Bitter Harvest Revisited

Ongoing neurological effects on children with the paralytic disease konzo back the urgent need for interventions to detoxify bitter cassava, according to a new longitudinal study on the staple food in Kahemba, Congo.

Children dependent on the food source fared worse over time on neuropsychological assessments, showed the researchers, by Michael J. Boivin of Michigan State University, Desire Tshala-Katumbay of Oregon Health & Science University (winner of GHN’s Untold Story contest last year) and colleagues.

At a 2-year follow-up up, boys in particular showed ongoing impaired motor and cognitive performance. More research is needed to understand other possible factors contributing to the decline, and differences among boys and girls, the researchers note.

Source: The Lancet Global Health

Ed. Note: For more on konzo, see GHN’s series by Amy Maxmen.

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