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On the second day of the Illness to Wellness Summit organised by ASSOCHAM Foundation for CSR, under the aegis of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), distinguished experts shared their views on brain health and well-being, bringing into focus the rise of brain diseases such as epilepsy and brain strokes among Indian youth.
Chairing the session, Rajendra K. Dhamija, Director, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), Government of NCT of Delhi, said, "The number of brain stroke cases has increased in the country and has in fact doubled among our youngsters, while it has decreased in the developed nations. Preventive care is of utmost importance to tackle this menace of brain strokes among Indians.
"Epilepsy is another brain-related disease that affects more than one crore people in India. Since this affliction is viewed as a social stigma, the number of people with the disease could be much more. People tend to hide that someone in their family is suffering from epilepsy. So there is an urgent need to tackle this stigma at the community level."
Speaking at the session, B.N. Gangadhar, Senior Professor of Psychiatry and Director of NIMHANS, said, "Today we are calling our health centres wellness centres', which is a welcome step to promote wellness. We are taking positive initiatives to ensure that our senior citizens are ageing in a healthy manner. One of the most common issues that negatively impacts brain health is stress.
"With age, the human brain loses grey matter and with stress, it shrinks even faster. However, research has proven that people who are long-term practitioners of Yoga retain comparatively more grey matter. Yoga reduces cortisol (the primary stress hormone) and repairs the brain. It is, therefore, important for all of us to adopt Yoga to improve our brain health."
Talking about multi-tasking and its impact on the brain, K.S. Anand, Principal Consultant, Dr RML Hospital, Delhi, said, "We are in the midst of a multitasking pandemic where smartness is equated with multi-tasking and it is perceived as a way to get ahead in one's life. But the actual smart thing to do is single-tasking, which not only makes you more productive, but is also beneficial to one's mental health.
"Another important aspect is the Cognitive Reserve' and how it protects against brain losses that occur due to ageing or disease. To enhance our cognitive reserve we should keep our brains active. The mantra is Use it or Lose it'. Even after retirement people should actively read, listen to music, do gardening, keep a pet or even learn a new language. Daily exercise and sound sleep are also equally important to prevent and enhance mental wellness."
On the role of Yoga in preventing lifestyle diseases, Ishwar V. Basavaraddi, Director, Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, Ministry of Ayush, said, "The International Day of Yoga was launched nine years ago, and today it has become a mass movement. Yoga is the best model for prevention and can work wonders in preventing many lifestyle disorders. During a diabetic research project, it was found that people who were borderline diabetic saw great improvement after practising yoga for three months. A combination of detox, diet modification, and lifestyle modification can help prevent a variety of lifestyle diseases."
The inaugural edition of the ASSOCHAM Awareness Summit has a goal to promote widespread knowledge about various health-related concerns for the betterment of everyone's well-being. The summit will feature more than 60 distinguished physicians, specialists, and wellness professionals from both India and abroad, who will share their insights on various topics across nine sessions. These sessions will delve into a range of areas, including healthcare workforce strengthening, nutrition, women's health, mental health, sickle cell diseases, Ayush, elderly care and the digital healthcare landscape.