Viewpoint: A new view of Alzheimer's disease

January 22, 2007

I know the jury is still out on this issue, but I firmly believe mercury exposure is to blame for Alzheimer's disease (AD). It's a subject I feel strongly about because my grandmother is a victim of this horrible condition. I can see firsthand the toll it takes on patients and their families. Even though my grandmother is still alive at 89 years old, she is often so disoriented and confused, it's almost as if she's not here.

There is a lot of literature supporting my belief that some heavy metals are associated with certain neurodegenerative diseases such as AD. Another culprit that has been identified is genetics. I believe that genetic predisposition is most likely involved. However, there is growing evidence to support my contention that mercury toxicity causes or exacerbates the pathological hallmarks of AD-neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid deposits.

Thousands of studies have demonstrated that mercury is one of the most powerful toxins in our environment. And there are three major sources of mercury exposure today.

The second source of mercury is a preservative known as thimerosal, which is used in vaccines. When people hear the word thimerosal, they have no idea that, in reality, thimerosal is a form of organic mercury known as ethylmercury. When the mercury is injected, the limitations of first-pass metabolism and GI absorption are bypassed. The mercury goes directly to the bloodstream and to the body's organs, including the brain, as it easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. Once in the brain, a significant amount of the ethylmercury is converted to the elemental form of mercury, the mercury ion. This form of mercury stays in the brain much longer.