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Old 10-26-2003, 08:30 PM   #1
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Good news for depressed fish...

I read this in the Washington Post today:

Some Texas Fish Are Getting A Dose of Antidepressant

Life as a fish can be gloomy. Between fending off hungry predators, hunting down dinner and madly seeking out spawning partners, there is scarcely a moment for a fish to kick back and relax. But some bluegill sunfish in Texas, at least, might be a bit less stressed than usual these days -- thanks to a steady dose of an antidepressant.

According to a recent Baylor University study, trace amounts of the primary chemical in Prozac lurk in the waters of North Texas's Pecan Creek, and bluegills there are absorbing it into their muscles, livers and brains.

Even for the most miserable fish, this is not necessarily good news: Laid-back fish could be doomed by natural selection if they let their guards down or lose their appetites, said Bryan Brooks, a Baylor environmental toxicologist who led the study.

The chemical, called fluoxetine, probably came from a wastewater treatment plant in Denton, north of Dallas, he said. When locals who take Prozac use the restroom or flush extra pills down the toilet, the chemical makes its way through treatment and into the creek. The findings of the study, which focused only on bluegills from Pecan Creek, could mean that other aquatic animals may be on second-hand Prozac, or that various pharmaceuticals lace waters nationwide, Brooks said.

Even so, he said, there is no use turning to bluegills, a popular and abundant sports fish, for low-cost mood enhancement. The amount of the chemical "is much lower than what would be needed to cause any sort of therapeutic response in a human," Brooks said. "You would have to eat a whole lot of fish to see any effects."

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Old 10-26-2003, 08:56 PM   #2
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I bet those are some laid back fish.
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