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By NCF Medical Committee©2010

From Spring 2010 Forum

James N. Baraniuk, MD and Associate Professor at Georgetown University, is the recipient of a National Institutes of Health grant to study the neurotoxin BMAA. According to Baraniuk, "Our cerebrospinal fluid proteomics studies identified a specific set of proteins (GWI/CFS proteome) in two separate cohorts of subjects with co-existing Gulf War Illness (GWI) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) compared to healthy control subjects. One critical protein, carnosine dipeptidase 1 (CNDP1), was detected significantly more frequently in GWI than in healthy controls." Dr. Baraniuk's hypothesis is that "BMAA from cyanobacterium in brackish water and dust was toxic in military personnel who have longer CNDP1 genotypes and reduced antioxidant dipeptides. BMAA interacts with bicarbonate to form a glutaminergic toxin." He will be studying the potential neurotoxic effects of cyanobacterial BMAA in GWI and ALS-PD pathogenesis.

The National CFIDS Foundation funded scientists at the University of Hawaii to study BMAA and its effects on and relationship to ciguatera poisoning since both toxins have been associated with cyanobacteria. This research is ongoing.

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