Summary of Talk:
Fungal contaminants (mycotoxins) of plants used for food have compromised human health and longevity since antiquity. The adverse effects (seizures, gangrene) of consuming ergot-contaminated grain are recorded from 1100 BC in China, 600 BC in Assyria, the Middle Ages in Europe, and into the 20th Century in Russia. Studies in Shanghai, Qidong and Taiwan have revealed the combined action of dietary aflatoxin BI and chronic hepatitis B infection in the genesis of liver cancer. The devastating brain disease (dystonia) of Chinese children who ingest mycotoxin-contaminated sugarcane now appears rare. Other studies have revealed important links between mycotoxin contamination of food, malnutrition, stunting and disease, including Nodding Syndrome, a brain disorder of children in East Africa.
Peter Spencer, PhD (London), FANA, FRCPath is professor of Neurology and senior scientist, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Portland, Oregon, USA. He served as founding director of both the OHSU Global Health Center (2009-2013) and the OHSU Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology (1988-2009). He holds honorary professorships at Chinese, Colombian and Ugandan universities, consults with both the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Shenzhen CDC, and he serves on the Advisory Board of the Chinese Journal of Preventive Medicine. His widely published research (>400 papers, 1970-2016) on neurotoxic factors, occupational and environmental neurology, has received U.S. and international awards.