Thursday, April 12, 2007
'brain on fire'-options for improving quality of life
yesterday was the the 252nd birth anniversary of james parkinson,an english physician and surgeon. april 11 is celebrated every year as world parkinson's day. he was born on 11th april 1755. dr james parkinson wrote "an essay on the shaking palsy", in which symptoms of this disease were documented which later on came to be known as parkinson's disease.
parkinson's is a disease of the nervous system.it is manifested initially by the trembling of one hand followed by the other as soon the disease advances.it is one of the most dreaded diseases associated with old age.in some cases it even strikes those who are aroound 50.this neurological disorder produces muscle movements that are uncontrollable and dramatically reduces bodily motions like walking. the body becomes so stiff that the person cannot walk at all. in the worst case,the upper body inclines to a right angle i.e.90 degrees to the lower body. for some unknown reason women are less afflicted by parkinson's.
depletion of a critical brain chemical called dopamine has been traced to be the root cause of parkinson's.certain drugs taken for other ailments can also destroy the dopamine producing cells in the brain leading to what the experts call as simulated parkinson's. it is pathetic to see some people trying to walk a step or two and then halting. they become as stiff as statues.
but then things are not hopeless.if the person has an intention to walk,the brain can be awakened.on the first attempt, the person may again freeze. but then if another attempt is made, the brain is likely to respond and give the instructions to the leg to move. extending this analogy,using simple mind-body exercises,in a few sessions,a racing heartbeat or asthmatic wheezing or any other physical disorder can be converted into a natural and normal response.
when people become old, they resign themselves to the fact that they have to decline.a strong belief to that effect is instilled in the brain over time.if that can be changed by a positive attitude and by using the power of intention then the brain can be reawakened.what it requires is to constantly programme your mind to remain young. deepak chopra,the well-known health guru, addresses this issue in 'ageless body,timeless mind'. it is a recommended read.
science is making phenomenal progress with advanced technologies in the world of medicine. a new technique called deep brain stimulation(dbs) has been discovered. it is a revolutionary surgical technique in the war against neurological symptoms that disable human beings.the surgery is a two-step procedure.in the first step an electrode is implanted in the brain. in the second,the wire and pulse generator are implanted below the collarbone. in a period of about three months,the patient recovers significantly; so much so, that the tryst with parkinson's becomes a forgettable memory.
at mumabi, a yoga programme was conducted at bombay hospital on world parkinson's day for those afflicted by parkinson's. many claim that the debilitating symptoms associated with parkinson's disappear with daily doses of yoga. bks iyengar,the internationally known yoga guru,highlighted the power of yoga. many persons with bent shoulders,poor gait and drool have managed to gain control over their movements, according to a doctor of iyengar yogashraya. one cannot underestimate the influence of mind over body. it plays a very dominant role. while the relief and cure that allopathic medicines provide is substantial, mental and yogic exercises done concurrently can do immense good for the body and soul.
sage patanjali,the propounder of yogashastra,about 2500 years ago, in his yoga sutras(aphorisms) says,"naabhi-chakre kaya-vyuha-gnanam"(hyphens for breaking up the words only). nabhi means navel,chakre means in the energy centre,kaya means the body,vyuha means orderly arrangement or system and gnanam is knowledge.according to yogashastra, the root of all the nerves is in the navel. from the navel 72,000 nerves branch out. it is considered to be the pivot of the sympathetic and the brain of the parasympathetic nervous system. by samyama(integration) on the navel area, the yogi(one who practises yoga) acquires perfect knowledge of the human body.through concentration,meditation and profound absorption. he alone understands the fine dividing line between body and mind and mind and soul. he becomes a master of himself.
the fire in the brain can be doused.modern medicine and yoga both can put people back on their feet.