Seafood neurotoxin may cause kidney damage

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SARASOTA, Fla. - Seafood lovers beware, something in those mussels, clams, and scallops, may be toxic to you kidneys.

Seafood is a staple here on the Suncoast, but now, new research finds the neurotoxin domoic acid, also called amnesic shellfish poisoning which affects the brain, may be far more toxic to your kidneys.

The bottom dwellers said Vilma Vega, M.D., of Infectious Disease Associates are usually the greatest concern. "Although," she said, "They have been finding now, more and more levels of this domoic acid in even larger fish."

This new study of demoic acid was preceded by another in 1987 of an amnesiac shellfish poisoning which actually affected the brain caused brain injury and memory loss.

The study conducted on mice in switzerland, found even tiny amounts of the neurotoxin caused severe kidney damage.

Sean Murphy of the Beach Bistro and Eat Here said consumers need to know their seafood comes from a reputable source.

"In a lot of seafood, particularly shellfish, there are choice elements that can cause severe damage you have to be careful of." He added, "The good news in connection with this one is that at least it is being identified by the FDA."

Research found domoic acid damages kidneys at concentrations 100 times lower than those causing neurological effects, suggesting humans who consume seafood may be at an increased risk of certain conditions.

Dr. Vega said, "There would be a concern certainly for age groups such as very young, pediatric age group, or, the very old, or patients who have kidney damage and would be on dialysis."

We need to realize that this is very early research. Said Dr. Vega. "The reality is, we are not a hundred percent sure that these small amounts of demoic acid actually cause permanent kidney damage in humans, and that's what the research is all about now."

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