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Intro Michael Crawford

Founder and Director of The Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition, London and now involved with the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College, London.  

Michael is one of the world’s most eminent researchers into brain function and nutrition, with over 300 publications. He is one of the most engaging presenters you will ever hear and is always in demand for speaking roles. He is one of those few experts with a multidisciplinary intellect, able to apply an integrative perspective in prenatal and perinatal care. His studies on the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and breastfeeding as supreme sources of the child’s healthy development have brought enormous benefits to the field of nutrition and health.

Michael A. Crawford graduated in chemistry at Edinburgh University. Interested in the gap between medicine and chemistry, he studied biochemistry and physiology and then went to the Royal Postgraduate Medical School where he obtained a doctorate in chemical pathology in 1960. His interest took him to Uganda in Africa to establish teaching in pre-clinical and clinical chemistry.

Michael participated in setting up the Muhimbili Medical School in Dar-es-Salaam. His research work, funded by the Medical Research Council and the British Cancer Campaign, focused on the causes of tropical nutrition-related disorders in adults, such as primary hepatoma and aflatoxin, bladder cancer, endomyocardial fibrosis (the commonest cause of death from heart failure), and volvulus (the commonest surgical emergency).

After a Wellcome Fellowship in 1965 to work with Professor Ernst Baranay, Uppsalla, Sweden, Michael returned to London to head the Biochemistry Department at the Nuffield Institute of Comparative Medicine, while maintaining his research laboratory in Uganda until 1972. His comparative studies in Africa and the UK revealed the link between arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acids, the brain and its evolution.

From 1982-92 he held a special Chair in Biochemistry at the University of Nottingham. In 1989 he founded the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition as the research arm of the Mother and Child Foundation. He has been awarded several honors, including the prestigious Danone Chair at the University of Ghent, Belgium for the millennium year, an honorary chair at the Albert Schweitzer International University, the International Prize for Modern Nutrition, a Centenary Award from Hoffman la Roche for “outstanding contribution to the biological understanding of the significance of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and for his research on preterm & term infant brain development”, a Gold Medal for Science and Peace from the Albert Schweitzer International University, Geneva, and a Gold Medal from the Government of Oman. He was President of the IVth and VIth International Congresses of the International Society for Fats and Lipids, and rapporteur and WHO consultant for the 1978 joint Expert Consultation on the Role of Dietary Fats and Oils in Human Nutrition; and again the WHO consultant for the 1994 and the present (2008-2010) joint consultations. Professor Crawford’s laboratory served as a WHO collaborating laboratory in the 1980s, studying human milk composition and the effects of steroidal contraceptives.

Professor Michael Crawford Alexander Leaf Award 2016The primary objective of his present work is to understand the cause of the rise in brain disorders, and especially the prevention of neurodevelopmental disorders. Much of this work has been done on maternal and preterm infant nutrition in the Homerton and Newham General Hospital Trusts in the East-end of London, with a program started in 2009 with Imperial College. He has published over 300 scientific papers and three books, as well as contributing chapters to several multi-author books on the topic of lipids and health.

In March 2015 Professor Crawford was awarded the prestigious Chevreul Medal for his work on nutrition and the brain, and especially for his introduction of quantum mechanics to the understanding of the role of signaling in the retina and brain. In May 2015 he received the Avicenna Medal for ethics in science and peace; and in September 2016, was awarded The Alexander Leaf Distinguished Scientist Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Crawford MA, Leigh Broadhurst C, Guest M, Nagar A, Wang Y, Ghebremeskel K, Schmidt WF (2013) A quantum theory for the irreplaceable role of docosahexaenoic acid in neural cell signaling throughout evolution Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids (PLEFA); 88(1):5-13.

Docosahexaenoic and Arachidonic acids in Hominid Evolution by Michael A Crawford. In Book on “Environmental Influences on Human Brain Evolution “– eds Kathy Stewart & Stephen Cunnane Wiley-VCH 2010

Littoral man and waterside woman: The crucial role of marine and lacustrine foods and environmental resources in the origin, migration and dominance of Homo sapiens
C. Leigh Broadhurst, Michael Crawford and Stephen Munro in Was Man More Aquatic in the Past; Mario Vaneechoutte, Algis Kuliukas & Marc Verhaegen eds 2011 eISBN 978-1-60805-244-8.

Gow RV, Vallee-Tourangeau F, Crawford MA, Taylor E, Ghebremeskel K, Bueno AA, Hibbeln JR, Sumich A, Rubia K.(2013) Omega-3 fatty acids are inversely related to callous and unemotional traits in adolescent boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids.Jun;88(6):411-8.

Msika O, Brand A, Crawford MA, Yavin E. (2012) NGF blocks polyunsaturated fatty acids biosynthesis in n-3 fatty acid-supplemented PC12 cells. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1821(7):1022-30.

The crisis in nutrition and poverty. The crisis in nutrition and poverty. Crawford MA.
Nutr Health. 2012 Oct;21(4):205-8. doi: 10.1177/026010601351656 

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