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Metals are found everywhere. We drive a car made from them and eat food in metal serveware and cookware. The human brain has some amounts of iron and copper in it naturally. These are imperative for healthy brain functioning. However, the brain of patients dealing with neurological issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s has reportedly higher concentrations of these metals.
This revelation led to the speculation that aluminum can cause dementia and Alzheimer’s. The suspicion tunneled to further claims that dementia is caused by using everyday aluminum items such as pots and pans, and even beverage cans.
You will be surprised to know that this claim dates back to 1965. During a study on brain functioning, researchers were injected with an extremely high dose of aluminium. The poor bunnies developed toxic tau tangles in their brains. This advanced into a claim that aluminium from cookware and canned foods could be causing dementia.
While a lot of the modern day frying pans, saucepans and kadhai that we use are made from the same metal, we wanted answers!
Dr Khushbu Goel, Consultant, Neurology HCMCT Manipal Hospital, Dwarka, spoke to HealthShots about the effects of using aluminium utensils on human brain.
“The common sign of dementia is degeneration of the brain cells. In Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and vascular dementia, brain cells get degenerated and cannot be reversed completely”, says Dr Goel.
“However, using aluminium utensils don’t pose any threat to these conditions. As far as cooking aluminum utensils causing dementia, I think that’s very low or uncertain. Therefore, no significant studies or scientific evidence can confirm any such speculation.”
Well, that’s a relief!
There is no strong evidence to support the fears of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease through aluminium exposure.
Some of the types of dementia, like vascular dementia, are caused by the blood pressure, blood sugar level, and heart diseases. But, smoking and drinking alcohol may also increase the risk. “We can take preventive measures to prevent their onset or reduce their progression”, says Dr Goel.
However, there are some varieties of reversible dementia which are caused due to metabolic conditions, nutritional deficiencies and infections. If we treat these conditions within time, it can slow their progression.