Under Darwinian medicine, this organism may be beneficial to the
environment. Nature's way of cleaning up the toxic soup so to speak. I am
wondering if the the pfiesteria may be able to metabolize the toxins in the
water into this neurotoxin which, although not a nice thing to encounter,
is probably biodegradable.
This seems to be how the South American poison frogs develop their poisons:
from the alkaloids in the large numbers of ants that they eat.
I wonder if this organism can thrive in clean water or if it requires
certain chemicals to grow and reproduce?
Anyone know anything about the biochemistry of the neurotoxin?
From: Michele Gale-Sinex/CIAS, UW-Madison <mgs@AAE.WISC.EDU>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Cc: Warren Porter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Monday, August 17, 1998 1:52 PM
Subject: More on /Pfiesteria/ and memory
>Folks, this is a ProMED update on a topic I posted last week.
>Cass Peterson, am I mistaken or did I hear correctly that the Wallace
>Institute is tracking the /Pfiesteria/ outbreak in MD as it might
>relate to ag and agrochemical use?
>PFIESTERIA TOXINS LINKED TO COGNITIVE DEFICITS
>A ProMED-mail post
>Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 08:36:07 -0700
>Source: August 14, 1998 Nando net
>Via: Dr. James Chin, CDPC-mail
>Microbe found in fish on East Coast linked to memory disorder
>Researchers reported the first scientific evidence of a human health
>threat from _Pfiesteria piscicida_ Thursday, saying the toxic microbe
>found in waterways along the U.S. East Coast was responsible for a new
>neurological syndrome. Writing in The Lancet medical journal, Maryland
>researchers blamed the single-cell dinoflagellate for problems among
>24 commercial fishermen, sportsmen and environmental workers exposed
>to contaminated water on Chesapeake Bay's Eastern shore last year. The
>syndrome, though temporary, was marked by several disturbing symptoms
>including impaired memory, disorientation and learning difficulties.
>The symptoms were most severe among those with the highest exposure to
>_Pfiesteria_-contaminated water. But in each case, health problems
>began to fade after three months and were gone after six.
>In separate but unpublished studies, the team of scientists from the
>University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University also found
>evidence linking _Pfiesteria_ to changes in brain metabolism and said
>contact led to skin lesions among those with the most pronounced
>neurological difficulties. The health problems appeared to be caused
>by unidentified toxic chemicals secreted by the microorganism. "These
>are extremely potent toxins," said Dr. Glenn Morris, the University of
>Maryland epidemiologist who heads the team.
>"What this does is to open up a completely new field of research. We
>don't know what the toxins are or how they act. And we don't know how
>they are transmitted to the brain." Although _Pfiesteria_ has long
>been identified in the press as causing health problems including
>memory loss, politicians and policymakers in some states have denied
>any threat to the public and concentrated instead on the millions of
>fish that have developed lesions or died in massive fish kills in
>contaminated waters. New outbreaks already have been reported this
>year in North Carolina and Maryland...
>Michele Gale-Sinex, communications manager
>Center for Integrated Ag Systems
>UW-Madison College of Ag and Life Sciences
>Voice: (608) 262-8018 FAX: (608) 265-3020
>Community--that's what Jah say. --Alpha Blondy
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