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India’s Mathemagician multiplies numbers at lightning speed

Sagaya Fernando Mumbai: 2 December 2020 Born into an average Indian family in the state of Kerala 30 years ago, Vivek Raj never thought that he would become a Math’s wizard one day, and bag awards for doing the fastest mental calculations with ease. Vivek, a resident of Arattuvazhy village in Alappuzha district of Kerala, who now conducts shows titled ‘Mathemagics’ for young students, got hooked to calculations when his father Raphael P C (a school teacher then) gifted him a simple calculator when he turned 13 years of age and was in Class VII. The turning point in his life came when his Class XII English teacher Fr. Titus Chullickal asked his students what came into their mind thinking of number 7. While some of the students replied about the seven wonders of the world, the seven colours of the rainbow and the seven continents, Vivek multiplied the number seven by itself several times and reached a 11-digit number in a matter of seconds.   (7x7=49x7=343x7=2,401x7=16,807x7=1,17

"Hormone imbalance disfigures man, doctors scour for a solution"

"Hormone imbalance disfigures man, doctors scour for a solution"

Story by Sagaya Fernando
Mumbai: 21 May 2018

A simple lump on the right side of the face at the age of ten has turned into a massive abnormal swelling in the past twenty years, scaring the 30-year-old man’s face, forcing him to lead a lonely life at his village called Kanekal in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh in India.

“I was just 10 years when a small swelling appeared on the right side of my face. My parents took me to an ear, nose and throat specialist at nearby Bellary town for a check-up and treatment. The doctor there told that a surgery has to be done to remove the growth. However, I did not go for surgery. And, by the time I was 15, the growth started swelling further, and we consulted doctors at St. John’s Medical College Hospital at Bengaluru for the same. After conducting tests the doctors there said that there is no cause for concern and I should wait till I turn 21, and then surgery can be considered,” says 30-year-old G Srinivasulu.

“However, by the time I turned 18, I started having breathing difficulty due to the swelling, and I was readmitted at St. John’s under the care of Dr. Ganapathi Bantwal. Several tests were conducted over a period of two to three months, and it was diagnosed that I am having excessive growth hormone as well as a thyroid disorder. I was given medicines for the same. However, the problem escalated further,” said Srinivasulu.

He further added, “A surgery was also carried out to remove the tumorous growth. But, the doctors informed that the surgery has failed to solve the problem, and I was discharged.”

He says, “No one in my family is affected by such a syndrome. All my siblings -- three elder sisters and two younger sisters – and my parents are healthy having no such problems.”

“Srinivasulu is suffering from McCune-Albright syndrome, having growth hormone in excess, a disorder that affects the bones, skins and several hormone-producing tissues. As a matter of fact, the tumor has become so big that his veins have become disfigured, and it is difficult to operate on him,” said Dr. Ganapathi Bantwal from the Endocrinology Department of St. John’s Medical College Hospital.

He added, “People with McCune-Albright syndrome develop areas of abnormal scar-like tissue in their bones, a condition called polyostotic fibrous dysplasia.”

Srinivasulu’s height is now 6 feet 8 inches because of the excessive growth hormones. This further led to bones becoming brittle, and the leg bones unable to take his body weight started cracking up.

“I underwent a surgery to replace my leg bones with a steel rod so that I can at least walk. The medical expenses which have run up to about Rs 10 lakhs till now have drained our finances, and some doctors say that another Rs 8 lakhs are needed to carry the treatment forward. However, due to lack of finance, I am not able to take treatment,” says Srinivasulu, whose father G Hampanna is a farmer with a small landholding. Unable to meet the medical expenses, he has sought government help.

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