Neuroscientist and researcher in neurocardiology, Prof (Dr) Phllip Njemanze, has made shocking revelations on excessive consumption of crayfish.
Speaking on causes of mental health and illness, Njemanze revealed that there are several factors which could lead to it, particularly stroke.
He also revealed that 30 percent of Nigerians suffer from mental disorder.
“Twenty to 30 per cent of Nigerians suffer mental disorders, and the biggest and most important causes are environmental” Njemanze, a fiery critic and surgeon told SUNDAY PUNCH.
He continued “For example, we have unregulated disposal of refuse. Batteries are everywhere and wherever you see a battery, it takes your mind to lead poisoning and lead poisoning will surely result in a mental deficiency. Refuse disposal is a science. In Nigeria, contractors will just carry refuse from anywhere and dump it anywhere without sorting. In all our gutters, you see engine oil and that is lead and heavy metals.
He pointed out that consumption of certain foods could also lead mental ill health.
“Yes, mental conditions are debilitating. In other words, they don’t allow you to function. But in very serious cases such as stroke, it can end up in mortality. I think one thing I need to add is that there is very important health factor in causing mental ill health in our environment and that is food. For example, crayfish is a delicacy and it is supposed to be eaten in small amounts”
“There is an insulin like protein called crayfish binding protein which causes the blood to clot. So, most people who eat a lot of crayfish in their diets have serious blood clots, which could lead to heart attacks and strokes. They go into the kidney and block the vessels there and can cause very high blood pressures.
He continued “ If you check the riverine areas of Nigeria, such as Rivers and Bayelsa States, you will see very young people with very high blood pressures and the life expectancy is so short. The reason for that is just because of the seafood, especially if they eat it in large amounts, they could have crayfish- binding protein that could result in strokes.
He also revealed that in Nigeria, there is lack of mental rehabilitation centres “ for very subtle conditions”
“So children with Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders are often just neglected. Nothing is really being done in such cases” he advised.
He advocated for a surgeon general at all tiers of government to focus on disease prevention.
Every level of government should have a surgeon general, for example, that will focus on disease prevention. The surgeon general should be on the ground, telling people: “For your good mental health, this is the amount of red oil that is sufficient to add to your food so you don’t have too much. This is the amount of salt, the type of fish that is nutritious.” He would tell you, “Our water is polluted because we have too much heavy metals in it.” He would assess the water in the community and advise residents appropriately. The surgeon general would set normalcy standards and it is a whole ministry on its own with doctors, nurse, inspectors and other health professionals. They have other departments, including internal medicine, mental health and so on.
“If you look at countries with high per capital income, you will see that they have good mental health structures. It is a direct pursuit of economic growth when you invest in health” he stated.