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Indian scientists are studying an 82-year-old man who claims he has not had any food or drink for 70 years. Prahlad Jani’s claims are being put to the test at a hospital in Ahmedabad, where he is being closely monitored and studied by India’s Defence Research Development Organisation, which believes he may have a quality which could help save lives.
He has so far spent six days without food or water under the strict observation of doctors who say his body is yet to show any signs of hunger or dehydration.
Mr. Jani is regarded as a “breatharian” who can live on “spiritual life-force” alone. He believes he is sustained by the “elixir” of a goddess.
“If his claims are verified, it will be a breakthrough in medical science,” said Dr. G. Ilavazhagan, director of the Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences.
“We will be able to help save human lives during natural disasters, high altitude, sea journeys and other natural and human extremes. We can educate people about the survival techniques in adverse conditions with little food and water, or nothing at all.”
However, others have dismissed Mr. Jani as a “village fraud.”
Leading Australian nutritionist, Dr. Joanna McMillan Price, said the study was a dangerous and pointless exercise.
“What’s the point? To show spiritual strength? You would struggle to go for more than a week without water and without food; your body starts to break down muscle, eventually attacking the heart muscles needed to provide energy to the brain until ultimately you have a heart attack and you die,” she said.
Dr. McMillan Price says Mr. Jani’s beliefs probably helped him overcome basic survival instincts but would not physically sustain him.