Scientists link copper in diet and progression in Alzheimer’s
Tuesday 20 August 2013
Copper could be a major environmental culprit in the progression of Alzheimer’s, research suggests.
Scientists found strong evidence that copper helps to promote the changes in the brain, which may both cause and exacerbate the disease. But they conclude there is little that can be done about it, as copper is so abundant in the diet and also vital to health. The metal, found in food and drinking water, plays important roles in nerve function, bone growth, the formation of connective tissue, and hormone secretion.
Researchers in the US conducted a series of experiments on mice given trace amounts of copper in their drinking water. In human terms, the doses were equivalent to the amount of copper people consume in a normal diet, and about a tenth of what is allowed under US water quality standards.
The study showed that copper accumulating in the brain disrupted the natural removal of toxic amyloid beta protein, which is strongly implicated in Alzheimer’s. Copper also directly stimulated neurons that increased the production of amyloid beta, and caused the proteins to clog together in lumps that could not be cleared.
“It is clear that, over time, copper’s cumulative effect is to impair the systems by which amyloid beta is removed from the brain,” said study leader Professor Rashid Deane, from the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York. The findings were reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr Doug Brown, of the Alzheimer’s Society, said the study was only “early research”. He added: “Considering copper is a vital mineral, people should treat these results with caution and not cut it out of their diet.”
- 1 Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
US blames Russia after rocket attacks in Ukraine kill at least 30
Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
£250 - £300 per day: Sauce Recruitment: (Rolling) 3 month contractA global en...
£40000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - ne...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a Chargehand to join ...