Neurotoxins such as domoic acid can disrupt salmon brain activity

There’s something in the water.

And it’s making salmon go crazy.

OK, maybe not crazy, but new research shows salmon that have been exposed to algal neurotoxins such as domoic acid, saxitoxin and brevetoxin exhibit changes in their behavior and brain activity.

The study, published online June 25 in Science Daily, also found small doses of the toxin can affect how salmon interact with other fish.

So, what happens when the salmon ingest these toxins? Fish can lose balance and begin to swim “aimlessly,” according to the research.

During the study, saxitoxin and domoic acid were given in doses too low to cause changes in the salmon’s swimming, but it did cause the fish to relate differently  to new fish introduced into their tank.

These toxins also can cause human illness when a person ingestsseafood containing the toxin. In particular, domoic acid can cause amnesic shellfish poisoning. In the first 24 hours after ingesting the toxin, a person who has ingested the food will suffer gastrointestinal symptoms. Other symptoms, including dizziness, disorientation, headache, and permanent short-term memory loss, also can occur. In the most extreme cases, a person may experience seizures, paralysis and death.

Read the full story here.

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