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Health News of Thursday, 19 January 2017

Source: GNA

Stop eating contaminated maize and groundnuts to avoid liver cancer

Scientists are warning against high level consumption of contaminated maize and groundnuts, saying, that could lead to liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma).

People who ate such foods they indicated tended to have more aflatoxins in their blood and stood a higher risk of developing the cancer.

Aflatoxins are known to contribute to diseases like immune-suppression, Kwashiorkor, impairment of liver function and reduced growth rate in humans and animals.

The warning followed a collaborative research carried out by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Professors William Otoo Ellis and Richard T. Awuah of the KNUST and Prof Pauline Jolly of the University of Alabama, led the study.

It identified the presence of aflatoxins in most Ghanaian staple foods - maize, millet, sorghum, groundnut and rice.

The disturbing revelation was that many of the people had neither heard of aflatoxins nor its harmful effects, something which is deeply worrying considering the fact that aflatoxins are natural occurring toxins found in the staple foods.

The study was titled “Association between aflatoxin B1 Albumin Adducts in Plasma and Health Characteristics, Liver function, Hepatitis B, hepatitis C and Malaria in Ghanaians”.

Its findings was published in the 2015 Research Report of the KNUST.

The scientists explored the determinants of aflatoxin levels in the people and considered socio-demographic factors, public knowledge of aflatoxins, food handling as well as consumption practices.

The study established that toxins found in aflatoxins are relatively stable and not destroyed by processing.

The extensive research work on aflatoxins has resulted in the selection of the laboratory of the Department of Food Science and Technology as one of the research laboratories under the “Feed the Future’s Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Lab”, sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).