Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Anti-depressants disrupt fish's brains

Drugs designed to ease the symptoms of mental health problems such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress can have major disruptive effects on aquatic animals' brains, say scientists.

Anti-depressants are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world. In 2012, there were more than 50 million prescriptions of the drugs in the UK, and in some towns and cities as many as one in six of us are taking them.

In recent years, researchers have found increasing concentrations of the drugs in rivers around the world. Most of them find their way into waterways via sewage and waste water systems, from human waste or from people flushing unwanted prescriptions down the toilet.

A suite of new research, published in a special issue of the journal Aquatic Toxicology, points to mounting evidence that they could be damaging aquatic species.

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