In honor of World Cancer Day, Dr. Roger L. Papke was honored by his hosts in both Mumbai and Delhi with organized symposiums during his visit.
On Thursday, February 1st 2018, a symposium on arecanut was held at Healis Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health. Dr. Papke was one of the three speakers visiting from the United States, where arecanut use is becoming more common due to Indian exports.
Here is a summary of his speech, as provided by the organization:
Dr. Roger L. Papke, Professor of Pharmacology & Therapeutics at the University of Florida College of Medicine and a recognized expert in the field of brain nicotine receptors, said that the copious stimulation of saliva in areca nut users is due to the presence of arecoline, a mimic for acetylcholine, the “rest and digest” hormone of the autonomic nervous system in humans. Areca use is well documented to be addictive and a health hazard, prompting the question as to whether these effects are also due to arecoline. Dr. Papke said that arecoline is a weak activator of the same brain receptors that cause nicotine addiction, suggesting a link between the two addictions. Dr. Papke believes that the nicotinic receptor activity of arecoline primes arecanut users for the addicting effects of nicotine, encouraging the addition of tobacco to areca nut products. He explained that this leads to dependence although other receptors may also be involved. Areca users variously report that they perceive areca as being a stimulant, like coffee, or a sedative, like alcohol. Dr. Papke opined that these effects may be associated with previously unidentified compounds in areca. Nonetheless, since the most insidious link to addiction, which leads to withdrawal symptoms, comes from nicotine-like activity, treatments for areca addiction may be similar to those for nicotine addiction such as replacement therapies. He suggested further work on finding out a safe arecoline substitute.
On Sunday, February 4th 2018, Dr. Papke gave a lecture for the Department of Dental and Oral Maxillofacial Surgery at Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospitals in New Delhi. During the symposium, named “Oral Potentially Malignant Lesions and Risk Factors”, Dr. Papke was one of five speakers to share his research and findings on beetle nut addiction.