Monday, September 14, 2009

Boston Globe: Did a lake trigger a deadly disease?

Researchers hope to explain why Lou Gehrig’s disease seems to occur more often in people who live near lakes and ponds where cyanobacteria bloom

Researchers investigating a deadly disease cluster near a New Hampshire lake are tracking clues that stretch from a delicacy eaten on Guam to a 3.5 billion-year-old type of bacteria and the green scum that coats many New England waters.The scum - blooms of cyanobacteria often misnamed blue-green algae - produces a toxin that doctors at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., suspect might have triggered cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis along the north shore of nearby Mascoma Lake.