Mercury and Alzheimer’s Disease
A Growing Body of Evidence
Current evidence strongly suggests a role for mercury in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Mercury has now been shown to induce or increase production of all of the hallmark signs of Alzheimer’s disease including neurofibrillary tangles, tau proteins, beta amyloid and senile plaques. While not the only possible cause of Alzheimer’s disease, the evidence for mercury at the very least indicates a need for precautions against mercury exposure. For example, the first review study below found that 32 of 40 studies testing memory in individuals exposed to inorganic mercury found significant memory deficits. SafeMinds position is that individuals of all ages should avoid exposure to mercury from all sources, including dental amalgam, high-mercury fish, emissions and thimerosal-containing vaccines.
Selected Research Suggesting an Association between Mercury Exposure and Alzheimer’s Disease
J Alzheimers Dis. 2010 Aug 30.
Does Inorganic Mercury Play a Role in Alzheimer’s Disease? A Systematic Review and an Integrated Molecular Mechanism.
Mutter J, Curth A, Naumann J, Deth R, Walach H.
A review article of associations between Alzheimer’s disease and inorganic mercury exposure. Click here to view abstract.
Biopolymers. 2010 Dec; 93(12):1100-7.
Mercury (II) promotes the in vitro aggregation of tau fragment corresponding to the second repeat of microtubule-binding domain: Coordination and conformational transition.
Yang DJ, Shi S, Zheng LF, Yao TM, Ji LN.
A study showing dramatic aggregation of a tau protein by mercury ion exposure. Click here to view abstract.
Neurotoxicology. 2009 Nov; 30(6):1000-7.
Methylmercury induces neuropathological changes with tau hyperphosphorylation mainly through the activation of the c-jun-N-terminal kinase pathway in the cerebral cortex, but not in the hippocampus of the mouse brain.
Fujimura M, Usuki F, Sawada M, Takashima A.
A study showing tau hyperphosphorylation in the cerebral cortex, consistent with patterns noted in Alzheimer’s and frontotemporal dementia, in mice exposed to methyl mercury in drinking water. Click here to view abstract.
Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2008;25(6):508-15.
Metal concentrations in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Gerhardsson L, Lundh T, Minthon L, Londos E.
A study showing significantly increased plasma mercury in Alzheimer’s patients vs. controls. Click here to view abstract.
Rev Environ Health. 2006 Apr-Jun;21(2):105-17.
Involvement of environmental mercury and lead in the etiology of neurodegenerative diseases.
Monnet-Tschudi F, Zurich MG, Boschat C, Corbaz A, Honegger P.
A review article focusing on lead and mercury and their known effects relevant to neurodegenerative diseases. Click here to view abstract.