As I live in an area of the nation with one of the most infected reservoirs polluted with Blue-Green Algae (BGA) I feel it is important to publicise this research. Clusters can occur purely by chance, but there is a real need for a prospective study. Whether this is the cause or not, the cautionary principle should ensure that the infestation is treated as a pollution, and the NVZ (Nitrate Vulnerable Zone) should be enforced in the surrounding area. If you see BGA, especially in drinking water, it should be reported as a pollution, (0800 807065)
Detection of Cyanotoxins, β-N-methylamino-l-alanine and Microcystins, from a Lake Surrounded by Cases of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
A cluster of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has been previously described to border Lake Mascoma in Enfield, NH, with an incidence of ALS approximating 25 times expected. We hypothesize a possible association with cyanobacterial blooms that can produce β-N-methylamino-l-alanine (BMAA), a neurotoxic amino acid implicated as a possible cause of ALS/PDC in Guam. Muscle, liver, and brain tissue samples from a Lake Mascoma carp, as well as filtered aerosol samples, were analyzed for microcystins (MC), free and protein-bound BMAA, and the BMAA isomers 2,4-diaminobutyric acid (DAB) and N-(2-aminoethyl)glycine (AEG). In carp brain, BMAA and DAB concentrations were 0.043 μg/g ± 0.02 SD and 0.01 μg/g ± 0.002 SD respectively. In carp liver and muscle, the BMAA concentrations were 1.28 μg/g and 1.27 μg/g respectively, and DAB was not detected. BMAA was detected in the air filters, as were the isomers DAB and AEG. These results demonstrate that a putative cause for ALS, BMAA, exists in an environment that has a documented cluster of ALS. Although cause and effect have not been demonstrated, our observations and measurements strengthen the association.
It is probable that one or more environmental toxins contribute to the etiology of sporadic Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), most likely interacting with underlying genetic susceptibility factors [1,2]. A neurotoxin produced by cyanobacteria, β-N-methylamino-l-alanine (BMAA) has been implicated as a potential environmental risk factor for ALS [3,4,5]. Cyanobacteria are ubiquitous throughout all ecosystems, most commonly in marine and freshwater environments  and are well-known to produce toxins that have human health implications [7,8,9]……..
The cyanobacterial neurotoxin BMAA has been implicated as a possible environmental risk factor or causative agent for ALS/PDC on Guam. We have demonstrated the presence of BMAA in the one sampling of the aquatic food web and in aerosol samples from a lake adjacent to an area of previously documented high ALS incidence. Further studies are needed to confirm the route of toxin exposure and mechanism of pathogenesis.