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Chernobyl birds show effects of radiation on their brains

They found that radiation could have a greater effect on a bird’s internal organs than on its brain. This is because the brain is the last organ birds sacrifice when tackling difficult environmental conditions.

Birds living near Chernobyl have smaller brains due to radiation, scientists warn Daily Mail    7th February 2011 Birds living near the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster have 5 per cent smaller brains caused by lingering background radiation, according to researchers.

Scientists looked at 550 birds from 48 different species living in the exclusion zone surrounding the Ukranian power plant.

Brain size was significantly smaller than those living in unpolluted areas, a study published in the journal PLoS One said.

Particularly affected were birds under the age of one. Scientists – led by Professor Timothy Mousseau from the University of South Carolina and Dr Anders Moller from the University of Paris-Sud – believe the negative effects on developing brains led to many bird embryos not surviving at all……….

They found that radiation could have a greater effect on a bird’s internal organs than on its brain. This is because the brain is the last organ birds sacrifice when tackling difficult environmental conditions.

But a high level of background radiation is thought to cause oxidative stress in animals.

They then use antioxidants to combat this, which leaves them with less to develop their brains and therefore a smaller organ, the researchers said.

Birds living near Chernobyl have smaller brains due to radiation, scientists warn | Mail Online

February 8, 2011 - Posted by | environment, Ukraine

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