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Chief Guest for the inaugural function of Medicoin Seminar on 22/3/2013 ANTI-AGEING AND AESTHETIC MEDICINE IN INDIA

SRAAMI

It gives me immense pleasure to chair the inaugural function of this medical conference organized by SRAAMI, a society for Regenerative, Anti-ageing and Aesthetic Medicine in India. I am told this is the first of its kind - an International conference - being organized in Goa a place famous all over the world for her natural beauty and hospitality. As I speak to you, a few proverbs taught in the schools cross my mind. They are being taught from ages, but unfortunately not much heed or attention is being paid to them. On the contrary, the attitude of people towards life has become more careless and reckless.

  • "A stitch in time saves nine"
  • "early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise"
  • "Cleanliness is next to Godliness"

The deep meanings behind these simple proverbs are till today so relevant for a healthy life. However they were never understood when taught to us in school and are probably not being understood by children even today.

Age is a state of mind; if one does not mind, then it will not matter. And you will not mind if you consider that old age is mandatory and is a privilege denied to many.

One realizes that he is crossing an age of caution when a doctor, and not a police man, tells him to slow down. It is not a moment to get disappointed or depressed, because even at this age it is possible to discover a lifelong desire you never knew you had. It is said that when it comes to staying young, a mind-lift beats a face-lift. This means that the process of ageing can be slowed or interrupted by sheer willpower and positive thinking. However, it cannot be delayed, and therefore managing the process of ageing by timely identification and removal of potential obstacles to heal has become an important aspect of health care system. This is the prime reason for increased longevity prevailing in almost all countries of the world, particularly in the developed world.

Another reason for the increase in longevity is that technology in every field of science is advancing by leaps and bounds and medicine cannot be an exception to this phenomenon. In the last few years there has been tremendous progress in the field of Anti-Ageing, Aesthetic Medicine, which is the ultimate form of medicine helping in prevention and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorder and diseases, while removing the potential obstacle to heal.

The practice of medicine has undergone significant changes in the last two to three decades when the family physician was considered to be a 'devdhud' by his patient and the patient's family. There was a human touch to the practice of medicine. The family physician was a part and parcel of the household. He knew the air the family would breathe; the food they would consume; the water they would drink and the environment they would live. By environment, I mean the relationship between the family members, their habits, their lifestyles and even genetic disorders prevalent in the family. This in fact helped the doctor to practice preventive medicine in the society of which the family is the basic unit. It was said in olden days that prospective brides or grooms wanting information about each other would approach the village doctor or priest. So strong were bonds of attachment between these two personalities and the families.

Today what we call functional medicine is probably akin to the practice of medicine in olden days by the family physicians who used to search for the underlying causes of illness and evaluate the body as a whole with special attention to the relationship of one body system to another. This mode of practice is important to achieve successful prevention of age-related diseases. It is unfortunate that today, the general public impression is that doctors are tending to become more and more insensitive towards the patients. It is time that members of this profession make all round efforts to dispel this idea in the minds of the people and make them believe that medicine is more of a vocation than a profession.

An American writer, Ernest Hemingway had this to say about the present day practice of medicine and I quote "I have noticed that doctors who fail in the practice of medicine have a tendency to seek one another's company and aid in consultation. A doctor who cannot take out your appendix properly will recommend you to a doctor who will be unable to remove your tonsils with success".

I am sure that in the next two days this conference will give an opportunity to the specialist in the field of Regenerative, Anti-ageing and Aesthetic Medicine to share their knowledge, their experiences and their success. Regenerative medicine in vivo or in vitro, that is by stimulating own body repair mechanism or through growth of tissues and organs in the laboratory is an important aspect of Anti-Ageing medicine. I am sure the other expects like naturopathy, detoxification, BioIdentical hormone therapy, nutrition counseling, lifestyle counseling and above all, the practice of yoga and meditation will constitute an essential part of your discussion so as to enrich science for the benefit of the lives of the ageing and the aged.

The role of a doctor in geriatric medicine should be to enable and encourage man to enjoy every year added to life. I'm reminded of this quotation of Henri Amiel who said "to know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living".

I wish this conference all the success and an outcome which will enable senior citizens to add life to years and not merely years to life.