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   Aug 03

Does SPINACH cause Alzheimer’s?

Iron-rich food may damage brains similar to how the element causes rusting

People with high levels of iron and the protein amyloid experience decline

Yet, high amyloid and low iron levels makes people less at risk of Alzheimer’s

Removing ‘rust’ from the brain could prevent or delay the degenerative disease

Researchers do not recommend people stop eating iron-rich food at this time

Spinach may cause Alzheimer’s disease in at-risk people, research suggests.

The salad leaf’s iron-rich content may damage the brain similar to how the compound causes metal to rust, according to the researchers.

People with high levels of iron alongside the protein amyloid, which has previously been associated with Alzheimer’s, are more likely to experience rapid cognitive decline, a study found.

Those with high amyloid but low iron levels are less at-risk of the disease, the research adds.

Removing such ‘rust’ from the brain could prevent or delay the degenerative condition, the researchers add.


A ‘ninja drug’ could prevent Alzheimer’s disease by destroying harmful cells in the brain, research suggested last month.

Experiments reveal the treatment stops the process that kills brain cells in dementia patients, while also protecting against short-term memory loss, a study found.

Unlike other Alzheimer’s medications, the drug, known as PMN310 antibody, does not cause side effects, according to the developers at Toronto-based ProMIS Neurosciences.

If successful in future trials, the drug could be available for patients in 2025, they add.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and affects around 5.5 million people in the US and 850,000 in the UK.

Rusting in the brain

Lead author Dr Scott Ayton from the University of Melbourne, said: ‘The rusting you see on iron metal is the same rusting reaction that occurs in the brain,’ The Express reported.

Although iron is important for energy, it can cause cellular stress and their subsequent death.

The researchers plan to conduct a five-year trial investigating whether an anti-iron drug could treat Alzheimer’s.

Treatments that focus on altering amyloid levels have had limited success.

Dr Ayton said: ‘Given the data from our study, it seems reasonable to hypothesise that lowering iron in the brain would slow the progression of the disease, but we can only know that by testing it, which is what we are now going to do.’

Do not cut back on dietary iron

The researchers do not recommend people cut back on their dietary iron intake to reduce their Alzheimer’s risk.

This is because the amount of the iron in the brain appears unrelated to levels in the blood or a person’s food intake.

Dr Ayton said: ‘We don’t have any evidence that the amount of iron you eat, or the amount that is measured in your blood, has any impact on the amount of iron in your brain, so we are not recommending people change what they eat based on our research.’

The findings were published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Source: Daily Mail

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