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BARRY MARSHALL-A DOCTOR WHO FOUND THE CAUSE OF PEPTIC ULCER BY DRINKING AN INFECTIOUS BROTH

As we all know most of the diseases occurring today are caused by various types of microorganisms like bacteria, viruses and fungi. Ulcer is one such type of a disease that is caused by bacteria (a microorganism). Helicobacter pyloriare the bacterium that causes ulcers. Barry Marshall, an Australian physician was the main behind this discovery. Marshall along with Robin Warren proved that Helicobacter pylori are the cause of most of the peptic ulcers. Their discovery cleared the misconception that spicy food and stress were the main reason behind ulcers.

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Barry James Marshall was born on 30th September 1951 in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.  He lived in Kalgoorlie until he was eight years old and later moved to Perth. His father did various types of jobs and his mother was a nurse. He was the eldest of the four kids. He went to Newman College to pursue his high school. He received his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the University of Western Australia in the year 1974.

Marshall was appointed as registrar in medicine at the Royal Perth Hospital in the year 1979. During his medical fellowship training at Royal Perth Hospital in the year 1981, he met Robin Warren, a pathologist who was interested in gastritis. Both of them did a study together on spiral bacteria which was associated with gastritis. They performed an initial culture of H.pylori in the year 1982 and developed their hypothesis that this bacterium was the cause of gastritis. But this hypothesis was not accepted by most of the established scientists and doctors. They did not believe that there could be bacteria behind causing ulcer. Most of the medical researchers argued for a proper evidence for the H.pylori theory.

After Marshall failed to infect piglets with H.pylori, he decided to perform an experiment on himself. Therefore, he underwent a baseline endoscopy and drank the broth containing the H.pylori culture. He was expecting an infection after one year but to his surprise three days later he developed nausea and halitosis. He suffered with vomiting from day 5-8. He underwent an endoscopy and biopsy on day 8 which showed a massive inflammation. The H.pylori was collected from the inflammation and was cultured. A third endoscopy was done on fourteenth day after which Marshall started taking antibiotics. Though he knew that ulcers were caused by bacteria, he did not develop any antibiotics against it. He suggested that our internal immunity sometimes eradicates H.pylori. The Medical Journal of Australia published this experiment in the year 1985.

In the year 2005, Karolinska Institute in Stockholm awarded Marshall and Robin Warren with the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, for their discovery of Helicobacter pyroli and its role in peptic ulcers.

Marshall had a Burnet fellowship at the University of Western Australia from 1998-2003. He did his research work at Royal Perth Hospital from 1985-1986. He went to University of Virginia in 1986 and is still working there as a faculty. He is continuing his research work on H.pylori and is also running H.pylori research laboratory at the University of Western Australia till today.

Marshall got married to Adrienne in the year 1972 and has four children with her, one son and three daughters.

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