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Dr Upendranath Brahmachari: Remembering the Forgotten Genius and Saint of India

Dr. Upendranath Brahmachari was born in Jamalpur, Bihar on 19th December 1873

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Kala-Azar
Dr. Upendranath Brahmachari. Wikimedia
  • Upendranath Brahmachari was born in Bihar in the year 1873
  • He grew up specializing in medicine and surgery
  • The doctor is said to have saved millions of lives through curing a viral disease called Kala-Azar

August 22, 2017: A renowned and prominent name in the hall of fame list of Indian scientists is Upendranath Brahmachari who was famous in the field of medicine.

Dr. Brahmachari’s most important work during his lifetime was his discovery of Urea Stibamine, a treatment for the fatal disease called Kala-Azar.

BACKGROUND: Dr. Upendranath Brahmachari was born in Jamalpur, Bihar on 19th December 1873. At the time, Bihar and Assam were in shambolic states. But Dr. Brahmachari had a fairly secure growing up phase. His father, Dr. Nilmony Brahmachari, was a famous medical practitioner in the Indian as well as European communities. Dr. Nilmony Brahmachari worked as a physician in East Indian Railways.

Dr. Upendranath did his schooling from Eastern Railway’s Boys High School. He loved math and had excellent academic records. The young genius went on to obtain a Bachelor’s degree with honors in chemistry and mathematics in 1893 from Hooghly Mohsin College. Further, Brahmachari did polymath. He got a Master’s degree in medicine from Kolkata’s Presidency College. His Ph.D. was a thesis on ‘Haemolysis’ which he earned in 1904.

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CAREER: Upendranath Brahmachari began his career as a doctor in Kolkata under Sir Gerald Bomford. Impressed by the talent, in 1901 Sir Bomford offered Brahmachari, who was 27 at the time, to teach physiology in Dacca Medical School.

Later in 1905, Brahmachari was appointed as a teacher in medicine and physician at Kolkata’s Campbell Medical School. This is where Dr. Brahmachari made some of his remarkable and outstanding discoveries, most notably, the discovery of Urea Stibamine.

This discovery was to become a significant treatment for the fatal disease called Kala-Azar. Kala-Azar is a disease strictly limited to the Mediterranean as well as South Asian nations. Sand flies are known to transmit this disease. Various characteristics broadly include irregular fever, anemia, and enlarged liver and spleen. Kala-Azar was known as the second largest parasitic killer of the world, followed by Malaria.

A treatment for Kala-Azar existed at the time but it was not helping the rapid death rates due to the disease. Dr. Brahmachari had been devoting his time to finding a treatment that had little to no disadvantages but could not come up with anything.

In 1919, his breakthrough came knocking at the door. The Indian Research Fund Association had granted resources to Brahmachari for conducting more in-depth research for the treatment of the disease. With this help, in his Campbell Medical School lab, the Doctor discovered Urea Stibamine.

Kala-Azar today is a rare disease only present in a handful of remote places. Especially in Assam where the disease thrived, many lives were saved.

Dr. Upendranath Brahmachari instantly became a popular figure in the Indian science academia. His discovery was now successfully incorporated into the growing scientific knowledge in medicine. His masterpiece “Treatise on Kala-Azar” became an essential reference reading in medicine. Moreover, his other works include treatment of malaria, dermal leishmaniasis, quartan fever, blackwater fever, and more.

Brahmachari retired in 1927 but continued to participate in Kolkata’s cultural and humanitarian activities. He stayed connected to all literary and scientific organizations in Kolkata.

Achievements: The World’s Second Blood Bank which was formed in Kolkata was driven by the efforts of Dr. Brahmachari. He was also the Head of Department for Biochemistry in Kolkata’s University College of Science, where he was also the Honorary Professor of Biochemistry.

The Asiatic Society of Bengal awarded Upendranath Brahmachari with ‘Sir William Jones Medal’. He was also awarded the Griffith Memorial Prize by the University of Kolkata. The Kolkata School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene awarded the Doctor a Minto Medal.

He became the first Indian to be elected as the chairman of Managing body of Kolkata Branch of the Indian Red Cross Society.

For his numerous contributions to science, he was awarded the title of Rai Bahadur in 1924. The same year, Brahmachari was also awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind gold medal.

In the year 1929, the famous scientist was honored with being nominated for the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine and almost won India the first Nobel Prize in the category, however, it was won by Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins and Christiaan Eijkman for their detailed work on vitamins. Brahmachari was also conferred a knighthood by the British Government in 1934.

Brahmachari was also conferred a knighthood by the British Government in 1934.

Dr. Upendranath Brahmachari’s name comes along with Satyendra Nath Bose as two main figures during the Bengal Rennaissance.

Death: On 6th February 1946, Brahmachari passed away aged 72. For his contributions to the Kolkata society’s well-being, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation changed the name of Loudon street to D.R UN Brahmachari Street.

 – Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter @Saksham2394


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Women Anxious Before IVF May Face Serious Mental Disorders if the Treatment Fails: Report

Dr. Aswati Nair, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Delhi sheds light on how depression and anxiety can affect IVF

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IVF or any fertility treatment can cause anxiety in a childless couple. Pixabay

Getting bouts of anxiety while going through In-vitro fertilization (IVF) or any other fertility treatment is common for any childless couple. Dr. Aswati Nair, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Delhi sheds light on how depression and anxiety can affect IVF.

But it’s pivotal that the stress should be managed initially, if it is ignored it can take an emotional toll on women’s mental health. Firstly, opting to for IVF is a life-altering decision by a couple. Though it brings with it a renewed sense of hope and purpose, the experience can be an intense for everyone involved.

According to a latest report published in the ‘Fertility and Sterility Journal’, women who are stressed and anxious before IVF can face serious mental disorders if the treatment fails. The journal further added women should not feel pressured to be a “good IVF patient” who’s free of stress. And, they should not blame themselves if they feel stressed out and their IVF attempt fails. The doctors should facilitate psychological intervention, if need be to help women feel better, and not focus entirely on just increasing their chances of pregnancy.

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Women should not feel pressured to be a “good IVF patient” who’s free of stress. Pixabay

Relation between depression and infertility

It is still unclear whether depression itself can cause infertility but there are some studies available which found a correlation between depression and increased rates of infertility. Some suggests that an overlap in some of the hormonal issues are involved in both conditions. Moreover, depression disrupts your daily routine and lifestyle that adversely impact the fertility. For example, depression often causes an over reaction or lack of appetite,resulting in being overweight or underweight. All these increase the chances of infertility. Besides, sometimes depressed people get addicted to smoke or liquor to get rid of their negative thoughts, resulting in infertility issues.

Can pregnancy Cure Depression?

It has been witnessed that people, who have experiences infertility failures in the past, are more prone to depression during pregnancy and also have an increased chance of getting postpartum depression. A woman or a couple needs to understand that not being able to conceive or failing to become a parent through means like surrogacy or adoption,isn’t the end o the world. It is possible to find hope and happiness again if we just shift our focus on something else for some time. If depression has taken hold, it’s unlikely to resolve on its own. Depression due to a miscarriage or failed IVF treatment is tough to overcome. Researchers have found that it can stay up to three years irrespective of if you’re pregnant or not. Therefore, counseling is pivotal throughout the grieving process so that one can overcome this dark phase and start afresh with new hopes and outlook.

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Researchers have found that depression can stay up to three years irrespective of if you’re pregnant or not. Pixabay

Also Read: Above 51% Women Believe Indian Schools Don’t Have Menstrual Awareness Programme: Survey

Feeling better is the Key

Some couples feel antidepressants which are used for treatment have a negative effect on health as they cause hindrance when trying to conceive again. While once cannot completely rule this thought process out.

In fact, some studies have found that treating depression with counseling and anti-depressants together increased pregnancy success. That said, for milder depression, anti-depressant medications are just one of many treatment options. Depression can also be treated with psychological counselling, support groups, and mind-body therapies. (IANS)

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The Wrath Of Amphan Cyclone In India

Cyclone Amphan exposes Eastern India; Odisha and West Bengal to serious damage and devastation

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Amphan Cyclone
A satellite view of Cyclone Amphan on May 19, 2020. PC: Weathernerds.org

BY Varuni Trivedi
Odisha and West Bengal were left in shambles as Cyclone Amphan left only doom and devastation behind. Torrential rains and winds gusting up to 185 kph on Wednesday, affected 4.5 million people across 1,500 villages in Odisha, and claimed the lives of 72 people in West Bengal leaving many homeless and devastated.

Both the states suffered widespread destruction of homes, crops, and infrastructure. Many people were crushed by falling trees and electrocuted by power lines. Horrific images of destruction came from both states showing uprooted trees and electricity poles catching fire. Amidst a global pandemic that had already taken a toll on people the ‘normal life’ in these states is paralyzed for millions. Both Orissa and West Bengal currently lay in the aftermath of a destructive cyclone for which they weren’t prepared.

The worst-hit in this scenario are the small scale industries and infrastructure which wiped out leaving lakhs of people homeless. It devastated coastal villages knocking down mud houses and temporary shelters and flooding many areas. In the WB capital Kolkata, the streets are still flooded while phone and internet services have still not been restored completely. Officials say that the extent of destruction caused is yet to be determined. The loss of dwellings and crops, which has struck people amid two months of a nationwide lockdown that has left millions of Indians without an income and in a terrible shock.

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People struggling to get past an uprooted tree struck by Aphan cyclone. PC: IndianExpress

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said she was “shocked” to see such a massive disaster. She further stated that she had never seen anything like this before and the cyclone is worse than the coronavirus. She stressed the cyclone’s “unexpected scale” and has urged great support from the center. Today PM Modi along with CM Banerjee took an aerial survey of the cyclone areas.

The Prime Minister has assured all sorts of assistance to West Bengal and will be ensuring that the relief money is credited directly to the account of the beneficiaries. PM Modi conducted an aerial survey of areas affected by Cyclone Amphan in Odisha as well, accompanied by CM Naveen Patnaik and Guv Ganeshi Lal. Financial assistance of Rs 500 Cr has been announced for the state. Ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to next of kin of deceased whereas Rs 50,000 to seriously injured has also been announced.

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PM Modi along with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in an aerial survey of Cyclone hit areas. PC: PTI

The eastern coastal States during the storm season every year face the wrath of nature as the unpreparedness of the states exposes the citizens to these calamities. The cyclone’s disastrous effects were anticipated, but even with reliable forecasts and preparatory moves by the National and State Disaster Response Force units, the impact was devastating and catastrophic. The loss of life and damage to livelihoods is still significantly irreparable in many parts.

Also Read: ICC Publishes Guidelines for Safe Resumption of Cricket

This has become an even more challenging situation as the nation is amid a lockdown and faces serious issues battling the COVID-19 Pandemic. Whereas it can be said that the battle against the virus may yet be won sooner or later, India must strengthen its disaster management especially in areas like Orissa and West Bengal which experience the wrath of such natural calamities almost every year. For a never-ending cycle of storms along its coastline, India needs better preparedness so that livelihood of people may be protected if not saved completely.

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Pandemic, Pandemonium and Booze 

Lockdown 3.0 sees long queues as liquor shops across the nation open

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People queue up to get alcohol amid lockdown across the country, Pixabay

By Varuni Trivedi

Monday, saw a nationwide brawl and chaos as the government relaxed the stringent lockdown. Serpentine queues outside liquor shops were a common sight as men and women flocked to stock up on booze amidst the third phase of lockdown. While the central government has issued clear guidelines on social distancing, it was adhered to in some places while others saw complete chaos. Some states have reported a high excise earning as the liquor sales soared high after relaxations.

As the Delhi government on Sunday announced implementing the latest lockdown relaxations suggested by Union Ministry of Home Affairs around 150 liquor shops located outside the coronavirus containment zones opened on Monday. To get their hands on booze people flouted social distancing norms, a liquor shop in New Delhi’s Malviya Nagar saw more than a hundred people lined up,  the Police were called to take charge of the situation. Many other cities saw a similar scenario, people had gathered outside shops as early as 6 am in the morning. In some places the situation got out of control and shops were shut by the owners before the set time. However, the sale of liquor in malls, restaurants and permit rooms is still prohibited across the nation during lockdown 3.0.

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Liquor sales soared on Monday amidst lockdown relaxation. Pixabay

Social distancing went down the gutters in Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata too as people were seen in queues as long as 1 to 2kms outside liquor shops. In some cities, the Police had to resort to mild lathi-charge in order to get a hold of the situation. However, interestingly enough at some shops in Bengaluru staffers were seen thermal screening the customers in fear of COVID-19 spread. In UP’s Mirzapur a shopkeeper was seen showering petals on his customer.

According to the excise department Uttar Pradesh recorded a sale of over 100 crores on Monday itself, the Principal Secretary, Excise, Sanjay Bhoosreddy said: “I don’t think there would be any single industry with just less than one lakh workforce that gives ₹100 crore revenue (to the state exchequer) in a day”. Likewise, Karnataka’s excise department released a statement estimating the value of liquor sales on the first day to be around 450 million rupees. Mahasamund district’s women in Chhattisgarh staged a protest against the liquor shops opening condemning the government’s decision. Other places however saw a considerable number of women outside liquor shops. 

Also Read: Celebrities Across Country Question the Decision to Open Liquor Shops

The country saw a bittersweet situation where on one side the uncontainable happiness on the faces of customers was unmatchable while on the other side social distancing norms were flouted and the Police faced a tough time in managing the crowds. A lot of places witnessed utter chaos which led the owners to shut down the shops before time.