Brain tissue from Alzheimer's patients often has 'significant' levels of aluminium, say researchers from Keele University.
But the metal wasn't found in every case the researchers examined, suggesting there is also a genetic predisposition that makes some people more susceptible. This sub-group is more likely to start suffering Alzheimer-like symptoms much earlier in life, and often from the age of 50 or so, the researchers think.
Genetic mutations affect the way amyloid-b proteins function, and they can attack neural pathways—affecting healthy brain function—when they start malfunctioning, a process that could be triggered by the presence of aluminium.
In an earlier study, the Keeele researchers had discovered that 11 out of 12 brain samples of Alzheimer's patients had high concentrations of aluminium that were "pathologically concerning".
For their new study, the researchers examined 83 brain tissue samples, 45 of which had high levels of aluminium.
The aluminium theory was first mooted around 40 years ago.