Stress induced hormone imbalances and cancer gene expression

I often struggle with my friends who look for a simple solution to their health problems while totally ignoring the impact of their crazily paced lives on their minds and hormonal balances. Unfortunately excessive stress:

Reset, slow down, take a deep breath, cuddle and secrete some beneficial oxytocin!

Source: NCBI  “Stress and hormones” by Salam Ranabir and K. Reetu

NCBI ” Oxidative Stress Gene Expression Profile Correlates with Cancer Patient Poor Prognosis: Identification of Crucial Pathways Might Select Novel Therapeutic Approaches” by Alessandra Leone, Maria Serena Roca and others

NCBI ” Genes responsive to both oxidant stress and loss of estrogen receptor function identify a poor prognosis group of estrogen receptor positive primary breast cancers” by Christina Yau and Christopher C Benz


All content is for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical practitioner before attempting any therapeutic, nutritional, exercise or meditation related activity.

Use of supervised and unsupervised machine learning to make Prakritic evaluations

In Ayurveda disease is the result of a “Vikritti” or disturbance in the steady state “Prakritic”  constitution of an individual.  This study focusses on an algorithmic classification of  “Doshas” in an attempt to evaluate the “Prakriti”.

“In Ayurveda system of medicine individuals are classified into seven constitution types, “Prakriti”, for assessing disease susceptibility and drug responsiveness. Prakriti evaluation involves clinical examination including questions about physiological and behavioural traits.

A need was felt to develop models for accurately predicting Prakriti classes that have been shown to exhibit molecular differences. The present study was carried out on data of pheno- typic attributes in 147 healthy individuals of three extreme Prakriti types, from a genetically homogeneous population of Western India. Unsupervised and supervised machine learning approaches were used to infer inherent structure of the data, and for feature selection and building classification models for Prakriti respectively. These models were validated in a North Indian population.

Unsupervised clustering led to emergence of three natural clusters corresponding to three extreme Prakriti classes. The supervised modelling approaches could classify individuals, with distinct Prakriti types, in the training and validation sets.

This study is the first to demonstrate that Prakriti types are distinct verifiable clusters within a mul- tidimensional space of multiple interrelated phenotypic traits. It also provides a computa- tional framework for predicting Prakriti classes from phenotypic attributes. This approach may be useful in precision medicine for stratification of endophenotypes in healthy and diseased populations.”

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Study: Recapitulation of Ayurveda constitution types by machine learning of phenotypic traits by Pradeep Tiwari and others.


All content is for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical practitioner before attempting any therapeutic, nutritional, exercise or meditation related activity.


Use of Nada, the sound of silence in meditation

(Listen to the sound of what appears to be a didgeridoo at 39.40 into the discussion.)

The Shankhmukhi mudra is often used as a part of the series of steps in achieving a meditative state. Have you ever wondered how this sound “sounds”? Try to listen to your own anahata sounds and decide whether it is your simple affliction with tinnitus of something more and deeper than that!

The Yoga Upanishad (36-38) says ” that when the Nada sound has reached the middle  of the head it sounds like a mountain-cataract”. So maybe you hear something akin to this?

I found an interesting piece by Kimba Arem on this topic:

She writes:

“The Nāda yoga system divides music into two categories: internal music, anahata, and external music,ahata. While the external music is conveyed to consciousness via sensory organs in the form of the ears, in which mechanical energy is converted to electrochemical energy and then transformed in the brain to sensations of sound, it is the anahata chakra, which is considered responsible for the reception of the internal music, but not in the way of a normal sensory organ.

The anahata concept refers to one’s own personal sound vibrations, which is thought to be so closely associated with one’s self and the self that a person can not share their anahata with another human being. In other words, this inner sound is sacred and once reached will open the practitioner’s chakras, which ultimately will unite the body to the divine/cosmos.

With continued sounds, a focused mind and controlled breath, the individual can, according to Nāda yoga, “listen in on” their own anahata, their own “inner sound”, which can take up to nine different forms. Such a process of inner awareness and sensitivity leads to increased self-recollectedness and finally to awakening.

To concentrate on this inner sound as a support for meditation is very helpful to tame the mind, and when it has been clearly recognized, used for self-recollectedness in outer life as well. Eventually, it can be experienced as penetrating all matter and indeed vibrates eternally throughout the Creation.”

This is what the classic Sanskrit treatise Hatha Yoga Pradipika has to say on the subject Chapter IV( verses 83-87):

“The sound which a muni hears by closing his ears with his fingers, should be heard attentively, till the mind becomes steady in it.81.

अभ्यस्यमानो नादो|अयं बाह्यमावॄणुते धवनिम |
पक्ष्हाद्विक्ष्हेपमखिलं जित्वा योगी सुखी भवेत || ८३ ||

abhyasyamāno nādo|ayaṃ bāhyamāvṝṇute dhvanim |
pakṣhādvikṣhepamakhilaṃ jitvā yoghī sukhī bhavet || 83 ||

By practising with this nâda, all other external sounds are stopped. The Yogî becomes happy by overcoming all distractions within 15 days.82.

शरूयते परथमाभ्यासे नादो नाना-विधो महान |
ततो|अभ्यासे वर्धमाने शरूयते सूक्ष्ह्म-सूक्ष्ह्मकः || ८४ ||

śrūyate prathamābhyāse nādo nānā-vidho mahān |
tato|abhyāse vardhamāne śrūyate sūkṣhma-sūkṣhmakaḥ || 84 ||

In the beginning, the sounds heard are of great variety and very loud; but, as the practice increases, they become more and more subtle.83.

आदौ जलधि-जीमूत-भेरी-झर्झर-सम्भवाः |
मध्ये मर्दल-शङ्खोत्था घण्टा-काहलजास्तथा || ८५ ||

ādau jaladhi-jīmūta-bherī-jharjhara-sambhavāḥ |
madhye mardala-śangkhotthā ghaṇṭā-kāhalajāstathā || 85 ||

In the first stage, the sounds are surging, thundering like the beating of kettle drums and jingling ones. In the intermediate stage, they are like those produced by conch, Mridanga, bells, &c.84.

अन्ते तु किङ्किणी-वंश-वीणा-भरमर-निःस्वनाः |
इति नानाविधा नादाः शरूयन्ते देह-मध्यगाः || ८६ ||

ante tu kingkiṇī-vaṃśa-vīṇā-bhramara-niḥsvanāḥ |
iti nānāvidhā nādāḥ śrūyante deha-madhyaghāḥ || 86 ||

In the last stage, the sounds resemble those from tinklets, flute, Vîṇâ, bee, &c. These various kinds of sounds are heard as being produced in the body.85.

महति शरूयमाणे|अपि मेघ-भेर्य-आदिके धवनौ |
तत्र सूक्ष्ह्मात्सूक्ष्ह्मतरं नादमेव परामॄशेत || ८७ ||

mahati śrūyamāṇe|api megha-bhery-ādike dhvanau |
tatra sūkṣhmātsūkṣhmataraṃ nādameva parāmṝśet || 87 ||

Though hearing loud sounds like those of thunder, kettle drums, etc., one should practise with the subtle sounds also.86.

घनमुत्सॄज्य वा सूक्ष्ह्मे सूक्ष्ह्ममुत्सॄज्य वा घने |
रममाणमपि कष्हिप्तं मनो नान्यत्र छालयेत || ८८ ||

ghanamutsṝjya vā sūkṣhme sūkṣhmamutsṝjya vā ghane |
ramamāṇamapi kṣhiptaṃ mano nānyatra chālayet || 88 ||

Leaving the loudest, taking up the subtle one, and leaving the subtle one, taking up the loudest, thus practising, the distracted mind does not wander elsewhere.87.”


All content is for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical practitioner before attempting any therapeutic, nutritional, exercise or meditation related activity.

Impact of Meditation on Default Mode Networks

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Source: Dr. Riccardo Cassini and Dr. David Bercelli @

Defined as per Wiki:

“The default mode network (DMN) is most commonly shown to be active when a person is not focused on the outside world and the brain is at wakeful rest, such as during daydreaming and mind-wandering. But it is also active when the individual is thinking about others, thinking about themselves, remembering the past, and planning for the future. The network activates “by default” when a person is not involved in a task. Though the DMN was originally noticed to be deactivated in certain goal-oriented tasks and is sometimes referred to as the task-negative network, it can be active in other goal-oriented tasks such as social working memory or autobiographical tasks. The DMN has been shown to be negatively correlated with other networks in the brain such as attention networks.”

Impact of meditation:

“… Results indicate that meditation is associated with reduced activations in the default mode network relative to an active task in meditators compared to controls. Regions of the default mode showing a group by task interaction include the posterior cingulate/precuneus and anterior cingulate cortex. These findings replicate and extend prior work indicating that suppression of default mode processing may represent a central neural process in long-term meditation, and suggest that meditation leads to relatively reduced default mode.”

Source: NCBI- “Meditation leads to reduced default mode network activity beyond an active task”


All content is for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical practitioner before attempting any therapeutic, nutritional, exercise or meditation related activity.

Association of vitamin D deficiency and breast cancer

Vitamin D ( along with A, E and K) is a fat soluble vitamin which is absorbed in the intestines along with fat. It needs a protein carrier. Vitamin D is stored in the liver and can be eaten in large amounts periodically.

Vitamin D in it’s active form is one of the most powerful hormones in the human body.  Deficiency in Vitamin D leads to increased levels of parathyroid hormones and osteomalacia.

There are some studies showing association of Vitamin D levels with incidence of breast cancer:


  • “Many observational and cross sectional studies reflect that deficiency of vitamin D is commonly found in patients with breast cancer. Some studies have also demonstrated a protective effect of vitamin D on breast cancer risk. Several studies have shown a negative relationship between sunlight exposure and breast cancer risk. Proposed mechanism for this negative association is sunlight induced dermal synthesis of vitamin D, which evidence suggests, can reduce the risk of breast cancer.”

Source: NCBI “Association between Vitamin D deficiency and Breast Cancer”

Other sources:

  • “We know Vitamin D controls more than 200 genes (directly or indirectly), and has an impact in reducing many chronic illnesses. Cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, autoimmune disease, common cancers, glucose imbalance, inflammation, poor muscle performance, mental illness and more are influenced by its activity.
  • It seems high circulating serum levels of Vitamin D, measured as 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD), are associated with a decreased risk of deadly cancers and other diseases.
  • Those living at higher latitudes where Vitamin D exposure is lower, are at increased risk for many of these diseases–Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cancers of the colon, pancreas, prostate, ovarian and breast, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Source: Montclair Breast Center.


All content is for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical practitioner before attempting any therapeutic, nutritional, exercise or meditation related activity.

Wonder why Ayurveda likes Sesame Oil?

Here’s some recent work on it:

  • “Sesame oil(SO) research shows promise in decreasing high levels of cholesterol and inflammation, lowering risks of atherosclerosis, and delaying the onset of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Since SO is very inexpensive and natural, progressing research on SO to someday implement SO as a good pharmaceutical treatment would be an investment, especially when SO has yet to show adverse effects. However, SO has not had many clinical trials, and the benefits relative to other oils and medications still need to be investigated. This literature review found that the benefits of SO vary between studies due to the methodology of SO product, dose dependence, and examination of different variables.
  • Many of these studies are limited because they do not isolate the benefit of SO in humans alone and because there are different concentrations of SO used in each study. Future studies should examine the different concentrations of SO and its effects on humans with hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus in a dose-dependent manner relative to the patient’s body habitus.
  • Future studies can also look at synergism by comparing patients treated with differing combinations of medication, such as nifedipine, statins, metformin, with different concentrations of SO relative to the individual’s saturated fat diet.”

Source: NCBI :”Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Effects of Sesame Oil on Atherosclerosis: A Descriptive Literature Review” Editors:Alexander Muacevic and John R Adler.

Another study:

  • “Sesame ingestion significantly decreased concentrations of plasma TC by 5% and LDL-C by 10%
  • Sesame lignans were found to have a γ-tocopherol sparing effect by inhibiting CYP activity. Our study showed increased serum levels of γ-tocopherol, similar to 2 other trials in humans.
  • The estrogenic effects of flaxseed lignans in postmenopausal women include decreasing plasma levels of estrone sulfate and estradiol (39) and switching estrogen metabolism from 16α-hydroxylation to a less carcinogenic pathway (2-hydroxylation).”

Source: The Journal of Nutrition: “Sesame Ingestion Affects Sex Hormones, Antioxidant Status, and Blood Lipids in Postmenopausal Women” by Wen-Huey Wu Yu-Ping Kang Nai-Hung Wang Hei-Jen Jou Tzong-An Wang


All content is for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical practitioner before attempting any therapeutic, nutritional, exercise or meditation related activity.

Pranayama in the Gita

अपाने जुह्वति प्राणं प्राणेऽपानं तथापरे | प्राणापानगती रुद्ध्वा प्राणायामपरायणा: || अपरे नियताहारा: प्राणान्प्राणेषु जुह्वति | सर्वेऽप्येते यज्ञविदो यज्ञक्षपितकल्मषा: ||
apāne juhvati prāṇaṁ prāṇe ’pānaṁ tathāpare prāṇāpāna-gatī ruddhvā prāṇāyāma-parāyaṇāḥ apare niyatāhārāḥ prāṇān prāṇeṣhu juhvati sarve ’pyete yajña-vido yajña-kṣhapita-kalmaṣhāḥ

Literal translation:

“Still others offer as sacrifice the outgoing breath in the incoming breath, while some offer the incoming breath into the outgoing breath. Some arduously practice prāṇāyām and restrain the incoming and outgoing breaths, purely absorbed in the regulation of the life-energy. Yet others curtail their food intake and offer the breath into the life-energy as sacrifice. All these knowers of sacrifice are cleansed of their impurities as a result of such performances.”

Gita Chapter 4, verse 29 and 30

Source: Gita Commentary by Swami Mukundananda


All content is for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical practitioner before attempting any therapeutic, nutritional, exercise or meditation related activity.

The challenge of proving causation

Although experimental “interventionist” studies ( as in placebo vs. experimental treatment) are generally considered the most powerful  research design, “observational” study data (as in Ecological populations, Cross section studies, Case control studies and Cohort studies)  is much easier to come by,  often due to cost alone.

In the circumstances it becomes very important to distinguish between association and causation. Some observations on these topics:

1)”Because observational studies are not randomized, they cannot control for all of the other inevitable, often unmeasurable, exposures or factors that may actually be causing the results. Thus, any “link” between cause and effect in observational studies is speculative at best.”

2)”Readers of medical literature need to consider two types of validity, internal and external. Internal validity means that the study measured what it set out to; external validity is the ability to generalize from the study to the reader’s patients. With respect to internal validity, selection bias, information bias, and confounding are present to some degree in all observational research.

  • Selection bias stems from an absence of comparability between groups being studied. Information bias results from incorrect determination of exposure, outcome, or both.
  • The effect of information bias depends on its type. If information is gathered differently for one group than for another, bias results.
  • By contrast, non-differential misclassification tends to obscure real differences.
  • Confounding is a mixing or blurring of effects: a researcher attempts to relate an exposure to an outcome but actually measures the effect of a third factor (the confounding variable). Confounding can be controlled in several ways: restriction, matching, stratification, and more sophisticated multivariate techniques.

If a reader cannot explain away study results on the basis of selection, information, or confounding bias, then chance might be another explanation. Chance should be examined last, however, since these biases can account for highly significant, though bogus results. Differentiation between spurious, indirect, and causal associations can be difficult. Criteria such as temporal sequence, strength and consistency of an association, and evidence of a dose-response effect lend support to a causal link.

Source 1:

Article: “Observational studies: Does the language fit the evidence? Association vs. causation”


Article: “Bias and causal associations in observational research.”


All content is for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical practitioner before attempting any therapeutic, nutritional, exercise or meditation related activity.

Sensitivity vs. Specificity of Tests

This is for those who face critical choices about the course of treatment when deluged with  data by medical practitioners, find out what the statistics relate to sensitivity or specificity?

“Sensitivity measures how often a test correctly generates a positive result for people who have the condition that’s being tested for (also known as the “true positive” rate). A test that’s highly sensitive will flag almost everyone who has the disease and not generate many false-negative results. (Example: a test with 90% sensitivity will correctly return a positive result for 90% of people who have the disease, but will return a negative result — a false-negative — for 10% of the people who have the disease and should have tested positive.)

Specificity measures a test’s ability to correctly generate a negative result for people who don’t have the condition that’s being tested for (also known as the “true negative” rate). A high-specificity test will correctly rule out almost everyone who doesn’t have the disease and won’t generate many false-positive results. (Example: a test with 90% specificity will correctly return a negative result for 90% of people who don’t have the disease, but will return a positive result — a false-positive — for 10% of the people who don’t have the disease and should have tested negative.)”


Article: “Understanding medical tests: sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value”


All content is for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical practitioner before attempting any therapeutic, nutritional, exercise or meditation related activity.