While recent studies have assessed the genetic component of Alzheimer’s, a new study has determined yet another way that family history can play a role in the condition.
The researchers found that high exposure to aluminum could be linked with an increased risk of familial Alzheimer’s, a strain of the disease that is entirely hereditary.
“This is the second study confirming significantly high brain accumulation in familial Alzheimer’s disease, but it is the first to demonstrate an unequivocal association between the location of the aluminum and amyloid-beta in the disease,” said researcher Christopher Exley, PhD. “It shows that aluminum and amyloid-beta are intimately woven in the neuropathology.”
Limiting exposure to aluminum
To understand how aluminum played a role in Alzheimer’s, the researchers compared the brain tissue of those with no history of a neurological disorder with those who had a specific mutation of familial Alzheimer’s.
Using a special imaging technique, the researchers were able to pinpoint where the aluminum was located in the brain, and what effect it was having on cognitive function.
Ultimately, the researchers discovered that aluminium was closely linked to the development of Alzheimer's, as those who were already diagnosed with the disease had staggeringly high amounts of aluminum in their brain tissue.
Not only was the aluminum content higher in those with Alzheimer’s, but the researchers deemed the figures should cause concern across the board, as over 40 percent of the brain tissue tested was well above what is considered normal.
This is risky for consumers because the aluminum found in the brain tissue was in close proximity to amyloid-beta, a brain protein that has been commonly linked to Alzheimer’s.
Aluminum and Alzheimer’s
While the researchers are uncertain about the relationship between aluminum and amyloid-beta, it’s important for consumers and doctors to be mindful of these factors.
“One could envisage increased amyloid-beta in brain tissue as a response to high levels of aluminum content, or that aluminum fosters the accumulation of amyloid-beta,” said Dr. Exley. “Either way, the new research confirms my resolve that within the normal lifespan of humans, there would not be any AD if there were no aluminum in the brain tissue. No aluminum, no AD.”