Sunday


Next time someone treats you to a smallmouth bass meal, bear in mind that you may actually be taking medications WITHOUT you even noticing. A new scientific study has unveiled that human antidepressants are accumulating in the brains of bass, walleye and several other fish species that inhabit the Niagara River in the Great Lakes region.

In the study, researchers discovered high concentrations of active components from antidepressant medications (i.e Zoloft and Prozac), in the brains of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rudd, rock bass, white bass, white perch, walleye, steelhead, bowfin and yellow perch fish in the Niagara River.

"Fish are receiving this cocktail of drugs 24 hours a day, and we are now finding these drugs in their brains.", said lead scientist Diana Aga, Ph.D., the Henry M. Woodburn Professor of Chemistry in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences.

The discovery of antidepressant remnants in an aquatic habitat such as the Niagara River, outlines the degree at which component coming from wastewater treatment plants could disrupt the stability and biodiversity of the ecosystem, thus rendering it unstable.

"These drugs could affect fish behavior. We didn't look at behavior in our study, but other research teams have shown that antidepressants can affect the feeding behavior of fish or their survival instincts. Some fish won't acknowledge the presence of predators as much.", said Randolph Singh, the study co-author and a recent UB graduate from Aga's lab.

"The levels of antidepressants found do not pose a danger to humans who eat the fish, especially in the U.S., where most people do not eat organs like the brain," Singh said. "However, the risk that the drugs pose to biodiversity is real, and scientists are just beginning to understand what the consequences might be."

The bottom line is that unless you are an avid fish brain eater, you should probably be fine!
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