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Antidepressants Found in Brains of Niagara River Fish

According to a UPI report, scientists are finding high levels of antidepressants in the brains of fish from the Niagara River.

New analysis of brain tissue from several dozen Niagara River fish, comprising 10 different species, revealed elevated levels of antidepressants. "These active ingredients from antidepressants, which are coming out from wastewater treatment plants, are accumulating in fish brains," said Diana Aga, a chemist at the University of Buffalo. "It is a threat to biodiversity, and we should be very concerned."

In fish, antidepressants are believed to encourage lethargy and stunt their interest in hunting, avoiding predators and finding a mate. The latest study didn't look at the ecological effects of antidepressants, but previous studies have shown the drugs have a measurable impact on fish behavior. "The levels of antidepressants found do not pose a danger to humans who eat the fish, especially in the US, where most people do not eat organs like the brain," said researcher Randolph Singh. "However, the risk that the drugs pose to biodiversity is real, and scientists are just beginning to understand what the consequences might be."

Researchers found sizable concentrations of the metabolized ingredients found in drugs including Zoloft, Celexa, Prozac and Sarafem in the brains of all the fish species included in the study. The highest concentrations were measured in rock bass.