In the search for a magic bullet, orthodox medicine ignores preliminary evidence suggesting that some forms of dementia may be caused by metallic poisoning.
In the US around four million men and women suffer from Alzheimer's disease (AD), and in the UK over 600,000, mostly over the age of 65 years. As the world elderly population increases, so too does the incidence of AD. The disease is ultimately fatal in every case, with an average seven years from onset to death.
Despite over 30 years of research, mainstream medicine has come up with neither a cause nor a cure for AD. In doing so, the establishment is ignoring startling new evidence that AD could be, to a large extent, an environmental disease. Although AD is an umbrella term, now used to characterize all sorts of dementias in the elderly, recent, preliminary evidence suggests that classic Alzheimer's may have something to do with poisoning from toxic metals.
Aluminium an established neurotoxin has long been linked to AD; high levels of both metallic elements have been found in the brains of people with AD.
However, recent attention has focused on research published last year that claims there is no connection whatsoever between aluminium and AD (Nature, November 1994).
This study found no trace of aluminium in the brains of dead Alzheimer's patients, and suggested that previous studies that had, did so as a result of laboratory contamination, possibly through dyes used to stain the tissue for analysis. This does not explain why aluminium was not found in the brain tissue taken from control groups, though.
It has also been suggested that the nuclear microscope the team used to examine brain tissue may not have been as sensitive to aluminium as the chemical method used in previous studies.
It is difficult to dismiss the many previous studies which have made a connection between aluminium and AD, the latest also published only last year, which concluded that their findings "are consistent with a role for aluminium in the development of AD-like pathology in patients subjected to prolonged aluminium exposure" (The Lancet, April 23, 1994).
This lends itself to the argument that, rather than being a cause of AD, aluminium may accumulate in the brain because of the disease processes. Dr John Growdon stated that aluminium may act as a neurotoxin in AD, or might just accumulate in dying nerve cells (New England Journal of Medicine, March 18, 1993), and a 1993 study concluded that aluminium and other metallic elements may gain increased access to the brain through alterations in the brain and other organs (Experimental Gerontology, July-Oct 1993).
An earlier study suggested that rather than being a cause of AD per se, high levels of aluminium in the brain may cause an AD-type dementia (Ciba Foundation Symposium, 1992; 169: 142-54). This is supported by high levels of aluminium having been found in the brains of people suffering from a brain disease known as dialysis dementia (The Lancet, March 21, 1992). High levels of aluminium have also been found in the brains of people with Down's syndrome, which has similar neurochemical features to Alzheimer's disease. People with Down's also have a predisposition to AD (The Lancet, March 31, 1990).
As well as drinking water, in which aluminium levels vary from area to area, aluminium is found in foodstuffs, cosmetics, deodorants and pharmaceuticals, particularly some antacids. Aluminium utensils and drink cans have also been touted as a possible danger.