Shark Fin Linked to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's

Staff Writer
A neurotixin found in shark fin may be the cause

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

It's a good thing New York (among other states) is in the process of prohibiting the use of shark fin — the  Asian delicacy used in shark fin soup (served at a San Francisco Chinatown restaurant recently visited by Obama), is chock-full of neurotoxins that could cause Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, say researchers.

The New York Times reports that BMAA, or Beta-methylamino-L-alanine, was found in the fins of seven different sharks. The toxin (also found in the Guam fruit bat) has been linked to other neurodegenerative diseases, like Lou Gehrig's disease. What's worrisome, according to researchers, is that the study showed that BMAA can accumulate in tissue in sharks — and possibly humans.

The bill recently introduced in Albany, N.Y., would help prevent the nearly 73 million sharks killed — or "finned," Smart Planet adds — each year for shark fin soup. For more ethical fish choices, check the guide to see what fish is sustainable, and what isn't.