Nerve poison found in Baltic fish

Scientists have found nerve poison in fish in the Baltic Sea.
(May 15, 2010) As Swedish researchers report in the science magazine "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences", neurotoxins have been detected in Baltic fish. For the first time, the nevic venom neurotoxin BMAA (beta-methylamino L-alanine BMAA) was detected in fish in the Baltic Sea. So far, high concentrations of the neurotoxins have only been found in the tropical Guam archipelago, says researcher Sara Jonasson from Stockholm University. Now, however, neurotoxin has also been detected in the Baltic Sea.

The Swedish scientists point out that there could be a connection between toxic contamination and diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. According to the daily "Taz", around ten percent had Parkinson's disease in the late 1950s. So far, nerve toxins have only been found in marine animals there. The results are quite shocking: Although only small amounts of the neurotoxin were found in whitefish, herring and mussels, significantly high values ​​were found in the brain tissue of turbot. However, fish brains are generally not eaten by humans.

However, Ulla Beckman-Sundh, a toxicologist from the state food agency in Sweden, cannot yet see a direct connection between the toxic findings and health consequences. "Nobody has been able to say whether these finds have any significance for animal or human health," Beckman-Sundh told the "Taz". However, the food agency wants to closely follow the results of the researchers. (sb)

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