"Drs. Banack, Murch and I found BMAA in increasingly higher concentrations as it moved up the food chain to the Chamarros up to 1,000 times higher in their food source than in the cyanobacteria," said Dr. Cox, Director of the Institute for Ethnobotany. "Our study shows there is a link between cyanobacterial BMAA and Guamanian ALS-PDC."
People with ALS-PDC may exhibit symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's disease. ALS-PDC is virtually limited to the Chamorro people of Guam, and at one time, occurred at 50 to100 times the rate of ALS elsewhere.
Previous research1 by Dr. Cox and the neurologist Oliver Sacks, M.D., suggests that the Chamorros were exposed to BMAA through consumption of a type of bat, flying foxes, which feed on cycad seeds. They also theorized that biomagnification occurred, in which neurotoxins accumulate in successively higher levels from cycad seeds to flying foxes to the Chamorro people.
Dr. Cox likens the biomagnification of BMAA, an amino acid once found only in cycads, to the biomagnification of mercury, DDT, PCBs, and other pesticides and pollutants that accumulate to often dangerous le
Contact: Todd Ringler
Edelman Public Relations