Shark fin soup 'increases Alzheimer's risk'

Eating shark fin soup could increase the likelihood of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, a study has found.

Research from the University of Miami revealed shark fins contain high levels of BMAA, a potent neurotoxin that also has links to Parkinson's. It is just one more reason why eating shark fin soup is such a bad idea.

Demand for shark fin soup is one of the key drivers of dwindling shark numbers, with around 100 million per year killed worldwide.

Dr Neil Hammerschlag runs the shark research program at the University of Miami and was involved in this groundbreaking research. He gave us a talk about shark conservation on Necker after we joined him in tagging the first ever sharks in the British Virgin Islands.

As well explaining the potential health risks of eating sharks, he debunked myths about sharks eating humans, focusing specifically on tiger sharks. He said  there have only been 100 bites from tiger sharks on humans since 1580. 71 non fatal, 29 fatal, 0.2 per year. More than 1038 human bites on humans in New York city per year.

He also illustrated why humans simply aren't on the menu for sharks. They have been on the planet 440 million years, our time on earth is a drop in the ocean compared to them. We don't go in the ocean enough and don't go far enough out, so sharks haven't evolved to see us as food. Also, the things that we eat mean we don't taste that good!

Image by Shawn Heinrichs

Take a look at an infographic on shark fin soup's links to neurodegenerative diseases below. Read the study in Mandarin, and see the infographic in Mandarin over at Scribd.

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