There appears to be a troubling link between aluminum in the brain and the early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease, according to a new study.
Researchers have known for years that aluminum has something to do with Alzheimer’s, but now Keele University scientists have discovered that the metal pops up at the same places in the brain as the tangles of tau protein that appear in the early stages of the disease, according to research published last month in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Reports. The discovery suggests that it’s possible that aluminum could even play a role in forming those tangles and plaques — which precede the onset of Alzheimer’s — in the first place.
“The presence of these tangles is associated with neuronal cell death, and observations of aluminum in these tangles may highlight a role for aluminum in their formation,” lead study author Matthew Bold said in a press release.
That doesn’t mean that you need to ban aluminum cans from your home. Aluminum, perhaps introduced through food or other exposures, is commonly found in healthy brains, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, a dementia-focused charity based in London. But as people age, their kidneys may lose the ability to filter it out of the brain — potentially leading to the Alzheimer’s ties uncovered in the new study.
“Aluminum accumulation has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease for nearly half a century,” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease editor-in-chief George Perry said in the release, “but it is the meticulously specific studies of Drs. Mold and Exley that are defining the exact molecular interaction of aluminum and other multivalent metals that may be critical to formation of the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease”.