Leoni marini epilettici per fioriture algali in California

Sea lions exposed to toxin in algae develop form of epilepsy that is similar to humans

Published on March 19, 2014

California sea lions exposed to a toxin in algae develop a form of epilepsy that is similar to one in humans, according to a new study led by Stanford University School of Medicine researchers.

Every year, hundreds of sea lions wash up along the California coast, suffering seizures caused by exposure to domoic acid, a neurotoxin that can produce memory loss, tremors, convulsions and death. Domoic acid is produced by algae blooms that have been proliferating along the coast in recent years, accumulating in anchovies and other small fish that the sea lions feed on, said Paul Buckmaster, PhD, DVM, professor of comparative medicine at Stanford.

Buckmaster and his colleagues studied the brains of affected sea lions and found they had a pattern of damage in the hippocampus – the brain’s memory center – much like that in humans with temporal lobe epilepsy.

“We found there was a loss of neurons in specific patterns that closely matched what is found in people,” he said. “And there is synaptic reorganization – a rewiring of surviving neurons. This also matches what is found in humans with temporal lobe epilepsy.”

He said further studies in the animals could help in developing better treatments for them, as well as for their human counterparts.

Buckmaster is lead author of the study, which will be published online March 19 in the Journal of Comparative Neurology.

Read more on: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20140319/Sea-lions-exposed-to-toxin-in-algae-develop-form-of-epilepsy-that-is-similar-to-humans.aspx?page=2

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