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Old 25 March 2008, 04:43 AM
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Default Aluminum Cans = Brain Damage

This is a claim apparently being proferred by one or more bilogy professors on campus; it's been brought up in various situations by a couple of biology majors/minors in my classes. According to this theory, trace deposits of aluminum "get into" the fluid in aluminum cans, enter the human body, and accumulate in the brain, where they facillitate alzheimer's disease.

What's the scoop on this?
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Old 25 March 2008, 04:49 AM
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I seriously doubt much aluminum enters the bloodstream because of cans. However, aluminum cookware has been implicated in Alzheimer's.
Quote:
Over the last few years, there has been concern about the exposures resulting from leaching of aluminum from cookware and beverage cans. However, as a general rule, this contributes a relatively small amount to the total daily intake. Aluminum beverage cans are usually coated with a polymer to minimize such leaching. Leaching from aluminum cookware becomes potentially significant only when cooking highly basic or acidic foods. For example, in one study, tomato sauce cooked in aluminum pans was found to accumulate 3-6 mg aluminum per 100 g serving.
Oddly enough, it seems processed cheese is more of a danger than soda cans:
Quote:
The average human intake is estimated to be between 30 and 50 mg per day. This intake comes primarily from foods, drinking water, and pharmaceuticals. Based on the maximum levels reported in drinking water, less than 1/4 of the total intake comes from water. Some common food additives contain aluminum. Due to certain additives, processed cheese and cornbread are two major contributors to high aluminum exposures in the American diet.
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Old 25 March 2008, 05:16 AM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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My family has avoided most baking powders for a long time, as they contain aluminum. We use Rumford's baking powder instead because it does not have the aluminum that most others do. And yes, it is because we had learned of the aluminum-Alzheimer's link, although it was more of a correlation than a demonstrated causal connection.
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Old 25 March 2008, 02:52 PM
FullMetal FullMetal is offline
 
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just looked, and the only baking powder I've ever really found in stores, "Magic baking powder" is aluminum free... never even gave it much thought as I never had much choice in the matter and never heard of it being an issue until now.
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Old 25 March 2008, 04:03 PM
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The aluminum story stems from some experiments several decades ago where larger than normal concentrations of aluminum were found in the brains of several Alzheimer's patients. Since that time, scientists have had difficulty replicating the result, and some now think that the original concentrations may have occurred as a result of the chemicals used to study the brains.

I've always heard that underarm antiperspirant was the major culprit for introducing aluminum to the body, and that women were more susceptible because they tend to shave their armpits before applying it, creating small cuts in the skin for the aluminum to enter the bloodstream. Here is an example of that argument. Also mentioned in this article from WebMD

However, according to this letter from the Alzheimer's Association, most major public health bodies have concluded that "aluminum is not a key risk factor in developing Alzheimer's disease."
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Old 25 March 2008, 04:18 PM
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In my own family, my paternal grandmother had alzheimers. She didn't do anything that put her at abnormal risk from aluminum.

My father, in his early sixties, is showing what appear to me to be early signs of alzheimers (I'm the only one to think this so far, but I was also right he was "crazy" when I was in high school, although my mother kept telling me he acted that way because I incited it but it turned out it was an undiagnosed panic disorder that caused a nervous breakdown a couple years after I left the house, and he has been much better to be around since he's been taking medication for it). He has the same aluminum exposure as my mother who is the same age, and she, having no family history of alzheimers, is showing no signs, and I'm pretty sure she never will.

I've pretty much come to accept the fact that, unless a cure is found, I will get to the point I won't recognize anyone. It really worries me now whenever I have short term memory loss (why did I come into the kitchen?), that I'm having early signs.

In my humble (non-medical background) opinion, if there ever was or is increased aluminum in the brain of people with alzheimers, it is less likely to be causative (plenty of people get now alzheimers without increased aluminum exposure, and got it before drinking from aluminum cans / using aluminum cookware was at all common), and is more likely to be an effect of the disease on the brain.
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Old 25 March 2008, 04:21 PM
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Yeah, I was careful to hadge and refer to a 'correlation.' Still, I try to avoid most sources of matals in my diet unless they are part of normal foods or known to be nutrients (and even then you have to watch quantities).
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Old 25 March 2008, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
Yeah, I was careful to hadge and refer to a 'correlation.' Still, I try to avoid most sources of matals in my diet unless they are part of normal foods or known to be nutrients (and even then you have to watch quantities).
(Bolding mine.) I try to avoid eating industrial refrigeration units as well.
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Old 26 March 2008, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlushingBride View Post
The aluminum story stems from some experiments several decades ago where larger than normal concentrations of aluminum were found in the brains of several Alzheimer's patients. Since that time, scientists have had difficulty replicating the result, and some now think that the original concentrations may have occurred as a result of the chemicals used to study the brains.
My father once told me that sometime in the 30s-40s doctors at a psychiatric hospital thought that they had discovered the secret behind schizophrenia when they found some substance or other in the blood of the inmates. In the end it turned out that it was the result of malnutrition.
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