14-15 days (depending on your time zone of reference) ago, a scientific experiment was supposedly commenced regarding the “breatharian” Prahlad Jani, a man in his 80s who claims neither to have eaten food or had water to drink for 70 years, a man who claims to subsist entirely on spiritual energy that enters his body through a hole in his palate.
According to the original terms of this scientific experiment, supposedly carried out by the Indian military research unit called the Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences, Prahlad Jani was to have gone “without food or water under strict observation” for 15 days.
In a worldwide exclusive, the blog Deshgujarat claims to have obtained a statement by researchers on the experiment’s results. Its headline:
An observational study on Mr Prahlad Jani was carried out for 15 days from 22 Apr 2010 to 06 May 2010, who claims to survive without food and water and not passing urine and stool. Following is the official statement of panel of experts, researchers, and doctors after completion of study.
2. Observational study to understand the mechanism by which he is able to survive without food and water. Such a scientific understanding of the mechanism of survival may help in working out survival strategies under stressful and extreme conditions. This may have application during natural calamities and disasters.
3. The study was carried out under the continuous observation by a team consisting of scientists from DIPAS and doctors from Sterling Hospital Ahmedabad along with other coordinating agencies like SRISTI/ Govt of Gujarat and other consulting doctors.
4. The study Protocol duly cleared by the Ethical Committees of DIPAS and Sterling Hospital was strictly followed and all efforts were made to see that privacy, safety, security and dignity of Shri Prahlad Jani was not compromised at any stage during the study.
5. The present study is limited only to the period under observation i.e. 22Apr 2010 to 06 May 2010.
6. During the study a protocol of round the clock strict surveillance was followed with the help of CCTV camera and personal observations. He was taken out for MRI, USG and X-Ray and exposure to sun under continuous video recordings.
7. Periodic clinical, biochemical, radiological and other relevant examinations were done on Shri Prahlad Jani. All reports were found within the safe range throughout the study.
8. During the above observation period Shri Prahlad Jani has not consumed anything and has not passed stool. The only contact with any form of fluid was during gargling and bathing periodically during the study beginning from 5th day of study.
9. Mr Jani has also not passed urine from his body during the observation period; however the claim will be scientifically substantiated after analysis of investigations carried out.
10. All the reports and results will be scientifically analyzed, subsequently and will take some time. The entire study team will meet periodically to discuss the findings and draw valid conclusions.
11. The study could not have been possible without the utmost voluntary cooperation for each part of the protocol by Shri Prahlad Jani, his brother who was a genetic control in the study and his followers who ensured smooth conduct of the study.
12. DIPAS places on record the appreciation for Prof.Anil Gupta, SRISTI, Dr.Sudhir Shah Neurologist, Dr Urman Dhruv,Sr Physician and other members of the team for their extraordinary initiative, relentless enthusiasm, tireless efforts and selfless dedication for completion of this study. In particular ,DIPAS acknowledges the contributions of following doctors & staff; DIPAS places on record the appreciation for Prof.Anil Gupta, SRISTI, Dr.Sudhir Shah, Neurologist, Dr Urman Dhruv Sr.Physian and other members of the team for their extraordinary initiative, relentless enthusiasm, tireless efforts and selfless dedication for completion of this study. In particular, DIPAS acknowledges the contributions of Dr. Sudhir Shah (Neurologist), Dr. Urman Dhruv (Physician & Endocrinologist), Dr. Himanshu Patel (Nephrologist), Dr. Navneet Shah (Physician & Endocrinologist), Dr. Sudhanshu Patwari Gastroenterologist, Dr. Nilay Mehta Gastroenterologist, Dr. Kandarp Parikh (Urologist), Dr. Hemant Patel (Radiologist), Dr. Mrugesh (Radiologist), Dr.Dinesh Patel (Radiologist), Dr. Sanjeev Patel (Radiologist), Dr. Shrenk Shah (Cardiologist), Dr. Mukesh Patel (Pulmonologist), Dr. Bansi Saboo (Physician, Endocrinologist), Dr. V.N. Shah (Physician), Dr. Amit Bhatt (Physcian, Neurologist), Dr. Raisa A. Vhora (Physician), Dr. Sanjeev Haribhakti ( Gastrosurgeon), Dr. Hitesh Chawra (Gastrosurgeon), Dr. Sanjeev Shah (Pathologist), Dr. Bipin Patel (Pathologist), Dr. Atul Patel (Infectious Disease Specialist), Dr. Sapan Pandia (Rheumatologist), Dr. Jayesh Sheth (Genetician), Dr. Ruchir Shah (ENT), Dr. Urmit Shah (Ophthalmologist), Dr. Heli Shah (Intern), Dr. Shalin Shah (Neurologist) Dr. Parag Rindani (Corporate -Medical Director), Ms. Namisha Gandhi (Revenue Assurance Head and EA of Chairperson), Mr. Dhirendra Chudasma (Corporate Head of Clinical Research), Mr. Jignesh Lakhtaria (Study Co-ordinator), Ms. Monika Rajput (Study Co-ordinator), Ms. Shreya Singh (Study Co-ordinator), Mr. Hirak Nandi (Study Nurse), Mr. Avinash (Study Nurse).
13. We thank Sh. Rajiv Sharma, CEO and all the staff of Sterling Hospital Ahmedabad, for providing all the necessary technical and logistic support for this study. We also thank the Government of Gujarat for their support and proving financial guarantee.
I don’t know what became of number 1. A photograph accompanying the supposed news article, said to be of a “press conference in Ahmedabad on the subject,” is identical to a photograph included by the same Gujarati blog in a description of the experiment on April 26.
A man surviving with health statistics in “the safe range” for 14-15 days without drinking or eating anything, and without urinating? Why, if this is true, it is astounding news! It challenges absolutely everything we know about the human body! It means that hundreds of years learning through biomedical research is incorrect! Such news should directly and immediately impact the lives of hundreds of millions of people suffering illness and billions of people enduring poverty because they suffer under the delusion that they need to eat and drink in order to live!
OK, time to turn off the exclamation point. If this is such big news, why is it being exclusively released through a Gujarati blog, one that includes no links to primary information? In saying this, I am not intending to denigrate Gujarat, nor am I intending to denigrate blogging. After all, I write on in the blog format myself. Rather, it seems odd that India’s military scientists would release such results exclusively to a blogger. Why is this news not listed in The Times of India? Where’s the headline on The Hindu? It also seems odd that no transcript of this release and no news conference could be found under such circumstances on the the Indian military research unit called the Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences website, since there really is no need to share such news except through the help of a blogger in Gujarat.
If this is a real scientific result, I look forward to the imminent release of the scientific data, including the original transcript of the report, 15 days of constant video monitoring and the complete lab reports signed by scientists. These will clearly prove that the Gujarati blogger’s exclusive, earth-shattering report is true. Then we all can toss out our refrigerators.
Update: Indian Express is now reporting on the results of the end of the experiment:
The 15-day observation, which ended on Thursday, has thrown up no specific information which DIPAS is “ready to declare.”
“During the observation period, Jani did not consume anything and did not pass stool. The only contact with any form of fluid that he had was during gargling and bathing activities during the study,” said DIPAS director Dr Ilavazhagan.
I’d love to see the video of his “gargling” and “bathing activities,” which appear to be a shift from the no-liquids rule from earlier in the experiment. And now we learn that there is no specific information that the scientists involved are “ready to declare.” It looks like the data involved in this experiment will not be shared. What do these scientists have to hide?