Medical News and Perspectives
December 3, 2003

Food Chain of Evidence Points to Brain Toxin

JAMA. 2003;290(21):2788-2789. doi:10.1001/jama.290.21.2788

While no species would choose to be at the low end of the food chain, there are potential perils to life at the top. New findings from the jungles of Guam have found a link between the development of a neurodegenerative disease and dining on a species of bat that feeds on a native tree containing a toxic substance produced by bacteria (Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003;100:13380-13383). The work, suggest the researchers, also raises the provocative question of whether environmental neurotoxins in the diet play a broader role in the pathogenesis of some cases of such neurodegenerative disorders as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson disease.

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