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It’s the only cause of death in this country that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed. In 2015, Alzheimer’s disease, the 6th leading cause of death in the U. S., is estimated to claim the lives of 700,000 people.
With no clear cause of this disease, could use of everyday products containing aluminum be leading to the demise of so many people? Could we unknowingly be consuming the very cause of this terrible disease?
A Suspected Culprit
You’re already thinking about the leftovers sitting in the fridge, covered with Reynolds’ Wrap. What you may not know about, however, are the other products rife with aluminum that are a part of your daily life. It’s present in everything from antiperspirants to antacids. Could we unknowingly be exposing ourselves to a toxic substance?
In the 1960s and 70s, medical examiners found a frequent occurrence of aluminum deposits in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. This led them to conduct a long-term study. The results of which pointed to a direct link between Earth’s third most abundant element and the progressive disease.
Dr. Leonard Berg, a professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri says, “…the current consensus is that aluminum does not play a major role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.”
When the records of medical examiners that carried out their studies in the 60s and 70s, investigators found that the water used to wash the samples obtained contained some aluminum. More sophisticated methods were used to analyze these samples. These results revealed no excess aluminum was found.
Dr. Berg’s statement makes complete sense. If, in fact, aluminum were a direct cause of this form of dementia, there would be far more frequent occurrences of the disease. Also naturally found in food, aluminum is everywhere. There isn’t much we can do to avoid exposure. Something that prevalent would cause deaths of astronomic proportions.
Further research is being conducted to find other causes. Studies have led to minor, albeit fruitful, breakthroughs, which could lead to changes in the way we treat the disease.
If It’s Not Aluminum, What Is It?
One study suggests that a late onset of the disease could be attributed to a gene mutation. Another found zinc to be the problem. Poor sleep has been blamed, too. In short, we have no clue. It could be one or all three.
It could be that a number of factors from a perfect storm of disaster, one that results in tragedy. Some studies have found keeping the mind active through chess games and writing could reduce the effects of the disease.
It’s a tragedy with no hope on the horizon. As our baby boomer generation advances in age, odds are we’re due to reach the height of the bell curve within the coming years.
Scientists are scrambling to develop drugs to help treat some of the symptoms. Once diagnosed, medications such as Aricept help treat the cognitive aspect of the disease. Currently, that’s the best we can do. Even with medication, it will advance and end the patient’s life.
Until there is an answer, myths like this one will keep popping up. People need answers. Caregivers are strained by the task of watching while their loved ones slowly slip away. The only way forward is to explore every possible avenue out there through research and clinical trials.