Scientists have shown that trace amounts of mercury can cause the type of damage to nerves that is characteristic of the damage found in Alzheimer's disease.
The level of mercury exposure used in the test was well below those levels found in many humans with mercury/silver amalgam dental fillings.
The research conducted at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine found that exposure to mercury caused the formation of "neurofibrillar tangles," which are one of the two diagnostic markers for Alzheimer's disease.
Previous research has shown that mercury can cause the formation of the other Alzheimer's disease marker, "amyloid plaques."
The scientists also exposed the test nerves to other elements, including aluminum, but found that only mercury caused the damage consistent with Alzheimer's disease.
The research, published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, is accompanied by a video presentation of the effect. Utilizing digital time-lapse photography, this video shows rapid damage to the nerve cells after introduction of minute amounts of mercury. Funding for this video was provided by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT).
Dr. Lorscheider produced the visual documentation of the biochemical mechanism by which the introduction of mercury induces hallmark diagnostic markers indistinguishable from those seen in the Alzheimer's diseased brain.
The authors note that, to date, no other material or metal tested, including aluminum, has produced even remotely similar reactions.
The broadcast quality video and animation documenting the biochemical process of mercury on the nerve cells is available to interested members of the press through Miss Karen Thomas, Media Relations, University of Calgary, Faculty of Medicine T: 403-2202945 F: 403-210-8141 Email: email@example.com
The video can be viewed using Quicktime 4.1 at http://commons.ucalgary.ca/mercury/
The IAOMT was formed to review, support, and disseminate research on the suitability of materials and methodologies used in the dental practice. The IAOMT has funded previous research by Dr. Murray Vimy on the mercury vapors released from mercury amalgam fillings during and after chewing, animal research showing pathophysiological damage to sheep and monkeys from dental amalgam mercury vapor exposure.
Collaborative research with the Calgary authors of this current study and Dr. Boyd Haley at the University of Kentucky demonstrated Alzheimer's disease-like brain damage to rats from inhaled mercury vapor.
Dr. Haley, commenting on the importance of this new documentation, said
"Seven of the characteristic markers that we look for to distinguish Alzheimer's disease can be produced in normal brain tissues, or cultures of neurons, by the addition of extremely low levels of mercury.
In addition, research has shown that Alzheimer's diseased patients have at least 3 times higher blood levels of mercury than controls. How much more research is necessary before the appropriate regulatory bodies respond with restrictions on the use of mercury-leaking dental amalgam fillings?"
NeuroReport, 12(4):733-737, 2001