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  • 2019-08-05 15:10:13


MEMORY LOSS: DON ADVOCATES CONSUMPTION OF LOCAL CONSUMABLES Owing to the incidence of memory loss otherwise known as Alzheimer disease and its attendant negative effects on the mental functions of human beings, the 87th Inaugural lecturer of the University of Calabar, Prof. Eme. E. Osim has advocated for the consumption of local consumables, saying it can help in boosting memory. Prof. Osim stated this at the Institution’s International Conference while delivering the Inaugural lecture on the theme, ‘’ Our Consumables and our Memory: A Possible Remedy for Elusive Alzheimer Disease’’ He said that local consumables like plantain and Beans, which according to him are rich in what he described as serotonin, can ameliorate impaired memory hence the need for its consumption. The Inaugural lecturer said most local consumables are rich in Vitamin E, contains healthy fats and has antioxidant action which helps to promote communication between brain cells. In his words, ‘’ Most local consumables boost memory and quite a few depress memory. Our findings showed that Plantain, beans, Kola nuts, chewing tobacco, chloroquine, artesunate, some anti-retroviral boost memory while Calabash chalk and chili pepper and its active constituent, capsaicin decrease memory’’ According to the Inaugural lecturer, consumables that contribute to memory decline is essentially the ‘white man’s’ consumables, adding that the high incidence of dementia especially, Alzheimer’s disease among the whites than Nigerians may be due to their consumables. While describing Alzheimer’s disease as a progressive loss of mental function, he said the disease afflicts an estimated 4 million Americans, mostly people over the age of 65. Prof. Osim added that statistics in Nigeria regarding the disease showed that one in thirty-five persons over the age of 65 has the disease. The Inaugural lecturer said that though Alzheimer’s disease is not life threatening, but it does result in dramatic changes, disclosing that symptoms start slowly and forgetfulness is often one of the most common complaints. He said as mental function declines, patients lose ability to remember recent events, stating that over time, losses may be so great that a parent may be unable to recognize his or her own children. According to him, the disease is known for placing a great burden on caregivers, noting that the pressures can be wide-ranging and it involves the social, psychological, physical and economic elements of the caregiver’s life. The Inaugural lecturer said the treatment for Alzheimer’s disease currently includes the use of cholinesterase inhibitors like physostigmine to augment cholinergic transmission in the brain and the use of Vitamin E and other antioxidants to limit the oxidative stress produced by free radicals which may contribute to neural damage. He said that because Alzheimer’s disease cannot be cured and is degenerative, management of patients is essential. This came as he disclosed that he and other academics have carried out a research in Canada with extract of R.vomitoria to find out if it can reverse memory loss and other symptoms in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s. He said the research yielded positive results as the aqueous root extract used in the research can reverse memory impairment associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Consequent upon this, he said President Muhammadu Buhari has awarded them a patent for the invention for 20 years. According to him, they will begin clinical trials and if successful, find drug companies to make their extract into capsules for sale. In his remarks, Chairman of the occasion and Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof Zana Akpagu commended the inaugural lecturer for what he described as a ‘sumptuous intellectual feast’, even as he expressed gratitude to him for the pivotal role he has played in mentoring young ones who may eventually step into his shoes in the nearest future. This came as he described the lecture as ‘rich and informative’, saying issues pertaining to mental health should be taken seriously. Prof. Akpagu said since the human brain controls the entire body system, it's important to always tackle brain related ailments headlong to guard against memory loss. Highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of memento to the inaugural lecturer by the Vice Chancellor.

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