Sun, Nov 10th, 2013

Alzheimer’s link to copper-rich food

A DIET packed with copper-rich foods – from red meat to shellfish – could trigger Alzheimer’s, warn scientists.

New research reveals the metal appears to be a key factor in the onset and development of dementia.

It can prevent toxic proteins clearing in the brain and speed up their accumulation.

Lead researcher Dr Rashid Deane said: “It is clear that these effects are due to exposure over a long period of time.

“The key will be striking the right balance between too little and too much copper consumption.

“Right now, we cannot say what the right level will be, but diet may ultimately play an important role.”

Copper is also found in water, vitamin and mineral supplements, nuts, fruit and vegetables. It is vital to nerve conduction, hormone secretion and the growth of bone and connective tissue.

But the new study, using mice and human cells, shows that copper can also accumulate in the brain and cause the blood-brain barrier to break down. This results in accumulation of the protein amyloid beta, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

The US University of Rochester Medical Center study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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