These common algae blooms could be right in your backyard if you live near a lake.
Have scientists just found a cause of Alzheimer’s in your backyard?
Poisonous algea blooms that were found in UK freshwater lakes and reservoirs may be resulting in an epidemic of 1 million dementia sufferers, according to a Daily Mail report.
A toxic chemical produced by algae has been linked to a range of conditions such as Alzheimer’s and other cognitive problems, the study found. This toxin has been found blue-green algal blooms, which results in it being spread to seafood and plants and therefore entering the food chain.
The toxin is called BMAA, and if the study’s findings are correct, it would be a huge new discovery into what causes Alzheimer’s and dementia-related illnesses, which is expected to affect a million citizens of Britain by 2050.
The study found that providing monkeys with a diet that has lots of BMAA results in the development of an Alzheimer’s-like condition in fewer than five months. Also, those who are currently suffering from Alzheimer’s tend to have high levels of this compound compared to healthy individuals.
It’s not quite certain that this toxin is making its way in the food chain, but there is strong circumstantial evidence for it. Blue-green algae is quite common in inland waters in Britain, and scientists found samples from 12 freshwater lakes and reservoirs.
Scientists believe that this may be the third factor behind Alzheimer’s, the first being age, and the second being better methods of diagnosing the illness.
The findings were published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.