For the first time in history, it was found that Alzheimer’s risk increased due to environmental neurotoxin in both humans and primates subjected to testing. The neurodegenerative disease is on the rise, and it’s believed to be caused by two factors. One is age and the other is the advancement in medicine which allows for quicker and more accurate testing.
BMAA found in algae and seafood
However, it appears that scientists have found the first environmental factor which can prompt the disease later in life. According to a team of researchers, the toxin beta-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) was found in a common species of algae, along with several types of seafood. The damaging compound has been discovered in French mussels, oysters, and other types of edible creatures that dwell in the sea.
It doesn’t even have to reach humans directly. The plants can enter the food chain easily after being ingested by fish. Experts are warning that BMAA can increase the risk of certain brain diseases, such as dementia, ALS, or Alzheimer’s.
Their assessment arrives after examining the brain tangles and amyloid plaques in the brains of people who died from the disease in Guam. The potentially damaging BMAA was first tracked down to the Pacific Island in 1967, and recent tests have shown that it can create Alzheimer’s-like effects on the brain. The researchers conducted an experiment on monkeys, dividing them in groups and testing the consequences of BMAA exposure.
Effects took place in less than 5 months
They conducted the trials on vervets, a species of primates, where one group was fed a diet rich in BMAA, another a smaller amount of BMAA, the third an equal amount of BMAA and L-serine, and the fourth posed as a control group on a fruit diet. Around 140 days later, the researchers examined their results. They found that monkes who were served food rich in BMAA presented with neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques deposits, both of which are indicative of Alzheimer’s.
According to co-author fo the study, Deborah Mash, the study proves the cause-and-effect relationship between BMAA and neurodegenerative diseases. The deposits that grew into the monkeys’ brains were similar to those of the Pacific Islanders in Guam who died from the Alzheimer’s-like condition. Paul Cox stated that they have, thus, found a potentially “very worrying” third factor that might increase the risk of such life-crippling conditons.
And, unfortunately, the neurotoxin is found in a very common type of algae and certain types of seafood.
Further exposure to BMAA can enhance the worldwide’s population risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s, or ALS. Without a cure to the disease, it will increase numbers. That makes every bit of information crucial for the millions of people who will be diagnosed in the future.
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