[MARMAM] New paper on behavioral diagnosis of domoic acid toxicosis in California sea lion

nicola pussini pussininicola at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 13 07:24:25 PDT 2011

Interesting paper on auditory habituation as a diagnostic measure in California sea lions with domoic acid toxicosis .
P.Cook, C. Reichmuth, F. Gulland (2010). Rapid behavioral diagnosis of domoic acid toxicosis n California sea lion. Biology Letters, Animal Behavior; doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0127. Published online

Domoic acid is a neurotoxic metabolite of widely occurring algal blooms that has caused multiple marine animal stranding events. Exposure to high doses of domoic acid, a glutamate agonist, may lead to persistent medial temporal seizures and damage to the hippocampus. California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) are among the most visible and frequent mammalian victims of domoic acid poisoning, but rapid, reliable diagnosis in a clinical setting has proved difficult owing to the fast clearance of the toxin from the blood stream. Here, we show that the behavioural orienting responses of stranded sea lions diagnosed with domoic acid toxicosis habituate more slowly to a series of non-aversive auditory stimuli than do those of sea lions with no apparent neurological deficits. A signal detection analysis based on these habituation measures was able to correctly identify 50 per cent of subjects with domoic acid toxicosis while correctly rejecting approximately 93 per cent of controls, suggesting potential diagnostic merit.  

If interest please email me directly for pdf.

Nicola Pussini DVM 
pussinin at gmail.com
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