Ayurveda meets technology

Ayurveda  got its most futuristic update in October last year. A multidisciplinary team of scientists, including statisticians, genomics experts, Ayurveda researchers and computer scientists developed a software using Big Data and machine learning approaches that can efficiently classify people into the three dominant types of constitutions that underlie the Ayurvedic treatment philosophy.

Ayurveda classifies even the healthy, unlike Western medicine that grades patients on the severity of their disease. In this view, every person falls into seven broad constitution types, or “Prakriti,” that is determined at the time of birth and remains invariant throughout one’s life. Decided on the basis of a wide variety of features such as anatomy, appetite, skin-type, allergies, the susceptibility of disease, Vata (V), Pitta (P) and Kapha (K) are the most important divisions.

In the peer-reviewed PLOS One, the consortium of scientists report that a computer has been taught to parse ‘prakriti’ using a database of 147 healthy individuals, whose prakriti was already prepared by Ayurveda practitioners. It otherwise requires at least an hour-long interview by an Ayurveda practitioner. The researchers zeroed in on 65 key questions that can accurately parse Prakriti through sifting data on patients, part of long-term investigations in “North and West” India.

The team now plans to develop an app to make the technology more accessible and easy-to-use, also classifying a large group of patients.

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