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Jara shastra


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Jara Shastra::A study of Dhatupaka

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Jara shastra

  1. 1. Jara Shastra::A study of Dhatupaka Prof. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad 1 , M.D.(KC), C.O.P. (German) M.A, Ph.D (Jyo) Geriatrics (branch of medicine or social sciencedealing with the health and care of old people) and gerontology (the study of old age andthe process of ageing) are defined as “The branch of medical science that deals withdiseases and problems specific to old people”. The Ayurveda used the words such as Vruddha, Vardhakya, Jara, etc., to denotethe senescence i.e. ageing defines as “The organic process of growing older and showingthe effects of increasing age under the influence of fourth dimension - Time”. To be clearno where any importance is drawn to clarify or attribute disease origin with reference toage or age related condition descriptions are noted in Ayurvedic literature. Aging is a natural process of being and ultimately the being is subjected for death.The Vata out of Tridosha is prime factor for ageing that develops Kapha inverselyproportional. Rather than becoming old aged, Ayurveda describe the ageing as“Vruddha” i.e. growing further, as a state of development. The second Dosha in theprocess of ageing is Pitta, relates with Jara and Jarana. The word “Jara”, personified asdaughter of Death, is often used for digestion than to old age in Ayurveda. “Geri” ofcontemporary geriatrics developed from Jara denotes Dilapidation or Decrepitude i.e.state of deterioration due to long use or usage of body tissues or old age. The Jaraunderstood as “Paka” i.e. conversional process. The Dhatupaka, probably identified astechnical term with reference to tissue ageing in Ayurveda is suitable. Where the tissuesare growing older and transformed from active building state to the morbid state. Ofcourse the morbid growth is disease and the morbid melancholic state is death. Ayurvedicliterature specifies the usage of medicaments for long living or retarding Dhatupaka,understood as retardation of ageing or slowing the Dhatupaka, termed as Rasayana. Common understanding to ageing is wrinkling of skin, loss of vision, teeth, etc,and in case of females we observe even the dropping of Breast. Bhavamishra, describing1 H.O.D., Dept. of Kayachikitsa (PG), DGM Ayurvedic Medical College, KalasapurRoad, Gadag- 582103, Karnataka (cell: +91-9448746450), 1
  2. 2. Mahamarichadi Taila in Kusta compliments that, “if Mahamarichadi Taila Nasya is doneat the “Pradhame Vayasi” (puberty) of lady – even after attain the old age the breastnever drops”. This statement is complimentary but not shown any specificity /significance towards the Vardhakya janya Vyadhi or Jara Vyadhi. Many more researches are undertaken to observe the aging and its relatedpathology to study from contemporary medical field and boosted the Geriatrics as aspecialized branch. But in Ayurveda this branch neither has any significance norimportance, because the fundamental concept of Ayurveda defines bio-availability andsustenance of toxic free tissue building and maintenance by Bio-fire, through out the lifespan and ultimately a voluntary termination of biological needs. Thus any where in theAyurveda death is not defined, but casually designated it as inevitability transpires ofLife. Centenarians, though rare at a prevalence of approximately one per 10,000 inindustrialized countries, are among the fastest growing segment of our population.Familial studies indicate that exceptional longevity runs strongly in families, but as ofyet, few genetic variations have been found to account for this survival advantage. It islikely that the prevalence of centenarians is increasing because achieving exceptional oldage is multi factorial. A number of factors important to such longevity are becoming more prevalentwith modern public health measures and interventions. Such a multiple trait model wouldpredict that the more extreme the phenotype, the more likely discernible environmentaland genetic characteristics are to be discovered that are important to achieving very oldage, much of it disability-free. Thus studies of families highly clustered for longevity orstudies of super-centenarains, people age 110 and older, hold promise of facilitating suchdiscoveries. Frailty, The state of being weak in health or body - especially from old age is acommon phenomenon. The process of biological aging is a complex phenomenon,depending on a manifold of different parameters, including nature of the organism,lifestyle, diet, and so forth. In order to compare different aging phenotypes, a globalqualitative and quantitative proteomic analysis of different species is necessary. 2
  3. 3. The development and application of high-throughput methods to study aspects ofaging-related biology are among the key forces driving the field. New hypotheses arebeing developed, and new questions are being asked on a genome-wide scale. High-throughput technologies offer many advantages over traditional methods, but they alsopresent new pitfalls for the unwary. The U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man(OMIM) catalogs human genes and disorders. Although it doesn’t focus on aging-relatedconditions, it contains information about many diseases that disproportionately affect theelderly. For example, searching for ‘‘Parkinson’s Disease’’ produces a list of severaldozen genes. Telomeres are the physical ends of linear eukaryotic chromosomes. In manyorganisms, including humans and yeasts, telomeres are composed of short repeated DNAsequences and their associated proteins. Many human somatic cells do not expresssufficient telomerase activity to prevent telomere repeat loss, resulting in cell senescenceor death when telomeres shorten to a critical length. This telomere length checkpoint foraging and cell growth is also seen in yeast whose genes for telomerase components havebeen deleted, allowing yeast to serve as a model for telomere linked senescence andaging in human cells. Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by progressive impairment of brainfunction as a consequence of ongoing neuronal cell death. Apoptotic mechanisms havebeen implicated in this process, but the immature brain differs from the adult brain in itssensitivity. Several observational studies have shown that elderly men experience asteeper decline in cognitive function and have lower cognitive performance than women.In a study of 150 elderly men and women without dementia, positive associations werefound between endogenous estradiol levels and performance on verbal memory tasks inwomen but not in men. Traditionally, the onset and progression of menopause in humans has beenattributed to ovarian follicular decline. Because the follicles are the primary source ofcirculating estrogens, these age-related changes lead to a number of symptoms such ashot flashes, mood swings, irritability, and depression, as well as increased risk ofosteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and age-associated diseases. Recent research 3
  4. 4. indicates that along with the ovarian changes at menopause, the hypothalamic andpituitary levels of the reproductive axis also undergo significant changes duringreproductive aging. Nutritional Interventions Based on Mitochondrial Aging, FreeRadicals and Caloric Restriction studies opens new dimensions in the field of long living. Evolution by natural selection works through differential reproductive success.Individuals with higher reproductive rates and better survival of themselves and theiroffspring pass more genes to future generations. By managing the flow, distribution, andrate of consumption of finite supplies of glucose and fat among competing physiologicalneeds, hormones implement trade-offs between investment in growth, reproduction, andsurvival. Increased circulating glucose benefits the basic metabolic function of importanttissues such as the brain, which is entirely dependent on glucose. Thus the Ayurveda defined Rasayana and Vajikarana are necessitate for longliving under the influence of Vata (genetically and neurologically) and Pitta (Hormonaland enzymatic). Many questions arise in the process of understanding these branches ofAyurveda. While Ayurvedic fraternity is dreaming about their past glory, thecontemporary medical branches are leading towards success. It is very much necessary for the Ayurveda to define, demarcate, declare,discriminate, distinguish and demonstrate the Rasayana as “Jara Chikitsa”. The studymay be framed at Two tire/ states of study, viz. 1) Structural based Rasayana studyinclude tissues /Organs i.e. muscle, bone; brain, heart, etc. 2) Functional based Rasayanastudy include immunity, fitness, sexuality, sense activity, transportation, etc. The thirdmethod of study is Problem oriented study where the weight loss, obesity, dehydration,anorexia, insomnia, etc. conditions commonly observed with old age or a direct study ofDisease oriented study in old age such as Hypertension, Parkinsonism, Alzheimer’sdisease, anemia, constipation, etc. are considered. Ayurveda just now wakeup; long walkis ahead.Further reading:• P. Michael Conn, Handbook of Models for Human Aging, 2006, Elsevier Academic Press, 30 Corporate Drive, Suite 400, Burlington, MA 01803, USA• John E. Morley & David R. Thomas, GERIATRIC NUTRITION, 2007 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC• Stephen C. Stearns and Jacob C. Koella, Evolution in Health and Disease, Second Edition, 2008, Oxford University Press Inc., New York• N A T A L I E L . R A S G O N , The Effects of Estrogen on Brain Function, 2006, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 4