Sunday, January 24, 2016

Toxin in blue-green algae increases risk of Alzheimer's

Jan 24, 2016 01:27 AM ESTBy Rashmi Kalia, UniversityHerald Reporter

A new research study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggests that a toxin produced by blue-green algal bloom could be linked to a number of neurological condition, The Sun reports.

This common species of algae is found in freshwater lakes and reservoirs across the UK.

The toxin, beta-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA), has been discovered in French mussels, oysters and other seafood. Experts say BMAA has the ability to cause brain diseases in unsuspecting humans.

Leading field researcher Professor Paul Cox told the Mail on Sunday BMAA could be a km"third factor" behind increasing rates of dementia, calling the toxin "potentially very worrying."

He added: "We know the single biggest risk factor is age, and as our population ages, people will get it more. Secondly we are getting better at diagnosing and finding Alzheimer's cases."n recent research tests, monkeys who were given a diet rich in BMAA developed an Alzheimer's-like illness after five months.

Professor Cox said that "exposure to an environmental toxin" could help explain increasing rates of dementia in the UK.

If the results of the study are proven, the toxin, BMAA, would be identified as the first significant environmental factor that can be linked to the rapidly increasing rate of Alzheimer's in the UK.