Cleaning up a fish kill on the beach after the 2018 red tide outbreak.

Image: Karen Arango

The Roskamp Institute has received a peer-reviewed federal grant of more than $400,000 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to advance its work to study the potential effects of the Florida red tide neurotoxin, called brevetoxin, on brain health. The new funding will allow the Florida red tide team at the institute to continue to examine the neurological effects of Florida red tide in a clinical study designed to determine whether exposure to brevetoxin can increase the incidence of neurological symptoms in susceptible individuals from the Sarasota area. Previous work has suggested that this might be the case, as Roskamp Institute scientists recorded an excess of emergency room admissions for neurological complaints during the Florida red tide blooms between 2005-2009.

The study calls for the recruitment of 400 volunteers in the Sarasota and Manatee counties, and requires three assessments during which blood and urine samples are taken to measure brevetoxin and antibody levels. Volunteers will be seen during periods when no Florida red tide blooms are being observed and also during periods when they are. Comparing the levels of brevetoxin and antibodies with levels of neurological complaints will shed light on whether Florida red tide brevetoxin exposure can trigger neurological conditions and whether immune responses are protective or make symptoms worse. For more information, click here.

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