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Don't follow random influencers: Tata Memorial Hospital Director tells Nithin Kamath after stroke

Jaya Vishwakarma
New Update
Tata Memorial Hospital Director tells Nithin Kamath

In a cautionary tale about the perils of unsolicited online medical advice, Dr C S Pramesh, the director of Tata Memorial Hospital, has publicly advised Nithin Kamath, the billionaire CEO of Zerodha, to stay away from random influencers giving medical advice as it lacks a scientific background.

The advice comes in the wake of Kamath's recent mild stroke, which he attributed to a combination of his father's death, poor sleep, exhaustion, dehydration, and excessive exercise.

"I’ve gone from having a big droop in the face and not being able to read or write to having a slight droop but being able to read and write more. From being absent-minded to more present-minded. So, 3 to 6 months for full recovery," Kamath wrote.

“I wondered why a person who's fit and takes care of himself could be affected. The doctor said you need to know when you need to shift the gears down a bit. Slightly broken, but still getting my treadmill count,” he said.

The controversy began when entrepreneur and social media influencer Shankar Sharma suggested unconventional post-stroke recovery methods to Kamath, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, red infrared therapy, and high doses of omega-3 capsules.


"Nithin, Please immediately do these ( believe me, medical science has nothing to offer beyond initial hospital care). 1. Get a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber and start 1 hour per day. 2. Buy Red Infrared therapy device, available on Amazon ( take around 60 watts or more or ask Nikhil to message me, will send him one more powerful one. IR is critical in brain rehab. Safe, non invasive. Plenty of research. 3. Immediately start on 5 grams of highest quality krill oil Omega 3 capsules + Brahmi. Again, plenty of research. Act fast. You have a window of a few weeks to completely rehabilitate yourself. Nikhil has my number and he can immediately send me a message," Sharma wrote in a post on X for Nithin.

Sharma's post soon went viral and drew criticism from the medical community for lacking scientific evidence and potentially endangering health.

Dr Pramesh, in response to Sharma's post, highlighted the dangers of following such ill-researched advice.

"Zero true science to back this. Don't fall for influencers without science background", he wrote, emphasizing the importance of relying on scientifically validated treatments. 

Besides Dr. Pramesh, several other doctors also voiced their disapproval. Dr. Cyriac Abby Philips pointed out the Dunning-Kruger Effect, suggesting that a lack of knowledge might prevent people from recognizing their own incompetence. 

Dr Deepak Krishnamurthy and Dr Sudhir Kumar, from Bengaluru and Hyderabad (Apollo Hospitals), respectively, also criticized Sharma's suggestions.

"The treatments recommended by Mr. Shankar Sharma are anecdotal and there is no evidence to support their effectiveness in post-stroke recovery," directly challenging the validity of the influencer's suggestions," he wrote.

Kumar countered every recommendation made by Sharma and explained:

  1. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT): There is no research supporting its effectiveness in post-stroke recovery. Moreover, it is not totally safe either. The most common complication after HBOT is trauma to the middle ear. Other possible complications are eye damage, lung collapse, low blood sugar, and sinus problems. In rare severe cases, a person can get oxygen poisoning. This can lead to seizures, fluid in the lungs, lung failure, or other problems.
  2. Red infrared therapy: There is no evidence regarding its efficacy in post-stroke recovery.
  3. Krill oil omega 3 is one of the sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Fish oil or eating whole fish are better-investigated sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Moreover, omega 3 fatty acids may have a role in reducing the risk of heart attacks, however, they play no role in post-stroke recovery.
  4. Brahmi (Bacopa monniera): There are a few studies done on rats/mice. There are no studies done on human beings. If one wants to become a guinea pig, they are welcome to use Brahmi. However, I would not recommend Brahmi to any of my stroke patients.

Kamath, who is in the process of recovering, had earlier shared his health ordeal on X and shared his doctor's advice on the importance of relaxation and unwinding to prevent future health issues.

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