A pilot study of the cognitive and psychological correlates of chronic ciguatera poisoning

P. Arena, B. Levin, L. E. Fleming, M. A. Friedman, D. Blythe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Ciguatera fish poisoning is the most frequently reported seafood-toxin illness in the world, caused by the consumption of coral reef fishes contaminated with a group of natural toxins produced by minute phytoplankton (dinoflagellates). These toxins are potent and cause both acute and chronic neurologic disease in humans. Although ciguatera fish poisoning is associated with established neurotoxins in animal models, and with known peripheral nervous system effects in humans, this pilot study was the first to explore possible central nervous system effects associated with chronic ciguatera poisoning in humans. In a matched cohort design, 12 cases and 12 their age and gender matched friend controls underwent a battery of neuropsychological tests. The results indicated that although their scores on objective neuropsychological tests did not differ significantly from matched controls, persons with ciguatera reported a higher degree of toxicity-related symptomatology and endorsed significantly more depressive symptomatology than controls. Future research should explore larger numbers of persons with both acute and chronic ciguatera, with and without mannitol treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-60
Number of pages10
JournalHarmful Algae
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Ciguatera fish poisoning
  • Ciguatoxin
  • Harmful algal blooms
  • Mannitol
  • Marine toxins
  • Neuropsychologic effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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