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Health promotion, preventive and curative aspects of diseases in astrology

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Abstract

The whole universe is intermingling into a unit in the period of globalization. Different cultures, life-styles and sciences are co-operating with each other in this situation. World Health Organization is working towards collaborating all prevalent medical sciences for attainment of good health and family welfare for each and every individual by 2020. Astrology is a part of Indian heritage. Astrology means the art of predicting or determining the influence of the planets and stars on human affairs. The origin of this word is from Greek word astron, star + logos (discourse). The account of deeds of good and bad during the present life and previous lives, their consequences of health or ill health during this life i.e. what, when and how the things takes place will be clearly known through Astrology. Highly advanced knowledge related to Astrology on medicine is preserved in Indian scriptures and the knowledge was transmitted from generation to generation. It is also a good source for health promotion, preventive, curative and other medical aspects. Brief direction related to astrological medical aspects is also available in Ayurvedic literature (Carakasamhită, Suśrutasamhhită, Aşţăngasangraha, Aşţăngahŗdaya, Sărngadharasamhită , Băvaprakăśa etc.) Some Ayurvedic practitioners, scholars and scientists realize the need of astrological knowledge related to medicine in the present time. In ancient times physician, astrologer and purŏhita (Hindu priest) simultaneously looked after the health and family welfare of individual, families and country. Astrologer guides medication and suitable time for the better cure of ailments. Even the medicinal herbs were collected and treated at appropriate time for their efficacy. Astrology and Ayurvĕda are inseparable sciences of life. Hence, in this article, a concise astrological evaluation related to health promotion, preventive and curative aspects of Astrology is being presented.

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Background: Studies involving astrology and psychiatry have mostly found conflicting results, with astrology being criticized as unscientific and also, lack of an objective assessment method for scientifically testing astrology. The current study attempts to test the predictive ability of astrology using the Indian system for the first time in identifying mental illness. Methodology: The sample comprised of 150 subjects, with 75 having mental illness and 75 without mental illness. Keeping the subjects and astrologers blind to each other, a computer generated birth chart data using the subject’s gender, date, time and place of birth was given for interpretation. Predictions were matched with the clinical condition at intake. Results: Kappa coefficient was used which found a moderate agreement in the prediction of life time mental illness (k=0.560, p=.001) and a substantial agreement in predicting current state of mental illness (k=0.626, p=.001). Viewed as a diagnostic test, astrology showed, a fairly good sensitivity (77.3%), specificity (78.7%), positive predictive value (78.4%) and negative predictive value (77.6%) in identifying the life-time and current presence or absence of mental illness. However, the study showed poor match while predicting symptom cluster (34.6% in mental illness, 42.6% in normal subjects) and onset of symptoms (28%). Conclusions: Overall, the evidence seems to point towards astrology, as practiced in this study, modestly predicting presence of mental illness. Caveats concerning the methodology, statistics including poor inter-astrologer agreement makes it difficult in reconciling conflicting findings. Hence the findings in this study are at best tentative and need more extensive enquiry.
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JSE Fall 2018 complete issue
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