Tags: copper | alzheimers | study

Copper, Alzheimer's Negatively Linked in Study Results Opposite of Others

By Morgan Chilson   |   Monday, 26 Aug 2013 04:35 PM

A recently published medical study suggesting copper may contribute to issues that cause Alzheimer’s Disease is being received with caution because other studies have indicated the exact opposite.

The latest study, done on mice at New York’s University of Rochester, found that copper seemed to disrupt the blood brain barrier, said BBC Health News. That apparently made it harder for the mice to rid themselves of a protein, amyloid, that’s been linked to Alzheimer’s.

But a researcher at Britain’s Keele University found the exact opposite to be true, with studies indicating copper actually protects the brain, the BBC said.

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Copper intake comes from copper pipes, seafood and red meat.

One of the researchers on the recent Rochester study called the findings that too much copper causes problems “pretty scary,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

Neuroscientist Rashid Deane told the LA Times that a copper intake, even at levels that are considered OK today, harms the barrier that bars toxins from the brain and increases beta-amyloid production. Deane also said researchers found that when copper builds up in the brain, inflammation can result. Low levels of inflammation may be a sign the brain is fighting the process and trying to get rid of beta-amyloids, but over time, the inflammation could cause multiple problems, the Times said.

The medical researchers gave mice copper over three months, using trace amounts in drinking water and what would be considered one-tenth of the water quality standards set for copper by the Environmental Protection Agency, a Rochester press release said.

“These are very low levels of copper, equivalent to what people would consume in a normal diet,” Deane said in the release.

But the researcher who found opposite results, Chris Exley, said that lower levels of copper in the brain matched with higher amounts of beta-amyloid in brain tissue. He told the BBC that such low exposure levels used in the Rochester test would mean that copper is acting that way in everyone.

Exley said at the moment, he considers copper to be “protective and beneficial in neurodegeneration,” the BBC said.

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