Friday December 15, 2017

Social environment may influence alcoholism and drug abuse

"Alcohol problems involve biological, psychological and social aspects. Therefore, intervening in the social connections of alcohol abusers may help to mitigate the damage done by alcohol misuse"

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Drug abuse Image Source: ncadd.org
  • The findings showed that the links between substance use and social connections are bi-directional and strong
  • Nearly 20 per cent of relationship terminations pose a relapse risk to the patients
  • On the other hand around 10 per cent of relationship terminations occur because of the patients’ continued use of substances.

Social relationships including family and friends play a key role in an individual’s recovery from substance-abuse problems and at the same time may also negatively influence them to become an addict, finds a study.

The findings showed that the links between substance use and social connections are bi-directional and strong.

“Our data show that social mechanisms substantially affect clinical outcomes over long periods of time,” said Robert L. Stout, a scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, a US based non-profit organisation.

Often after treatment for substance abuse problems, clinicians urge patients to avoid ‘bad’ social contacts and foster ‘good’ ones, the study said.

Alcohol desgracia Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Alcohol desgracia Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

“How clients change their social connections after treatment is a strong indicator of substance abuse outcomes one year and three years later,” Stout added.”

Nearly 20 per cent of relationship terminations pose a relapse risk to the patients.

On the other hand around 10 per cent of relationship terminations occur because of the patients’ continued use of substances.

Family and partner relationships are the least likely to end (roughly 20 per cent over two years), but about half of friendships seem to end over the span of two years.

Substance abuse strongly affects families and friends of alcohol abusers, accounting for much of the harm due to alcohol abuse, said the paper that underlines the importance of investigating how we can address social mechanisms in treatment to improve outcomes.

“Alcohol problems involve biological, psychological and social aspects. Therefore, intervening in the social connections of alcohol abusers may help to mitigate the damage done by alcohol misuse,” Stout suggested.

The team followed patients’ undergoing treatment for drugs and alcohol for two years to examine how changes in new and old relationships are linked to substance abuse.

They focused on factors associated with relationship break ups, observing how different types of relationships affect and are affected by substance use.

The researchers also looked at how relationship changes ultimately affected treatment outcomes.

The results were presented at the 39th Annual Research Society on Alcoholism in New Orleans, recently. (Source: IANS)

ALSO READ:

  • Aparna Gupta

    Its true that family play a very important role but one should also have strong will power and determination to get rid of alcohol.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Yes, social environment does affect a person’s indulgence in alcohol and drugs

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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.

ALSO READ: Hindu Philosophy fascinated WB Yeats: Remembering him and his Timeless Poetry at Jaipur Literature Festival

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


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Bengali Film ‘Dhananjoy’ Sparks a Fresh Debate on the Social Dilemma of Capital Punishment

Arindam Sil's 'Dhananjoy' revolves around the capital punishment of Dhananjoy Chatterjee, a security guard

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Arindam Sil's Bengali film 'Dhananjoy. Facebook
  • ‘Dhananjoy’ is a Bengali film directed by Arindam Sil
  • The film premiered theatres on August 11, 2017
  • Talking about capital punishments and death penalty, the movie has sparked a new debate on the social issue

August 19, 2017: Arindam Sil’s new direction, titled ‘Dhananjoy’ hit the screens on 11th August. The Bengali film since its release has sparked a fresh debate on the social dilemma of capital punishment.

Capital punishment by no means is a simple debate topic. The United Nations Organization has passed various resolutions urging governments of various nations to abolish the legality of the death penalty, however, these resolutions have been non-binding.

Also Read: Why the society needs capital punishment

There are 56 nations that hold death penalty legal. In fact, 60% of the global population resides in countries where the death penalty is held valid. Some of these nations are India, US, China, Indonesia among more.

Arindam Sil’s ‘Dhananjoy’ revolves around the capital punishment of Dhananjoy Chatterjee, a security guard. The film comes at the time of the 13th anniversary of his hanging.

Dhananjoy Chatterjee was executed by the state on 14th August 2004 for the rape and murder of a young girl, Hetal Parekh, in a residential complex. Aged 39, Dhananjoy was mercilessly punished leaving behind old parents, a wife and a brother.

The Bengali film has run along the lines of the 2016 published book, ‘Adalat-Media-Samaj Ebong Dhananjoyer Fansi’. The book portrays that Dhananjoy may have been wrongly committed the crimes he did not do. It was Hetal’s mother who was the culprit and got away. Dhananjoy was a scapegoat.

Sil shows in the movie that it was unfair for Dhananjoy if the judiciary or police in any way would have caused an unintentional error. Dhanonjoy spent 14 years in the prison, during which he kept claiming that he was innocent. He also kept saying that he was tired of being poor. Dhananjoy had little money, and his poverty was the reason behind him being put as the scapegoat. His lawyers with the little fees had lost interest in the case.

This theory by Sil clearly raised debates regarding the fairness of capital punishment and death penalty. The film Dhananjoy is sure to raise dinner table debates with family after watching the movie.

William Douglas, American Supreme Court Judge, once said: “Capital Punishment was for those without the capital.”

The United Nations conducted a survey in the year 1988. From the responses, they concluded that the fact “death penalty is more of a deterrent than life imprisonment” is absolutely baseless. Furthermore, the statistics extracted from countries who abolished the practice supports the conclusion of the survey.

If capital punishment is not abolished, the risk that an innocent could be hanged and killed lurks in the environment. Judiciary systems are not perfect systems.

In India, the judiciary is in worse conditions. With the lack of personnel, pending cases and archaic laws coupled with caste and communal hierarchic setup, capital punishment should be much researched in the country.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Study: Better Treatment Strategies for Pediatric Cancers helping Survivors Live Longer

The researchers focused on severe, disabling, life-threatening or fatal health problems that occurred within 15 years of being diagnosed with a pediatric cancer between 1970 and 1999

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FILE - A cancer patient says hello to a visiting dog at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, June 10, 2009. VOA
  • Severe health conditions arising within 15 years of childhood cancer diagnosis fell to 8.8 percent of survivors in the 1990s, from 12.7 percent in the 1970s
  • The finding is based on analysis of data from 23,600 participants in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study

Better treatment strategies for pediatric cancers are helping survivors live longer, with fewer serious health problems related to their treatment, U.S. researchers said Friday.

The finding, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, is based on analysis of data from 23,600 participants in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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Overall, severe health conditions arising within 15 years of childhood cancer diagnosis fell to 8.8 percent of survivors in the 1990s, from 12.7 percent in the 1970s, the study found.

The findings show that childhood cancer survivors who were given more modern treatment approaches, such as reduced exposure to radiation and lower doses of chemotherapy, were faring better, said Todd Gibson of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, who led the study.

“Not only are more children being cured, but they also have lower risk for developing serious health problems due to cancer treatments later in life,” he said in a statement.

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The researchers focused on severe, disabling, life-threatening or fatal health problems that occurred within 15 years of being diagnosed with a pediatric cancer between 1970 and 1999.

The biggest declines in health problems related to treatment occurred in survivors of Wilms’ tumor, a rare kidney cancer. In this group, serious complications fell to 5 percent of survivors in the 1990s, from a high of 13 percent in the 1970s.

Improvements

In survivors of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma, latent complication rates fell to 11 percent, from 18 percent in the 1970s. Improvements were also seen for astrocytoma, the second most common childhood cancer, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common childhood cancer.

There were no reductions in long-term side effects among survivors of neuroblastoma, acute myeloid leukemia, soft-tissue sarcoma and osteoscarcoma.

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The biggest improvements were seen with regard to endocrine conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease or growth hormone deficiency. The researchers saw endocrine problems fall to 1.6 percent for childhood cancer survivors surveyed in the 1990s, compared with 4 percent in the 1970s.

The emergence of secondary cancers fell to 1.6 percent in the 1990s, compared with 2.4 percent in the 1970s.

Gastrointestinal and neurological conditions also improved.

But there was no improvement in rates of heart or lung conditions, which the researchers said served as a reminder of the need for close follow-up in childhood cancer survivors. (VOA)