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Beware, canned beer can cause Alzheimer's

india Updated: Oct 26, 2009 20:17 IST
Gaurav Saigal

Tinned soft drink or beer carry a common hazard for you. The container walls have Aluminum (Al), which blends with the liquid in trace and reaches your brain.

Accumulation of Al causes Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists in Lucknow have concluded in a study that Al, having similar characteristics like iron, is absorbed like other minerals through stomach and reaches brain via blood.

"Al goes to the brain and gets deposited in frontal cortex after crossing the blood brain barrier. It has been found to cause brain damage by way of neuro-toxicity," said Prof AA Mahdi, of the Medical Elementology and Free Radical Biology Laboratory.

Apart from Prof Mandi, Kalyan Mitra of Central Drug Research Institute's (CDRI's) Electron Microscopy Division, Farzana Mahdi of Era's Lucknow Medical College and Prof Mahdi Hasan, former principal of the JN Medical College, Aligarh, were also associated in the research.

The research work establishing the role of Al for Alzheimer's disease has been published in "Brain Research," the international multidisciplinary journal devoted to fundamental research in brain sciences.

As part of the research on Alzheimer's disease, we first concluded its relationship with Al and then looked for the chief sources of Al, the third most abundant element present in earth (8.3 per cent), said Prof Mahdi Hasan.

Scientists found that apart from the plants, vegetables and water, utensils too have been cited as chief course for it. Tinned soft drinks and beer, few dialysis fluids and antacids have also been found rich in Al.

Explaining how Al from tins reaches the brain Dr Farzana Mahdi said, cans used for keeping beverages have a thin layer of metal, which dangerously mixes with the fluid stored in. This happens during transportation or when the temperature inside can changes while it is kept in deep freezer.

The metal then enters the body with the liquid and ultimately reaches the brain, she said.

Though medication and dialysis is not required by all of us all the time but consumption of can beer and cold drink is common. Even use of Aluminium utensils is common in houses, Prof AA Mahdi said.

It is a known fact that excess metal in our blood stream causes damage to the organ it gets deposited. Brain, the most sensitive organ of all, gets considerable damange with Al, he explained.

How the connection between Al and Alzheimer's was established

Scientists used rats, one of the closest specie of man in the mammal group. These rats were divided in to two groups where one was fed with high dose of Al.

After 90-days of high Al feeding it was found the rats developed memory loss, a common symptom for Alzheimer's disease apart from having changes in the brain tissue. The problem in rats started with hair loss and gradually they developed memory loss, said one of the scientists.

What's Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder that destroys the ability to reason, remember and learn. It is different from mild forgetfulness observed in elderly. People with Alzheimer's fail to recognise themselves or much about the surrounding. Alzheimer's is marked by abnormal clumps and irregular knots (called neurofibrillary tangles) of brain cells. It has no current cure but treatments for symptoms can make life better.

How aluminium reaches the brain

Cans used for keeping beverages have a thin layer of metal.

This dangerously mixes with fluid during transportation, storage or when the temperature inside can changes while it is kept in deep freezer.

The metal then enters the body with the liquid and ultimately reaches the brain.