Navigation Links
Neurotoxins in shark fins: A human health concern
Date:2/23/2012

MIAMI (February 23, 2012) -- Sharks are among the most threatened of marine species worldwide due to unsustainable overfishing. Sharks are primarily killed for their fins alone, to fuel the growing demand for shark fin soup, which is an Asia delicacy. A new study by University of Miami (UM) scientists in the journal Marine Drugs has discovered high concentrations of BMAA in shark fins, a neurotoxin linked to neurodegenerative diseases in humans including Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig Disease (ALS). The study suggests that consumption of shark fin soup and cartilage pills may pose a significant health risk for degenerative brain diseases.

"Shark fins are primarily derived through finning, a practice where by shark fins are removed at sea and the rest of the mutilated animal is thrown back in the water to die," said co-author Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, research assistant professor of Marine Affairs & Policy and director of the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program (RJD) at UM. "Estimates suggest that fins from as many as 70 million sharks end up in soup. As a result, many shark species are on the road to extinction. Because sharks play important roles in maintaining balance in the oceans, not only is shark fin soup injurious to the marine environment, but our study suggests that it is likely harmful to the people who are consuming them."

Seven species of shark were tested for this study: blacknose, blacktip, bonnethead, bull, great hammerhead, lemon, and nurse sharks. Samples were collected from live animals in waters throughout South Florida.

"The concentrations of BMAA in the samples are a cause for concern, not only in shark fin soup, but also in dietary supplements and other forms ingested by humans, " says study co-author Prof. Deborah Mash, Director of the University of Miami Brain Endowment Bank. The Bank supports basic and clinical research and holds one of the world's largest collection of postmortem human brains encompassing a wide range of neurological disorders. In 2009, Prof. Mash and her co-authors published a study in the journal Acta Neurological Scandinavica, demonstrating that patients dying with diagnoses of Alzheimer's Disease and ALS had unusually high levels of BMAA in their brains up to 256 ng/mg, whereas normal healthy aged people had no BMAA, or only trace quantities of the toxin present. "BMAA was first linked to neurodegenerative diseases in Guam, which resulted in the progressive loss of structure and function of neurons."

The shark study found a similar range and even higher BMAA in the fins tested. The new study found levels of between 144 and 1836 ng/mg of BMAA, which overlapped the levels we measured in the brains of Alzheimer's and ALS victims. Surprisingly, this level fits with the BMAA levels in fruit bats examined by Paul Cox, animals which concentrate BMAA from their diet of cycad seeds. He linked ingestion of fruit bats to the severe ALS/Parkinsonism dementia that afflicted many people in Guam.

"Not only does this work provide important information on one probable route of human exposure to BMAA, it may lead to a lowering of the demand for shark fin soup and consumption of shark products, which will aid ocean conservation efforts," added Hammerschlag.


'/>"/>

Contact: Barbra Gonzalez
barbgo@rsmas.miami.edu
305-421-4704
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Molding the business end of neurotoxins
2. Amazing skin gives sharks a push
3. Study of skates and sharks questions assumptions about essential genes
4. New study illustrates the physics behind great white shark attacks on seals
5. Details of ancient shark attack preserved in fossil whale bone
6. Humans and sharks share immune system feature
7. New analysis confirms sharks are in trouble
8. New study documents first cookiecutter shark attack on a live human
9. Scientists discover the largest assembly of whale sharks ever recorded
10. Scientists can track origin of shark fins using zip codes in their DNA
11. First census finds surprisingly few white sharks off California
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Neurotoxins in shark fins: A human health concern
(Date:1/26/2017)... , Jan. 26, 2017  Crossmatch, a leading provider ... new solution aimed at combatting fraud, waste and abuse ... introduced at the Action on Disaster Relief conference in ... point for UN agencies and foreign assistance organizations throughout ... waste and abuse are a largely unacknowledged problem in ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... 24, 2017 Biopharm Reports has carried ... use of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). This ... profiled current practices, developments, trends and end-user plans ... growth and opportunities. These areas include growth in ... needs and innovation requirements, hyphenated NMR techniques, main ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... , Jan 20, 2017 Research and ... Biometrics Market 2017-2021" report to their offering. ... The global voice recognition biometrics ... 2017-2021. The report covers the present scenario and ... 2017-2021. To calculate the market size, the report considers the revenue ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... LONDON and NEW YORK ... at HIMSS, Lumeon , a leading digital ... (DN Telehealth), a provider of telemedicine and remote ... care pathways for telemedicine reimbursements.  ... and their patients, in real-time, extending consultations beyond ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ATLANTA , Feb. 23, 2017  In Atlanta, it ... art, fashion, and culture intertwine to create an expressive and ... often reflect this energy and contribute to it. ... , Hair Fairies seeks to carry on that ... The Atlanta salon is the newest ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... , ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... the 12th annual Inventors Recognition Reception at Purdue Research Park of ... faculty member in recognition of outstanding contributions to, and success with, commercializing discoveries ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... SAN DIEGO and SAN FRANCISCO ... , a privately-held regenerative medicine company, and Beyond Type ... living with type 1 diabetes, today announced a grant ... develop a functional cure for type 1 and other ... decade, ViaCyte has been developing innovative stem cell-derived cell ...
Breaking Biology Technology: