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Antidepressants In the Water Are Making Shrimp Suicidal

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the crustacean-frustration dept.

Biotech 182

Antidepressants may help a lot of people get up in the morning but new research shows they are making shrimp swim into that big bowl of cocktail sauce in the sky. Alex Ford, a marine biologist at the University of Portsmouth, found that shrimp exposed to the antidepressant fluoxetine are 5 times more likely to swim towards light instead of away from it. Shrimp usually swim away from light as it is associated with birds or fishermen.

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182 comments

So BP is SAVING crustaceans? (5, Funny)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 3 years ago | (#32890740)

By hiding the light with a nice thick layer of oil?

Re:So BP is SAVING crustaceans? (3, Funny)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#32890946)

That's not oil, that's Texas Tea Sauce! BTW, how do the new fearless-shrimp taste anyway? Would they now be attracted to cocktail sauce as well? We need an expensive study here!

Re:So BP is SAVING crustaceans? (-1, Offtopic)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891090)

Just an observation...since I first observed the phenomena, I have gotten into the habit of going to my account page on /. 'n waiting whenever I write a comment that could be considered to be "anti-Big [___]" something or other. lollll...within five minutes, the most recent half dozen or so of my comments on any other article reflect being modded down a point.

Makes me think some entity's discretionary fund is entirely too large - or someone's mind is too small.

Sure, I could be paranoid...can't rule anything out, in such a large universe.

Re:So BP is SAVING crustaceans? (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891570)

It seems more likely that there is a general tendency for your last half dozen or so comments to have been moderated down.

Re:So BP is SAVING crustaceans? (-1, Offtopic)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892012)

Oh? Even old comments, from articles that don't even appear on the /. main page anymore? As in, check their mod level, make a comment about BP, check their mod level again, and even the old have gone down?

Perhaps I am delusional...on the other hand, perhaps others will be motivated to make the same observations - empirical science can be a wonderful thing. In the grand scheme of things, people expressing their political biases with mod points is as a fart in the wind - but if I am not delusional, then I'd like such to know that their desire to act in secret is in vain.

Re:So BP is SAVING crustaceans? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892202)

If you want to be empirical, have a reliable third party start taking screen shots of your comment page.

Re:So BP is SAVING crustaceans? (4, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891582)

Hello, I am Rajiv from LivePerson. I will be helping you today.

I see you have posted an anti-Slashdot message and I have taken the liberty of downmodding all of your other posts.

Thank you.

Re:So BP is SAVING crustaceans? (2, Funny)

mopower70 (250015) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891940)

Or, maybe your comments, like this one, just deserve to get modded down.

Re:So BP is SAVING crustaceans? (-1, Flamebait)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892194)

lolll...there was the barest, slimmest chance that some feeling of mine might suffer a pang from your angst-laden comment...but then I clicked upon your username, reviewed your page of comments, and realized that negative is all that you feel or know.

Re:So BP is SAVING crustaceans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32892470)

jbsteve may be a bit of a flamebait...however he seems to be speaking truth. I took the liberty of checking it out, and he is right, there is not a lot of content but a lot of mean spirited spite and hate spewing from mopower.

Re:So BP is SAVING crustaceans? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891214)

It's not impossible that the oil spill is actually beneficial for the sea life in that area. As it was in the Persian gulf or as it is over in Chernobyl.

If the oil / pollutions mean humans will fish less in the area chances are life with spire rather than the opposite.

Humans themselves may have a bigger impact than their waste and toxins.

No Fear (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32890742)

I don't think it's that they want to die.

They probably just don't fear the light anymore.

Re:No Fear (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 3 years ago | (#32890828)

^this. The antidepressants probably remove anxiety from the shrimp so they no longer worry about the light the way they're supposed to.

Re:No Fear (1)

Mitsoid (837831) | more than 3 years ago | (#32890988)

Whatever the biological/scientific case...

The irony of this article amused me :-)
"Shrimp exposed to [Antidepressant] are 5 times more likely to [go] towards the light"

Re:No Fear (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 3 years ago | (#32890880)

They probably just don't fear the light anymore
 
I think that's anti-suicidal for a shrimp. Doesn't the dark mean a hungry baleen whale?

That depends (2, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892488)

Anyway, like I was saying, shrimp are the wingnuts of the sea. There's suicidal shrimp, paranoid shrimp, depressed shrimp, manic shrimp, psychotic shrimp, neurotic shrimp, borderline personality shrimp, obsessive compulsive shrimp, narcissistic shrimp, agoraphobic shrimp, social anxiety disordered shrimp, schizophrenic shrimp, munchausen's by proxy shrimp, cyclothymic shrimp, anorexic shrimp, catatonic shrimp, tourette's shrimp, PTSD shrimp, Asperger's shrimp, that's... that's about it.

What!?!? (0, Offtopic)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#32890754)

So "go into the light!!!11" doesn't work for shrimp?!

How does shrimp kill themselves?! They use a pistol...

Hard to say, without delving deeper... (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32890810)

Since you can't really put a shrimp on a shrink-couch and ask it about its feelings, it is very hard to say whether the shrimp are "suicidal" or whether their fear responses are being blunted.

More than a few antidepressants also have some anti-anxiety properties, which are often quite useful in a theraputic context; but for an organism that is tiny and made of meat, "anti-anxiety" and "pro-suicide" might be uncomfortably close...

Antidepressants can make people suicidal (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 3 years ago | (#32890902)

Many times, antidepressants will give people motivation before relieving the anxiety or depression. Thus, if someone is going to become suicidal, it's usually within 2 weeks of starting an antidepressant. Not that this factoid has anything to do with shrimp... just sayin'.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (0, Flamebait)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32890926)

It can also make them homocidal. So putting people on these things is a danger to us all, not just to them.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (1)

pbrooks100 (778828) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891010)

Did you mean homicidal, or are you homophobic ;-)

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32891360)

I'm not sure how a shrimp is going to kill a human, either way.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (1)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891036)

So can alcohol - and that's a far more commonly-used and available drug.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891522)

So can alcohol - and that's a far more commonly-used and available drug.

In which the effect is far less pronounced.

Someone who is already a danger to kill someone is slightly more of a danger on alcohol.

Someone who is no danger can be made very dangerous on antidepressants. Antidepressants won't just fiddle with inhibition and judgment. They can create psychotic breaks.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891240)

It can also make them homocidal.

So... the shrimp grabs a couple of other shrimps and drags them towards the light too?

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (4, Interesting)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891078)

When the shrinks put me on SSRI to alleviate OCD, the reverse happened: I lost *all* motivation. I could not get up in the morning, and could easily lie 48 hours in bed without eating or drinking, on the edge of sleep. I felt like one of those Buddhist monks who go bury themselves alive in a cave, and self-mummify. I felt no negative emotions whatsoever; I knew the consequences of my behavior but didn't have any drive to stop. Needless to say, this was not good for my studies.
They removed it a month ago. I still feel glad whenever I feel any form of anxiety, however faint. Apparently, this side-effect is quite rare.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (2, Funny)

magarity (164372) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891260)

I still feel glad whenever I feel any form of anxiety
 
Does that worry you? If you can get worked up about anxiety inducing gladness, here comes the total bliss feedback loop! Just watch your heart rate, please.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (3, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891304)

When the shrinks put me on SSRI to alleviate OCD, the reverse happened: I lost *all* motivation. I could not get up in the morning, and could easily lie 48 hours in bed without eating or drinking, on the edge of sleep.

Unfortunately, the use of antidepressants is still pretty crude. Often it takes multiple tries before the doctor and patient find the right combination.

But they can still be lifesavers. When I was in cancer treatment over a decade ago, I got so depressed that I was absolutely prepared to kill myself. I'd even put by a stock of heavy tranquilizers with which to do the deed. A doctor's assistant was taking some information from me one day and noticed, alerting my primary care physician and they put me on an antidepressant. Within a few weeks I couldn't believe I had ever even considered suicide. Within a couple of months I was off the antidepressants and that was that. This was the late 90's and the cancer treatment was completely successful and I've never had another depressed day since then. There's a lot of problems with the use and overuse of antidepressants, but I'm pretty sure they saved my life (along with a very alert and dedicated doctor's assistant).

We've got to get people to stop flushing old drugs down the toilet or tossing them in the garbage though. They're finding so many pharmaceutical substances in drinking water and soil and now the oceans that we're heading for bigger problems than depression. I can't believe there aren't already good methods for disposal of medications widely in use. All the hormones and antibiotics in my pork chops are bad enough, I don't need to get a pharmaceutical cocktail every time I take a drink of water.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891404)

I can't believe there aren't already good methods for disposal of medications widely in use.

High temperature incineration? Piranha solution (ask a chemist) ?

Consumption would probably work pretty well, since a quarter of the population has no medical insurance.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (-1, Flamebait)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891660)

When the shrinks put me on SSRI to alleviate OCD, the reverse happened: I lost *all* motivation. I could not get up in the morning, and could easily lie 48 hours in bed without eating or drinking, on the edge of sleep.

Unfortunately, the use of antidepressants is still pretty crude. Often it takes multiple tries before the doctor and patient find the right combination.

But they can still be lifesavers. When I was in cancer treatment over a decade ago, I got so depressed that I was absolutely prepared to kill myself. I'd even put by a stock of heavy tranquilizers with which to do the deed. A doctor's assistant was taking some information from me one day and noticed, alerting my primary care physician and they put me on an antidepressant. Within a few weeks I couldn't believe I had ever even considered suicide. Within a couple of months I was off the antidepressants and that was that. This was the late 90's and the cancer treatment was completely successful and I've never had another depressed day since then. There's a lot of problems with the use and overuse of antidepressants, but I'm pretty sure they saved my life (along with a very alert and dedicated doctor's assistant).

We've got to get people to stop flushing old drugs down the toilet or tossing them in the garbage though. They're finding so many pharmaceutical substances in drinking water and soil and now the oceans that we're heading for bigger problems than depression. I can't believe there aren't already good methods for disposal of medications widely in use. All the hormones and antibiotics in my pork chops are bad enough, I don't need to get a pharmaceutical cocktail every time I take a drink of water.

SSRI's Are Drugs like any other....

Saying you have to find the right combination is like saying: well Coke didn't work for me so lets try Heroin.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891516)

I still feel glad whenever I feel any form of anxiety

Tell me more about such feelings.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (3, Insightful)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891998)

My landlord killed himself with valium a few months ago, after a 12 year addiction. It was pretty obvious where things were headed, but his dealer^H^H^H^H^H^Hdoctor kept supplying him anyway. Eventually the temptation to keep upping the dose and feeling good overpowered his desire to live. A did a little research and found that this is a shockingly common problem.

Moral of the story: benzodiazephines suck. And your doctor may be more interested in paying off his student loans and buying a boat than being honest with himself about what's good for his patients.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892560)

I know some people with anxiety problems that have expressed terror at how happy and carefree "benzo" makes them feel - and how rapidly they build up tolerance to it. I haven't tried it, because I have no anxiety problems; it's supposedly effective against aggression problems and "hyper-vigilance" as well, working much like alcohol I imagine, but the tolerance issues freak me out.
Not to mention trying to convince a shrink you've got aggression problems with a clean record and next to no affective display - when I tried to convince them my sudden jump to 120 in pulse at rest was just from my ordinary fight-or-flight rush (which I've learned to tolerate; even if I'm so high I'm shaking and the burning in my blood is almost painful I think clearly and feel nothing in particular aside from a sort of dead, throbbing blood-thirst in the back of my head), they sent me to a heart specialist.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (0, Offtopic)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892750)

How is this a troll? Thin skinned addicts with mod points? Corrupt doctors? This is the second time I've been modded a troll for posting this anecdote. Someone died. I'm just trying to help.

I have nothing against doctors in general, in fact I admire many of them. But I guess if the shoe fits....

If you believe that valium helps you or someone you love, maybe it does, and I'm not going to try to talk you out of it. My opinion, from what I've observed and the statistics I've read on addiction, is that the harm done outweighs any possible benefits. But if it bothers you that I am expressing this opinion, then maybe you ought to look at how your habit or your business is affecting your emotions.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32892752)

As your Psych should have told you, everyone reacts differently to the many different types of psych drugs.

I went through 6 before I found one that did not make me sleep 22 hours a day, or try to eat myself to death.

Get a new shrink if they did not inform you of these standard problems.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (1)

lordDallan (685707) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892774)

So are you still saying you have almost no anxiety or just that you're relieved when you feel it however slight? I am prone to getting very anxious, and something that could make that all but go away forever would at least illicit further investigation.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891166)

Or, people who commit who are depressed enough to require antidepressants are most likely to commit suicide before the medication can start taking effect. Since to actually go GET antidepressants you need to be pretty bad off I'd say it's just as, if not more, likely that the suicide is related less to the antidepressants than the depression. Which is to say, depression causes both suicide and antidepressant prescriptions as opposed to antidepressants causing suicide.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32892524)

people who commit who are depressed enough to require antidepressants are most likely to commit suicide before the medication can start taking effect

No. Just no.

In a large group of people who are clinically depressed and are given antidepressants there are statistically significantly more who will have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide, than in an equivalent group of clinically depressed people who are given placebos.

Most of the antidepressants that I have been on have suicidal thoughts as a (usually rare, usually temporary) side-effect. And I have been on a lot of antidepressants, because it took a very long time to find one that would work for me without debilitating side-effects.

Re:Antidepressants can make people suicidal (1)

panda (10044) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892614)

My quack, err physician, has said that blaming anti-depressants for depression and suicide is like blaming heart medication for heart attacks.

Re:Hard to say, without delving deeper... (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891070)

Since you can't really put a shrimp on a shrink-couch and ask it about its feelings,

Of course you can!

it is very hard to say whether the shrimp are "suicidal" or whether their fear responses are being blunted.

Ah well, that's true, since they aren't so big in the "answering" department.

Re:Hard to say, without delving deeper... (0, Redundant)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891236)

Since you can't really put a shrimp on a shrink-couch and ask it about its feelings...

Of course you can put them on the couch and ask! Now, if you expect a response, then the wrong one might be on the couch

Re:Hard to say, without delving deeper... (0, Redundant)

jewswithbacon (1854578) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891444)

re:"Since you can't really put a shrimp on a shrink-couch and ask it about its feelings"

Have you at least tried before making this assertion? I'm nearly done with my shrimp-couch, and I'm getting a PHD in Marine Psychology. Give me a minute.

Re:Hard to say, without delving deeper... (1)

spads (1095039) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892184)

This article isn't really worth much without explaining where that "light implies death" business is coming from.

Back when ~~I~~ was a marine biologist, the not terribly closely related invertebrate barnacles I studied exhibited a (first observed by Darwin) "shadow response", in which casting a shadow over the barnacle (signfies a predator), caused it to retract. That seems much more plausible to me than this business. Sounds like this guy might've been smoking his sheep skin!

Re:Hard to say, without delving deeper... (4, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892196)

What's the point? Struggle in the plankton race just to end up in some human's scampi? You work and work and end up covered in cocktail sauce? That's it, goodbye cruel world!

going shrimping this weekend... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32890812)

with a some ground up anti-depressants and a flashlight. hope to catch some happy shrimp.

At least the sea is turning acidic (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32890860)

At least the shrimp have an easier time of committing suicide, because the ocean sound near Seattle is turning acidic [nwsource.com] ...

Mind you, most of the crustaceans here are clams, but we do have giant sea creatures.

Re:At least the sea is turning acidic (2, Informative)

naris (830549) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891814)

Clams are NOT crustaceans, they are mollusks

Re:At least the sea is turning acidic (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891948)

Thanks for the clarification. I know we have some squid and crabs in the Sound, as well as gribbles in our Sea Wall and the usual barnacles.

mmmmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32890898)

That sounds sooo good right now. I should get my deep fryer and my flashlight and head out to the ocean!!

Birds? (1)

goontz (1441623) | more than 3 years ago | (#32890912)

Why exactly is light being associated with birds; are they carrying flashlights when hunting for shrimp now? Okay, maybe surface light in general, but I'm not so sure that qualifies the shrimp as being suicidal.

Re:Birds? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891302)

Why exactly is light being associated with birds; are they carrying flashlights when hunting for shrimp now?

Not flashlights, lasers. Gentlemen, we now have a threat from the air!

Re:Birds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32891632)

Not birds... those are the sharks with the frickin' lasers!

Re:Birds? (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891322)

Um, because both are UP, if you are a shrimp. "Suicidal" is like a metaphor, or a joke. Maybe this kind of thing is why nerds get beat up!

Me and captain Dan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32890916)

This seems like it could be rewritten under a new slant.

"Antidepressants in Water Increase Fisherman's Shrimp Yield"

chocolate shrimp (1)

Serendip7 (936348) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891006)

Shrimp with fluoxetine (Prozac) go towards the light and get caught easier by fisherman? Prozac makes me feel good... so.. eating shrimp with Prozac is like eating... chocolate.. makes me feel good... Yumm... bumper crop of chocolate shrimp... I bet the sea birds eating the shrimp have high levels of Prozac too... humm.. chocolate seagulls....

Re:chocolate shrimp (2, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891438)

I bet the sea birds eating the shrimp have high levels of Prozac too... humm.. chocolate seagulls....

You, uh, see those things on the ground by the seagulls? Those aren't tootsie rolls. Just a public service notification here.

"There is peace and tranquility in the light" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32891048)

"Step in to the light...there is peace and tranquility in the light"

Of course it has. (0, Troll)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891064)

FTFA:

Prescriptions for antidepressants have skyrocketed in recent years, but this is one of the very first attempts to figure out what ecological impact all that pharmaceutical sewage could have.

We've got to keep our emotions down. Keep a stiff upper lip. Do our part. Keep America humming. Can't show weakness. All that horseshit.

Why?

Because corporate America demands it! Don't like it! You're unemployable! You don't "fit in" - etc.... etc... etc....

Want to know where to place the blame? Look at the Fortune 500. Goddamn motherfuckers are run by sociopaths.

Suck it in! Business is more important than anything!

Don't believe me?

Whenever a politician passes a law to help someone (yeah, I know a rare occurrence ), some SOB says, "It'll hurt business!" Low and behold, the motherfucking politician changes the law!

Yeah, someone peed in my Cheereos this morning.

Instinct, not conscious choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32891140)

Do the shrimps have weekly discussions about health and safety? Or do shrimp mothers tell their children through complex feeler wafting that lights represent a danger?

No, this is pretty much instinctive behaviour. Because it is instinctive behaviour, you can't antropomorphize their motivations for changing it.

E.g. birds using singing for mating. If you gave antidepressants to birds and they stopped singing, would this mean it's because they have stopped wanting to have sex?

How is this bad? (1)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891162)

If the shrimp choose to swim towards my frying pan then so be it...who am I to argue with drug induced suicidal tendencies?

www.suicideshrimp.com (3, Funny)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891194)

Whereas some people see disturbing potential side effects of our best attempts to regulate brain chemistry, I see a business opportunity and a way to meet heavily-tattooed hot short girls.

What a horrible a title... (3, Insightful)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891196)

When I saw the headline, I wondered just how a shrimp becomes "suicidal".

Suicide is one intentionally taking their own life, not making behavioral or life-style choices that may increase the chance of an early demise. Unless their intent is to swim toward the light so that they can be killed, "suicidal" is quite sensationalist.

Otherwise, we could start describing all kinds of poor decision making and unhealthy lifestyle choices of humans as "suicidal."

Re:What a horrible a title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32891612)

Your right. The shrimp aren't suicidal. They're good shrimp that make bad decisions.

lifestyle choices of humans may be "suicidal" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32891638)

When I saw the headline, I wondered just how a shrimp becomes "suicidal".

Suicide is one intentionally taking their own life, not making behavioral or life-style choices that may increase the chance of an early demise. Unless their intent is to swim toward the light so that they can be killed, "suicidal" is quite sensationalist.

Otherwise, we could start describing all kinds of poor decision making and unhealthy lifestyle choices of humans as "suicidal."

Many human lifestyle choices may be "suicidal". Smoking tobacco causes heart attack, strokes, and many cancers. This is slow suicide, but it's still suicide.

Maybe (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891254)

Maybe they wouldn't be so suicidal if they had some anti-depressants. Oh, wait...

Re:Maybe (1)

eexaa (1252378) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891394)

Actually it happens similarly to this:

prawn in normal water: Zomg guys the light is driving me nuts lets go away ffs!
prawn in anti-d. water: The light is wonderful and doesn't stress my puny crustacean brain at all. Why can't I have more light you fat fuck?

It kindof reflects my experience with humans on anti-depressants.

Re:Maybe (1)

eyrieowl (881195) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892052)

This. And it's interesting because it makes me wonder how many other "flight" impulses could be short-circuited in other animals. Do mice go running up to cats? Rabbits start frolicking when eagles fly overhead? It'd be interesting to get some picture of what the world on antidepressants would be like. I'd imagine predators would still get hungry and eat...but would their prey stop caring...? Wait...I think I've seen this film [motifake.com] ....

This should be Science, not Idle. (4, Insightful)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891292)

Lots of shrimp are already being affected by this. People take the antidepressants which then get into the wastewater which gets into the ocean. That makes it a real environmental concern (albeit a minor one; other ones are justifiably topping the list at the moment) and not a joke.

IMO it just goes to show that the law of unintended consequences is damn near universally applicable.

Re:This should be Science, not Idle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32892096)

People take the antidepressants which then get into the wastewater which gets into the ocean. That makes it a real environmental concern (albeit a minor one;...

I'd be interested in more data regarding the bolded point. As far as I can tell, the volume of the oceans is really big. I find it a bit challenging to believe that waste medicine particles can accumulate to any significant amount out there.

Re:This should be Science, not Idle. (2, Informative)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892176)

Lots of shrimp are already being affected by this.

The article doesn't contain enough information to justify this conclusion. The article implies that shrimp are being affected by this, but cites NOTHING that actually shows that shrimp have been affected. The researcher observed the behaviour change in shrimp in the lab when exposed to the antidepressant levels presumed to be present in the waterways containing the effluent in question. The article didn't cite any study of the behaviour of shrimp in the wild that demonstrated the problem.

The real environmental concerns are:
How long do these (and other) pharmaceutical chemicals last in the ocean?
What are the effects of the numerous and various chemicals humans dump into the ocean? (My wild guess is that this antidepressant issue is the least of our worries.)

Re:This should be Science, not Idle. (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892818)

I didn't RTFA because I read about it elsewhere [sciencedaily.com] . From that one:

The research is published in the journal Aquatic Toxicology. The study found that the shrimps' behaviour changes when they are exposed to the same levels of fluoxetine found in the waste water that flows to rivers and estuaries as a result of the drugs humans excrete in sewage.

Yes, this is also an implication, but it's a strong one. We can accurately detect the amounts of chemicals contained in wastewater, and we know that it has a measurable effect on shrimp. The effect may not be as drastic in the wild where there are thousands of other variables in play, but the lack of a study in the wild doesn't undermine the findings very much. Additionally, antidepressant use is on the increase, so whatever effect is present currently will probably do the same.

What are the effects of the numerous and various chemicals humans dump into the ocean? (My wild guess is that this antidepressant issue is the least of our worries.)

I tend to agree--this should be more of a wake-up call than anything else. Still, I've heard a lot about "the fragile marine ecosystem," and a vastly diminished shrimp population, a potential outcome here, could have some significant cascade effects.

What a depressing article... (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891314)

Argh! Must not cope with the sad article through medication! Must tough it out!

Shrimp vs. Human (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32891488)

Does anyone else find the shrimp behavior opposite to our own? These shrimp approach a light source when they are suicidally depressed. Humans need sunlight to prevent depression. We even use light therapy to treat "Seasonal Affective Disorder" (SAD) in countries above the Arctic Circle.

Disco dancing feeling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32891510)

Nah, shrimps are not suicidal. They are just experiencing that disco dancing feeling you get when you in Prozac.

antidepressant (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891518)

It's just an experiment with a single antidepressant, fluoxetine (aka Prozac). Who knows what reaction they will have with the copious other AD's on the market.

Hiding in the darness (1)

PoolOfThought (1492445) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891714)

If they were hiding in the darness that sounds like they were already depressed. They took an AD and it is working so it only seems reasonable that they might want to go play in the sun a little.

So is this happening now? (5, Informative)

photogchris (1847394) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891912)

Okay, after reading the summery of the study. Parasites in shrimp can cause them to travel toward light and swim against gravity. The parasites act as a serotonin modulator. One particular antidepressant Fluoxetine does the same thing. This action can be bad for the shrimp. The level of Fluoxetine was 100 ng/L. How many liters in the gulf? About 2.43400 × 10^18 liters. So we need to dump a littler over 24 million metric tons of Fluoxetine into the gulf to see this concentration? Actually I am asking, I could be wrong on my math.

Oh I get it, waste drugs should not be put into the ecosystem. They can affect animals just as much as humans. But the story this links to is just FUD and the study is behind a paywall.

With apologies to Forest Gump (4, Funny)

Lithdren (605362) | more than 3 years ago | (#32891978)

There's depressed shrimp, bipolar shrimp, schizophrenic shrimp, manic depressive shrimp, pyromaniac shrimp (particularly dangerous at the moment), dementia shrimp, autistic shrimp, megalomanic shirmp, obsessive-compulsive shrimp, sleep walking shrimp, voyeuristic shrimp, shrimp gumbo, shrimp cocktail, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich... That's, that's about it.

Re:With apologies to Forest Gump (1)

hbush (130363) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892572)

So eating suicidal shrimps should help against depression. Hmm, seems that there could be whole new medicine emerging. Suicidal shrimps with anti-depressants, some good wine,... :)

what about humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32892120)

I always wonder how many of these meds make it into the water supply. Another fda failure
  As long as they tell u it will cause rectal vommiting they can advertiae it. And they think they can control healthcare???

That's what it does in humans!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32892466)

It does to the shrimp what it does to humans. They're just confusing the desired outgoing, trusting disposition with being suicidal. Arguably, removing fear (and especially fear of social interactions) helps fight/relieve depression.

Its natural (1)

NetServices (1479949) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892672)

I suspect this is normal... considering they are being called "shrimp" all the time. Or is it shrimps. Or shrimpi.

St John's wort (1)

ack_call (870944) | more than 3 years ago | (#32892802)

I was on Fluoxetine for a while until deciding that I no longer wanted my brain to be fed this stuff. Being concerned about its effects on the environment and the millions of people on this stuff helped me to make the decision to come of it and deal with the depression myself using alternative methods.
Am now taking a St John's wort tablet each morning with breakfast and a 5-HTP tablet before bedtime. Have felt great, if not better, than when I was on Fluoxetine. And I'm pretty sure that St John's wort is not going to harm Shrimps.
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