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Abstract

CALABASH CHALK CHRONIC DIET CONSUMPTION ELEVATES ANXIETY AND PAIN PERCEPTION

Bright I. Owhorji, Udemeobong E. Okon and Eme E. Osim*

ABSTRACT

Consumption of calabash chalk is a common practice in Nigeria as well as other parts of Africa, especially among pregnant women. Nevertheless, calabash chalk contains lead (Pb) and arsenic which are thought to be harmful to the brain and responsible for cognitive dysfunction. It is therefore conceivable that calabash chalk consumption may affect other neuronal activities in the body such as anxiety and pain. Therefore, this present research study investigated the effects of consumption of this form of pica on anxiety and pain perception in mice. Forty-five (45) Swiss white mice of mixed sex were randomly assigned into 3 groups of 15 mice each. Group 1 served as control, while groups 2 and 3 received low and high doses of calabash calk diets respectively. Feeding lasted for 30 days. Anxiety levels of the mice were assessed with the aid of elevated plus maze and light-dark transition box as well as elevated plus maze, while response to pain stimuli were studied using hot plate and formalin tests. The results showed that the calabash chalk diet-fed mice had significantly increased (p< 0.05) close arm duration and stretch attend posture compared to control. Pain perception was significantly increased in the calabash chalk diet-fed mice compared to control. Consumption of calabash chalk elevates anxiety and pain perception in mice. These actions may be as a result of its lead and arsenic content.

Keywords: Calabash chalk, Lead, Arsenic, Anxiety, Pain.


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