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J Alzheimers Dis. 2005 Sep;8(1):23-7.

Cognitive decline correlates with low plasma concentrations of copper in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.

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Department for Psychiatry, Saarland University, Building 90, 66421 Homburg/Saar, Germany.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a devastating brain disorder clinically characterised by progressive loss of characteristic cognitive abilities. Increasing evidence suggests a disturbed copper (Cu) homeostasis to be associated with the pathological processes. In the present study we analysed the plasma Cu levels and cognitive abilities using the Alzheimer's disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog) in 32 patients with mild to moderate AD. Statistical analysis revealed a negative correlation between plasma Cu levels and cognitive decline (r=-0.49; P<0.01). Patients with low plasma Cu (mean 82 +/- SD 9) had significant higher ADAS-cog values (mean 23 +/- SD 7), than patients with medium plasma Cu (mean 110 +/- SD 7), who exhibited lower ADAS-cog scores (mean 16 +/- SD 4; ANOVA, P<0.0001). Despite the fact that all patients had plasma Cu levels within the physiological range between 65 microg and 165 microg/dL, 87.5% of the patients revealed a significant negative correlation between plasma Cu and ADAS-cog. This finding supports the hypothesis of a mild Cu deficiency in most AD patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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