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'Eat ackee in peace' - No prostate cancer from fruit, CHASE research reveals

Published:Friday | March 2, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Wilford 'Billy' Heaven
Ackee and saltfish

Research sponsored by non-profit organisation the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) fund aimed at discovering if Jamaica's national fruit, ackee, causes prostate cancer in men, has returned results indicating that it is indeed safe to consume it.

This was outlined by the organisation's chief executive officer, Wilford Heaven, who was part of a group from CHASE at a Gleaner Editors' Forum on Thursday at the newspaper's Kingston offices.

The project was a collaborative initiative between CHASE and the University of the West Indies through its Caribbean Institute for Health Research.

"We looked at Jamaican men and prostate cancer because we eat ackee, and we like ackee, but we didn't know if it contributed to prostate cancer," said Heaven. "There was no correlation, so you can eat your ackee in peace and feel comfortable. Before, there was a notion that there was a correlation. That project is complete, and what it suggests is that there is nothing to support that," he said.

CHASE has spent approximately $50 million on various kinds of research, an achievement Heaven is proud of.


Aggressive behaviour


Another important area of research CHASE has supported is to decipher the causes of aggressive behaviour in the island's youth.

"CHASE is really a knowledge-based organisation. Research is not a glamour area, but we need to understand what is happening and what explains it," Heaven noted. "We intend to provide more details on a study of what explains aggression in children. We also funded a project that looked at what causes certain behavioural patterns that we have seen in our children, particularly in the school system. We cannot pretend as if there isn't a problem."

The results of that research should be published soon, Heaven indicated.

CHASE has also spent money for research on cardiovascular disease, lead battery smelting, the testing of soil, and the various impacts on yam and other food.