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A preliminary study of dietary aluminium intake and risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

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BACKGROUND: epidemiological studies of Alzheimer’s disease and aluminium intake have focused on aluminium in drinking water. There have been no studies investigating the relation between the disease and the consumption of foods containing large amounts of aluminium additives.

OBJECTIVES: to conduct a pilot study to determine whether dietary intake of aluminium additives differs in individuals with and without Alzheimer’s disease.

DESIGN: matched case-control study. Controls were matched to cases on age, gender and date of admission to the centre.

SETTING: Syracuse, New York, USA.

SUBJECTS: 46 participants comprising 23 matched sets.

METHODS: residents of the Loretto Geriatric Center with and without newly-diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease were selected. Next-of-kin were asked to complete information on the resident’s medical history, lifestyle behaviour and dietary intake before admission to the centre. An expanded form of the Health Habits and History Questionnaire was used to determine dietary intake. Consumption of foods containing elevated levels of aluminium additives was compared between cases and controls.

RESULTS: the crude odds ratio for daily intake of foods containing high levels of aluminium was 2.0 and, when adjusted for covariates, was 8.6 (P=0.19). Intake of pancakes, waffles, biscuits, muffins, cornbread and/or corn tortillas differed significantly (P=0.025) between cases and controls. Adjusted odds ratios were also elevated for grain product desserts, American cheese, chocolate pudding or beverages, salt and chewing gum. However, the odds ratio was not elevated for tea consumption.

CONCLUSION: past consumption of foods containing large amounts of aluminium additives differed between people with Alzheimer’s disease and controls, suggesting that dietary intake of aluminium may affect the risk of developing this disease. Larger studies are warranted to corroborate or refute these preliminary findings.

Source: Age Ageing 1999 Mar;28(2):205-9

PMID: 10350420, UI: 99277923

(Department of Medicine, State University of New York Health Science Center, Syracuse 13210, USA. rogersm@vax.cs.hscsyr.edu )

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