Scientists have shown that trace amounts of mercury
can cause the type of damage
to nerves that is characteristic of the damage found in
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
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
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
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
Dr. Haley, commenting on the importance of this new documentation,
"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
NeuroReport, 12(4):733-737, 2001