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Medical Pioneer: David Nalin

How the invention of a simple rehydration therapy has saved millions of lives.

Last Modified: 25 Sep 2013 06:50
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After witnessing a cholera outbreak in what is now Bangladesh in the 1960s, David Nalin helped to develop an oral rehydration therapy which has saved the lives of over 50 million people.

In emergency situations, Nalin noted that the traditional cholera treatment of intravenously hydrating patients was prohibitively slow and expensive.

Instead, Nalin researched oral rehydration and realised that each cholera patient needed to be given the same amount of rehydration fluid as they had lost due to diarrhoea.

By mixing potassium chloride, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and glucose into water and giving each patient as many litres as they were lacking, Nalin and his team demonstrated, for the first time, a 70-80 percent reduction in the amount of intravenous fluid needed to save cholera sufferers.

The simple solution was easy to administer and revolutionised the treatment for diarrhoeal disease.

The prestigious medical journal The Lancet described David Nalin and his team’s findings as “potentially the most important medical advance of this century.”

In this animation for The Cure, we mark Nalin’s pioneering work in the world of medicine.

 

Watch  The Cure  on Tuesday: 2230; Wednesday: 0930; Thursday: 0330; Friday: 1630; Saturday: 2230; Sunday: 0930; Monday: 0330; Tuesday: 1630 GMT. 

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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