost weight over 18 months.

Beverages are categorized into eight categories

  1. Sugar–sweetened beverages (including soft drinks, fruit drinks, fruit punch, or high–calorie beverages sweetened with sugar)
  2. Diet drinks such as diet soda and other diet drinks that were artificially sweetened
  3. Milk (including whole milk,2 percent milk,and 1 percent skim)
  4. 100 percent fruit and vegetable juice
  5. Coffee and tea with sugar
  6. Coffee and tea without sugar
  7. Alcoholic beverages
  8. Water with no calories

The best drinks are water, plain soda and tea/coffee with no sugar.

Why do we Ring the Bell in a Temple?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The vibrations of the ringing bell produce the auspicious primordial sound ‘Om’, thus creating a connection between the deity and the mind. As we start the daily ritualistic worship (pooja), we ring the bell, chanting:

agamaarthamtu devaanaam
gamanaarthamtu rakshasaam
Kurve ghantaaravam tatra
devataahvaahna lakshanam

“I ring this bell indicating the invocation of divinity, So that virtuous and noble forces enter (my home and heart); And the demonic and evil forces from within and without, depart.”

Lifestyle can prevent 50% of common cancers

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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More than 50% of cancers can be prevented if people simply change lifestyles, according to data presented by Graham Colditz, PD, DrPH, from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri at the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) World Cancer Congress 2012.

Among the “biggest buys” from lifestyle intervention is smoking cessation. One third of cancer in high-income countries is caused by smoking.

Being overweight or obese causes approximately 20% of cancer today. If people could maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI), the incidence of cancer could be reduced by approximately 50% in 2 to 20 years.

Poor diet and lack of exercise are each associated with about 5% of all cancers. Improvement in diet could reduce cancer incidence by 50% and increases in physical activity could reduce cancer incidence by as much as 85% in 5 to 20 years.

Eradicating the main viruses associated with cancer worldwide by implementing widespread infant and childhood immunization programs targeting 3 viruses–human papillomavirus and hepatitis B and C– could lead to a 100% reduction in viral–related cancer incidence in 20 to 40 years.

Tamoxifen reduces the rate of both invasive and noninvasive breast cancer by 50% or more, compared with placebo, at 5 years.
Raloxifene has been shown to reduce the risk for invasive breast cancer by about 50% at 5 years.

Bilateral oophorectomy in women carrying the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, although rare, has been associated with a 50% reduction in breast cancer risk among high–risk women.

Aspirin is associated with a 40% reduction in mortality from colon cancer.

Screening for colorectal cancer has a similar magnitude of mortality reduction (30% to 40%). Tobacco, alcohol, and diet, lack of physical activity, and obesity– accounted for more than half of all cancer.

  • For men who have never smoked, heart disease presents their greatest risk for death at any age, exceeding the odds of dying from lung, colon and prostate cancer combined.
  • Male smokers face a lung cancer risk that is greater than the odds of heart disease taking their lives after age 60, and is tenfold higher than the chance of dying from prostate and colon cancer combined.
  • The chances of dying from heart disease and breast cancer are similar for nonsmoking women until age 60, when heart disease becomes a greater risk.
  • For female smokers, dying from lung cancer or heart disease is more likely than dying from breast cancer after age 40.

 

Neti–Neti (Not This Not This)

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The Main Principle of Knowing the Truth

The main figure in the Upanishads is sage Yajnavalkya, known as one of the greatest philosophers. Most of the great teachings of later Hindu or Buddhist philosophy are derived from him. He taught the great doctrine of neti–neti, the view that truth can be found only through the negation of all thoughts about it.

Brhadaranyaka Upanishad is the oldest and the most important of all the Upanishads. Its name actually means the great forest–book.

Sage Yajnavalkya’s dialogues with his wife, Maitreyi are featured in the Muni Kanda or Yajnavalkya Kanda. The doctrine of neti–neti suggests the indescribability of the Brahman, the Absolute. Yajnavalkaya attempts to define Brahman.

Atman is described “neither this, nor this” neti–neti. The Self cannot be described in any way. Na–iti– that is Neti. Through this process of neti–neti you give up everything &ndash the cosmos, the body, the mind and everything–to realize the Self.

Once the Atman is defined in this manner are you become familiar with it, a transformation takes place as realization dawns that the phenomenal world and all its creatures are made up of the same essence of bliss.

Brahman is infinite, amorphous, colorless, characterless and formless Universal Spirit, which is omnipresent and omnipotent, and like cosmic energy, is pervasive, unseen and indescribable.

  • Neti–neti Meditation: The principle of neti–neti has been used in meditation involving gnana yoga. Whenever a thought or feeling comes to mind that is not the goal of the meditation, or is not the soul or the inner self, the meditator simply has to say, “Not this, not this,” and dismiss the thought, image, concept, sound, or sense distraction. Any thought, any feeling, is patiently discarded –again and again if necessary, until the mind is clear and the soul/or the self is revealed.
  • Neti–neti and the mind: When you get into the habit of neti–neti, you can also discard thoughts of worry, doubt, or fear, and become established in the light of your inner self. You can, then, look back at worries and fears with deep insight and handle them.
  • Neti–neti and the medical profession: One of the basic medical teachings is to diagnose a condition by way of excluding other similar conditions. This is called differential diagnosis and this is the mainstay of allopathy. This also makes one investigative–oriented but is the only scientific way of knowing the truth.
  • Neti–neti and multiple–choice questions: In any modern exam today, the principle of neti–neti is used. A question has about four nearly similar answers and the student has to answer the correct one. He can only answer by the principle of negation.
  • Neti–neti and police investigations: This principle is also used while handling a criminal case. Everyone is a suspect in the crime initially, till a process of elimination clears them.

Smoking makes you 5 years older

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Men have a greater chance of dying then women, and smoking increases any adult’s risk of death just as if five years were suddenly added to their age.

  • For men who have never smoked, heart disease presents their greatest risk for death at any age, exceeding the odds of dying from lung, colon and prostate cancer combined.
  • Male smokers face a lung cancer risk that is greater than the odds of heart disease taking their lives after age 60, and is tenfold higher than the chance of dying from prostate and colon cancer combined.
  • The chances of dying from heart disease and breast cancer are similar for nonsmoking women until age 60, when heart disease becomes a greater risk.
  • For female smokers, dying from lung cancer or heart disease is more likely than dying from breast cancer after age 40.